Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Is Access To Water a Right?

Some folks want to have the access to clean water legally defined as a right. Is it a right?

If so, then shouldn't access to food be a right also? Is access to food a part of the right to life? My understanding has always been that those who want food need to work for it. Earn money to pay for it or plant and care for it or gather it yourself. Many people die of starvation everyday, yet no one is saying that access to food is a right. (Many people seem to think that health care should be a "right" too. So ... you should have the right to see a doctor for free, who will tell you that you are starving, but you would have no "right" to have access to food? But I digress.)

Is this wish to legislate access to clean water as a right merely a response to the fact that people die faster without water than they do without food? Or is water so essential and access to it so limited that access to it must be legislated to keep society working? Or is this just the latest in a long line of fear-mongering, control-of-the-populace scare tactics?

"And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. "~ Genesis 7:19

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior

From Federalist Papers #65

"THE remaining powers which the plan of the convention allots to the Senate, in a distinct capacity, are comprised in their participation with the executive in the appointment to offices, and in their judicial character as a court for the trial of impeachments. As in the business of appointments the executive will be the principal agent, the provisions relating to it will most properly be discussed in the examination of that department. We will, therefore, conclude this head with a view of the judicial character of the Senate.
A well-constituted court for the trial of impeachments is an object not more to be desired than difficult to be obtained in a government wholly elective. The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be denominated POLITICAL, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.
The delicacy and magnitude of a trust which so deeply concerns the political reputation and existence of every man engaged in the administration of public affairs, speak for themselves. The difficulty of placing it rightly, in a government resting entirely on the basis of periodical elections, will as readily be perceived, when it is considered that the most conspicuous characters in it will, from that circumstance, be too often the leaders or the tools of the most cunning or the most numerous faction, and on this account, can hardly be expected to possess the requisite neutrality towards those whose conduct may be the subject of scrutiny.
The convention, it appears, thought the Senate the most fit depositary of this important trust. Those who can best discern the intrinsic difficulty of the thing, will be least hasty in condemning that opinion, and will be most inclined to allow due weight to the arguments which may be supposed to have produced it.
What, it may be asked, is the true spirit of the institution itself? Is it not designed as a method of NATIONAL INQUEST into the conduct of public men? If this be the design of it, who can so properly be the inquisitors for the nation as the representatives of the nation themselves? It is not disputed that the power of originating the inquiry, or, in other words, of preferring the impeachment, ought to be lodged in the hands of one branch of the legislative body. Will not the reasons which indicate the propriety of this arrangement strongly plead for an admission of the other branch of that body to a share of the inquiry? The model from which the idea of this institution has been borrowed, pointed out that course to the convention. In Great Britain it is the province of the House of Commons to prefer the impeachment, and of the House of Lords to decide upon it. Several of the State constitutions have followed the example. As well the latter, as the former, seem to have regarded the practice of impeachments as a bridle in the hands of the legislative body upon the executive servants of the government. Is not this the true light in which it ought to be regarded?
Where else than in the Senate could have been found a tribunal sufficiently dignified." ~Alexander Hamilton

Recent rulings from Califonia, and the United States Supreme Court , among others, have inspired me to post this for the perusal of all who may be interested. Here is a link to find your senator.

"And I charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him."
~Deuteronomy 1:16