“One nation, except Jews, with liberty and justice for all.”
What? That is insulting? It’s unconstitutional?
There are more Americans who consider themselves atheists or agnostics than there are American Jews. (And there’s probably a lot more in the closet, afraid to admit their beliefs because of the discrimination they’d face if they did.) But apparently non-believers don’t count and don’t matter to many Americans.
Because right now, what many of us hear when the pledge is read is “One nation, except you.”
The pledge of Allegiance didn’t used to have those words “Under God.” Those were added in the 50s, during the McCarthy era, to show that we weren’t like those godless commies. But what it did was immediately exclude Americans. The irony of excluding Americans and then immediately saying “indivisible” is lost on them.
So be kind. Refuse to say “Under God,” explain why to other Americans, and be inclusive instead of exclusive.
The Confederate statues we want brought down are on our property, maintained by our tax dollars.
You want a statue of some treasonous general? Fine. Pay for it yourself and put it on your own property. That would be completely legal and there won’t be a damn thing we could do about it.
We’re just saying stop using our tax money to support monuments to traitors.
Want to hear the first chapter of my book HOW TO ARGUE THE CONSTITUTION WITH A CONSERVATIVE? Of course you do!
I currently have an appeal pending in the Pennsylvania Superior Court regarding our DUI laws as they relate to the presence of marijuana in one’s system. The Pennsylvania ACLU has joined my appeal.
Here’s the press release my law office has prepared:
The current DUI law punishes anyone with any amount of marijuana in their system and as such is unconstitutional, according to Fisher and Fisher Attorney Michael A. Ventrella of Stroudsburg. He has filed an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court on this issue which has been joined by the Pennsylvania ACLU.
“The DUI law was written years ago, before there was legal marijuana in many states and before Pennsylvania provided for medical marijuana,” Ventrella explains. “The law says that if you have any amount of marijuana in your system while driving, you are automatically guilty of Driving Under the Influence even if the marijuana is no longer affecting you.”
The case on appeal concerns a driver who was pulled over for a taillight violation. The officer thought he smelled marijuana so requested the driver to give blood to prove he was not under the influence. No marijuana was found on the driver or in the car. The blood test came back with an inactive metabolite of marijuana in the driver’s system. He was charged and at his trial, the Commonwealth’s expert witness testified that an “inactive metabolite” meant that he had consumed the marijuana possibly days earlier and that the presence of the metabolite did not affect his driving in the slightest.
Under Pennsylvania DUI law, you can be charged with DUI if it is clear that your driving was impaired due to alcohol or drugs, but you can also be charged with DUI simply if there is the presence of marijuana in your system.
The court, bound by the law, found him not guilty of driving while impaired but guilty of DUI for having the marijuana in his system.
“This means that if you consume marijuana in a state where it is legal and then come to Pennsylvania, you can be prosecuted for DUI even if your driving was not impaired in the slightest,” Ventrella explained. “It also means that technically, anyone who has a medical marijuana card and uses their prescription legally can never drive in Pennsylvania.”
Ventrella pointed out in his brief to the Superior Court that the law punishes legal behavior and is therefore overbroad and unconstitutional. “The law needs to be rewritten to adjust to the changes that marijuana laws have had on society,” Ventrella says, “but the legislature of Pennsylvania has yet to do what other states have done to remedy the situation.”
The Pennsylvania ACLU joined in with the appeal and filed an amicus brief, emphasizing that the law does not define the word “metabolite” and is therefore vague and unconstitutional.
The Superior Court originally scheduled a hearing on the appeal for April but has cancelled it due to the corona virus shut-down. It is unclear whether it will be rescheduled or if the Court will simply make a decision based on the briefs.
Here’s the copy from the back cover:
Immigrants have no rights!
America is founded on Christianity!
Unlimited guns are my birthright!
These are just a handful of arguments being shouted by vocal conservatives even though the Constitution of the United States–the very laws of our nation–says something quite different.
If liberals are going to counter these erroneous, angry, ill-informed positions with facts, they need to learn for themselves what the Constitution says.
To remedy this knowledge gap, criminal defense attorney and unabashed liberal Michael A. Ventrella teaches the basics with a large amount of humor and snark, all illustrated with more than 40 cartoons by 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial artist Darrin Bell, creator of the syndicated comic strip Candorville.
Here are the opening paragraphs:
Studies show that a majority of Americans know very little about the Constitution, the very document that is the foundation of our government and laws. That doesn’t stop them from having an opinion, of course. We’re Americans; we think we know everything.
This is especially true of many conservatives these days, who proudly hold positions contrary to all facts. (Climate change is a hoax! Evolution is a lie! Trickle-down economics works! Being gay is a choice! Obama was born in Kenya!) You’ll never win a debate with these people because they’re operating on a completely different plane of thought as the rest of us.
However, there really are some reasonable conservatives out there who will respond to actual logic and facts. They may not be in charge of the current Republican party, and they may be few and far between these days, but when you do encounter one, this book may help you.
For that matter, this book may also help you debate well-meaning liberals who don’t understand things like Freedom of Speech. There seems to be an impressive number of them, especially on college campuses.
And it’s really not that complicated to get the basics of the Constitution right.
This book is meant to help. It’s definitely not a textbook; I’m not going to go into great detail about the hundreds of years of case law, and hopefully I’m going to keep it interesting (something my Constitutional Law professors often had trouble accomplishing). It’s short — almost as short as the Constitution itself—because it’s meant to be introductory. Even if you just read this short book, though, you’ll know more about the Constitution than 99% of your fellow Americans, including certain Presidents I could name.
I have a degree in Political Science. And I don’t know what the hell is going on.
Everything I learned in school about running a campaign and getting elected is meaningless now, because as we have seen, no one can predict anything.
Anyone who says “We need to choose the most electable candidate” wasn’t paying attention to the last three elections, where we elected the black candidate and then the idiot candidate. No one knows anything.
And the same thing goes with impeachment. Democrats need to stop worrying about how the public will react and whether it will hurt the party and instead they should just do the right thing. Don’t wait for the perfect political moment that may never appear. Don’t wait for the polls to be perfectly in your favor. And don’t worry about how Trump and the Republicans will act — they’re going to accuse you of only wanting to impeach Trump and will say you’re acting political whether you start impeachment proceedings or not. They will lie as they have always done.
So ignore them. You took an oath to the Constitution. And it requires you to at least hold investigations about all of this, because if you don’t, you are putting your party over the country — which is the exact same thing the Republicans are doing. If Democrats do not do this, all it does is set the precedent for the next corrupt President to get away with it.
Do the right thing and stop worrying about the political fallout already, Democrats. Stop worrying about what people who will never support you in a million years think. Stop letting the bullies win.
Grow a backbone.
But that’s not true. People like me don’t ridicule and persecute Christians. We ridicule and persecute unamerican assholes.
When religious people insist on forcing everyone else to live by their religious beliefs in America, they are assholes, and many Christians would agree with that if you mentioned “Sharia Law” to them. But when it’s their own religion, they have no problem in forcing their religious laws upon us.
The reason it looks like Christians are “persecuted,” Mr. Pence, is because they’re the only ones doing this. Jews in America aren’t trying to ban bacon. Muslims aren’t trying to make us all read from the Quran in school. Amish aren’t trying to ban telephones.
Every “attack” we may lodge at these Christians is done in self-defense.
- They want to take away the rights of women and force us all to live by their religious belief that a collection of cells is a person.
- They want to force us to say their prayers in our public schools.
- They want to use our money to place religious monuments in public places.
- They want to prohibit gays and lesbians from being married because they think their religion doesn’t allow it.
- They want us all to celebrate their religious holidays and ignore all others or else they claim there is a “war” on their religion.
- They want the right to discriminate based on their religious beliefs.
All we’re asking is that they leave us alone. None of us are trying to prevent them from living by their own religious codes. We just want to stop them from forcing us to live by theirs.
I have many Christian friends who are wonderful, loving people who try their best to live by the teachings of Jesus and who would never think to force others to live by their rules. The ridicule and “persecution” is not against Christians.
It’s against unamerican assholes like the Vice President.
My book “How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative,” from Gray Rabbit Publications, is due in August. The Advance Reading Copy is now available. The cover will look better, but the cover illustration will remain the same. There are certain to be a few typos (such as my name being misspelled on the cover) that will be corrected by the final version. That’s how it works in the publishing world…
If you have a political blog, radio show, podcast, or other media profile and would like to do a review or an interview with me or illustrator Darrin Bell, please contact me.
Here’s the press release that the publisher has sent out:
How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative:
A Liberal’s Humorous Guide to Demystifying the Laws of our Nation
With illustrations by Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist Darrin Bell, criminal defense attorney and author Michael A. Ventrella helps Liberals better understand the Constitution to debunk Conservative conspiracy theories, misinterpretations… and outright lies.
May 1, 2019 — Immigrants have no rights! The press is the enemy of the people! Unlimited guns are my birthright!
These are just a handful of arguments being shouted by vocal Conservatives in the age of Donald Trump… even though the Constitution of the United States—the very laws of our nation—says something quite different.
But if Liberals are going to counter these erroneous, angry, ill-informed positions with facts, they need to learn those laws themselves. And it’s amazing how many don’t know what they are.
To remedy this knowledge gap, criminal defense attorney, and unabashed Liberal Michael A. Ventrella has written How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative, a humorous, satirical look at the very document that defines our country.
As a practicing attorney for 30 years, Ventrella hopes readers will come away with a far better understanding of the Constitution, and use this critical knowledge to debunk Conservative conspiracy theories, misinterpretations, and outright lies being used to undermine the fabric of our country. And to correct their own misunderstandings of the Constitution.
As Ventrella says, the book is “a sort of Constitution for Dummies with jokes and arguments to raise the level of conversation and debate, where we discuss the actual laws of our nation and how they are applied, rather than engage in more heated arguments based on rumor, emotion, and a distortion of the facts. I also want you to have fun.”
How to Argue… will include cover art and more than 40 illustrations by 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Darrin Bell, creator of the syndicated comic strip Candorville.
Michael A. Ventrella’s other books include the forthcoming alternative Beatles anthology Across the Universe, which he is co-editing, Release the Virgins, which he edited for Fantastic Books in 2018, and Long Title: Looking for the Good Times; Examining the Monkees’ Songs, One by One.
Gray Rabbit Publications is honored to be publishing How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative, hopefully adding to this important, reasoned discussion… with a light touch.
How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative
by Michael A. Ventrella, illustrated by Darrin Bell
August 20, 2019
simultaneous case laminate hardcover and trade paperback publication
hardcover ISBN: 978-1-5154-2397-3. 164 pages, $24.99.
trade paperback ISBN: 978-1-5154-2377-5. 164 pages, $13.99.
Gray Rabbit is the non-fiction imprint of Gray Rabbit Publications, LLC, which also publishes speculative fiction under its Fantastic Books imprint. All Gray Rabbit and Fantastic Books titles are distributed via Ingram, and available through all online booksellers and by special order through physical bookstores. Review copies are available upon request.
The problem with both conservatives and liberals when it comes to the Constitution is that they are often like Christians in that, like Christians with the Bible, they tend to read into it what they want, ignore the parts they disagree with, and in fact probably have never read it in the first place.
These “Constitutional Fundamentalists” are also very similar to religious ones in that when they do interpret the document, they always find that the unchanging and clear words in the document mean exactly what they already believed anyway.
You never see one of these people go “The Constitution is clear and unambigous and cannot be interpreted! We have to read it exactly as the founders intended! Unfortunately for me, it’s obvious that they intended something I disagree with.”
No, it’s always “We must obey the will of the founders who clearly wanted everyone to have an assault rifle without any restrictions whatsoever!”
GOP: Cohen is a convicted liar! You can’t believe a word he says!
Us: And what was the lie he told in the past that got him convicted?
GOP: Well, um, the lie that said Trump was completely innocent.
Us: Thank you.
I’ve represented some pretty sleazy clients who realized life would be better for them if they came clean and spoke truthfully.
It didn’t mean they were no longer sleazy.
Cohen has no reason to lie and every reason to tell the truth, but that doesn’t make him a good guy.
When Cohen first testified and lied under oath, the GOP praised him and supported him. Now that he’s been convicted of doing so and has no reason to lie any more and lots of reasons to tell the truth, the GOP is attacking him as a terrible liar
Proving once more that these people stand for nothing except whatever is in their own personal interest.