shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the
freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government
for a redress of grievances.
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
On Dec. 15, 1791,
the Bill of Rights became part of the United States
Constitution. A vote of three quarters of the states is required
to change these first 10 or any subsequent amendments to the
country's founding document.
On that date 220
years ago, Virginia became the 11th of 14 states to ratify those
first 10 amendments. Massachusetts would become the 12th state
to ratify a few months later.
So any of us who
want to peaceably assemble here in the Bay State can feel
confident that both our federal and state governments have
approved our assembling — so long as the assemblers grasp the
"peaceably" part; violent assembly is not constitutionally
protected, nor is trespassing on private property, nor — in case
the subject comes up — is blocking ports.
I don't know how
"assemble" became "occupy public land for weeks preventing
anyone else from assembling there or just walking through
without tripping over tents and trash," but despite the
confusion or cowardice of some mayors, eventually judges find a
dictionary and "occupation" becomes "unlawful assembly." The
group called "Occupy Boston" was finally required to de-occupy
occupiers were beginning to pack up, Center-Right activists were
peaceably assembling, as they do every month, in a clean, warm
and dry Lexington auditorium to celebrate their coalition's 10th
2001, Citizens for Limited Taxation (CLT) has been hosting
tax-limiters, fiscal and social conservatives, libertarians,
Second Amendment supporters and other constitutionalists, and
supportive politicians and candidates. In the past few years,
they were joined by like-minded people who had formed or joined
a local tea party. Many of us have a history of opposition to
crony capitalism, but unlike the Occupy groups, we don't confuse
it with the free enterprise system.
Coalition was created by
Norquist's Americans for Tax
Reform (ATR) in Washington D.C., and has now spread to
locations in almost every state. The Bay State group, run by
CLT's Chip Faulkner, is one of the most successful; Grover sent
his congratulations "for a great 10 years of movement building
and progress. Massachusetts can be saved and lead the nation ...
Each month there is
a guest speaker. They come from think tanks, the media, national
organizations and like-minded groups in other states. Scott
Brown, Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill were guests. Regular meeting
members, local politicians or candidates can sign up in advance
to get on the agenda for a short presentation.
anniversary celebration's main speaker was WRKO talk show host
Todd Feinberg, who with his co-host Tom Finneran, wakes many of
us weekday mornings between 5:30 and 9 a.m.
A North Shore
resident, Todd is also host of Mass Factor, a cable interview
show that is taped in Danvers. After his humorous and
informative presentation at Center-Right, he was asked for his
analysis of the Republican candidates. If you want to know what
he said, he'll be continuing that analysis throughout the
primary season. Tune in at 680AM.
Last Friday, we
heard legislative updates from state Reps. Paul Adams,
R-Andover, and Daniel Webster, R-Pembroke.
Adams warned that
by 2020 the commonwealth will be bankrupted by health care
costs. His legislative colleague Webster noted that $1 billion
has already been added to the 2012 budget, with more
supplemental budgets coming before the end of the fiscal year on
They also talked
about the successful effort by Rep. Jim Lyons, R-Andover, to
hold up a recent supplemental budget until legislators were told
what illegal immigrants cost taxpayers in free health care. The
answer: $93 million.
challengers have attended Center-Right meetings for several
years. Bill Hudak, running against Salem's John Tierney in the
6th District, is a familiar face and voice; this month we heard
Tom Weaver, opposing Lowell's Niki Tsongas in the new 3rd
Jay Dwyer of the
Greater Waltham Tea Party honored Dick Hersum, who he is
replacing as president of the Association of Massachusetts
Republican Committees. Ted Tripp, Lyndi Lanphear and Christine
Morabito of the Merrimack Valley Tea Party were there to help us
say goodbye and thank you to Greater Boston Tea Party leader
Christen Varley, who is moving back home to Ohio.
Kris Mineau of the
Mass. Family Institute talked about a possible ballot campaign
against casino gambling, a subject on which the audience was
Gendre usually brings a contingent of activists from the North
Shore to Center-Right meetings; this month it included Abby
Bertelson from Hamilton/Wenham, Ed Purtz from Salem, and Gail
Burke from Beverly.
Sue Blais and Howard Bibeault presented Faulkner with a clock
for which other attendees chipped in, to honor his determined
adherence to time control at all meetings, which end exactly two
hours after they begin.
So now the
Center-Right Coalition is counting down to Revolution 2012 next
November. Happy anniversary to us.