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President Obama’s Push to Disarm Citizens & the Legacy of Patrick Henry

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It was in that golden moment prior to America’s founding as a free country, the April of 1775, that the move to disarm Virginians was occasioned. John Murray, the fourth lord of Dunmore, was moved to seize stores of gunpowder after a tart firebrand going by the name of Patrick Henry served notice that the freemen of Virginia were not fit to be slaves and would not be ruled like them.

Henry’s fight against disarmament was echoed in a struggle less than a century later, as gun control measures were installed to prevent black slaves from rising up against their Southern slavemasters. The Gunpowder Affair shows the importance of fighting for self-defense rights against tyrannical government.

In the excellent biographical work James Madison and the Making of America, Kevin C. Gutzman lays out the significance of this seminal event in U.S. history:

When the Congress closed, Madison wrote that the Virginians “universally approved” of its actions because “A spirit of Liberty & Patriotism animates all degrees and denominations of men.” Another way of putting this is that all ranks in society and all religious associations stood for American rights. Further, Madison hazarded that “Many publickly declare themselves ready to join the Bostonians as soon as violence is offered them or resistance though expedient.” Virginians in some parts were organizing themselves into military units, and Madison wanted the entire colony on a war footing.

Madison wrote to [William] Bradford excitedly the following May 9 with a description of the recent colonial response to Lord Dunmore’s seizure of the colonial gunpowder. In the days before bullets, firearms required gunpowder, which was in short supply in the colonies, and so the Virginia governor’s action amounted to an attempt to disarm the colonial militia in a single stroke. Madison was thrilled by the confrontation between the militia and the governor, and particularly by Patrick Henry’s forcing Dunmore to compensate Virginia for the gunpowder.

The confrontation between Lord Dunmore and Patrick Henry, in the backdrop of the battles at Lexington and Concord one day prior to the Gunpowder Affair, would spur along the motion for the freemen of that state to forge a Virginia Declaration of Rights.

A reflection of the collaboration between senior statesman George Mason and the young upstart James Madison, the Virginia declaration is perhaps a more sturdy foundation for liberty in political theory than America’s eventual Bill of Rights. In particular, “the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety” is a more comprehensive manifesto for freedom than the relatively understated “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” later penned by fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson in The Declaration of Independence.

It should be noted that in those days, Virginia was considered by the rebels to be free and independent from Britain as of May 15, 1775. While James Madison would go on to participate in the Continental Congress, witnessing the dysfunction of the Articles of the Confederation before eventually becoming the foremost luminary of The Constitution of the United States, Patrick Henry would go on to become Virginia’s first governor.

But the reason behind the words so familiar to the American ear, ringing throughout the ages in American history, was the all-too-immediate one of disarmament of American citizens. These words might as suitably be penned for the current president as the audience of the Virginia House of Burgesses whom Henry addresses (cited nearly in full because they demand to be read and comprehended):

The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

No man, Mr. President, thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss…

And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves.

Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne!

In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free — if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.

The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Where are the Patrick Henrys of today’s so-called opposition party? Where are the men of principle and persistence? But a handful, and they deserve our support. And if there are men and women lacking in the political opposition, then we must rise up and replace them!

Did Patraeus Throw the WH Under the Bus?

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Petraeus: I Said Al Qaeda Behind Benghazi — But Line Was Removed

Former CIA director David Petraeus spoke behind closed doors to the House Intelligence Committee.  According to committee member Peter King (R-NY), Patraeus’ testimony challenged the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the attack was a “spontaneous” protest over an anti-Islam video and conflicted with his own statements to lawmakers earlier in September.

Fox News: “His testimony today was that from the start, he had told us that this was a terrorist attack,” King said, adding that he told Petraeus he had a “different recollection.”

Still, the claim that the CIA’s original talking points were changed is sure to stoke controversy on the Hill.

“The original talking points were much more specific about Al Qaeda involvement. And yet the final ones just said indications of extremists,” King said, adding that the final version was the product of a vague “inter-agency process.”

Further, King said a CIA analyst specifically told lawmakers that the Al Qaeda affiliates line “was taken out.”

If it’s true the Petraeus changed his original story could it be that he was under some sort of duress due to his illicit affair? Did someone with power threaten to break the story of the married four star general’s relationship with another woman? Did Patraeus decide to bring the story into the open thus removing it as a possible object for blackmail?

No matter what the truth finally reveals this tale is not only fodder for gossip mongers but has all the makings of a best seller…and non fiction at that.

King Gets Spanked & Mitt Gets Challenged: CNN GOP Debate Recap

With Rick Perry dropping out of the Presidential race mere hours before the next GOP debate, the stage in South Carolina seemed set to deliver at least a few interesting moments.  Viewers did not have to wait long for fireworks.  The first question out of the gate from CNN moderator John King was directed at Newt Gingrich regarding the now infamous pending interview with ex-wife Marianne Gingrich.  Obviously Newt was ready and it is not an understatement to say that Newt excoriated King.  He scolded King like a child, at one point almost yelling at the CNN host, telling him questions like that were irresponsible, distracting and everything that is wrong with the current Presidential campaign process. It was vicious, glorious and the crowd reacted with enormous enthusiasm. I think I even detected a tear in King’s eye.  I could go on but why when Newt said it so well himself. Take a look.

 

As in the last debate there were no new revelations to be made on each of the remaining candidate’s positions.  The real drama in South Carolina revolved around Newt’s surge and how it would affect Romney. With polls showing the two in a near dead heat, Romney seemed to be on the ropes from the start to prove that he is still a front-runner.  He was not up to the task.  This was clearly Romney’s worst show to date.  Gone was his typical confidence and composure as he stuttered through responses on when he would release his tax returns and Romneycare.  Romney produced many cringe-worthy moments during the debate, but none so noticeable as when he actually referred to his own controversial healthcare legislation as ROMNEYCARE!  No doubt Romney will be chastising himself relentlessly over non-alcoholic, decaffeinated beverages for the next two days. Rule number one in politics: you NEVER repeat the meme your enemy has pinned on you. Yikes!  There was blood in the water on that Charleston stage and all three of Romney’s opponents sensed that.  He was attacked more directly than he has been all season and he did not fare well.  The combined onslaught may just turn out to be Romney’s downfall in South Carolina.  This was not his night.

Santorum started off the evening a bit weak but seemed to pick up steam as the debate progressed.  It was clear that this stage was his last stand. He pulled no punches and went after both Newt and Romney with targeted attacks.  Santorum is polling last in South Carolina now with Perry out of the race.  This is most likely his last chance to seize some of that Iowa momentum and make a case that he is the best choice for the nomination.  Santorum worked hard to establish himself as the best conservative alternative to both Romney and Newt.  It will be up to the voters of South Carolina to decide if he accomplished that or not.  Regardless, Santorum let it all hang out.  If he goes down, it won’t be because he didn’t throw everything he had at his opponents.

Ron Paul was…Ron Paul.  What is left to be said about Ron Paul?  Ron Paul hates the Fed.  Ron Paul hates big government.  Ron Paul is passionate about the constitution.  Ron Paul wants to end all wars/conflicts and all involvement in foreign affairs.  Ron Paul wants to pay down the debt by cutting military action.  You may love Ron Paul.  You may hate Ron Paul.  Whatever your opinion of Ron Paul may be, it cannot be denied that Ron Paul is always consistent in all things Ron Paul.  But Ron Paul won’t win.  Because he’s Ron Paul.  Sorry, Ronulans.  Cue the crazy hate mail in 4..3..2..1.

Newt won this debate in the first three minutes, but his Achilles heel has always been his intellectual arrogance and perhaps that arrogance was a bit too pronounced at points.  Some voters may be turned off by that.  Santorum was a close second.  He fought like a man with nothing left to lose. Even if he goes home after Saturday the man deserves major kudos for going from someone who most Americans had never heard of to one of the final four candidates in a particularly bloody GOP primary battle.  He has earned my respect in this process.

Mitt Romney lost this debate if for no other reason than the expectations have been so very high for him for so very long.  It was a lackluster, stilted performance that will be sure to weaken him as the primaries get underway on Saturday.

The big loser of Thursday’s debate was John King and CNN.  I suppose he had to ask the question he did at the top of the show but surely he walked away from that spanking he received from Newt with some very red buttocks.  Tsk, tsk, CNN…you should have known better.  Newt is not perfect, but he is perfectly articulate. He was ready and you weren’t.  Checkmate.

 
crossposted at kiradavis.net

The Amy Koch Scandal Illustrates Who Has Standards And Who Doesn’t!

Snarky letters from the “Gay Community” aside, the resignation and scandal of Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch is a painful embarrassment to the Minnesota GOP and for Protection of Traditional Marriage activists.

Senate Majority Leader Koch resigned her post Dec. 15 amidst accusations of having an inappropriate relationship with a male staffer, one day after a confrontation with members of her party. She will remain a Senator but said she will not seek re-election. Koch was elected to office in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.

Koch did not name the person with whom she had an affair, but insiders believe it might be Michael Brodkorb,  a staffer who helped write a protection of marriage act currently being considered in the Minnesota legislature. Minnesota statues already bans gay marriage, but the amendment to the constitution would add more protection against legal action taken by the gay community activists who want to extend marriage benefits to same-sex couples.

On Tuesday, the Senate GOP elected Rochester resident Dave Senjem as the new Senate Majority Leader after a 10-hour debate. Senjem was first elected in 2002 to the Senate and previously held the title of Senate Minority Leader before that honor was passed onto Democrat Senator Tom Bakk.

Koch is reported to have received a sarcastic letter from gay activists “apologizing” for sabotaging her “traditional marriage”. The letter, written by John Medeiros of Minneapolis, says in part:

“On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community’s successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage… We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry.”

See the whole letter at http://www.citypages.com/2011-12-28/news/gay-community-apologizes-to-amy-koch/

To no one’s surprise, LGBT activists have piled on praising the exit of Koch from Senate leadership claiming it a victory against anti-gay marriage legislation. Articles bashing Koch have appeared in the Daily Kos and in the Minneapolis/St. Paul City pages.

The Koch resignation and scandal certainly hurts, and the Liberal response to it is not surprising. What is surprising and under-reported is the response of GOP leaders in this matter. Koch’s demise as Senate leader didn’t come as the result of an attack from opponents, it is the result of action taken by her peers, who felt that her inappropriate relationship, or her leadership, had to end for the good of the party.

Liberals and progressives have repeatedly demonstrated through the years that they have no moral compass. The only compass they own points them to a place where they may take political advantage over their enemies.  (Remember serial molester Bill Clinton, housing market burning flamer Barney Frank and pervert Anthony Weiner). Time after time they will defend their offensive leaders tooth and nail stating that, “it doesn’t really matter. It only matters how he votes” or “it’s only a lie about sex, everybody does it.” Weeks, months and years go by before any Liberal politician is forced by the opposition party to step down. But when leaders of the same party, the Grand Old Party, hold the line, the offender agrees to the standard set and immediately concedes to the will of her peers, a stark difference between us and them.

Conservative MegaBlogger Andrew Brietbart brilliantly illustrated this point at his memorable appearance at the Americans For Prosperity’s right-wing blogger conference RightOnline2011 that took place earlier this year in Minneapolis. He essentially called out the Liberal Media hypocrisy in which they unapologetically defend their politicians who behave badly while at the same time pillaring conservative women like Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin. See the video on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60zAjQx1HDs&feature=endscreen&NR=1 around the 7:57 mark.

“I think there’s kind of a cool parady there,” said Brietbart, “I’m not, like, for the suppression of the outing of corrupt corporations. I’m not for the suppression of the outing of corrupt Republicans. In fact there’s a huge difference. . . I’m totally for all these Republican screwballs getting in trouble, getting fired, or quitting the day they get caught, not stretching it out for three ludicrous unbelievably joyful weeks. Thank you Congressman Weiner!”

While the Liberal establishment gaily, (oh my, did I really use that word?) jumps up and down in unapologetic glee and celebration, there is an important thing to remember: the state GOP is stronger not weaker for having stood up to their leader and applying the standard.

Conservatives and Christians aren’t perfect. We occasionally have our leaders who with their faults and foibles fail us. The difference between us and them is that we recognize the higher standard, the one higher than man’s whim. That’s why we hold our leaders to account and why they don’t.

The Left is correct in stating that the major issue on the ballet of 2012 will be jobs. That’s good because in the area of job creation they’ve sucked royally as the Liberal Policies of Jimmy Carter sucked. It means we have the political leverage because Minnesotans and Americans as a whole know that the Left have no idea how to create a job and we do. That’s why we will win in 2012.

But the social issues are important too and conservatives need to continue to push back against progressivism and uphold our values in the face of their assault. Most people recognize the rights of gays as human beings the same as everyone has basic civil rights, but most of us still believe that marriage is defined as an established relationship between one man and one woman. And, we believe that leadership matters.

The Amy Koch story won’t change that. This story simply illustrates who has standards and who doesn’t.