Tag Archives: rights

Our Constitutional Protections of “We, the People’s” Individual Rights and Freedoms

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As the Articles of Confederation was written and established by the States, the unique perspective of our founders were that they gave us a U.S. Constitution written by “We, the People” and ratified by the States. This placed, We, the people over State and federal government. …and gave us certain rights even our local government is infringing on. Our Constitution distinguishes between the individual “the People”, the states and the federal government.

As our nation has drifted away from promoting a society centered around the individual, whereas he’s able to address the problems important to him. We have drifted into a collective society, one of harmonizing and deconflicting to an aggressive and controlling society. Where the issue of the day is what government is addressing and injecting itself.

Government officials at all local, state and federal levels take an oath to the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land. But to some politicians, this belief is the progressive, controlling role where problems are solved with the blunt instrument of government. Other politicians believe that government’s role is a passive role to where bureaucracies intervene to harmonize conflicts.

Whether we’re talking about an intervening United Nations, federal, state and local government.

Below are some individual rights and freedoms we enjoy under our current U.S. Constitution.
1. Free Exercise of RELIGION – 1st Amd
2. Freedom of SPEECH – 1st Amd
3. Freedom of PRESS – 1st Amd
4. Right to PETITION – 1st Amd
5. Right to peaceably ASSEMBLE– 1st Amd
6. Right to keep and bear ARMS – 2nd Amd
7. Freedom from QUARTERING TROOPS – 3rd Amd
8. Right to be SECURE IN your PERSONS, HOUSES, PAPERS and EFFECTS – 4th Amd
9. Freedom from UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES – 4th Amd
10. Freedom of WARRANTS being issued upon PROBABLE CAUSE – 4th Amd
11. Rights that WARRANTS SUPPORTED BY Oath and affirmation – 4th Amd
12. Rights of WARRANTS must be SPECIFIC, describing place to be searched and persons or things to be seized – 4th Amd
13. Freedom from being HELD to answer FOR A CRIME UNLESS on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury – 5th Amd
14. Freedom from DOUBLE JEOPARDY – 5th Amd
15. Freedom from SELF-INCRIMINATION – 5th Amd
16. Right to DUE PROCESS – 5th Amd
17. Right of PRIVATE PROPERTY taken for public use, without just compensation – 5th Amd
18. Right to SPEEDY TRIAL – 6th Amd
19. Right to PUBLIC TRIAL – 6th Amd
20. Right to an IMPARTIAL JURY in State/district where crime was committed- 6th Amd
21. Right to be informed of NATURE and CAUSE OF ACCUSATION – 6th Amd
22. Right to FACE ACCUSERS – 6th Amd
24. Right to COMPULSORY PROCESS for obtaining witnesses in his favor – 6th Amd
25. Right to the assistance of COUNSEL FOR HIS DEFENCE – 6th Amd
26. Right to a CIVIL TRIAL BY JURY – 7th Amd
27. Freedom from EXCESSIVE BAILS or FINES – 8th Amd
28. Freedom from CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT – 8th Amd
29. Freedom from others using their CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO DENY OR DISPARAGE OTHERS – 9th Amd
30. Abolition of SLAVERY – 13th Amd
31. Constitutional Rights are protected to anyone born in the US…CITIZENSHIP – 14th Amd
32. Freedom from BLACK SUFFRAGE – 15th Amd
33. RIGHTS TO VOTE, afforded to Women (19th Amd), over 18 (26th Amd)

The Crimes of An Ideological Agenda

“Let us disappoint the men who are raising themselves upon the ruin of this Country.”
— John Adams

The number of scandals involving the encroachment of the Obama Administration into – and onto – the constitutional rights of American citizens is beyond stunning. And it is without question criminal in many cases. But with an Attorney General seated who – as a practice – routinely tries to manipulate the limits of the law to affect an ideological agenda, and a federal “classification system” that keeps those elected to represent us in Congress from bringing issues of government instituted malfeasance to light, what recourse is left the American citizen?

These encroachments against the United States Constitution are the product of over one-hundred years of Progressive political advances in the area of government. Put succinctly, two of the founding principles of the Progressive Movement; two of the “givens” held in understanding by each and every Progressive, are that: a) Progressives are enlightened; intellectually superior to the masses; and, b) that through centralized government, Progressives can help the masses help themselves to a better life, regardless of whether they want it or not. Once these two facts are understood, you can begin to understand some of the declarations made by Mr. Obama and his spokespeople about the many scandals – or what We the People perceive to be scandals – surrounding the Obama Administration.

According to R.J. Pestritto, the Charles & Lucia Shipley Chair in the American Constitution at Hillsdale College and author of American Progressivism, ““America’s original Progressives were also its original, big-government liberals.”

Jonah Goldberg writes of Pestritto’s examination of the Progressive Movement in Liberal Fascism:

“They set the stage for the New Deal principles of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who cited the progressives – especially Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson – as the major influences on his ideas about government. The progressives, Pestritto says, wanted ‘a thorough transformation in America’s principles of government, from a government permanently dedicated to securing individual liberty to one whose ends and scope would change to take on any and all social and economic ills.’

“In the progressive worldview, the proper role of government was not to confine itself to regulating a limited range of human activities as the founders had stipulated, but rather to inject itself into whatever realms the times seemed to demand.

“…progressives called for a more activist government whose regulation of people’s lives was properly determined not by the outdated words of an anachronistic Constitution, but by whatever the American people seemed to need at any given time.

“This perspective dovetailed with the progressives’ notion of an ‘evolving’ or ‘living’ government, which, like all living beings, could rightfully be expected to grow and to adapt to changing circumstances. Similarly, progressives also coined the term ‘living Constitution,’ connoting the idea that the US Constitution is a malleable document with no permanent guiding principles — a document that must, of necessity, change with the times.”

On the subject of the Obama “scandals” the key words here are “…progressives called for a more activist government whose regulation of people’s lives” and “…whatever the American people seemed to need at any given time.”

In each of the perceived scandals, the Progressives of the Obama Administration justify their actions through those eyes. They see the situations as being too complex for the average American to understand, too emotionally disturbing for them to fathom; the need for constitutional transgression in their quest for the “fundamental transformation” of America too great. And so they deceive their political opposition – and the American public – about their actions, reasons, intentions and goals.

This understood, it is easy to see why, after myriad transgressions against the Constitution and the mission of the Justice Department itself, Mr. Obama declares that he still has “confidence” in Eric Holder. He needs Eric Holder in the senior-most law enforcement position so that he can unilaterally achieve his Progressive agenda through a totalitarian Executive Branch; so he can achieve the “fundamental transformation” of our country through, Executive Order and regulation, especially regulation – legislation through regulation.

It is for this reason – unilateral fundamental transformation – that Progressives have sought to grow our federal government to its current behemoth size; a bureaucratic labyrinth filled with “career” public servants (an oxymoron?) and interminable political appointees whose entire existence is to move the American political center incrementally to the Left; a task they have been achieving with regularity since the days of Wilson and Roosevelt.

It is for this particular reason – it is for this particular governmental mechanism: the bureaucracy – that Mr. Obama will not be directly linked to any of these so-called scandals (scandals in the eyes of all those who revere the Constitution and the rule of law, yes, but not as much to Progressives). The entire Progressive Movement has culminated in this moment in time. They truly believe it is their time. Progressives believe that because they have achieved a twice elected hyper-Progressive president – disregarding the retention of the US House of Representatives by Republicans and ignoring the many governorships that went “Red” last election – that they have a mandate, not for Mr. Obama’s “programs,” but for the complete transformation of our governmental system from that of a Constitutional Republic to a Socialist Democracy based on the now failed models of Europe.

In each scandal there is a bureaucratic figurehead that insulates Mr. Obama from direct responsibility. In the IRS scandal we have Lois Lerner and Douglas Schulman. In the Fast & Furious and AP/FOX scandal there is Eric Holder. In Benghazi there were Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton…and dead men tell no tales. In each instance, Mr. Obama has a dedicated and loyal “useful idiot” who will fall on his/her sword for the “good of the movement.” It is assumed they will, just as it was assumed they would execute their actions of transgressions against the Constitution and liberty itself, with fidelity to “the cause” and without a direct order ever being given.

As We the People watch the “scandals” of the Obama reign unfold, we need to understand that even though Progressives believe this is “their time,” it would have been “their time” regardless of who was in the White House. Was it easier to execute with the first “Black” president in the White House, someone whose constitutionally destructive actions Progressives could defend with a claim of “racism” toward his detractors? Sure, it made it easier, but it would have happened anyway, and it would have happened because of two reasons: a) the public has become apathetic towards their duty to be accurately informed and engaged, and b) the bureaucracy was in place.

Unless We the People insist on the decentralization of government, a viciously executed reduction in the size of the federal government and a radical transformation of the federal tax code to a limited flat tax, FAIR tax or consumption tax, nothing will change with the 2016 elections, regardless of which party captures the White House and holds sway in Congress. Our country – our Constitutional Republic – will continue to be “nudged” to the Left; continue to be fundamentally transformed away from liberty and self-reliance and toward servitude and dependence.

Barack Obama was correct about one thing all those years back in 2008, our nation – the United States of America – is in need of fundamental transformation. That transformation, though, needs to be from a culture of bureaucratic elitism in a centralized government where no one is able to be held accountable, to a nation dedicated to justice for all and the rule of law under the constraints of the United States Constitution.

Or, as John Adams so eloquently wrote in Novanglus Essay, No. 7:

“[Aristotle, Livy, and Harrington] define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men.”

We, my fellow Americans, are a Republic and not a Democracy, for precisely that reason.

If There Was Ever a Golden Opportunity

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The recent “scandals” plaguing the Obama Administration serve to illustrate that nothing lasts forever. The honeymoon with the mainstream media has ended after a record run and their steamroller approach to Washington politics has hit a “bump in the road,” and one they cannot circumvent. This moment in time presents some golden opportunities for those of us who identify it as one of vulnerability for those who quest to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” But in every golden opportunity exists some danger. And while we of the constitutional and conservative bent never cease to protest this truth, it is a truth nevertheless. We could be winning a baseball game by 15 runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and find a way to lose by 3.

While all the so-called “Republican strategists” and conservative pundits debate the depth of the Obama Administration’s “evil deeds,” and while everyone in the conservative blogosphere is screeching “impeachment” at the top of their cyber-lungs, we who possess level heads; who deal in facts and realism instead of emotion and appearance, understand that the probability of impeachment is next to zero. This is because for all the misdeeds and ethical lapses of this administration; with the very serious issues they have exploited for political gain –  including those that took place at the expense of American lives and the sanctity of constitutional rights, “high crimes and misdemeanors” have not been executed by Mr. Obama, personally, that anyone can prove.

Additionally, there are two reasons why impeachment would never result in the removal of President Obama from office.

First, we have a Democrat majority in the US Senate. And while impeachment happens in the US House of Representatives, the trial conducted due to impeachment is held in the Senate, presided over by the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. In the end, anyone who believes that a Democrat controlled Senate would vote to convict, thus executing Mr. Obama’s removal from office, is smoking something that is now legal in Colorado.

Second, the Republican establishment and elected leadership would never agree to move on impeachment for fear of losing a messaging battle with the Progressive machine that would leave them with the scarlet letter of “racist” around their organizational neck. Moving on the impeachment of Mr. Obama on charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” would energize the Progressive base, motivate the race-baiter activists and give the Progressive-sympathetic mainstream media a reason to re-champion Mr. Obama, thus destroying any advantage the GOP may have thought they gleaned from the Obama-induced “scandals.”

And while there are some in this administration that very well should don orange jumpsuits for a period of time, the responsibility of prosecuting these people to conviction is predicated one of two events.

There can be an appointment of a special prosecutor – which requires an appointment of one by…wait for it…US Attorney General Eric Holder. With Mr. Holder’s contempt for Congress and anything not Progressive or “social justice,” and with his track record of biased prosecutions and non-prosecutions, pigs will fly before we see a special prosecutor appointed by Mr. Holder.

Then there is the option of the Department of Justice taking up the prosecution. Again, this would require action on behalf of Attorney General Holder. And again, because he would be – in at least one if not two of the “scandals” – implicated as a “wrong-doer,” well, pigs…wings…you get the picture.

I know, it sounds as if conservatives can’t win for losing. But that’s not the case. There are two opportunities that could not only seal Mr. Obama’s fate, but that could save the United States from one-hundred-plus years of Progressive incremental victories.

First, in light of the fact that the IRS is at the center of a scandal of mammoth proportions, a scandal that reeks of Progressive and/or Chicago-Progressive thug politics, the forces that champion comprehensive and radical tax reform could combine forces to affect true and real reforms in the tax code in either a flat tax, with absolutely no deductions, loopholes or exceptions; or a consumption tax. Either could completely replace the existing Progressive tax code (have you figured out why they call it that yet?) and literally neuter the IRS completely. Truly, it would be just desserts for an agency that has moved from the honest collection of taxes under a dysfunctional and politically charged tax code to a tyrant agency that routinely attacks the innocent, striking fear into the hearts of the law abiding.

But second, and frankly I believe more important, is the opportunity to spotlight the Progressive Movement for the tyrannical, oligarchical elitist, Fabian socialists that they really are; to educate the no- and low-information voters – in real time and with “in-the-news” issues that directly affect them – on how the Progressives actually despise the masses, even as they say they champion the worker (if they really champion the worker how come their signature achievement in Mr. Obama’s tenure – Obamacare – is set to raise the taxes on union health insurance plans in 2018 by 40%?).

If, by the grace of God Almighty, conservatives can dispose of the egos and join in an effort to communicate, if establishment Republicans can lose their penchant for “know-it-all,” “my-way” inside-the-beltway arrogance to provide the national apparatus by which to communicate, and if the TEA Parties can enjoin cohesively with both of the aforementioned to move the message; to educate; to inform the no- and low-information voters, in a non-aggressive and non-inflammatory way – if conservatives of all stripes can craft and move a message that defines the Progressive Movement for exactly who they are and exactly what their goal is for our country, then we have an opportunity to send their movement into a thousand years of darkness.

Imagine.

Of course, to do this would require conservatives to – at least for the moment – work together, something the “too-many-chiefs-and-not-enough-Indians” Conservative Movement does very poorly.

So, Conservatives of all stripes, establishment Republicans and TEA Partiers, it’s the bottom of the ninth and the score is tied. We’re at bat, their pitcher is tired and they have exhausted their bullpen.

How about it?…

Conservative Media Elites, Progressives & The Blood of Boston

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Well, bravo to the mainstream media – at least the Conservative mainstream media – for finally putting two-and-two together in understanding the role that political correctness plays in the ongoing conflict with violent jihadists and fundamentalist Islam. To say that they showed up “fashionably late” to the party is borderline sarcastic. Nevertheless, the subject has finally been broached and those of us who have had “three lanterns” in the church tower for over a decade are appreciative that this moment in time has come to pass. But this finally arrived at equation is just the first layer of a much deeper and more troubling convergence. And we all – each and every one of us – have to pray that a fickle news media will not “declare victory” in this singular realization.

For years, many of us in the new media have bared the full weight of speaking truth to power – power in this case being not only elected government, many of whom still choose to exist in denial of the facts, but the elites in the mainstream media as well, where fundamentalist Islamic violence is concerned. Many of us have been demonized and marginalized not only by those of a more liberal bent who level charges of bigotry and Islamophobia at us, but by those in the elite Conservative media who stood dedicated to ignore us for not having slapped down the $125,000 to get a “journalism” degree. Many outlets, both mainstream and on the Internet, cowered in the face of the issue, choosing not to run articles about the facts surrounding jihadi violence or ignoring the intellectual credentials of writers who carved out great swathes of their lives to fully understand the issue; autodidactic or otherwise.

It could be said that at this moment, those who have been ignored or rebuked by the “big boys and girls” with million-viewer television and 50,000 watt flamethrower radio shows, will prove their grit; prove their patriotism, by embracing the reality that it is the message, the education of our citizenry that matters, and not whether we gain fame or wealth examining an issue that threatens the very existence of a free world. As for me, I hope to be judged a patriot for the information I have advanced in an unselfish manner; simply asking for organizational support from time to time so that a roof could be maintained overhead and food could be placed on the table. Some answered unselfishly, most did not.

But now, after all of the “al Qaeda is on the run” rhetoric has been laid to waste, and the eyes of many in the Conservative mainstream media have been focused, it must be stated, without reservation, that our nation faces not a singular foe in a foreign ideology that seeks to expunge the American way of life from the face of the Earth, but three very real and very potent threats that, at present, are well on the path to seeing the demise of the United States of America, Islamofascism being only one of the three.

For years, I and others, including my wife Nancy, a dedicated educator and a formally trained constitutional expert, have been explaining the concept of “The Perfect Storm”; the convergence of three potent threats that together present a threat to our way of life in the United States, and through its destruction, the free world. Our non-profit organization, BasicsProject.org, is dedicated to educating the public on this “Perfect Storm.” Yet, for years the elites in the mainstream media have refused to acknowledge the hypothesis; have refused to allow our voices to be heard. So, it was with great happiness I began hearing the likes of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly – Beck being the first among them to do so, and going “all in” in his efforts, I might add – identifying the role of political correctness in the advance of Islamofascism. It is my hope of hopes that they are inclusive of the grassroots and autodidacts in their efforts because, quite frankly, without a constant push for the citizenry to learn, this will become just another news story; just another cycle, and everyone will soon return to watching “Desperate Housewives of the Jersey Shore in Gator Country,” or whatever inane garbage is captivating the low- and no-information voters today.

“The Perfect Storm” scenario consists of an external threat (Islamofascism) coupled with and facilitated by an internal threat (Progressivism, whose chief manipulative tenet is political correctness) targeting a constitutionally illiterate American populace (a population who fails to understand the worth and value of their rights). Is this a Right-Left or Democrat-Libertarian-Republican issue? No. This is an American issue and one that extends to the free world, as well.

Islamofascism, rooted in an almost fanatical devotion to Sharia Law, places the theocratic dogma of Islam above the inalienable rights realized and codified in the Charters of Freedom – the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution and Bill of Rights (Nancy would also include the Magna Carta, and she is right to do so). In doing so, the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press; all the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights and ensuing Amendments, are subjugated to the will of Sharia. A cursory examination of Sharia Law’s compatibility with the freedoms identified in the Charters of Freedom results in the realization of a total incompatibility between the two. One cannot live a life devoted to Islam and Sharia Law, and recognize the US Constitution as the law of the land, ergo; Islamofascism is a direct threat to the US Constitution.

Progressivism, essentially an American Fifth Column, emanates from the ideology of the Marxist/Leninist Era, and presents a menace from within. This ideology was first empowered under the Wilson reign – which advanced the lie of a “living Constitution” so as to expand government beyond the enumerated powers, and then enjoyed resurgence during the counter-culture revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Today, this ideology, anathema to the Charters of Freedom, is taught at every level of our public education system – from pre-school to graduate school – in the form of “political correctness,” “multiculturalism” and “diversity.” This ideology – embraced by the likes of the “social justice” crowd – has evolved into a unique yet visionless one, and one which holds that our most basic constitutional tenets are the central cause for many of the social ills here in the United States and around the world.

This Secular-Progressive, Democratic-Socialist and/or neo-Marxist American Fifth Column ideology claims that our Constitutional Republic is, in fact, a Democracy, which our Founders and Framers vehemently opposed; understanding that Democracy did and does not protect minority rights. It employs the democratic process to promote moral relativism, multiculturalism and political correctness, doing so in an effort to silence those who would defend the basic foundational American principles, while pursuing an American form of Socialism in their place. This system of beliefs serves not only to grotesquely blur the lines between good and evil, bad behavior and civic responsibility, it goes to great lengths to negate the concepts all together.

The Progressive ideology promotes the utilization of an artificially created sense of self-esteem within our children while striving to denigrate the notion of individualism in deference to the group-think mentality, or the “it takes a village” philosophy, leaving them ill-prepared for the competitive world in which we live, and dependents of a state unable to compete at all.

The precepts of the American Fifth Column work to eliminate the benefits and rewards of a competition based free market society by instituting the notion that absolute socio-economic equality can be attained through government mandated entitlement and control, usurping the freedom of choice and alienating our constitutionally mandated individual liberty to define and pursue happiness. Anyone who dares to challenge the Progressive ideology is castigated as a “bigot,” a “racist,” and/or any litany of “phobes,” all in an effort to execute Rule No. 12 from Progressivism’s bible, Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky (who literally dedicated his book to Satan):

Rule No. 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

With just this very basic understanding of Progressivism – and I urge you to read more on this (DiscoverTheNetworks.org has an indispensable summary of the movement accessible here) – it is obvious to the honest that Progressivism is not only antithetical to Americanism, but a direct threat to the Charters of Freedom.

Couple these two major threats to our nation, to our Founding Documents, to our liberty, with the fact that since the Progressives’ capture of the American education system, the importance of studying history has been marginalized, so much so that our nation, but for what can only be described now as an alarmed minority, stands constitutionally illiterate; unable to understand the value of the inalienable rights mandated by our Founding Documents and bequeathed to us by Natural Law, not government.

I liken it to the old adage about two children who have received the same bike, one given the bike, the other made to earn the bike. Invariably, the child who was given the bike was more prone to neglecting it, not understanding its worth, while the child who was made to earn the bike; that understood its worth, maintained it. This basic truth applies to our American Heritage and the continued welfare of our nation.

Without a solid understanding of the basic principles used by our Founds and Framers in establishing our Constitution it is impossible for Americans to recognize the worth of the American ideal. When the full values of freedom and liberty are not realized it becomes easy to incrementally relinquish our rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

Today, we do not have a populace, a citizenry, which is literate in constitutional philosophy; that understands the worth of their rights…and so they cede them. Further, without a basic understanding of the value of our founding principles and the worth of the American ideal, the American public is less inclined to be concerned with an unfettered access to un-manipulated, fact-based information; information needed to address many of the serious issues facing our nation, our nation’s leaders and the world; issues like violent jihad on the streets of Boston, New York, Any Town, USA.

With regard to the Boston Marathon bombings, it is without question that the Progressives among us have blood on their hands. Progressives in the media, in elected office and in leadership positions have consistently and absolutely denied the American public their right to examine the violent tenets of Islam by saying that to do so wouldn’t be “politically correct,” by saying it would be “insensitive to Muslims,” or that those who want to examine the facts surrounding the truth about the dichotomy between Islam and terrorism are “racists,” “bigots,” Islamophobic or otherwise “intolerant.” Progressives are the ones who concocted the politically correct policies that keep law enforcement from even using the word “Middle Eastern” when putting out a BOLO about a suspected terrorist. Progressives are the ones who established political barriers between law enforcement and intelligence agencies, stunting our nation’s ability to defend our citizenry from the savage acts of the hate-filled.

Progressives will undoubtedly call me a “racist,” a “bigot,” and an “intolerant Islamophobe” because I dare to speak the truth; because I have dared, for over a decade, to speak the truth, about Islam, about Progressivism and about our constitutionally illiterate culture, doing so at great personal expense; unrecognized by the now finally engaged elite Conservative media. So be it…if that is the price I must pay to be a good citizen; if that is the price I have to pay to be a good American.

I just pray, in my anonymity, that now the media elites have been born into awareness about “The Perfect Storm,” that they see the story through to its successful resolution; that they don’t drop this issue of national survival for the next “blonde girl goes missing” news item of another Lindsay Lohan DUI-Rehab-Back-to-Spoiled-Brat story. Honestly, all of our lives, all of our freedoms, depend on whether they do or not. That’s why there is freedom of the press…for now.

Gun Control Statistics That Reasonable People Should Know

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What would a reasonable person do if he actually wanted to know the truth about gun control? Put aside emotions for a second, and really think about setting out to save as many precious individual human lives as possible . Wouldn’t you want to look at national, international, time-series and historical stats to find out if your opinion is, you know, true?

Anyone can have an opinion based on wishes; it just behooves us to know what’s going on in that place called “reality” before we set off on some self-defeating, quixotic crusade. And “crusades” often get people killed. Lots and lots of people killed. (See DDT and malaria; or consider that the ‘long peace’ since the end of World War II is almost entirely due to nuclear arms proliferation to great powers).

With an open mind and a heavy heart, let’s take a look at 11 contextual and specific facts about mass murder, gun violence, and violence trends in the United States, and compare the U.S. to countries abroad:

  1. Mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, and dropped in the 2000s. Mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929. (According to Grant Duwe, criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections.)
  2. “States that allow law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns enjoy a 60 percent decrease in multiple-victim public shootings and a 78 percent decrease in victims per attack.” John Lott, Jr. and Bill Landes, “More Guns, Less Crime.”
  3. “With just one single exception, the attack on congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011, every public shooting since at least 1950 in the U.S. in which more than three people have been killed has taken place where citizens are not allowed to carry guns.”– John Lott, Jr. Co-author with Bill Landes of “More Guns, Less Crime.”
  4. “Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.” [John Fund, NRO. “The Facts About Mass Shootings.”]
  5. Total violent crime from 1973 to 2009 decreased 65%, or is about one-third as high. (Bureau of Justice Statistics)
  6. The U.S. murder rate decreased 8.1% between 2008 and 2009, and has fallen every year since 2006. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, based on FBI data).
  7. The United States ranks 24th in the world in terms of its murder rate. It also has the most highly armed civilian population.
  8. “International evidence and comparisons have long been offered as proof of the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths. There is a compound assertion that (a) guns are uniquely available in the United States compared with other modern developed nations, which is why (b) the United States has by far the highest murder rate. Though these assertions have been endlessly repeated, statement (b) is, in fact, false and statement (a) is substantially so.” (Kates & Mauser, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 30, No. 2)
  9. “The political causation is that nations which have violence problems tend to adopt severe gun controls, but these do not reduce violence, which is determined by basic sociocultural and economic factors.” [Then why does Luxemburg have nine times the murder rate of Germany?] (Kates & Mauser, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 30, No. 2)
  10. “The Middle Ages were a time of notoriously brutal and endemic warfare. They also experienced rates of ordinary murder almost double the highest recorded U.S. murder rate. But Middle Age homicide “cannot be explained in terms of the availability of firearms, which had not yet been invented.” (Kates & Mauser, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, Vol. 30, No. 2)
  11. The odds of being in a victim of a mass shooting are far less than that of being struck by lightning.

Only when one gets the big picture view, then can we see the intra-national view: heavily urbanized gun control states tend to have gun murders that are just as high or higher on average than states that are rural or urbanized with concealed carry laws or relaxed gun permit laws. Beyond the timid phrase ‘gun control doesn’t work,’ which would imply we might as well implement them anyway just to make us feel good, they actually put Americans in more danger. This is not to say we shouldn’t do anything policywise to prevent as many rampage killings as feasible. We should do something — both personally and policywise.

Ultimately, why do spree killers go on their inhuman rampages? There are many different reasons, and a common causal factor is hard to say for certain. There are millions of people who are picked on, are lonely, or have bad families who don’t snap and kill others.  But simply looking at commonalities among spree killers is not sufficient; it’s an error in political science called “sampling on the dependent variable.” One has to look at the entire universe of individuals in a society more broadly and find the causal factors or cluster of factors that are significant and unique to the qualified cases at hand. What we can do is exclude the reasons spree killers don’t go on their murderous rampages.

The largest scientific study ever conducted at the time was published in 2000 at the NY Times, of all places. What was published is definitive and follows logically and empirically: rampage killers “are not drunk or high on drugs. They are not racists or Satanists,or addicted to violent video games, movies or music.”

The study examined 100 cases, including the Columbine massacre.  Among the findings: “While the killings have caused many people to point to the violent aspects of the culture, a closer look shows little evidence that video games, movies or television encouraged many of the attacks. In only 6 of the 100 cases did the killers have a known interest in violent video games. Seven other killers showed an interest in violent movies.”

It is irresponsible and self-defeating to rush to adopt public policies just because they make us feel better or well-intentioned or because we think we should do something. The history of humankind shows: understand first, then act.

Editor’s note: This article was edited to streamline the argument.

Locke and Load: The Right to Resistance

american_revolution_soldier_1_2008 - Copy

Statists argue that the myriad tragedies that happen in a country of three hundred million people related to gun use are a call to disarm Americans and leave them prey to the caprices of the federal government. But it is no coincidence that the escalating tyranny of the U.S. government is matched by the increasingly insidious, self-serving, and opportunistic arguments that citizens can’t be trusted with guns.

It’s time to Locke and load.

American politicians like to think of themselves as invincible sovereigns who can toy with the fates of citizens and there is nothing the latter can do about it.  The elected elite blow the taxpayers’ money with no regard for the country’s future, endlessly meddle with the economy, and brazenly flaunt The Constitution that grants them any power to begin with.

The same hubris that causes politicians to ignore the laws of economics leads them to ignore political history.  This is not just to the nation’s peril, but to their own.

As hard as it may be to concede, Ice T was right: Guns are the final line of defense against tyranny.

The following puts some philosophical flesh on that bare-boned statement. The following is from “Never Ask Who Should Rule: Karl Popper and Political Theory” by Andreas Pickel (1989):

The specific problematic for which Locke developed his theory of sovereignty can be characterized as containing all three fundamental problems of political theory in a prominent and acute form. [The problems of institutional control of the sovereign, political order, and legitimacy. Ed.] In one sense, the problem of institutional control was perhaps the most fundamental of the three since Locke sought a solution to the problem of the right of resistance in a mixed constitution. (101-102)

This is significant because it seems to have been forgotten by our would-be rulers that The Constitution is the only basis of their legitimacy.  The Constitution was formed to allow a specific government, comprised of sovereign citizens, to solve certain problems using the limited powers granted to it.  It was not a mandate to rule over anyone.

And just as The Constitution was incorporated as a grant of legitimacy given to the government on behalf of the people, that grant of legitimacy can be taken away. The right of resistance can be invoked at any time, not as a form of sophistic bluffing, like the left likes to invent rights out of thin air, but as a matter of the people defending themselves from a tyrannical, that is to say, illegitimate government.

The article continues:

By vesting constituent power (ultimate sovereignty) in the People rather than in Parliament, Locke was able to assign legislative supremacy (delegated sovereignty) to Parliament as the representative of the People and partial supremacy to the king as the bearer of executive power. “The People was the latent and, on the dissolution of the government, the active sovereign; the legislature was the supreme organ of government so long as government endured, but could be dissolved by the People at any time; the executive power, held on trust, was supreme only so long as it operated within the legislature’s law. (102)

Granting that Locke’s influence on The Constitution that brought the American government into being might be a bit too obscure to modern politicians, perhaps this passage might be a a bit more familiar:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The train of abuses of the British government pale in comparison with those of the current American government. Unless the government seeks a crisis of legitimacy, the politicians had better cease serving themselves and start serving the interests of the citizens who provisionally grant them power.

We don’t intend to give up our right to bear arms or the right to resistance to a government bent on depriving Americans of liberty. Constitutional conservatives know exactly what this agenda entails, and the disastrous consequences for acceding to it.

Pelosi Says Health Care a Right




On Thursday, June 7, 2012, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “Here’s the thing: the American Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare] stands there with Social Security, Medicare, health care for all Americans as a right, not a privilege.” She actually said that! But there is just one small problem with her statement – nowhere in the US Constitution is “health care” mentioned.

She made her statement in response to response to a CBS News/New York Times poll that showed 41 percent of Americans want the Supreme Court to overturn the law in its entirety.

Obviously Nancy Pelosi, being the good and obedient lap dog that she is, had to say that health care is a right. This is, after all, the same woman who said, “Are you serious?” when asked, “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?” And said regarding ObamaCare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

This is the same Nancy Pelosi who, in July, 2011, said to Obama that House Democrats won’t back a budget deal that cuts Social Security and Medicare. Social Security is now operating in the red. Its deficits will balloon as more baby boomers retire. And we all know about the “special bonds” in the Social Security trust fund.

Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries receive far more in benefits than they paid in. The Urban Institute calculates that an average-wage, two-earner couple retiring in 2010 will get $906,000 in lifetime benefits under Social Security and Medicare after paying in $704,000. The same couple retiring in 2030 will receive $1.226 million and will have paid in $971,000.

Is this where we are headed with respect to health care? The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the legislation that created ObamaCare, is failing to make healthcare affordable. It is, in fact, making health care even more expensive than it was before.

If health care is a right, does that mean the government has the “right” to tell citizens how to spend money, as with the health insurance purchase mandate? Does it have the “right” to persecute religions, as with telling the Catholic Church that it must provide free contraception and abortifacients? And does it have the “right” to run Ponzi schemes like Social Security?

Nancy Pelosi knows the US Constitution. I know this because she said so. So I guess I’ll just keep looking for the articles or sections or amendments that say Social Security, Medicare, and health care are rights. I guess her copy of the US Constitution is different from mine.

But that’s just my opinion.

Please visit RWNO, my personal web site.

A Shocking Film About the Government Invasion of Parental Rights

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True stories of violation of parental rights told by the real victims.

93% of Americans agree with the traditional liberty parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

But these rights are eroding in the United States Courts and under International Law.

The stories will shock you. Parents needs a child’s permission to see the child’s medical records. Parents cannot opt their children out of classes the parents find objectionable – even offensive.

Exactly how wrong was Markos Moultisas?

In case you missed it, on Tuesday night after Rick Santorum finished speaking Markos Moultisas sent out a series of tweets that seemed like they were designed to prove that he understands absolutely nothing about our Constitution.  It was almost surreal.

Here’s the first tweet (both via Hotair.com):

After being called out for being completely misinformed about perhaps the single most important idea involved in the founding of this country – that we all have equal and God-given rights – Markos dug the whole deeper by tweeting this nugget of brilliance:

Karl over at Hotair.com has already done a pretty good job of tearing apart the idiocy of these comments so I won’t cover the same ground. (Mike at the Political Operative does a nice job as well.)  However, there was one point Karl didn’t point out that is worth noting.

Markos is so confused here that the evidence he uses to support his original tweet – the “We the people” phrase – is actually one of the strongest arguments against his claim.

The short version of the argument is this: the phrase “We the People” is an acknowledgement that the Founders believed that – for a government to be legitimate – it has to be established or consented to by the people.  That belief comes from the idea that all men are endowed by God with equal rights.  The fact that the founders begin the Constitution with the phrase “We the People” actually indicates their belief that our rights come from God – not the government.

Now for the longer version.

In the Preamble, when the Founders used the phrase “We the People of the United States […] do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” they certainly weren’t saying that the government is the grantor of rights – as Markos claims.  If the Founders believed that, the Constitution would have started with something along the lines of, “The King of the United States hereby decrees that the following document is law…”

The fact that they started with the phrase – We the People – actually tells us a lot.  For one thing, it tells us that this country wasn’t founded on the idea that rights were granted by government.  To find out how, let’s start at the beginning.

We know from the Declaration of Independence that the Founders believed that all men are endowed by their Creator with equal rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

With that in mind, if two people on a deserted island had to create a government – how would they decide who would rule over the other?  They are both equals, so one is not naturally superior to the other.  They both have a right to liberty, so one person couldn’t legitimately impose a government on the 2nd person because that would violate his right to liberty.

If all men are created equal, then the only legitimate way to create a government is for the people who will be governed to agree to it.  This is where we get the phrase in the Declaration of Independence:

“…Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

This means that political sovereignty doesn’t come from a king, a Congress, or any government.  The only true source of political authority is the people themselves.

So when the Founders start with the phrase “We the People” they are basically saying, “Hey the power of this government is legitimate because this Constitution was written and approved by the people.”  And again, this entire idea is based on the belief that all men are created with equal rights.

The lesson here – Markos is very, very wrong and very misguided.  Not exactly breaking news, but important nonetheless.

As a final note that I can’t resist adding, if you take two seconds to look through the Bill of Rights you’ll see even more evidence that the Founders did not believe that the government granted rights.  Throughout the Bill of Rights the text refers to protecting rights that already exist.  For example, the 2nd Amendment states:

“[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Note that it doesn’t say, “This Constitution grants the people a right to keep and bear arms.”  The wording hear is clear that a right to bear arms existed before the creation of the government and that this amendment intended to protect that right.

It’s not surprising to find out that progressives believe that the government is the source of our rights and should have total authority over the people.  But it is simply mind-boggling to learn that they are foolish enough to believe that those ideas were the foundation for the United States Constitution.

The United States – Democracy vs. Republic What Are We?

Democracy vs. Republic. WHAT ARE WE?
In his article titled Too Much of a Good Thing – Why We need less democracy, Economist and the former Director of the office of Budget and Management for President Obama, Peter Orszag stated, “In an 1814 letter to John Taylor, John Adams wrote that “there never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” That may read today like an overstatement, but it is certainly true that our democracy finds itself facing a deep challenge: During my recent stint in the Obama administration as director of the Office of Management and Budget, it was clear to me that the country’s political polarization was growing worse—harming Washington’s ability to do the basic, necessary work of governing. If you need confirmation of this, look no further than the recent debt-limit debacle, which clearly showed that we are becoming two nations governed by a single Congress—and that paralyzing gridlock is the result. We need less Democracy.”i Regardless of how he intended this statement to read, the words have a lot of meaning in and of themselves among the American people. Clearly there is some confusion about the word democracy and its place as it relates to American understanding of it.

We constantly hear commentaries suggesting we are a democracy, for that reason it would seem prudent to repeat it over and over again that we are not. But of equal importance is the understanding of what we are (were meant to be) and the sippery slope we traveling on. Modern America in its haste for tolerance and understanding for all has drifted away from our core beliefs and our individual liberties as protected by the Constitution. Individual freedom and liberty were at the forfront of the founders mindset, these rights were put into place in an effort to protect our individual rights and freedoms, they did not intend to dictate rights and liberties for the masses as a whole.

As a free people we need to formulate our own opinions, thus, it is crutial for us to have a clear and precise understanding regarding the differences between a democracy and a republic as stated in the Constitution of the United States of America. The vast majority of American’s have no idea that the United States is a Republic. How many people do you hear saying, “We are a democracy. We are a democratic nation?” They have no idea we undergoing a change that will have an adverse effect on generations of the future. Our rights as we have believed them to be, are being taken away one by one, as government continues to grow and inform us of what is in our best interest. Can you name an area where the government has not intruded? You can’t, because our governement has infiltrated all aspects of daily life – banking, auto, finance, health care, the family, what we eat where we go what we drive, and so on. What does that mean? If we contiue to travel down the road of discourse and turn a blind eye on the disemination of our Constitution, then the rights we presume to have will continue to become non-exsistant. In the event the people decide to wake up and see the big picture it may be to late. Our founders never intended to create an entitlement society whereby the governement continues to grow and interfer with rights and liberties of individuals as it is currently doing.

4 USC § 4 – Pledge of allegiance to the flag; manner of delivery:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The Constitution guarantees to every state a Republican form of government. Article IV, Sec. 4: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Applicaions of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

The United States is moving down a dangerous path toward a global democracy. This was never the intent of the Founders and for good reason. Gary McLeod wrote and interesting piece on the subject Republic vs. Democracy. Just after the completion and signing of the Constitution, in reply to a woman’s inquiry as to the type of government the Founders had created, Benjamin Franklin said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Not only have we failed to keep it, most don’t even know what it is. A Republic is representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). A democracy is direct government ruled by the majority (mob rule). A Republic recognizes the inalienable rights of individuals while democracies are only concerned with group wants or needs (the public good). Our constitution was written with the focus on approval from our three branches of government with regard to making laws. The process was meant to be a slow because illegal democracy occurs on a regular basis by “requiring approval from the whim of the majority as determined by polls and/or voter referendums.

Democracies always self-destruct when the non-productive majority realizes that it can vote itself handouts from the productive minority by electing the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury. To maintain their power, these candidates must adopt an ever-increasing tax and spend policy to satisfy the ever-increasing desires of the majority. As taxes increase, incentive to produce decreases, causing many of the once productive to drop out and join the non-productive. When there are no longer enough producers to fund the legitimate functions of government and the socialist programs, the democracy will collapse, always to be followed by a Dictatorship (McLeod).

Although many politicians, teachers, journalists and citizens all believes our Founders created a democracy, that simply isn’t accurate. The Founders knew full well the differences between a Republic and a Democracy and they repeatedly and emphatically said that they had founded a republic. So I repeat, Article IV Section 4, of the Constitution “guarantees to every state in this union a Republican form of government”…. Conversely, the word Democracy is not mentioned even once in the Constitution. Madison warned us of the dangers of democracies with these words, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths…”, “We may define a republic to be a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is essential to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison, Federalist No. 10, (1787). Time and time again we warned about the dangers of a democracy, yet the business of our daily lives perpetuates the depletion of the Constitution as we know it. “A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority. There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.” Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

In the past, our military training manuals used to contain the correct definitions of Democracy and Republic. The following comes from Training Manual No. 2000-25 published by the War Department, November 30, 1928.

DEMOCRACY:
A government of the masses.
Authority derived through mass meeting or any other form of “direct” expression. Results in mobocracy.
Attitude toward property is communistic–negating property rights.
Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether is be based upon deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results in demogogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.

REPUBLIC:
Authority is derived through the election by the people of public officials best fitted to represent them.
Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences.
A greater number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass.
Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy.
Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress.
Is the “standard form” of government throughout the world.

The manuals containing these definitions were ordered destroyed without explanation about the same time that President Franklin D. Roosevelt made private ownership of our lawful money (US Minted Gold Coins) illegal. Shortly after the people turned in their $20 gold coins, the price was increased from $20 per ounce to $35 per ounce. Almost overnight F.D.R., the most popular president this century (elected 4 times) looted almost half of this nation’s wealth, while convincing the people that it was for their own good. Many of F.D.R.’s policies were suggested by his right hand man, Harry Hopkins, who said, “Tax and Tax, Spend and Spend, Elect and Elect, because the people are too damn dumb to know the difference” (Mcleod).

As everyone knows this is an election year. But this year is more important than ever before because our Constitution and all it stands for is at stake. Polititians will continue with the status quo as they always do, but regardless of who you are, Republican or Democrat you owe it your children, grand-children, etc., to truly know what is at stake and what is happening because their future is in your hands. The attitude, “I am not really into politics” or saying, “I don’t care” does not relieve you from the responsibility nor the outcome of future events.

References:

1 Orszag, Peter.(2011)Too Much of a Good Thing Why we need less democracy.

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/magazine/94940/peter-orszag-democracy

2 http://www.garymcleod.org/1/ConstitutionSoc/republic

It was sort of fun having a Constitution wasn't it?

“[T]o bereave a man of life, or by violence to confiscate his estate without accusation or trial, would be so gross and notorious an act of despotism, as must at once convey the alarm of tyranny throughout the whole kingdom.  But confinement of the person by secretly hurrying him to [jail], where his sufferings are unknown or forgotten, is a less public, a less striking, and therefore a more dangerous engine of arbitrary force.”

William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England

After reading up on the disaster that is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was recently passed by Congress, I could make a laundry list of the problems with it.  There are so many major problems that I was having trouble coming up with an easy way of presenting them all.  Then it dawned on me – why not create an actual list!  (brilliant, I know)

Before I get to the list, let’s start with a little background.  The NDAA is controversial because its original text had a provision that might… well… destroy our due process rights a little.  That’s kind of a big deal because due process is what protects American citizens from arbitrary imprisonment, politicians using the courts to retaliate against opponents, and all kinds of other things that oppressive, out-of-control governments might do.

In a nutshell, the right to due process guarantees that anytime the government is going to strip you of any portion of your life, your liberty, or your property it has to go through a fair process that justifies why that is an appropriate action and allows you an opportunity to defend yourself.  If the NDAA is signed by President Obama – depending on which lawyer you talk to – it might allow him to use the military to indefinitely detain anyone he suspects of being a terrorist.  Without charging them with a crime.  Without giving them a trial.

If that sounds a little medieval to you, that’s because it is.  And here’s a short list of reasons that the NDAA and the process surrounding it pose a serious danger to our freedom:

1. There should be no ambiguity about violating our rights -

“[T]he glory of the English law consists in clearly defining the times, the causes, and the extent, when, wherefore, and to what degree, the imprisonment of the subject may be lawful.”

William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England

There is still a lot of debate over whether this bill strips Americans of their due process rights.  Some members of Congress insist that they amended the language to make sure that American citizens can’t be detained.  But some lawyers still aren’t convinced that final bill is any better.

The fact that there is any confusion at all is completely unacceptable.  When the issue being discussed involves the possibility of destroying the rights of American citizens, no member of Congress should settle for anything less than absolutely unmistakeable clarity that our rights are to be protected without exception.

In this case, not only are our Congressmen accepting the ambiguity, they seem to be creating it intentionally.  When discussing the effect the new amended language would have on the possibility of the NDAA allowing the indefinite detention of Americans, Senator Dianne Feinstein said:

“this bill does not endorse either side’s interpretation, but leaves it to the courts to decide.”

In other words, Congress isn’t going to actually do anything proactive to protect our rights.  They are just going to do what they have to do so that they can get home for Christmas on time and leave all that freedom stuff for the courts to figure out.

We’ve got some real staunch defenders of liberty in Washington D.C. today, don’t we?  Apparently this group of politicians is so cowardly that they can’t even bring themselves to take a stand on whether American citizens should have due process rights.  Unbelievable.

2. It takes more than a law to change the Constitution -

It’s extremely frightening that so many members of Congress would take a chance when it comes to protecting our due process rights.  But even more troubling for me is the fact that so many Congressmen believe – and the public is willing to accept – the idea that the Constitution can be over-ridden by just passing a law.

That’s the whole point of having a Constitution – to keep the government from just doing whatever the heck it wants.  The Constitution is the voice of the people declaring exactly what powers the government has permission to use.  A law is basically the voice of the government.  In other words, the people created this government – we are the parent and it is the child.

But if Congress can pass a law that takes precedent over the Constitution, that means the voice of the government is more important than the voice of the people in this country.  That is a situation that would absolutely destroy the idea of limited government and take our freedom with it.

If members of Congress truly feel the need to violate the due process of some Americans, the people of this country gave them a process for amending the Constitution (see: Article 5).  If our Congressmen aren’t willing to go through the amendment process, then they need to remember who is in charge in this country and live by the rules we have laid out for them.

3. Laws that probably won’t be abused aren’t good enough -

Most people seem to believe that the Congressmen who voted for the NDAA had honorable intentions and have a hard time imagining that our government would actually start imprisoning people at random.  Because of that, they have a hard time getting too riled up over this bill.

Do I honestly believe that Barak Obama is going to start rounding people up next year and sending them to Guantanamo Bay?  No I don’t.  Then again, I never thought our government would try to run a car company or force me to buy health insurance either.  Sometimes people surprise you.

And that’s the point.  We have no way of knowing who will be running our government in 10, 15, or 20 years.  So passing laws based on what we think our current politicians would do or because we trust a sitting president is extremely dangerous.  We need to pass laws while also considering the flaws of human nature.

William Grayson explained this concept perfectly when the Constitution was being debated in the Virginia Ratifying Convention:

“Power ought to have such checks and limitations as to prevent bad men from abusing it.  It ought to be granted on the supposition that men will be bad; for it may eventually be so.”

So whenever we grant power to the government, we should limit that power as if we thought the people in office were going to try to abuse it.  There will be a lot of people who hold office over the years and eventually we are bound to elect a crook.  When that bad person takes office, if there aren’t proper checks on his power he is going to use it to destroy our freedom.

When you look at it that way, somehow it doesn’t seem like such a good idea to give the president unchecked power to put American citizens in prison without a trial.

During a speech to the House of Representatives in 1807, Representative William Armisted Burwell perfectly demonstrated the mindset our modern representatives should have taken when approached with the idea of indefinitely imprisoning American citizens.  In this case, Burwell is discussing a proposal to suspend habeas corpus, but his arguments would have been just as relevant had he made them in the House earlier this month about the NDAA:

“What, in another point of light, would be the effect of passing such a law?  Would it not establish a dangerous precedent?  A corrupt and vicious Administration, under the sanction and example of this law, might harass and destroy the best men of the country.  It would only be necessary to excite artificial commotions, circulate exaggerated rumors of danger, and then follows the repetition of this law, by which every obnoxious person, however honest he may be, is surrendered to the vindictive resentment of the Government.  It will not be a sufficient answer, that this power will not be abused by the President of the United States.  [I don’t believe President Jefferson would] abuse it, but it would be impossible to restrain all those who are under him.  Besides, [I] would not consent to advocate a principle, bad, in itself, because it will not, probably be abused.”

In other words, it’s never ok for a Congressman to vote for flawed legislation because he’s pretty sure that it probably won’t be abused.  That is an incredibly careless approach to take to a situation that could lead to the violation of someone’s right to liberty.

Think about it, would you feel comfortable walking up to a random person at the mall and handing him the keys to your house along with directions on how to get there?  Of course not.  Sure, chances are that this person isn’t a crook and won’t use the keys to rob your home, but it’s disconcerting just to know that he even has that opportunity.

If it’s that uncomfortable to think about another person being able to take our possessions, why are so many Americans cool with giving the president the opportunity to take away our freedom?

This is why so many of us are furious over the current NDAA.  Remember, we aren’t only giving this power to Barak Obama.  We are also setting a dangerous example for every president that comes after him.  It comes down to common sense – if you go to the mall enough times and give your keys to enough strangers eventually you’re going to come across a crook.  The same is true in government – if you give enough politicians an opportunity to destroy your freedom eventually you’re going to elect one who will actually do it.

Members of Congress need to lose the cavalier attitude and start writing laws in a way that limits the possibility of abuse as much as humanly possible.  It’s unacceptable for them to even allow the opportunity for this section of the NDAA to be misinterpreted in a way that poses a danger to our due process rights.

4. Issues affecting our rights should be debated publicly -

If you decided to do something that you knew was wrong, where would you do it?  Probably somewhere private, where no one could see you, right?

That’s why it is very telling that some members of Congress chose to slip this section on indefinite detention into a bill that they thought would pass without much scrutiny.  They are trying to hide something they know is wrong.  After all, if they were proud of this provision and honestly thought that the American people would support it, why not publicize it or even make it a separate bill so everyone can see what a great job they’re doing?

But even a week after it’s passage, a Yahoo search brings up virtually no mainstream media coverage of the controversy surrounding the NDAA so clearly our politicians are making no attempt to inform the American people about it.  This is just one more glaring example of the fact that many members of Congress believe that they are part of a political aristocracy that knows better than the rest of us unwashed masses.

Unfortunately for them, our government was created to serve the people – not the other way around.  Let’s not forget that the people of this country are the source of all the government’s power.  So any time legislation is being considered that could possibly have an effect on our rights or how they are interpreted, Congress has an obligation to have an open and extremely public debate that involves getting feedback from the public.

Nearly everything about the way this bill was handled is shady and endangers our freedom.  As it stands today, Congress passed a law:

  1. that may or may not strip Americans of their due process rights (no one knows for sure),
  2. that absolutely violates the Constitution, and
  3. that might give the President unimaginable power to destroy the liberty of every American citizen (but they’re pretty sure it probably won’t be abused).

No wonder no one in Congress wanted us to know about this.

The case for enslaving Justin Bieber

Whether he knows it or not, on Tuesday President Obama is going to make the case for enslaving Justin Bieber. He is headed to Osawatomie, Kansas in a desperate attempt to recreate Teddy Roosevelt’s 1910 New Nationalism speech – in which Roosevelt put forward the same Bieber-enslaving arguments.

In that speech, Roosevelt makes the point several times that individuals only have rights as long as they benefit his vision of the common good:

“It is not even enough that [great wealth] should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community.”

Later he says:

“The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows.”

Roosevelt is all about taking property away from people when he thinks they don’t deserve it. What he never gets around to explaining though, is where he gets the authority to do that. It certainly isn’t in the Constitution.

But even if it were, what logical foundation would Roosevelt have for confiscating property from law-abiding citizens?

Imagine that a buyer and a seller willingly get together. The buyer firmly believes that the product or service that the seller is offering is well worth the asking price, so they engage in a business transaction.

Why in the world should Roosevelt be able to confiscate the seller’s profit just because he doesn’t believe the sale was in the public interest?

Take Justin Bieber for example. He willingly creates a product and the people who buy his music believe it’s well worth the money. But can anyone honestly argue that what he does is a “benefit to the community”? All Bieber does is turn 12 year old girls into overly emotional basket cases and annoy the crap out of almost everyone over 25. Does that mean the government should send someone to knock him down and take his money just because his music sucks?

Of course not – that would violate Bieber’s God-given right to property. He is the one who created that wealth and he did it without violating the rights of anyone else. So who else should have a claim on that property but Bieber?

Roosevelt’s approach would easily lead to the conclusion that it would be a good idea to violate Bieber’s property rights as long as it is in the best interest of the public. In other words, he believes it’s acceptable to subordinate the rights of one person to the benefit of someone else in society.

But by that logic, why is slavery wrong? After all, slavery is a violation of a person’s rights for the benefit of someone else.

It wouldn’t be hard to argue that all of society would be better off if we completely banned Bieber from making music and instead forced him to work as slave labor in a factory that produced toys for underprivileged children. If that arrangement promotes the common good, then why would it be wrong?

As great as enslaving Bieber might sound to any parent that has been forced to sit through one of his concerts, obviously slavery is always wrong. But it should be just as obvious that it is always wrong to violate a person’s rights.

Some people will say, “That example is over the top! Using slavery as an example is way too extreme.” Oh. So Roosevelt’s plan is ok because it only violates someone’s rights a little bit. In other words, the problem isn’t that slavery violates one person’s rights for the benefit of another… it’s how much.” Got it. That should work well. Who gets to decide how much is too much?

That is exactly why policies should never be made based on what’s in the public interest. The purpose of government is to protect and enhance the rights of individuals. Whenever decisions are made based on what is best for society, it always leads to these creepy justifications for who’s rights can be violated and when.

Once one justification has been made it is then much easier to make another, and before long the government has an incredible amount of power to impact everyone’s daily life. In the end, what was sold as just a minor violation of one person’s rights could open the door to the destruction of freedom for all.

Twenty-Two Minutes Per Year – That's All I Ask

Anyone who’s listens to Sean Hannity’s radio show for any length of time knows that one of his taglines is, “three hours a day, every day, that’s all I ask.” This is, of course, because he wants to promote his radio show, as does any other entrepreneur regarding their own business. So what am I asking of you when I ask for 22 minutes per year?

 

Twenty-two minutes applies to many things. It is the average commute time for most Americans to go to and from work. It is the amount of actual content you get out of an average 30 minute television program. It is also the approximate time that the average adult reader requires to read 6,600 words. This is the approximate length of the current Constitution of the United States, for which today marks the 224th anniversary of the day it was signed.

 

Put it to you this way; in the time it would take you to enjoy your favorite sitcom, you could read through our entire Constitution.

 

Now, ask yourself what kind of America would we be living in today if every citizen sacrificed one episode of their favorite sitcom per year and read through the actual Constitution of the United States? What is the percentage of people who have never read through the Constitution all the way? It’s probably similar to the percentage of people who run around screaming about their constitutional rights being violated. The old saying says, “You can’t fix stupid.” However, you CAN fix ignorance.

 

Is our constitution worth it? Is our country worth it? These are rhetorical questions but necessary nevertheless. How can you truly understand your First Amendment rights if you’ve never read the First Amendment? And judging by the amount of people who actually think that there is a separation of church and state in our Constitution, one can easily guess that many of these people have never actually read over the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

 

You would think that anyone who has read the second amendment would not have any problems knowing that our founding fathers and framers wanted us to have the right to protect ourselves. When it says, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” it seems rather clear.

 

It also seems clear, at least to me, that when you read through the Constitution in its entirety, especially the Bill of Rights, that the reader’s perspective is not of the people, but of the government. In other words, our Constitution is told from the people TO the government, not the other way around – hence why the first three words of the preamble are “We the People.”

 

Read through the Bill of Rights. You will see that it can also be called a bill of “can’ts.” Congress can’t establish a national religion, Congress can’t prohibit the free exercise thereof. Congress can’t violate the freedom of speech, Congress can’t violate freedom of the press or of assembly or our right to petition. Congress can’t quarter troops in our houses without the owner’s consent, nor can they or anyone under the authority of the executive branch come into our houses and search them without either a warrant or probable cause. They can’t try us in private, they can’t try us without a counselor. They can’t make us testify against ourselves, nor can they postpone a speedy and public trial for 30 years.  And perhaps most important – at least in modern times – Congress can’t micromanage aspects of our society that should be left to the states.

 

Read through amendments 11 to 27 as well. Remember, only four years separated our original Constitution and its first 10 amendments. The other 17 took almost 190 years to come about. And as you read through them, you will discover that many of them are corrections that come from, yes you guessed it, we the people, not us the government or the Supreme Court. In fact, many of them were passed to correct major mistakes of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our federal government. For instance, if the Supreme Court would have ruled in favor of Dred Scott, there would have been no need for a 13th amendment. If the courts or legislatures would have correctly interpreted the phrase, “all men are created equal,” to include, say, ALL MEN (and women), there would have been no need for a 14th, 15th and 19th amendment. Because the amendment process requires a two thirds majority in both houses of Congress and a three fourths majority of all states, it is the closest thing we have to a national referendum. The government didn’t free the slaves, we the people did. The government didn’t give citizenship and voting rights to all naturally born persons over the age of 18, we the people did. The government didn’t stop poll taxes and other things designed to prevent the poor from voting, we the people did!

 

The true genius of the Constitution was that the framers knew from the start that it was flawed and needed to be tweaked from time to time. But they also knew from experience that they would need to establish a set of rules above the government’s ability to change them. They knew the sinful nature of man and that, even in a democratic republic, that nature could destroy their new country faster than any invading force could. The Constitution is the ultimate check and balance.

 

What if? What if the voting public of America (which, by the way, constitutes less than 2% of the people on planet Earth) would actually sit down and read their own constitution – sacrificing 22 minutes out of the 31,536,000 we get per year to read what is perhaps the greatest document ever created by man. How much more informed would the electorate be? And how many more problems that plague us in our society could be solved, not by our government, but once again by We the People?