Monday, March 31, 2008

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thoughts From A Recovering Addict

I find it rather amazing how uninformed the people of this country are in regards to so many issues. Not only are Americans uninformed about many things, a good percentage of us are arrogant and think that we are better than the rest of the world. I witnessed that a lot as a service member assigned overseas. Far too many Americans were unwilling to learn the language or the customs of the host country, and they treated the locals as second rate people. Even back then I was ashamed to be an American because of the way my countrymen acted.

That arrogance is no more predominant than in our governments foreign policy. Does the United States not feel they are the champions of democracy and it is their duty/obligation to ensure that the rest of the world has a democratic system of government? Why are we always trying to impose our values upon the rest of the world?

How many people have stopped to consider that maybe the rest of the world doesn't want our values, our system of government, or anything else that we offer them, (except maybe our money, and lately they don't even want that due to the value of the dollar). Have we ever stopped to consider that the people of the world must find us hypocrites? After all, our country isn't doing too well now, is it? Could it be that the rest of the world does not have that cloud of arrogance impairing their vision and their thought processes. Maybe the rest of the world sees the truth, that the American system, while originally was sound, is now failing and that America is on life support with a terminal condition.

I think it is quite possible that the rest of the world pictures America much like we picture a person addicted to methamphetamines. After all, doesn't a person addicted to methamphetamines live their lives in a drug induced euphoria oblivious to the harm they are doing to themselves? Yet those who are not addicted to the drug can clearly see the damage that the drug is doing to the addict. So, while the addict continues their self destructive behavior, the rest of the people shun the addict in disgust.

Could it be that our arrogance, our ignorance, and our apathy are the drug of choice for Americans, and the rest of the world is just sitting back watching this country implode?

Our country was once the land of opportunity, and arguably the best place in the world to live. Our system of government, while not perfect, provided the best form of government which balanced the rights of the people with the powers needed to maintain harmony between the states.

James Madison once said about our form of government,

“If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, 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.”

Take a second and think about that, re-read it if you must, for it is of great importance. Whatever powers our government has it gets from us. If they abuse it, (which they have), we have the right and the moral obligation to either remove the offenders from office or to take that power away from them altogether. Before that can happen, the people must first become aware that an abuse of power and authority has occurred. That is hard when you are lied to on so many fronts that you have to spend hours seeking out the truth. But as James Madison once said, "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." It is therefore your duty, your responsibility to keep yourselves informed.

It is in this context that I like to consider myself a recovering addict. I was at one time just as blind to the truth as the majority of this country. I accepted the fact that America was still the greatest place in the world, (and still could be, but not for much longer), that our government was still the best in the world, and that nothing America did could possibly be wrong.

My withdrawal symptoms were painful. I first had to accept that I had been lied to for most of my life by people who I cared for. I had to accept that these people had been lied to themselves and had bought into the lie. I had to accept that the institutions in place to educate me had lied to me, or worse, knew the truth but were spreading the lie to keep me enslaved for the benefit of some unseen masters. I had to accept that much of what I had been taught about our nations history was a lie, much of what I had been told about my government was a lie, and most of what my government tells me is a lie as well.

Once I accepted the fact that I had been lied to, I had to begin the arduous task of educating myself. To erase everything I had been taught and re-learn the truth concerning two hundred plus years of history is a very time consuming process. I have been in the process of doing that for over four years now, and every day I learn something new. I may never know the full truth, but I am constantly seeking it.

The final stage of my recovery was anger. I became angry at my government for lying to me and abusing the trust I had placed in them. I became angry at the schools I attended for hiding the truth from me, or at least teaching a watered down, politically correct version of it. I became angry at the news media for either openly lying to me, or at least of shielding me from the truth. Finally I am beginning to get angry at the rest of the people of this country who refuse to admit that something is terrible wrong with this country, even when confronted with undeniable facts.

Al Gore recently wrote a book entitled 'An Inconvenient Truth' concerning the subject of Global Warming. I have decided to provide, what I call, a few painful truths that people need to hear about the United States of America.

I am hoping that one of these truths will strike a nerve with you, spark your interest so that you begin to THINK on your own. I am hoping that you will begin to question what you have been taught, and the things you being told. If I can crack open that cloud of ignorance, let one truth filter in, our country may still stand a chance.

Painful Truth Number 1. The United States of America is broke, absolutely bankrupt. Our government does not have a dime with which to buy a cup of coffee without going further into debt. Our current national debt is an astronomical $9.4 TRILLION. That is how much money our country has borrowed from others to keep itself operating.


I find there is a lot of confusion between the terms the national debt and the budget deficit. In simple terms, if you make $100 a day and you spend $110 a day, the $10 difference is the deficit, it is merely a shortfall of funds. To continue that level of spending you have to use some form of credit, either take out a loan, or use a credit card. The amount you borrow above and beyond what you take in income is your debt. The same principle applies to our government, they have spent NINE TRILLION more than they have taken in in from us in the form of taxes. The interest alone on that debt is over $400 billion dollars a year. To put that into comparison, the average expenditure for education in this country is only $61 billion annually.

Right now, if every man, woman, and child in this country were required to come up with the money to pay their share of this debt, we would, each of us, have to write out a check for $31,000. Yet instead of reigning in their spending our government continues to spend money in a fashion that would put a drunken sailor on shore leave to shame.

Consider that as of this date our government has spent $506 billion on the Iraq War, with no end in sight. That is $341 million dollars a day to fight a war that has no sign of ending. (I am not arguing for or against the justification for being there, just commenting on the cost)

Consider this, although our nation is not taking in enough money to finance it's own operations, yet it intends to give out $1200 stimulus checks to the people in the hopes that the money spent will stimulate our ailing economy and create jobs.

Aside from the fact that the only thing it is going to stimulate is the economy of China I would like to think about that from an economic viewpoint for a just a moment. Consider that the U.S. has a population of over 300 million, and if the government only intends to give that $1200 rebate check to 50% of the people, that still totals $180 billion. Where are they going to get this money from? They are going to have to borrow it, that is where they are going to get it. But hey, it is only $180 billion. What's that compared to $9.4 trillion?

The blame for this massive debt can be laid at the feet of each and every American, as they are unwilling to hold their elected officials accountable. Instead of demanding that our government stop the spending, they hold their hands out to the benevolent government, saying GIMME, GIMME, GIMME! We have untold numbers of people flocking to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because they are promising us all affordable health care. The whole entitlement mentality, (which began with Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal), the thought that the government owes them something, or at least is responsible for taking care of them, at the expense of others is ruining this country and nobody wants to admit it.

Thomas Jefferson once said that "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Jefferson also said "To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." and, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

People have been told by the news media and their elected representatives that our economy is in trouble because of predatory lending practices in the housing market and the associated foreclosures. Just wait until the majority of the baby boomers retire and see what happens to our countries finances then. Are you willing to pay higher taxes so that you can finance their retirement and medical expenses?
Painful Truth Number 2- You as an individual mean nothing to your government. As they run for office they can make all the promises concerning your health and well being they want, but the truth is that once they get into office you are nothing more than a meaningless slave to them.

If they cared why would they allow America, which used to be a manufacturing giant, exporting goods all over the world, to become a nation that imports a vast majority of the things we consume. Our trade deficit with countries like China continue to grow at an alarming rate? Why is it that Made In The USA used to be the standard for quality in the world and is now something which is becoming harder and harder to find?

While it is not funny, I have to laugh whenever my wife's family in the Philippines tell me that they want me to send them goods made in the USA. I tell them to read the labels on the things they ask for, they are most likely made in China, Taiwan, Mexico, Bangladesh, or even their homeland of the Philippines, but most certainly not in the USA.

What has happened to all the jobs in this country? It used to be that when you went to work for a major corporation you were set for life. You received a decent salary, good benefits and a good retirement package. Not anymore, downsizing and plant closures are so common that we have become numb to them, until one of them affects us personally.

Yet why is that the pay of the CEO's of these corporate giants continues to skyrocket? If the minimum wage had kept up at an equal percentage to the pay of the CEO's it would be $26 an hour now!

Our jobs are being lost at an astonishing rate, but the president tells us that jobs are being created. He is partly true, but he fails to mention that they are service oriented jobs. The manufacturing industry, which is the backbone of any economy, has been decimated.

Where did these jobs go? To find out you only have to read the labels on the things you buy. They invariably say, Made in China, Made in Bangladesh, Made in Mexico....Get the picture? Why should these greedy corporate giants pay you a good salary and provide you with benefits when they can find sweatshop laborers in some other country?

Then there is the fact that a good percentage of the remaining high tech jobs have been outsourced to India? What about the importation of slave laborers, commonly known as illegal immigrants, who work for a pittance of what Americans are used to? What about the push by people like Bill Gates to up the number of H1B visas for foreign workers? We are getting squeezed out of jobs with the importation and exportation of our industrial base. Soon we will be a third world nation just like those from which we draw our labor force now.

Yet your government allows this to happen. They refuse to take any serious measures to seal off our border, to impose fines upon companies that hire illegal workers. The news makes a big deal about showing the raids where they round up these illegal alien workers. However, we never hear about any hard time in prison for the employers. If they started having to spend time in prison I bet those jobs would soon be opening up to Americans at decent wages.

On top of that our tax code is set up so that the companies that send their jobs overseas get massive tax breaks. Our government knows this and they thumb their nose at us while our taxes go up and we lose our jobs. Yet we sit back and watch these people blatantly lie to us about creating jobs.

Painful Truth Number 3. Which is a continuation of the preceding, is why is the government allowing this to happen? They are not allowing it to happen, they are orchestrating it! America is owned by the banks, and I do not mean Bank of America! I am talking about the big banks of which the Federal Reserve Bank is but a minor player. These banks pull the strings that make our elected representatives dance.

America had grown to be a huge economic success and that threatened their plans for world governance. It is not enough that they have more money than they could spend in ten lifetimes, they want the whole world to bow to their demands. So they set about to destroy us economically. They bought politicians, the media, then they gained control of our monetary system via the Federal Reserve Act. Once they had control of the printing of our money, and they had a handful of politicians in their hand, our countries fate was sealed.

Now via the FED these banks control our economy by the raising and lowering of interest rates. The FED can create economic booms and downturns at will. On top of that the outsourcing and insourcing of cheap laborers is depressing our wages dragging down the standard of living for American workers.

On top of that our government is spending money like crazy. A good percentage of the money they are borrowing is from the FED, which they create out of thin air with nothing to back it up.

I used to remember my father telling me about all of the gold in Fort Knox which backed up our paper money. It used to be that you could read on a dollar bill that the Federal Reserve Note was exchangeable for gold at any Federal Reserve Bank, not any more. When that gold backing disappeared the FED could create as much paper money they wanted. The result is inflation.

When too much currency is floating around, it loses its values causing things to cost more. You may think that the price has risen, but it hasn't, not that much anyway. Think about it for a moment. Say you have an imaginary economy and there are 1 million pieces of currency floating around to sustain that economy. In this economy you want to buy a dozen eggs. The price of the eggs is, say $1. So you pay for your eggs and all is well. Then those in control of the economy decide to place another million pieces of currency into circulation. Now instead of your money being equal to its full value of $1, it is worth 50%, or fifty cents. The next time you go to buy eggs you find that they have gone up to $2. You say to yourself that prices have risen, but they have not, your money has just become half as valuable due to inflation.

Thomas Jefferson was a very wise man and he made two statements that describe exactly what has happened to this country.

“We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude.”

He also said,

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their money, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them (around the banks), will deprive the people of their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Painful Truth Number 4, you no longer have any rights. Everyone, or at least I hope everyone, knows what the Bill of Rights is. It is a series of ten amendments to the Constitution that protect specific rights of the citizenry that the government was, under no circumstances to violate. Let's see how well they have done.

The First amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Let me see now, freedom to freely exercise your religious beliefs...Tell your kids to praying in a school and see how well that goes over. You might just offend someone who does not believe in God. Yet they have the right to play music laced with obscenities that offends you. You can practice your religion as freely as you want, AS LONG AS YOU DO IT INDOORS WHERE NO ONE ELSE HAS TO HEAR YOU. I wonder how well that would have went over with John the Baptist?

That ties in with the freedom of speech as well. If you cannot freely pray or practice your faith, you are not as free in your speech as you thought, are you? Aside from that, try using a racial slur and see what happens, not that I condone using them, but just try it and see what happens. You will be labeled a racist or possibly charged with hate speech. Can't happen? Have you read House Resolution 1592, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007? Your freedom of speech is now being monitored and punished according to governmental regulation, and soon your thoughts will be as well.

How about freedom to peaceably assemble? Try holding a rally or a protest somewhere without obtaining the proper permits. See whether you are allowed to continue or hauled off to jail. How free is does your speech sound now? Looks like the first amendment is pretty much shot to bits.

The second amendment. "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Do we have a well regulated militia which can provide for the security of free states? Hmmm, if you consider that in modern times the militia is considered the National Guard, I would say the answer is no. Not when their supplies are being used overseas to defend the freedom of the Iraqi people. We can't protect the states too well when their supplies are half way across the globe.

What exactly is a militia anyway? According to U.S. Code, Title 10, Subtitle A, Part I, Chapter 13, § 311 the militia is:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are—
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Maybe according to section (b)(2) we do have a militia after all. However I venture to bet that the government would never call upon the citizens of this country to defend it from something like, say thousands of illegal aliens crossing our borders in what can only be described as an invasion. No, that just wouldn't do at all! Then again how many people would be willing to, as George Washington once said, "It may be laid down as a primary position, and the basis of our system, that every Citizen who enjoys the protection of a Free Government, owes not only a proportion of his property, but even of his personal services to the defense of it."

How about the right to keep and bear arms not being infringed upon? How many gun laws has our government passed? How much hassle has it become for a law abiding citizen to purchase a firearm? Can you carry a gun on your person without a permit? Need I say more? Looks like the second amendment is shot to pieces as well, (no pun intended).

The third amendment, "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." This one, for the time being, is still intact. One for our side.

The fourth amendment? "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Have you read the Patriot Act in its entirety? Section 213 of the Patriot Act, otherwise known as the Sneak and Peek Provision, allows any federal law enforcement agency to enter your home or business without you being present to collect evidence and they do not ever have to tell you they have been there. This violates the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Sections 202 & 216 also allow any federal law enforcement agency to monitor your internet traffic, read your e mails and intercept your cell phone calls, if they suspect that you are committing a crime. No warrant is required. This violates the Fourth as well as the Fifth Amendment. By way of these two infractions the fourth amendment has been shredded.

The Fifth Amendment, "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Due process, what's that? Have you read Senate Bill 3930, Pub. L. No. 109-366 Stat. 2600, otherwise known as the Military Commissions Act? If you are defined as a terrorist, whether it be domestic or otherwise, you can now be imprisoned without charges, denied legal representation, and brought before a military tribunal due to the authority granted our government under the Military Commissions Act. Your family may never see your face again, and they have no legal recourse to obtain information regarding your status. The Military Commissions Act thumbs its nose at the fifth, sixth and the eighth amendments as well.

The Sixth Amendment- "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

The Seventh Amendment-"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law." For the time being this amendment appears to be in tact as well. Our government appears to be happy to allow us to sue each other for any number of frivolous reasons.

The Eighth Amendment-"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." What about no bail? (Does the term waterboarding mean anything to you?) This amendment is shot as well.

The Ninth Amendment? "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Read that again just to make sure you understand what it says. In common terms, it means this, the federal government cannot pass laws infringing upon a right just because the Constitution does not specifically state that you have that right. You may be hard pressed to find a right that hasn't been legislated upon by your state or local government, but the federal government has no right to pass laws infringing upon a right just because that right is not mentioned in the Constitution. Can you count how many laws violate these unspoken rights? This amendment is a draw because you don't have any rights once you consider that if the federal government hasn't passed a law about them, the state or local governments have.

Finally, the tenth amendment? "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Let me see, where in the Constitution does it give the federal government the power to dictate what can and cannot be taught in our schools? Where does it give the federal government the ability to restrict private use of the airwaves? Where does it say in the Constitution that the government can mandate environmental policies? Get the picture? Those rights are for the states alone and the federal government has no business butting into the rights of the states. So this amendment is shot to pieces as well.

Let's tally up our score. Out of ten amendments, seven are gone, two are wins for us, and the other a draw. Or in terms all you football fans will understand, we have a 2-1-7 record. Not too good. Still think we are free?

Although our government claims that all the things they do are based upon good intentions I would like to remind you what Daniel Webster said about good intentions, "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions."

These are just a few of the painful truths I have learned on my journey to freedom from the addiction to ignorance, apathy and arrogance. There are many more, but I hope that I have given you enough reason to question the supposed truth you have been told. However there will always be those who choose to remain in their comfort zone of ignorance and apathy. For those of you who choose this option, for those of you who wish to keep your heads buried in the sand, hiding from the truth of what is happening in this country, I have only one thing to say, 'You know, while you are bent over with your head in the sand with your butt sticking up in the air like that, there is always someone who is willing to come along and screw you."

Our national anthem says that we are the ' of the free and the home of the brave.' I suggest we change it to '...the land of the meek and the home of the slaves.' As I said, you may think you are free because you don't see the bars to your cell, but they are there, they are invisible, and you have allowed your government to put them there.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

When Are People Going To Wake Up?

Sometimes I am tempted to ask people if they can see China. The reason I say that is because they have to have their heads buried so far in the sand that they must be able to see it. It is either that or they have them buried so far up a certain part of their anatomy that they must be able to see their tonsils.

Before I explain why I say this, I would like for you to read something. This is from Federalist Paper #2, written by John Jay.

"With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice that Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people--a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence."

What does that say to you? Does it mean anything at all to you? Do I sound mad? You bet your ass I am mad! I am mad at the people of this country who tolerate the concept of multiculturalism that is dividing us, instead of uniting us as John Jay stated. I am mad that we are willing to look the other way when thousands upon thousands of criminal illegal aliens, come to this country and refuse to obey our laws. I am mad as hell that the almighty dollar is more important than the future of our country.

Why the rant? Every day on the way to work I pick up the local newspaper to see what has gone in the past twenty four hours. Today was no different than any other day, but you could say it was the straw that broke the camels back.

From today's paper....

Meth Bust Nets Couple In YC-"A Nortenos gang member had a loaded shotgun-and his 3-year old son-in the car as he set off to sell methamphetamine... John Paul Romero... Also arrested was Romreo's girlfriend Roseline Marie Arellano..."

Fourth Suspect Sought In Slayings-"A fourth suspect has been identified in a triple homicide in...A warrant charging three counts of homicide has been issued for Alfredo Valdovino Chavez...."the three other suspects? Guillermo Garcia, Nicolaus Solano, Saul Marroquin...

And that is just from the front page. If I go to the police blotter I read that out of five felony arrests, three of them state,

Alberto Delgado Ramirez, was arrested on suspicion of criminal impersonation. (ID theft)

Alejandro Jimenez, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, battery causing great bodily injury, and making criminal threats.

Arnulfo DeLuna, was arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Going on to the DUI arrests, out of nine DUI arrests, in the last twenty four hours, six of them are Ramon Chacon Alcala, Carlos Banuelos Rodriguez, Pablo Gutierrez Lomeli, Saucedo Diego Merino, Gilberto Munoz Orozco, and Jose Manuel Rios-Rivera.

Am I saying these are illegal aliens? NO! Am I saying they are Hispanic? Yes! Out of 14 arrests in the past twenty four hours 9 of them were committed by Hispanics. To be fair, the other two felony arrests, which were committed by persons other than Hispanic were for possession of nunchaku, and for a woman who beat the crap out of her spouse/cohabitant.

However, day after day I read the paper and see that the majority of names in Methamphetamine arrests are Hispanic. The majority of names on the police blotter are Hispanic. Day after day after day...

So my question is this, when are enough people going to get tired of this crap? When are we going to put aside political correctness and realize that a very large percentage of these Hispanics who come here as cheap laborers have no regard for our laws, our customs, for our country in general, and least of all for us?

When are we going to pull our heads out of the sand, or our asses, (whichever fits) and demand that our elected representatives begin representing the people of this country. By the people I mean the average folks who work, pay taxes and are trying their best to obey the laws. When are they going to stop pandering to the special interest groups who demand 'rights' for their race. When are they going to stop kissing the asses of the special interest groups who demand these cheap laborers?

Wake the hell up America before our country is overrun with people who care nothing for our laws, which implies that they care nothing about your safety or lives as well. Is it going to take your identity stolen, your house burgled, or you or your loved one killed by one of these people for you to wake up? I hope not, but I am not holding my breath, I am yelling, and I hope to God you can hear me!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Food for thought

According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is:
The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Some Thoughts On D.C. v Heller

In the two hundred plus years that the Bill of Rights has been in existence, never once has the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments on the intent of the second amendment.

Is it just me, or does that fact raise questions for you as well? Permit me to share the thoughts that ran through my head as I contemplated that fact. First off, why did it take so long for a case questioning the intent of the second amendment to be brought before the Supreme Court? Could it be that at one time the people of this country actually understood the intent and didn't need an explanation? Or could it be that those whose primary goal is the eventual disarmament of the American public have waited until they have a Supreme Court that is more likely to deliver a ruling based not on the actual intent, but their own personal beliefs? These are questions that all should be asking themselves as the Supreme Court deliberates on the case of D.C. v Heller.

In the case of D.C. v Heller the Supreme Court will finally have to rule on the intent of the second amendment. The case of D.C. v Heller involves a Mr. Dick Heller who wanted to keep a handgun in his home. He attempted to register it but was turned down because all handguns are banned in the District of Columbia. Heller took the case to court on the grounds that it was a second amendment right that he be allowed to own a handgun. The D.C. Circuit Court ruled in his favor and the case was appealed.

It is not the position of Mr. Heller that he be allowed to carry a handgun outside his home at will, merely that he has the right to have one inside his home which is readily accessible for home defense. His claim is that the second amendment protects that right.

On the other hand, the lawyers for the District of Columbia are claiming that the second amendment does not guarantee that right, that the right to keep and bear arms is tied inexorably to the formation and maintenance of a militia. It is now the Supreme Courts turn to settle this issue once and for all.

In the initial brief submitted to the Supreme Court, a synopsis of the petition states,

"This petition seeks review of an extraordinary decision by a divided panel of the D.C. Circuit that the District of Columbia’s longstanding law banning handguns but authorizing private possession of rifles and shotguns violates the Second
Amendment. This is the first time in the Nation’s history that a federal appellate court has invoked the Second Amendment to strike down any gun-control law. Absent review by this Court, the District of Columbia—a densely populated urban locality where the violence caused by handguns is well documented—will be unable to enforce a law that its elected officials have sensibly concluded saves lives."

The entire brief can be found here if you are interested in reading it.

The basic argument being heard by the Supreme Court is this, does the second amendment tie the right to gun ownership to the formation of a militia, or is it an individual right that cannot be infringed upon.

On March 18, the Supreme Court heard the arguments from Mr. Walter Dellinger, of O'Melveny & Meyers representing the District of Columbia, Mr. Alan Gura representing Mr. Heller, and with Mr. Paul D. Clement, Solicitor General, acting on behalf of the United States as a non partial amicus curiae.

The entire session can be found at the link below if you wish to read it. I have to warn you, it is 110 pages long, but it contains some very enlightening exchanges between all the parties concerned and the Supreme Court Justices.

Before I continue let me make one thing perfectly clear, I have no legal degree, I do not have a huge staff of legal experts who can research case law with which I can form my arguments.

However in a case of this nature, which is questioning the intent of an amendment contained in the Bill of Rights, which is a part of our Constitution due to being a legally voted on and ratified amendment, it is my opinion, and my opinion alone, that court decisions which occurred after the ratification of the second amendment should have no bearing whatsoever in the formation of a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Allow me to explain. When lawyers argue criminal cases they often use case law as an example to back up their position, saying that a precedent has been set based upon a ruling delivered in a previous case. When a case is being tried in a local court, and a lawyer provides a precedent, it can, and should be, overruled by a precedent set by a higher court, such as a district court, or the Supreme Court.

This case, D.C. v Heller is questioning the intent of the Constitution itself in regards to a legally ratified amendment to that case. Article 6 of the U.S. Constitution states that, “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land...” Since the Constitution is the highest law in the land, there is no precedent that can be used to formulate a ruling. The Justices can come to a decision based upon their own opinions or beliefs, but this is what is known as judicial activism. Or they can go to the writings of those who drafted our Constitution and the Bill of Rights for guidance as to their intent. Those are the only two ways that the Justices can come to a decision, and for the sake of all gun owners, let’s hope they use the second method.

As I said, the arguments presented to the Court fill over one hundred pages. For brevities sake I will attempt to provide only the ones that I find most enlightening. I would suggest that if you have the time that you read the entire session for yourselves.

From the moment Mr. Dellinger began to speak on behalf of the District of Columbia, he made it clear he was trying to firmly tie the right to keep and bear arms to the formation and maintenance of the militia.

“The Second Amendment was a direct response to concern over Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which gave the new national Congress the surprising, perhaps even the shocking, power to organize, arm, and presumably disarm the State militias. What is at issue this morning is the scope and nature of the individual right protected by the resulting amendment and the first text to consider is the phrase protecting a right to keep and bear arms.”

Mr. Dellinger then continues with the following statement.

“In the debates over the Second Amendment, every person who used the phrase "bear arms" used it to refer to the use of arms in connection with militia service and when Madison introduced the amendment in the first Congress, he exactly equated the phrase "bearing arms" with, quote, "rendering military service." We know this from the inclusion in his draft of a clause exempting those with religious scruples. His clause says "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country, but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person."

Mr. Dellinger then attempted to use a precedent set by the Supreme Court when it ruled in U.S. v Miller, that the possession of a sawed off shotgun “has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.”

Mr. Dellinger also stated, “I think, as this Court unanimously held in Miller, or at least noted in Miller -- I'll leave aside the debate. The court unanimously said in Miller that the Second Amendment must be interpreted in light of its obvious purpose to ensure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of the military forces.”

Eventually Justice Kennedy then cut to the chase and asked, “Well, do you think the clause, the second clause, the operative clause, is related to something other than the militia?” To which Mr. Dellinger then replied, “No.”

A short time later the following exchange between Mr. Dellinger and Justice Ginsburg took place.

“JUSTICE GINSBURG: Mr. Dellinger -


JUSTICE GINSBURG: -- short of that, just to get your position clear, short of reactivating State militias, on your reading does the Second Amendment have any effect today as a restraint on legislation?

MR. DELLINGER: It would, Justice Ginsburg, if the State had a militia and had attributes of the militia contrary to a Federal law. And if it didn't -

JUSTICE GINSBURG: But it doesn't, as far as I know.

MR. DELLINGER: As far as I know, today it doesn't. And I'm not -- and the Respondents make that, that argument that the amendment is without a use. But you don't make up a new use for an amendment whose prohibitions aren't being violated.”

When I read this I was shocked to say the least. Is it the opinion of Mr. Dellinger, and the District of Columbia as well that the second amendment no longer has a use is our nation today?

That firmly established the District of Columbia’s stance, that the right for citizens of this country to own firearms is directly tied to their being a part of a militia, and that since there since there was no longer a militia the second amendment no longer serves a useful purpose. That could set a very frightening precedent if in fact the Court rules in their favor.

The next person to speak to the Justices was Paul D. Clement, acting as amicus curiae. As an impartial participant, he, theoretically, should not take sides. Therefore his opening statement was most encouraging.

“Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, as its text indicates, guarantees an individual right that does not depend on eligibility for or service in the militia.”

However, as the discussion continued the Justices began to question Mr. Clement on the relationship between our Bill of Rights and the English Bill of Rights. The following statement by Mr. Clements caught my attention.

“But what I was about to say is I think what is highly relevant in considering the threshold question of whether there's an individual right here at all is that the parallel provisions in the English Bill of Rights that were borrowed over included the right to petition and the right to keep and bear arms. Both of those appear with specific parallel references to the people. They are both rights that are given to the people.”

When discussing rights, there are natural rights, those which we are born with, and rights that are granted to us by way of laws. Please correct me if I am wrong about this, but are not the rights defined in the Bill of Rights considered natural rights, and therefore are to be protected by the government, and that they are also considered inalienable rights, that cannot be legislated away? If I am correct in my opinion, the right to keep and bear arms is not something that was given to the people by the government.

Next to present their views to the Justices was Mr. Alan Gura, who represented Mr. Heller.

In the course of questioning by Justice Stevens, the following took place.

“JUSTICE STEVENS: So we can -- consistent with your view, we can simply read this: "It shall not be unreasonably infringed"?

MR. GURA: Well, yes, Your Honor, to some extent, except the word "unreasonable" is the one that troubles us because we don't know what this unreasonable standard looks like.”

That answer, coming from an attorney that is supposed to be representing the peoples right to keep and bear arms is worrisome. For him to say that there is, as yet, an undefined line that could be considered reasonable infringement is troubling. Does not the second amendment state, “shall not be infringed” It makes no reference to a reasonable infringement, none whatsoever!

Those are just a few of the exchanges that took place that I found extremely enlightening, and troubling at the same time. There are a few other things I would like to cover however before I conclude.

When the D.C. Circuit Court ruled in favor of Mr. Heller, one of the judges, a Judge Henderson said the following in his dissenting view,

“To sum up, there is no dispute that the Constitution, case law and applicable statutes all establish that the District is not a State within the meaning of the Second Amendment. Under United States v Miller, 307 U.S. at 178, the Second Amendment's declaration and guarantee that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" relates to the Militia of the States only. That the Second Amendment does not apply to the District, then, is, to me, an unavoidable conclusion.”

Is Judge Henderson saying that the District of Columbia is a separate entity from the United States, that the Constitution does not apply to the citizens within the District? I can see how one might come to that conclusion as it appears that the majority of our elected representatives do not understand, nor legislate, according to their Constitutional mandate, but for a judge to come out and openly state it like that is shocking. It could be said then, that the reverse is true as well, that any laws passed within the District of Columbia, including those passed by our Congress DO NOT APPLY to the citizens residing within the remaining fifty states. Just a thought...

At the root of all this is the initial ban of handguns by the District of Columbia. They claim it is in the best interest of the citizens that handguns are banned, as handguns account for a large percentage of the firearm related deaths. It all boils down to the fact that a good percentage of the people are looking to the government, or some other agency for their protection. This is due to the lack of desire of the people to accept responsibility for their own welfare. By their very nature, criminals will not give up their guns. Even if you could ban the production and sale of all guns in the U.S. there would still be a black market which could conceivably provide weapons to those inclined to use them in a criminal act. There just aren't enough law enforcement officers available to station one on every street providing protection for every citizen of this country. The ultimate responsibility for their protection lies with the individual. I would much rather have a shotgun or a pistol by my bedside than a phone pre-programmed to speed dial 911.

Finally I would like to provide a random selection of quotations regarding firearms and/or the militia. These can be read and pondered at your own discretion. It may, however, help you in forming an opinion as to what decision the Supreme Court should come to in the case of D.C. v Heller.

“The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ... the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”
Tench Coxe

“The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.”
Cockrum v State

“The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.”
Patrick Henry

“The Constitution shall never be prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
Samuel Adams

“We established however some, although not all its [self-government] important principles. The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed...”
Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright

“[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it.”
Richard Henry Lee

"[A]rms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. . . Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them." -- Thoughts On Defensive War, 1775
Thomas Paine

And finally, “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. To secure peace, securely and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable.”
George Washington

Notice that in that last quote, Washington makes reference to both rifles and pistols as being equally indispensable.

We can now only await the ruling of the Supreme Court. Much rests on the outcome of this case, quite possibly the last vestiges of freedom that we have. If the Court rules that there are times, in which local government can declare all firearms they deem as an unnecessary danger to the general population, and therefore can be banned, there is no way to stop them from completely disarming the people of this country. With that thought, I would like to leave you with one last quote by Vladimir Lenin, “One of the basic conditions for the victory of socialism is the arming of workers (Communist) and the disarming of the bourgeoisie (the middle class).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Maybe I Was Profling A Bit

On March 8 my local paper published the following letter to the editor that I submitted.

"On Feb. 20, Mexican President Felipe Calderon visited the California Legislature urging them to "keep the door open."
How dare this meddler come to our country and try to influence policy and public opinion? How dare this pathetic leader, who can't even fix his own country so his people would not be forced to break into ours ask us to take responsibility for his failure?
Finally, how dare this hypocrite ask us to keep our borders open so that his citizens can come here and use/abuse or country while he has the unmitigated gall to want $1.4 billion from the U.S. for a stimulus/national security package? I can't say what I would like to tell Mr. Calderon without being censored but rest assured it isn't very polite."

Today at work a young Hispanic male came up to me and politely told me the following. "You know Neal, the next time you write a letter to the paper about illegal aliens you may want to mention that it is not only Mexicans that are in this country illegally."

I told this young man that he needs to read my letter again because I was not writing about the illegal aliens themselves, I was writing about the President of Mexico.

I told him that I am aware that there are illegal aliens in this country from all over the world. I also told him that it is my dream that each and every one of them either leave of their own volition or be deported.

This answer seemed to satisfy him and he left having duly chastised me. Although he obviously misunderstood my reason for writing the letter he did bring up a good point, it is not only Mexicans that are in this country illegally. There are probably illegal aliens in this country from almost every nation on the planet, and like I said, I want them all gone.

That being said, do you remember the Immigration Marches back in May of 2006? Do you remember the images of all those people marching for immigration rights and immigration reform? Did you take the time to notice which flag, besides the U.S. flag, was the predominant flag flown? It was the Mexican flag. Do you remember some of the banners and placards that people had? They said things about La Raza, (the Race), La Reconquista, (The Re-conquering). These are sayings that are distinctive among the Hispanics, and particularly the Mexicans.

For a group of people who want to immigrate to this country and become part of the melting pot that is America, waving a banner that supports the concept that they are separate and have no need to assimilate into our culture is not a good way to garner support. La Reconquista is even more disturbing in that it implies that they intend to take over this land, whether we like it or not. These are not things that people who want to become Americans should be doing in a march for immigration rights.

Then again there were others in the crowd from across the globe, so I still might be considered guilty of profiling based upon the actions of a select group.

However, if you were to drive through the farms in the San Joaquin Valley during harvest time would you see any illegal aliens from of other than Hispanic heritage? I think not. If you were to drive through a construction zone where new homes are being built en masse, what would be the predominant nationality of the laborers? That’s right, Hispanic. If you were to hire a landscaping crew to come in and design your yard and maintain it, what nationality would the majority of laborers be? Right again, Hispanic. Finally, if you were to drive to one of those ‘Day Laborer’ sites where you could hire someone to work for a day, what are the nationality of the people there waiting for work? Hispanic again. So where are all these Chinese, Filipino, German, and the rest of the illegal aliens from all over the world?

However, just to show that I am fair and am not biased against Hispanics, or Mexicans in particular, I would like to see the following accomplished.

-All illegal aliens and their illegitimately naturalized children will leave U.S. soil, not to return.

-English will be the spoken language of this country. If you can’t speak it, tough! No more translators, no more forms in a host of foreign tongues, no more SAP, (Secondary Audio Programming) in foreign languages for our television shows. While I am at it, everything that is broadcast for either radio or television will be in English only.

-No more ESL in our schools. If you can not learn in English, go back and get an education in the country of your native tongue. I am tired of our kids getting held back while kids that can’t speak English play catch up.

-No more preferential treatment will be given to anyone due to their cultural differences. I do not get any preferential treatment because I am of Irish descent, not even on St. Patrick’s Day.

-If you are found to be in a gang you will be deported to the country of your heritage, regardless of whether or not you are a natural born citizen, a naturalized citizen, or an illegal alien.

-Finally, if you are caught in our country breaking any other of our laws, and it is found that you are here illegally, you will be deported to your country of origin immediately. We do not want to spend any tax dollars incarcerating you in our overcrowded prisons.

There, does that sound fair to all? Am I not being impartial enough? As I said, I may have been focusing solely upon the Mexicans in my letter to the editor. I hope this clarifies my intent by showing that I no longer wish to tolerate any illegal alien presence in this country any longer.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Too Many Ism's For Some Peoples Brains

The other day at work I was talking to a friend and he jokingly mentioned that I must be a communist. I was somewhat taken aback and asked him why he said that. He said, "You must be a communist, you sure hate this country." I told him he was so wrong it wasn't even funny. I do not HATE this country, I love it. I do however hate what is happening to it. I hate the people who are doing the damage, and I hate the people who are just sitting back and allowing it to happen.

I asked my friend if he could tell me what communism was and he said 'Sure, it was the kind of government that Russia used to have'. I found it humorous that he was saying I was a communist, yet he intends to vote for Barack Obama who is much closer to being communist than I ever will be.

It was then that I began to wonder if people actually know the difference between communism, socialism, and fascism. I am by no means a political scientist, but I can read. Therefore I grabbed a trusty dictionary and looked up the meaning of communism, socialism, and fascism. Here they are for the enlightenment of those who might not be aware of the differences between them.

Fascism-a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Socialism 1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods 2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state 3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done.

Communism: 1 a: a theory advocating elimination of private property b: a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed 2 capitalized a: a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics b: a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production c: a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably.

After reading those definitions it is clear that my friend does not understand the definition of communism, not if he thinks that is the type government that Russia used to have. Russia was formerly known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or USSR.

Russia never was a communist country. Pure communism is an ideology in which there is no private property, everything is shared equally, and everyone works for the good of the community. While it may be a noble concept it is something that will never happen as long as mankind exhibits greed, envy and ambition. Pure communism also takes away motivation, for why would someone try to improve themselves, or work to the best of their ability if those who don’t still get an equal share of the goods produced by the overall community?

To say that I am a communist is a joke. I believe in self reliance, not depending upon others for your own well being. While I do admit that associating with others can be rewarding, and often mutually beneficial, but I do not want to be reliant upon anyone for anything. These personality traits preclude me from being a communist, and my friend should have known better than to make such an uninformed statement.

The former Soviet Union was a socialist state in which the government owned everything. They dictated where you could work, where you would live and whether or not you could move up in society. To maintain that socialist state required that the government stifle and punish expressions of personal freedom and liberty, otherwise people would not sit idly by with no chance to improve their lives.

The people of Russia were told that they were making these sacrifices for the benefit of Mother Russia. Yet the ruling class lived their lives in a manner that provided them with a disproportionately better lifestyle. They did not suffer the poverty that the average worker in Russia was forced to endure for the ‘common good’.

If you think about it, doesn’t socialism sound a lot like what the Democratic candidates all are promising us? Do they not offer us government run and managed health care, education and all sorts of other benefits, which are all funded by the taxes taken from the working class?

Alexander Tytler once penned something that describes what is happening in this country, and also explains what will be the end result. If fits in very well with what the Democratic candidates campaign upon because they are the ones who are offering so many government solutions to the problems in America.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”

Isn’t that what is happening in this country, we are voting for candidates who make us promises that in the end will be funded by the taxes upon our labor? When we vote for a candidate solely upon which one makes the most convincing promises, we are voting for socialism, complete governmental control over our lives. You have to realize that as you vote for these candidates, and their promise of government run programs, you are also sacrificing your own freedom to choose. Each program that the government institutes to benefit you also has the flip side of taking away a portion of your own personal freedom.

Since I have just denigrated the Democrats you are probably thinking I am a staunch follower of the Republican Party. Unfortunately that is not true. If the Democrats are socialist in nature, the Republicans are well on the way to being fascists. If you examine closely the economic and foreign policies of the Bush administration you will see that they have enacted legislation which is gives the president almost unlimited power, in other words an autocratic leadership. The foreign policy of the Bush administration and his War on Terror declares that our War on Terror gives the U.S. the right to do anything, and to do it anywhere in this misguided war. The rights of the individual have been trampled upon by numerous laws passed to protect us from terrorism. Does that not put the nation above the individual, a clear sign of a fascist state?

A close friend of mine describes our system of two political parties as a two headed snake. Both heads bite and will cause this country irreparable harm. I agree with that viewpoint and would go one step further. Both heads, or political parties, are traitors to the principles upon which this country was founded.

This country was established as a representative republic. We have been told so many times, coming from so many sources, that we are a democracy that we have accepted it as the truth. That is not true!

Our founding fathers were very clear in regards to the nature of our government as defined in the Constitution. Nowhere are their thoughts more clearly explained than in the Federalist Papers, a series of articles written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, all published under the pseudonym of Publius.

In Federalist #10, James Madison defines a democracy as
“From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person.”

If we were a democracy, you or I could, if we so chose to, involve ourselves directly with the process of enacting legislation. However, that is not how our system of government was designed to function. We instead elect people to represent us in our government.

In Federalist Paper #39 Madison explains,
“If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, 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.”

That describes how our government was set up to function. Notice that the government derives its power from us. It does not say the government has power over us. Government was designed to be our servant, not our master. Also, it says that it was to be administered by persons holding their offices ‘during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior.’

If we look at the abysmal approval ratings our Congress and our president have right now, it should be very clear that our elected representatives are not holding their offices during ‘pleasure’. If you look at how long some of our elected representatives have been holding office, someone like Edward Kennedy, who has been in office since 1962, it is clear that they are not serving for a ‘limited period’. Finally if you look at the scandals and the corruption that permeate our halls of power it should also be clear that our elected representatives are not serving ‘during good behavior.’

We the people of this country hold the ultimate power. However we cannot wield that power effectively if we are ignorant in regards to what our elected representatives are doing. We cannot wield that power effectively if we insist that government be responsible for caring for our every need.

If we continue to vote for the candidate who makes the most appealing promises, then we get what we deserve. Just remember, that as Tytler said, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

Ultimately it is your choice. Do you want to live in a society in which the government controls all aspects of your lives, or do you want to have the freedom to choose for yourself? If you choose freedom, than I suggest you begin paying just a bit more attention to what the candidates you vote for are truly offering you. Is it slavery or freedom?

I only have one last thing to say, and I quote Samuel Adams,
“If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

Friday, March 07, 2008

Editorial freedom

On February 14th I wrote the following letter to the editor for my local paper.

On Wednesday President Felipe Calderon visited the California State Legislature, urging them to 'Keep the Door Open'. How dare this meddling pissant come to our country and try to influence policy and public opinion? How dare this pathetic leader, who can't even fix his own country so his people would not be forced to break into ours, ask us to take responsibility for his failure. Finally, how dare this hypocrite ask us to keep our borders open so that his citizens can come here and use/abuse or country while he has the unmitigated gall to want $1.4 billion from the U.S. for a stimulus/national security package that would help him secure his southern border from invaders from South America? I can't say what I would like to tell Mr. Calderon without being censored but rest assured it isn't very polite.

The paper asked me to remove the offensive word pissant, which I did and resubmitted it to them without that word. Today, March 8th they printed the following.

On Feb. 20, Mexican President Felipe Calderon visited the California Legislature urging them to "keep the door open."
How dare this meddler come to our country and try to influence policy and public opinion? How dare this pathetic leader, who can't even fix his own country so his people would not be forced to break into ours ask us to take responsibility for his failure?
Finally, how dare this hypocrite ask us to keep our borders open so that his citizens can come here and use/abuse or country while he has the unmitigated gall to want $1.4 billion from the U.S. for a stimulus/national security package? I can't say what I would like to tell Mr. Calderon without being censored but rest assured it isn't very polite.

Note the second to last sentence. The paper took it upon themselves to edit my letter and remove what I thought to be a crucial point in proving my point that Felipe Calderon is a hypocrite.

Therefore I took the liberty of sending my local paper the following.

On March 8, 2008 you printed a letter to the editor that I submitted entitled President Calderon should fix Mexico. I appreciate the fact that your paper has given me the opportunity to express my views and allow others to THINK about the news from a perspective that may differ from their own. As submitted originally the letter had the offensive term 'pissant' which I was asked to remove. I did and was told the letter would then be published. However when I read it in the paper I noticed that something else had been changed as well.
The last paragraph as I submitted the letter stated,

"Finally, how dare this hypocrite ask us to keep our borders open so that his citizens can come here and use/abuse or country while he has the unmitigated gall to want $1.4 billion from the U.S. for a stimulus/national security package that would help him secure his southern border from invaders from South America?"

Someone on the staff of your paper took it upon themselves to remove "that would help him secure his southern border from invaders from South America" from my letter. I thought this information was crucial in proving that Felipe Calderon is a hypocrite.
I understand that your paper has the right to edit letters as they see fit. However my letter as originally submitted had only 140 words, 110 under the limit you set for letters to the editor.
I realize that when I first began writing to your paper I was rather long winded and that was something I have worked on so that my letters fit in to your 250 word limit. I feel now that I have a much more economical writing style. Therefore everything I include, in my humble opinion, is of importance.
I feel that your editing out that one phrase from my paragraph takes away from the intent of my letter and I am saddened that you chose to do so.
In the future if you decide that you must edit my letters for space, or whatever reasons, that you please ask me first. If I find that the change is something that does not take away from my intent, then I will have no problems in agreeing to the changes. However if I feel that it takes away from my letters intent I may just decide to not have it printed. I would not have my letter printed if it means I would not be able to get my point across.

Thank you for your consideration.

Neal Ross

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Glad This Never Happens In America...Or Does It?

How many people remember the speech given by Ronald Reagan in West Berlin in June of 1987 in which President Reagan made the statement, 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall'? It took two years, but in 1989 the Berlin Wall finally came down, marking the beginning of the end of the Cold War and with it the downfall of Communism.

I remember that speech vividly, as if it only happened yesterday. When I speak of Communism many people only remember the nuclear tipped missiles that Russia had aimed at us. Me, I remember hearing about the police state under which the Russian people lived under controlled by the KGB and the GRU.

I am too young to remember the widespread fear of the spread of communism, but I do remember the bomb drills in school. I remember the overall loathing of communism and their state police the KGB. I also remember being taught about the evils of the Gestapo and the SS of Nazi Germany.

The Gestapo was the secret state police that was commanded by Herman Goring and worked under the general administration of the Schutzstaffel SS which was commanded by Heinrich Himmler. The SS began as a small paramilitary unit into an elite force that served as Hitler’s own Praetorian Guards. During its time in existence the Gestapo operated entirely without restrictions by civil authority, that is they could do anything at all without fear of reprisal. Both the KGB and the Gestapo were well known for their ruthless persecution of those whom they considered political dissidents, or enemies of the state.

Many people today are too young to remember all this. However there are those of us who still remember that it was more than just fiction, the stuff that movies were made of. We remember it was something that we looked upon with fear and loathing. It made us glad to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, a place were things like that never happened. That is what we thought at the time. How little did we know that things could change so easily.

The men who fought for and created the system of government that we live under were wise and knowledgeable men. They knew the nature of man and were well studied when it came to the nature of governments. They understood that freedom and liberty were gifts bestowed upon us at birth but they also realized that these principles were fleeting and only temporary as long as there were governments that were willing to violate these unalienable rights.

Thomas Jefferson said that "When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny." James Madison believed that "...there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Madison also warned that "The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home." Ben Franklin issued a stern rebuke for those who would tolerate the infringement of their rights when he said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

When someone mentions a police state most people get the impression that they would be under constant surveillance and their freedom and liberties would be severely restricted. They would be right, but they would also fail to realize that those criteria already exist within these United States.

The threat to our inalienable rights and liberties goes back a long way in our nations history. The very first assault upon these rights and liberties goes back to the presidency of John Adams with the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

The Sedition Act made it a crime to “... write, print, utter. Or publish... any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them. or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States...”

During the Civil War President Lincoln was also guilty of violating the rights of the people when he took away the right of habeas corpus and he imprisoned thousands of people who opposed his war, and that he shut down hundreds of newspapers that printed articles in opposition to his policies.

Even during World War 1 we had President Woodrow Wilson enact another Sedition Act that made it a crime for Americans to use ‘disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language’ about the government, the flag or the armed forces in time of war. This act also allowed the Postmaster General to deny mail service to dissenters of government policy during time of war.

These are just a few examples from our nations history in which our rights and liberties have been violated by our government. However, since President George W. Bush has been in office there has been more damage to our rights and liberty than in the entire 200 year history of this nation. These steps could not have been taken unless we the people allowed them to happen. After all, aren't the President and the Congress our public servants? Do they not work for us? Therefore either we are no longer free and our servants have become our masters, or we have been fooled into believing that these steps are in our best interests. If that is the case, the rebuke offered by Ben Franklin is quite fitting for a people who have been willing to give up their freedom and liberty without even a whimper.

Since we are not presently under such a state, with the military roaming the streets asking for your papers while we live under martial law people are unwilling to admit that we are just one natural disaster, one serious medical emergency, or one terror attack away from that scenario taking place right here within our borders.

People only have to go back and look at what happened in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to get a glimpse of what lies in store for this county as a whole if our government decides that it is time for them to assume all control over our rights and liberties.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, under the orders of Mayor Ray Nagin and Edwin P. Compass III, the superintendent of police, the New Orleans Police, the National Guard, and U.S. Marshall’s began breaking into homes at gunpoint while confiscating the lawfully owned firearms of all citizens and evicting them from their homes.

While it may have been foolish for many of these residents to remain behind, it was their choice. They had the right to stay and to protect what was theirs from looters and other criminals.

A New York Times article afterwards stated that although no civilians would be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, that order apparently did not apply to the Blackwater Security firm personnel who were seen walking the streets of New Orleans with fully automatic weapons.

Is this the future that lies ahead for our country? It may very well be the future of this country if people do not wake up and realize that everything they are doing to ‘protect’ them is in their best interests.

In the aftermath of September 11, 2001 America was torn between conflicting emotions. We were angry that we had been attacked upon our own soil in such a devastating manner. Our protective bubble had also been pierced and we were fearful that we were vulnerable to another similar attack. Our government realized this and they used our fears and emotions to pass numerous pieces of legislation that we would normally have found repulsive. Remember when George W. Bush said that “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? We have been played for fools by our government and have allowed them to lay the groundwork for a total police state in which the government controls all aspects of our lives.

Within weeks of the terrorist attacks our nations lawmakers were presented with the Patriot Act for their vote. The bill upon which they voted was only placed on the House intranet fifteen minutes prior to the vote, having replaced the version that they had been allowed to read and study.

Under Section 213 of the Patriot Act your home can be searched without your knowledge until after the search is complete if you are suspected of being linked to terrorism. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows warrantless searches that allow them to produce ‘any tangible things’ that may link you to a terrorist investigation. Under Section 215 also anyone telling you that the FBI is investigating you can be imprisoned for 5 years, violating their first amendment rights. Under Section 216 of the Patriot Act the government merely has to claim that it is conducting a terrorist investigation and it can monitor all your internet activities to include e mail and websites visited. The government has a tracking system known as Carnivore which can even monitor every keystroke you make. Under the Patriot Act your phone can be tapped if the government claims that it is gathering foreign intelligence without even having to provide proof that that is the actual reason for the wiretap.

On the same Day that Saddam Hussein was captured, President Bush signed the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004. With that signature the President granted almost unlimited power to the FBI to search your personal records. They can now browse through your financial records at will, see how much money you have in your 401k and other stock market funds, see how much you have spent on money orders or even how much you have wired your family via Western Union. Once again the financial institutions face a 5 year prison sentence if they notify you that you are under investigation.

If you try really hard you can convince yourself that these things aren't that bad. After all, you have done nothing wrong, you are not a terrorist so you have nothing to worry about, right? Think again.

According to Section 802 of the Patriot Act I may be defined as a terrorist for writing articles that condemn our governments abuse of power. According to that section you might be considered a terrorist if you oppose the war, or have written your elected official to voice your disapproval of the war or the legislation passed on behalf of the War on Terror.

Section 802 of the Patriot Act states;

(5) the term `domestic terrorism' means activities that--
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended--
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.'.

That sounds just a bit frightening, doesn't it? After all now you might be considered a terrorist if you oppose the policies of our government and work to change them. But still, what are they going to do, listen to your calls, check your financial transactions or monitor your online habits. That isn't too bad, is it?

How would you feel if the authorities came to your house in the middle of the night and slapped the handcuffs on you, drug you away from your wife and children and put you into a cell? How would you feel if they denied you the right to legal defense? How would you feel if no charges were ever filed against you while you just rotted away in some cell? Or how would you feel if you were waterboarded until you admitted to doing something wrong? How would you feel if that admission was evidence enough to convict you, not in a public trial but a military trial, and that you might be facing the death penalty for your crimes?

You think that could never happen? Have you read Senate Bill 3930, Pub. L. No. 109-366 Stat. 2600, otherwise known as the Military Commissions Act? If you are defined as a terrorist, whether it be domestic or otherwise, you can now be imprisoned without charges, denied legal representation, and brought before a military tribunal because of the Military Commissions Act. Your family may never see your face again, think about that if you think that our government is only looking out for the welfare of all Americans.

You may still be thinking that if you really mind your P’s & Q’s and stay out of trouble you are safe. Sorry, I am not done with the bad news yet.

Have you heard of Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007" (H.R.5122)? This little tidbit which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress public disorder."

Now we have the possibility of having the military roaming our streets enforcing our laws, remember what happened in New Orleans? You would think there was a law against that, wouldn’t you? There is, and it is called the Posse Comitatus Act. The Posse Comitatus Act simply states “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

You might now be asking yourself isn’t the National Guard, a branch of the military, used by the states to uphold the law? You would be correct if you asked that. However, according to Major Craig Trebilcock, a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the U.S. Army Reserve, “It is only when federalized pursuant to an exercise of presidential authority that the Guard becomes subject to the limitations of the Posse Comitatus Act.”

So, if the President utilizes the military under the provisions of the John Warner Defense Authorization Act he will be in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Section 1076 of the John Warner Defense Authorization Act states,

(a) Use of the Armed Forces Authorized-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 333 of title 10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law
`(a) Use of Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies- (1) The President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to--
`(A) restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that--
`(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and
`(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or
`(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).

Living in a society much like those of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia seem to be something that is a lot closer to a reality in this country. Are you concerned yet? If not, my bag of good news isn’t empty yet, read on.

Have you ever heard the term Presidential Directive? If you haven’t, don’t feel alone, as many people probably haven’t either. A Presidential Directive is similar to an executive order except that it pertains to national security. It is just as binding as an EO, but it is not found on the Federal Register. It remains in effect until rescinded by another president.

In May of 2007 President Bush enacted NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD 51 and HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD-20. The subject of these two directives was the continuance of government in the event of a major disaster or terrorist attack. They state,

Subject: National Continuity Policy
(1) This directive establishes a comprehensive national policy on the continuity of Federal Government structures and operations and a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of Federal continuity policies. This policy establishes "National Essential Functions," prescribes continuity requirements for all executive departments and agencies, and provides guidance for State, local, territorial, and tribal governments, and private sector organizations in order to ensure a comprehensive and integrated national continuity program that will enhance the credibility of our national security posture and enable a more rapid and effective response to and recovery from a national emergency.

(e) "Enduring Constitutional Government," or "ECG," means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency;
(f) "Executive Departments and Agencies" means the executive departments enumerated in 5 U.S.C. 101, independent establishments as defined by 5 U.S.C. 104(1), Government corporations as defined by 5 U.S.C. 103(1), and the United States Postal Service;

Now let’s look at what President Bush signed into law, "Executive Departments and Agencies" means the executive departments enumerated in 5 U.S.C. 101, independent establishments as defined by 5 U.S.C. 104(1), Government corporations as defined by 5 U.S.C. 103(1)”. There is a distinct difference between Section 5 of the U.S. Code and what the Constitution, defines as ‘our government’.

If you think it is only the War on Terror that has caused our country to lose so many liberties and freedoms, think again. The War on Drugs is another culprit in that regards. According to the Violent Crime Control Act of 1991 the President has the power to suspend the Constitution and all rights guaranteed under it, to establish detention camps, seize your property and control populated areas in the event of a so called ‘drug crisis’.

These are the tools that have built the coffin in which lay our rights, our freedoms and our liberties as we have known them for almost 200 years under the Constitutional form of government that far too many people still believe we have. All that is left is to have the nails driven into the coffin to convert America into a police state just like Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.

Those nails are already there, just waiting to be used, in the form of numerous Executive Orders enacted by President Bush. Here are just a few of them, with a brief synopsis of their meaning for the people of this country.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 12148 created the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that is to interface with the Department of Defense for civil defense planning and funding. An "emergency czar" was appointed. FEMA has only spent about 6 percent of its budget on national emergencies, the bulk of their funding has been used for the construction of secret underground facilities to assure continuity of government in case of a major emergency, foreign or domestic.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 12656 appointed the National Security Council as the principal body that should consider emergency powers. This allows the government to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance of U.S. citizens and would restrict the freedom of movement within the United States and granted the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians. The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control of U.S. air space and all ports of entry. Many of the figures in the Iran-Contra scandal were part of this emergency contingent, including Marine Colonel Oliver North.

This is a lot of information to take in and the implications of it is something that needs to be pondered by all Americans who value their freedom. Has our government overstepped it’s authority? If you ask me it has gone totally off the deep end in regards to what powers it has granted unto itself. It can best be summed up by something stated by activist Howard J. Ruff, "Since the enactment of Executive Order 11490, the only thing standing between us and dictatorship is the good character of the President, and the lack of a crisis severe enough that the public would stand still for it."

One more terrorist attack, one outbreak of disease, one more major natural disaster is all that stands between our freedom and a dictatorship in which the President could suspend all Constitutional liberties and impose martial law. Is it not time to recall the words of Ben Franklin when he said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

The choice is yours, the time is near at hand that we all must make a decision about how we wish to live, as freemen, or as slaves. I can only echo the words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”