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Society’s Safety and the 2nd Amendment

San Diego — This is a distressing topic to address during a holiday devoted to Peace on Earth, but events have conspired to make it inescapable.  After the Connecticut school shooting much angst and anguish has been evident among the mainstream press always looking for something to stir the pot, and fomented by the rabidly anti-gun crowd, and most especially among some of the fearful denizens of the social network world.

I’ve personally been insulted and excoriated because I am not singing with their choir.  With invincible ignorance of the facts they have assumed my lockstep support of NRA leaders and policies and further that I am one of the redneck, gun-crazy folks.  The truth is I’m not and have not been a memeber of the NRA because although I am an owner of a number of firearms, I’ve not agreed with their intractable and sometimes frightening and inane positions for a long time.

I was hoping this issue would not have to be revisited for a while since I talked about the Aurora shootings.  But it appears there is no escaping it so I might as well accept the fray and once again, put my position out so it can be ignored by those who have no interest in hearing anything but their own ideas and who see reasoned discussion as a situation where they present their side and, recognizing their innate brilliance and infallibility, I naturally accept and agree with it.  In this case, it is not going to happen.

So, below I have edited and re-presented my suggested Federal Regulations to address the firearms rights issues.  This comes from a long history of gun ownership (I owned a rifle in Junior High and  by High School had half a dozen various types of firearms), hunting (on the farm I was responsible for a large portion of the meat on the table), military experience, working with law enforcement training, and from, starting in law school, a deep study of The Constitution and especially the 2nd Amendment.

I personally believe such tragic events as the Aurora shooting and the Connecticut school shooting and other such events come from an unfortunate coincidence of causal factors, none of which alone would be sufficient but together form a deadly coalition.  These primarily include (but are not limited to)…

  1. A nearly complete loss socially of the ethics, values, and morals that existed when the Constitution was written.  Right and wrong were realities even up to the time I was a young man; but those days have passed as we have liberalized our outlooks to diminish and in some cases prohibit such “judgmental” views on behaviors.  We no longer believe in responsibility and accountability preferring a world where choices can be made without consequences.  Morality, when you take specified theological or philosophical motivations away is nothing more than the acceptance of consequences for choices and behavior.  Perhaps we cannot legislate morality but by legislating any removal of consequences we have, in fact, legislated immorality and given it an official imprimatur.
  2. A world of national entertainment and media industries glorifying sleazy and aberrative behavior and a world of unfocussed violence as a remedy for personal wrongs, real or imagined.  Don’t think so?  One example… Look at current fashion where the attire of prisoners advertising their availability to “service” other prisoners is now common among the young.
  3. An inundation of violent video games that even the military uses to desensitize soldiers to interpersonal violence is nearly ubiquitous.  The claim that it has no such effect flies in the face of official training policy and a wealth of psychological research.  It is so powerful many shooting ranges prohibit the use of silhouette targets much less the photo targets of bad guys.
  4. A situation where it is increasingly difficult if not impossible, to get help or restraint for individuals exhibiting unstable behavior or mental health issues.  Families are in anguish over what to do to help family members and the warm grates in most cities are, on cold nights, crowded with people for whom our mental health facilities are unavailable.  The accepted solution: drugs.  Worse, drugs that are now shown, in uncontrolled dosages, to exacerbate the feelings of isolation and undirected anger, rage, and violence.
  5. The rise of a nationwide sense of entitlement; the deep inner feeling that you are “owed” something by virtue of being alive.  Not something you have to earn or work for but goodies you derserve because, in your own eyes, you are a good person.  Coupled with an equally growing sense of victimhood, that is that the world is a zero sum game and therefore the reason you do not have what you want is because someone else took it from you and needs to be brought down,

Taken together it is little wonder we do not see increasing cases of unfocussed violence, striking out not at a specific target but society itself and in general, followed, often before any sense or motive can be discovered for the act, by the perpetrator’s suicide.  Someone sufficiently unstable as to commit murder-suicide involving innocent people is not likely to be held in check by additional laws. But the simplistic cries to “do something” can no longer be ignored.  Politicians no longer citizen politicians roped into temporary service to their country now are in thrall to voters for their own meal tickets.  The emotionally charged cries for action cannot be ignored at the risk of losing re-election.  Something will happen whether or not it is an even remotely viable solution, just to quiet the herd.

So the time has come, unfortunately, when some action needs to be taken that will not do undue violence to our freedoms and rights but will, at the same time, make it harder forsuch people to acquire the tools of mass destruction.  No law will ever make it impossible but professional politicians have no clue except the polls.  And they have no answer other than more laws since they have no clue how to enforce existing laws.

Any law will have a greater negative effect on the law abiding than a positive effect on the law breaking; we have a solid history of legal prohibitions and their failures to make that prediction a safe one.  But if we, the law abiding gun owners do nothing and continue to refuse to even talk about it, we are going to wake up to a dreadful morning when every type of firearm is prohibited for individual ownership.

When that day dawns I think one of two things, or maybe both will happen:  we will be instantly thrown into a shooting revolution and/or a dictatorship will be on the rise.  I don’t want to see either happen.  I would rather seek a compromise that may inconvenience me a little, the lawbreaker a lot, and give those fearful of all private gun ownership a sense that something to stop such tragic events is being attempted.  Is this the first potential step on a slippery slope to a place I do NOT want things to go?  Yes, it is… and it scares me.

But if we do not take it or some similar step, we will certainly lose everything; freedoms, guns, and who knows what else in the bargain.  it seems to me to be a risk we have to take.  NRA numbers about 4 million members.  But our population is seveeral hundred million.  Even counting that 4 million and maybe as many non-member gun owners such as I am, we are vastly outnumbered in terms of votes to be counted.  And if we do nothing but scare the daylights out of that vast majority with more of the tired old “they’ll have to pry my cold dead fingers off of my gun” rhetoric, we are guaranteed to lose it all.

We can never eliminate failures of mental health, or evil, or aberrations of social behavior entirely.  But something has to be done to minimize the acts of social destruction when they happen.  I don’t think that all of the folks who oppose gun ownership want to see freedoms cut either.  And many who are responding emotionally to the recent events are unaware of the potential and unintended consequences of the loss of such freedoms.  But they seriously are abhorred to see innocent lives lost pointlessly because in their view we, the gun owners, are not willing to take a changing world seriously.

I truly loathe having to propose the regulations noted below.  I do so because I cannot continue to deny a complete breakdown in national morals and values whose natural restraints, if they still existed, would make them unnecessary.  For me and fellow law abiding gun owners to pretend otherwise would be delusional.  So with sadness and trepidation I offer the following for discussion:

A Proposal for a Federal Firearms Ownership and Carry Act.

___________________________________________

 Preamble:  WE the PEOPLE, as individuals, are guaranteed in our Constitution the right to keep and bear (meaning own and carry) firearms.  But the reason is too often overlooked even though it is clearly spelled out.  It is for the Security of our Free State.  Period.  But that is security from threat both from outside as well as inside.  It is not about hunting or sport nor even about personal defense.  It is about the defense of our country. From the time of the ancient greeks until now, the term “militia” refered not just to organized entitities but to every able-bodied (then, man and now person) capable of taking up arms and coming to the defense of the countrry.   

This treasured right, however, is not just about protection from invasion from without as is often claimed.  Such invasion concern was certainly part of it and proved prescient in 1812 and again for contemplated invasions during WWII by Japan and later by the Soviets.  But in addition to those concerns, the founders, according to their own letters and correspondence, looked deeply into the history of tyrannical and abusive governments and did not want to ever risk letting their own government become antithetical to the goals and objectives of their newly created Republic.  

In order to secure that Republic and the freedom of the people from abuse by their own government that they sought to establish, abuse they anticipated one day might happen, they opted, in contrast to disarming the people as autocrats do automatically, to allow the people to remained armed and able to repel invaders or to expel would-be tyrants.  And that meant being able to take on the military and paramilitary forces that might be brought to bear against them by a would-be invader or a would-be dictator.  Today, we cannot hope to take on an M16 with a Brown Bess Musket.

But it is impossible to remain innocent of the fact that the ethics, values, and moral compasses of those founders has dissipated over time and is no longer remaining to enable and encourage self reliance and self directed responsibilities.  While we have grown in many ways as a people, we are, in some negative ways, unfortunately, a very different people with very different philosophies, ideologies, abilities, and needs than the people of the day when these rights were first written and guaranteed to us.  Too many soft sheets and warm meals have happened from then till now. Too much easy living and government handouts have left us collectively bereft of both inner and outer strength that was common when we were formed.

Yet, that security force of an armed citizenry is still so vital, the citizen’s ability to say “No” to a government gone off the rails still so absolutely foundational to a free people, that to threaten that right by actions that could get a significant portion of the citizenry to want to limit or totally remove that right should be seen as actions and behavior tantamount to treason and subject to the same level of punishments as any other treasonous act.  Indeed, simply giving sensitive data to the enemy may threaten the continued existence of our way of life less than actions which, as a result, frighten people into wanting to eliminate some of the freedoms that, when abused, can take on frightful consequences.  With Rights come Responsiblities.  But when those responsibilities are abrogated to a point which threaten the freedoms, then we who treasure those freedoms have a duty to act.  Therefore it is proposed that the following Federal level regulations be enacted:

Article 1.A.  Any use of a firearm coincident with or used to facilitate an illegal action of any kind is to be deemed a felony under Federal Law punishable by a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in a federal facility in addition to whatever sentence flows from the primary illegal action.   If the illegal action involves, directly or indirectly, the illegal taking of a life, then for a minimum level offense (i.e. manslaughter) a mandatory 20 years of Federal incarceration is added to whatever punishment flows from the primary crime.  If the offense is 1st or 2nd Degree murder then life imprisonment at hard labor is mandated, and for cases of 1st Degree Murder where the guilt of the accused can be proven to a scientific certainty, the use of a firearm in the commission of that crime shall automatically be deemed a capital offense in which the Death Penalty shall automatically be available. 
1.B.  Individuals not holding current U.S. citizenship and not being sworn foreign law enforcement officers expressly in our country working in conjunction with domestic or federal law enforcement and permitted by U.S. authorities to carry a firearm, shall, if found with a firearm or other deadly weapon on their persons, be considered prima facie guilty of a federal felony with a mandatory sentence of 5 years with automatic deportation to their country of origin to follow completion of sentence.

Article 2.A.  Any natural, natural born, or naturalized citizen of the U.S., except for convicted felons, individuals convicted of domestic abuse, or persons held or registered as sexual offenders, or individuals considered by competent authority to be psychologically unstable and mental health risks to themselves or others, shall have the right to apply for a federal firearms ownership and/or carry permit.  Said carry permits shall only be issued after completion of a rigorous and thorough background investigation, a training and testing regimen to include psychological evaluations, target identification drills, precision shooting, and general competence and safety with the weapon or weapons being permitted.  Upon passing all qualification training and testing an applicant shall be allowed to carry on their person the weapon or weapons with which they are qualified.  2.B.  Ownership-Only permits shall be granted after a background investigation and screen to eliminate an individual belonging to the exempted group above.  2.B.  A reasonable fee to cover the costs of such background investigations, training, and testing may be imposed.
 2.C. An individual certified via the procedure in 2.A. may purchase legal firearms not intended to be carried, such as hunting or sporting weapons upon presentation of their Federal permit.  2.D.  In the event an applicant fails to pass any part of the qualification requirements the application fee will be forfeit and no permit issued.  Following the first failure, the applicant may retake the procedure within 14 days after paying a new application fee.  (It is no less expensive to retest an applicant than to test them in the first place.)  If the applicant shall fail to pass the qualifications a second time, then for all subsequent attempts the applicant must wait for a period of 90 days before being allowed to retake the qualification exams and tests.
 During that waiting period it shall be unlawful for them to possess or carry any firearm of any type.  2.E.  The Federal Firearms Carry Permit shall expire after two years from the date of issue. Federal Ownership Only Permits shall expire after ten years from the data of issue.  The Holder will have 60 days from the permit’s expiration date to re-qualify with their weapon(s) or lose both their carry and ownership permits.
 2.F. Legal owners of firearms which are not covered by their carry permit may transport their unloaded, disassembled firearms from their home to a sanctioned shooting range or to a proper hunting location.  But said firearms may not be assembled or loaded until ready to engage in the sport intended in a location set aside for such sport.
 2.G.  Individuals who are not natural born, natural or naturalized citizens or any individual belonging to one or more of the prohibited classes specified in Article 2.A. may not posses or carry firearms of any sort.  Violation of this article is a prima facia federal felony with a mandatory sentence of not less than 2 years.

Article 3.A.  Any firearm of major caliber (.30 caliber or larger) or caliber designed for rifle fire for medium or large game, or any firearm of any caliber purchased with a Federal Carry Permit as per 2.A., or for firearms of any caliber capable of more than 4 rounds with magazine attached, shall be sold only after the weapon is ballistically tested, identified, and registered, along with owner contact data, with the FBI’s national database.  3.B.  It shall be illegal for a legally registered owner of such weapon to relocate without providing an update as to the locations of the weapons so registered.  The same would apply to sales of said weapons and/or the reporting within 3 days of the theft or other loss of such weapons.
 3.C.  It shall be lawful to rebarrel a firearm to improve its performance or appearance, however, any firearm subject to identification as per 3.A. which has been re-barreled for any purpose must be re-tested and identified ballistically and re-registered in the national FBI database.
 3.D.  A person in possession of a firearm to which the serial or identification number has been physically or chemically altered or erased, or to which the rifling in the barrel has been altered or defaced so as to change its ballistic characteristics and identification, shall be deemed to be prima facia guilty of a Federal Felony with a mandatory 2 year sentence upon conviction.
  3.E.  It shall be considered a Federal Felony for any person identified in 2.A. as prohibited from firearm ownership to be found in possession of any type of firearm of any caliber.

Article 4.A.   It shall be a complete defense to any charge of manslaughter or murder if, and only if, the death was a result of deadly force used in self defense against the reasonable anticipation of bodily harm, the defense of others against the reasonable anticipation of their bodily harm, or to stop the commission of an aggravated felony in progress.  However the standard of reasonableness is to be adjudged by the jury during trial based on all of the available facts and evidence surrounding the incident.  Simply being paranoid or afraid of an imaginary or non-existent threat or actions not reasonably seen as threatening, is not a defense for the use of deadly force.  Further, at such point that the initial defender continues to apply deadly force beyond neutralizing the attack and becomes the aggressor themselves, they can no longer maintain their “self defense” status.  Once the initial attack has been neutralized or rendered impotent, no further harm to the initial aggressor shall be authorized.  At that point the use of a firearm may only be continued to restrain an individual until proper authorities arrive on the scene.
  4.B.  A presumption of self-defense shall be granted to an individual who uses deadly force against another individual who is in the process of invading or committing an unprivileged entry of their home or place of residence.  Citizens have a right to feel secure against attack in their own homes and to protect themselves, their families, guests, and others under their care.
  4.C.  Law enforcement agencies can only execute “No-Knock” warrants of private domiciles under court authority granted upon solid evidence of potential illegal activity in the premises and reasonable expectation of extreme danger to the law enforcement personnel.  However, executing the no-knock warrant upon the wrong address, or invading an innocent home by error removes this protection and an innocent home owner retains the right to the use of deadly force to protect his home and family against unannounced intrusion until such time as law enforcement properly identifies itself and its purpose.

5.A.  The status of any weapon capable of fully automatic or “burst” fire shall remain under the current regulations and licensing requirements of the BATF.  Anyone found in possession of a fully automatic firearm, or a semi-automatic firearm converted to fully automatic or burst capability but without the proper license, shall be prima facia guilty of a Federal Felony with a minimum penalty of 5 years in a Federal Facility upon conviction.
  5.B.  These regulations address only firearms known as “small arms” and arms capable of being hand or shoulder fired and do not include weapons belonging to the category of “artillery” or “Ordnance” nor explosive devices nor weapons of mass destruction as defined by military convention, nor any crew-served weapon of any kind. Nothing contained herein or not contained herein shall be construed as altering current laws regarding such weapons.

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Let me be as clear as I know how to be on this.  Personally I am philosophically opposed to having to create such laws and fully understand that they will satisfy no one.  Gun nuts as well as anti-gun nuts will both hate it equally. Gun nuts will say it is too restrictive of their rights but it allows full rights to own nearly anything so long as the persona checks and training are done and the gun’s “signature” ballistics are registered.  Anti-Gun nuts will say that anything that does not eliminate ALL guns from private ownership is unacceptable but that is not a likely scenario and it does not take guns out of the hands of the lawbreakers, succeeding only in making law abiders defenseless.  But for something to be done we all have to give a little.

As with all gun regulations they will effect only the otherwise law abiding and will be ignored by the real bad guys.  But perhaps… perhaps… since the real bad guys have never been noticeable for their brilliance, enough will fail to observe the rules, get busted, be made an object lesson, and others will take note.   That indeed is my hope, but it is not my serious expectation because, again, this deals only symptomatically with the problem and not the root causes enumerated at the first of this post.

I personally do not think we have a gun problem.  No gun of mine has ever, not once, called me aside and asked of me, much less demanded of me, that I take it in hand and commit a crime of any sort.  And even if it did, what I do then is totally on my head because it is my choice and my behavior.  The gun may be a deadly weapon but it is deadly only in the hands of a human using it to deadly purpose. If you think otherwise try this experiment: lay a loaded gun on a table and watch it to see if, by itself, it decides to shoot someone.

What we have is a “people” problem; a problem of bad choices and bad behavior that has, when less violent, too often gone unaddressed if not openly facliitated and empowered by others looking to find excuses less their own choices and behaviors come under scrutiny. But for those delusion individuals who believe the answer lies in more rules rather than enforcing the rules we already have, then this should at least give them a good place to join in the discussion.  We already have rules against murder.  How has that worked out to stop murders?  We have rules against drug use.  How is that going?  We even made a Constitutional Amendment bannig alcohol.  How did that work out?

Nevertheless I offer the above regulation because it also offers a compromise, something we are accused of not being willing to consider.  So now the ball is in the other court.  And for the masses who may stumble on this and disagree with it, my question is simple, “What do you all suggest that keeps our rights intact while trying to cut down or eliminate the heinous acts that have started this debate?”

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Posted by on December 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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And Lo, The Gun Spake Unto Him…

San Diego — On Friday news of a horrific nearly inconceivable school massacre flooded the airwaves.  I was still in Denver and actually very near Columbine when that incident unfolded.  When such things happen we are left stunned, saddened, and then searching for answers.

Even the great campaigner-in-chief, the tireless ideologue, King Barrack I, knew it was time to give it a rest when addressing the nation following the tragic and senseless murder of children in New England this past week. You know I intently dislike his policies but this time, he was spot on in his eloquent intitial statements to the public.  The human tragedy won’t distract him for long before he uses it for his agenda, but at least at that moment, for once in his reign, he took the right tack.  But not so for his sycophantic followers on Facebook.  Oh no, they will never be said to miss a chance to spew their pabalum to the hordes of willing co-whiners hanging on every word.  They will never be seen to miss a chance, especially based on a crisis or tragedy, to advance their own agendas.

The cowardly shooter himself was not, of course, seen as to blame in any way.  Poor guy; he may have had this syndrome or that neurosis, this “challenge” or been the helpless victim of bad potty training, but was at best a pawn to his poor socialization, made helpless to sort out good choices by evil corporations, chemically or genetically tainted food, and, of course we cannot overlook global warming.  Worst of all, he was apparently inescapably mesmerized by the soothing spiel of the guns he had apparently stolen from his mother (whom, out of gratitude he killed) even though he was not legally able to buy them due to his age.

Based on the shrill and unthinking (but deep feeling) screed being howled forth on Facebook, I can just hear it now as it will become the stuff of bardic legend and will find its way into the sacred texts of the agenda.  It will read something like this…

“And Lo, the evil Gun confused the man’s mind and spake thusly unto him and commanded, ‘Go ye forth thou craven soldier of evil, take hold of me in thy right hand and take hold of me in thy left hand and do ye smite those of the most innocent ye can find!  I, the Gun, have commanded thee and thou must obey.’  But the man was sore afraid and so the evil gun spake again saying, ‘Verily I say unto you, fear not, be ye calm, for thou needst only hold me and I will aim and fire myself being the creature of pure evil that I am, and thou shalt remain free of guilt and be considered blameless since it was of mine own not thine own doing.’”

This day and age will, I believe, be described by future historians as the time when those demanding entitlement and victim status finally outnumbered those who, like the brave souls of the mid and late 18th Century chafed under a previous King determined to rule not just their lives but their destinies, were themselves determined to take hold of their unalienable rights, their freedoms, and with them, accept their responsibilities.

We, the sheeple, have, it seems to me, just proven (albeit in a squeaker of an election) that the tide has shifted.  No longer in America do we have a majority of people seeking guidance from their own hearts and faith along with a demand for personal freedom and, as payment, accepting the responsibilities attendant on them.  We now have a slight but growing majority of those who seek guidance and goodies from a generous elite tyrant, who knows so much better than they what they should do and how they should think.

No longer the true “home of the brave” we are now home mostly to frightened souls willing to trade freedom for those endless goodies and the security from having to accept any responsibilities for our own actions or consequences for our own choices no matter how moronic or self-destructive.  Neither Pericles nor Solon, nor even Alexander could be more surprised and disappointed at what has happened to once mighty Greece than would be Washington and Jefferson and Franklin at what has become of the country they left us.

And with that change, perhaps appropriately toward the end of 2012 (think Maya calendar) we have reached another critical point of change; the point where we as a nation no longer deserve the freedoms paid for in blood by those who have gone before.  Perhaps our cultural 2012 apocalypse is that we have become so degraded in our ethics and depraved in our desperation to avoid approbation for behavior or restraint in our choices we cannot logically or literally be seen as the same people spoken about in our Declaration of Independence; and we are certainly no longer secure from governmental abuse by the Constitution based, as it is, on those obviously outmoded concepts of individual freedom and the restraint of government.  When we sit by without comment as our ruler sets new records in Executive Orders and the creation of bureaucratic fiefdoms, aka “Czars” all to allow the creation of laws and regulations bypassing congress, we are obviously, as a people, in collusion with the damage being done to our founding rules.

We are instead, fueled by indolence and driven by a self-anointed sense of victimized injustice, crying for a new declaration, but this time it will be a Declaration of Dependence along with a new Constitution guaranteeing us all a place at the public trough.

And such a people as we seem to be descending into obviously cannot be trusted with the means to keep the government in check or, for that matter, any tools or even thoughts, which would suggest that evil exists, that some people do evil and are evil.  Much less should such a people as we have become have granted to them rights of self reliance and the rights to the results of exercising that self reliance.  And much less the right to own a weapon.

I personally believe it is time to call “bullshit” on this idiocy of blaming a tool.  I went to my guns and hauled their little butts out to have a chat and told them not to be trying to entice me to go off and hurt innocent people and definitely not to be doing it on their own.  As carefully as I tried to listen, not one of them had a word to say to me.  Perhaps I am blessed (or cursed) with stupid guns that are just hunks of machined metal and not infused with a wicked spirit.

But according to my so-called friends on Facebook, those hunks of metal are endowed with a rudimentary though malicious intelligence and a powerful volition to either do harm on their own or to somehow, by means as yet not fully understood, trick otherwise intelligent, kind, gentle, stable individuals into taking them out and allowing them to do violence on others.  By their reckoning, it is the gun that needs banishment not the people who would never even think of violence and hurt were it not for the influence of the evil firearm.

We do not allow children these days to do anything even remotely possible to hurt themselves.  They no longer are even aware of danger since they are wrapped up in our protective gear and paranoia to be “safe.”  Children no longer trained to protect themselves against a bully of their own age have no point of reference from which to even attempt to protect themselves against an adult bent on their destruction.  Nor are they prepared to deal with the array of bullies they will find as adults in the business world.  Their overwrought protection has, in fact, made them incredibly vulnerable to all forms of physical, mental, and emotional destruction.

And yet in this Orwellian world of double speak and double think, the destroyers cannot themselves be truly responsible because if we allow for the mere possibility that a bad guy can be blamed for HIS behavior, then we open the flood gates to having our own behaviors examined and perhaps, to the detriment of our fragile egos, condemned.  To protect us from blame and scrutiny and ever feeling bad, we make it impossibly hard to get mentally unstable individuals off the streets and into some form of care or confinement while instead using that instability as an excuse for behavior.  It may be a partial explanation but it is not an excuse and it should not be tolerated.

We have reached a point where we no longer believe in the power of God but we do seem to believe in the power of an inanimate object to command its owners to commit murder and mayhem.  We hear Son of Sam say the devil spoke to him through dogs and say, “well, y’know, like maybe… he was not, like, y’know, a bad guy; he was just, like, sick and needs, y’know, to be better understood.”  Really?

I’m not even the slightest sorry that I feel we should not be called upon to spend one more penny to keep Berkowitz, Manson, Kuzinski, Hassan, et al breathing our air one more second.  To demonstrate the avoidance of bad consequences for bad behavior simply facilitates and perpetuates more bad behavior.  If it makes YOU feel good, great, but do not ask me to spend a penny paying for it.

Do not ask other innocents to die for it when the next loon that was on lots of radar screens as unstable and dangerous, whose writings indicate a desire to wreak vengeance for real or imagined slights on real or imagined tormentors, but were never confined because that would be “intolerant” or, worse, insensitive.  I call “Bullshit” on such idiocy.

Maybe Elvis isn’t dead after all… And maybe those really ARE aliens kept on ice in Area 51.

Such a population of stupid, lazy, insufferable, self-proclaimed victims and the terminably needy have no rightful place at the same table as those who have gone before; those who have accepted sacrifice, sometimes the ultimate sacrifice, to purchase and repurchase our freedoms and rights of self determination.  If this new entitled American citizen (or even non-citizen; who cares they are here and need a voice, right?) is an exemplar of what we, as a society and culture have become, then those poor devils of old made their sacrifices in vain and for nothing; the generation they fought and died to protect has slapped their efforts in the face and rejected their beliefs out of hand.

We need to end the hypocrisy of observing Veteran’s Day as if we truly respected what those veterans had done and would dedicate ourselves to protecting it.  Nonsense.  This new citizenry has, in my opinion, cast off those blood-bought rights and flung them on the dung heap of their own tolerance turned to cowardice and fear turned to ignorance gone to seed.  They have dedicated themselves to turning this country into a place those brave souls would never have fought for and certainly would never have offered their lives for.

So maybe it is time to admit that, defacto, while some of us were not paying attention, growing numbers of our citizenry have knowingly and purposefully abrogated and abdicated their claims on the rights granted in our Constitution and it needs to be re-written to accommodate this new entitled people.

We have already limited our Free Speech Rights, we have already worked hard to turn Freedom OF Religion into Freedom FROM Religion (except, of course, for the religion of others who seek to destroy us).  We have already turned the Right “peaceably to assemble” (which means to assemble lawfully) into the Right to form a mob and do damage or any unlawful act to anything in the area so long as you espouse the correct and accepted agenda.  So why not, while we are at it, simply toss out our right to maintain the weapons with which to keep government at bay since we now apparently feel the need for that government to think for us, provide for us, keep us safe from each other (though not from it), and to determine for us, with far greater wisdom than we could ever possess, how to best allocate and distribute the fruits of our labor?

Who are we, after all, to think we should have such a right to choose for ourselves?  That’s not fair.  What is fair is having those who will be productive carry the load for those that will not.  And those that will not be productive deserve everything those who will be productive earn just, apparently, because they were born.  And maybe, if we really think about it and try, as caring individuals to empathize with them, they actually deserve even more since their poor innocent egos are damaged and they are made to feel bad by having to sit by and look on as others work and they are, by their lack of effort and enterprise, left empty handed.

Let’s try something heretical, some perspective on this tragedy.  Not in any way to diminish the scope of it or the horror of it and certainly not to diminish the evil and depravity of the perpetrator; rather to understand the situation on a broader scale.

In the last few years, 2010 to 2012, there have been school murders across the globe: in Russia, in Germany, in Canada.  Even in China during those years there were multiple school attacks around the country leaving over 20 dead children and many more wounded.  But in China no one was shot: the weapons instead were knives, cleavers, and in one especially horrible case, gasoline.

The worst school massacre in this country occurred in Bath Township, Michigan… in 1927.  Thirty-eight children and a few adults were murdered by a disgruntled looser of a local election.  His weapon of choice… dynamite.

What this all should start to illustrate is that any attempt to deal with this behavior that concentrates solely on the tool to the exclusion of the individuals doing the murdering, is doomed to failure.  Concerning my views on the 2nd Amendment and what we might do about  it see the post on “The Aurora Shootings, Pt 2.”  But clearly despite the typical liberal’s desire for simplistic feel good solutions, we have got to address far more than simply whether we should any more be allowed to own a firearm.

Do you hear about those other shootings around the world even though an internet search on school attacks makes them easy to find?  No.  Don’t expect Chris Matthews, Allen Colms, or Rachel Maddow to talk about them.  Why?  Because they do not fit the agenda.

Bah.  So again I call “Bullshit!”  I think this new majority deserves the world and the government they seem to want though, if history has any predictive value, it will turn out far different than they think it will.  But I can tell you this… I sure as Hell do not want it for myself.

I believe history has shown the accuracy of the adage that when a government fears the people there is justice, but when a people fear the government there is tyranny.   But when they realize that is true… it will be too late.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Magic of Misdirection, or, How to Turn a Good Thing into a Bad One…

San Diego:  Most of us are sufficiently sophisticated to know that most of the illusions done by stage magicians are accomplished by simple misdirection.  The wizard, with grand gestures, shows us something that attracts our attention while in the background palms the item, hides it behind the screen, or does whatever is needed to make us think, when we are allowed to look again at the subject, that some fundamental change, prohibited by the laws of physics and common sense, has taken place at his or her direction.

It is SOOOooo effective that it was adopted, long ago by another group of professional charlatans: politicians.  And down to this day, with an absolute minimum of slight of hand, carefully selected “documentation” (telling you only the parts that you are likely to agree with) and misdirection, they convince you to back things that sound wonderful based on the presentation but in the end turn out to be far different.  Sometimes that is simply because of unintended consequences flowing from a poorly thought-out plan.  Sometimes it is because no one told us that there was no “sunset” or natural end to what was sold as temporary.  But too often it is because we were told to look at the good stuff while the bad stuff was hidden behind a screen of obfuscation and made too difficult to easily access.  So, hook in mouth, we are unwitting or ignorant facilitators of the grand schemes of people who talk a good line but in fact have neither love nor respect for us apart from whether or not we can get them re-elected and impose their grand agendae on the rest of the country… and then world.

A few years ago, at an ecology summit in Rio, the U.N. (United Nations) floated a comprehensive plan called “Agenda 21.”  In it were a number of very positive and noteworthy goals; goals for the betterment of the environment that no one would find fault with and fail to back.  Some were marvelous goals that, had the agenda stopped there, I would readily support.  But the overall topic was “sustainability” and “biodiversity” and the 40-Chapter document buried the real goals deep in the bowels of the fine print of that and supporting documentation yet to come.

The U.S. representatives had the gall to read it carefully and promptly refused to sign it on the grounds that it asked nations to give up sovereignty over even ancillary things like education and private property to U.N. regulators.  This was in spite of the fact that the first President Bush supported it.  As more of its fine print became public, and as more ancillary documentation, guidebooks, etc. appeared, support started to fall away when more and more people realized this was not about the environment per se, it was a plan, using the environment as a cover, to create a new world order run by the U.N. and to which all nations would be subservient.

The cat escaped the bag, for those willing to follow along and read the documents as they became available, when UNESCO created the supporting documents referred to as their “Global Biodiversity Assesment.”  For the U.S. it was essentially dead except for those who had read only the headlines and still thought it was designed to save the planet.

But on 6/9/2011 King Barrack I signed on to the agreement and then, to make sure we couldn’t find any pesky loopholes in the musty old Constitution that might prohibit us taking orders from foreign governments, while we were all titillated by the sleaze surrounding the Senator Weiner self portrait scandals, signed Executive Order 13547 on 7/19/2011, which basically restated the main points of Agenda 21 so that they applied specifically to Rural America.  i try to stay up on these things but i confess the misdirection worked on me too and I have just, in the past few weeks, become aware of it all being revived.  It has taken a bit to research it (because Idid not believe it at first) but even though I’ve not been able to research all of the ramifications, there are a few that need to be talked about now as we head into a new election cycle.

I can already hear all of the environmentalists saying that is a good thing; we are finally going to protect the environment. Hey, I’m in favor of protecting the environment but not at the cost of human rights or at the cost of turning over U.S. sovereignty to countries that wish us harm. I think we can protect the environment without that extraneous stuff.  And unless you are a rabidly extreme environmental terrorist, who sees humans as, at best, terrestrial skin cancer to be eradicated if possible and controlled at least, I can almost guarantee you that you will not like what goes along with the sustainability parts but are part of the U.N.’s mandated agenda.

(By the way, I’m going to cite and quote passages from some pertinent documents.  But we all know that is easy to fudge so if any of this matters to you, since ALL of them are online and easy to “Google,” before you accuse me of spinning this out of control, take the time to find on your own (so you cannot say I gave you a false document) and read the complete documents yourself.  Not just the good parts you like but ALL of them and see if, when taken as a whole, you cannot see a better plan by saving the good stuff to stand alone and getting rid of the parts that threaten your nation.  And while you are at it, ask yourself why those other parts might be there in the first place if the authors wished us well?)

So what are those other parts to which I am obviously opposed?  Most strenuously I am opposed to those parts having to do with Private Property and Education.  Let’s start with private property rights.

To me the foundational human right from which all others flow, is the right to earn by our own efforts, contract for, and keep sacred and sacrosanct, our own property.  If the rights to earn and hold the fruits of our own labor are removed then we are no better than slaves to who ever controls them.  When the means of production and the distribution of the results of that production are controlled by any outside authority other than the individual then there really IS no individual freedom remaining.  All of the other freedoms flow from this one.

So I am unalterably opposed to anything that diminishes that right.  And what do the pages of, and documents flowing from, Agenda 21 say about it?  The U.N. “Global Biodiversity Assessment” seeks the centralizing of all — ALL — property management under U.N. oversight and states clearly that, “property rights are not absolute.”  To underscore that, the same document shows maps leading to the collecting of humans in specific areas leaving the rest of the country (approximately 90% of it) out of bounds for not only human ownership but in many cases human presence of any kind.  THe color coded map shows those areas where humans are allowed and where they are not.  For those who thought it untenable the way we put native americans on reservations, i would think you would have a problem with this plan since it effect you.

And where humans ARE allowed they can only conduct very tightly prescribed agricutural practices.  The EO mentioned above seeks to make it a felony — a felony — to grow anything not allowed under government mandates and connects, as specified participants in overseeing and enforceing the mandates, virtually every department in the U.S. government.

Under such a scheme you may hold some paper title to some property but if you can only do with it as the government tells you then the truth is you have no property rights remaining.  A government that can tell its rural citizens what to grow has no problem telling its urban ones what to do.

Some forums have commented this is not likely to happen because no educated and informed population would ever allow it.  I think that is true, as far as it goes.  The only way to accomplish such things is with a radically dumbed down populace.  But i have argued long that we are systematically and systemically doing that now.  but while I argued that from observation and logic, the U.N. supplied the documentation to show it is not just a U.S. goal but one of the U.N.’s as well.

The years 2005-2015 Unesco decreed was the “Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.”   They knew what communist “re-educators” from Marx to Lenin to Mao wrote that you only need one generation of school kids to change a country’s thinking.  Think of the chilling efficiency with which the Third Reich created “The Hitler Youth” or Mao created his Red Brigades.  In keeping with the observable success of generational re-education, the U.N.’s avowed goal of that decade was to “encourage changes in behavior to create a more sustainable future via implementation of Agenda 21.”

Well, so what is wrong with that?  Nothing, if it stopped there.  But it did not.  This plan as further enumerated aimed to transfer loyalty from the family to the government whose goals were, of course, only interested in sustainability while traditional families were painted as plunderers of the earth.  That is a very different reality from the one we know.  So how to you alter it?  Well you have to teach students to not trust what they think of as reality and so, true to that need, on page 10 of the document we are told that under this plan (referring to the approved pedagogy called “constructionism” that

“…students construct (their own) understanding of reality and (come to realize) that objective reality is not knowable.”

Any scientists among you find a problem with that?  Well since most higher sciences have a basis in mathematics, if this goal is to be realized, you are a dying breed anyway. The recommended math text under this constructivist program (provided of course by UNESCO) is “Getting to Know Connected Mathematics.”  Following this text, students, according to the intro,

“…learn that mathematics is man-made, that it is arbitrary, and that good solutions are arrived at by concensus among those who are considered expert.”

What?  We can never know “objective reality” and therefore math and science is a matter of consensus by “experts” (meaning the world should still be flat since most did not agree with Aristarchus).  For centuries the expert consensus was that the sun and universe actually revolves around the earth and witchcraft or the devil is the cause of most disease.  Science is a search for truth not consensus and it uses immutable mathematical principles and laws to do it.

So does it work?  In the teacher’s guide in the back of the book on Page 84, it says,

“Because the curriculum does not emphasize arithmetic computations done by hand, some CMP students may not do well on tests in favor assessing computational skills.  We believe such a trade-off in favor of CMP is very much to the students’ advantage in the world of work.”

if it works then why would you need such a disclaimer.  And if science and math results are to be arrived at by consensus, especially in the higher realms of math used by physicists, where would we be?

We would be a whole lot more ignorant, that is where we would be… and you all know it.  So why would any modern organization work so hard to kill education when it is education alone that has allowed humans to progress through the ages?  This seems utterly self-contradictory.

Well, I thought there was only one logical answer and they would hide the truth of it.  But to my surprise, they are be happy to tell you the answer to that.  Hang on to your hat because this is the thinking you will be supporting if you get behind this U.N. (and now U.S.) program.  Remember that goal for the educational decade I noted a few paragraphs above?  Well it follows the UNESCO Paper titled “Education for Sustainable Development” in which the following stunning assertion is found…

“Generally more highly educated people, who have higher incomes, consume more resources than poorly educated people who tend to have lower incomes.  In this case, more education increases the threat to sustainability.”

So tell me, all you liberal educators, how well that goes down?  You claim to believe in education but your dear leader and exhalted messiah has signed onto a world view that sees education not as a solution but as a threat.  Have you ever read a more Orwellian statement than that outside the pages of fiction?  This is not about saving the planet but preparing the planet for a new order run by people hostile to our existence.  And once again there are only two ways to interpret his action: (1) he is rock stupid and never bothered to actually read it or (2) he is brilliant, read it all, agrees with it, and this plan helps him further his own agenda.

Bad as that is, it does not stop there.  Our Secretary of State is supporting our signing onto the U.N.’s “Small Arms Treaty: which essentially destroys the 2nd Amendment.  Even if you oppose the Second Amendment it is still part of our Constitution and surely you are not in favor of setting a precedence of allowing that foundational document to be obviated by foreign fiat without a vote of the people.  Are you willing to let the U.N. with members such as Libya, China, North Korea, Cuba, tell us which clauses in our own constitution we can keep and which we much throw away?

King Barrack is willing to do that.  Do you not see a trend here?  We have an administration with its own agenda that is in conflict with the Constitution.  OK, that is a legitimate debate to be had, as it was with the Federalists and Anti-Federalists in the first place. Let the citizenry, at least the few remaining who can read, get involved and then vote the ideas up or down.  But no matter which side of the political fence you graze on, you cannot, surely, fail to see the unintended consequences of letting one side or the other toss away the Constitution by executive order or by agreeing to a U.N. treaty, because the next time, it might be the other side doing it and quoting precedent to excuse it.

Or do you all simply not care anymore?  If they keep giving you the handouts and protecting you from your own laziness you are fine with it, is that the case?  No, I don’t think so because I don’t think you would have read this far if it was.

Now, I would like very much to believe that none of that is even remotely achievable in the short term.  And Ihope that the people advancing that agenda either are booted out of positions of authority or grow weary of failure and give it up.  So I am not trying for a moment to “lock and load” to man the ramparts to literally launch the next revolution to stave off this idiotic plan.  But what I am trying to do is tell you, show you, that such ideas are alive and well and sponsored by people you may never have suspected of such intellectual perfidy.  Whether or not they succeed is, as always, the choice of the people who allow it and who will deserve the outcome no matter what it is.

But the point is that such philosophical nonsense is alive and well, it is out there, and it is seriously getting in the way of REAL progress and REAL solutions to these problems, including environmental ones, because it is misdirecting us from the thinking that might actually work.  And because of that, for those who seriously think we need to address environment issues, you should send these mental scoundrels packing as soon as possible.  Like those who think you can solve a debt crisis by borrowing more money, those who think you can solve complex environmental issues by reducing education and computational skills, are simply trying to take you eyes off of their real goal which is power and domination achieved through destruction of the present systems.  Or they are true morons.  And why would you throw your support behind either of those types?

So at what may be the most critical time in our history since the civil war, teetering on a pivot point that could send us forward or backward, never has your attention to the details been more important.  Don’t take anyone’s word for anything in this age of spinmeisters.  And that includes me!  Look the documents up for yourselves and read them!  Follow their suggestions to the logical extreme and see if you still like the outcome and if those are in synch with the outcomes they “promise” you.

We all enjoy being fooled by the guy on stage in the top hat, cape, wand, and pretty assistant.  But unless you truly hate this country and want to see it destroyed rather than fixed, you are not going to enjoy the results of the illusions being performed for you by the current politicians.  if you don’t like the magician the theater will often give you your money back.  If you facilitate this show and then realize you do not like it, there will be no money to give back and it won’t matter, because you will have no standing to ask for it anyway.

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy Birthday America

San Diego – On this day in 1776, some very brave individuals dipped their quill pens in an inkwell and signed their names to a document that was to alter the course of history not just for this country but for the world.  The values embodied in that writing were, for over 100 years, the values that motivated this nation and illuminated its character until it truly became the place symbolized by the lady with the torch in New York Harbor.

Those men had backbones of steel and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish the land of the free and home of the brave.  Their words were immortal even if their bodies were not; and for that they should be grateful.  Because if they were still alive to see what we have done with their trust, a trust for which many of them actually gave their lives and fortunes, I think they would be appalled and profoundly saddened to see their political progeny with backbones of cornmeal mush.  John Adams wrote:

“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.” 

If there is kindness in Heaven then Adams will not be allowed to look down.  As a nation we no longer truly understand the word ‘honor’, much less ‘sacred honor’.  I fear that in another 230-odd years into the future, if in fact we have that amount of time left, future historians will see this country as little more than a footnote in history as is Rome or Babylon to us.  Unless, that is, we quickly get our heads back on straight and our country back on course and away from the ruinous path we are now on.

Most of the celebrants today are simply out for a day off work and the chance to see some good fireworks displays where they are still allowed.  A recent survey showed that only about a 3rd of the people knew what year the Declaration of Independence was written, fewer still could name any of the signers,  a statistically insignificant number could recite any of the reasons for it, and an astonishingly low number, less than a quarter of them, knew from whom we were declaring independence.  And it gets worse,

We have so degenerated into partisan bickering that a recent Harvard study concluded that 4th of July events tended to benefit Republicans and gave no benefit to Democrats.  What???  We have a major party fielding candidates to lead the country who derive no benefit from remembrances of the date on which, for the first time, we defined this country as one which was, as noted in some of my previous posts, obsessed with freedom?  What does that say about them if it is true?  And if it is true why would anyone have any truck with them at all?

Well the reason seems to be that Marx was right after all:  people will get soft after awhile and forget the fire that was in the bellies of their elders and ancestors and come to a point where all they want from a government is to be taken care of.  And they will give up the freedoms for which those signers risked everything, so that the fruits of the labors of others will be used to carry them.

Don’t think so?  Another poll taken just a few months ago showed that for the first time ever, over half of the citizens wanted the government to partake in wealth redistribution and have the people willing to work provide the goodies for those who are not.  As a nation and culture, this country cannot survive that attitude which is anathema to everything — EVERYTHING — those signers believed in.

Rather than accept the founders’ own words about what they believed and tried to accomplish, our universities are filled with liberal professors who have reinvented them in the images of their own beliefs and ignored all of the carefully written documents and letters to the contrary.  Those teachers are, to use Lenin’s appraisal, “useful idiots.”  And students, who know only what they are taught and no longer seem willing to take the time or expend the effort to go researching and analyzing evidence on their own, swallow that poison in big single gulps.  Who needs a Jim Jones when we have a cadre of professors pouring the cultural Kool-Aid for them?

I have written before and offered quotes to show that the social and political philosophies of the founders following Locke and Burke and elegantly phrased by Washington, Jefferson, Madison and other are not what is too often taught in our schools and certainly not in mine.  I have pointed to their own writing to demonstrate what they REALLY intended with the Bill of Rights and how it was NOT even remotely close to what we modernly have come to assert.

Though I have not previously written about one of those revisionist topics, a news article today encourages me to do so.  It is now popular to try to contend that the founders were not religious people and certainly not Christian. Even our president, King Barrack, said we are not a Christian nation.  We have usurped the founding fathers’ awareness of religious abuses and consequent fear of a State Religion to declare they were not, themselves, religious and spiritual people.  But as explained by Benjamin Rush, one of the founders and our first Secretary of Education,

“The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty; and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments…. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity, by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws.”

Much is made modernly of Jefferson’s religious thinking and many claims are even made that he was most likely an closet atheist.  It is true he held organized religions, especially those with a priestly caste that interfered in governments, in the lowest esteem.  But that is a different matter and in a letter to John Adams, discussing Calvin, with whom he disagreed, Jefferson wrote:

 “I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did.”

Undaunted, much is also made of the alleged fact that even George Washington said that the U.S. was in no way founded on Christianity (though actually that is a quote from Adams) and also on the unfortunate fact that some quotes to the contrary by him have been shown to be, themselves, utter fabrications.  Indeed he may be one of the most often misquoted people outside of Yogi Berra and Abe Lincoln.

But there are plenty of Washington’s real letters and recorded speeches to draw from and we need to put those real lines in context as Madison admonished when he wrote that such reinventions of what people believed came from separating their words from the environments in which they lived.  In presenting one of the most critically important issues in trying to interpret the words of those no longer around to clarify things for us, Madison prophetically warned us,

“Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.” 

The founders were fearful of a state religion and noted frequently the history of Henry VIII who made himself head of the Church of England.  But to separate church and state politically is a very different thing entirely from separating a culture’s reliance on foundational religious principles and values.  And we therefore need to accept that Washington also wrote:

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” and further “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.”

Or let’s listen to John Adams…

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 

I think we are now seeing the truth of that statement come true as we increasingly lose our moral compass as we throw away our religious values.  It is true that Adams railed against the abuses of religion throughout history and so fought long and hard to make sure the new country he was helping to found did not incorporate the co-founding of a State Religion.  But for himself and his own beliefs, he also wrote:

“But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.” 

Alas, modern revisions and attempts to reinvent the founders’ beliefs and intentions didn’t start with the religious issue and has hardly stopped there.  The new interpretations, as i’ve pointed out now and then, extend to other matters as well. James Madison, who wrote in defense of the 2nd Amendment (and contrary to a retired City College professor who asserted to me that the 2nd Amendment was written to avoid the draft— which NO ONE back then was talking about since after the war they virtually disbanded the army entirely)…

“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Our professors and liberal leaders have clearly done what Madison advised against above and have taken words apart from their historical context as they tried to reinterpret and reconnect the founders’ words with the professors’ own desires.  And as a result we are, in my opinion, getting the very government he feared would intrinsically follow: “…a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.”

Perhaps in part that is because we did not heed Madison’s other prescient warnings, such as…

“I believe 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.”

And elsewhere he noted.

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. … It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad. … It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”

Madison also had something to say to those who believe it is the role of government to provide a common trough from which all might feed.

“The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy.” 

So what is the point of all of this recitation?  Why have I here and in other posts tried to show what the founding fathers and the intellectual mentors they admired wrote and meant as contrasted with modern, and mostly liberal, attempts to claim otherwise?  The reason is simple and straightforward.

I believe the country those great mean defined and founded was the best thing that ever happened to the history of man’s attempts to form “…a more perfect union.”  Yes it has flaws but our Constitution also provides the means to correct them.  But, to the point, we cannot accurately asses their words and deeds without accurately understanding their true intentions and foundational beliefs.  If we try to make course corrections without that understanding we are almost guaranteed to make mistakes and in this world those could be culturally and nationally deadly.

Many of the same issues facing them are facing us.  The world has grown and evolved but in some fundamental ways not changed all that much.  And human nature, sadly, has not appeared to have changed at all.  Our modern world may provide additional solutions to those problems facing us, but if we cannot accurately understand what the real problems they were addressing with their solutions and simply try to attack the bottom line, our chances of lasting success are virtually nil as are the chances of not doing some damage to the good parts as well.

My fear therefore stems from the fact that I believe that as we as a nation, following mostly liberal thinking, have drawn further and further away from the principles laid down by the founders starting with that document signed on the first 4th of July,  Our nation has gone, as a result, from growth to decline.

I believe that if the liberal socialist ideals embraced by much of Europe, and profoundly held by our current president, continue to expand and control, then we are doomed.  Like every other time in human history socialist economics has been applied and failed, it will fail with us too. There have been no exceptions to that litany of failure and we will not be the first.

In fact the country and especially this state (California) are poster children for the proposition that Socialist/Keynesian economics will bring any followers to ruin.  I fear, along with John Adams, that,

“… a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”  And…

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” 

I also believe that when we find ourselves adrift in terms of core values just as we are adrift economically; when we reach, as we seem to have started doing, the point where we refuse to discriminate between right and wrong and insist morality is an old and obsolete concept, then our national soul is a rotten as our national purse and we, of right, are laying the seeds of our own destruction. Again, in the words of John Adams,

“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a country. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” 

I sadly am increasingly of the belief that King Barrack knows his Adams well.   He is not very good with the sword, as we are seeing, but he is beyond excellent with debt.

So on this Fourth of July in 2011 I will be celebrating the birthday of what was, at one time, the greatest country on earth.  For those who feel that this celebration has no benefit to them then I would say you need to re-assess your thinking or seriously consider emigration to a country more in line with your beliefs.

You cannot have it both ways.  If you belong to the “blame America first” thinkers, and if, eventually, you get your way and we turn into another socialist country of the current European model, then we will simply have their problems (think Greece as the exemplar of that ideal) you will lose the good things you wanted to keep.

If, on the other hand, you help those like me turn the country back to what it was you may lose your place at the government trough because I would personally throw the trough away.  But with that comes a place of true freedom, a place where, for those willing to work for it, the pursuit of happiness can result in success to a level unachievable in those other places from which our immigrants have come.

And if you are an immigrant, legal or otherwise, please think about this: you came here to escape a place where you were treated poorly or had no hope of rising past the level you were in.  Why would you then want to turn us back into the place you came from?

So instead of turning your environment into little enclaves of “the old country,” do what our earlier immigrants did: buy into the hope and possibilities of this great land, buy into the words and meanings and values of the Declaration of Independence celebrated on this day, buy into the freedoms memorialized in our unique Constitution, and do all you can do to let us and help us grow and all you can do to keep us from slipping into the same approaches and attitudes and allegiances and corruptions that defined and described the places from which you came.

If we will only open our eyes and see it, there are benefits to us all from celebrating the birthday of the signing of our Declaration of Independence.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA!

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Citizenship Debate: Part 3

(This is actually Part 2 of a multi-part series.  Please scroll down (or link from the left panel) to read these posts in the proper sequence.  It all flows from a post on “Straw Men, Red Herrings, and Big Lies” and the comments attached so to really understand it all, you need to read that one too.)

(CONTINUED FROM PART 2)

The reasoning that Ellen and others follow arises, in part, from the Supreme Court opinion in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (1898).  As noted before, Wong Kim Ark was born in the United States in 1873. His parents were Chinese immigrants and permanent legal residents of the United States, but were not U.S. citizens. In U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), the Supreme Court ruled, in a 6 to 2 decision, that Wong acquired U.S. citizenship at birth.  The opinion in that case read in part:

“The evident intention, and the necessary effect, of the submission of this case to the decision of the court upon the facts agreed by the parties were to present for determination the single question stated at the beginning of this opinion, namely, whether a child born in the United States, of parent[s] of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent domicil and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China, becomes at the time of his birth a citizen of the United States. For the reasons above stated, this court is of opinion that the question must be answered in the affirmative. (Horace Gray, Majority Opinion, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898).”

Please note the carefully crafted wording in the decision and note it as much for what it does NOT say as for what it does.

  • The Supreme Court did not rule that Wong was a natural born citizen.  It merely ruled that he was a citizen.
  • The Court ruled that Wong was a citizen because, at the time of his birth, his parents had “permanent domicile and residence” in the United States and was “carrying on business” in the United States. President Obama’s father did not meet these conditions. He was not a permanent resident. He was visiting the U.S. temporarily, to obtain an American education.
  • The Court mentioned that Wong’s parents were subject to the Burlingame-Seward Treaty of 1868 between China and the United States. That treaty contains an unusual provision, not found in other U.S. treaties, which grants Chinese immigrants the right to change their “home and allegiance”. Although permanently-resident Chinese immigrants were not permitted to become naturalized U.S. citizens, they had (at least in theory) the right to become “nationals” of the United States; and children born in the United States, of U.S. “nationals”, are citizens within the originally-intended meaning of the 14th Amendment (Objectively Gray). Obama’s father was not subject to any treaty which recognized a change of “home and allegiance” other than by naturalization.

In the majority opinion, Justice Horace Gray cited sources which seem to suggest natural born citizenship requires something more than birth on U.S. soil. For example, he quoted the following from Minor v. Happersett (1874):

“At common law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children, born in a country of parents who were its citizens, became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. Some authorities go further, and include as citizens children born within the jurisdiction, without reference to the citizenship of their parents. As to this class, there have been doubts, but never as to the first. For the purposes of this case, it is not necessary to solve these doubts.”  (Minor v. Happersett (1874), as quoted in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (1898))

 Justice Gray also quoted from an article, by Horace Binney, which used the term “natural born” in connection with a child of a U.S. citizen, but not in connection with a U.S.-born child of an alien. In Binney’s opinion, both children were U.S. citizens, but only the U.S.-born child of a citizen was labeled “natural born”:

The child of an alien, if born in the country, is as much a citizen as the natural born child of a citizen, and by operation of the same principle. (Binney (2nd ed.), as quoted in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (1898))

The 14th Amendment theorists are quick to point out their interpretation of The Court’s Reasoning. i.e. that even though the Court did not hold (or rule) that natural born citizenship is determined by birthplace alone, Justice Gray’s reasoning seems to support that conclusion.

  • Under English common law, all children born on English soil (except the children of foreign diplomats and alien enemies) were natural-born subjects. According to Justice Gray, this English common law rule “continued to prevail” under the Constitution, suggesting that the jus soliprinciple of English common law controlled the Constitutional meaning of natural born citizen.
    • Justice Gray cited Lynch v. Clarke (1844), in which Vice Chancellor Sandford had ruled that Julia Lynch was a U.S. citizen at birth. Miss Lynch was born in New York, but at the time of her birth, her parents were not U.S. citizens. In his dicta, the Vice Chancellor expressed his opinion that Julia Lynch was a natural born citizen. (See Question 16: Julia Lynch)
    • Justice Gray also cited Circuit Court Justice Swayne’s opinion in United States v. Rhodes (1866). According to Justice Swayne, the term “natural-born citizen” should be interpreted and understood according to English common law: All persons born in the allegiance of the King are natural-born subjects, and all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens. Birth and allegiance go together. Such is the rule of the common law, and it is the common law of this country, as well as of England. … We find no warrant for the opinion that this great principle of the common law has ever been changed in the United States. It has always obtained here with the same vigor, and subject only to the same exceptions, since as before the Revolution. (Justice Swayne, as quoted by U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898)

As those familiar with the law know, often the dissenting opinion is as important as the ruling and frequently forms the basis for challenges and overturning of precedence.  In the dissenting opinion in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, Justice Fuller mentioned natural born citizenship:

Considering the circumstances surrounding the framing of the Constitution, I submit that it is unreasonable to conclude that “natural-born citizen” applied to everybody born within the geographical tract known as the United States, irrespective of circumstances, and that the children of foreigners, happening to be born to them while passing through the country, whether of royal parentage or not, or whether of the Mongolian, Malay or other race, were eligible to the Presidency, while children of our citizens, born abroad, were not. (C.J. Fuller, Dissenting Opinion, U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark, 1898)

And from a legal and logical standpoint there are problems with Justice Gray’s reasoning in my opinion.  Among the facts directly opposing the Supreme Court’s reasoning in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark:

  • Justice Gray ignored (deemed “not admissible”) the transcripts of the 1866 congressional debates, which provided direct evidence as to the meaning of “jurisdiction” in the 14th Amendment;
  • Justice Gray relied on an erroneous footnote in an article by Horace Binney;
  • Justice Gray misrepresented four prior Supreme Court rulings, none of which supported his contention;
  • Justice Gray ignored the fact that, in 18th-century English law, the terms “subject” and “citizen” were not synonymous — the manner in which one became an English subject by birth was not the same as the manner in which one became an English citizen by birth.

OK, so that is a pretty bold statement; for a layman observer to challenge a justice’s reasoning.  But we must never forget, at least until the present administration, it was the government who worked for us not the other way around.  The justices, just like representatives and the president, at least back int he day of this decision, worked for the people so the people have a right to question them.

(1) Justice gray ignored (deemed “not admissible”) the 1866 congressional debates:

In his written opinion, Justice Gray admitted that his understanding of the word “jurisdiction” in the 14th Amendment was based on presumption, not direct evidence. The transcripts of the 1866 congressional debates, in which the Framers clearly explained the meaning of “jurisdiction” in the 14th Amendment, were ruled “not admissible”.  What?  That was central to the case and it was inadmissible?

The words ‘in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,’ in the first sentence of the fourteenth amendment of the constitution, must be presumed to have been understood and intended by the congress which proposed the amendment … as the equivalent of the words ‘within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States’… Doubtless, the intention of the Congress which framed and of the States which adopted this Amendment of the Constitution must be sought in the words of the Amendment, and the debates in Congress are not admissible as evidence to control the meaning of those words. (Wong Kim Ark, 1898).

The Supreme Court did not consider evidence showing that the intended meaning of “jurisdiction” was sole and complete jurisdiction, i.e., not subject to any foreign power. (For a discussion of the originally intended meaning of “jurisdiction” in the 14th Amendment, see Question 14: Jurisdiction).  This questioning of the ruling did not start with me by any means. According to the Federalist Blog, the Court’s refusal to consider such evidence was “inexcusable”:

“A refusal to consider reliable evidence of original intent in the Constitution is no more excusable than a judge’s refusal to consider legislative intent.” (Justice John Paul Stevens, as quoted by Madison(2006))

(2) Justice Gray’s reasoning relied on an erroneous footnote in an article by Horace Binney.  Ellen said I could not rely on as research by one writer (which I have not) but then used a quote of his against me.  Well she was right about having to check for consistency for reliance on writers and here is such an instance. There were three published editions of Horace Binney’s article, The Alienigenae of the United States and there were some substantive differences.  The first two editions were published in December 1853. The Third (Final) Edition was published in the American Law Register in February 1854.

All three editions cited the Naturalization Act of 1790, which states:

And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States: (Naturalization Act of 1790; emphasis added).

Here is one big problem… In the first two editions of Binney’s article, the Naturalization Act of 1790 was quoted incorrectly:

[T]hat the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States shall be considered as natural born citizens — with a proviso, that the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons who had never been resident in the United States. (Misquote of Naturalization Act of 1790, in Binney (2nd ed.), p.21, emphasis added).

In the misquoted text, foreign-born children do not receive U.S. citizenship solely by descent from their parents. Rather, these children’s U.S. citizenship depends on their subsequent residence in the United States.  Based on the misquoted text, Binney added a footnote asserting that descent, by itself, is never sufficient to confer U.S. citizenship at birth:

The right of citizenship never descends in the legal sense, either by the common law, or under the common naturalization acts. It is incident to birth in the country, or it is given personally by statute. The child of an alien, if born in the country, is as much a citizen as the natural-born child of a citizen, and by operation of the same principle. (Binney (2nd ed.), footnote, p.22).

Justice Gray cited Binney’s footnote, both in the Opinion of the Court and in the Court’s ruling. But here is the problem, Binney’s footnote was factually incorrect, in large part because it was based on an incorrect quote of the 1790 Naturalization Act. In the final edition of Binney’s article, the 1790 Naturalization Act was quoted correctly and the footnote was deleted).

(3) Justice Gray misrepresented earlier Supreme Court rulings:

Justice Gray’s reasoning relied on four prior Supreme Court rulings:

  • Inglis v. Trustees Of Sailor’s of Snug Harbor, 28 U.S. 99 (1830);
  • Shanks v. Dupont, 28 U.S. 242 (1830);
  • Levy v. McCartee, 31 U.S. 102, 109 (1832); and
  • McCreery v. Somerville, 22 U.S. 354 (1824).

Justice Gray misrepresented all four of these rulings. None of them supports his contention (See Appendix 5: Wong Kim Ark reasoning).

(4) Justice gray ignored the fact that, in 18th-century England, the manner in which one became a “subject” by birth was not the same as the manner in which one became a “citizen” by birth.

Justice Gray quoted a North Carolina state supreme court opinion:

Before our Revolution, all free persons born within the dominions of the king of Great Britain, whatever their color or complexion, were native-born British subjects; those born out of his allegiance were aliens. … Upon the Revolution, no other change took place in the law of North Carolina than was consequent upon the transition from a colony dependent on an European king to a free and sovereign state. … British subjects in North Carolina became North Carolina freemen; … and all free persons born within the state are born citizens of the state. … The term ‘citizen,’ as understood in our law, is precisely analogous to the term ‘subject’ in the common law, and the change of phrase has entirely resulted from the change of government.  The sovereignty has been transferred from the man to the collective body of the people; and he who before was a ‘subject of the king’ is now ‘a citizen of the state.’ (Justice Gaston, State v. Manuel (1838) 4 Dev. & b.20,24-26, as quoted in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark).

When the thirteen colonies became independent states, some of them (including North Carolina) chose to base their citizenship laws on the jus soli principle of English common law. This choice was a matter of convenience. It was not dictated by English common law or convention.

(CONTINUED IN PART 4)

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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