The Bill of Rights Is In Need of Some Shoring Up

In the D.C. Comics film Wonder Woman there is a scene when Diana is preparing to leave the Themyscira with Captain Steve Trevor and her mother, Hyppolita, tells her, “Be careful in the world of men, Diana, for they do not deserve you.” That scene struck me when I saw the film in the theaters and has been weighing heavily on my mind ever since I watched the movie again after it came out on dvd.

While the term ‘world of men’ most likely refers to a world which actually has men in it, as opposed to the Themyscira which is an island populated solely by Amazonian women, it could also be taken to refer to the world of man outside the sanctity and security of their island paradise. Looking at it from that second perspective, there is a lot that the ‘world of men’, particularly the world of men in the United States, do not deserve; chief among them, freedom.

A few days back as I was walking through a parking lot, I saw a sticker on the rear window of an SUV that had the caption, “Freedom isn’t free” underneath a depiction of a soldier kneeling in front of an upturned rifle with a soldiers helmet set atop the shoulder stock; implying that many an American fighting man/woman paid the price for the freedom we take for granted.

While I am not for a moment taking away from the sacrifices made by our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who gave their lives for their country, I am upset that a good many Americans think it is the sole responsibility of others to put their lives on the line to defend the freedom they enjoy.

In his pamphlet The American Crisis, patriot Thomas Paine writes, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” By stating it in that manner, he lays that responsibility at the feet of everyone who enjoys the blessings of freedom. With the way people think today, Paine may as well have written, “Those who expect to reap the blessing of freedom must support their troops and law enforcement and allow government to violate their rights so that they may enjoy the illusion of freedom.”

Yesterday at work everyone was talking about the Sunday shooting that occurred in Las Vegas. The topics ranged from what would cause an otherwise ordinary guy to open fire on a crowd of people to what can we do to prevent something like that from happening again. However it was the comment made by one person in particular that sparked my anger, “I would strip down to my underwear and let them search me if it made me feel safe.”

It is that attitude which has led America to accept every law ever written which violates any of our unalienable rights. Every law restricting our right to keep and bear the arms of our choice has been passed under the guise of keeping us safe. The Patriot Act, and all the violations of the Bill of Rights that it contains, was passed to keep us safe. Taking off our shoes and passing through full body scanners at airports in violation of the 4th Amendment’s protection of our right to unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant were implemented to keep us safe. See were I’m going here?

There is a phrase which Thomas Jefferson often used that I also subscribe to, “Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem” which roughly translates to, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”

Although the erosion of our liberty has been going on for quite some time, it has only sped up dramatically since I took my first breath way back in 1958. I have witnessed our rights slowly being taken away from us to keep us safe, and I have witnessed as the American people sat back and did nothing about it.

Sometimes I have to wonder if the attention span, and memory for that matter, of most Americans isn’t limited to a sixty minute television show, or possibly a feature length film. How soon they forget the words of wisdom passed on by our Founders, and even those who lived during the lifetimes of some of the older Americans.

For instance, I know that there are many alive today who witnessed John F. Kennedy deliver the speech in which he said, “…ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” America was made great by the efforts of its citizens and their adherence to the principles upon which this nation, and our Constitution were founded. It was not made great by the efforts of our government to keep us safe, happy, and comfortable. Let me repeat that, America WAS NOT made great by the efforts of our government!

Then of course there was JFK’s predecessor, Dwight D. Eisenhower who said, “If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking…is freedom.” While that quote is un-sourced, Eisenhower did say the following as president of Columbia University in a speech given in Galveston, Texas in 1949, “If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They’ll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government.” While Eisenhower didn’t directly come out and say it, I’m guessing that he also intended that his comments also included our own government should it ever become dictatorial or oppressive.

During his tenure as an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court, Hugo Black delivered a lecture at the New York University School of Law in which he said, “It is my belief that there are ‘absolutes’ in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be ‘absolutes.'”

It all boils down to the fact that a vast number of Americans do not know what the Bill of Rights is. They believe it to be a list of loose recommendations, not the ironclad restrictions upon our government that those who ratified those 10 Amendments meant it to be.

I don’t know how you feel about it, but when someone tells me that it is okay to violate my rights as long as it keeps the people safe, I want to scream out, NO IT’S NOT! The Bill of Rights is what it is, ten amendments placing the rights they describe in a lock box; not to be touched by government, or the will of the majority. I don’t think people today understand the meaning of words such as unalienable or inviolable; and if you ask me that is a big part of the problem when it comes to the loss of liberty we have experienced. If people do not understand the nature of their rights, or their origin, then how can they most effectively safeguard them?

The simple answer is, not only can they not safeguard them they are more often than not ready to surrender them if it means they can obtain a small amount of safety and security. Well, Ben Franklin had something to say about that mindset, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” How do you like them apples?

If you value your freedom; if you truly cherish it, then you and you alone are responsible for ensuring that no one, including your government, takes it from you. This, and this alone is my litmus test for patriotism; the extent to which one values and defends their rights. And from what I’ve seen, there aren’t many who live up to my standards; or as the old military saying goes, pass muster.

Our government did not grant us our rights, nor does it control them. Our rights come from our Creator and are part of our nature as human beings and cannot be surrendered without depriving us of our humanity.

Two years before Thomas Jefferson would write our Declaration of Independence, he wrote A Summary View of the Rights of British America, wherein he declares, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Liberty, simply defined, is the ability to freely exercise all of our rights; both those expressly protected by the Bill of Rights, and those which aren’t. Remember, there is the oft forgotten 9th Amendment which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Is your right to eat, to breath, to freely walk outside your house specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights or Constitution? No, but I doubt that you’d agree to having those rights taken away from you.

Liberty, as defined by Thomas Jefferson is, “…unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.” (Source: Letter to Francis Gilmer, 1816)

Americans seem to think that tyranny cannot happen here; not in America were we have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights. I hate to burst your bubble, but tyranny can happen anywhere; even those places that have safeguards put into place to prevent it. All that needs to happen for tyranny to arise is for people to stop defending the principles which are outlined in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And if Americans had the courage to take off their rose colored glasses and see reality, they’d see that tyranny is here right now; alive and well in the U S of A.

And it is to those who fail to understand the nature of their rights; their origin, and not only say it is acceptable that government pass laws which violate them, but openly ask that they do so just to keep them safe, I leave with the following quote from 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.

In closing, I don’t know what you stand for; what your core values and beliefs are. Only you can answer that; and probably only after a bit of soul searching and deep introspection on your part. I also don’t know how far you are willing to go to defend what you stand for; but I’m willing to do whatever needs doing to defend the principles I believe in.

Our Founders demand no less of us if we are to consider ourselves among the ranks of patriots who truly stand up for the principles they fought, and some died for. Patrick Henry proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death.” While there was also this from Thomas Paine’s The Crisis, “Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.”

Are you up for what your principles may demand of you, because the Bill of Rights is in need of some serious shoring up if it is to survive. If it goes, all that America stands for goes with it. I won’t let that happen, not on my watch and not without a fight. After all, I did swear an oath to defend the Constitution, (which includes the Bill of Rights) against all enemies…BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC.

I sincerely hope that doesn’t include you…

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Is America Worthy of Its Few Remaining Patriots?

This morning I was tempted to write about last night’s shooting in Las Vegas, but then I decided to hold back until more information is provided and the speculation and rumors subside as it pertains to a possible motive for such a horrendous act of violence. My only concern is that people take what the media tells them about this tragic shooting with a grain of salt. The media WILL put their own spin on this, and you need to be careful when considering what their agenda is, and whether what they tell you is reliable or the complete story; and that’s all I’m going to say on that for now.

Less than an hour ago I was in a Walgreens refilling my prescription for Norco to deal with the chronic pain in my feet. While waiting for my prescription to be filled I struck up a conversation with a 56 yr old retired Marine. While discussing a wide range of subjects he said something I found interesting, he said, “I think our generation is America’s last chance; if we don’t fix what’s wrong with this country, nobody will.” I found that comment to be rather insightful.

The problem is, is that our generation is also partially responsible for the problems which require fixing; our apathy, our complacency, and our ignorance of the principles upon which this country was founded lie at the root of all the problems our country faces. Instead of looking backwards to those who established our system of government, we look to government itself to fix the problems; which only makes matters worse.

The further we stray from the principles America was founded upon, from the beliefs and values held by those who established our republic, the worse things get; it’s that simple. I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Yet that is exactly what we are doing, we are asking for more government programs, more laws, more protections to keep us safe and comfortable; when all that does is make things worse and lessen the extent to which we can truly be free.

Yet when someone such as myself questions our government, or the programs it puts into place I am told that I am uncaring, that I am a danger to society, or that I am unpatriotic. I don’t know about you, but my definition of being unpatriotic is sitting idly by while your rights are taken away from you and while your government enacts laws which it was never intended it be allowed to enact. That is my definition of what it means to be unpatriotic.

Patriotism, at least how I view it, is more than voting in the elections; it is more than slapping a Support Our Troops sticker on the back of your car, and yes, it is more than standing during the National Anthem. Patriotism is standing for the principles of individual liberty and individual responsibility for your lives, for your sustenance, and for accepting the responsibility for your mistakes. Patriotism is also respecting the rights of others; even those you disagree with.

If you can find it within yourselves to take a few steps back from any particular issue and try to look at the large picture, what you will see is that every single principle, every single value, every single belief that made America the greatest country on the planet is under attack.

They have taken God out of our schools and our lives and with it the respect for human life and the code of morals, or ethics which are the teachings of Jesus. They have taken away our desire to be self-sufficient and self-reliant and made those who are pariahs; slandering them with names like Preppers. They have taken away our love of the truth and labeled those who question the official story tin foil hat conspiracy theorists. They have twisted and rewritten our history to cast doubt on the integrity and honor of those who established our Republic and those who later fought against the increasing power and tyranny of the government they created to secure liberty and equality for all.

History is no longer of any importance to people today; facts are no longer of any importance; all that matters to people anymore is how they FEEL about things. People cry for freedom of speech, but their understanding of freedom of speech is that they are free to say whatever they want, but if someone rebukes them, or questions their views, then that is offensive and the person doing so should be silenced or attacked.

I know many don’t care what a bunch of old guys who have been dead for years say, but we ignore the wisdom that they passed down to us at our own peril. If you don’t know, or care, that the President does not pass laws; if you don’t know or care that the Constitution imposes restrictions upon what laws the Congress may pass; if you don’t know or care that the Bill of Rights places certain rights beyond the reach of legislative, and judicial authority, then this country is in for a world of hurt. If you also don’t know that the States were supposed to retain their sovereign identities and be co-equal in power and authority with the government created by the Constitution; with the supremacy given the federal government ONLY in pursuance of the specific powers granted it, then we are in for a world of hurt.

When Thomas Jefferson took his oath of office in 1801 he delivered his first Inaugural Address in which he said, “A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” Anyone who is paying any attention at all can see that this is not what we have now. Yet we continue to seek more laws to fix what is wrong, when the laws they have already passed may, in fact, be responsible for all that is wrong now.

But all I hear now are things such as, “Oh, you don’t support Trump, you must be a Democrat.” Nobody cares about the principles and values upon which this country was founded, all they care about is ensuring that their party is the one who is violating the Constitution and infringing upon their rights. It’s utter lunacy, but it is how people view patriotism today; along party lines.

With the rapidity at which our cultural monuments and values have come under attacks by groups such as Antifa, I can see how our generation may truly be the last chance for America. But at the same time I sit here and see how most of my generation is divided along party lines and I don’t hold out much hope that they will suddenly have any epiphanies and realize that the solution is to slam the breaks on government and once again demand that it adhere to the specific powers given it, and that it respect our rights.

The problem with that is that I see so many people who rely upon some form of government subsidy for their sustenance or survival, and that to restore government to its true functions would put an end to those subsidies and programs, and that would cause riots, anarchy and chaos; as most people are simply unwilling to accept total responsibility for their own survival.

So, things will go on as they have been; we’ll give the Democrats a chance to fix what is wrong, then we’ll give the Republicans a turn at the helm, and then from time to time we’ll give Wild Cards like Donald Trump a chance. But the truth is, not a damned thing is going to get any better; in fact, it is only going to get worse.

I don’t have to like it, and I foresee the time rapidly approaching when the remnants of men like Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson rise up and fight one last battle to restore liberty to the land of the free and the home of the brave; as though they were worthy of the sacrifice the true patriots of this country will be called upon to make because of their ignorance and apathy.

But as Jefferson said, the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants, and that time is rapidly approaching.

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Down for maintenance

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To My Fellow Californians

My father, Donald Eugene Ross, was born in the hills surrounding Covington Kentucky and when he was 16 he told his parents to sign papers allowing him to enter the U.S. Navy at an early age, or he would run off and join the merchant marines; his parents conceded and signed the papers.

Little did my father know, but as soon as he finished basic training, or boot camp as he called it, he was sent to Pearl Harbor to begin duties on his first ship. This occurred in early December of 1941, just days before the Japanese attack upon that installation.

My father served his country for the duration of World War II and then signed up again and served during the Korean conflict, or Korean War as it is mistakenly called. After almost ten years of war, of having ships torpedoed out from under him, and of losing friends, my father had seen and had enough and separated from the U.S. Navy and began life as a civilian in California.

It was there that he met Mildred Cutsinger, and soon afterwards they were married. On June 28, 1958 I entered into the picture; born in a San Francisco hospital while my parents home was in Pacifica, or Sharps Park to be precise. Before I had even learned to walk my parents picked up roots and moved to Santa Clara, California. Shortly thereafter they picked up roots again and moved to San Jose, California.

I have absolutely no memories of my early years of life…NONE. It is as if my mind has put up a wall and blocked them off from me accessing them. My first memories are of the time spent living in San Jose. Yet San Jose would not be the last stop on the Ross Family Roadshow; California’s eminent domain laws would chase us out of our home at 1556 Della Avenue; forcing us to seek residence somewhere else.

This time, however the change was something completely different. Instead of moving from one area of the Bay Area, or Silicon Valley to another, we picked up roots and moved 185 miles Northward to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, to a town called Oroville California. It was there I grew of age; it was from my time growing up there that I have the most vivid memories, and it was there that I enlisted in the Air Force and served my country for 13 years, 9 months and 11 days. Even then, twice during my time serving in the Air Force I was stationed to bases in California.

I tell you all this for one reason, and one reason only, I was born in California, grew up in California, served my country and then returned to California were I presently live. I am a Californian, through and through. Yet for all that I have a particular affinity for the South. I cannot explain why; perhaps I am a reincarnated Southerner; who knows? All I know is that of all the times I spent in states like Florida, Virginia, and Texas, I got along much better with the locals then I did when I encountered people from the Northern States, and yes, even my home state of California. Like I said, I cannot explain why; I just know that it happened.

I love my state, at least the topography; the mountains, rivers, streams and other natural wonders that make up the great state of California. What I don’t like is the left leaning tendencies of most voters, and the idiotic laws coming out of the State Capital in Sacramento. Now there is even a movement among many Californians to actually attempt to secede from the United States.

Taking its name from the British referendum to leave the European Union, CalExit is a movement among California voters to declare California’s independence from the United States. This movement gained a lot of steam when Donald Trump was elected president, but I have to wonder, have any of the people pushing for secession really given it as much thought as they should have before making such a drastic move?

I have to laugh at these people calling for the secession of California, as they are the same people who, for years, have blocked a movement by many in Northern California to break off and form our own State. Whether it is due to the fact that should Northern California become the 51st State is because we control the supply of water the political powerhouses in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area so desperately need to survive, or if it is simply because they don’t want us to leave; they have steadfastly blocked any and all efforts so distance ourselves from the control of the big cities and the idiotic laws coming out of Sacramento.

At the same time, those who are currently calling for the secession of California are also among those who decry the secession of the Southern States; which led to president Abraham Lincoln to raise an army to force them to adhere to his demand that they remain in the Union; leading to the death of over half a million people. I wonder if Californians realize that the U.S. is about as likely to let California leave the Union as it did the 11 States of the Confederacy. It would truly be funny to watch how Californians reacted if they succeeded in passing a resolution calling for secession, and then having federal troops invade their newly created nation. I wonder how many would take up arms to defend their decision, versus how many would put their tail between their legs and acquiesce to the demand that California remain a part of the United States?

I get almost giddy when I think of a cowering Jerry Brown being led away in chains by federal forces for his crimes against the Union; it would almost be worth it just to see that.

But there are other things I don’t think a great many Californians have thought about when it comes to life as an independent nation. For instance, California is prone to natural disasters; earthquakes, floods, and fires are a routine part of life for many Californians. If we were to leave the Union, that would mean the end of any and all federal aid for natural disasters; no more FEMA to the rescue, so to speak. Have Californians thought of that?

Have they thought about how they would be able to defend themselves should another foreign nation decide to invade them? Have they thought about how the influx of illegal immigrants into California would rise dramatically when the U.S. Border Patrol stopped patrolling it’s border? Have they thought about the economy and how all those businesses and contractors that rely heavily upon military contracts would lose those contracts because the U.S. government would stop buying their products and services because of our status as a foreign nation?

Then of course there is the fact that should California secede from the Union it would probably write its own Constitution granting it the powers of a nation rather than a State. I wonder if anyone has given any consideration to the fact that if they did the powers behind such a movement might not be as open to providing a bill of rights which protected the rights you currently enjoy under the United States Constitution? What would Californians do if this new Constitution completely banned the private ownership of firearms?

These are just a few of the things which originally crossed my mind in regards to the California Secession movement. But since I have started thinking about this more and more, I have begun asking myself even more questions.

For instance, what if those who have been pushing for California to be split into two states decided that they didn’t like the laws being passed by a newly elected California federal government; would it allow them to secede from the Nation of California? I seriously doubt it. Yet this only shows the hypocrisy of their position; it is okay for them to secede because they disagree with the policies of the federal government, but they can’t abide anyone seceding from them because others disagree with their policies.

In researching for this article I went to the website promoting secession for California. On it they list their reasons and justification for the push for secession. Here are just two of the bullet points they make in support of their call for secession:

-The U.S. Government spends more on its military than the next several countries combined. Not only is California forced to subsidize this massive military budget with our taxes, but Californians are sent off to fight in wars that often do more to perpetuate terrorism than to abate it. The only reason terrorists might want to attack us is because we are part of the United States and are guilty by association. Not being a part of that country will make California a less likely target of retaliation by its enemies.

-California is the most diverse state in the United States and that is something we are proud of. This diversity is a central part of our culture and an indispensable part of our economy. As a U.S. state, our immigration system was largely designed by the 49 other states thirty years ago. This immigration system has since neglected the needs of the California economy and has hurt too many California families. Independence means California will be able to decide what immigration policies make sense for our diverse and unique population, culture, and economy, and that we’ll be able to build an immigration system that is consistent with our values.

As for the first comment, I wonder if those pushing for California’s independence honestly believe that if they seceded from the United States that it would make the threat posed by Islam any less significant in California? While yes, our government’s meddling in the affairs of predominantly Muslim countries isn’t making things better, the threat Islam poses for our way of life is nonetheless a constant threat, and severing ties with the United States might only open the door for more Muslims to migrate to multicultural paradise such as California; leaving us wide open to possible attacks and the eventual push for Sharia Law to be instituted in California.

And since I’ve cracked open the door on multiculturalism, I may as well tear it off its hinges and express my thoughts on the matter. Multiculturalism is rubbish, absolute rubbish. A nation needs a sense of self; a self identity so to speak. Without that it will be divided into communities that predominantly consist of people of one heritage who push for laws respecting their culture, their beliefs. Can you imagine the disastrous effects of a state which proudly boasts of its multiculturalism becoming a nation unto itself? Where would it’s national identity be?

Statistics show that since the year 2000 whites have been a minority in California. Just picture for a moment what you envision would happen if a predominantly Hispanic government were elected to represent the newly established Nation of California. I can see Mexico once again taking control of California without ever firing a shot; nor paying back the money they were given when California became part of the Union.

Just picture what would happen were that to occur; there would be no border checks, no immigration control. Millions of those dying to get a slice of the America Dream would flood across the border looking for work, riches, or benefits they could not obtain in Mexico. That would be the end of California, and I wouldn’t hold it against any of the 49 remaining States of the Union to shoot anyone on sight who attempted to flee California for the safety of their State.

It’s not that I do not believe in the right of a State to secede, even if it is for the reasons Californians are giving; I do believe it is a fundamental right of any State to leave a voluntary Union of sovereign States. I just don’t think Californian’s have thought their decision through.

But what truly angers me the most is how many Californians condemn the South for seceding, yet they are saying that their reasons for forming the Nation of California justify them from seceding from the Union. The double standards and hypocrisy are what anger me more than what will, and notice I say WILL become of California should they push for this and succeed.

I know there are a lot of States, if not most in fact, that would say good riddance to California. But Washington D.C. is a different story altogether. They cannot allow for even a single State to set the precedent that it is acceptable for ANY State to leave the Union. They raised an army to prevent the South from exercising that right; you can bet your ass they’d do it again.

Keep that in mind California, along with all the other things I mentioned.

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Bread & Circuses

The human brain is an amazing organ; not only does it control the functions of the human body, but it is also capable of complex computations, while at the same time storing vast amounts of knowledge and information. However, aside from keeping a person alive and functioning, the brain is only as useful as the person possessing it makes it; and by that I mean the brain is only as good as the information you put inside it.

But not only does the brain keep your body functioning and store information, it also plays a role in how people respond to emotional stimuli. I am no physiologist, so I cannot say how it occurs, but the hippocampus region of the brain is responsible for how people react emotionally to stimuli.
The hippocampus region is located deep within the brain, near the brain stem; that part of the body where the brain attaches to the spinal cord. The brain stem is responsible for what we call the lower body functions; the regulating of our breathing, our heartbeats, sleeping and eating, among other basic functions.

It has been said that what sets man apart from the beasts of the world is our ability to think, to reason; to use our brains at a higher level than the animals. Sure there are some animals that have certain other abilities that we humans don’t. For instance a dogs sense of smell and hearing are more highly developed than are those of a human; but can a dog perform complex algebra equations?

I’ve never seen an actual human brain, but I’ve read that the average adult human brain is about the size of a fist and weighs about 3 pounds. It just amazes me that something so small has taken man from living in caves to where we are today with all our conveniences which make our lives so much easier. Yet for all that, humans, for the most part, still refuse to utilize their brains to their fullest extent; instead relying upon the hippocampus region to control how we feel and react to things.

As amazing as the human brain is, it relies upon two things for it to be of any use to us. First is the quality of the information we store in it. Human beings are, more often than not, somewhat lazy in their willingness to seek out the truth, or verify the information they are getting from others.

I was that way when I first began writing these little articles of mine; I would type in something like, Jefferson quotes into a search engine, and then when I read the results I would assume that everything I found was actually things Jefferson had said. After getting burned a couple times I learned to do my best in finding the source from which the quotes are originally from.

I hate to say this, but I don’t know very many people who will do that. I’m not saying there aren’t those who will, just that the number of those who accept all they hear as truth is much higher than those who go the extra mile to find out if what they heard is actually true.

The problem with this is that opinions are based primarily upon the things you think you know about a subject. Therefore, if the facts are faulty, it reasons that so are the opinions which are based upon those facts. It would be nice if we were only told the truth by everyone we encountered, but alas that is never going to happen; there will always be those who lie to us and attempt to mislead and deceive us. Therefore, it behooves each of us, if we have any integrity that is, to do our utmost to verify that what we are being told is factual or not.

Which leads me to the second thing which prevents the human brain from being as effective as it could be; the fact, as I have already mentioned; that human beings tend to be lazy. It takes years of studying to gain a working understanding of the history of this country and its political system. I’ve spent the past two decades working to expand my own knowledge on these subjects, and I have barely scratched the surface. I personally know people whose knowledge makes the little that I know pale in comparison; the scope and breadth of what they know makes me green with envy. Even with as little as I know, it took the willingness to spend hours, days, weeks, and years researching old documents and books to obtain the things I know about the subjects I write about.

I fully understand that everyone has a life and that their life demands a certain amount of their time; but we all have lives and whether or not you choose to spend your free time plunked down in front of a computer on Facebook, or spent searching out knowledge boils down to what is truly important to you. You cannot tell me that you do not have the time to study if you spend hours sitting on a couch swilling beer and watching football every Sunday. You cannot tell me that you don’t have time if you can tell me the names of every contestant on American Idol or Dancing With the Stars but you cannot tell me the names of the chain of command for the presidency, or who represents you in both your state and federal government. What it all boils down to is what you consider to be of more importance to you; your knowledge, or your being entertained.

Which leads me to bread and circuses. The phrase bread and circuses originates from the Roman poet Juvenal’s Satire X written around 100 A.D. Juvenal coined the phrase bread and circuses to criticize and condemn the selfishness of the commoner and their neglect for wider concerns beyond their own comfort and entertainment. What I see when I look out on the vast expanse of America and those who populate this land is a land of bread and circuses.

If you were to go to any public place, be it a shopping mall or sporting arena, and show the people a picture of someone like Patrick Henry, I doubt that the majority of them would be able to identify him. But show them a picture of Brad Pitt and nine out of ten people will know who he is. I’ve seen videos on YouTube of people who were asked who won the America Revolution, or who won the Civil War and most interviewed could not answer these simple questions. Then when they were asked who won the Super Bowl last year, or what movie won the Academy Award for best picture they readily answered.
If people cannot answer even the simplest of questions, how are they supposed to be able to understand the principles upon which our system of government was founded; for instance, its inner workings as outlined in the Constitution? It can’t be done; it’s that simple. Yet people believe that they are entitled to vote, to participate in choosing who will sit in the various positions of power within our government. Then when things turn sour they ask why, or demand that government do something about it.

I have read Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged six times now, and that’s one of the biggest things that jumps out at me every time I read it; how the people in Rand’s novel ask the people responsible for all their problems to pass laws which, do not fix them, they only exacerbate them.

What people fail to realize is that those in power realize the futility of passing more laws to solve all our country’s problems; they realize that the answer is not to be found in more laws, more regulations, more control. No, the answer is in less control and more freedom for the people. Their outward appearance may make it seem that they care for you, but all they truly care about is amassing more power for this thing called government.
I believe it was Ronald Reagan who once said that a government program, once established, is nearly impossible to get rid of. In fact, I believe he said that government programs were the closest thing to eternal life on the planet.

Look at what is currently happening with the Trump administrations attempts to pass their own version of a government run health care program. If I recall correctly, did not Donald Trump run on the promise of repealing the Affordable Care Act, not repealing it and replacing it with his own version of a health care program? Yet those on the left are laughing at him because he can’t repeal their precious Obamacare, and those on the right are bemoaning the fact that the Democrats are hindering his efforts to pass his own version of a government run health care bill.

Neither side stops to ask whether or not a government run health care program is among the powers given government by the Constitution; all that matters is that it is THEIR party that runs it. This is just one out of many instances of the double standards I see when people argue over whether or not the Republicans or Democrats are guilty of doing things they are not supposed to do. People turn a blind eye to the crimes of their own party, but then unleash their righteous indignation upon those of the ‘other party’ who are guilty of doing the very things they allowed their party to do. It absolutely sickens me!

Moving on, how many programs have been launched, or as our government likes to say, wars have been declared on things which have had little effect upon the problem they were instituted to solve? How many things have gotten worse due to the programs, or wars, which were instituted to eradicate these problems?

How about the war on crime, or the war on poverty? All these years, all that money and those things still exist. Then there is the war on drugs, or the war on terror which has been going on 16 years now. Are we any safer from terrorism? Sure, we may not have suffered a 9/11 type event, but that does not mean that the threat is still not out there; it only means that they may have prevented one from happening; and as long as people can go about their daily lives without the fear of a suicide bomber at their favorite shopping mall, all is well in the land of the free. It does not matter that they had to surrender half of their rights to obtain that level of comfort and security.

One of the biggest problems, at least as I see it, is that people in this country do not understand the purposes for which our federal government was put into place. They have been taught and told that it is there to fix things, to create jobs, to make the world a safer place, or to pass laws to make their lives easier, more comfortable. That simply isn’t so.

Our federal government was established primarily to act as a governing body over 13 independent nations; nothing more, nothing less. The regulation of commerce between the States, the overall, or General Welfare of the nation, and the common defense of all were the purposes for which our government was established. The specific interests and needs of the people were to be met by the State governments. This balance of power between federal and State authority was one which was jealously argued over during the convention which produced the Constitution, and in the ensuing arguments both for and against its ratification.

Our federal government was granted certain specific powers, and when it overstepped those powers we the people could either vote the responsible members out of office, or the States could simply choose to ignore these unconstitutional laws; a process known as nullification. Unfortunately, neither has happened, unless you count the numerous States which have just so happened to ignore federal laws in regards to one of the ONLY things it is actually allowed to legislate upon; immigration. The fact that numerous States have chosen not to help in deporting those in this country illegally, or those who hire illegal aliens in violation of existing law, only shows that they also care little as to what the Constitution actually authorizes the federal government to pass laws upon. In short, they let the federal government get away with untold violations of the Constitution, but when the government actually does something which is within its purview of authority, they choose to ignore the laws it passes. If there ever was an example of ass backwards, that would be it.

In 1798 Thomas Jefferson spoke of this process of nullification in his Kentucky Resolutions, wherein he said, “That the principle and construction contended for by sundry of the state legislatures, that the general government is the exclusive judge of the extent of the powers delegated to it, stop nothing short of despotism; since the discretion of those who administer the government, and not the constitution, would be the measure of their powers: That the several states who formed that instrument, being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour of that instrument, is the rightful remedy.”

But now, because either people do not know, or they do not care, political party alliance is more important than the principles upon which our system of government was established, and the nature of and from whom our rights originate. All that matters to people are bread and circuses; keeping themselves comfortable and secure without concern for how free, or how deeply in servitude this comfort ends up costing them as it pertains to their loss of liberty.

I know people won’t care, but in 1821 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Charles Hammond in which he stated, “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated ….”

Now tell me, honestly if you can, does that not describe exactly what our federal government has become? Does it not describe what our federal government has been since it deprived those who created it of the right to leave a voluntary union of States and form a government which would better suit their needs?

I know that a lot of you, no matter how much evidence is provided to contradict your beliefs, still believe that the Civil War was fought solely over the issue of slavery. Yet I’m curious as to whether you have ever stopped to ask had Thomas Jefferson, had John Adams, had Patrick Henry been alive in 1861; I wonder whose side would they have chosen? Would they have aligned themselves with the Union, or would they have taken up arms with the Confederacy?

I truly believe that how you answer that question defines how much you understand about the history of our nation’s founding and the principles for which its government was established.

While you ponder that, enjoy your bread and circuses…

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My Fervent Prayer

How would you feel if you were aware of an impending disaster, but all your efforts to warn people fell upon deaf ears, and when the disaster finally struck everyone asked why didn’t someone try to warn us? If you can picture that scenario, then maybe, just maybe you can imagine how I feel at this very moment.

For years now I have been writing these little missives, articles, commentaries; call them whatever you will, in an effort to educate and warn people of the danger of continuing to exist in a perpetual state of ignorance or unconcern that disregard for the principles upon which our country was founded can only lead to disaster. Yet, aside from a few loyal followers, my words have fallen upon deaf ears.

I have no idea how many people read these things I write once I hit the SEND button on my e-mail account, or post it to my blog or Facebook. The only means I have of gauging how many people I reach, or how effective I’ve been is through feedback; and that has been basically non-existent of late.

I do not wish to make it sound like I am wallowing in self-pity; for that is not the case. I’m looking at this solely from the position of a writer trying to gauge how effective their writing skills have become. The other night at work I did get some verbal feedback; a friend told me that I keep getting better as a writer. I have another friend who I respect very much, who also happens to be a writer of political rants, who has told me that my skills continue to improve. Then from time to time I will get an e-mail from one of my regular readers who tell me that I did an exceptional job of explaining something.

Although I do not seek fame or riches, nor do I seek popularity, I do require some sort of feedback to sustain my desire to continue sitting here in front of this keyboard day after day; spitting out these articles for people to read. I suppose I could always just continue writing and archive everything I write to my hard drive; but that would kind of defeat the purpose for which I write these political rants; don’t you think?
It’s funny, on the rare day that I do not bring an article to work for people to read I will inevitably hear the comment, “Nothing to read today Neal?” I wonder if people realize the effort that goes into writing just one of these articles; let alone one every single day? I’d love to see them try it for just a week, let alone try it for months on end.

I wonder if people have every stopped to ask themselves if, when our Founders wrote all the documents which I quote from, they ever stopped to think about whether they would obtain fame, fortune, or glory for the thoughts they were putting down on paper; or more specifically, parchment. I think not. I think they sought only to sway the minds of the masses, the enflame the hearts of those reading their words with the love of liberty to the extent that they would rise up and shake off the shackles of tyranny. If that were to happen in this modern day and age, that would be reward enough for my efforts.

But there is another reason why I hope for feedback, even negative feedback, to my commentaries. I am not a mind reader; I cannot tell what you are thinking unless you open your mouth and tell me; or sit down and write out an e-mail or commentary of your own and send it to me. The thing is, on the rare occasion that I do get negative feedback it usually consists of emotionally based insults without and substantiating facts.

I know this is a rhetorical question; but is that how debates are carried out these days, with one side attempting to provide facts and evidence in support of their position, and the other side slinging insults at them; calling them racist, homophobic, or some other name to direct attention away from where it should be; the facts?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would be pretty uncomfortable with my position on a subject if I didn’t have any facts to support it. Honestly, if I had to choose a motto to describe my life, I think it would have to be, “I go where the facts take me.”

I recall back in the 5th or 6th grade I had to memorize Patrick Henry’s immortal Give me liberty or give me death speech and then recite it in front of the class. Although it is his final words which may have planted the seed which grew into this fervent love of liberty that I have today, there is something else Henry said in that speech that has always been there, lurking in the background and pushing me on this journey for the truth. You see, Henry also said, “Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.”

Once you accept that what you thought you believed was a lie, there is no holding you back from what you can learn; you just have the courage to take that first step and admit that what you have been told about things may be untrue. It’s very much like the analogy found in the scene in the move The Matrix when Morpheus offers Neo the choice of either the red or blue pills; choose one and go on believing what you want to believe, choose the other and you’ll see how far the lies you have been told go.

I didn’t just suddenly wake up one morning knowing all that I know now, and believing in all these, as people call them, wild conspiracy theories. It was a gradual process of awakening that only came about because of my willingness to go where the facts took me. I used to be just like most other people in this country; trusting in my government and a staunch supporter of my political party; believing that the ‘other’ party was the ‘bad guys’ and that if we could just get enough of my party into power that all would be well in the kingdom. I see now what utter nonsense that belief was, but at the time I didn’t know any better; just like many of you reading this.

I have asked myself over and over again why it is that people simply cannot see things from my perspective. Is it cowardice; the fact that they require something to believe in, to cling to, to sustain them; and that to take that first step in questioning their belief system would devastate them? Is it stupidity; could it be that people have simply not been taught how to critically think; to evaluate facts and evidence and formulate beliefs based solely upon the facts? Or, could it possibly be for some other reason that they either cannot, or will not consider any facts which threaten their beliefs?

I don’t like to think of where I am now as a state of enlightenment; I like to think of it more as a state in which I have become open minded enough to consider anything, as long as there is enough factual evidence to support it. I like to think of myself as being able to weigh facts and evidence against other facts and evidence and come to a conclusion based upon the side which has provided the most compelling argument in support of their position.

In this state of mind I see analogies and metaphors all over the place. I see them in movies, and I see, or I should say, I hear them in song lyrics. But you know where else I see them? I see them in the fiction books I read. I have often been criticized for using movie quotes or song lyrics in my articles as people tell me those things are fiction and have no place in a serious discussion of politics or current events. I disagree.

Language is the means by which we communicate with each other; by which ideas and beliefs are shared. Does it matter that the messages expressed by the words are in a fictional or factual setting? Jesus taught his disciples using parables; fictional stories used to get a message across. Writers throughout the ages have done similar. Take Aesop’s Fables; they were fictional stories used to express an idea or belief. Of course there wasn’t a man named Daedalus who formed wings made of wax and feathers, who had a son named Icarus who used them; ignoring his father’s warnings not to fly too close to the sun, who fell to his death in the ocean.

Yet these analogies, these metaphors, and yes, even these fables can be used to teach us valuable lessons if we are only open minded enough to see them for what they are. Another place where one can find valuable lessons is in the Bible. One does not have to believe in God to find these lessons; all one has to do is have an open mind and read the words at face value.

In 1820 Thomas Jefferson cut and paste, quite literally, passages from the New Testament; taking only the words uttered by Jesus, while ignoring all His miracles and mentions of His divinity; leaving us with only the teachings of Jesus as it relates to morality and virtue. His work is known as the Jefferson Bible, or more accurately, The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth. A copy of that book holds an honorary position on my bookshelf, having been given to me as a gift by my friend Jeffrey Bennett.

You see, that is a big part of the problem in this country today; people can’t see past their biases and it often blinds them to the truth. The minute one mentions the Bible it turns off those who do not believe as I do. In the 1844 case of Vidal v Girard’s Educators, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of using the Bible in school, saying, “Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”

I truly believe, not only that man is capable of great evil, but that evil itself exists and has a name. Be that name Satan, Lucifer, or Beelzebub, it does not matter; I believe he exists and he exerts his influence daily upon the people of the world to turn them away from the path of righteousness. One of the ways in which he does this is by causing them to ignore the truth; causing them to believe in lies. After all, one of the names by which the devil is known is the Father of Lies; as it was he who first tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.

You do not have to believe as I do, my faith does not require that you do. Yet your beliefs should not cause you to ignore the truth when it is presented to you. If one chooses to ignore facts because they are too painful, or too unsettling, then what does that say about your character or your integrity? What does it say about a people who, for the most part, choose self-gratification and entertainment over knowledge and truth?

I don’t know what you think it says about you, but I can tell you what Thomas Jefferson felt about it. In a letter he wrote on Jan 6, 1816, Jefferson states, “… if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be. the functionaries of every government have propensities to command at will the liberty & property of their constituents. there is no safe deposit for these but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information.”

All I do in these writings of mine is try and provide you with facts that you may not have heard; a different version of the truth. It is up to you to read what I say, weigh it against what you have been told, and then form your own conclusions based solely upon the validity of the evidence provided by both sides. If you cannot, or refuse to do that, and instead allow your emotions to interfere, then there is no hope of me ever achieving any level of success with my efforts.

The Bible teaches me that this is to be expected, that mankind is weak and often unwilling, or unable to see the truth through all the lies it has been told. Did not Jesus warn of the blind leading the blind, and everyone falling into a ditch? In 2 Thessalonians it warns that “…God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, and I’m primarily addressing those who profess a belief in God, it is that God hates lies and loves those who put their trust and faith in the truth. All I ask is that you give the truth a chance; allow it into your hearts and minds, and just maybe we can stop putting our faith and trust into a broken system filled with evil and corrupt men who seek to enslave us all. As Thomas Jefferson writes, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” That statement is as true today as it was when he wrote it over 200 years ago.

It is my prayer that you open your eyes and see the truth that is right before you…before it’s too late.

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Can We Fix Things? (Yes, But I Doubt That We Will)

Liberty and freedom sat on a wall
Liberty and freedom had a great fall
And all the people’s hopes and all of their desires
Couldn’t restore Liberty to the wall once again

(Remake of Humpty Dumpty)

Although there is always the possibility that America could once again become a true Constitutional Republic as our Founders intended; it is a very remote possibility. Even if there were to be a revolution and the corrupt government we have now was overturned and ousted from power, it is my honest belief that within a very short time the people of this country would soon be clamoring for things to return to the way they are now. It saddens me to say it, but I think American’s are going to have to hit rock bottom; suffer the full blown effects of their negligence and ignorance, before there is any hope that they will realize the errors of their ways and fight for a truly constitutionally limited government which also respects their rights.

It has been said time and time again that freedom is not free; that it comes at a cost. Unfortunately, many believe that implies that it is the job of our fighting men and women to defend freedom from outside attack; while ignoring the cancer that grows inside that eats away at all America once stood for. Thomas Paine once wrote, “Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” What this means is that if we want to remain truly free, then each of us must work towards sustaining that freedom from any and all attacks; both within and without.

For generations now, the American people have refused to do that, and now we are paying the price for it. And, unfortunately, things are only going to get worse. All one has to do is to see how society treats those who openly speak of adhering to the founding principles of this country to realize that we are in bad shape as a country. Those that understand what our Founders intended when they sought their independence, and later established a system of government which they hoped would protect the liberty they had just won, are simply ignored, while other times we are insulted, and sometimes even attacked for our views.

That’s why this quote from Charles Austin Beard means so much to me, “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.”

If you truly understood the values that I hold and the things that I stand for, there is no way you would consider me a danger to anyone. How can I be considered dangerous when all I ask is that you respect my rights and leave me alone in what I do with my life? Are the concepts of, ‘you don’t hurt me and I won’t hurt you’, or ‘you don’t touch my things and I won’t touch your things’ dangerous? How?

My beliefs are only dangerous to those who seek to expand their power and control over the minutest details of my life, or wish to take from me and give to those who deem are in need. If you leave me be then I pose you no threat; none whatsoever. But the media, and our elected officials, would have you believe I am some crazed lunatic who seeks anarchy and revolution. All I want is to be left alone and for my government to limit its acts to those given it by the people who created it 229 years ago. Is that really too much to ask?

Our Founding Fathers gave us all the information we needed to keep America a free republic; all we had to do was read and adhere to the things they said. But that takes work, and it has been my experience that a vast percentage of the people in this country would rather allow their government to grow increasingly more powerful than take a few minutes every day to read and learn something about how that government was supposed to operate.

Our Founders were also very wise and astute when it came to human nature; they understood mankind and its tendencies, and they warned us of the dangers of complacency, apathy and ignorance. Alas, we paid their warnings no heed, and now we are so lost that we continue to seek the answer to all our problems from the very thing which is the cause of all our problems. As much as I don’t care that much for Ronald Reagan, (and I know that is going to upset those of my readers who call themselves conservatives), he did once say, “…government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

Our Founders also understood that even the best forms of government could fail if those responsible for ensuring they adhere to the principles they were founded upon were not adhered to. On the closing day of the Philadelphia Convention, before the Constitution was voted upon by those who had participated in creating it, a speech written by Benjamin Franklin was read to the delegates by James Wilson. In that speech Franklin said, “In these Sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

Later, when the Constitution was being argued over amongst the States, James Madison would write, “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” (Source: Federalist 51)

Our form of government can only work the way it was designed when the document which created it is strictly adhered to; the moment the precepts, or constraints put into place by that document are ignored our system becomes something other than a Constitutional Republic.

Our government only came into existence because the people agreed to accept the terms, as outlined, in the Constitution. But prior to that, thirteen years prior to be exact, the 13 original Colonies unanimously agreed to the Declaration of Independence which outline not only the reasons why the Colonies chose to secede from the British Empire, but the principles which describe the nature of our rights, the purpose for which governments are established, and what the people can do if government ceases to serve those purposes.

Although the Declaration of Independence is not law, as is the Constitution, it is however the foundation upon which our system of government was built; consent of the people and the protection of the rights of those that government represents. It is not the master, it is the servant which is limited by a written Constitution which outlines what it can and what it cannot do.

As originally established, our government was to represent two sovereign entities; the great body of the people via the selection of members to the House of Representative, and the States themselves via the selection of members of the Senate. Each house of Congress acted as a check upon the other to prevent the representatives of the people from enacting laws which threatened State Sovereignty, and vice versa.

That balance was challenged when Abraham Lincoln told the States they did not have the right to dissolve the bond which held them to the Union, and fought a war to force his views upon them. That balance was forever altered with the ratification of the 17th Amendment which changed the selection of Senators to a popular vote of the people of each State rather than being chosen by the State Legislatures.

Still, if the State Legislators, and their Governors, had spines, and understood the Constitution, they could refuse to enforce any unconstitutional laws within their borders, thereby nullifying these breaches of the limits imposed on our federal government by the Constitution. More often than not they won’t do that, and it is for two reasons they won’t. First, they are probably beholden to the massive influx of federal funds to keep the internal operations of their State going. If they refuse to enforce unconstitutional laws all the federal government has to do is threaten to cut federal funding and they usually fall in line.

Secondly, and this goes to a deeper problem which permeates across the country, there is the fact that they simply don’t care what the Constitution says are the powers given to the federal government. Just as people elect members to Congress, or choose a president based primarily from choices among candidates from a political party, so are State governments elected along partisan lines. So the same groups, with the same agendas, basically control both the federal and State governments.

If you can control the choices people have to a few hand selected people from each party who are loyal to party principles, then you basically can control the entire government. If you also control the media and can spin coverage of the candidates to either boost them up, or knock them down, then you control the election. If you control who gets support and funds from the party, you can control who has a chance of competing in elections; where the price of a typical campaign runs into millions of dollars. Unless you are independently wealthy, as was Donald Trump, you don’t stand a chance in today’s modern high priced elections. Unless you have a message that resonates with the people, who then donate out of their own pockets in sufficient amounts to fund your campaign, as did Ron Paul, you also don’t stand a chance.

Our early Founding Fathers understood this, and that is why they hated the idea of political parties. Washington spoke out against the dangers they posed, and Jefferson said that he would not go to heaven if to do so it required that he be a part of a party; be it either religious or political.

Therefore, the entire weight of ensuring our federal government operated upon the principles it was established upon falls squarely upon the shoulders of the American people. It is by their virtue, their knowledge of how the system was designed to work, and their willingness to stand up against each and every infraction of the law that our system hangs. If the people fail in any of their duties, then we get what we have now; a tyrannical and oppressive monster that cares nothing of the limits imposed upon it, nor about the rights it was established to protect.

You know, I really truly think the motto of our government should be, “Don’t get caught, because if you do we will be forced the throw you under the bus.” I say that because they are all crooks and it is only when someone gets caught that they act to censure or dispel them from their ranks. As long as they don’t get caught they give the appearance of being these two opposing bodies; Republicans and Democrats, and the people believe that our system is working just as it was intended.

Look at the battle going on now between Trump and those Republicans who support him to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. People who support the ACA are laughing at how inept the Republicans are, and those who support Trump’s plan are mad that the Democrats are opposing it. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, is stopping to ask where in the Constitution it authorizes government to enact any law requiring that people purchase health insurance.

You see, that’s another fallacy people believe in, that all it takes to justify the existence of unconstitutional laws is a majority of the people supporting it. I know it may sound silly, but what if a majority of the people decided that government needed to pass a law requiring that every American dye their hair pink? In principle it is no different than demanding that every American purchase health insurance; because BOTH would overstep the power and authority given the government in the first place.

I am constantly told that times have changed, and that our Constitution is no longer relevant for today’s modern world. Fine, I’ll buy that. So let’s revoke it. But, and this is a big BUT, if we revoke it we revoke all authority it grants the federal government over us and our lives. You can’t have both folks, you have to choose one or the other; either we have a Constitution which grants government certain specific powers, or we don’t. Either those we elect adhere to those specific powers, or they are criminals. And if they are criminals, why do you continue to elect them over and over and over again?

I don’t know what you’ll garner out of all that you have just read, but I want to leave you with one final quote from Lysander Spooner which pretty much sums up my views on the entire matter. Spooner is quoted as saying, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”

After all, what good is a supreme law of the land when those responsible for ensuring that it is adhered to choose to remain ignorant or uncaring of its frequent violations?

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What Does This Represent To You?

At the beginning of the 2016 NFL season, during a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49er starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the playing of the National Anthem, offending many fans. I have not been a fan of football since around 1982 when I was assigned to a base in Spain and would read the scores one week before the videotaped games would arrive for us to watch. It kind of took the fun out of watching a game when you already knew the outcome, and I just never got back into the hype of football once I returned to the States.

As that is the case, I honestly cannot recall whether the players would line up along the sidelines during the singing of the National Anthem, or if they came out onto the field after it had been sang. I have read that having the players come out onto the field prior to the singing of the National Anthem is a recent event which was done in an effort to make the NFL appear more patriotic. I have even read that the DoD paid the NFL a substantial sum of money so that this would take place at the beginning of each game, but I can neither deny nor confirm these things at this point in time.

The point is that it has become tradition, and it is expected that the members of both the home and visiting teams at all NFL games come out and stand in a position of respect during the playing/singing of the National Anthem; and Colin Kaepernick’s act of protest was one which deviated from the norm and upset quite a few people in the process.

Since then, other players have protested similarly, and I even heard that in a game last week the entire Seattle Seahawks team remained inside the locker room until the National Anthem was finished.

I have read many things by both those who support people’s right to protest in such a fashion, and those who oppose what they are doing; calling these athletes unpatriotic. In fact, just yesterday I read a comment from someone who said that our military men and women have fought and died defending that flag, and to disrespect it is to disrespect their sacrifice. In response to that I have to both agree and disagree. Yes many have sacrificed, some making the ultimate sacrifice; but did they make those sacrifices for the flag itself, or did they make them for what the flag represented to them?

When this all began, Colin Kaepernick was asked about why he refused to stand during the playing of the National Anthem. He responded by saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.” But then he went on to say something I’d like you to think long and hard upon, Kaepernick then said that he would continue his protests until “[the American flag] represents what it’s supposed to represent.”

I’m pretty sure that if you are reading this then you have an opinion on what Kaepernick, and those who followed him are doing; be it in support of, or in opposition of their actions. But, if you can put aside your anger over their supposed lack of patriotism, then I’d like to spend the remainder of my time discussing what it is that the flag, and a song dedicated to it, actually mean to me.

If you get down to basics, the American flag is simply a piece of colored cloth with thirteen red and white stripes and 50 white stars on a blue background; it is what the flag stands for which causes people to have such strong feelings about it, and whether or not it is being disrespected. Am I not correct in that statement? After all, all this recent animosity towards the Confederate Battle Flag is due to the fact that people claim in ‘REPRESENTS’ slavery and prejudice. It is not the design on the flag that bothers so many people; it is what that design represents to them.

The design of the flag itself has its own meaning; that being that the thirteen red and white stripes represent the original 13 Colonies; and independently the white signifies purity and virtue, while the red represents courage. The blue, upon which the 50 stars rest represents vigilance, perseverance and justice; and each star represents a State admitted to the Union.

So not only does the flag represent the country, or Union if you will, it also represents certain characteristics, or traits which that Union stands for. I’ll tell you one thing the flag most certainly does not represent, it does not represent our government, or unquestioning loyalty and support for that government. Rather, it represents certain principles upon which this Union was established.

I suppose the obvious question then should be, is what this country stands for today the same as it did when Jefferson first wrote the Declaration of Independence, and when our Constitution was ratified and a Bill of Rights added to it? If it does, then yes, I could see how disrespecting the flag could be considered by some to be unpatriotic. But if it doesn’t, that opens up an entirely different set of questions people should be asking themselves.

You see, one of the things this country used to stand for is a person’s right to peacefully protest in a manner that they felt was necessary to express their views on things they either supported or opposed; and as much as it may offend people, I don’t find anything Colin Kaepernick, or the other NFL players who have followed in his footsteps, have done as being nothing less than peaceful. Sure, it may be offensive, but it IS within their right to do so. Nothing about the freedom of speech or the freedom of expression is limiting on what people can say or do simply because it offends or upsets others. That is something people need to get through their heads. As the saying goes, “I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will die defending your right to say it.”

At the same time, however, there may be rules in place that people agree to, found in the fine print of the contracts they sign, which specify certain conditions employees must adhere to if they wish to be employed in their choice of careers. For instance, military members are required by the Uniform Code of Military Justice to stop and salute when the flag is being raised or lowered, and can be punished if they do not. It might very well be that the NFL also has rules regarding the conduct of players while the National Anthem is being played. I know for a fact that the United States Code states that during the playing of the National Anthem those who are not in the military should stand at attention with their right hand over their heart. (Source: 36 USC § 301)

I know for a fact that there are those who have become upset with me personally when I have refused to repeat the Pledge of Allegiance when all others have done so. My reasoning is that I owe no allegiance to a flag; rather my allegiance is only to the principles for which that flag is supposed to represent. If the country; both the people and the government, no longer represent those values, then the flag itself has lost all that it means and I owe it no allegiance. In that vein of thought, I can understand why Colin Kaepernick and all those other NFL players have done what they have; however misguided their reasoning may be. If they truly feel that the flag does not represent the values they believe America should stand for, it is well within their right to not be forced to pay homage to a symbol and the things they believe it represents.

However, they are not free from the consequences of their decisions. Should their actions cause their team to lose fans, and attendance drop at their games, affecting their bottom line, then it is fully within the rights of their employer, (either the specific team, or the NFL itself) to terminate their contract. If one truly wishes to make such an openly unpopular statement, then they must also be ready to accept the consequences of making that statement.

Getting back to what the flag represents though, I have to wonder how many people opposing the actions of these NFL players have ever stopped to ask themselves why they are so upset over a few athletes not standing for the playing of the National Anthem, while they show no concern for the fact that the people they elect to hold office in our government do not stand for the principles found within our founding documents?

How long has it been since our country and our government adhered to the principles upon which it was founded? I know for a fact, even though you might refuse to accept it, that it certainly doesn’t in today’s modern times. The question is, when did it stop representing those values? Was it 50 years ago; a hundred, or even possibly further back in history than that?

I find it ironic as hell that there are a great many people currently fuming over the fact that people are disrespecting the American Flag, yet they have called for the banning of a flag, or any other monument or statue which represents the last time a group of Americans banded together to represent the principles upon which America was founded; and by that I am of course referring to the Confederate States of America.

Does not the Declaration of Independence state that government derives its power from the consent of the governed, and that whenever the people believe that government no longer serves the purpose for which it was established it is their right to throw off such government and form one which does serve the purpose for which governments are instituted; that being the preservation of the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

But all people see when they see the Confederate Battle Flag is red over the issue of slavery. I wonder how many people are aware that at the time of our nation’s Revolution there were more slaves in New York than there were in many of the Southern States. How many realize that many a Northern family became very wealthy off the importation of slaves which were then sold to people both in the South and the North? I wonder how many people remember that, as reprehensible as slavery is, it was PERFECTLY LEGAL under the Constitution.

So, if Abraham Lincoln did fight his war to free the slaves, then he was violating the Constitution because it gave him no authority to do so. And if he didn’t have the authority to free the slaves, and the only reason he fought the war was to save the Union, then he fought against everything the Declaration of Independence stood for. In either case he violated one or the other of our nation’s founding documents; and government has not been by consent of the people ever since. Sure, we may elect people to fill the various seats of power within it, but the power they wield is far in excess of that which was granted them, and when the people oppose them they face the threat of fines, imprisonment, and quite possibly, death.

Is that the freedom and liberty our government was designed to protect, or is it something else altogether; slavery.

Like I said, I find it ironic that so many are upset that there are those who are protesting against the flag of this country, and what it represents, when the flag of this country was flown by the army of Lincoln who suppressed a people flying a different flag which truly represented the principles this country was founded upon.

Funny how time, and a little bit of revisionist history, can change people’s attitudes and perspectives.

As far as the stars and stripes go, I respect and honor what that flag used to stand for, but do not respect what it represents today. I will not dishonor it by burning it or desecrating it in some other manner, but it what it stands for today is light years away from the principles I believe in and choose to stand for.

And if that upsets you, too bad, I’m beyond caring who I upset or offend. If the people of this country once again start supporting the principles upon which this nation was founded, and if our government once again starts supporting and defending those same principles, then maybe I will once again take pride in the flag that represents what America is supposed to stand for.

Until then I’m pretty sure I’ve made it clear where I stand on the matter….

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A Dangerous Game of Chicken

Chicken refers to a game, if you want to call it that, in which two opponents face off in cars and begin driving towards each other at a high rate of speed. The object is to remain cool and wait until the last moment to swerve to avoid an accident. Another similar version has two people standing a certain distance apart and throwing knives in the direction of the other person’s feet. The one who comes closest to the others feet without stabbing them, wins. Chicken is a game of bravado and almost always ends in disaster, or at least serious injury for those playing.

While chicken is typically played by only two players, it can be played on a global scale as well between heads of state of two nations. I recall vividly such a game of chicken during my youth. That particular game of chicken we now refer to as the Cuban Missile Crisis; wherein President Kennedy squared off against Russian President Nikita Khrushchev. Those who weren’t alive at the time don’t realize how close the world came to a full blown nuclear war. Thank God Khrushchev backed off and disaster was averted.

But as the old saying goes, history does repeat itself, as once again we are seeing a global game of chicken being played out on the world stage; this time it is between President Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

I need to give you a little background before I continue. I spent two years stationed in South Korea, during the years 1987-1989. I was 7 minutes from a North Korean airstrike where I was stationed, and during some TDY’s, or temporary duties for you civilian folks, I was less than 3 minutes from death should North Korea have decided to attack South Korea.

If North Korea decides to attack the South, there is the possibility that 28,500 US servicemen would die within minutes. Are you aware that would be half the number that died during the Vietnam conflict…within minutes of hostilities between the two countries?

Are you also aware that the Korean War never officially ended in any kind of a peace treaty, it ended in an Armistice and that there has always been the chance that hostilities could break out at any time; once again releasing the dogs of war on the Korean Peninsula?

During my time stationed in South Korea, Kim Il-sung was leader of North Korea, and he promised that during his lifetime he would unify the Korean Peninsula. That never happened. Then his son, Kim Jong-il became Supreme Leader of North Korea and promised to fulfill his father’s dream. That also did not happen.

Now we have Kim Jong-un, who may be batshit crazy if all reports are correct, squaring off against Donald Trump, an arrogant man who, more often than not, acts like a petulant little boy who takes to Twitter every time someone does something he doesn’t like.

For many years North Korea has been subjected to, both U.S. and UN sanctions aimed at halting their program to develop nuclear weapons. North Korea’s Kim, and President Trump have both taken to the media to play this dangerous game of chicken; trying to prove who’s got the bigger set of gonads I suppose. North Korea has also taken to firing missiles over the shores of Japan as a show of defense against US allies.

Now there’s talk of stricter sanctions, and possibly even a naval blockade of North Korea; and just the other day I heard something on the news about Trump having sent US military planes into North Korean air space.

You want to know what this reminds me of; it reminds me of two bullies squaring off at school, with each of them pushing the other, getting into their faces and yelling insults at them; until someone finally takes a swing and a full blown fight breaks out.

The problem is, in this instance if the US is the one to take the first swing, China may possibly jump into the fray on the side of North Korea; making this a global conflict, not a regional one. If that happens the whole scenario changes, as we could annihilate North Korea if we wanted to, but with China in the picture it’s an entirely different ball game and could very well end up going nuclear; meaning an end of the world scenario, or the Cuban Missile Crisis all over again.

While I completely understand the concerns of the US government in keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of batshit crazy leaders who might possibly use them as a sign of their own nation’s strength and might, President Trump needs to back off on his rhetoric and use of Twitter to provoke Kim Jong-un. C’mon, calling North Korea’s Kim Rocket Man is a sign of immaturity, not the sign of someone who is level headed and in control of their emotions.

All I can say is, I’m glad I’m not stationed in South Korea right now; I’d be pretty concerned for my immediate future on this planet with all the bluster going on between the leaders of these two countries; including my own.

I have to wonder if people know the seriousness of the situation, or if they think it is just a game of two world leaders having a shouting match with each other. I also have to wonder how important football, Reality TV, or Facebook will be if one side or the other takes a shot at the other and all hell breaks loose; because it could happen a whole lot faster than people think, given the character of the two players involved in this game of chicken.

If the shit does hit the fan worrying about it isn’t gonna solve anything; if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen and there’s nothing a pissant like me can do to prevent it. I just wonder though, if all hell does break loose, I’m curious how many Trump supporters are going to question their own wisdom in electing a man they KNEW was arrogant and acted impetuously when confronted by people he disagreed with.

The sad thing is, they will still probably stand behind their man, wrap themselves up in their flags and chant all the same tired old patriotic rhetoric while more young servicemen and women are sent off to die fighting in another war that could have been avoided if cooler heads had been involved.

But what else is new, right? After all, the dogs of war need to be fed and the American people love a good fight if they believe it is for a good cause. So we’ll see what happens, but if things do go to pieces and all hell breaks loose, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.

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What You Should Be Asking Yourself Right Now

In the year 1917 former president Theodore Roosevelt wrote something entitled The Children of the Crucible in an effort to explain his feelings on, what he considered to be, the unpatriotic actions of certain immigrants in America at the time; specifically German immigrants. America was embroiled in the war to end all wars; World War One and the unwillingness of some German born Americans to support the war angered him.

Taken in that light the Children of the Crucible could be considered to be as heinous and offensive as the Alien and Sedition Acts were to Thomas Jefferson when President John Adams signed them into law in 1798. Then again, I wonder what Jefferson would have to say about laws such as the Patriot Act; which violate a great many of the rights he, and others, fought to secure for us. But I wander from my intended topic…

Although I do not consider it unpatriotic for one to oppose a war our government decides to involve itself in, I do consider it unpatriotic for Americans to place the welfare of another country, or its people above that of the United States of America. Taken in that light, something Roosevelt said in the Children of the Crucible bears a certain amount of consideration:

From the melting pot of life in this free land all men and woman of all nations who come hither emerge as Americans and nothing else. They must have renounced completely and without reserve all allegiance to the land from which they or their forefathers came.

For any country to survive it has to have some kind of cultural identity to adhere to, and when people begin ignoring, or disregarding that identity then that country begins to have problems. In a way, I think what is wrong in this country today is that we have a form of cultural amnesia; we have forgotten who and what we are.

Sure the land upon which we stand and build our homes may continue to exist, but what it once stood for when men like Jefferson, Adams, Henry, and others risked all they had to secure liberty for themselves and their posterity will forever have vanished if people don’t start returning to the same principles which guided those men in their lives, and in the choices they made to stand up to tyranny.

In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.”

Our system was one which was designed in such a way as to allow the people to choose whom will fill the various positions within it to pass laws on their behalf. However, those elected were not free to pass whatever laws they felt was in the best interests of those they represent; instead they were limited by a written Constitution which clearly outlines what areas our government was allowed to exercise its authority upon. Again to quote from Jefferson, “The government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution the measure of its powers.” (Source: Draft of the Kentucky Resolutions, 1798)

It’s funny that people in this country take far more offense at a person, (Colin Kaepernick), who chooses to exercise his right of freedom of expression by not standing during the playing of our National Anthem than they do the day to day violations of the Constitution by those they elect to fill the seats of power in a government created by said Constitution. What does that say about a people’s understanding of what patriotism means?

When our nation was considering establishing a great seal to represent the United States, many suggestions were provided for the wording and imagery that would make up that seal. Among those submitted was a design by Benjamin Franklin which depicted Moses above the parted Red Sea with his hand held high while Pharaoh in his chariot was about to be swallowed up by the sea. Above this image were the words, Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

Although Franklin’s submission was not selected, (And I have my own thoughts on why it wasn’t selected), Thomas Jefferson liked that phrase so much he integrated it into his own personal seal. In fact, those same words are found on the gates of the graveyard at his home, Monticello.

That quote is often misquoted, replacing the word rebellion with the word resistance. Yet Franklin’s original submission did not say resistance, it said rebellion; and that is the spirit which gave birth to America as a free country, and the spirit which has long since left the hearts and minds of many Americans; if you want my honest opinion.

America was founded by strong men and women who had a streak of independence in them; not only the desire for independence from a tyrant, but a streak of independence which led them to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. They realized that a part of liberty, true liberty, was accepting total responsibility for their own successes and failures in life. How often do we hear today that it is society’s fault, or that a person grew up without having the opportunities that others did?

If you want my honest opinion, those are cop outs for people who make bad choices, or choose not to put forth any effort towards achieving success on their own. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my hand; a trust fund from which to draw a weekly stipend; or a wealthy aunt or uncle who bequeathed to me a fortune upon their death. In fact, when I was growing up, anything I wanted I had to go out and work for; aside from the typical birthday and Christmas presents; which usually were clothes and a few odd toys.

My parents taught me the value of hard work, of saving for things you wanted instead of buying them now and paying for them later, (credit), and most importantly, for accepting responsibility for my own actions.

Let me tell you a true story. When I was in the Air Force, stationed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, I had just returned from an assignment to Spain. While in Spain I partied a lot, but so did everyone else; it was common and people tolerated it a bit more than they did stateside. I hadn’t quite gotten out of that party mode mindset and got myself into trouble; which led me to stand before a full bird colonel who asked me, “Why should the United States Air Force continue to employ Neal H. Ross?” I told him, “Sir, I screwed up. I have no one to blame but myself. I think I have learned my lesson, and standing before you here has put the fear of God into me. But I think if you give me another chance I will prove that I deserve it.”

He told me to come back the next morning and he would have his decision. That man’s name was Gary Hicks, and I’ll never forget him. He gave me my chance, although it cost me two stripes. I later encountered him in the Base Exchange and he told me something I’ll never forget. He said, “You know, the only reason I didn’t boot you out on your ass was because you accepted responsibility for what you had done. Had you sought to place the blame on anyone other than yourself you would have been out of a job.”

I turned my life around, and within a year the plant I was in charge of was winning awards for him. Sure, it cost me to get to that point, but the thing is, sometimes you fall, sometimes you make bad choices, but you do not wallow in self pity or blame others, you pick yourself up and push forward; otherwise you may as well not even bother to continue living.

How many people today do not accept responsibility for the things which our ancestors considered to be their responsibility? Making your own choices without governmental interference or restriction is the very definition of liberty. Nowadays government is people’s god, and they seek its guidance and help in almost all their endeavors.

You see, our Founders, although they were of various faiths, were all God fearing men. Even Jefferson, who was a deist, spoke openly of God and the rights which He had bestowed upon man. Our Declaration of Independence is a perfect example, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”

Yes, Jefferson does not use the word God there, but he did here, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.” (Source: A Summary View of the Rights of British America)

Although Jefferson’s words were directed towards the people of the Colonies suffering under the tyranny of King George III, they could very well have been written to the people of America today who suffer under a far more oppressive government than did our Founders in 1776.

Honestly, whose fault is that? In a system where we get to choose the caliber and quality of those who represent us in government, whose fault is it when that government oversteps it’s just authority and becomes oppressive?

If we as Americans cannot, or will not adhere to the principles of liberty upon which this country was founded, then what hope is there for our future? If we cannot demand that those who immigrate to America put aside their loyalty to their native lands, and place American values and customs above those of their native lands, then what hope is there for the future of this country?

Whether you like it or not, America came into existence because of men who were of faith and upheld Christian values. It is only because we have forsaken those values that we have fallen as a nation.

Yes, I know it’s true that our system does not demand any religious test, and that we are free to worship, or not worship, as we please, (at least we used to be). But the fact is that those who fought for our independence were God-fearing men.

John Adams once said, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Fisher Ames once said, “[Why] should not the Bible regain the place it once held as a school book? Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. The reverence for the Sacred Book that is thus early impressed lasts long; and probably if not impressed in infancy, never takes firm hold of the mind.”

Robert Winthrop once said, “Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”

Noah Webster once said, “[T]he Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government. . . . and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence.”

I could provide more quotes, many more, but I think you get the picture. It is because those values have not been passed down to succeeding generations that America suffers as it does today. Before you go spouting off at the mouth about separation of church and state, or recent Supreme Court rulings, I want to pause and read something from way back in 1844, “Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in [schools] – its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles morality inculcated? … Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?”

Was that from some Founder, or other outspoken member of society? No, that comes directly from the United States Supreme Court, as handed down by their unanimous decision in Vidal v. Girard’s Educators; Commanding and Encouraging the Use of the Bible in Government-Run Schools.

How can one Supreme Court rule in favor of using the Bible in government run schools, then a later court rule against it? Has the First Amendment changed, was one court wrong, and one court right? Is the law to be interpreted according to current public opinion, or are our rights constant and unchanging? These are things that should be passing through your minds now, not whether or not Neal is preaching about God now.

Still, many people today profess to be Christians, saying that they believe in the existence of God. Yet they turn around and vote for candidates who support the terminating of life of unborn children growing in the womb, or vote for candidates who seek to diminish the liberty that our Founders believed was a gift from God Himself.

How can they justify their positions when, in fact, their positions are a contradiction of what they profess to believe in?

Listen, I’m not a perfect man; I’ve never claimed to be so either. But I do seek out knowledge and truth, and I am man enough to admit that the facts presented to me are in direct opposition to what I believe in; and I am man enough to change my beliefs in accordance to the facts.

How many of you reading this can say the same? Or will you continue to support candidates, or a government as an entity, which is destructive of the ends for which it was established? I honestly don’t care what your beliefs are, just be honest about what you stand for. Don’t go around saying you believe in liberty and all those other patriotic catch phrases, then turn around and support candidates who seek to destroy liberty. Be honest about who you are and what you stand for.

But if you truly are a patriotic American who values liberty, then why aren’t you as upset as I am about the state of affairs in this country today? Or have you been conditioned to believe that change can only be brought about at the voting booth, and that any talk of ‘other’ means by which change can be brought about is treasonous?

My friend Jamie Bell provided me with a quote that about sums up how I view things in this country today. It comes from the fictional movie Assassins Creed, and says, “…We’ve won. People no longer care about their civil liberties; They care about their standard of life. The modern world has outgrown notions like freedom. They’re content to follow…”

People such as myself who believe in liberty are a threat to their standard of life, their comfort, and are to be ridiculed; and if needs be, silenced. That is why, whenever I get into a political discussion with most, those I am arguing with resort to insults, emotional rants and hyperbole; it is because their arguments have no facts to support them; they don’t have a leg to stand on as the old saying goes.

But those of us that profess our faith in God and His mercy understand something that many of you do not. The truth will win out, if not in this life, then in the next one. Christ taught us to be faithful and endure to the end; and we will be justly rewarded for our suffering.

So go ahead, continue with the insults, and whatever else you toss my way; I can handle it. My only question is, can you handle an eternity of knowing that you let liberty, that gift from God, slip through your fingers for a little comfort and security? Or, are you among those who are willing to stand up and fight for it?

Those are the things you should be asking yourselves right now…

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