Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dr. Thomas Sowell on Gun Control

Yesterday, in commenting on gun-control laws, Dr. Thomas Sowell (one of the wisest men I know of) wrote, "....there is no reason why the Second Amendment should be the last word....the Second Amendment can be repealed...."

I believe that repeal of the Second Amendment would make no difference regarding gun rights. The founders worked on the concept that we "are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable rights...." Our rights, coming from God (nature for the non-believers), (including that described in the Second Amendment) pre-exist the Constitution and therefore could not have been created by the Constitution.

The Constitution was designed to create a limited government to protect -- not create -- those rights. While rights in other nations are metered by their governments, most of our founders saw no need to define our rights -- since they come from God.

Some of the founders, however, wisely had little trust in government and insisted on the ten amendments we call the Bill of Rights to ensure that government would honor at least those few enumerated God-given rights. Those who expected and trusted the government to stay within its constitutionally-defined bounds saw no need for those ten amendments. The Constitution would have not been passed without the promise of the Bill of Rights.

We have the Second Amendment only because some of the founders didn't trust the government -- not to grant a new right. They were wise and prescient.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Is it Constitutional?

The founders saw first-hand how a powerful central government could abuse and control the people’s lives to a burdensome level. Consequently, the Constitutional Congress intended for the central government to hold very limited powers.

To ensure the federal government stays in its bounds, the founders added the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution which states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

Thomas Jefferson wrote, "On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn told Judge Andrew Napolitano, "Most of what we do is unconstitutional."

Congressman Phil Hare of Illinois defiantly announced, I don't worry about the Constitution...."

When asked whether the recently passed health care bill is constitutional, Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded by asking, "Are you serious?"

Clearly, our politicians don't care about the constitutionality of the bills they pass.

I suggest that the Enumerated Powers Act and the Read the Bills Act both be amended to include the requirement that every bill be subjected to a separate roll-call vote whereby each and every congressman (both houses), having studied both the Constitution and the bill in question, goes on record as certifying that he is satisfied that the entire bill complies with the spirit, intent and word of the Constitution. All bills that not certified as constitutional by at least two-thirds of each house must be null and void.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Questions for Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan

Senator Orrin Hatch, a member of the Senate Judiciary committee has asked for constituent input regarding what questions he should ask Obama nominee Elena Kagan. Here is my input:

• You have never served as a judge. Instead, much of your career has been as an unelected political advisor. How will your judicial decisions be based on, or influenced by, politics?

• How will your judicial decisions be based on, or influenced by, your personal beliefs?

• How much room in your judicial decisions will there be for the application of fairness?

• How much room in your judicial decisions will there be for the application of empathy?

• How much room in your judicial decisions will there be for the application of compassion?

• How will your judicial decisions be based on, or influenced by, international law or laws in other nations?

• How will your judicial decisions be based on, or influenced by, judicial precedents?

• How will your judicial decisions be based on, or influenced by, the writings of the founders such as the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist papers?

• How will your judicial decisions be based on, or influenced by, original intent of the US Constitution?

Related books:

Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America
Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America

Judicial Tyranny - the New Kings of America?
Judicial Tyranny - the New Kings of America?

Keeper of the Flame: The Supreme Court Opinions of Justice Clarence Thomas, 1991-2005
Keeper of the Flame: The Supreme Court Opinions of Justice Clarence Thomas, 1991-2005

Flawed Justice: When Our Unalienable Rights Are Ignored
Flawed Justice: When Our Unalienable Rights Are Ignored

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My day in the state legislature

Today, I joined State Senator Dennis Stowell in speaking to the legislature's joint committee on law enforcement and judiciary. The topic was firearm safety training in schools. Currently, state law says schools and districts may voluntarily teach firearm safety. But, like many other safety issues (ie snowboarding, riding the bus, drugs and alcohol, sex, strangers, poison, etc.) there is no requirement that the schools do so. (I remember when I was in the third or fourth grade, a couple of firemen came to class to teach us about avoiding blasting caps.)

Many youth take the Hunter Education Course and others earn the Boy Scout Shooting Merit Badges. These youth get some formal safety training. But, a majority of youth -- especially children younger than 10 or 12 -- get no formal training. These kids are extremely vulnerable to harm if they find a gun in Grandma's house or if a child brings a gun to school. Every child on Earth needs to know what to do in these events. At least two members of the above-mentioned committee seem to disagree. In the case of guns, political correctness overrides child safety.

The NRA (National Rifle Association) and the NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation) both have programs that would achieve the goal in a half-hour or so. Dave Turner of the Davis County schools worked with the NSSF to establish a similar program back in the '90s. The current NSSF program appears to be an update and expansion of the Davis County effort. None of these programs advocate or reject gun rights or ownership -- they are politically neutral. No firearms are used in the training. My recommendation is that every student receive yearly exposure to this training from Kindergarten through grade 12.

What got me involved in this was a letter I wrote to Senator Stowell after the accidental shooting of a 6-year-old Arizona girl visiting Iron County last year. Others contributed some very good ideas and strategies including fellow firearm instructors Clark Aposhian and Curt Oda (the latter is also as member of the State House of Representatives).

On reporting about our presentation to the committee, the Salt Lake Tribune got my name wrong in their report, but that's understandable since my name was spelled wrong on the agenda.

Recommended books & videos:

Gun-Proof Your Children/Massad Ayoob's Handgun Primer
Gun-Proof Your Children/Massad Ayoob's Handgun Primer

Everything You Need to Know about Guns in Your Home
Everything You Need to Know about Guns in Your Home

Guns: What You Should Know
Guns: What You Should Know

NSSF Firearm Safety Education Videos

Playing It Safe Around Guns (grades 6-9)

It's Your Call: Firearms Safety Depends On You (general audience)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Drug Testing and Welfare

I was pleased to learn that Senator Orrin Hatch plans to introduce legislation to administer drug tests to persons on public assistance. This is a concept I've advocated and written to you about for years.

It is obvious that the way we've fought the war on drugs for the past several decades has not worked. Our approach has largely been to attack the supply side. This approach has made the occupation of producing, distributing, and selling drugs extremely profitable. That profit motive has driven most of the the nation's violent crime. Our drug-trade violence carries over into other nations, such as Mexico.

I am convinced we must attack drug demand through continued education coupled with frequent drug and alcohol testing of the people most at risk for drug abuse: Those who receive
• Worker's compensation,
• Unemployment compensation,
• Earned-income tax credits,
• Government-guaranteed student loans, and
• Unearned government benefits such as Medicaid and Food Stamps.

Those who test positive for drug or alcohol abuse must successfully undergo competent treatment in order to continue to receive any form public assistance.

Drug and alcohol abuse is a major factor in broken families and I suggest that couple that apply for divorce also undergo drug and alcohol testing and treatment before a divorce is finalized.

Some drugs are relatively benign (ie marijuana) and I believe the federal government needs to seriously consider legalizing them for distribution similar to the way we distribute alcohol and tobacco. A tax on these drugs would help fund the rehabilitation program and testing. However, testing positive to these legalized drugs or to alcohol abuse would still be a disqualification for government assistance unless the person undergoes successful treatment.

Many other drugs, like alcohol, steal the soul. The people who get into the really nasty drugs such as meth desperately need help. Identifying abusers though testing of those receiving assistance will improve the odds that they will get the treatment they need to get out of the taxpayer's wallet and become productive citizens. That personal independence and productivity is the most important objective in this testing. Secondary benefits will include reduced violent crime, reductions in the cost of caring for non-productive people, and stronger families.

Even where not required by law, many employers drug-test their employees because they know that it is good for the bottom line. So it is with government programs for those on assistance.

I suggest that Congress set the example by regularly drug-testing all congressmen and their staff. Congress demands drug and alcohol testing of servicemen, government employees, and employees in certain occupations such as pilots. Are the responsibilities of a congressman or his staff so much less demanding that drug testing is unnecessary? I am convinced that much of the nation's political problems stem from the strong likelihood that many congressmen have lost their soul (as described above) either to abused drugs or to prescribed drugs that suppress the moral compass.

We probably ought to test all voters on election day, too. That might be all it takes to purge Congress of all those who are legislating while impaired.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Free Speech and the NRA

Campaign finance laws are written by and for politicians already in office. They make incumbent politicians and the media more powerful, and the citizen less powerful. These laws make it virtually impossible to fire and replace our so-called representatives. They even cripple the ability of citizens to join together with others to fund political advertising campaigns. In spite of these unconstitutional restrictions, campaign finance laws leave media companies free to raise and spend as much money they want to influence public opinion. (They call it "news.")

The so-called "Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections" (DISCLOSE) Act, is a direct response a First Amendment victory in which the Supreme Court overturned the prohibition on corporations and unions using treasury funds for independent expenditures supporting or opposing political candidates at any time of the year. HR.5175 will limit the political speech that was protected and encouraged by the Citizens United decision.

HR.5175 seems designed specifically snuff out the influence of many organizations through which the people express their political views. A generous exemption in HR.5175 has been carved out for the labor unions and other large advocacy groups (membership greater than 500k). Therefore, the NRA was exempted to buy their support or at least to avoid their opposition.

There is no room in the First Amendment for Congress to make deals on political speech, whether with (or on behalf of) the NRA or anyone else. The current, and long-standing, approach to campaign finance "reform" has been all about preserving and enhancing power. The NRA leadership seems far too willing to indulge in that power at the expense of the overal freedom of its members.

I proudly post my NRA-ILA Vote Freedom First sign in my yard for every election. I view freedom as encompassing all God-given freedoms that are guaranteed by the US Constitution. I expect the leadership of the NRA and NRA-ILA to also Vote Freedom First. Yet, the NRA-ILA rates political candidates on only one of our countless God-given freedoms. The direct consequence of this myopic policy is unconscionable NRA support for politicians who are extremely hostile to other essential freedoms.

Instead of following the motto, Vote Freedom First, the NRA and NRA-ILA seem to have the habit of compromising on legislation affecting my freedoms. The current HR.5175 NRA betrayal/compromise on my First Amendment freedom is one example. I will not tolerate any compromise on any freedom!

If there is to be any campaign finance reform, let it be legislation that bans all PACs (Political Action Committees) controlled by or on behalf of anyone who holds political office except for the specific purpose of funding that politician's own reelection. We need to stop politicians from buying influence through these PACs.

Another rational form of campaign finance reform would be to ban all campaign contributions and electioneering from any entity other than an individual US citizen.

Repeal all campaign finance laws that protect incumbents, cripple challengers, and rob citizens of their political voice! Congress and the NRA must reject HR.5175.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On licensing journalists and voters

A constitutional midget in Michigan has proposed licensing journalists. I share State Senator Bruce Patterson's frustration with the bias and incompetence that pervades the "news" business. But, I see the fault stemming from a public that tolerates (or expects) National Enquirer-style reporting from mainstream news outlets such as CNN and MSNBC. Fox News is a bit better than most news outlets only because it has responded, to some extent, to a segment of the market that expects objective reporting.

A license is nothing more than a evidence that one has government permission to do or possess something. One should never need government approval to do anything that does not harm another person -- especially to exercise a constitutionally-guaranteed right (in this case a right expressed in the First Amendment).

I would, however, make one concession to licensing journalists: Any journalist who favors the licensing of any human right (ie the right to keep and bear arms) should go through extensive study and testing on the original intent of the US Constitution in order to obtain a journalist's license.

The fact that the idea of licensing journalists, or censoring talk radio or the Internet (Fairness Doctrine), or licensing gun owners shows what a horrid job we voters are doing in electing our "leaders." Our nation's founders must be watching from Heaven with horror!

We have made it far to easy to vote. In fact, I believe that about two-thirds of voters (both parties) are idiots. If you haven't sufficiently studied the issues and candidates to make an informed decision as a voter, please don't vote. You have no business canceling the vote of those who take it seriously!

Hmmmm. Maybe we should license voters -- issue a license only when they understand the Constitution, the issues, and know each candidate's agenda.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Related books:
Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News
Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News

Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite
Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite

Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media
Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media

Monday, June 7, 2010

Plug the D#*@ hole!

What's Missing?

What is missing at Barack Hussein Obama's press conference?

No it is not the teleprompters.

See the other president's pictures for a clue.

Barack Hussein Obama (AKA Barry Sotero):

George Walker Bush:

William Jefferson Blythe Clinton:

George Herbert Walker Bush:

Ronald Wilson Reagan:

That's right! No American flags!

Was just an accident? No, it is intentional. So, why is it intentional? He told us he would change America.

This man, whoever he really is, is not an American. He and his ilk want to end the American Free Enterprise System. And we have let them go a pretty good way to doing that.

How will you vote in November? Vote in November like your way of life depends on it! Because it does!