The Last Ship and our Oath of Office

While watching The Last Ship: Scuttle, Captain Slattery of the Nathan James said the following: “We always have a choice.” The situation was the same as that faced by officers of all ranks and types throughout history: Should we follow orders when they conflict with law, instruction, regulation, and even what society at large would consider wrong?  I think he was directly referring to our oath of office.
 
Not only was I taught in several schools of military education that the answer is usually “No,” but that’s what our law says, as well.
 
An officer’s oath isn’t to obey the orders of those appointed above him.  Instead, it’s rooted quite firmly in the Constitution itself.  Indeed, a Presidential Commission expects precisely this behavior from all officers, regardless of rank, such that the entire collection of military, civilian, and law enforcement officers of our nation at all levels throughout our nation from a butter bar to the Commander in Chief him/herself are all bound by the same inescapable oath to our United States Constitution.
 
It’s high time Congress, half of the U.S. Supreme Court, and judges at all levels start taking it seriously, for they have ALL sworn by the same oath:
 
“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
 
Judges take a second oath, further binding them to follow “the supreme Law of the Land” (U.S. Constitution, Article VI: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution-transcript).
 
“I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as ___ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.” – 28 U.S. Code § 453 – Oaths of justices and judges
 
My question is clear: Why are so many judges, mayors, local and state legislators, and members of Congress NOT following our nation’s laws?  Furthermore, why do so many people in our nation keep electing these anti-Americans to office?
Following our oaths of office has nothing to do with keeping you out of trouble.  It has everything to do with your accomplishment of the duty you swore to uphold.  Similarly, electing politicians who will actually follow their oaths of office has nothing to do with assuaging your conscience.  It has everything to do with your duty as an American citizen to your fellow citizens in ensuring only the most trusted and reliable persons are ever placed in positions of our public trust.
 
https://www.hulu.com/watch/1073461

Separation of Church and State – Revisited

Ok, I’ve thought about it, and here’s what I think: First the Constitution specifically forbids any religious test (Article VI, Section 3). So, Jeff Sessions was wrong on that point. You cannot exclude any candidate for public office or government appointee on the basis of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof).
 
HOWEVER, “separation of church and state” is NOT found in the Constitution at all. It was a concept lifted from President Thomas Jefferson’s 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Church. What mudstream media fails to reveal is that the Danbury’s principle concerns involved governmental intrusion and meddling into the affairs of their church and the free exercise of their religion, hence Jefferson’s response:
 
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”
 
The part of the First Amendment germane to this conversation prohibits the feds from BOTH of the following:
 
(editing)
 
1. Respecting (giving preferential treatment to) an establishment (denomination) of religion. (vernacular of the day translated to modern English)
 
2. Prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
 
Between the First Amendment and Supreme Court decisions expand its scope to cover all jurisdictions throughout the United States, it is unlawful for any elected or appointed government official at the local, county, state, or federal level to either give preferential treatment of one religion over another, or prohibit the free exercise of any religion, INCLUDING RELIGIOUSLY MOTIVATED ACTIONS BY A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL.
 
The only two remaining exceptions involve preeminent rights and moral decency clauses, meaning that no one, including a religiously-minded government official, can trample on the rights of others.
 
The greatest mistake that people make on this issue involves assuming that this “wall of separation” is two-way. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, the author of the “separation of church and state” phrase, routinely opened the doors of the U.S. Treasury to churchgoers during a period of rapid population growth in our nation’s capitol. Our Founding Fathers were men of deep religious conviction. Those who moved into government service let God and God’s word, the Bible, be their guide, the same as do many members within government do today. They opened each session, if not day in prayer, and we still do this today, not only in the federal government but throughout most local, county, and state governments, as well.
 
Remember that the next time you unlawfully propose that courthouses and legislative bodies remove the Ten Commandments from their walls. They do not administer the Ten Commandments. They administer the law, beginning with “the supreme Law of the Land” i.e. the U.S. Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2). The Ten Commandments are there to honor both the ultimate source of the law: The Lord (U.S. Constitution), God/Creator/Supreme Judge of the World (Declaration of Independence).
 
Now, you may not LIKE this, but like it or not, 70.6% of all U.S. citizens remain Christians. That’s down 10% in 30 years, but it’s actually been on a slight rise over the last decade. Freedom OF religion is NOT freedom “from” religion. That is reality, and all the atheistic / agnostic railing against this reality will not change it.
 
By the way, both atheism and agnosticism are on a slight decline per capita in developed countries, including the United States of America. 🙂

Solving America’s Problems Requires Clear Thinking

Yesterday I stumbled across a rather insightful editorial by Bart Hinkle at the Richmond Times.  He demonstrated such clear thinking that I wrote the author a letter, presented here with minor corrections for spelling, punctuation, and grammar:

I found your recent article to be very insightful.  It is a fascinating look at what ails America today. It boils down to dereliction of duty to “support and defend the Constitution” at ALL levels of government.

I concur with you that Congress has failed to do its duty to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” almost certainly because the loyalty of many Congressman to their party or various idealistic excursions has increasingly eclipsed their loyalty to the proven reality of the Constitution.  Sadly, we see the same thing in the Supreme Court, which should never be the case.  With respect to the points you made in your article, I believe additional factors have come into play, including the increasing fear of being labeled politically incorrect, and the corresponding unwillingness to take necessary and more permanent actions against elected officials who refuse to abide by “the supreme Law of the Land.”

Shortly after retiring from my career as an Air Force officer, I began working to educate people on the dangers facing our nation, particularly from the erosion of the absolute moral base our Founding Fathers cautioned was essential to the long-term health of our nation.  With such a moral base, even an imperfect Constitution and its resulting society would survive, as leaders would retain the same principles, precepts, and moral values held by the framers.  The resolution of unanticipated issues would naturally incline towards the time-tested precepts which have served our nation so well for so long.  Without such a moral base, even a perfect Constitution would eventually fail.  A nation lacking proper morals would be increasingly opposed to Constitutional principles and values, until its leaders began ignoring increasingly larger portions of the Constitution, eventually leaving it behind altogether.

Our Founding Fathers did a miraculous job crafting our Constitution.  It is extremely difficult, however, if not impossible, to create a legal foundation capable of fighting the erosion of society when that society’s elected and appointed leaders, either out of ignorance or willful malice, fail to follow the written legal foundation.

In light of this perspective, I submit to you three additional avenues of failure, along with some proposals for amendments that might be able to stem the flow of our nation’s life-blood, even restore proper function in the presence of decreasing loyalty to the Constitution:

Failure 1:  Education of the people:  Sadly, too many Americans are voting for government officials at all levels not because of what a candidate can do for their country, but because of what a candidate can do for them.  This self-seeking behavior and failure to delay gratification ultimately results in poorer results.  Candidates are rarely able to deliver on their campaign promises.  When a person believes rhetoric promising him or her a better life, and votes for that candidate, they wind up doing little to work hard and secure that life for themselves.  Instead, they wait around for the candidate to make their lives better.  When that fails, they become embittered at the “other guy” their candidate blames as the problem, or they become embittered with the system itself.

The Department of Education and liberal school systems has been largely complicit in this area of demise by lowering and even eliminating the bar in vital areas like civics and history while cluttering the educational landscape with requirements that eclipse a child’s opportunity to obtain a full, well-rounded education suitable for understanding how human society really works.  This is really the root problem of what’s going on in America.  If the people stopped electing those who are undermining our Republic, the problem would largely disappear.  Our Republic would be preserved.  Sadly, many people are no longer capable of correctly assessing the worth of a candidate, or envisioning the long-term effects of electing a candidate.

Possible solutions:  Eliminate the Department of Education and use those funds at the state level to provide for a more graduated pay scale for teachers instead of the current rise and cap pay curves; raise standards required of teachers; ensure those standards reflect the requirements addressed as outlined above.

Failure 2:  Personification of the corporate:  No serious student of the Constitution would ever conclude that our Founding Fathers meant to give business the same access to our government as We the People, much less a 1000% greater influence over Congressional decision-making.  The fallout from this decision has lead to increasingly darker decisions being made by Congress, ones that treat citizens as cattle to be mined for their ability to be skimmed for a fat, corporate/federal profit, instead of the rightful rulers of our once-great nation.

Possible solution:  Check Citizens United with an amendment that declares corporate anthropomorphization to be verboten.  Ensure it reaffirms the Constitution’s focus on We the People under sovereign States as the rightful owners of our own country.

Failure 3:  Senators and Representatives are too similar.  This arose as a result of the 17th Amendment.  Article I, Section 3, which used to read:  “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof…”  The Amendment now reads:  “The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof…”  While I understand this was an attempt to solve problems involving legislative corruption and deadlocks, I do not agree it was the best solution.  For all intents and purposes, what we now have are a House and a Senate that look very similar.  Even dividing Congress into two houses makes little sense when the people elect one Representative from their district and two more to represent the State as a whole.  Why not instead simply elect “general Congressmen,” and scrap the two-house system?

Possible solution:  Repeal the 17th Amendment.  The original issue is that “There was a sense that senatorial elections were ‘bought and sold’, changing hands for favors and sums of money rather than because of the competence of the candidate.”  That sounds the same as it is today, so what problem was actually solved?  If none, then that’s strike one against the 17th Amendment.  As far as electoral deadlocks, the solution is simple:  Require states to provide for a tiebreaker, much as we have for the Supreme Court and the Senate.  An example might be, “In case of tie, the Assistant Governor will cast the tie-breaking vote.”  They could also flip a coin, roll die, or spin a wheel.  States could choose whatever method they want, so long as it’s expedient.  To help deter delays in breaking such ties, simply stipulate that if the states fail to provide two Senators, those positions will simply remain unfilled and the State will be underrepresented in Congress, something no State wants to face.  Our Constitution set the precedence for that by requiring percentage votes of “members present” for many things, including very important things, such as treaties and impeachment.

Bart, I thoroughly enjoyed your article and have bookmarked you in the hopes of reading many more to come!

Sincerely…

Here is Bart’s response:

Thank you for the note. You raise some very interesting points.

All the best,
B.

It was my pleasure.  

Second Amendment Definitions: Well Regulated – Militia – Arms – Shall

Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court have continually tripped over the meaning of these four simple words:
well regulated
militia
arms
shall
Their ineptitude astounds me.  The only plausible explanation is that instead of examining what the words actually mean, and supporting and defending them as required by their oaths of office and the trust of the American people, they instead decided to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms and have spent the better part of more than two centuries in a mind-numbing attempt to deprive the American people of their God-given right to keep and bear arms for the purposes of hunting, self-defense, and protection again criminals, despots, and tyrants — basically, any use envisioned by the people themselves, provided such use did not infringe upon the rights of others.
The question remains, what did our Founding Fathers mean by the term “well regulated?”  To answer that, we only need turn to the Oxford English Dictionary and bracket in time the writing of the Second Amendment:
 
1709: “If a liberal Education has formed in us well-regulated Appetites and worthy Inclinations.”
 
1714: “The practice of all well-regulated courts of justice in the world.”
 
1812: “The equation of time … is the adjustment of the difference of time as shown by a well regulated clock and a true sun dial.”
 
1848: “A remissness for which I am sure every well-regulated person will blame the Mayor.”
 
1862: “It appeared to her well-regulated mind, like a clandestine proceeding.”
 
1894: “The newspaper, a never wanting adjunct to every well-regulated American embryo city.”
 
The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to “the property of something being in proper working order.” Something that was well-regulated was “calibrated correctly, functioning as expected.”
As for the term “militia,” the 1982 Congressional Report on the Right to Keep and Bear Armso revealed the precise meaning intended by our Founding Fathers.  They considered every man, woman, and child able to carry arms as part of the “militia” (p. 16).  Another section from this report specifically distinguishes the difference between the militia and the National Guard:
national guard
What about the term, “arms?”  What was meant by that?  Did they mean to say “firearms” and somehow just screwed up?  Or did they mean the proper definition, “a means (as a weapon) of offense or defense” (Merriam-Webster).  If the latter, then a slingshot would be an arm, as would knives, sticks, spears, hand guns, long guns, cannon, and mortar.
Again, the intent of our Bill of Rights wasn’t to limit the right of the people, but to limit the power and authority of the government.  In the case of the First Amendment, it was to absolutely and unequivocally prevent the government from infringing on the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press (two different things), the freedom of religion, and the right of peaceable assembly.  In the case of the Second Amendment, it was to prevent any and all entities, including — but not limited to — all levels of government from local through federal levels.
The phrase, “shall not be infringed” isn’t an option.  It’s an absolute mandate, one without recourse or avenue of redress:
second amendment
This graphic makes it clear that any infringement on our right to keep and bear arms is absolutely forbidden, whether that be a waiting period, a permit fee or a denial.  Our Founding Fathers held the right of the people to keep and bear arms as an absolute right, one in which no entity had any business meddling.

When our Founding Fathers wrote our Second Amendment, they had absolutely zero intention of establishing any sort of government oversight of the people’s arms.  Instead, the intent behind their use of the phrase in the Second Amendment was — precisely — to render the government powerless to have any such authority whatsoever. 

Bottom line:  According to the U.S. Constitution and the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment itself is the only gun “permit” required of “the people” (U.S. Citizens), and all other permits, restrictions, fees, and denials of ownership (“keep”) and any type of carry (“bear”) are an infringement against our right to keep and bear arms.

Tell your Congressmen, your President, and the U.S. Supreme Court to…

BACK OFF!

 

And YES, Armed Citizens really DO stop mass shooters!  In fact, for each one of these ten events, there’s probably another ten that flew under the radar.

The Easy Alternative to ObamaCare

We HAVE a “real alternative” to ObamaCare. It’s called Medicaid, “a social health care program for families and individuals with low income and limited resources.” Unfortunately, like the Veterans Administration, it’s largely mismanaged.

When something’s not working properly in the government, however, you DO NOT:

1. Create something new to run alongside it.

2. Throw money at it hoping the messed-up managers will “somehow” wake up and start managing correctly.

3. Hire a single individual for the top position without giving him the broad authority to direct major changes, including firing the chaff.

So, we win the ObamaCare battle. The Supreme Court declares the federal insurance exchanges in more than 30 states to be un-Constitutional. While the Affordable Care Act remains broadly unpopular, two new polls show a majority of Americans don’t want to do away with its subsidies, a core component of the law.

No problem.

Ditch the insurance exchanges. Ditch ObamaCare. Ditch Obama.

Shunt the subsidies into Medicaid, hire top leadership capable of making it work, give them the authority to make whatever changes are necessary, and roadblock all corporate intervention, as the only thing they’re interested in doing is lining their damned pockets off the backs of hard-working folks like you and I.

The Supreme Court is NOT the Final Arbiter

A friend recently stated “SCOTUS is the final arbitrator [sic] of whether it is correct or not. The checks and balances ends there.”

He was wrong.  Here’s my reply:

You’re usually right on target, so I’m really surprised you missed this one by a mile.

So, if you would, please tell me again what what We the People should do, “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends?” “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.”

Is it not “the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness?”

Our Founding Fathers considered this universal truth to be so supremely important that they had it preserved for all time in the minds and hearts of all Americans. They keep these words in our Nationals Archives. They had them reproduced in the American History books available to every American who ever attended public school, as well as the vast majority who attended private school, as well.

This has nothing to do with overthrowing the government. It has everything to do with preserving our government by reminding those who currently inhabit the seats created by our Constitution that they were elected to serve our government — “of the people, by the people, for the people” — at the pleasure of the people.

We the People are the final arbiter of whether the decisions made by the Supreme Court are correct or not. We always have been, in every nation, and long before our own Declaration of Independence was more than a single thought in someone’s mind.

The Declaration of Independence itself says precisely why this is so: “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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

No one is putting our government “on notice.” They put themselves on notice the moment they raised their right hand and took the same oath of office alongside every military, civil, and law-enforcement officer in our land: “I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

If they don’t believe they put themselves on notice, they weren’t paying attention. That’s the entire purpose of the oath of office.

Our Republic is a nation of laws, but preserving our nation requires people of honor and integrity occupying positions of public trust. All the laws in the world are rendered worthless when those in government refuse to follow them, or worse, attempt to replace just laws with ones that are unjust. When that happens, we edge closer to the same pit in which our Founding Fathers found themselves shortly before they declared our nation’s independence.

But not quite. We the People have another course of action we should always use first, and use often, one protected by our First Amendment: “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Even in this simple exercise of requesting Congress to pass or block legislation, and to approve or deny appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court, We the People are rights as the ultimate arbiters.

We the People are the final arbiters in our own governmental affairs. Not the Supreme Court. Not the President. Not Congress.

Us.