Declaration of Independence

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.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Good Questions

                The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that we lose freedom every time our leaders refuse to stand against evil. 
Americans went to the polls in November 2014 in waves and voted for Republicans in an effort to elect people who would stand against Barack Obama and his regime.  I am sad to say that we elected men – and probably women – who do not have spines.  They refuse to fulfill their promises to Americans and leave us with nothing but questions.

                The latest example of leaders without spines is Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) who caved to the demands of Mr. Obama and those who support him.  Mr. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talk big, but their actions do not reflect their words.  Mr. McConnell and Mr. Boehner caved on both Obamacare and executive amnesty.

                Jim DeMint, former Senator from South Carolina and current President of the Heritage Foundation, asked some very good questions, questions that deserve straight answers.  “If the Republican majority in both houses of Congress is not willing to take a sand and fight against the government takeover of America’s healthcare system or the president’s arrogant usurpation of the constitutional powers of Congress, then what will they fight for?  Who will stand with freedom-minded Americans who sent this majority to Washington to fight for them?  I hope my former colleagues will ask themselves:  `If not us, who?  If not now, when?’”

                Brian C. Joondeph in an article published at American Thinker, asked some different but just as good questions.  What is different now that Republicans controlling the House and Senate than when Democrats controlled both chambers?  Why should we vote for Republicans if they turn Democrat-lite after the election?
                “Giving into Democrat opposition, as they have done with amnesty, debt ceilings, continuing spending resolutions, and other `line in the sand’ issues leaves voters to scratch their heads, wondering what’s different having Congress under Republican control.
                “The 2016 elections will be pivotal for Republicans, with a chance to win the White House and maintain control of Congress.  Unless they make the case as to why this is important, voters will tune out and stay home, as they did in 2012.  If Republican voters believe, to borrow from Mrs. Clinton, `What difference does it make?’ they will stay home again in 2016.  The Republican Congress, as evidenced by the amnesty capitulation, is doing little to help.”

                The only bits of light I see in our future are the 167 Republicans who voted against funding the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, March 3, 2015.  Mr. Boehner was forced to make a deal with Democrats in order to pass a nine-month funding bill; the bill passed 257-167, with 182 Democrats and 75 Republicans voting.  The 167 Republicans were protesting the lack of language blocking Mr. Obama’s immigration amnesty.  The rift between Mr. Boehner and the conservative Republicans grew ever wider when the vote was pushed through with Democrat help.

                Will the rebels – at least 50 of them - continue their stand for constitutional principles?  I suppose that only time will tell, but so far, the rebels are still standing firm.  One of the rebel “leaders” seems to be Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) who voted against the funding of Homeland Security twice:  “Passing bills that do nothing but kick the can down the road is something that has become commonplace in Washington…. I pledge to continue this fight in one week, so we can responsibly fund the Department of Homeland Security without funding the president’s unconstitutional actions.”

                I cannot help but wonder what power Barack Obama has over Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.  Are they part of the “secret combinations” controlling our nation and thus following orders?  Do they have something in their prior history that is being held over their heads?  Is it possible for the rebels in the House to oust Boehner and elect another Speaker?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Netanyahu Speaks

                Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to the Congress of the United States on Tuesday, March 3, 2015; his subject was the emerging nuclear deal with Iran.  This was the third time Mr. Netanyahu spoke to Congress, and he looked and acted presidential in his visit and his delivery of his message.  He honored Barack Obama respectfully even though Mr. Obama has been less than welcoming to the Prime Minister.  The video and complete transcript of his message can be found here.

                Prime Minister Netanyahu was very gracious and grateful for past assistance and for the opportunity to speak to Congress.  He thanked the members of Congress, Barack Obama, and the American people for helping Israel in various ways and at various times.  Then he spoke of his “profound obligation to speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country and the future of my people:  Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons.

                “We’re an ancient people.  In our nearly 4,000 years of history, many have tried repeatedly to destroy the Jewish people.  Tomorrow night, on the Jewish holiday of Purim, we’ll read the Book of Esther.  We’ll read of a powerful Persian viceroy named Haman, who plotted to destroy the Jewish people some 2,500 years ago.  But a courageous Jewish Woman, Queen Esther, exposed the plot and gave for the Jewish people the right to defend themselves against their enemies.  The plot was foiled.  Our people were saved.

                “Today the Jewish people face another attempt by yet another Persian potentate to destroy us.  Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spews the oldest hatred, the oldest hatred of anti-Semitism with the newest technology.  He tweets that Israel must be annihilated – he tweets.  You know, in Iran, there isn’t exactly free Internet.  But he tweets in English that Israel must be destroyed.

                “For those who believe that Iran threatens the Jewish state, but not the Jewish people, listen to Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, Iran’s chief terrorist proxy.  He said:  `If all the Jews gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing them down around the world.’

                “But Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, any more than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem.  The 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis were but a fraction of the 60 million people killed in World War II.  So, too, Iran’s regime poses a grave threat, not only to Israel, but also the peace of the entire world.  To understand just how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must fully understand the nature of the regime.

                “The people of Iran are very talented people.  They’re heirs to one of the world’s great civilizations.  But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots – religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

                “That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran.  It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran’s borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad.  The regime’s founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to `export the revolution throughout the world.’

                “I’m standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark.  America’s founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Iran’s founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad.  And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.

                “Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror.  Backed by Iran, Assad is slaughtering Syrians.  Backed by Iran, Shiite militias are rampaging through Iraq.  Backed by Iran, Houthis are seizing control of Yemen, threatening the strategic straits at the mouth of the Red Sea.  Along with the Straits of Hormuz, that would give Iran a second choke-point on the world’s oil supply.

                “Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier.  That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States.  But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock.  And the targets have been all too real.

                “Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Maries, in Beirut, and was responsible for killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

                “Beyond the Middle East, Iran attacks America and its allies through its global terror network.  It blew up the Jewish community center and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires.  It helped Al Qaida bomb U.S. embassies in Africa.  It even attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, right here in Washington, D.C.

                “In the Middle East, Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, and Sanaa.  And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.

                “So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.  We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.

                “Now, two years ago, we were told to give President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif a chance to bring change and moderation to Iran.  Some change!  Some moderation!  Rouhani’s government hangs gays, persecutes Christians, jails journalists and executes even more prisoners than before.

                “Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh.  Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden.  I’d like to see someone ask him a question about that.

                “Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of `Death to America,’ that same America that it calls the `Great Satan,’ as loud as ever.
Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America.  Don’t be fooled. 

                “The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.  Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam.  One calls itself the Islamic Republic.  The other calls itself the Islamic State.  Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world.  They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.

                “In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone.  So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.  The difference is that ISIS is armed with butcher knives, captured weapons and YouTube, whereas Iran could soon be armed with intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombs.  We must always remember – I’ll say it one more time – the greatest dangers facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.  To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle, but lose the war. 

                "We can’t let that happen.  But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen, if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran.  That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.  Let me explain why.  While the final deal has not yet been signed, certain elements of any potential deal are now a matter of public record.  You don’t need intelligence agencies and secret information to know this.  You can Google it.

                “Absent a dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran.  The first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short break-out time to the bomb.  Break-out time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons-grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb.  According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished.  Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning.  Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected, but not destroyed. 

                “Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact, Iran’s breakout time would be very short – about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.  And if – if Iran’s work on advanced centrifuges, faster and faster centrifuges, is not stopped, that break-out time could still be shorter, a lot shorter.

                “True, certain restrictions would be imposed on Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s adherence to those restrictions would be supervised by international inspectors.  But here’s the problem.  You see, inspectors document violations; they don’t stop them.  Inspectors knew when North Korea broke to the bomb, but that didn’t stop anything.  North Korea turned off the cameras, kicked out the inspectors.  Within a few years, it got the bomb.  Now, we’re warned that within five years North Korea could have an arsenal of 100 nuclear bombs.

                “Like North Korea, Iran, too, has defied international inspectors.  It’s done that on at least three separate occasions – 2005, 2006, 2010.  Like North Korea, Iran broke the locks, shut off the cameras.  Now, I know this is not gonna come a shock – as a shock to any of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, it also plays a pretty good game of hide-and-cheat with them.

                “The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, said again yesterday that Iran still refuses to come clean about its military nuclear program. Iran was also caught — caught twice, not once, twice — operating secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom, facilities that inspectors didn’t even know existed.

                “Right now, Iran could be hiding nuclear facilities that we don’t know about, the U.S. and Israel. As the former head of inspections for the IAEA said in 2013, he said, “If there’s no undeclared installation today in Iran, it will be the first time in 20 years that it doesn’t have one.” Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted. And that’s why the first major concession is a source of great concern. It leaves Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and relies on inspectors to prevent a breakout. That concession creates a real danger that Iran could get to the bomb by violating the deal.

                “But the second major concession creates an even greater danger that Iran could get to the bomb by keeping the deal. Because virtually all the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will automatically expire in about a decade.

                “Now, a decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children. We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.

                “Iran’s Supreme Leader says that openly. He says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount — 190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.

                “My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.  Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.  And by the way, if Iran’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile program is not part of the deal, and so far, Iran refuses to even put it on the negotiating table. Well, Iran could have the means to deliver that nuclear arsenal to the far-reach corners of the Earth, including to every part of the United States.

                “So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.

                “So why would anyone make this deal?  Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

                “Well, I disagree. I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite — would only wet Iran’s appetite for more.

                “Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it’s under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism?

                “Why should Iran’s radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both worlds: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?  This is a question that everyone asks in our region. Israel’s neighbors — Iran’s neighbors know that Iran will become even more aggressive and sponsor even more terrorism when its economy is unshackled and it’s been given a clear path to the bomb.

                “And many of these neighbors say they’ll respond by racing to get nuclear weapons of their own. So this deal won’t change Iran for the better; it will only change the Middle East for the worse. A deal that’s supposed to prevent nuclear proliferation would instead spark a nuclear arms race in the most dangerous part of the planet.

                “This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars would turn into a nuclear tinderbox.

                “If anyone thinks — if anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.

                “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future.

                “We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.  Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…  Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.  And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state….

                “If the world powers are not prepared to insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal is signed, at the very least they should insist that Iran change its behavior before a deal expires.  If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change its behavior, the restrictions should not be lifted.  If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

                “My friends, what about the argument that there’s no alternative to this deal, that Iran’s nuclear know-how cannot be erased, that its nuclear program is so advanced that the best we can do is delay the inevitable, which is essentially what the proposed deal seeks to do?  Well, nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn’t get you very much. A race car driver without a car can’t drive. A pilot without a plane can’t fly. Without thousands of centrifuges, tons of enriched uranium or heavy water facilities, Iran can’t make nuclear weapons.

                “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.

                “Now, if Iran threatens to walk away from the table — and this often happens in a Persian bazaar — call their bluff. They’ll be back, because they need the deal a lot more than you do.  And by maintaining the pressure on Iran and on those who do business with Iran, you have the power to make them need it even more.

                “My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.  Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true. 

                “The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal. A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.  A better deal that won’t give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country…  no country has a greater stake — no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

                “Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.  The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.

                “You don’t have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.

                “My friends, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is…. I wish I could promise you… that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.  Not to sacrifice the future for the present; not to ignore aggression in the hopes of gaining an illusory peace.

                “But I can guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over.  We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people, can defend ourselves. 

                “This is why — this is why, as a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.  But I know that Israel does not stand alone. I know that America stands with Israel.  I know that you stand with Israel.

                “You stand with Israel, because you know that the story of Israel is not only the story of the Jewish people but of the human spirit that refuses again and again to succumb to history’s horrors.  Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this (inaudible) chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land.  And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today:  `Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.’

                “My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope.  May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America…. Thank you, America.  Thank you….”

                I left out all the applause lines, of which there were many, as well as some of the speech.  I did however include most of the speech.  In my opinion it was a powerful speech and was given without insulting anyone.  He simply told the facts as he sees them.  He “laid his cards on the table” so to speak and asked for America’s help in protecting his nation and his people from an ever-more aggressive Iran.  I hope the majority of both the House and the Senate believe Mr. Netanyahu’s words and come to his assistance.  I hope Americans will insist that Congress stand with Israel and stop encouraging Iran in their evil plan.

                I believe with all my heart that the United States must always stand with Israel in order to have the protection of God.  The Israelites are favored of God and will be protected by Him; any individual or nation that fights against Israel will see the fury of God rained down upon them.  This is my belief.  America must stand with Israel!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Immigration Chaos

                Barack Obama gave his “Oval Office” speech on amnesty on November 20, 2014 – just weeks after a wave election put Republicans in charge of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  He obviously did not pay any attention to the election results that showed the desires of the voters. 

                America has been welcoming immigrants to our shores for over 200 years, and most of these immigrants have made America a better place.  Congress passed laws stating who and how many immigrants could come into our nation, and many immigrants have followed the law and waited their turns even as they have watched other break the rules and come illegally.  Americans are not against immigrants; we are against illegal immigrants.

                At any rate Mr. Obama believes “our immigration system is broken” and “began doing what [he] could to secure our borders.”  He blames the Republicans in the House of Representatives for not passing a “bipartisan bill” that had passed the Senate.  According to Mr. Obama, the law “would have doubled the number of border patrol agents while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line….” 

                Those mean old Republicans refused to pass the bill!  Even though Mr. Obama believes “that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law,” he decided to act on his own “legal authority” to “help make our immigration system more fair and more just.”

                Mr. Obama then announced those actions:  (1) put “additional resources for our law enforcement personnel” on the border “so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.”  (2) “Make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy.”  (3) “Take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.”

                The Daily Caller reported that Mr. Obama directed immigration officers to “stop repatriating illegals, unless the illegals have recently cross the border, or have been convicted of a major crime” as part of his “Oval Office Amnesty.”  “Recent data shows that Obama is successfully reducing the repatriation of illegals who have been living in the United States for some years.
                “In 2012, his agencies were repatriating roughly 30,000 illegals per month, out of a population of roughly 12 million.  But that number fell to roughly 20,000 per month in 2014, and down to 11,000 in January 2015, according to a calculation by the Center for Immigration Studies.
                “At the record low rate of 10,000 repatriations per month, it will take 100 years for Obama’s administration to comply with federal law, assuming the federal government also ends all other incentives – such as workplace authorization rules – that encourage the return home of the 12 million illegal immigrants.”

                Mr. Obama has directed his agents to focus “law enforcement resources on high-priority threats” such as criminals and gang members as well as people who recently came over the border.  The cost of this “prioritization” is high.  “Each household of low-skill workers – whether native-born of legal immigrants – costs American taxpayers roughly $50,000 per year, in various transfer payments, such as IRS rebates, anti-poverty programs, health-care programs and K-12 education costs, according to the Heritage Foundation.”

                Recognizing that “we’re not going to deport 11 million people,” Mr. Obama decided to redirect “federal resources from enforcement to give get-out-of-jail residency cards to illegal immigrants.  The cards will allow at least 5 million illegals to compete for jobs, get IRS anti-poverty payments, get Social Security Numbers and also get on a fast-track process to citizenship and full access to federal support programs.”

                Mr. Obama also threatened “consequences” if law enforcement officers do not enforce his amnesty.  U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) is demanding answers to this question “in light of a recent federal court ruling against Obama’s policy.”  He is asking what “specific consequences” the Obama administration would take if an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent did not obey Mr. Obama’s amnesty rules.

                Senator Lankford sits on the Senate subcommittee with oversight of Department of Homeland Security employees.  He sent a letter to the White House asking for answers.  Among those questions is this one:  “How should agents balance their oath to defend the Constitution with your orders to follow policies that a federal court deemed in violation of federal law?”  Other questions can be found in Senator Lankford’s letter found at this site.

                The man who sits in the White House and took an oath to uphold the laws of our land has brought immigration chaos to our nation.
The men and women who are supposed to enforce our laws are threatened with “consequences” if they fulfill their responsibilities.  More and more illegal aliens are crossing our borders because of the talk of amnesty. 

                Why are Mr. Obama, Harry Reid, and their cohorts so willing to have illegals overrun our nation?  One obvious answer is they need more people to vote for Democrats because Americans – including African-Americans - are wising up to their antics and voting Republicans into office.  Another one could be a desire to completely destroy our American way of life.  Whatever the true answers may be, they are not good for America or Americans.  Another good question is, can America survive Mr. Obama?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

                Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was born on March 8, 1841, in Boston, Massachusetts.  He was the son of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. and Amelia Lee Jackson.  His father was a prominent writer and physician as well as “a leading figure in Boston intellectual and literary circles.”  His mother was an abolitionist who was “connected to the leading families” such as Henry James Sr. and Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Young Holmes was known as “Wendell” in his youth, and he was lifelong friends with Henry James Jr. and William James.  Young Holmes was reared “in an atmosphere of intellectual achievement, and early formed the ambition to be a man of letters like Emerson.

                Holmes supported the Abolitionist movement.  He attended Harvard and followed in his father’s footsteps as a member of the Hasty Pudding and the Porcellian Club.  He left school briefly in the spring of 1861 when President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers after rebels fired on Fort Sumter, but he returned to school briefly to participate in commencement exercises.  That summer Holmes was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

                Holmes “saw much action, from the Peninsula Campaign to the Wilderness, suffering wounds at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, Antietam, and Chancellorsville, and suffered from a near-fatal case of dysentery.  Holmes particularly admired and was close to his fellow officer in the 20th Mass., Henry Livermore Abbott.  Holmes rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, but eschewed promotion in his regiment and served on the staff of the VI Corps during the Wilderness campaign.  Abbott took command of the regiment in his place, and was killed.  Holmes is said to have shouted at Lincoln to take cover during the Battle of Fort Stevens, although this is commonly regarded as apocryphal.  Although Holmes himself made this claim, he likely was not present on the day Lincoln visited Fort Stevens.  Holmes received a brevet (honorary) promotion to colonel in recognition of his services during the war.  He retired to his home in Boston after his three-year enlistment ended in 1864, weary and ill, his regiment disbanded.”

                Colonel Holmes returned to Boston during the summer 1864; there he “wrote poetry and debated philosophy with his friend William James.”  He considered reenlisting in the military; when he realized the war was about to end, he enrolled in the Harvard Law School in the fall of 1864.  There he spent a year attending lectures and “reading extensively in theoretical works.”  He spent the next year clerking in the law office of his cousin Robert Morse. 

                Holmes was admitted to the bar in 1866 but went to London to complete his education before joining a small law firm in Boston.  He practiced admiralty law and commercial law for fifteen years.  He visited London whenever he could during the social season of spring and summer and formed romantic friendships with English noble women.  He also enjoyed intellectual friendships with British men.

                In 1872 Holmes married Fanny Bowditch Dixwell, who had been a friend since childhood.  The couple was not blessed with children of their own, but they adopted Dorothy Upham, an orphaned cousin.  Fanny did not like Beacon Hill society but did enjoy embroidery.  “She was described as devoted, witty, wise, tactful, and perceptive.”  She died on April 30, 1929.

                Holmes served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (1902-1932) and as Acting Chief Justice of the United States (January-February 1930).  He was “noted for his long service, his concise and pithy opinions and his deference to the decisions of elected legislatures;” he was also “one of the most widely cited United States Supreme Court justices in history, particularly for his `clear and present danger’ opinion for a unanimous Court in the 1919 case of Schenck v. United States, and is one of the most influential American common law judges, honored during his lifetime in Great Britain as well as the United States.  Holmes retired from the Court at the age of 90 years, 309 days, making him the oldest Justice in the Supreme Court’s history.  He also served as an Associate Justice and as Chief Justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and was Weld Professor of Law at the Harvard Law School, of which he was an alumnus.”

                Justice Holmes died of pneumonia on March 6, 1835, in Washington, D.C., just two days short of his 94th birthday.  He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

                Believing that “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” he left his residuary estate to the United States government.  “His personal effects included his Civil War Officer’s uniform still stained with his blood and `torn with shot’ as well as the carefully wrapped Minie balls that had wounded him three times in separate battles.“  His papers were donated to Harvard Law School.

                “The United States Postal Service honored Holmes with a Prominent Americans series (1965-1978) 15 cent postage stamp.  In 1972 his summer house in Beverly, Massachusetts, became a National Historic Landmark.               

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Right to Vote

                The topic of this discussion comes from the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:  “Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude – Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”  This provision seems to be self-explanatory:  Every qualified voter has the right to vote regardless of race, color, or previous slavery.

                W. Cleon Skousen explained, “It is rather amazing that a provision of this kind should have been required in the Constitution of the United States.  Nevertheless, there was wide discrimination among the states against various classes of voters because of race, religion, foreign extraction, or economic status.  Even the Supreme Court had declared that it was within the power of a state to exclude citizens of the United States form voting for those reasons, just as it could on the basis of age, property, or educational requirements.
                “Even after this provision, there were various devices employed to discriminate against qualified voters for over another century.”
See The Making of America – The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, p. 728.)

                Earl Maltz of The Heritage Foundation further explained, “Passed by Congress on March 3, 1869, and ratified in 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was the last of the three Reconstruction Amendments.  Though the language of the Fifteenth Amendment prohibits all race-based discrimination in qualifications for voting, the Framers were primarily concerned with the enfranchisement of African-Americans.  As early as 1866, many of the Republicans were convinced of the need for a constitutional amendment that would require the states to allow African-Americans to vote.  Indeed, at one point the Joint Committee on Reconstruction voted to report a version of the Fourteenth Amendment that explicitly embraced the principle of race-blind suffrage.  However, many Northerners continued to oppose black suffrage in principle, and fears of a political backlash led the committee to abandon the issue before the proposed amendment came to the floor.  By 1869, the situation had changed.  Although the outcome of referenda on black suffrage in the North continued to reflect the opposition of critical swing voters, other factors persuaded mainstream Republicans in Congress of the need for a federal constitutional amendment to deal with the issue.

                “Republicans had a variety of different reasons for supporting such an amendment.  In the Reconstruction Act of 1867, Congress had forced black suffrage on the ex-Confederate states by statute, and Republicans faced the charge that they were hypocritical in not imposing the same requirement on Northern states.  Some also believed that if blacks were enfranchised in the states that had remained in the Union, they would provide critical support for Republican candidates in those states.  Still others argued that, even in the South, black suffrage would be insecure without a constitutional amendment and that the governments of the ex-Confederate states could not be returned to local control until the political power of the freed slaves was guaranteed.

                “By 1869, these considerations, combined with the conviction that allowing blacks to vote was right in itself, convinced virtually all mainstream congressional Republicans that a constitutional amendment was desirable.  Republicans were, nevertheless, deeply divided over the question of what precise language should be adopted….”  (See The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 409.)

                With knowledge that Republicans pushed for freedom to vote for all races but especially for African-Americans, I cannot help but be amazed that these same minorities still consider Democrats to be their friends; they vote in blocks to keep Democrats in office in spite of this fact.  I have come to accept that the only conclusion possible is that the Democrats have brought them into bondage to the government; they have become so dependent on government handouts that they have basically given up their right to vote according to their conscience. 

                There are many members of the minority communities who see clearly what is happening to their people, but when they attempt to tell their family and friends, they are called “Uncle Tom” or worse.  The minority masses seem to enjoy being on the “plantation” of the government and receiving provisions.  This condition is even worse than true slavery because they do not even have the dignity of working for their goods.   The government simply distributes food stamps and other handouts provided by those who do work; it is as though the people are children or invalids or otherwise incapable of taking care of themselves.  This brings a true lack of dignity and self-esteem – which is then blamed on the people who have earned the money to provide the handouts; this is the real problem. 

                Our nation is in trouble today and is moving steadily into deeper trouble.  We will be in real trouble when the government can no longer provide for them.  I plead with you to join me in praying for the survival of our nation!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Esther and Netanyahu

                The story contained in the book of Esther in the Old Testament is beautiful, and it is also a great teaching tool.  The book contains only ten chapters and covers just over ten pages; it is one of two books named for women in the Old Testament.

                The story begins in Shushan with an explanation about a king named Ahasuerus and his displeasure with Queen Vashti’s refusal to be paraded in front of a bunch of visiting princes.  Ahasuerus was angry with Vashti’s disobedience to him – her husband as well as the king - and sought counsel from his wise men.  The wise men convinced the king that the ladies of Persia and Media would hear what happened in the palace and would follow Vashti’s example in being disobedient to their own husbands.  Vashti must be disciplined, and a new queen must be chosen.

                Mordecai was a Benjamite, the descendant of Jews “carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah” by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  Hadassah – or Esther – was the daughter of Mordecai’s uncle and was orphaned.  She “was fair and beautiful,” and Mordecai took her into his home to rear as his own daughter.

                Mordecai heard what Vashti had done and knew Ahasuerus was seeking a new queen.  He convinced Esther to apply for the position but to keep her Jewish ancestry secret.  Many maidens wanted to become queen, and they all were required to go through twelve months of purification and preparation before they were brought before the king.  Each maiden was given whatever she desired to take with her to the king’s house.  Esther “required nothing” but “obtained favour in the sight of all them that looked upon her.” 

                King Ahasuerus “loved Esther above all the women and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.”  Even though she became queen, Esther had to obey the law of the land.  She could not enter the presence of the king unless he invited her to do so. 

                Meanwhile, Mordecai “sat in the king’s gate” to watch over Esther.  While he was there, he overheard two men plotting to kill the king.  Mordecai sent word to Esther; she warned the king, and the two men were hanged.

                After these things took place, the king promoted a man named Haman to a position next to the king himself “above all the other princes” in the kingdom and commanded that all men bow to Haman.  Mordecai would not bow to Haman; some of the king’s servants questioned Mordecai and discovered that he was a Jew.  This information was given to Haman, and he went to the king.  He convinced Ahasuerus to send out a proclamation that all Jews in the kingdom were to be killed on a certain day.

                Mordecai sent word to Esther telling her to go before the king to save the lives of her people.  Among other things he said, “…who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther fully understood the danger she would be in, and sent this answer to Mordecai:

                “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day:  I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:  and if I perish, I perish.” (4:15-16)

                After the three days of fasting, “Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house.”  When the king saw her standing there, he “held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand.  So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the scepter.”  The king asked Esther what she wanted, and she invited the king and Haman to a banquet in Esther’s apartment.

                The king and Haman came to the banquet, and the king asked Esther again to tell him what she wanted.  She asked the king and Haman to come to another banquet the next day.  Haman was proud to be the only man besides the king to be invited to eat with the queen, not just once but twice, but he became very angry when he saw Mordecai.  He told his wife and friends how he felt, and they suggested he build a gallows fifty cubits high and ask the king to hang Mordecai for disobeying the king’s command.

                Unknown to Haman, the king was not able to sleep that very night and asked for the book of records to be brought to him.  There in the book of records was mention of a man named Mordecai who had saved the king’s life.  The king desired to know what honors had been bestowed on Mordecai and was told that nothing had been done.  The king called Haman in and asked him how the king could show great honor to a man.  Haman, being a proud man, thought the king was talking about him, and told him to put the royal apparel on the man and take him through the streets on horseback proclaiming his greatness to all the people.  Then the king told Haman to make haste and do that exact thing with Mordecai.  This of course caused Haman to be even more angry.

                The king and Haman came to Esther’s second banquet, and the king asked Esther “What is thy petition…?”  “If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request….”  The king of course wanted to know who would presume to do such a thing as kill the queen and her people.  She answered, “The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman.”  The king was so angry that he left the room to walk in the garden for a few minutes; when he returned he found Haman making a request for his life to Esther.  The king thought Haman was forcing himself upon Esther and commanded that Haman be hung on the gallows prepared to hang Mordecai.  The king took the house of Haman and gave it to Mordecai; he then took the ring that he had taken from Haman and gave it to Mordecai.  “Esther then set Mordecai over the house of Haman.”

                Finally, Esther had an opportunity to discuss with the king the decree that all her people were to be killed on a certain day.  The king could not remember making such an order and asked his scribes to find it in the record.  They searched the record and found the decree.  The king could not take it back, but he made a new decree for the Jews to gather together and to defend themselves.  The decree went out.  “And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day.  And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.” (8:17)  This day of joy and gladness is commemorated by Jews as the Fast of Esther or Purim.

                As reported by The Blaze, “Religious Jews are drawing parallels between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address next week to Congress, which has earned the ire of the Obama administration, and the experiences of the biblical Esther who made the case to Persia’s king on behalf of the Jewish people to halt the designs of a hate-consumed official to annihilate the Jews.

                “The faithful have been sharing their thoughts on social media and have pointed to the timing of Netanyahu’s speech, March 3, which happens to fall on the eve of the Fast of Esther, when Jews commemorate the three-day fast Queen Esther asked the Jews to undertake while they repented and prayed she would succeed in her mission to convince King Ahasuerus to scuttle the evil Haman’s genocidal plans.”

                The Obama administration is upset with Netanyahu because he accepted an invitation from House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) to speak to Congress; the administration described it as a “break in diplomatic protocol.”

                “Some religious leaders have noted that the same kind of break in protocol was key to the Jews’ redemption in the Book of Esther.  The Jewish holiday of Purim, which this year is celebrated March 5, marks Esther’s success in her mission to thwart Haman’s destructive plan.”

                Could Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be a man who has “come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Please join me in praying for the nation of Israel as well as the Prime Minister that he can indeed save his people from the evil men and women who seek to destroy them from the face of the earth.