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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Incompetence or Cover Up?

                    Is Barack Obama merely incompetent to perform the duties of President of the United States or is he doing his best to cover up the true reason for the attack Benghazi, LibyaSenator John McCain asked the same question on CBS News ' Face the Nation" on Sunday, October 28, 2012.  While discussing the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, Senator McCain said, "I don't know if it's either a cover-up or the worst kind of incompetence, which doesn't qualify the president as commander in chief."  McCain also said, "We now know there was no demonstration.  There was no mob.  So for literally days and days, they told the American people something that had no basis in fact whatsoever."  McCain added, "Nobody died in Watergate.  But this is either a massive cover-up or incompetence that is not acceptable service to the American people.  The American people may take that into consideration a week from Tuesday [Election Day]."  

                    Barack Obama is of course taking offense.  He told Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, hosts of the Morning Joe Show:  "Anytime a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans who were serving our country get killed, we have to figure out what happened and fix it.  But I do take offense with some suggestion that in any way, we haven't tried to make sure that the American people knew as the information was coming in what we believed."

                    E-mails from the Libya Embassy released to the public are proof that our President lied to us.  These e-mails proved that our officials in Washington, D.C. knew almost immediately that the consulate was under attack and did not take any rescue action.  Additional reports have shown that Stevens was afraid for his life and requested additional security prior to the attack.  These reports have also stated that three requests for help during the attack were denied.  We now know that the two former SEALS died long after help could have been there.

                    What are Americans supposed to believe?  Are we to believe the reports that gun running was taking place - running the arms from Libya, through Turkey, and into Syria?  The Obama Administration apparently furnished thousands of guns to the rebels in Libya to rid the nation of the evil regime; they were apparently trying to send them to Syria to aid in overthrowing the regime there.  Were the terrorists Iranians trying to confiscate the arms instead of locals?

                    Are we to believe the rumors that Ambassador Stevens was gay and was killed because of his sexual orientation?  Were the terrorists extreme Muslims simply ridding their country of a homosexual?  Should we believe that Obama is a closet homosexual and Stevens had information on him?  Was the attack a "hit" on Stevens?  Could this be the reason that security was withdrawn from Stevens prior to the attack and assistance was denied during the attack?

                    Did Obama and his administration deliberately lie to keep Americans from knowing that our President was aiding and abetting our enemies or were their lies an attempt to keep classified information from our enemies?

                    Where was the military?  Why were they restricted?  What part did the generals play in the plot?  Why are so many generals being reassigned, retired, or accused of wrong doing?

                    Who gave the "stand down" order?  The Obama Administration and the CIA have both denied that they gave the order.  We know that military assistance was within an hour or two, and we know that they were told to "stand down."

                    Why is the mainstream media assisting the Administration in keeping this information from the American public?  When our local liberal rag finally printed something about the scandal, did they make it front page news?  No, their small article was found buried in the middle of the paper and contained little information!

                    It is difficult for us to discern the truth.  The truth may be a long time coming, but it will come.   We now know that the official Administration story is a lie - a bald faced lie.  They knew that it was a coordinated terrorist attack and that a group claimed credit for it within an hour.  We must understand that the Benghazi situation is much worse than the Watergate situation with Nixon or the Iran Contra affair of the Reagan Administration because no one died in either of those situations.  Nixon was forced to resign from office in order to avoid impeachment, and Reagan apologized to the American people when he understood exactly what happened.  Obama lied for over a week and doubled down on his lies until he realized we did not believe him; then he merely changed his lies and said he did not say what we all know that he said.   The only thing we know for sure is that our President lies to us. 

                    I believe that it is time to fire this President!  Mitt Romney is a man who loves America and believes it is an exceptional nation.  He will protect and rescue Americans - particularly those who are serving their nation on foreign soils.  Vote for Mitt Romney! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Benghazi Attack

                    The Obama Administration views foreign policy as its strongest asset, but the terrorist attack in Benghazi has proven otherwise.  We were first told that the terrorist attack on September 11, 2012, was just a mob spontaneously set into motion by an anti-Islamic film.  Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and other members of the administration repeated this story for two weeks before they were forced to backpedal.   There were no American investigators on the scene for over a week.  Why?  One of the first people to investigate the burned out consulate was a reporter from CNN who found the Ambassador's diary on the floor.  It is now seven weeks since the attack; information about it continues to leak out.  Copies of e-mails from the Libya Embassy were recently leaked - and the information is not good.

Four Americans died in the attack - Ambassador Christopher Stevens, former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, former Navy Seal Glen Doherty, and Sean Smith - and their families are begging to know why they died.  The Obama administration continues to stone wall.

An article at Fox News presented the most concise details I have read about the attack.  Fox News communicated with sources who were in Benghazi when the first shots were heard about 9:40 p.m. on the night of the attack. Fox learned that "an urgent request [came] from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate" and the "subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself."  This request was "denied by the CIA chain of command".  In fact, the CIA chain of command "told the CIA operators twice to `stand down' rather than go to the consulate to help the Americans there.

The CIA annex is located about one mile from the U.S. consulate in Benghazi where the attack occurred.  Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was at the annex as part of a small team when he and others heard shots.  They told their superiors what they had heard and "requested permission to go to the consulate and help out."  They were told to "stand down" - twice.

Woods and at least two other people ignored those orders and went to the consulate, which they found on fire.  "Shots were exchanged."  The rescuers from the CIA annex "evacuated those who remained at the consulate and the body of Sean Smith - killed in the initial attack.  They returned to the CIA annex about midnight after searching unsuccessfully for the Ambassador.

By that time, the CIA safe house or annex was being fired upon, and another call for military support was made.  This request was denied.  "There were no communications problems at the annex, according to those present at the compound.  The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters.  In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound.  The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights….

"According to sources on the ground during the attack, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex.  The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from….

"Fox News has learned that there were two military surveillance drones redirected to Benghazi shortly after the attack on the consulate began. They were already in the vicinity.  The second surveillance craft was sent to relieve the first drone, perhaps due to fuel issues.  Both were capable of sending real time visuals back to U.S. officials in Washington, D.C.  Any U.S. official or agency with the proper clearance, including the White House Situation Room, State Department, CIA, Pentagon and others, could call up that video in real time on their computers."

In spite of the fact that the U.S. officials in Washington, D.C., could watch the attack in real time, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta claimed that he did not have "a clear enough picture" of the event in Benghazi to send help.  Besides, they thought the attack was over because there was a lull in the action.

The Fox News report continued:  "Tyrone Woods was later joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was sent in from Tripoli as part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides counter surveillance and surveillance protection.  They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the consulate began - a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations.  Four mortars were fired at the annex.  The first one struck outside the annex.  Three more hit the annex.

"A motorcade of dozens of Libyan vehicles, some mounted with 50 caliber machine guns, belonging to the February 17th Brigades, a Libyan militia which is friendly to the U.S., finally showed up at the CIA annex at approximately 3 a.m.  An American Quick Reaction Force sent from Tripoli had arrived at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m. (four hours after the initial attack on the consulate and was delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not at first get transportation, allegedly due to confusion among Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex, according to Benghazi sources.

"The American special operators, Woods, Doherty and at least two others were part of the Global Response Staff, a CIA element, based at the CIA annex and were protecting CIA operators who were part of a mission to track and repurchase arms in Benghazi that had proliferated in the wake of Muammar Qaddafi's fall.  Part of their mission was to find the more than 20,000 missing MANPADS, or shoulder-held missiles capable of bringing down a commercial aircraft….

"Fox News has also learned that Stevens was in Benghazi that day to be present at the opening of an English-language school being started by the Libyan farmer who helped save an American pilot who had been shot down by pro-Qaddafi forces during the initial war to overthrow the regime.  That farmer saved the life of the American pilot and the ambassador wanted to be present to launch the Libyan Rescuer's new school."

The twitter account of Jake Tapper relayed the following information given to him by a CIA spokesperson:  "Breaking news on Benghazi:  the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement:  `No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.'"

                    Assuming this breaking news is the truth, if the orders for the CIA special operators to "stand down" did not come from Petraeus or anyone else in the CIA, who did they come from?

                    Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of "distorting the account of the attack."  Republican senators are demanding that the Obama administration declassify the surveillance video taken by the drones and make it public.

                    Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, the hero who left the CIA compound and lost his life fighting to help his fellow Americans at the Benghazi consulate, shared his experience at the official memorial service for the four slain Americans held at Andrews Air Force Base a few days after the attack.

                    "When [Obama] came over to our little area, he kind of just mumbled, you know, `I'm sorry.'  His face was looking at me, but his eyes were looking over my shoulder like he could not look me in the eye.  And it was not a sincere, `I'm really sorry, you know, that your son died,' but it was totally insincere, more of whining type, `I'm sorry.'"
                    Woods described how it felt when he shook Obama's hand - "like shaking hands with a dead fish."
                    He said that his encounter with the commander-in-chief "just didn't feel right.  And now that it's coming out that apparently the White House situation room was watching our people die in real time, as this was happening."

                    Woods also described his experience of meeting Hilary Clinton:  "Well, this is what Hillary did.  She came over and, you know, did the same thing - separately came over and talked with me.  I gave her a hug, shook her hand.  And she did not appear to be one bit sincere - at all.  And you know, she mentioned that the thing about, we're going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.  That was the first time I had even heard about anything like that.

                    Woods wants answers on what happened, why back-up troops were not sent, and why there was no apparent effort to save his son's life and the lives of the other three Americans.

                    Blogger James Lewis asked:  what did Obama know and when did he know it?  He also presented the following "fact".

                    "According to Special Ops Lt. Colonel "Doug" calling Rush Limbaugh today, there are standing orders for instant flash communication about any attacks on US Ambassadors or four-star generals.  As soon as the assault on the Benghazi mission started, local personnel notified the US Embassy in Tripoli, which triggered an instant alarm in Washington, D.C.  The President's military aide knows within a few minutes and is required to notify POTUS immediately.  Two separate `In Extremis' rescue teams were alerted, a C-130 was ready, and F-18 jet bombers.  US personnel laser-spotted the Libyan mortar team that killed Americans, pointing the way for bombs that never came…."

                    Buck Sexton is the national security editor at The Blaze and the Co-host of Real News on The Blaze TV.  Before he joined the Blaze, he served in the U.S. intelligence community for six years, specializing in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency.  He has field experience in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.  He has a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College.  He wrote a very informative article entitled "Here's What Obama Doesn't Want You to Know about Libya."  He cites information that Obama knew before the attack - or should have known.  (Maybe he did not know it since he stopped attending security briefings!)  Then he asked the million dollar question:  "Why was the White House so unwilling to state the obvious on Benghazi?  The answer is all about Obama's narrative heading into reelection.  The Benghazi debacle makes it appear Libya is heading for darker times, it proved that the global Jihad marches on after Bin Laden's death, and Libya could even become a safe haven for terrorists to plot attacks on the world."

                    Sexton continued his article:  "In fact, as we headed into the thick of election season, the Obama administration was poised to hold Libya up as the poster-child for humanitarian intervention….
                    "Then our U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other brave Americans serving their country were murdered by the very people they had risked their lives to liberate.  Americans now see threats on the horizon for which this administration is ill-prepared.

                    "So what does Benghazi tell us about the real state of Libya?
                    "The militias control everything.  The central government doesn't have an effective police force or military, and there are Salafists and Jihadists angling for power in the Eastern province of Barqa who entirely reject the democratic process.  Many of them also despise America and the West, despite our saving them from annihilation.

                    "Libya as it exists on a map is a fiction.  It is really three separate states that were pulled together by a vicious strongman in Qaddafi who was bizarre even by maniacal dictator standards.  He allowed no civil society to form, and even kept most of the military intentionally weak."

                    I got the idea from this article that Libya is a long way from having a unified democracy, and I wonder if we made a really big mistake by helping the people of Libya get rid of Muammar Qaddafi.  He at least had some control over the different factions in Libya.

                    The bottom line is, if Sexton knows all this information about Libya, then our intelligence agencies must have the same and more.  Why were there no Marines at the consulate to protect the ambassador?  Why didn't backup support come when it was requested time after time?  Why did the Obama Administration lie to us?

                    Richard Nixon resigned rather than be impeached for covering up Watergate.  Benghazi is much, much bigger than Watergate because no one died in the Watergate break in or cover up.  Will Benghazi prove to be Obama's Watergate or has he finally met his Waterloo?   We must fire Obama and get a new President!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

                    Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
was not only a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, but he was also a lawyer, a planter, a statesman from South Carolina, a military leader during the Revolutionary War, and a candidate for the office of President of the United States.

                    The boy who would be known as Charles Cotesworth (C.C.) Pinckney was born on February 25, 1746, in Charleston, South Carolina.  He was born into an aristocratic planter family that was very much involved in the affairs of South Carolina.  His father was Charles Pinckney (chief justice of the Province of South Carolina), and his mother was Eliza Lucas (celebrated planter and agriculturalist).  His younger brother was Thomas Pinckney (Governor of South Carolina, U.S. Representative, and diplomat for George Washington administration).  His first cousin once removed was Charles Pinckney (Governor of South Carolina, U.S. Senator, and diplomat for the Thomas Jefferson administration).

                    The Pinckney family moved in 1753 to London, England, where Charles' father was an agent or lobbyist sent to protect the commercial and political interests of South Carolina.  Charles and his brother Thomas attended Westminster School until the family returned to South Carolina in 1758; both brothers also studied at Oxford University.  Charles graduated from Christ Church, Oxford, earning degrees in science and law; he then went to Middle Temple where he further studied law.  Charles continued his education in France where he studied botany and chemistry; he also attended the Royal Military College at Caen for a short while.

                    Charles married Sarah Middleton in 1773; her father was Henry Middleton (second President of the Continental Congress) and her brother was Arthur Middleton (signer of the Declaration of Independence).  Sarah passed away in 1784, and Charles married Mary Stead in 1786.  Mary was from a wealthy family of planters in Georgia.  Pinckney was the father of three daughters and also belonged to the Episcopalian Church.

                    Upon his return to South Carolina from his studies in Europe, Charles practiced law in Charleston until he was elected to the colonial legislature in 1770.  He was a regional attorney general in 1773 and was a member of the first South Carolina provincial congress in 1775.

                    Charles sided with the American patriots when war erupted between the Colonies and Great Britain in 1775.  He served in the lower house of the state legislature and in the South Carolina Senate.  As a member of the provincial congress, he "helped South Carolina transition from being a British colony to being an independent state."

                    After the Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, Charles became a full-time regular officer in the Continental Army where he held the rank of captain.  He was a senior company commander when he raised and led the elite Grenadiers of the 1st South Carolina Regiment.  In June 1776 Charles' regiment was part of the successful defense of Charleston when British General Sir Henry Clinton and his forces attacked the state capital from the sea in the Battle of Sullivan's Island.  Charles was promoted to the rank of colonel and given the command of the regiment in 1776; he retained this position until the end of the war.

                    When the British Army focused its attack on the Northern and Mid-Atlantic States, Pinckney and his regiment went north to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to join the troops of General George Washington.  While there they participated in the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of Germantown.  It was about this time that Charles met Alexander Hamilton and James McHenry.

                    Charles and his regiment returned to the South and in 1778 were part of an attempt to seize British East Florida.  The Americans had severe logistical difficulties, and the British won the Battle of Alligator Bridge.  In December of that year, the British Army refocused on the South and captured Savannah, Georgia.  In October 1779, Charles led one of the brigades in the Southern Army of Major General Benjamin Lincoln in the Siege of Savannah.  The attempt to retake Savannah was an American disaster with numerous casualties.

                    Charles participated in the defense of Charleston and became a prisoner of war when Major General Lincoln surrendered his 5,000 men to the British on May 12, 1780.  Even as a prisoner of war, Charles was helping the American cause of liberty by playing a major role in helping the troops to stay loyal to the cause.  He famously said, "If I had a vein that did not beat with the love of my Country, I myself would open it.  If I had a drop of blood that could flow dishonorable, I myself would let it out." 

                    Closely confined until he was released in 1782, Charles was commissioned a Brevet Brigadier General in the Continental Army in 1783 just prior to the disbanding of the southern regiments.  He was promoted to Major General when he served in the South Carolina militia.

                    Charles returned to the lower house of the state legislature and represented South Carolina at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  He was an influential member of the Convention.  He was for slaves being counted as a basis of representation, but he opposed the abolition of the slave trade.  He was for a strong national government with a system of checks and balances, and he opposed the election of representatives by popular vote.  He thought senators should be "men of independent wealth" and therefore opposed paying them.  He was instrumental in the requirement that treaties be ratified by the Senate as well as the compromise that ended the Atlantic slave trade.  He did not approve of limiting the size of a federal standing army.

                    After the Federal Constitution was framed, Charles was active in its ratification process in the South Carolina Convention of 1788; he was also a delegate to the South Carolina Constitution Convention in 1790.  He then announced his retirement from politics.

                    In 1789 President George Washington offered Pinckney his choice of the State Department or the War Department.  Pinckney declined both offices but accepted the role of Ambassador to France in 1796.  France was at war with Britain and was angry about the Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain; the French navy was ordered to increase their seizures of American ships trading with BritainFrance would not even accept Charles' ambassador credentials until the crisis was over.

                    Charles reported the situation to recently-inaugurated President John Adams in 1797, and the President commissioned Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry to "treat" with the French.  After Marshall and Gerry joined Pinckney at The Hague, the three Americans traveled to Paris in October 1797.  A preliminary meeting was held with the new French Foreign Minister Talleyrand, and then intermediaries presented the French demands.  Their demands included a large loan to France and substantial bribes for Talleyrand and members of the French Directory.  The commissioners had been instructed to refuse any loan, and they considered the bribes to be offensive.  When documents were published in 1798, these exchanges were the basis for what became known as the "XYZ Affair."

                    Pinckney and Marshall were Federalists and favored an aggressive stance toward France; Gerry was more opposed to hostilities and wavered between moderate Federalism and Republicanism.  Talleyrand was aware of these political differences and was successful at taking advantage of the division.  Gerry stayed in France in an unofficial capacity, but Pinckney and Marshall left France in April 1798.  The result of the breakdown of negotiations pitted the France and American navies against each other in what became known as the undeclared Quasi-War (1798-1800).

                    Charles was the Federalist candidate for vice-president in the 1800 presidential election when John Adams sought re-election.  The Adams-Pinckney ticket was defeated by Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr who ran on the Democratic-Republican ticket.  Charles was nominated in 1804 by the Federalist Party to run against Thomas Jefferson, but he was defeated in a landslide by a very popular incumbent President.  Jefferson was popular due to the acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase and the nation's booming trade.  Pinckney carried two states and won 27.2% of the popular vote.  Pinckney ran for President again in 1808 on the Federalist ticket and was defeated by James Madison, Jefferson's Secretary of State.  Pinckney carried five states in this election and won 32.4% of the popular vote.

                    Pinckney became president-general of the Society of the Cincinnati in 1805 and held the position until his death.  He died on August 16, 1825 at age 79 in Charleston, South Carolina, and was buried in St. Michael's Churchyard in Charleston, South Carolina.  The inscription on his tombstone reads:  "One of the founders of the American Republic.  In war he was a companion in arms and friend of Washington.  In peace he enjoyed his unchanging confidence."

                    Charles Cotesworth Pinckney has the honor of having the following public properties carrying his name:  Castle Pinckney (a fort in Charleston Harbor completed in 1797); Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (a national wildlife refuge on the site of the Pinckney family's plantation); Pinckney Elementary School in Lawrence, Kansas; C.C. Pinckney Elementary School in Fort Jackson, South Carolina; SS Charles C. Pinckney (a World War II era, 422-foot Liberty Ship built in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1942); Pinckney Street in Madison, Wisconsin; Pinckneyville, Illinois; and Pinckney Highway (SC 9) in Chester, South Carolina. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Commander of Militia

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article II, Section 2, Clause 1:  "The President shall be Commander in Chief … of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…."  This provision in the Constitution gives the President the authority to control the militias from the states as well as the military forces in the army, navy, and air force during war or peace.

"The Framers of the Constitution crafted a complex network of provisions dealing with the militia.  They believed that there should be a national army, but that resources and politics dictated that the militia would provide the bulk of the forces needed to defend the country.  Although they were sensitive to the fear of a standing army and the political concerns of the states, there was one principle on which they agreed:  when the states' militias were needed to defend the country, the President, and not the governors, would be in charge.  The phrasing of the President's power changed over the months in Philadelphia, but the exclusivity of the President's power was never questioned.  The most significant change came from Roger Sherman, who moved the addition `and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the US.'  This assured that the President could not take the militia away from the states except when properly called forth by Congress under Article I, Section 8, Clause 15.

"In 1792, Congress passed the Uniform Militia Act, also known as the `calling forth' act, permitting the President to call out the militia to put down insurrections or rebellions.  This power was initially limited to those events that could not be handled by judicial proceedings or by marshals in the exercise of their duties.  The act also required a district judge to certify that circumstances were beyond the control of lawful authority and required the President to alert the insurrectionists to end their activities before the militia could be called out….

"In 1795, Congress passed another militia act, aimed at giving the President the power to call out the state forces in the event of insurrection.  This law did away with the certification requirements (but retained the requirement of alerting the insurrectionists to disperse) of the 1792 law and granted the President the authority to call forth the militia when the nation was invaded, in imminent danger of invasion, or when faced with `combinations' against the nation.  The key provision of that law was `That whenever it may be necessary, in the judgment of the President, to use the military force hereby directed to be called forth….'"

The militia was called into service during the War of 1812 by President James Madison, and the New England states threatened to secede.  Secretary of State James Monroe "argued that when the militia is called into the actual service of the United States, all state authority over that militia ends" and the members are "paid by the federal government" and "subject to the same control as regular army personnel…."  The Monroe position was supported by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1827.

During the Civil War, governors again resisted the President's call for the militia; after the Civil War the militias "began a slow transition into the National Guard.  The National Defense Act of 1916 made the National Guard a component of the regular army…."

Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus attempted to use part of the National Guard to "prevent the entrance of black students into Little Rock High School" in 1957.  "President Dwight Eisenhower placed the entire Arkansas National Guard under presidential control and ordered the Guard to obey the President and not the governor.  The Arkansas National Guard complied."

When the President called for the National Guard in the 1980s, several governors attempted to withhold their forces and "filed a suit against the Department of Defense…. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld the supremacy of presidential control over the operations of the militia when called into actual service of the United States … and held that a state governor could not veto the use of a state militia when called upon by the nation in accordance with Congress's constitutional power and the President's constitutional authority."

In recent years the National Guard has been called up for "long periods of duty abroad, in actions in the two Gulf Wars, Bosnia, and Afghanistan."  (See David F. Forte in The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, pp. 100-200.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Be of Good Cheer

                    Our Father in Heaven has a plan whereby all of His spirit children can return to His presence, and He told us about His plan before we came to earth.  We shouted for joy in our premortal world for the opportunity to progress to our second estate.  We understood that mortality would be a time of temptation, testing and trial and that we would experience sorrow, pain, and disappointments as well as happiness and joy during our time on earth.  We knew that Heavenly Father loved each one of us and would always be mindful of us.  We knew that He wanted us to be happy and successful.  We felt peace and security because of this knowledge. 

Job wrote about our premortal life when he inscribed:  "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?  Declare, if thou hast understanding….
                    "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:4, 7).

                    We understood before we even came to earth that disappointments, problems, temptations, and trials are a part of the Plan of Salvation.  We accepted the plan because we trusted Heavenly Father.  We know from the following scriptures that these tests and trials are good for us.  As we follow the plan and continued to trust our Father, we can gain the necessary knowledge and experience to prepare to return to His presence.

                        "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7). 

                     "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" (Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Ether 12:6). 

                     "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good" (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7). 

                    Each and every one of us experiences trials and disappointments at times, and much of our success in life depends on how we act in response to our trials.  We have two basic choices:  we can choose to do things the Lord's way or we can choose to do things Satan's way.   The choices we make will determine whether we are happy or unhappy.

                    An ancient prophet by the name of Lehi gave the following counsel to his posterity just prior to his death.  "And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.
                    "And because he had fallen from heaven, and had become miserable forever, he sought also the misery of all mankind.  Wherefore, he said unto Eve, yea, even that old serpent, who is the devil, who is the father of all lies, wherefore he said:  Partake of the forbidden fruit, and ye shall not die, but ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil….
                    "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.  And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself" (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:17-18, 27).

                    Lehi taught that Satan wants all of us to "be miserable like unto himself".  Other prophets and apostles explained some of the ways that Satan makes us miserable.

Elder Marvin J. Ashton, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, taught:  "One of Satan's most powerful tools is discouragement.
                    "Whisperings of `you can't do it,' `you're no good,' `it's too late,' `what's the use?' or `things are hopeless' are tools of destruction.  Satan … wants you to quit trying.  It is important that discouragement is cast out of [our lives].  This may take a decided amount of work and energy, but it can be accomplished" (Ensign, May 1988, 63).

                    You may ask, "How does discouragement help Satan accomplish his goal to make us `miserable like unto himself'?"  If you think about it for a moment or two, you will realize that discouragement either slows us down or stops our efforts completely - whether we are trying to be obedient to God's commandments or in any part of our lives.

                    On the other hand, our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, want us to be successful and happy; They want us to feel joy just as They do.  The Savior suffered greater trials than any of us will ever experience, but He did not get discouraged.

                    Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "Even with such a solemn mission given to Him, the Savior found delight in living; He enjoyed people and told His disciples to be of good cheer….
                    "Remember the unkind treatment He received, the rejection He experienced, and the injustice… He endured.  When we, too, then face some of that in life, we can remember that Christ was also troubled on every side, but not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (see 2 Corinthians 4:8-9)" (Ensign, Nov. 1995, 68-69).

                    Our Savior, even Jesus Christ reminded us that we can find peace and joy in our earthly lives regardless of our circumstances.  He encouraged us to keep trying when He said, "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation:  but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). 

                    The Savior overcame spiritual death when He took upon Himself the sins of mankind while in the Garden of Gethsemane; He overcame physical death when He was resurrected.  We should "be of good cheer" because we know that the Savior made it possible for all mankind to be resurrected and to have eternal life.

                    We can be of good cheer even in difficult times.  For nearly a year I have taken the time each day to write down three blessings in my life, and I have been blessed for doing so.  I will admit that I sometimes have a difficult time thinking of the first blessing because life seems so difficult at the moment; however, I have an easier time remembering the second and third blessings.  The simple act of writing down the three blessings each day shows Heavenly Father that I am grateful for those blessings.  I know from personal experience that gratitude helps bring happiness into my life.  I know that I can "be of good cheer" by counting my many blessings and remembering how good my life really is!

                    One of my favorite hymns is entitled "Count Your Blessings" (Hymns, no. 241; written by Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856-1922, with music written by Edwin O. Excell, 1851-1921).  Each verse of this hymn has a particular message, and the overall message is that counting our blessings will make us happier.

                    "When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed,
                    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
                    Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
                    And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

                    "Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
                    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
                    Count your many blessings; every doubt will fly,
                    And you will be singing as the days go by.

                    "When you look at others with their lands and gold,
                    Think that Christ has promised you his wealth untold.
                    Count your many blessings; money cannot buy
                    Your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

                    So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
                    Do not be discouraged; God is over all.
                    Count your many blessings; angels will attend,
                    Help and comfort give you to your journey's end."

               One of my favorite stories from the life of President Gordon B. Hinckley took place while he was serving his mission in England.  This story explains some of the things we need to do to overcome discouragement.

                    "I was not well when I arrived.  Those first few weeks, because of illness and the opposition which we felt, I was discouraged.  I wrote a letter home to my good father and said that I felt I was wasting my time and his money.  He was my father and my stake president, and he was a wise and inspired man.  He wrote a very short letter to me which said, `Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter.  I have only one suggestion:  forget yourself and go to work.'  Earlier that morning in our scripture class my companion and I had read these words of the Lord:  `Whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.' (Mark 8:35.)
                    "Those words of the Master, followed by my father's letter with his counsel to forget myself and go to work, went into my very being.  With my father's letter in hand, I went into our bedroom in the house at 15 Wadham Road, where we lived, and got on my knees and made a pledge with the Lord.  I covenanted that I would try to forget myself and lose myself in His service.

                    "That July day in 1933 was my day of decision.  A new light came into my life and a new joy into my heart.  The fog of England seemed to lift, and I saw the sunlight.  I had a rich and wonderful mission experience, for which I shall ever be grateful" ("Gospel to Great Britain," Ensign, July 1987, 7).

                    The young Elder Hinckley overcame disappointment and discouragement by communicating with his Heavenly Father and committing himself to the Lord's service.  He studied the scriptures and hearkened to the counsel there.  He followed his earthly father's counsel to "forget [himself] and go to work."  He "lost" himself in serving others and brought much happiness into his own life.

                    The Prophet Joseph Smith faced trials much greater than those Elder Hinckley experienced in England.  During a particularly difficult time, Joseph was a prisoner in the jail at Liberty, Missouri.  He cried to God, asking how long God would permit the Saints to be persecuted, and received the following answer: 

    "My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
                    "And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
                    "Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands" (Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-9). 

                    Joseph Smith was also told, "If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;

                    "If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; and if with a drawn sword thine enemies tear thee from the bosom of thy wife, and of thine offspring, and thine elder son, although but six years of age, shall cling to thy garments, and shall say, My father, my father, why can't you stay with us?  O, my father, what are the men going to do with you?  And if then he shall be thrust from thee by the sword, and thou be dragged to prison, and thine enemies prowl around thee like wolves for the blood of the lamb;

                    "And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

                    "The Son of Man hath descended below them all.  Art thou greater than he?
                    "Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass.  Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever" (Doctrine and Covenants 122-5-9). 

                    I expect that Joseph Smith was very comforted when the Lord told him, "Fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever"? (D&C 122:9).   In fact, Joseph said, "Never be discouraged.  If I were sunk in the lowest pit of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top."  (Joseph Smith, quoted by John Henry Evans, in Joseph Smith, an American Prophet [1946], 9)

                    I have endured many disappointments, discouragements, and difficult times.  I know that they are real, but I also know that I can "be of good cheer" even during trials by following the teachings of the Savior.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Two Clear Choices

                    We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by practicing good communication skills.  Part of our communication should include our thoughts and feelings about different subjects.  Sometimes families and friends avoid certain topics - such as religion and politics, but strong families are capable of sharing religious or politics thoughts and feelings even in these areas.  I sent the following information to my children and siblings because I wanted to share what I know with them.  
I understand that some of you have different political ideas from mine, and I try really hard not to strain our relationships by discussing politics with you.  I awoke this morning with the definite thought that I should share with you some of my thoughts and feelings about the upcoming presidential election.

As you may know, I was never very active politically - other than voting in every election - until after the 2008 election.  I cannot say that I have become an activist, but I am much more aware of the happenings in our nation and world.  I made some big changes in my life in 2009.  I embarked on a journey to learn all that I could about our government, our history, and current events; I started my blog as a way to share what I learned.  I also began attending political meetings and joining organizations working for the good of our nation.  Two of those organizations are The Heritage Foundation, which stresses constitutional matters, and the National Rifle Association, which protects our Second Amendment rights.  I took my family to Chic-fil-a in support of their stand on traditional marriage.  I even made political donations for the first time in my life!  I am very concerned that we are about to lose our freedoms - particularly Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech - and that America will become a nation that we will not even recognize!

We have less than two weeks until our nation chooses a new President to lead us for the next four years.  The polls show that Americans are about evenly divided in our choice of a President.  I pray daily that God is watching over our nation and will help us elect the right man for our next President.  I plan to fast for our nation on November 4 and hope that you will join me in fasting and praying that the Lord's will be done.

                    For my scripture study this morning I read Helaman 6.  The prophet Mormon wrote that the Lord had blessed the Nephites and Lamanites for so long with "the riches of the world that they had not been stirred up to anger, to wars, nor to bloodshed; therefore they began to set their hearts upon their riches" and "to seek gain that they might be lifted up one above another" (17).  Mormon wrote that the Lamanites - who had become more righteous than the Nephites - took action when they learned that Gadianton robbers had infiltrated their society:  "they did use every means in their power to destroy them off the face of the earth" (20).  The Lamanites "did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites" (37).

                    The Nephites did the exact opposite thing and "did unite with those bands of robbers" (21).  The Nephites "did build them [the robbers] up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.

                    "And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek , and the humble followers of God" (38-39).

                    You may well ask, what do the Gadianton robbers of the Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ have to do with the 2012 election.  Prophets and Apostles have told us for many years that the Book of Mormon was written for us to help us through the problems of our day.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that "bands of Gadianton robbers will infest every land" in the latter days.  I do not pretend to know who belongs to those bands, but I do believe that some of them are active in the United States.  I believe that our nation is also in "an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting destruction" (40).  I hope that Americans are wiser than the Nephites were!

                    I believe that Barack Obama has been a terrible President in many ways          .  For a long time I thought that Jimmy Carter was the worst possible President, but I believe that Obama has far excelled him in every way.  Carter's policies weakened our economy and our foreign influence and endangered American lives; Obama has done much worst.  Obama has self-described communists working in his administration, and he welcomes members of the Muslim Brotherhood to the White House.  I suggest that you watch the movie "2016 - Obama's America" to help you connect the dots as to Obama's agenda and why he makes the decisions that he does.  America has been weakened during the first Obama term.  If he gets another term, he will continue the policies of the past four years and continue to weaken America; he may even accelerate the rate of destruction.  We must not forget the incidence of the open mike where he told a Russian representative to tell Putin to be patient:  he needed to get through this election but he would then have "more flexibility."

                     I hate to be the one to bring you the bad news, but Obama tells outright lies and then doubles down on them; then the main stream media helps him deceive the American people and has done so since his 2008 campaign.  If you are getting your news from the alphabet soup stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR), you are not getting the information you need to have.

There are numerous examples of his lies that I could give to you, but the worst case was the situation in Benghazi, Libya.  On September 11, 2012, Islamic terrorists attacked our diplomatic outpost in Benghazi and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, two Navy SEALS, and an additional civil servant.  Our ambassador was not only killed, but he was also sodomized and pulled through the streets. 

The civil servants cried out for help, but no assistance was sent even though it was about an hour away in Italy.  Why were rescuers not sent?  Obama knew that it was a terrorist attack within two hours of the time it began, and the scenes were live-streamed into the Situation Room in the White House and State Department offices.  Why did Obama and his administration spend two weeks telling us that the deaths were the results of a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muslim video when they knew it was a terrorist attack?

The most important job of the President of the United States is to keep Americans safe, but Obama
has failed in this responsibility.  He failed to protect our ambassador and his staff in Benghazi.  Our ambassador requested more security, but no additional security was given.  Who made the decision to keep additional security from going?

Leaked e-mails in recent days - six or more weeks after the attack - prove that Obama knew almost immediately that terrorists killed our people.  Why did he decide to lie about it?  There is some talk that our ambassador was running guns to members of the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda.  Why would the rebels kill a man who was supplying guns to them?  Why would the rebels turn on the nation that was helping them fight for independence?  Why were we helping them in the first place?  There is some talk that our ambassador was "set up" for a kidnapping so Obama could sweep in to rescue him to earn political points?  Was he set up?  Who set him up?  Why didn't the terrorists get the message that it was just a kidnapping?  There are many questions that have not been answered about the Benghazi incident, but the truth will eventually come out.  It appears that Obama was fully aware of the circumstances and let them continue; however, he cannot "own" this situation because it would show that his foreign policy was wrong.  It would prove that the death of Osama bin Laden did not stop al Qaeda from gaining strength.  I feel certain that more information on this incident will continue to come out!

The Benghazi debacle is just one example of Obama's failures of leadership; his
 Administration has numerous policies that have weakened our nation in several areas.  One specific area is the economy, which remains weak even though billions of dollars have been pumped into it.  Yes, we had economical problems before George W. Bush left office, but we can now put the responsibility for this economy right in Obama's lap because he has had four years to fix it.   We should all recognize that the policies of the Obama Administration do not work!  He has not helped America!  He did not follow through on his promises!  He blames the Republicans and the Tea Party for his lack of progress, conveniently forgetting that Democrats controlled the White House, the Senate, and the Houses of Representatives for two years.  There were not enough Republicans to stop him until after the 2010 election.  Obama had the job for four years, and he failed to be a leader!  It is now time to fire him!

                    In spite of the fact that Romney was not my first or even my second choice for a candidate, I now fully support him.  My faith in him continues to grow as I learn more about him.  I do not agree with him in all areas, but I can support him.  I consider him to be a much, much better candidate for the office than the current occupant of the White House.  I truly believe that Mitt is more qualified and better prepared to lead our nation at this time of trouble. 

As more and more people get to know the real Mitt Romney, his supporters continue to increase.  The latest big endorsement of Romney came from the Detroit News, which printed the following editorial.  

"President Barack Obama came into office in 2009 riding a wave of hope and change.  Unfortunately, he has not delivered on the nation's yearning for change nor on the specific promises he made to fix what is broken.  The president is asking the country to be patient, but his plan isn't producing results that would merit more patience, and the president hasn't spelled out what he would do differently in a second term.
"Hope and change are still what Americans are seeking.  This time, Republican challenger and Michigan native Mitt Romney offers the best hope of changing the nation's fate."

                    The editor then listed several reasons for his endorsement:  1) "Romney brings a credible plan." 
2) Romney brings a "solid resume." 3) The course of our nation.

1) "Romney brings a credible plan….  We expect that Romney will also employ a results-oriented approach and be ever mindful of his customer, the taxpayer….  We find Romney to be less partisan than the typical politician, and not bound by rigid ideology.  The nation will be best served if the entrenched disagreements of the past four years give way to cooperation and achievement. 

"We are confident that Romney will be focused on the bottom line, and will divert the United States from `the road to Greece,' ….  The Keynesian approach has not worked.  Despite an $830 billion stimulus and increased annual spending, the economic recovery is the weakest in post-World War II history.  Investors remain on the sidelines, afraid to put their money into job creating projects because of the uncertainty about future tax and regulatory policy.

"Romney's five-point plan for economic revival centers on energy independence, a goal that is finally achievable thanks to the natural gas boom and development of the Canadian oil sands; a better trained work force; trade that increases the demand for American goods and services; debt and deficit reduction, and promoting the growth of small businesses.  If implemented in urgent fashion, we believe the plan will work."

2) Romney brings a "solid resume…."  The editor listed all Romney's accomplishments (governor of Massachusetts, Olympics, and business experience) and explained why his resume is such an asset to him and to the nation.

3) "The course of a nation.  As we said, this is more than a choice between two individuals.  America is locked in a struggle over what it will be as a mature nation.  A country built on rugged individualism finds itself increasingly under the thumb of a federal government that is ever expanding its reach into the lives of its citizens.

"Obama has proved himself a disciple of the doctrine that for every problem there's a government solution.  Romney, by contrast, embraces individual initiative and entrepreneurship.  He would turn back the encroachment of the bureaucracy into the private sector.  Romney would replace the heavy hand of government with the invisible hand of a rational marketplace working to produce broad prosperity.

"While both poverty and dependency have increased on Obama's watch, Romney promises to replace government checks with private sector jobs and reverse the decline in middle class incomes.  It is heavy lifting, but we favor the candidate who is committed to it.

"Romney's goal is to help all Americans live independent and productive lives, free to rise to the extent of their personal capabilities.  He would not shield them from risk or the consequences of their decisions, but neither would he deny them their earned rewards.

"Our hope is that Mitt Romney would restore faith in the core principles of free men and women, free minds, and free markets that made America great, and will kept it so."

I found this editorial very interesting because it comes from Detroit, a city that endured the worst part of our recession.  Detroit is what we will all face if Obama is given another four years to "fundamentally transform" or destroy our nation.  I encourage you to read Atlas Shrugged to learn what happens to a society that is government-heavy.  Better yet, watch the two Atlas Shrugged movies. 

                   Americans have a clear choice as to which path they want our nation to follow.  The following video shows the two clear paths.  

I believe that our nation is heading into some tough times no matter who is elected as our next President.  We need a leader who will be honest with us, one who loves America, and one who knows how to lead.  Since we know that Obama lies most of the time, we cannot believe anything that he says and we cannot trust him.  I will personally vote for Mitt Romney, a man of integrity and optimism.  I hope that you will join me in voting for Romney as well as in fasting and praying for the good of our nation!

Please strengthen our families, communities, and nation through peacefully communicating your thoughts and feelings to your loved ones.