An Open Letter to Congressman Ron Paul

Let me say up front that I really hope Dr. Paul sees this note or one like it and responds to us all.  If you like what I’ve said here, please post it wherever you can and pass it on.  Try to get it to someone who knows someone who can pass it to Dr. Paul.

Dear Dr. Paul,
Like many Libertarian-leaning Americans, I really like a lot of the things you stand for.  I’d love to see a smaller government, no Fed, and a lot fewer regulations.  I agree that our government has taken too much on itself and stripped us of many of our freedoms.
I’ve talked to a lot of my conservative friends about you and they almost all say exactly the same thing.  It goes something like this – “Yeah, I like a lot of his ideas, but his approach to Foreign Policy scares the heck out of me.”  I understand why they feel that way, but I’m not so willing to give up on your approach. But the problem is, I have no comeback or answers to their questions. I explain to them the difference between defense and militarism, but the conversation always comes back to something like, “Well, I just don’t see how it could work, considering where we are now.”
Like you, I don’t believe we should be the policemen of the world.  Other countries are perfectly able to take care of their own problems eventually if we’ll get out of the way and let them.  Also, I want our troops to come home from all these foreign wars. None of my kids are serving in the military, but I would not be happy about them fighting and dying for some other country’s freedom.  I’m not even sure I would be comfortable with them fighting for “American interests” (which I interpret as business interests of American companies).
I believe you are on the right track.  I really do.  The Militarism is expensive and makes it too easy to impose our philosophy and culture on others.  Please help us to understand and spread your message.
So here’s what’s in the back of my mind and why I, like many, are having a hard time backing off the militaristic approach we currently pursue, even though the cost and the “rudeness” of it all are pretty good reasons.
Back in the late 1700s, the “avoidance of entangling alliances” was great advice.  It makes perfect sense to me.  And it would still make sense today, if we had been following that approach for the last 210 years. Actually, if we had not started our present approach back around 1945, we’d still probably be okay.  But it doesn’t really matter why we started it – it is what it is today.
So what do we do now? This is the crux of the message I’m trying to convey.  We know that “Nature abhors a vacuum” and, if we leave Japan, Korea, and some of the Eastern European countries, somebody is going to fill that space. There’s always someone who is stronger and will prey on the weak, for economic reasons or maybe the whim of some unbalanced personality.  Most of our smaller allies no longer field an army because we are there to protect them. They shouldn’t have done that and, yeah, it’s their own fault, but we led them to make that assumption.  Right or wrong, that’s where we are.
Here’s another angle.  If we pull all our troops back from the Middle East, how do we make sure we still have access to oil?  I agree that we need to become more self-dependent and drill at home, etc, but we aren’t there yet. What do we do in the meantime?
So, I guess my real question for you, sir, is “What’s the Plan?”
I’m with you.  Let’s bring all our troops home.  Do we set up a schedule and tell all our allies they have two years to raise and train a standing army, air force, and navy?  Do we just bail on them and say, “Thank you very much, you’re on your own?”
I think a lot of people would be willing to buy into the idea of pulling back to focus on defense if they could see how it could work and know there is a appropriate plan for doing it.  So, please tell us.  How would it work?  What do we expect from the other major powers of the world?  What’s the plan?
So I’ll close for now and let you talk.  Thanks for listening, sir, and thank you for the great education in history and the Constitution that you continue to give..

SaintLeo

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What’s the Constitution for, anyway?

From when I was a kid in high school, I don’t remember much about the Constitution from my government class. It was pretty basic, actually. Here’s what I remember, in a nutshell.

The Constitution is the framework of our government here in the United States. It defines the different parts and how they provide checks and balances for each other. There’s a clearly defined process for changing it and some of the Founding Fathers insisted that a Bill of Rights be included to make sure we kept our freedoms.

All this is true, but somehow I missed one of the most important aspects of the whole deal. You see, the Founding Fathers had just fought a bitter war against the British Crown (not to mention some of their neighbors) to throw off the oppression of a government that did pretty much what it wanted to without regard for what was right or even legal. As they were working to create a new government, they were very much aware that, if they weren’t careful, they’d end up right back where they started – with a government that was oppressive.

So, the second half of the Constitution story is this: It’s designed to limit the Federal Government. It clearly enumerates with the government is allowed to do, and it clearly states that everything else is to be addressed by the individual states. The idea was to handle certain things, like the national defense and the highways and trade with foreign nations, at the national level and push everything else down to the local level where they can be handled according to regional preferences. It was never intended that the Federal Government would have the reach that it now has.

There is currently an assault on the Bill of Rights by the Federal government, but I’ll save that discussion for a future blog. What I want to do here is to provide a perspective that I think is missed by most people.

Today, there are a lot of legal challenges to enacted laws that are based on violations of the Bill of Rights, notably the mandate to buy insurance in the controversial Affordable Care Act. While these cases are valid and probably more winnable than others, they tend to ignore a more serious problem. What we should be doing is to fight the battle over whether or not the Federal Government has overstepped their enumerated powers in the Constitution.

By the way, I credit Charles Krauthammer for making this clear to me. See the video on YouTube – search for “Charles Krauthammer – Constitution Day Celebration 2011”. He makes the point right around minute # 45.

So let me try to say it a little better. By taking the stance that a particular law violates the Bill of Rights, we are in effect building a wall around the Bill of Rights and abandoning everything else as fair game for the government to legislate for us. What we should be doing is to build a wall around the Federal Government’s enumerated powers, limiting what they are allowed to legislate.

It was interesting to me that the Constitution actually mandates that the Congress meet at least once a year. To me, this seems that they didn’t expect them to have all that much to do, but they wanted to make sure they didn’t ignore something that needed to be done. I’m sure they would be horrified to find that our Congresses over the years (Republican and Democrat) have created such a monolithic mish-mash of laws, not to mention the ocean of regulations that have resulted.

It strikes me that most of our legislators today believe that what is unconstitutional is what they say is unconstitutional. When a legislator is interviewed and asked about the constitutionality of something, their answer is, for the most part, dictated by their politics and what comes through is something like “Don’t trouble your simple little mind with that. We’ll tell you what’s okay and what isn’t”. In other words, we are Congress and we decide what the rules are. That isn’t the way it is supposed to be. Everything they do must be judged through the lens of what the Constitution says.

To be honest, I’d be happy to vote for a Senator or Congress-person whose record was that they tried to stop passage of bills that are outside the enumerated powers.

What do you think? If you agree, post this on Facebook or somewhere.

The Food Police have Arrived!

I debated long and hard with myself over the last two days as to whether this incident really rose to “blogworthiness” in an election year political blog.  The right side of my brain won the debate so here’s my rant!

Last month in an elementary school in Hoke County North Carolina, the food police ( under the guise of a school official) arrived with a vengence – saving a four year old toddler from her Mother’s home packed lunch. Be afraid, American parents, be very afraid.  Uncle Sam has now decided that the government is better equipped to feed your children than you are.

According to the Carolina Journal,  A preschooler at West Hoke Elementary School ate three chicken nuggets for lunch Jan. 30 because the school told her the lunch her mother packed was not nutritious.
The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the person who was inspecting all lunch boxes in the More at Four classroom that day.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs – including in-home day care centers – to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.
When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.
The girl’s mother – who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation – said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.
“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County.
The girl’s grandmother, who sometimes helps pack her lunch, told Carolina Journal that she is a petite, picky 4-year-old who eats white whole wheat bread and is not big on vegetables.
“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told CJ. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”
When the girl came home with her lunch untouched, her mother wanted to know what she ate instead. Three chicken nuggets, the girl answered. Everything else on her cafeteria tray went to waste.
“She came home with her whole sandwich I had packed, because she chose to eat the nuggets on the lunch tray, because they put it in front of her,” her mother said. “You’re telling a 4-year-old. ‘oh. your lunch isn’t right,’ and she’s thinking there’s something wrong with her food.”
While the mother and grandmother thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable were what disqualified the lunch, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child Development said that should not have been a problem.
“With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy,” said Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division. “It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standard.” The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said.
There are no clear restrictions about what additional items – like potato chips – can be included in preschoolers’ lunch boxes.
“If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the child care provider is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for the child,” Kozlowski said.
Ultimately, the child care provider can’t take the Coke and Twinkie away from the child, but Kozlowski said she “would think the Pre-K provider would talk with the parent about that not being a healthy choice for their child.”

Now for clarification, here is the state regulation that was cited in this case:

“Sites must provide breakfast and/or snacks and lunch meeting USDA requirements during the regular school day. The partial/full cost of meals may be charged when families do not qualify for free/reduced price meals.
“When children bring their own food for meals and snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME????  A parent sends a perfectly acceptable home made sack lunch to school with their child, and our government thinks its THEIR business to OVERSEE the meal. A school official, citing a state regulation, decides that chicken nuggets are a healthier alternative to a turkey on Whole wheat sandwich?  Excuse me? Isn’t this just one more example of BIG BROTHER government over stepping its boundaries and trying to insinuate itself into our daily lives.  Enmeshed and entangled!  Get out of my lunch box!  One more slippery step on this slippery slope of government intrusion into our private lives.  Looks like I’m going to have to put the ACLU on my speed dial.

NOW the White House is Against Civil Disobedience?

For months, American cities were held hostage by the hooliganism that is the Occupy movement (which brought with it loitering, destruction, drug use and violence).  It is a movement, however, that had great support from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  They viewed it as a fine form of democracy at its best ; a shining example of the first admendment.  When the lawlessness of many of the protesters was raised, the administration’s whitewash attempt of such incidents was the term “civil disobedience”.  They brandished that term like a badge of honor. Civil disobedience…hmmm.

Fast forward to this past week as Army chaplains were instructed not to read a letter in Mass on Sunday that expressed disapproval of a new regulation in the administration’s health care law. It was thought that the language in the letter spoke too strongly against the President.

According to a senior Army official, Chief of Chaplains Donald Rutherford was asked not to let chaplains read the Jan. 26 letter sent by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio because of the sentence that states: “We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law.”

“There was a worry that would be a call for civil disobedience,” said a senior Army official.  CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, you say?  Hmmmmm…

The letter states in part, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule that requires coverage of sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans is a direct violation of the First Amendment allowing religious liberty.

It continues, “As a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled to choose between violating our consciences or dropping health coverage for our employees (and suffering the penalties for doing so),” he wrote.

“We cannot — we will not — comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom”.

Now let me see if I am fully understanding this. Let’s contrast and compare when Civil disobedience is ENCOURAGED by this White House and when it has the rug swiftly pulled from underneath it by the SAME administration.

THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT:

As of January 30, 2012,  6,455 arrests connected to the Occupy  protests have been documented.  Protesters have been charged with a number  of crimes, including rape, arson, vandalism and assault.

Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit notes:

It’s certainly not the first time the occupy criminals have resorted to  violence. In fact, the occupy movement is based on lawlessness and  destruction. So far we’ve witnessed:

9 deaths, 5 found dead in tents, One found  dead after 2 days – 2 murdersTens of millions of dollars in damages,  layoffs, vandalism, law breaking – Multiple Rapes – Thousands of  arrests – Public masturbationFecesChild molestation and baby abusestrangled parents in a PT Cruiser

Nevertheless, Democratic lawmakers – including the President – continue to  support the movement.

One should not be surprised the administration would turn a blind eye to the  violent nature of the movement that has been endorsed by Communists, Nazis and Islamists  worldwide.  They have, in fact, stood in solidarity with the Occupy protesters  from the very beginning.

Now contrast the White House’s allegiance to Civil disobedience as it applies to Occupy, with its disdain for the Catholic church’s stand on the violation of their religious liberties as pertaining to HHS.  They Church, thru Army chaplains, let their dissent be known – or tried to let it be known- and they were shut down from the get go.  WHERE IS THE ACLU screaming about First Amendment rights and  Free Speech?  Does Civil disobedience get protected only when those in power agree with their agenda. The Occupy movement is glorified in the Media, while people of faith are portrayed as ignorant, narrow minded bigots. The media and this White House want to marginalize believers and their voices.  Free Speech for ALL Mr. President, otherwise,  we are sliding down the slippery slope of thought policing.

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What’s this healthcare and contraception issue all about?

So, what’s this issue about all employers providing contraception aids all about, anyway?

Let’s just talk about whether it makes sense or not.

First, a couple of appeals to common sense.

Our government is telling us that it’s a health care issue and everyone should have equal access to it.  To me, that means protection from disease.  Can we be really candid, straightforward and honest here for a few minutes?  Do you really think most people are thinking about disease protection when they use contraception?  Admittedly, many are, but most people?  Really?

I think most people engage in contraception to prevent conception.  The name (“contra-ception”) kinda says it all, doesn’t it?  So, with apologies to those who really do engage in the practice to prevent disease, can we just move this topic out of the “health care” column and into the “lifestyle” column?

So if this is (predominantly) a “lifestyle” issue, then are we actually talking about a federally-mandated aspect of your lifestyle?

My second appeal to common sense is related to cost.  What does contraception really cost?  When I was a kid, I found out from an older kid that you had to have a condom if you were going to have sex.  Not that I actually understood why, but I nodded knowingly with the rest of my buddies.  One of them (less concerned about status than me) asked where you would get one?  Our senior kid chuckled as he sagely advised us, “The drugstore, stupid!”

And that’s how it has been for many years.  How expensive is contraception, really?  Not all that much.  Most people can afford it.  If you are one of the unfortunate few who really, really can’t afford it, did you know that Planned Parenthood will give it to you for free?

So, in my mind, contraception expenses will hardly break a family budget.

So why in the world is there a need for the government to get involved at all?  It isn’t cost.  Consider this:

Case 1:  Government is not involved.  So the cost is like this:

Cost of product ==> What it costs

Case 2: Government is involved. So the cost is like this:

Cost of product + cost to collect taxes + cost for Gov to force availability ==> What it costs

You don’t have to understand the math to get it – Case 2 costs more than Case 1.

Can we agree that reduced cost is not the primary driver here?

Finally, let’s consider the fairness factor.  I know many people who don’t engage in contraception.  Some are older.  Some are trying to grow their families.  Some believe it’s a sin and some don’t even have an opinion about it.  But all these people have one thing in common, at least to some extent.  They pay taxes that are used to subsidize something that they don’t want.  Why should anyone be forced to contribute money to a cause they don’t support. Where’s the moral authority to do that?  Hint:  Check the US Constitution – maybe you can find the clause about this that I missed.

So, in my mind, it isn’t about health and it isn’t about cost? So what is it?

Here’s my conclusion.  There are people in our government who care passionately about what they think our health and lifestyle options ought to be. They are working hard to get it implemented and they are using the taxes I paid to promote, implement and sustain their agenda for “health care”.

I could be wrong and I’m not sure, but I don’t think I remember ever having been asked if it was what I wanted.  But I do know that I don’t want someone I don’t even know telling what the best options are for me.

DId Congress Just Vote Away our Liberty?

Did our Congress just vote away our Liberty?

“We, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” – the Preamble of the Constitution
What exactly is “Liberty”?  Webster’s Dictionary describes it as: the quality or state of being free: a: the power to do as one pleases b: freedom from physical restraint c: freedom from arbitrary or despotic control d: the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges e: the power of choice.
In my first foray into the world of political blogs, there was so many headlines that sparked my interest (frustration and incredulity as well)- the 2013 election, protest movements, unemployment, a nuclear Iran, turmoil in the Middle East, rising oil prices, or a roller coaster stock market.  They all vied for my attention, but the voices in my head got my immediate attention by shouting one word over and over again…LIBERTY!  Without liberty, the other problems don’t amount to a hill of beans. (Thank you Humphrey Bogart and Casablanca) Ever since the 9/11 attacks, we Americans have felt that terrorists were the biggest threat to our freedom -our very way of life- and we have vigilantly guarded against these foreign dangers.  However, we didn’t expect the threat to our individual liberty to come from within.
On December 1, 2011, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, S. 1867, passed the Senate with a 93 to 7 majority.
As stated in Conservative Action Alerts, “the Senate failed to approve amendments curtailing the power of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, a bill crafted in secret by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) that would declare the entire United States of America as a military battlefield. The DoD Bill also provides the President power to hold American citizens indefinitely and waives the right to trial, which is codified in the Bill of Rights.
On Tuesday, the Senate rejected Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s amendment 1064 to modify S. 1867; Senator Mark Udall’s amendment 1107 was also rejected.
Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, on Fox News, commented on S. 1867 last week saying, “It basically says that the President can arrest whoever he wants anywhere in the United States of America, and keep them without charging them for a crime, without letting them see a lawyer, without bringing them to a judge for as long as he wants. How is that consistent with the Constitution?”
Judge Napolitano knows the Constitution.
The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution states:
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”
Representative Justin Amash (R-MI) wrote recently on his Facebook page that S. 1867 is “one of the most anti-liberty pieces of legislation of our lifetime.” Moreover, Amash maintains that the bill capitalizes on misleading semantics; regarding section 1032, he says “‘The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.’ This language appears carefully crafted to mislead the public. Note that it does not preclude U.S. citizens from being detained indefinitely, without charge or trial, it simply makes such detention discretionary.”
Senator Paul warned on the Senate floor Tuesday: “Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well then the terrorists have won … detaining American citizens without a court trial is not American.”
Here is a link to Senator Paul’s passionate attempt to kill the Indefinite Detention bill before the Senate. http://youtu.be/DWApGqE_T-k?hd=1
Once you watch this clip and begin to understand the ramifications of this bill, you’ll discover just who the government views as threats?  Could it be your neighbor, your Pastor or a close friend?  Is it me?  Or You?? For starters, any citizen with seven days or more food stored in their home is suspect.  Well, uh-oh.  That’s me AND a lot of other people I know. Trust me, I’m no threat.  I’m a proud American who loves her country dearly and just happens to be a great shopper that stocks up when a deal is on hand. More threats? Anyone missing fingers on either hand.  REALLY, are you kidding me? This would be amusing if it wasn’t so dang scary. THIS IS A VERY SLIPPERY SLOPE, my fellow Americans!  What starts out as the government’s attempt to protect its citizens from foreign terrorists, can then easily be used against the very citizens it swore to protect.  What if the powers that be decide they don’t like what I’m saying?  If my opinions aren’t acceptable?  Will they monitor my Facebook page or this blog and decide I am a threat?  When those in power feel the need to silence dissenting voices, this bill could be the very club they will wield.
President Obama, I implore you, for the sake of Liberty and Freedom, to veto the National Defense Authorization Act.  If it stands, the terrorists have already won by destroying what has always made America great without ever having to launch another attack on our soil.
We have seen the enemy and it is us.
WisiWuv

1 comments:

  1. Awesome! I hope Obama is listening. Of course, he might be the one who wants to throw us in jail.

    ReplyDelete

Where is the Decision on the Keystone Pipeline?

President Obama recently delayed making a decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline project until after the 2012 election, throwing just about everyone into a fury.  In a nutshell, the environmentalists want the pipeline to go away and just about everyone else wants it to be approved. So why delay the decision? The only reason I can think of is political – if you don’t want to tick anyone off, don’t do anything. While this may be good politics, it is lousy leadership.  What do you really stand for, Mr. President? From this writer’s point of view, the risk of the pipeline is minimal, compared to the potential gain. Here are the pluses:

  • It allows access to an additional source of oil, providing downward pressure on prices.
  • It reduces America’s dependence on oil from the Mideast, where we are hardly very popular.
  • It is a clear, shovel-ready project that provides a multitude of jobs (they say 20,000 as soon as approved, with many more indirect jobs soon after).
  • It would provide much needed stimulus to the economy.  Even the unions, whom I don’t usually agree with, like the idea.

The only negative I can think of is the risk of environmental damage from a spill. While this is always possible, new technology developed over the last few years for preventing spills and cleaning them up has reduced and mitigated that risk to a large degree. In my humble opinion, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
But regardless of the direction, it’s time for our President to get off the fence and make a decision and live with the consequences.  Mr. President, forget the election for a change and show some leadership.  The American people are smarter than you think and they are watching.
Saint Leo

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