Obama Hears, Addresses “Voices” of Opposition

While speaking at a commencement ceremony in Ohio, President Obama stated that college graduate and young people should disregard any “voices” that constantly warn against government tyranny.

“The voices”, according to the president, say that government is a source of tyranny and bad things. That “tyranny lurks just around the corner.”  The president urges his audience to reject these “voices,” because accepting that tyranny is possible means that our experiment in self rule is just a sham and that people can’t be trusted.

The the president expresses in this speech illustrates his utter ignorance of America’s founding and the very points of federalism, divided government, checks and balances on power, and the concept of natural rights–those given to men and women because we are born, not because some government grants them to us.

In Federalist No. 51, James Madison writes, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” But men are not angels. In this line, he acknowledges that some government is necessary. But he goes on to write, “If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.”  But angels do not govern the affairs of men, nor are they working in modern government. Thus government power must be controlled.

The president implies that those who fear government tyranny and speak their concerns seek only to “gum up the works” to getting things like gun control, government healthcare, and other legislative agenda items pushed through Congress.

Perhaps the president fails to recognize what tyranny is, we are glad to help him out.

Source: Dictionary.com

Government (at all levels, not just federal) has engaged in a variety of oppressive behavior in the last few years. Examples abound such as banning the sale of sodas of an arbitrary size, banning legal gun owners from having or purchasing guns with more than 7, 10, or more bullets in an ammunition magazine. The government enacted a mono-partisan take over of healthcare, passing a law of approximately 2,000 pages with so many fill in the blanks for the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the federal bureaucracy that the current count of regulations issued to fill in the legislative blanks stands at nearly 20,000 pages, a tower of paper more than 7 feet tall. The president has, despite taking an oath to the contrary, arbitrarily selected what federal laws he will enforce and which he will not.

The president signed a law authorizing the indefinite detention of US citizens without trial and without right of judicial review. His Department of Homeland Security has amassed more deadly hollow point ammunition at a rate faster than used by the US military in conducting the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. His Department of Justice is involved in an illegal gun running scandal that resulted in Mexican drug cartels obtaining weapons which were used to murder a US ATF agent and Mexican citizens. Instead of submitting to Congressional oversight, the White House asserted executive privilege to avoid having to answer for its bad acts.

Finally, the US government has recently involved itself in a number of warrant-less, paramilitary raids on American businesses for trumped up charges (The Gibson Guitar factory raid is just one of several examples). While no actual wrongdoing is found, the government refuses to file charges, return seized property, or allow a judicial hearing on the actions that took place.

The examples above do not inspire confidence that government is a merely a benevolent, nurturing force for good. Despite the president’s urging to the contrary, government and the intention of individuals running it are not always noble or pure. And that is why the entire framework of setting up the federal government is one that restricts its powers. The federal government is granted power by the Constitution via enumerated powers–those specifically given to it. Those powers not granted are reserved to the states or to the people. No matter what politicians benevolently promise, that’s how the system should remain.

In Honor of One of Freedom’s Heroes

Today we celebrate one of Freedom’s Heroes in Martin Luther King. The excerpt below is from one of his sermons (“But If Not”) November 5, 1967–barely 6 months before he would be assassinated in 1968.

You may be 38 years old as I happen to be, and one day some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause–and you refuse to do it because you are afraid; you refuse to do it because you want to live longer; you’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you’re afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity or you’re afraid that somebody will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house, and so you refuse to take the stand. Well you may go on and live until you are 90, but you’re just as dead at 38 as you would be at 90! And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right, you died when you refused to stand up for truth, you died when you refused to stand up for justice…
-Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Link below to the full audio of the sermon. We added a tag to bookmark the spot of the quote above:

To Support and Defend

What are they teaching future military leaders at the United States Military Academy (a.k.a., West Point) these days?  The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point published a paper from Arie Perliger, discussing the violent tendencies of the American political right. Perliger is the director of Terrorism Studies at the center and an Assistant Professor at the Department of Social Sciences.

In his introduction, he divides the “far-right” into three sub-groups, one of which are anti-federalists. Of them, Perliger writes, “They also espouse strong convictions regarding the federal government, believing it to be corrupt and tyrannical, with a natural tendency to intrude on individuals’ civil and constitutional rights. Finally, they support civil activism, individual freedoms, and self government.”

Individual freedoms?! Oh no! Anything but that!!!

West Point is of course a military academy. More than that, its prestige makes it one of THE military academies, responsible for training future leaders on the US Army. Its mission statement (from its webpage) is “To educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of Duty, Honor, Country and prepared for a career of professional excellence and service to the Nation as an officer in the United States Army.”

A military organization isn’t exactly a place that encourages individual or independent thought.On a battlefield, orders must be followed. Freedoms are more restricted in a military organization. We understand this. But we hope that some part of learning to be an officer in the US military branches includes a discussion of the values and principles of being a free people.

The US Constitution is a document about establishing limits for the national government. The Bill of Rights establishes limits of the federal government with respect to its citizens. The rest establishes limits for the federal government with respect to the state governments and the balance of power between the three branches of the federal government.

All members of the US military must swear or affirm an oath of allegiance before assuming duty. The oath is not loyalty to the federal government, not even to the President of the United States. The oath each military members swears is to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…”

So it’s our sincere hope that West Point’s educators would invest some time teaching their cadets about the principles and values that the US Constitution establishes.

They might also teach their cadets about the reasons that America fought a war to separate ourselves from Great Britain in the first place. The Declaration of Independence eloquently states:

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, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

So if it seams that an “anti-federalist” believes the federal government has taken too much power and tramples the rights of the states and individual citizens and is expressing that concern via “civil activism” toward the end of self-government or individual freedoms, that’s the point.

We do not encourage violence in our quest to raise awareness of freedom issues. But we do believe that the federal government has indeed become somewhat tyrannical in its dealings with the states and with individual citizens. But advocating for awareness and greater citizen activism and a belief that individual freedom ought to have a higher value than government or collective freedom doesn’t make us terrorists. It makes us Americans.

Murals in Schools and Election Polls

We’re not going to get into US Election Day analysis, that’s been done ad-nauseum since last week. But one story that’s been sticking out in our minds are the reports from multiple sources about campaign materials and images being posted in polling locations where voters cast their ballots on Election Day.

Perhaps the most widely cited example is this image  from Philadelphia’s Ward 35, Franklin Elementary School. But other examples have surfaced in Washington, DC and Florida as well.

Pennsylvania election law states “no person within a polling place may electioneer or solicit votes for any political party, political body, or candidate, nor may any unauthorized written or  printed materials be posted within the polling place.” Fairly simple and straightforward–even for government legalspeak. A candidate’s campaign materials should not be posted inside a polling place.

The Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania brought a complaint to a local judge, Pamela Pryor Dembe. As the rhetoric began to escalate, she is reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer as stating, “I find it ludicrous to think that somebody’s vote is going to be changed by a mural on the wall. So curb your enthusiasm, if you will.” The Inquirer report also quotes some local officials as saying the concern is “much ado about nothing.”

From the judge to the city’s legal counsel, there is a failure to understand the issue at hand. Luckily, we are here to help with that.

The United States is a Republic with strong democratic traditions. One feature of a Republic is respecting the rights of the minority. Otherwise the 50% + 1 can run roughshod over the 50% – 1 and eliminate their freedoms. A popular illustration of this idea is the iconic “democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for dinner” anecdote. Protecting the rights and freedom of those not in power is a principle well showcased in the Constitution.  Curbs on power were designed to ensure a basic level of rights that may not be changed without supermajorities agreeing to the proposed changes.

To the people who do not support the president, seeing this wall mural in a government building is not acceptable. The school–which is supposed to be nonpartisan–also serving as a place where people cast their ballots (also supposed to be nonpartisan) should not be engaged in partisan activities. We could see a wall mural with President Obama to be legitimate if it were part of a mural including all presidents, or we could find it acceptable if the president is no longer serving in office. But posting the image on the wall of a school for someone still in office–who is running for reelection and where ballots are cast–is too close to an active endorsement of that person’s policies for our comfort.

This begs 3 very big questions:

1. Why did it take a complaint from local GOP party officials and a court order to fully cover the mural?

2. Once the court order was issued, why was it acceptable to half-heartedly cover it with ballot instructions–leaving the campaign logo visible–as the image to the right shows? This was in violation of the court order to fully cover the mural.

3. Why is campaign paraphernalia in a school, which many–but sadly not all–agree should be an apolitical place of learning?

We think that to ensure freedom, it is inappropriate to post such murals in both schools and in polling places. Because a school, in many cases, is a government institution, a presidential portrait would seem appropriate, but the presence of a stylized wall mural, to include the campaign logo is offensive to our sense of fair play.

It also speaks to an idea of “the cult of the presidency”, or this idea that the president can accomplish anything he or she has a mind to do and out to get anything they want…because they’re the president. This is similar to the stylized murals we find of dictators in other countries (examples below) and is not an idea we believe should flourish in a free society. More on this in a later post.

And least anyone accuse us of being one-sided, we did look for examples of Romney images in GOP-friendly polling places. But our research was not able to find any examples of Mitt Romney campaign materials inside of polling places–let alone schools. If you have evidence, please let us know and we will include it with this post.

Obama DC School Mural:

 

 

 

 

 

Obama Banner in Florida Polling Place:

 

 

 

 

 

Murals of foreign dictators

Atlas Shrugged II Premieres Friday 10/12

Whether you believe Atlas Shrugged is hyperbolic, cautionary, or even prophetic, it’s an important story to read to remind us of the freedom America offers—and to remind us how quickly that freedom can be taken.

Since Ayn Rand is not the most concise author, we’re fortunate that the book is being made into a film. Part One of the trilogy was released on tax day last year, and Part Two will be released on Friday.

To understand the genius of Rand’s work, it’s important to understand a bit about her life. Born in Russia in 1905, Ayn Rand was subjected to the culture of collectivism in Russia. Almost immediately after teaching herself to read, Rand discovered European fiction, which introduced her to the idea of the hero—the individual—something lacking in Russian culture. She saw two revolutions, and a resulting Communist victory forced her father’s pharmacy to be confiscated, causing her family to nearly starve to death. It wasn’t until her last year of high school that she was introduced to American history. The principles she learned led her to hold America as the paragon of freedom.

She continued her studies through college in Russia, but communists continued to take away students’ rights to freedom of thought. Rand took solace in Western films, once again holding Western culture as the paragon of free men. In 1926, she arrived in New York after telling Soviet authorities she planned only a short visit to America to visit family. Her intention was never to return, and indeed she remained in the United States for the rest of her life.

She moved to Hollywood to become a screenwriter, meeting Cecil B. DeMille and Frank O’Connor, her future husband and Hollywood actor, during her first two weeks there. She continued her writing career, creating characters and stories that illustrate the potential of the ideal man. Atlas Shrugged pits the government collective against individual businessmen.

Here is a synopsis from the producers—hope to “see” you at the show!

In Atlas Shrugged II, the global economy is on the brink of collapse. Unemployment has risen to 24%. Gas is now $42 per gallon. Brilliant creators, from artists to industrialists, continue to mysteriously disappear at the hands of the unknown.

Dagny Taggart, Vice President in Charge of Operations for Taggart Transcontinental, has discovered what may very well be the answer to a mounting energy crisis – found abandoned amongst the ruins of a once productive factory, a revolutionary motor that could seemingly power the World.But, the motor is dead… there is no one left to decipher its secret… and, someone is watching.

But, the motor is dead… there is no one left to decipher its secret… and, someone is watching.

It’s a race against the clock to find the inventor before the motor of the World is stopped for good.

Who is John Galt?

 

A Former Yankee Savors the South

While listening to a recent recording from Glenn Beck’s show I was reminded of why I left New York.   I could relate so well to what he was saying and, at the same time, felt so sorry for him and his family.  In a city that claims to be so “diverse” and open to change; that claims to embrace so many different ethnic and religious groups; that claims freedom of speech is so important, they treated a conservative talk radio host and his family like common criminals. Must be that double-standard again.

I am one of the many transplants to North Carolina.  We moved here in May of 2011 from Long Island, New York.   Our home was only three-tenths of a mile from the ocean.   So many people asked, “WHY??  Who would want to leave ’Lawn guyland’ to move down south?”  In my heart I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to stay!

Long Island, especially our area, was brutally and painfully liberal. Mind you, ask any of them what the issues were and they’d say “I don’t know, but I know I’m a Democrat!  I vote Democrat.”   Ask someone on the Right what they were and they knew.  Unfortunately, conservatives were few and far between.

I remember one day when I went to vote and signed the book, one of the women working the sign-in table whispered as I walked to the booth, “She’s a Republican!”  I stopped dead in my tracks, did a 180 and said, “Yes, this IS what a Republican looks like.  We don’t have horns or breathe fire, we don’t dress up in Colonial costumes, we don’t walk about with machine guns, but we DO have it in ourselves to forgive, respect and accept people with different opinions!”  No one said a word but a lot of mouths were hanging open, and there were some very embarrassed faces on the people around me.  I, on the other hand, was smiling ear-to-ear and winked at one senior gent who I could tell wanted to applaud, but would never risk being called a “racist” or something.  That was the moment I realized I could speak my mind, and had the “chutzpah” (as they say in Oceanside, NY) to do it with dignity and conviction.

I think part of the “fire” I feel now in supporting the Right has to do with my indoctrination to the Left in those many years in New York.  The things that came out of their mouths were illogical and unsubstantiated by facts. They sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher: “WHAUK, WHAUK, WHAUK!”  I would get so angry and frustrated because our town REFUSED to decorate for the Christmas holiday.   No lights or wreaths on poles; no decorations in the shopping areas; nothing that would indicate Christmas was coming except for the stores sending mailers.  The Chamber of Commerce gave me the runaround each year, making up excuses as to why they couldn’t decorate.   I suspect now they were Obama’s speech writers because everything they told me was a lie, right down to saying the people of Oceanside couldn’t afford it. COULDN’T AFFORD IT?!

Every driveway was filled with high-end cars—a Mercedes here, and BMW there; a Lexus here and a Cadillac there!   Granted, we were shooting around town in an old mini-van and a small Toyota, but we didn’t see how they could claim there was no money for decorations.   That’s when I decided to take it the local newspaper, and the editor backed me up all the way.    He asked me to write for them and I wrote a few columns from a conservative woman’s point of view.   Unfortunately, in “lib America,” my children were being harassed, even by their teachers, with questions like, “Is that YOUR mother that writes those columns? Is that how she REALLY feels?” in a very mocking way.   I decided to stop the column to make things easier for them, but I never stopped voicing my opinion.

Now that I’m in North Carolina, and surrounded by so many people who feel as I do, who are kind and moral and have traditional values, I know I’m “home.”   I consider myself a “southern fried bagel”–another transplant who feels that this is where she was meant to be.

I will continue to defend our rights as Americans.  I will stand up for our freedoms and speak out for people who have been told to be quiet and sit down–people who have been bullied by the Left and put on the defensive for what they believe.  Only now I’ll try to do it without the Long Island accent!

Note: The preceding contribution was sent to us by Colleen Gilmartin, who contributes articles to The Greensboro GuardianHer work appears here with the permission of the editor and author.

COLLEEN GILMARTIN is a contributor for The Greensboro Guardian and considers herself a “Southern Fried Bagel, ” (a New York native, recently transplanted to the Greensboro, North Carolina area–we had to ask too!)

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Enter the Thought Police

The recent Chick-Fil-A controversy has revealed a troubling assertion of power by mayors of at least two city governments that is contrary to principles of freedom of speech and is frankly un-American.There’s been a lot in the news lately about Chick-Fil-A and the CEO’s opposition to same-sex marriage. While it’s easy to get bent out of shape and let anger take over and charge Chick-Fil-A with pitchforks and torches, we need to think rationally about the issue.Now first of all, the issue of same-sex marriage is not even the point here. For the record, we are all for people having the freedom to marry whoever they want. If the CEO of a popular restaurant chain expresses personal opposition to gay marriage, that’s his right to do so, just as it is the right of any group of individuals to send a message that they do not agree by boycotting and withholding their patronage from the restaurant chain.
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The issue here is not gay marriage. The issue that alarms us here is people’s reaction to a CEO’s own opinion. Last we checked, people in America were entitled to their own opinions. There are some people who are deeply religious, and according to their religion, same-sex marriage is not acceptable. Do we agree? No. Do we uphold their right to keep their belief? Absolutely. Chick-Fil-A is a family company that was founded on Christian beliefs. It’s been closed on Sundays since it opened, even in malls whose food courts are open on Sundays. Again, it’s a privately-owned business entitled to its own beliefs.
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But what is troubling and unacceptable in this case, is the willingness of politicians to use the power of government to impose sanctions on the company for the beliefs of a private individual.  Boston mayor Thomas Menino and Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanual both stated a willingness to use official and unofficial means to ban future Chick-Fil-A restaurants from opening up in their cities.Is Chick-Fil-A refusing service to gay patrons? The restaurant is known for having the friendliest service of all the fast-food chains, regardless of what kind of customer is being served. Is Chick-Fil-A being discriminatory in hiring employees? No; their hiring practices conform to all EOE regulations.
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The point here is this: Chick-Fil-A is not doing anything illegal. It’s not discriminating against patrons or employees. It’s not doing anything to warrant being banned from a city. If a mayor can ban a restaurant from moving into a city simply based on the beliefs of its CEO, where is the line drawn? Can a Republican mayor ban from his city any business whose CEO donated money to the Obama campaign? Can a Democratic mayor ban from her town a business whose CEO drives around with a Romney sticker on his bumper? At what point will people become afraid to express their opinions? Do we need to give CEOs surveys now, asking them about their political, religious, and personal beliefs before deciding whether to patronize their companies?
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What about honesty? Should the CEO have simply lied about his beliefs in order to attract business? Become like most politicians, spouting out whatever people want to hear in order to ensure temporary success? Is nothing to be said for having an opinion and standing up for it? We can’t help but remember a scene from 1984 in which the Thought Police bring in one of the citizens of Oceania for talking in his sleep, saying bad things about Big Brother and the Party. The man had not taken action against the government: it was simply his subconscious opinion, which the government forced him to repress during waking hours, coming to the surface. But he was dragged in for questioning, brainwashing, even torture, and unknown further action best left to the imagination.
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Are we now persecuting people for their opinions?So what to do if you don’t agree with the CEO of Chick-Fil-A? The great thing about a free market is that no one is forced to make a purchase–unless of course we’re talking about Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act, but that’s another discussion for another day.  But in the fast food market, there’s plenty of competition. If you have a hankering for fast food but don’t want to support a company run by someone who is anti-gay-marriage, then go to McDonald’s. Or Burger King.Each time you go, send a copy of your receipt to Chick-Fil-A to let them know you’re boycotting and show them the business they could have been earning. Simple. If enough people do this, maybe the CEO will get the message and change his mind. Or maybe his convictions are so strong that it won’t matter to him. Some people, right or wrong, stand for principle over material success. And although we can’t agree with the CEO, we admire that spirit.
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The attitudes of city mayors, councilors, and aldermen who would use the power of government on a whim to force business leaders to espouse ideas that they find politically expedient is especially repugnant. Such politicians who are willing to use their positions to impose values on others using the power of government are much more despicable and dangerous than a private citizen who expresses opinion but does not force action from others.
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If we choose to patronize Chick-Fil-A, it’s not to lend our support to the statements the CEO made about gay marriage. This is America, and the CEO has a right to his opinion.
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No, if we decide to go to Chick-Fil-A, it’ll be for one reason: they have damn good milkshakes. Oh, and the cow’s cute, too.