Free Speech Applies To All, Even The Phelps Family

This is one of those posts that put me at odds with many of my friends who call themselves "conservative". These are individuals I agree with most of time.

I totally understand why people feel the way they do. In fact, as far as the emotion is concerned, I'm right there with them. My reaction to this behavior, or my reaction to something like a flag burning, is just like most people's. I'm angered.

As disgusting as their behavior is though, the Phelps family did not violate state laws. They did not come within a thousand feet of the funeral. They were never even actually seen by the father of the heroic soldier. They did not come in contact with the funeral or disrupt it in any way.

What they did was exercise their Constitutional right to protest in the most unpopular way imaginable. Sometimes we, as a Constitutional republic, are tested. We are tested by Klansman, Neo-Nazis, Communists, Anarchists, and all types of fringe groups, organizations like the Phelps family.

But our Constitution, our republic, must be bigger than this. In America, we respect the right to protest, and our soldiers fight to uphold that right. I once read somewhere, that if we are not able to burn our flag, then it stands for nothing. The same goes, I believe, for free speech. If unpopular speech is not protected, then we don't have a First Amendment. Why would popular speech ever need protection?

Folks, we should not allow people like this to trick us into trampling on our Constitution. America, the one Matthew Snyder gave his life for, is bigger, much bigger than this.


The Federal Government Should Have Nothing To Do With Education

"No matter what anyone says, the Department of Education will not just write checks to local school boards. They will meddle in everything. I do not want that."-Representative Pat Schroeder (D-CO)

Once the federal government gets it's foot in the door, you can be 100% sure that eventually, that threshold will be swung wide open. Government is never happy with just a little bit of liberty, with just a little bit of state's rights. No, Washington never shrinks it's power, it only grows it.

Sadly, most people walking around today are not aware that the Department of Education has only been around since 1980. If you mention getting rid of this massive and quite useless bureaucracy, many will accuse you of not caring about education. I even had one gentleman claim that getting rid of the DOE would prevent Alabama from having any black football players. Amazing!

Most though, just do not want to discuss the issue. They have other things on their mind. I understand that. But tyranny does not always come by way of revolution. No the worst kind, the kind we have in this country today, creeps along while nobody is paying attention. It is what Hayak called a soft tyranny.

The establishment of the Department of Education in 1980, was, along with HealthCare reform, one of the federal government's most massive power grabs. Teachers and public school administrators love those federal dollars, but they fail to understand that money isn't free. Parents love regulation like No Child Left Behind, but they fail to see the future, which is nationalization of education.

Even though No Child Left Behind had good intentions, I opposed it. Even if President Obama's administration has equally good intentions with their proposal to test teachers, I oppose it. Education has always been and should remain the job of the states. Taking that away, or nationalizing it, while still forcing the states to fund it, is a huge mistake, and a huge infringement on the sovereignty of state governments. It is just one more way to increase the power of Washington.

Somebody, some politician, has to say these things. Somebody has to educate the public on why the federal Department of Education should be done away with. At some point, the federal government has to stop growing. We have to stop looking to Washington to solve our problems. These people can't even administer Social Security or Medicare, yet many want to allow them to run education? Seriously folks, it is way past time to get rid of the Department of Education.


What Is A Right?

So what is a right? I believe the best definition of a right comes from Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. In that document, Jefferson used the word unalienable, which means "it can't be taken away". Prior to his use of the word unalienable, he wrote "endowed by their Creator", which of course means that rights are not granted by men, but by God, by nature. In other words, we are born with "rights". Rights are not granted by governments or legislation, but instead are "natural". Jefferson also stated that "all men are created equal", which means that natural rights apply to all, and in the Creator's view, every one is endowed with the same rights. So obviously, health care can not be considered a right. It may be something that our society decides that we should grant as a gift, but it can never be considered a right. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights, but nothing that requires the labor of another can be considered a right. We have the right to pursue health care, assuming that makes us happy. But no man has the right to the labor of another. To grant health care to people who can not pay for it, requires force and coercion. It either requires that money be taken from the "haves", at the point of a gun, and redistributed to the "have nots", or it requires that doctors and nurses, and various health care professionals, be forced to labor for the benefit of others. In the nineteenth century, we called that slavery, and fought a bloody Civil War to end it. So no, health care is not a right. It is a gift. We, as a country, need to re-learn the definition of a "right". We have become so dependent in this country, that we believe we are entitled to anything and everything. We are not. We have traded our liberty, our true rights, away for dependence. Hopefully though, there are enough of us left who choose liberty over security. I believe there is.


The Ground Zero Mosque

I'm watching these left wing pundits wrap themselves in the First Amendment, and I almost want to throw up. The American left doesn't give a rat's ass about the Constitution. The Constitution, in their view, is garbage because it limits the power of government and it affirms the rights of individuals. The American left is all about the state, not the individual. That's why they want to limit our exposure to talk radio (1st Amendment), and seek to limit political speech (1st Amendment) by certain groups that they despise.

So excuse me if their sudden affinity for the First Amendment causes me to puke. What I am specifically talking about, of course, is the Mosque that is being planned near Ground Zero. These leftists go on these programs and immediately start talking about Freedom of Religion. They do this, in spite of the fact that nobody, and I mean nobody, is saying that Muslims do not have a right to worship. They don't have a right to build a house of worship anywhere they want though. Any building, be it a religious building, a home, or a business, is subject to local ordinances and building codes. Apparently, the group that plans on building this Mosque, has already jumped through those bureaucratic hurdles, and has gotten permission from the city to move forward.

So the issue here, is not whether they have the right to do so. Nobody is saying that they do not. The issue here is whether they should. Can we not express an opinion on this without being lectured on the First Amendment? I mean seriously, for just once, can we maybe have an intelligent conversation with you people?

The building of this Mosque is a provocative act. It is a huge purposeful show of disrespect. It is divisive. If they want to build that Mosque, and if the cities zoning authorities are allowing them to do so, then they certainly have a right to build it. But that doesn't mean they should. We have a right to do a lot of things. We can scream the N word and even deny the Holocaust. We can do a lot of things, but we don't because we have class and we respect the sensitivities of others. Apparently the individuals building this Mosque, do not care about those things.


Why We Celebrate on July 4th

I took great pleasure this morning in attempting to explain to my five year old, what the fourth of July is all about and why we celebrate it. While my son was somewhat confused and amused by the idea of calling a signature a "John Hancock", I am quite confident that he went to church this morning with a better understanding of our nation's birth than many adults. 

Sending a reporter out to ask people on the street what the fourth of July is all about, would be a frightening endeavor. I almost hope that nobody ever does it. I imagine though that if it were done, we would hear all kinds of answers, anywhere from "the day we won our independence", to something to do with our constitution. But we all know that July fourth was not the day that independence was won, but merely declared

The signers of the Declaration of Independence were not loyal believers in the power of government and how it could be used to help people. Quite the contrary, these men were anti-government, anti-taxes, and most importantly anti-dependence. In a radio interview, the modern day leader of a different philosophy discussed the Constitution by lamenting the fact that it was a charter of what he called "negative liberties". In other words, it stated what government could not do to you, but it didn't state what it could do for you. The framers of that document, obviously, had a different view than that individual in the interview. Realizing that the same men responsible for the Constitution took part in the declaration, and knowing that the declaration provided the framework for the Constitution, it would not be too far of a reach to assume that the same individual, the leader of modern liberalism, also laments the fact that the declaration was one of independence, and not dependence.

That word independence is important. It has to do with individualism, liberty, and the right of mankind to pursue happiness. Independence is what America is all about. Individual independence is exactly why America has prospered. There is no such thing as American nationalism. The word nationalism comes from nation, and in this case, the word nation does not mean country but nationality. America is a melting pot, a nation of immigrants/ foreigners. The is no American race, so you can't attribute the success of this country to any kind of racial superiority. No this nation prospered and became the most powerful on earth, simply because of it's freedom. If modern regulation were in effect in the nineteenth century, there would never have been a railroad. Carnegie would have never found a cheaper way to make steel. Rockefeller would have never been able to sell oil so cheaply. These men became rich and made countless other Americans rich, simply because they were free. 

A true American doesn't want help from government. Liberty loving Americans know that any help from Washington is not really help at all, but a means of control. Americans, the ones who share the same spirit of those who signed the declaration, don't like to be controlled. They will take liberty over security any day. Those are the kind of people that signed the declaration, and they are the same kind of people that came to this country from every part of the world, Europe, Asia, Africa.

The other day, a Supreme Court nominee, dismissed the declaration as unimportant. This same future Supreme Court Justice most likely shares the same philosophy as the gentleman in the aforementioned radio interview. How far has our nation regressed when a nominee for the highest court in the land dismisses the Declaration of Independence? People, the declaration is everything. Lincoln used the declaration as the template for the Gettysburg address. The declaration, and the ideals in it, were the reason this country got rid of that wretched system known as slavery, less than a century after it's birth. The declaration affirms our natural rights, rights not granted to us by any government, but by our Creator.

When this country and it's people forget about the declaration and forget about what it truly means, we are in trouble. Now is the time to remind and re-learn the founding of this country, why it happened, and what they were fighting for. I fear that we have already forgotten these things. I fear that some immigrate to this country, not because of it's freedoms, but because of it's gifts. They seek dependence and not independence. 

Some however, still know why this country is great, and they are fighting to keep it great. Some people still come here because of our liberal freedoms, not our handouts. They love this country and dream of a life in the only place on earth where even the poor are not hungry.

When you celebrate today, think about the courage it took for those men to sign that declaration, a treasonous document. Remember the brashness of John Hancock, who wrote his name bigger than anybody else. That's what America is all about folks. God bless it. 


Just A Little Time Is All

My five year old son Frank, is a pretty fortunate fellow. He has all kinds of "stuff" to play with. Not only that, but with a forty year old dad, his upbringing is, to put it mildly, somewhat laid back. He still tends to get bored though.

Tonight, after a long rainy day of staying inside and playing video games, he was allowed to watch a little TV in bed. On my way to my own bedroom, I decided I'd drop in a catch a few minutes of Spongebob with him. His reaction to this rare visit was something else. He was extremely excited to have me in his room watching cartoons with him. He even went out of his way to explain the episode to me. The whole thing really got me to thinking.

As I sat in his room staring at several hundred dollars worth of toys, I realized that while all of that stuff was nice, it in no way compared to just a few minutes of my time.

Like most parents, I work hard and often use the excuse of being too tired to spend time with my son. What a huge failure on my part!

We live in the most technologically advanced age in history. We pretty much have it all. But even with all of this "stuff", all of these advances, nothing means more to a little boy than a few minutes with his daddy. It's good to be reminded of that sometimes.


HealthCare Bill Passage Will Be Historic Tragedy

President Obama, this weekend, said that the passage of Healthcare will be a historic event in American history. He is right. If this disaster passes, it will be historic, just like the trail of tears was historic, or Plessy v. Fergesun was historic. Being historic, or as he puts it, being “transformative”, is not always a good thing. There is such a thing as bad history.

This healthcare bill is more than a disaster. It is a mindless tragedy. It does absolutely nothing the President claims it does. First off, it imposes an unconstitutional mandate on American citizens. Secondly, it burdens the states with a huge unfunded mandate, one that can only be paid for with higher state taxes or services cut in other areas. Taxes will be raised on individuals, and also businesses. Medicare will be cut, and Medicaid will be expanded, which means that doctors will be reimbursed by these government entities even less than they already are, forcing them to either make up the cost on the rest of us, or deny care to old and poor people. This thing is an absolute disaster. There is no other way to put it.

Any honest constitutional scholar will tell you that, not only is a mandate to buy health insurance unprecedented, but it is also unconstitutional. Never before has the Federal government required you to purchase a product simply because you were breathing. That is not liberty folks. It is tyranny. Congress simply does not have the power to require an individual to enter into a contract with another. The backers of this idea always mention the states and their mandates to buy car insurance. First off, we are talking about states and not the federal government. I realize that many of you do not believe in the concept of federalism. Hell, many of you don't believe in a lot of constitutional concepts. But the framers of our constitution did. Also, there is quite a bit of difference in requiring a driver of a car to be insured, than there is in requiring somebody to purchase insurance simply because they were born. You don't have to own and drive a car. That is a choice, and it is done on roads owned by the states. As far as I can tell though, breathing is a requirement of living.

We here in Tennessee, better than anybody else, know what happens when you expand Medicaid and make it attractive for employers to drop their benefits and allow the “government” to take over. Remember TennCare? How did that work out for you Tennessee? How is Medicaid expansion working out in Massachusetts? They say the states are laboratories, but obviously not in this case. Forcing all of the states to adopt TennCare is mindlessly idiotic. It is senseless. Many of these states are already in deep trouble. Now the federal government is going to pose another burden on them. Unbelievable!

The only way that the states will be able to fund this national TennCare program is through higher taxes. But not only will we face higher taxes from our state governments. We will also see an increase in the tax on capital gains. Yes that's right. In a time of high unemployment and stagnant economic growth, our government is going to raise the tax on capital gains. But wait, it gets better. Remember how those evil insurance companies, that make (gasp!) those huge two percent profits, remember how they charge us too much for insurance. Well guess what, they are going to be taxed too. Think about the stupidity of government logic here for a minute. The government is complaining about the cost of insurance, so the government is going to raise taxes on insurance companies.  ARE PEOPLE REALLY THIS STUPID?

Caterpillar recently stated that the Healthcare bill would cost their company an extra $100 million a year. And some of you still believe that the President gives a rat's ass about jobs. Are you people even able to feed yourselves? I mean seriously, is the forty percent that support this idiocy out there on the roads with the rest of us? God help us if they are.

So basically, this bill is going to increase the cost of doing business, which will either cause higher unemployment, lower wages, or an increase in the price of the products being produced. Either way you look at it, that means less money in our pockets. It is going to raise capital gains taxes, which will depress jobs and decrease wages. It will force health insurance companies to raise premiums to account for increased taxes. But wait, there is more costs hidden in this disaster.

More people will be forced into Medicaid, and Medicare will be cut. Will they take these benefits from old people? No of course not. What they will do is reimburse doctors less. How does that affect us, you might ask? Well the doctors have to make that money up somewhere don’t they? Look for the costs of healthcare, for the rest of us, to increase quite rapidly.

So basically, not only does this healtcare bill do nothing the President claims it will do, it actually does the exact opposite. It really is nothing but a government take over. There is not even a short term benefit. I really don’t see how anybody could support this embarrassment. It just doesn’t make any sense, but socialism never does.