In 1821 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Spencer Roane in which he said, “Time indeed changes manners and notions and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible.”
I have often wondered how the people of this country would react to a political debate between someone like Thomas Jefferson and any of the leading political figures from either the Republican or Democratic parties. Although I can pretty much guess the outcome, it would be interesting to see just how small a percentage of Americans who would support Jefferson’s views on the purposes for which government was established and the nature of their rights. Continue reading
There will come a time when we will sit down to the banquet of our consequences. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
The other day I read an article which piqued my interest. It seems that San Francisco 49er Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is angry that no teams have made him an offer since becoming a free agent. While I enjoy watching a good football game I’m not what you would call a fan of football. But this story piqued my interest for another reason. I feel it is representative of a problem that permeates society today; the fact that a great many people do not accept the fact that there are consequences to their actions.
Whether I personally agree or disagree with Mr. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem is irrelevant, I support his right to protest whatever cause he chooses to support by remaining seated during the playing of that song. But it seems he has forgotten that he is not only an employee of the 49er franchise, he is also a representative of the National Football League, and his actions caused a tidal wave of angry responses from patriotic football fans who felt the he had disgraced and dishonored his country. No one wants to be the one who hires someone who could blemish their reputation or bring discredit to their franchise. Continue reading
Do you know what hypocrisy is? Hypocrisy is defined as the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. Hypocrisy comes in many shapes, sizes, and it often disguises itself under the titles of double-standards, selective outrage, lack of intellectual integrity, political correctness, and an aversion to facts.
Hypocrisy is saying you believe in freedom of speech, then turning around and denying someone the right to speak their mind because their words or ideas offend you. Continue reading
I just had someone ask me an interesting question on Facebook. Someone I’d never met before asked me if I was a Libertarian. While I am not big on the idea of labels; I believe they confine and restrict you, I suppose if one were to apply one that fit with my way of thinking, calling me a Libertarian is probably pretty close.
Libertarianism, simply put, is a belief system based upon the concept of individual liberty with a heavy dose of distrust and skepticism for political power and authority. At first glance that may sound like the perfect definition of me but I am not one who believes that mankind can do without some form of government. It is like James Madison said in Federalist 51, “If men were angels no government would be necessary.” Continue reading
I know that many of you, by now anyway, are at least aware of the situation in Northern California and the crisis at the dam located in Oroville, California. Before I go into the meat and potatoes of this, I need to provide a little background.
When I was 10 or 11 I moved from San Jose, California to Oroville, just south of the dam that was designed to both store, and regulate the flow of water from the tributaries feeding into the Feather River. I used to fish off the face of the dam, as well as on a peninsula that extended parallel to the inlet to the spillway. I can’t count the times I went fishing on the lake itself, or went waterskiing or tubing on the lake. So I am quite familiar with the layout; although not the particulars of the construction of the dam itself. Continue reading
Recently I’ve been hearing with increasing frequency the use of the word Snowflake to describe certain people, or categories of people, in the United States. I understood the basic context the word was used as, but had to look it up to see what the actual meaning was. According to various sources a Snowflake, or the Snowflake Generation, is a term used to characterize young adults as being prone to taking offence at ideas that challenge their beliefs, and are less resilient than previous generations to insults or views that differ from their own. I suppose the term is fitting, because just like a real life snowflake, when it gets hot they have a meltdown. Continue reading
The day was September 17, 1787 and the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention were to gather together one final time to cast their votes for or against the document they had produced. Some had left the convention earlier; stating they felt the convention had overstepped its just authority, while others had pushed on with their plan to scrap the Articles of Confederation and create an entirely new system of government for America. Continue reading
(Violence Has A Way of Coming Back to Bite You In the Ass)
As I sit here savoring the first few sips of my morning coffee a question keeps running over and over in my mind: How much longer does America have before things get totally out of control? What I’m seeing going on in America today leaves me wondering how long before the sporadic violence we are seeing becomes commonplace and more extensive.
All through the recent election cycle I saw hints of things to come from those who opposed Donald Trump. There were those who attended his campaign rallies; not to hear what he had to say, but to disrupt them so that others could not hear what he had to say. Trump supporters were insulted, and sometimes attacked; just because they supported a candidate others did not like. Continue reading
The idea for this came to me as I was on the phone this morning with Jeffrey Bennett; publisher and host of both The Federal Observer and Metropolis Café. I hope all who read it will take what I say into consideration. ~ Neal
I know that recently my commentaries have taken a somewhat negative tone, and I apologize for it. A little over 18 years ago I was just an average Joe working, paying bills, and with my spare time being spent watching whatever was on the television. But then something happened, something I’ve yet to fully understand myself; but I became interested in learning as much as I could about the system of government established by our Founders over 200 years ago.
Once I began learning a few things it was as if an insatiable thirst for the truth had arisen in me, and I sought far and wide for every document, speech, and tidbit I could about the history of this place we call America. Continue reading
If you could name one thing that each of us has that sets us apart from each and every other human being on the planet, what would it be? I’ll give you a few moments to ponder that before I continue…
While some of you may have answered DNA; that is not the answer I was looking for. DNA is more the recipe of ingredients which makes you short or tall, blonde or brunette, light skinned or dark complexioned. No, what I was looking for was something about each of us that sets us apart from the people all around us. So I’ll give you another moment to think about your answers… Continue reading
Sometimes I have to shake my head in amazement at how little people know about certain things; especially things they often take so seriously. Take political parties for instance; how much do people really know about them, and their history? Take for instance the Democrats; those aligning themselves with that party tend to be the ones who are most outspoken against any, and all, things Confederate. They also are the most outspoken about the rights of minorities. According to most of them the South was to blame for the Civil War due to the Southerners owning slaves. Bet they didn’t know that most Southerners were also Democrats. Bet they didn’t know that of those who originally formed the Ku Klux Klan, most were also Democrats. Continue reading
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I’m used to arguing with people over slavery being the sole cause of the Civil War; it is what they were taught in schools and I can, at least, understand why they are so vehement in their beliefs. However, the other day I read an article that left me flabbergasted; and then the comments following it showed that there were many who supported the claims made by the author.
The basic premise of this article was that if Robert E. Lee had not accepted command of the Confederate Army the Civil War would not have happened and all those people would not have died.
First off, Lee did not immediately accept the position of Commander of the Confederate Army; he was assigned command of the Army of Northern Virginia. Virginia, if you were not aware of this, did not secede from the Union until Abraham Lincoln called out for volunteers to suppress the rebellion in those States which had already seceded. (Continue…)
The following by noted contributor, Neal Ross – was originally posted in response to another reader’s comments about the potential for a citizen uprising in America today – a ‘Revolution’ as it were. Neal’s’ assessment of the then and now situations is worth a single posting of it’s own. ~ J.B.
The problem, or difference as I see it between then and now is that back then with the third that was Tories they either relocated to England when America declared independence, or they accepted the outcome of the Revolution when we won. The other 33% went with the flow and would have continued as British subjects had we lost, or continued on as free Americans. It didn’t matter one way or the other to them. Continue reading
I’m going to come right out and say it; in a society where we are supposed to self governing, what good is a Constitution when the overwhelming majority of the people do not know, or care, what it says are the powers given the government it establishes? Continue reading
All the perplexities, confusion and distress in America arise, not from defects in their Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honor or virtue, so much as from the downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation. ~ John Adams
Aside from those who don’t have much of it, money is one of those things people take for granted. People open their wallets, or purses, and pull out a couple pieces of paper/clothe and expect that they will be able to exchange it for a certain amount of goods or services. But what is that stuff you carry around and use to make purchases? Money you say? I don’t think so.
The Sixth Edition of Bouvier’s Dictionary of Law defines money as: gold, silver, and some other less precious metals. What you hold in your wallets and purses is currency; and you should at least know a basic history of how it came to replace real money. Continue reading
I know, I rant and rave about the government all the time and you’re probably getting tired of listening to me. I know there are those on both sides of the political spectrum who wish I would just shut up. Those on the left are currently too busy off licking their wounds and tossing around accusations of Russian interference in the recent presidential election; while those on the right are saying Trump hasn’t even taken office yet and I need to chill out and give him a chance.
It wasn’t that long ago, eight years to be exact, that the tables were turned and those on the right were off licking their wounds while those on the left were telling me to chill out and give Mr. Hope & Change a chance. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if, in 4 or 8 years those on the right are off licking their wounds again while those on the left are telling me to give whomever they place in the Oval Office a chance. Continue reading
Sometime in the mid Nineteenth Century the English historian and politician Lord Acton uttered words that have echoed down through the decades since first being spoken, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Abraham Lincoln said something similar, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” I guess Lincoln failed his own test as far as that goes; but that’s an issue for another time and another place. Continue reading
I do not know what people think transpired between September 1787, when the finalized constitution was voted upon by the convention, and March of 1789 when it went into effect. All I know is what I have read about that period in American History, and what I’ve read shows me that there were serious doubts by some fervent patriots about the wisdom of adopting the form of government outlined by the Constitution.
Back then it was a momentous decision; choosing whether to replace their confederation with a stronger, more centralized government. But to understand all that transpired during that period one must go back; way back in history to understand the history of man himself.
I know that some of those who read my articles do not believe in the Bible, and therefore any mention of what it contains will cause them to immediately reject anything I say. That is unfortunate; but I accept that and must continue as my heart dictates. Continue reading
(You’ll Need Them For This One)
In 1791, James Wilson, one of the few men who was present for both the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution wrote something entitled Lectures on Law. In that work he states, “Government, in my humble opinion, should be formed to secure and enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government which has not this in view as its principal object is not a government of the legitimate kind.”
Wilson does not specify the federal government; he simply says government. He could be talking about the federal government, or he could just as well be talking about the mayor of a town of 200 people. When Wilson speaks of government he speaks of any entity that creates laws that the people must adhere to. Therefore it is safe to assume that when you speak of government it should immediately come to mind that the purpose for which it exists should be to secure or protect our Natural Rights. Continue reading
I consider myself a historian of sorts. For the past decade and a half I have been collecting every document I could find from the period which saw our Republic come into existence. Over the past few years I have expanded my search to include documents relating to the period most commonly known as the Civil War. Over the course of this journey of mine there has been a question that has been repeating itself with increasing frequency: Why wasn’t I taught this in school?
I am from the generation known as the Baby Boomers and I graduated from high school in 1976; the year of our nation’s bicentennial. I can honestly say that 90% of the data I have collected was never taught in any of my history or civics classes. Continue reading
“Any fool can make a rule… And any fool will mind it.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
The problem with many people today is that they have been conditioned to believe that anything anyone in a position of authority says or does is gospel and they are obliged to obey. If our government enacts a law we do not like we simply shrug our shoulders and obey it. We are told to support those in agencies whose sole job is the enforcement of the laws government and society passes, regardless of whether the laws are just or not. It has gotten so bad that our national motto needs to be changed from In God We Trust to Do Not Question; Just Obey.
When the United States sought to create the National Seal various phrases were suggested with E Pluribus Unum, (Out of many one) being chosen as the final motto for the seal. That alone is worthy of an article; but it will have to wait for another day; however it is not the subject I intend to discuss right now. Among the suggested mottos was the following: Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God. Although it was not chosen for the National Seal, Thomas Jefferson liked it so much he incorporated it into his personal seal. Continue reading
I don’t know how many of you have seen the 1978 remake of the classic 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but there is a scene at the very end that I can relate to. In the scene I am referring to, Veronica Cartwright’s character see’s Donald Sutherland’s character Matthew and approaches him with a hesitant smile.
Donald Sutherland, having been replaced by an alien pod version of himself recognizes her as being human and lets out this ear piercing shriek. It is the look on Nancy’s, [Cartwright’s] face that I relate to more than the scream. The horror she must be feeling at that moment, realizing that she is utterly alone amongst mindless zombies is what gets to me every time. Continue reading
Shortly before posting this excellent observation by Neal Ross, I saw the headline, Trump Announces Pro-Common Core Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. Nothing has changed, and nothing will. ~ Ed.
Donald Trump is unique in the history of American politics and I’m curious as to how the history books will record his ascent to the presidency and his time as president. Although Trump ran on a Republican ticket, I don’t think Trump is actually a Republican. In fact, I don’t think Trump has any loyalty other than to Trump himself.
To understand what we just witnessed you have to understand Donald Trump as the man. Trump, first and foremost, is a showman; an exhibitionist who likes to stir up a ruckus. He may be thoughtful, logical even; but that’s not why people pay attention to him. People pay attention to Trump because he is outspoken and, often, abrasive. People pay attention to Trump for the same reason millions watched American Idol for Simon Cowell and his brash rudeness. Continue reading
As I sit here one half of the country is rejoicing because in just over a month Donald Trump will be sworn in as the next President of these States Divided. The other half is angry and sad. Some of them have taken to the streets in protest of the outcome of the election. While I do not condone such actions, it does show me the extent to which those who supported Hillary are willing to go to get what they want.
While it may be true that many of these protests were orchestrated by George Soros, and protesters were bused in from other cities, there are still those who are participating in them because they truly are angry with the results of the election. Either they are those who are in this country illegally, or sympathetic to those who are, or they feel that if Trump implements many of his plans it will threaten their benefits. Continue reading
Being that today is Election Day I’m sure most people would expect me to write something about it; well don’t hold your breath. I think I’ve made my position abundantly clear and to write anything about it now would be useless, as by the time most will see it they will already have voted and the polls will be closed. So what good would any Hail Mary of Common Sense do at this point in the game? So I decided to run with something that was inspired by news I heard yesterday.
In case you didn’t catch the news the other day, Janet Reno passed away on Monday. For those of you unfamiliar with the name Janet Reno, she served as Attorney General during Bill Clinton’s tenure as president. In case you are unaware of what the Attorney General does here is the mission statement taken directly from the Department of Justice’s website; “…to supervise and direct the administration and operation of the Department of Justice, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, Office of Justice Programs, and the U.S. Attorneys and U.S. Marshals Service, which are all within the Department of Justice.”
Time indeed changes manners and notions, and so far we must expect institutions to bend to them. But time produces also corruption of principles, and against this it is the duty of good citizens to be ever on the watch, and if the gangrene is to prevail at last, let the day be kept off as long as possible. ~ Thomas Jefferson, March 9, 1821
When I was growing up one of my favorite TV shows was Star Trek. The sets were cheaply constructed, and the acting was a bit hokey and over the top; but I was always fascinated by Spock. I have often since wondered what was going through Gene Roddenberry’s mind when he created an entire race of beings that had rid themselves of emotion and lived a life based upon logic. I sometimes wonder if Roddenberry was not making a statement on the irrationality of us humans.
Roddenberry may not have been alone; on April 30, 1776, Samuel Adams sat down to pen a letter to Samuel Cooper in which he made an astute observation regarding the human race. In his letter Adams wrote, “Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.” Time and time again I’ve seen Adam’s observation proven true.
It is the rare individual who is willing to examine facts with an open mind; facts which contradict their existing beliefs that is. It has been my experience that people tend to reject outright any information which threatens their beliefs. How then can they claim to have made an informed decision if they have chosen to disregard facts they find uncomfortable? Continue reading
Lately I’ve been finding myself fighting both sides of the political spectrum; with those who support Hillary criticizing me because they believe I support a womanizing unqualified Trump, and Trump supporters hammering me because since I do not intend to vote for him I’m giving the election to Hillary who will be the final nail in the coffin to our Constitution.
Frankly I’ve had enough of it; ya’ll haven’t heard a damned thing I’ve been saying! Either it’s going in one ear and out the other, or you’re simply not capable of processing the reasons I’ve given why I do not intend to vote for either candidate.
I’m pretty sure that this close to the election most of you reading this have made up your minds as to whom you will vote for. What I would like for you to do is make a list in your head of all the reasons why you are voting for that particular candidate. Most likely it is because of one of two reasons; you are voting for them because of the things they promised to do throughout their campaign, or because you believe them to be better qualified than the other candidate. I actually had someone tell me that because Hillary has more political experience that makes her the better choice for president; regardless of how poorly she served while obtaining that experience. Continue reading
I know it is wishful thinking, possibly even fanciful and childish to even speak of such things; but if you could travel back into the past, at any moment in time, and deliver a message; to whom would you deliver your message and what would you say?
If it were even remotely possible I would travel back in time to the day the Second Continental Congress voted to pass the Declaration of Independence, to the very moment spoken of in a letter by Benjamin Rush to John Adams 35 yrs later, “Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress, to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants?”
If possible I would interrupt that pensive and awful silence and deliver the following message: Continue reading
What we Americans call life, more often than not, consists of a routine each person has developed to allow them to deal with the specific needs of their family situation. The difference between me, and a few others like me, and the rest of America is that we have set aside time in our daily lives to educate ourselves in regards to the history and laws which govern us.
Our Founding Fathers, those men who lived in ages past who secured America’s independence and established its system of government, were all pretty much in agreement that an informed public was the only sure means of ensuring that the freedom they had worked to obtain would remain for the generations that followed. Continue reading
Recently, as many of you know, my family took a month long vacation to the Philippines. While there my sister-in-law gave my wife and I a pair of Rodrigo Duterte T-shirts. Yesterday, for shits and giggles, we both decided to wear them at the same time while out grocery shopping. While we got quite a few looks from people, (maybe because the shirts are bright yellow), we didn’t get any comments; that is until we got to WalMart.
A conversation ensued between a WalMart cashier, (who is a Filipina friend of ours), myself, and another WalMart customer, (who from the way she was dressed appeared to be a throwback to the Woodstock era hippies.) I will attempt to reconstruct the conversation to the best of my recollection; but some of the wording may not be exactly as it went down. Continue reading