If someone were to ask you what defines a nation, how would you respond? If you were to ask me I would say it is the people who define a nation; through their values and beliefs. God may have given us this beautiful country to inhabit; full of an abundance of resources, but it is the people that occupy any country who give it its character; who define it. Simply put, a country is either good or bad based upon the people who inhabit it.
So if it is people who define a nation, then I suppose the next logical question is; what defines the people who inhabit a nation? It is said that a house divided cannot stand; and that is true as it pertains to nations as well. Continue reading
What suffers under political correctness is the free and open discussion of ideas, the exchange of facts and information; because inevitably the truth gets sidelined because it is often considered politically incorrect. ~ N. Ross
On a warm summer evening, just a couple weeks before our nation celebrated its bicentennial I walked across a stage in Oroville, California, and made the transition from childhood to responsible adult. Prior to that evening in June 1976 I was a student, now I was expected to make my way forward with all that knowledge I had been so graciously given by the public school system.
I would love to go back and repeat those last 4 years at high school; knowing what I know now. I’d probably never make it to graduation ceremony; I’d probably be expelled for arguing with my history teachers long before then. But that is neither here or there, or as the old saying goes, germane to the subject under discussion. Continue reading
It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it. ~ Robert E. Lee, (Upon watching a Union charge stopped at the Battle of Fredericksburg, 13 December 1862)
I’d be willing to bet that most people did not know that the Colonists lived relatively peacefully under British rule for 145 years before the British passed the Stamp Act; which ultimately led to the American Revolution. I’d also be willing to bet that most people don’t know that it has been 152 years since the Civil War, (or America’s Second War For Independence as I prefer to call it), ended. Why are those numbers important? Well let me precede my thoughts on the subject with a quote taken from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to William Smith in 1787, “What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
What I’m beginning to believe, and fear for that matter, is that America is overdue for another such rebellion. Continue reading
“A wise man seeks out the truth; a foolish one rejects it, or allows it to be silenced.” ~ Book of Ross; 4:45
There is an evil, a pestilence, which is spreading across America which goes by the name of Political Correctness. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, political correctness is defined as: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated. You can call it whatever you want, cloak it under whatever disguise you want, but when all is said and done, it is nothing other than censorship.
Who and what defines what is, and what isn’t politically correct? Is it politically incorrect to say something, or display an image, simply because someone or some group takes offense to it? If being offended is the only guideline that establishes what is politically incorrect then we may as well just pass a law forbidding speech, or the displaying of any images; as there will always be someone who takes offense to something. Continue reading
Imagine for a moment that you have awoken in a strange room. You look around and do not recognize any of your surroundings. You get up and go into the bathroom to splash some water on your face and you do not recognize the image staring back at you in the mirror. You begin to panic because you have come to the realization that you don’t know your own name, where you work, where you were born; your memory is a complete blank.
Although not common, this condition has a medical term assigned to it; amnesia. Amnesia is defined as the partial or complete loss of memory; usually due to brain injury, shock, fatigue, repression, or illness. But what is amnesia if it is not the loss of a part of your history?
Each of us have our own distinct history; from the moment we are born until the moment we die our history is being written by the things we do, the things we learn and the events we witness. What if in one clean sweep all those memories were wiped away; leaving you with nothing to define who and what you are? Continue reading
Many a year ago, almost 40 to be exact, I raised my right hand and swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies; both foreign and domestic. Thus began my service as a United States airman in the Air Force; service I would give for over 13 years of my life; both stateside and overseas. I remained in the Air Force until upper management allowed it to get so bloated with E-5’s that they had to do something to thin the ranks. So they offered severance pay for E-5’s as an option to get people to voluntarily separate; an option I took advantage of, and I once again found myself a civilian. Continue reading
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
I wonder how many parents out there have ever stopped to think about what their expectations are from the public school system they send their children to for a good portion of their formative years. What I’m saying is, I wonder how many people have stopped to think about what they want their child to have learned by the time they get their high school diploma.
Of all the answers that parents may come up with, I wonder if the skill of critical thinking is among them. When I was a child, navigating my way through the public school system, I was given weekly reading assignments and told that at the end of the week I would need to write a book report on what I’d read. These book reports were not to be synopses of the story; rather they were to be my reaction to what I’d read; which I would have to back up by specific passages from the book. 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
CLICK on Image
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