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Monday, April 21, 2014

Fear and Respect

    I own my own home and all the contents inside of it (we paid the bank off 2 years ago!).   Every room in it, every piece of furniture, every painting, every TV, every computer has been purchased with the money I earned.   I have the right to go into any room I choose at any time.  Yet when I come to my son or daughters rooms, I knock and ask "May I come in?".   Why?  Because I respect them as individuals and their right to privacy.   My children both fear and respect me as their father as I also feared and respected my father (although it embarrassed the heck out of me to see him mowing the lawn in his plaid shorts and shoes with black socks).   The two go hand in hand.  Fear and Respect.  They are two sides of the same coin. 

   Fear is an external motivator to do what your told to do.  For a child, it's seeing the fly-swatter or the "paddle" hanging on the wall that reminds you what might happen if you disobey and it's reserved for times of direct and outright disobedience.   Sometimes all my father had to do was give us "that look" and we knew what would come next and we straightened up and did what we were told to do.

    Respect on the other hand is an internal motivator.  I respected my father because I knew he respected me as a person as well.  Like asking for permission to enter the bedroom so also I respected his rights to put demands on me to be home at a decent hour when I lived under his roof.   Sadly, we
have probably all seen cases, whether in our own families or other families around us, where a father (or mother) has lost the respect of their children either because the parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol or their poor choices of mates that causes the children to lose respect for them and actually hate them rather than love them.   Far too often in these same families as we see the respect diminish we then see these parents resort to harsher and harsher punishments to inflict fear on members of the family to make make up for the lack of respect.  Finally with all respect lost, we see that no amount of external motivation will have an effect on them and the family disintegrates.

     So also those in our government today.  Some rely on their titles to give them respect when it is not the office that garners that respect but what you do while in that office.  And like the parent that loses the respect of their children, so also as the people feel that their individual rights are respected less and less by the government, the government will have to rely on fear to motivate its citizens to comply.
  • When we see our government officials disregard the law and make exceptions for themselves and their workers... we lose respect.  
  • When they commit crimes and are able to simply retire with full benefits... we lose respect.
  • When they feel its in their right to limit our freedom of speech and political action (IRS scandal).... we lose respect
  • When the outright lie to us (ObamaCare and Benghazi).... we lose respect.
    Some in government feel that they can make up for this loss in respect by increasing fear.  We saw the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) show up with helicopters, AR-15's, sniper-rifles, dogs, tazors, camouflage and flack-jackets.   Really?  BLM needs para-military equipment to do its job?   We also know that many other departments have also increased their levels of force as well.  The HSA, ATF, IRS and yes, even the EPA has acquired military style equipment and purchased billions of rounds of ammunition.  Local police forces as well have obtained similar equipment through the Patriot Act and efforts to counter so-called terrorism.  Like a bad parent who feels the grounding is not harsh enough anymore and needs to use a baseball bat to get their point across so also our government seems to have gone the same way as well.  

    We need to put people back in Washington who will help "restrain" our federal government and "respect" its citizens again rather then call them "domestic terrorists" like Sen. Harry Reid has done recently.  Such rhetoric does not garner respect but only inflames the citizens more which will only make politicians like Harry Reid resort to more violent means to get their way.  We need Washington to obey its laws (both the letter of the law and also the spirit of the law) so "We The People" can have confidence once again in them and their laws that they pass.   And finally we need to demand that organizations that like the BLM, IRS, HSA and the EPA be DE-militarized and rely on local law enforcement if needed.   These military-style tactics do not belong inside the borders of the United States of America.  They belong in war torn countries like Afghanistan, but not here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The importance of "Moral Authority"

      It was like a scene out of a Hollywood movie ( a cross between "High Noon at the OK Corral"  and "The Hunger Games") where the little guy stood up against the big bad government and won!  Last weekend we saw the Bundy Ranch face-off end with no guns fired and the BLM workers step back.    It was amazing to watch men and women on horseback with nothing more than flags in their hands stand up to men in military "camo" carrying semi-automatic weapons and flying around in helicopters.

      I have heard many "legal arguments" showing that the Bundy's have no legal leg to stand on.  Arguments such as the fact that Nevada has in its constitution declarations that much of its land is owned by the federal government and that two to the Bundy's efforts in court have failed to change that.  While I agree in principle the Bundy's may have no legal authority, they do have moral authority on their side.   For without a moral authority to back up the legal authority the men of the BLM cannot enforce their so-called rules and regulations.   (I hope that the people support Bundy took notice that it was not the militia's showing up with their guns that ended the confrontation, but instead unarmed people banding together on horseback that did the trick)

    We as Americans have always been for freedom and fairness in our country.  Anyone who looks at
Federal Land in red
the situation in Nevada must feel that something is wrong where a federal government owns over 80% of a state.  How can that be?  Does New Jersey or New York or Virgina have large swathes of land that is not theirs even though it is within their own borders?    Obviously not.  Who of us would buy a parcel of land if we found out that the neighbor next door controls your backyard and has a legal right to use it however they wish?  Would we not say that such an agreement made in the past should be revisited and be changed?  Should not Nevada also be free to change their constitution and reclaim its land for its own use and prosperity?

     Yes, you can quote all the laws involved (Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 or the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976) or sight the court cases like "United States vs Gardner"  but if the will of the people and their view of what they see as morally right does not support you then you have no way of enforcing those laws.   We saw this during last weeks stand-off when we saw that armed men with shiny little badges from the BLM were no match unarmed men and women on horseback armed only with flags and cell-phones.   On many occasions they threatened to shoot if they came past the gate (which BLM erected), but in the end they knew what they were doing was not right and they could not pull the trigger on these people.

    Moral authority trumped legal authority.

    To those who quote these ancient rulings and regulations, does it ever occur to you that the law may be wrong?  Maybe these laws need to be re-written?   That peoples freedoms for years have been trampled on and now its time to rectify the situation?    Could it be that when these laws were passed that our government which was run mostly by people on the east coast over stepped their bounds?

     Simply put:  Laws that are not challenged are never changed.

    The Bundy's may not have a legal leg to stand on, but in the eyes of the people their moral authority is in good standing with the court of public opinion.

    Of course the battle is not over with the Bundy Ranch and the federal government is weighing its options for its next course of action. But for now the scoreboard reads:

                                                   BUNDY:  1     FEDS:   0


   Government must realize that the law enforcement is a two-way-street.  If they are not willing to abide by their own laws and the Constitution then also they are inviting others to do so as well at their own peril.  For Senator Harry Reid to talk about people disregarding the law while he and President Obama have bypassed the rules laid out by the Constitution is nothing short of astounding.  "We The People" restrain ourselves because we see our government restrain itself.  We abide by the law because we see our government and its officials abide by the law as well.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You might be a libertarian

     One of my most favorite comedians of ALL time is Jeff Foxworthy.   He is well known across the United
States for his routine called "You might be a redneck" in which poses a series of  "IF you _______ then you might be a redneck".   For example, he once said, "If your senior prom had on-sight day-care.... you might be a redneck".   Or another time he said, "If the directions to your house includes the words 'now get off paved road' you might be a redneck.

    Having grown up in Southern Illinois (we refer to ourselves that way to say "we don't want anything to do with Chicago")  I could relate to that humor as I could recall people I went to school with that resembled those descriptions. Sometimes I even saw some of those descriptions in myself and would say, "Oh yeah, I guess I am a redneck too!".

    That is true in many other circumstances also.  Sometimes we don't recognize who we really are until someone holds up a mirror to our face and we say "Oh yeah, that's me too!"    Take for example political affiliations.  We grow up with a certain set of political ideals but as we grow up and the world changes around us we don't see that we don't fit those affiliations anymore, yet we continue to support them with our money and our votes.  Many for example will say they are democrat, but when asked if they support the President sending troops without Congressional approval or IRS mistreating groups because they are from another political persuasion or the use of drones to kill American citizens abroad and most likely they will give you a emphatic  "NO!"

    Personally, I refer to myself now as a "recovering republican" as much I see in the republican party I no longer agree with.  Ronald Reagan left the democrat party as they no longer espoused the same views as he had and they went their separate ways.  I too, also feel that way about the GOP as I do not agree with the "Patriot Act", or "No Child Left Behind", or "Common Core" or "being the worlds police force".   It has taken several years of soul searching to come to this conclusion.  Some will call me a "Loser-terian" (Michael Medved on the radio does this) claiming libertarians can't win.  But I say "So What!".  To me, the GOP needs to be reformed.  Like Martin Luther tried to do with the Catholic Church in the 1500's so also we need try to reform the GOP.   It's not enough to vote GOP just to win some elections so we can ease up on the gas a little as America is driving off the edge of a fiscal cliff.   We need to put people in who are willing to slam on the brakes and turn the car around.

     Maybe you are like me... a libertarian.  Take the following quiz to see if you are

1) IF you believe the government has no business in what we do in privacy of our homes  (marriage,
     recreation, education)....     You might be a libertarian

2) IF you believe that schools should be accountable to parents and not bureaucrats....
    You might be a libertarian

3) IF you believe taxes should be as easy as paying you electric bill.....You might be a libertarian

4) IF you believe that the private sector does everything more efficiently and cost-effectively than the
     public-sector....   You might be a libertarian

5) IF you believe your government should obtain a specific search warrant for your electronic information
    such as email and phones.... You might be a libertarian

6) IF you believe government should never trample on ones freedom of belief or conscience....
    You might be a libertarian

7) IF you believe that your party (R or D) does not stand for the individual anymore but only for corporate
     lobbyists .... You might be a libertarian

8) IF you believe ALL people (white,black,red,yellow..) should be treated 100% the same and without
    favoritism  ....You might be a libertarian

9) IF you believe that the use of military/government drones should be never used within the borders of the
    United States.....  You might be a libertarian

10) IF you believe that a US citizen should never be killed by drone (Obama has killed 4) but should be
      arrested and given their day in court....  You might be a libertarian

Of course you might not agree with ALL of them, but I think if you kind yourself saying YES to at least 5 of them, it's probably a pretty good bet that your are indeed ....

A libertarian