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Independence Day 238

Independence Day

PatriotPost.us Jul. 4, 2014

“This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take.” –Thomas Jefferson

On this, our nation’s 238th birthday, we invite you to read our primer on Independence Day, as well as the Declaration of Independence.

As always, join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform – Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen – standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

Founder’s Quote Daily

"Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse it." –Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, 1776

A Decent Respect: Renewing the Spirit of ’76

By Marvin Folkertsma · Jul. 1, 2014

3 Comments

July 4, 1776 gave birth to perhaps the most revolutionary political document in the history of civilization, submitted by men who proclaimed, “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Pretty heady stuff for a group of heroes who knew that their actions exposed them all to charges of treason, for which the penalty was swift and sure execution at the hands of the colonial masters whose authority they defied.

Indeed, during the revolutionary war that followed this event, almost all of the signers of the Declaration of Independence lost their property; many lost their families or saw them waste away in imperial prisons. More than a few died in infamy, penniless, and forgotten. All for the sake of the Declaration; all for the sake of their “sacred honor.”

To understand what propelled America’s founding generation to take such drastic action, it is indispensable to reread what they believed “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” required them to say, to “declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” Consider Thomas Jefferson’s brilliant summary of American political theory:

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…

Nothing captures of the Spirit of ‘76 more than these words, whose relevance remains especially important for the generations that followed, because of their universal appeal and adaptability to different situations. For instance, the doctrine of “self-evident truths” assumed essentially that those who failed to understand certain moral precepts were somehow defective in their reasoning ability, or, to put it less politely, were moral idiots. Thus, anyone who reflected on such matters understood that all persons were created equal in a moral or legal sense; that is before the law, and obviously not in terms of intellect or abilities. Buttressing this epistemological point, however, was a situation noted by J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur, a perceptive French immigrant, whose “Letters from an American Farmer” appeared a half dozen years after the Declaration, in which he noted that “here are no aristocratical families, no courts, no kings, no bishops, no ecclesiastical dominion, no invisible power giving to a few a very visible one…”

Second, and perhaps most important, was the concept of rights, which were endowed by the Creator upon individuals prior to the institution of government. That is, the American founders insisted on contract theory of government, whereby all individuals agreed among themselves to create a government whose sole justification was to secure those rights that pre-existed its establishment. That is, contrary to the contemporary assumption that government is the source of rights, the signers of the Declaration believed that governments are constructed entities, a set of contrived offices; they have no rights themselves, only responsibilities. And what is made by the people can be unmade. This government rests on consent of the governed, so when “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce [the people] under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

True, there is nothing comparable in America to the situation faced by the founders, who had to contend with the depredations of a relatively mild-mannered monarch, King George III. However, in some respects, our contemporary situation is worse because American government is immensely more powerful than what George Washington and company had to face. Britain, though great in its time, was at least beatable as the historical record shows, but the federal behemoth today is virtually unconstrained by the constitutional safeguards brought about by the victorious devotees to the Declaration and the Constitution that followed it. The British were outraged by American opposition; today’s federal government snickers at it, and regards those who hearken back to the country’s roots with contempt.

Is there a way out? Yes, and that way is the Declaration of Independence. After all, a decent respect for its moral principles – God-authored rights, equality before the law, contract theory of government – demands our attention, claims our reverence. And, in the final analysis, our sacred honor. This truly is the Spirit of ’76.

Dr. Marvin J. Folkertsma is a professor of political science and fellow for American studies with The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The author of several books, his latest release is a high-energy novel titled “The Thirteenth Commandment.”

Liberty — Endowed by Whom?

The Eternal Bequest

By Mark Alexander · Jul. 3, 2013

“God who gave us life gave us Liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” –Thomas Jefferson (1774)

Amid all the contemporary political and cultural contests, too many conservatives fail to make the case for overarching eternal truths – whether in debate with adversaries across the aisles of Congress, or with neighbors across Main Street.

Lost in the din is the foundational endowment of Essential Liberty, and any debate that does not begin with this eternal truth will end with temporary deceits.

The most oft-cited words from our Declaration of Independence are these: “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.”

The eternal assertion that Liberty for all people is “endowed by their Creator” and is thus “unalienable” should require no defense, because “we hold these truths to be self-evident,” and because the rights of man are irrevocable from the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”

But the root of all debate between Liberty and tyranny – or, in political parlance, between Right and left – is the contest to assert who endows Liberty – God or man.

The left’s humanist position has been made plainly evident by Barack Hussein Obama, who has a history of deliberately and repeatedly omitting the words “endowed by their Creator” when citing in open constituent forums the Declaration’s reference to “Rights.” What, exactly, is the inspiration for such overt and explicit omissions by the titular head of the Democratic Party?

Contemporary Leftist protagonists seek to replace Rule of Law with the rule of men. This is because the former is predicated on the principle that Liberty is “endowed by our Creator,” while the latter asserts that government is the giver of Liberty.

The history of man, since its first record, has repeatedly and tragically documented that when the people settle for the assertion that government is the source of their rights, tyranny is the inevitable result. And tyrants always attempt to undermine Liberty by driving a wedge between it and its foundational endowment by our Creator.

For generations, American liberals have driven that wedge by asserting that our Constitution provides a “wall of separation” between church and state. But does it?

The short answer is “yes,” but it is most certainly not the faux wall constructed by judicial activists, who have grossly adulterated the plain language of our First Amendment especially during the last 50 years.

Contrary to what many liberals would have us believe, the words “wall of separation between church and state” do not appear in our Constitution – nor is this notion even implied. Thomas Jefferson penned those words in an obscure 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in response to concerns about Connecticut’s establishment of Congregationalism as their state church. Jefferson assuaged their concerns, telling the Baptists that the First Amendment prohibited the national government from establishing a “national church,” but he concluded rightly that the Constitution prohibited the national government from interfering with the matters of state governments – a “wall of separation,” if you will, between federal and state governments.

The “wall of separation” argument is thus a phony one. Indeed, it is a blueprint for tyranny.

We are created, from the beginning, in the Image of God, and that image is the essence of Liberty, the well of all rights for all people for all time.

Our enlightened Founders, in their revolutionary opposition to tyranny, looked far beyond kings and parliaments to the enduring source of the rights of man, and they enumerated in our Declaration of Independence that we are, indeed, created in God’s Image for His purpose, and that no man could strip that endowment from the soul of another. Thus, we have the equal capacity to be free, personal, rational, creative and moral beings, and we are entitled to be so through His endowment.

These rights and freedoms were further enshrined in our Constitution.

In 1776, John Hancock wrote of Jacob Duché, the first Chaplain appointed by the Continental Congress, “Congress … from a consideration of your … zealous attachment to the rights of America, appoint(s) you their Chaplain.” Duché, Pastor of Philadelphia’s Christ Church, captured the spirit of the American Revolution, saying, “Civil liberty is as much the gift of God in Christ Jesus … as our spiritual freedom… ‘Standing fast’ in that liberty, wherewith Christ, as the great providential Governor of the world, hath made us free.”

It is in that spirit that we at The Patriot Post adopted our motto, Veritas vos Liberabit – “The Truth Will Set You Free” (John 8:32). That is the essence of the assertion that we are “endowed by our Creator” with life and Liberty.

Ignorance of the true and eternal source of the rights of man is fertile ground for the Left’s assertion that government endows such rights. It is also perilous ground, soaked with the blood of generations of American Patriots. As Jefferson wrote, “The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.”

Indeed, the “Cycle of Democracy” demands this tonic. And despite the pervasive assault on Liberty by the current legions of Leftist NeoComs, to paraphrase the great Prussian military historian, theorist and tactician Carl von Clausewitz, “the best defense is a good offense.”

Our Founders closed their Declaration with this pledge to each other, and all who would follow: “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

In his 1800 letter to fellow Declaration signer Benjamin Rush, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

Like millions of our generation’s American Patriots, I have sworn likewise. We must never forsake our Sacred Honor.

No matter what setbacks we face, Liberty is an eternal endowment. Thus, we must hold the lines on defense, and regroup for relentless attack on offense.

Never lose faith, fellow Patriots!

In honor of this, the 237th anniversary of our Declaration of Independence, contemplate these wise words of our Founders, and please consider supporting The Patriot Post’s mission in defense of Liberty.

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good Citizens and soldiers we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of Religion. To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian.” –George Washington

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” –John Adams

“May every citizen … have a proper sense of the Deity upon his mind and an impression of the declaration recorded in the Bible, ‘Him that honoreth Me I will honor, but he that despiseth Me shall be lightly esteemed.’” –Samuel Adams

“This will be the best security for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.” –Benjamin Franklin

“The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good, is so essential to the moral order of the world and to the happiness of man, that arguments which enforce it cannot be drawn from too many sources nor adapted with too much solicitude to the different characters and capacities impressed with it.” –James Madison

“The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among parchments and musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the Hand of Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.” –Alexander Hamilton

“But where says some is the king of America? I’ll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain. … [L]et it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS king. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown at the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.” –Thomas Paine in Common Sense

Declare Your Freedom

By Rebecca Hagelin · Jul. 3, 2014

Culture Challenge of the Week: Tyrannical Rule versus Independence

At some point in every man’s life, he hears a voice of conscience (perhaps it is a faint whisper from God Himself) urging him to break loose from the suffocating bonds of lust or fear, which hold him against his will in either the endless search for more – more wealth, more excitement, more control – or the legalistic monotony of what some might call “religion.”

When a man hears that voice, he often thinks he knows what it will take to break free, yet simultaneously feels as though he has lost his way. (He wouldn’t know what to do with himself if he were to break free.)

What he needs is someone to follow.

One of the most beautiful things about life is that truth seems to hold firm through every layer – the micro, the macro and everything in between.

Take, for example, the soul of a man and the “soul” of a nation:

The United States of America, young as it is, has a short history made thick by the struggle and fight for freedom. In the same way a young man may recognize the awful injustice of the powers – whatever they may be – that hold sway over his soul, young America (the original colonies) could not ignore the injustices that came from the crown. Which is why Thomas Jefferson penned the words:

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…. 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…

Though people who were looking for new, abundant lives established the colonies, they instead began suffocating under tyrannical rule from the old world. So they declared their independence, abolished the old system and instituted a new one.

As humans, we often flee from life’s hardships to chase after our carnal desires or to find “safety” in rigid moral or religious structures. But if we are honest with ourselves, we find that our escapes lose their initial appeal and we find the same old futility we were running from in the first place. We need to break our ties with the old life entirely, and replace it with life that is truly new.

2 Corinthians 3:7 & 9-11 gives us even more reason, spiritually speaking, to do just that:

The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory…. If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God! In fact, that first glory was not glorious at all compared with the overwhelming glory of the new way. So if the old way, which has been replaced, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new, which remains forever!

How to Save Your Family: Declare Your Freedom

The United States of America was born through revolution. It left the old world behind to become something entirely new. Over the course of time, that new world grew in strength, and eventually turned around to save the old world from the Nazis in World War II and to protect it from the terrors of communism through NATO.

When Jesus Christ was born, he brought revelation. He did away with the old “system of law with its commandments and regulations” (Ephesians 2:15), and he made something entirely new by replacing law with his governing Spirit.

Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? (2 Corinthians 3:8).

The best part is that those living according to Jesus’ new way are forever protected from the devil and all the traps he sets to try to entangle us again in our old lust and fear.

As 2 Corinthians 3:12 says: Since this new way give us such confidence, we can be very bold.

Independence Day is the perfect time to look back on history so we can follow in the footsteps of our great founding fathers. They laid bold claim to liberty by invoking the name of God (He is referenced four times in the Declaration of Independence) and forever changed the face of the world. Or better yet, look back on the history of Jesus’ life and lay bold claim to the liberty of your soul by placing your faith in the One who changed the face of all eternity.

Between the BBQ and fireworks this year, don’t forget to say a prayer of gratitude for the rich blessings that have been poured out on us simply because we are fortunate enough to call America our home.

Independence

By Rona Swanson · Jul. 4, 2014

Independence is what we all want…until we have it.

Independent means self-governing, free from the control of others, SELF RELIANT.

Ask any teenager and they cannot WAIT to gain their independence.

Ask a starving college student about their independence, and they might wish to be back under the protective roof of childhood again. Some return home and remain in adolescent limbo, regardless of their chronological age. Give me the starving college student who quietly eats his/her Top Ramen and soldiers on. That is the one who has inherited the spirit of those brave men who put pen to paper on the document declaring their independence from King George’s tyranny on July 4, 1776.

We have glamorized the moment, but it was a sober and chilling thing to put your name on a document that would surely bring the might of the British Empire to bear on the foundling colonies, and to the doorstep of your own family in particular.

They were fully aware as they pledged their support to the declaration that it could cost them everything and for some, it did.

They realized that freedom is worth the labor and sacrifice and they personally stood up and courageously declared it.

Only the brave can be free.

It takes guts to say I will force myself to be self-governing – responsible for my actions.

It takes guts to say that I will not be controlled by others but I will take full responsibility for the choices that I make.

It takes guts to say I will force myself to be self-reliant – responsible for my poverty or wealth based on my own initiative and actions.

Look closely at the Declaration of Independence today.

Remind yourself what manhood looked like in 1776.

Then vow that you too will rise up, stand up, and put your name to the vow to independence as God intended.

Let’s get brave again…….. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Galatians 5:1, New International Version (NIV): “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Culture, Science & Faith

What Do Americans Think About Liberty?

The political spectrum is a good indicator of American pride.

On July 3, 1776, the day before signing the Declaration of Independence from England, John Adams stirringly penned, “I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means.” Tragically, 238 years later, many Americans have begun to doubt Adams’ words and have grown increasingly unsatisfied with their freedom.

According to a recent Gallup survey, the percentage of Americans satisfied with their level of freedom to choose what they do in life has plunged from 91% in 2006 to just 79% in 2013, placing the land of the free an abysmal 36th among countries with the highest degrees of satisfaction with their freedom. This is disturbing on its own, but when you consider that only 10 other nations experienced as sharp a decline in satisfaction – and that those 10 nations included countries like Venezuela, Pakistan, Egypt, Greece and Yemen – it becomes downright frightening.

Of particular concern is what this dissatisfaction means when paired with Americans’ growing distrust of not one, not two, but all three branches of government. Another recent Gallup survey showed that Congress’s approval rating is just 7%, the Supreme Court’s just 30% (a 4% drop from this time last year), and the executive branch’s just 29%, marking a six-year low. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans believing government corruption is widespread has risen dramatically since 2006, ballooning from 59% to 79%.

Of course, a healthy distrust for government is far from a bad thing. As James Madison said, “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.” What’s perplexing, though, is that Americans now have more confidence in the military and police than they do in our government’s executive, legislative or judicial branch, with 39% and 25% having a “great deal” of confidence in the military and police, respectively. While we hold our Armed Forces and local protectors in the highest regard, the reality is that as institutions, they are extensions – be they direct or indirect – of the government Americans so distrust. And the Washington Examiner’s Becket Adams writes, such an upside down trust scenario “is not exactly a healthy place to be in a constitutional republic.”

Diminishing trust in government and dwindling confidence in Liberty are hardly surprising, as many Americans have increasingly measured Liberty by government provision rather than government restraint. And when government has failed in providing – as government will always do – Americans have begun blaming their condition on a flaw in the liberties they enjoy.

Indeed, those who understand Liberty the least take the smallest pride in America. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, “solid liberals” – those who support big government, are skeptical of business and markets, and are consistently liberal on social issues – are the least likely to take pride in being an American, with just 40% saying they “often feel proud” to be American. Meanwhile, among “steadfast conservatives,” 72% often feel proud to be American, and among “business conservatives,” the percentage jumps to 81.

How does all this bode for American Liberty? Well, for one thing, 40% of solid liberals probably won’t be proudly waving American flags at tomorrow’s parades. But thankfully, they’ll have the freedom not to because of those who remain aware of the toil, blood and treasure that true freedom cost, who still understand the true meaning of Liberty, and who are willing to sacrifice for those glimpses of ravishing light and glory. Liberty will remain secure only as long as the latter remain stronger than the former.

It’s Not Surprising More Americans Believe Freedom Is Overrated

By David Harsanyi · Jul. 4, 2014

A new Gallup poll finds that fewer Americans are satisfied with the freedom in their lives compared with seven years ago – dropping 12 percentage points, from 91 percent in 2006 to 79 percent in 2013. During that same time, the percentage of Americans dissatisfied with the freedoms available in their lives more than doubled, from 9 percent to 21 percent. The United States now sits in 36th place among the world in our admiration of the idea of freedom.

It’s fair to mention that the definition of “freedom” has become increasingly pliable. (It is, for example, regularly argued that one person’s unwillingness to pay for another person’s contraception is a restriction of the latter person’s freedom.) What is bothersome, though, is that nearly a quarter of us would feel comfortable telling a complete stranger that our own “freedom,” in the broadest sense, is an overrated concept.

You can imagine, considering how we vote, that many more people believe the same thing. And I would argue that the majority of Americans admire theoretic freedom far more than they do the real thing. Gallup offers no breakdown of the ideological inclination of those dissatisfied with the choices available to them, so we are only left to guess.

Gallup claims that the decline in freedom loving could probably be attributed to the weak U.S. economy. It is plausible that this is part of the reason. The political class has used populist progressive myths about freedom’s role in inequity, unfairness, racism and poverty so regularly and effectively that there is little doubt many people, especially young people, have started believing them. (And though the poll specifically points to the freedoms available in our lives, I believe that the Gallup questions are broad enough to be a reflection of what we think of freedom in general.)

And T. Becket Adams makes an interesting observation in The Washington Examiner, pointing to another Gallup poll that found Americans now have more confidence in the police and military than they do any of the three branches of government. Adams contends that this “is not exactly a healthy place to be in a constitutional republic,” and I certainly agree. Gallup also found a 20-point increase in Americans who believe that government is corrupt. This, more or less, mirrors Washington’s actual levels of corruption. And with the array of scandals (some undoubtedly imagined, others very real), the widespread incompetence and cronyism, many Americans deem Washington to be one of the biggest problems facing the country today. This also is almost certainly part of the reason that Americans have become cynical about our system; even though Washington’s charge has been to expand liberty, its actions have served to limit the options of citizens, blunt dynamism and celebrate risk aversion.

But perhaps the biggest reason we have less confidence in liberty is one we don’t like to talk about. In his final book, “The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life,” the great Kenneth Minogue writes that “traditional societies and totalitarian states in the twentieth century suggested that many people are, in most circumstances, happy to sink themselves in some collective enterprise that guides their lives and guarantees them security.” The great argument of our time – and in some sense most times – is the fight to balance liberty and safety. Whenever threatened, whether it be by some existential danger or a domestic economic jolt, we almost never choose what we’re told is more chaotic and precarious. We almost always choose what seems safest – and most times, it’s not liberty. Whereas George W. Bush’s central purpose was ostensibly tied to an effort that spread and defended freedom – and I stress ostensibly – the huge crowds that gathered and cheered for Barack Obama overtly reveled in the idea that we were about to erect a state-sponsored baby-sitting service. It’s also worth remembering that part of the dissatisfaction Americans have with the president’s job performance these days has to do with his inability to fulfill the promise of transforming government’s role in American life.

This is a depressing thought for a libertarian – and probably for many others – but evidence that human beings opt for less freedom when things get tough isn’t exactly surprising. And this Gallup poll probably doesn’t do the problem justice.

Haven’t We Kidded Ourselves Long Enough?

Jun. 29, 2014

By Arnold Ahlert

Sadly, I believe the common denominator, the one that straddles the political and cultural divide that currently afflicts this nation, can be reduced to a very simple idea: we are suffering from a collective loss of faith. …

How has it come to this? I suppose the social scientists have a litany of answers, but for me a loss of faith comes down the idea that the general set of rules a society is supposed to abide by are being broken or ignored with alarming impunity. And that can only happen for one simple reason: Americans no longer have any kind of general agreement or understanding regarding what constitutes moral vs. immoral behavior.

Pick a topic like illegal immigration, for example. Only in a morally confused country could the terms “illegal alien” and “undocumented immigrant” be construed as interchangeable, or anything representing so-called comprehensive immigration reform be construed as something other than the triumph of political expediency and/or cynicism over the rule of law. One can argue the merits or demerits of legalizing millions of people who snuck across the border, but it requires a willful suspension of moral judgment to pretend that breaking the law requires this nation to make an accommodation for doing so. Thus it is no surprise that those unwilling to make such an accommodation must be labeled xenophobic, nativist, bigoted, etc., by those who must obscure their contempt for moral clarity.

The ongoing developments in the IRS scandal is another arena where Americans’ faith is being tested. There is no question that the IRS’s explanation for “losing” Lois Lerner’s emails – and by an amazing coincidence, six additional IRS workers whose computers also “crashed” – is utterly preposterous. …

Again, one would think Americans of every political persuasion would believe an agency with the kind of unfettered power the IRS possesses should be held accountable, even if those they targeted this time have beliefs different than their own. But in a nation as morally confused as America, a substantial number of us are convinced that as long as those being targeted hold different beliefs, blatant abuse of power is OK. Apparently it never occurs to such “pragmatists” that once a bedrock principle is violated, targets become far more “malleable” than they might imagine.

I believe the genesis of our current confusion stems from the so-called revolution of the ‘60s. That is when a deadly combination of “God is dead” secularism, coupled with the abnegation of personal responsibility that “do your own thing” – absent the critically necessary addendum of living with the consequences of that “thing – gave rise to a nation quite comfortable with making it up as we go along. So much so, that we took the keys of the kingdom away from traditional advisors in the religious sphere, and handed them to lawyers and therapists. Lawyers and therapists who have assured us that "right and wrong” are not nearly as relevant or important as “legal and illegal,” or “well and unwell.” …

It’s no accident that everyone gets a trophy nowadays. The same society that tolerates the obfuscation of morality isn’t about to make “onerous” distinctions between talent and ambition, or lack thereof. The resultant protection of oh-so-delicate egos may have seemed like a good idea, but it has seemingly taught millions of Americans that they have a divine right not to be offended. This unprecedented and stratospheric level of hypersensitivity has amplified the divisions among us. It’s as if the old adage, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” has been tossed on the ash heap of history.

In such a dubious environment, a loss of faith is unavoidable. Yet one is left to wonder how much longer an easily offended populace, willing more often than not to avoid moral accountability, can sustain itself. A substantial loss of faith in the people who lead us, those whose job it is to keep them in check, and ultimately each other, is easily exploitable. Twentieth century history alone is replete with examples of people who lost faith and, as a result, allowed themselves to be exploited by some of the most evil men in history. That’s because a society with little faith in itself can easily conflate competence with charisma, and hope with hogwash.

Haven’t we kidded ourselves long enough?

Government & Politics

Not in POTUS’s Job Description

Here’s a novel idea: Look at Article 2.

Barack Obama has made no secret of his disgust at Congress’s failure to pass his policies. He ran as the Hope ‘n’ Change president. Now, sitting in the White House, he is faced with partisan gridlock in Congress. So he vows he will act alone.

In a June 30 meeting with his Cabinet, Obama asked them “to be creative,” thinking up ways he could act without the rest of the branches of government. Read: find loopholes in the Constitution.

“You’ve already seen the power of some of our executive actions making a real difference for ordinary families,” Obama said at the meeting, according to The Hill. “We’re going to have to be creative about how we can make real progress.”

This kind of Rambo-talk comes at a time when Obama says he will act alone on immigration. Obama’s Press Secretary Josh Earnest told MSNBC, “The president has tasked his Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson with reviewing what options are available to the president, what is at his disposal using his executive authority to try to address some of the problems that have been created by our broken immigration system.”

Obama’s recent actions and threats of actions show he has confused his duties as president of the United States.

Let’s start with the basics of the presidential duties – the Constitution. Article 2 says, “The executive Power shall be vested in a president of the United States of America.” The Constitution goes on to enumerate the president’s power: Among his duties, he will be commander in chief, have the power to grant pardons, enter into treaties (with the backing of the Senate), appoint ambassadors, give the State of the Union speech, and – probably most importantly – “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.”

Done well, the office of president can protect Liberty and enforce order. Federalist No. 70 says, “Energy in the Executive is a leading character in the definition of good government. It is essential to the protection of the community against foreign attacks; it is not less essential to the steady administration of the laws; to the protection of property against those irregular and high-handed combinations which sometimes interrupt the ordinary course of justice; to the security of liberty against the enterprises and assaults of ambition, of faction, and of anarchy.”

But Obama doesn’t see his position as a place to uphold those values. Instead, he picks and chooses what immigration laws the United States will enforce. His cronies at the Environmental Protection Agency angle to hamstring the coal industry with regulations to impose so-called cap and trade. Even when he gets his ObamaCare legislation through Congress, he breaks that law when his administration illegally shifted $454 million from one portion of the law to another, or when he issued dozens of delays for various provisions for political gain. And let’s not get started on the IRS, Benghazi, Veterans Affairs, Fast and Furious and the monitoring of reporters’ phones.

He is a president corrupted by his own power and ambition. He wants to leave behind a legacy instead of humbly leading the country in international diplomacy and providing stability through the enforcement of laws.

Even Hillary Clinton agrees with that assessment. According to journalist Edward Klein, Clinton blasted Obama during a private moment with friends. “The thing with Obama is that he can’t be bothered, and there is no hand on the tiller half the time,” Clinton said. “That’s the story of the Obama presidency. No hand on the f—ing tiller.” She continued, “Obama has turned into a joke. The IRS targeting the Tea Party, the Justice Department’s seizure of AP phone records and [Fox reporter] James Rosen’s emails – all these scandals. Obama’s allowed his hatred for his enemies to screw him the way Nixon did.” She finished by saying Obama was “incompetent and feckless.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner threatened to sue Obama for his failure to enforce the laws and his efforts “to erode the power of the Legislative Branch.” But it’s a weak move, which will result in little. There is another strategy, more constitutional than Boehner’s.

In the history of the United States, the impeachment clause has rarely been used. It has often been seen as a political nuclear option to intimidate a president the majority of Congress opposes.

A move to impeach Obama will be politically bloody, and will most likely stall from the Democrats in Congress rising up to protect him. But if Congress moved in 1974 to impeach Nixon over the Watergate bugs, it has more than enough reason to move against Obama for his abusive, misdirected power.

Obama’s Supporters Said ‘Go Gangsta’ – Too Bad He Listened

By Larry Elder · Jul. 3, 2014

Obama’s poll numbers dropped below those of former President George W. Bush. By the end of Bush’s term, focus groups were telling pollsters they despised the very four-letter word B-U-S-H. When John McCain faced Obama in 2008, Democrats gleefully slammed McCain’s quest as the “third Bush term.”

Given Obama’s light resume and see-no-flaws cheerleading by an adoring media, Obama’s fall was inevitable. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, absolute adoration comes close.

In practically anointing Obama, our “watchdog” media ignored a thin resume full of red flags. So in four years, Obama shoots from unknown state lawmaker, with little private sector and no executive experience, to president – all in a nanosecond by political standards.

Look at Obama’s rise. By his own admission, he is an indifferent student who somehow finds himself at Harvard Law. Co-members elect Obama president of the prestigious Harvard Law Review publication, where, oddly, he publishes nothing, at least not under his name.

He becomes a Chicago “community organizer,” whose achievements appear to be holding lots of meetings and yelling at government to do more. He may have helped get asbestos removed from a lower-class housing complex. Or he may or may not have had a hand in it being removed after Obama left town for law school. Hard to say.

The Obama rise continues.

Former fugitive and still unrepentant domestic-terrorist-turned-government-paid-professor Bill Ayers co-writes a proposal to the Annenberg Foundation. It brings a $49.2 million education award to “improve” Chicago public schools. Just three years out of law school, Obama is asked to chair the newly formed Chicago Annenberg Challenge board. Money spent includes hundreds of thousands of dollars given in grants to Ayers’ Cross City Campaign for Urban School Reform and Chicago School Reform Collaborative projects.

By their own admission, the Annenberg project group failed.

Obama runs for state senator, and somehow manages to kick off his other principal rivals over their alleged signature-gathering violations. He serves as an indifferent state lawmaker, voting “present” numerous times.

Obama runs for U.S. Senate. Rivals seem to suddenly drop out after formerly private confidential information about them become public. Luck or manipulation – either way, the rise continues.

Immediately after getting elected to the Senate, Obama runs for president.

As candidate, he survives scandals – or rather, would-be scandals – that would have torpedoed the chances of a typical pol. Tony Rezko, Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright – are all overlooked or minimized in importance by our Obama-for-president media.

Elected, Obama pursues – and succeeds in signing into law – a left-wing agenda more ambitious than any in modern history. His record: $1 trillion “stimulus”; $150 billion spent, per “60 Minutes,” on “green tech” with nothing to show for it; higher taxes on “the rich”; Dodd-Frank, the financial regulations bill that does nothing to address the cause of the Wall Street/housing meltdown; an EPA unleashed on coal; and the creation of a brand-new entitlement program – Obamacare.

To pass Obamacare, Obama made a number of broken promises including, but not limited to: “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor”; Obamacare will “bend down” the “cost curve”; Obamacare will save the “typical family … $2,500 a year”; and Obamacare will reduce the deficit over the next 10 years – a projection the Congressional Budget Office says it can no longer stand by.

Obama’s supporters, like former President Jimmy Carter, blame Obama opposition on “a belief among many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country.” Actors James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson publicly call the tea party, an important part of the GOP base, “racist.”

So Obama’s post-election narrative becomes: “It isn’t the leftist agenda that triggers GOP opposition. Nor is it Obama’s growth-retarding policies that have produced the worst recovery since the Great Depression. No, what drives Republican opposition? Racism!

How does that translate into presidential action?

Leftist pundits like CNN’s Roland Martin urged Obama to "go gangsta” and make “recess” appointments. Now, Congress said it was not “in recess” and thus the President could not make any “recess” appointments. Obama did anyway. Why not take extra, possibly illegal, measures to achieve results? Why not use expansive executive orders, ignore deadlines and unilaterally waive statutory requirements? After all, we’re dealing with racists here!

But in a stunning 9-0 decision, the Supreme Court said Obama overreached in making the recess appointments. Congress, said the court, not the President, determines its rules. Congress, said the court, not Obama, decides when it is in recess.

House Republicans say they intend to sue Obama, arguing abuse of separation of powers. Respected left-wing legal scholar, Jonathan Turley, who twice voted for Obama, encourages a lawsuit. “What’s emerging,” Turley said, “is an imperial presidency. … Barack Obama is really the president Richard Nixon always wanted to be.”

Obama, encouraged by supporters, went “gangsta” – on America. Now what?

COPYRIGHT 2014 LAURENCE A. ELDER
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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