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Sunday, June 29, 2008

2nd Amendment Victory

Five-to-four. Amazing. By one vote our U.S. Supreme Court decided that the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution is still in effect. It should not have been this close. What is most amazing is that four U.S. Supreme Court Justices thought it within their power to rule the 2nd Amendment null and void. The minority opinion of justices Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Souter is a perfect illustration of just how far a majority liberal Supreme Court would take us. Given the opportunity, as they had in this case, they would, by themselves, amend the U.S. Constitution.

The wise framers of our great nation provided a means by which our Constitution is to be amended, but why bother with two-thirds of Congress, or a national convention, and then ratification of three-fourths of the states when all you need are five justices.

Amending our Constitution is a very serious matter. That is why in over 200 years, since the original 10 (Bill of Rights) were ratified in 1791, out of literally thousands of attempts, there have been only 17 additional amendments. It is not an easy thing to do, and it is not supposed to be.

Washington Post columnist Colbert King trumpeted the classic liberal retort after the ruling. His response on the day the ruling came out began, “There's one group of District residents absolutely unfazed by today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling shooting down the District's strict handgun ban: the dudes who have been blowing away their fellow citizens with abandon since the law was put on the books 32 years ago.” As if the “dudes” blowing away folks were ever concerned with laws for or against their guns. Actually what the court did was come to the rescue of the D.C. citizens who are the victims of such lawlessness.

Continuing his rant, but actually helping to make the conservative case against gun control laws, King states, “The record will show that our home-grown shooters have blown through the city's so-called strict handgun ban like John Riggins going up the middle. Over the past 20 years, there have been more than 6,500 homicides in the nation's capital, most committed with firearms, predominantly handguns. In 1976, the year the ban was put in place, the District had 135 gun-related murders…Last year, the number reached 143.”

In other words, the D.C. gun ban did nothing to decrease violent handgun crimes. All it did was take guns out of the hands of its law-abiding citizens. Mr. King entitled his column, “The Thugs Win the Case.” It turns out the “thugs” were winning all along.

John McCain came out strongly supporting the court’s decision. Barack Obama did his best to straddle the fence and dance around questions on whether he supported the ruling. However, last year his campaign stated that he supported the D.C. ban and thought it constitutional. Also, Obama refused to sign an amicus brief signed by a bipartisan group of 55 Senators, including McCain, arguing that the Supreme Court should overturn the DC gun ban.

Obama has declared himself a “strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment;” however when running for the Illinois state Senate, he signed a document stating that he supported state legislation that would ban “the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.” He has also said things like, “I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities,” and he voted against letting people violate local weapons bans even in cases of self-defense.

Moments after the Supreme Court’s D.C. ruling, in Obama’s home state, the Illinois State Rifle Association sued to overturn the city of Chicago’s ban on handguns. Chicago’s Democrat Mayor Richard Daly was outraged by the D.C. ruling, saying, “It is frightening that America loves guns.” This sounds a lot like Obama’s lament on how “bitter” Americans “cling to guns or religion.”

I’ve written at length this year about the importance of the judiciary when it comes to our upcoming elections. This goes not only for the presidential election, but for the senate elections as well, as they must approve those appointed for the bench by the President. There is a clear choice between the two parties when it comes to the view of the judiciary. When you vote, make sure you keep this in mind.

Copyright 2008, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brief Presidential Resumes

1.) Washington: Commander-in-Chief Continental Army; “Founding Father”

2.) J. Adams: Delegate to 1st, 2nd, Continental Congress; Ambassador to Great Britain and the Netherlands; Vice President (Washington); “Founding Father”

3.) Jefferson: Delegate to 2nd Continental Congress; Governor of Virginia; Ambassador to France; Secretary of State (Washington); Vice President (Adams); “Founding Father”

4.) Madison: Delegate to 2nd Continental Congress; Secretary of State (Jefferson); “Founding Father”

5.) Monroe: Adjutant General, Continental Army; U.S. Senator (4 years); Minister to France; Governor of Virginia; Secretary of War (Madison); Secretary of State (Madison)

6.) J.Q. Adams: Ambassador to the Netherlands, Prussia, Russia, United Kingdom; U.S. Senator (5 years); U.S. Representative (17 years); Secretary of State (Monroe)

7.) A. Jackson: Major-General Tennessee Militia/U.S. Army; U.S. Representative (1 year); U.S. Senator (3 years); Governor of Florida

8.) Van Buren: U.S. Senator (7 years); Governor of New York; Secretary of State (A. Jackson); Vice President (A. Jackson)

9.) Harrison: Brigadier General U.S. Army; Governor Indiana Territory (12 years); U.S. Representative (3 years); U.S. Senator (3 years); Minister to Columbia (1 year)

10.) Tyler: U.S. Representative (4 years); Governor of Virginia; U.S. Senator (9 years); Vice President (Harrison)

11.) Polk: U.S. Representative (14 years, served as Speaker of the House); Governor of Tennessee

12.) Taylor: Major General U.S. Army (served 40 years)

13.) Fillmore: U.S. Representative (8 years); Vice President (Taylor)

14.) Pierce: Brigadier General U.S. Army; U.S. Representative (4 years); U.S. Senator (5 years)

15.) Buchanan: U.S. Representative (10 years); Minister to St. Petersburg; U.S. Senator (11 years); U.S. Secretary of State (Polk)

16.) Lincoln: Captain in Illinois militia; Four-term member Illinois House of Representatives; U.S. Representative (2 years)

17.) A. Johnson: U.S. Representative (10 years); Governor of Tennessee; U.S. Senator (5 years); Vice President (Lincoln)

18.) Grant: General of U.S. Army (4 star, served 23 years)

19.) Hayes: Major General U.S. Army (wounded 4 times during Civil War); Governor of Ohio

20.) Garfield: Major General U.S. Army; U.S. Representative (18 years); U.S. Senator (1 year)

21.) Arthur: Brigadier General U.S. Army; Vice President (Garfield)

22.) Cleveland (2 terms): Mayor of Buffalo; Governor of New York

23.) Harrison: Brigadier General U.S. Army; U.S. Senator (6 years)

24.) McKinley: Brevet Major U.S. Army; U.S. Representative (11 years); Governor of Ohio

25.) T. Roosevelt: Colonel U.S. Army; Assistant Secretary of the Navy; Governor of New York; Vice President (McKinley)

26.) Taft: Judge, U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. Solicitor General; Civil Governor of the Philippines; U.S. Secretary of War; Provisional Governor of Cuba

27.) Wilson: Governor of New Jersey

28.) Harding: Lt. Governor of Ohio; U.S. Senator (6 years)

29.) Coolidge: Lt. Governor of Massachusetts; Governor of Massachusetts; Vice President (Harding)

30.) Hoover: Head of American Food Administration; U.S. Secretary of Commerce (7 years, two Presidents)

31.) F.D. Roosevelt: Secretary of the Navy; Governor of New York

32.) Truman: Colonel U.S. Army Missouri National Guard; U.S. Senator (10 years); Vice President (F.D.R.)

33.) Eisenhower: U.S. Army General (5 star, Supreme Allied Commander, 46 years)

34.) Kennedy: Lieutenant U.S. Navy; U.S. Representative (6 years); U.S. Senator (7 years)

35.) Johnson: Commissioned Officer (Lieutenant) U.S. Navy Reserves; U.S. Representative (12 years); U.S. Senator (12 years, Minority Leader, Majority Leader); Vice President (Kennedy)

36.) Nixon: Lieutenant Commander U.S. Navy; U.S. Representative (4 years); U.S. Senator (2 years); Vice President (Eisenhower)

37.) Ford: Lieutenant Commander U.S. Navy; U.S. Representative (24 years, Minority Leader 9 years); Vice President (Nixon)

38.) Carter: Lieutenant U.S. Navy; Governor of Georgia

39.) Reagan: Captain Army Air Corps; Governor of California

40.) G.H.W. Bush: Lieutenant U.S. Navy; U.S. Representative (4 years); Ambassador to the United Nations; Director of CIA; Vice President (Reagan)

41.) Clinton: Governor of Arkansas (4 terms)

42.) G.W. Bush: First Lieutenant Texas Air National Guard; Governor of Texas


Notice that practically every U.S. President has been a Governor, served in the military (usually with significant experience), been a Vice President, or been a Founding Father. Most satisfy more than one of the aforementioned experiences. The ones that don’t (J.Q. Adams, Buchanan, Taft, Harding, Hoover) have significant U.S. congressional or cabinet experience. Barack Obama served barely two years as a U.S. Senator before announcing his candidacy for President. Were he to be elected President, he would be, by far, the most inexperienced Commander-in-Chief the United States has ever known.

Copyright 2008, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Three Reasons to Vote for John McCain

In the light of two recent Supreme Court rulings, one in California and one at the U.S. Supreme Court, there should be little doubt as to the stakes of the elections this November. Back in February I suggested the fact that the duty of the President of the United States to fill vacancies in the federal judiciary was enough reason for any doubting but reasonable conservative to strongly consider voting for John McCain (see, “The Case for McCain” ). I believe that there are three significant reasons coming into clear light for voters to prefer John McCain over Barack Obama.

First, with the California Supreme Court disgracefully circumventing the will of California voters and by judicial fiat changing the legal definition of marriage; and with the U.S. Supreme Court conveying our constitutional rights upon non-U.S. citizens at Guantanamo Bay who wish to destroy us, it is becoming ever transparent as to the significant role that the judiciary plays in our republic. Outside of Commander-in-Chief, I don’t believe that there is a more significant role for the President of the United States than appointer of federal judges. As I implied several weeks ago, John McCain and BarackObama have drastically different takes on the judiciary.

Obama has said that he sees the U.S. Constitution as, “not a static but rather a living document.” However, as Justice Antonin Scalia has said, “the Constitution is not an organism, it is a legal document…(it) is an enduring document but not a ‘living’ one, and its meaning must be protected and not repeatedly altered to suit the whims of society.” Speaking to Planned Parenthood, and refering to judges, Obamasaid, “We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom; the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges.”

Since “heart” and “empathy” are so important to Senator Obama, I wonder if he would nominate Oprah to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. (Also, I find it unfortunately ironic that Senator Obama doesn’t include the most defenseless of all, the unborn, in his reckoning of those who deserve our empathy.) Senator Obama voted against confirming John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. John McCain voted for them and has pledged to nominate justices in the same vein as Roberts, Alito, Thomas, and Scalia.

Obama indicated support for the California Supreme court ruling, while John McCain came out against it. McCain called the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Gitmo detainees, “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country,” while Obama called the decision, “an important step toward re-establishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law.” On judicial nominees the choice for conservatives in November is clear.

Second, concerning the role of Commander-in-Chief, many times during the primary season Americans were asked who they saw as most prepared to take on this role on day one of their presidency. Over-and-over again John McCain was the overwhelming choice. As I pointed out above, I believe this is the most important role for a U.S. President. Most voters are familiar with McCain’s military experience and his 26 years as a U.S. Representative and Senator. These will certainly aid him if he becomes commander of all U.S. forces.

Contrast this with Obama who has no military service, no executive experience, has served only a fraction of one term in the U.S. Senate, and spent most of this time running for president. If he becomes president, he would have, by far, the weakest résumé of any U.S. Commander-in-Chief in history. (For brief resumes of all U.S. Presidents go here.)

Last, when it comes to government spending, Senator McCain is viewed as a champion for the taxpayer and against government “pork.” He has a lifetime rating of 88% with Citizens Against Government Waste, which rates him a “taxpayer hero.” His latest rating with National Taxpayers Union is 88% (an “A”), while Obama’s latest rating was 5% (an “F”). Also, McCain has a lifetime rating of 82.7 (out of 100) with Americans for Tax Reform, while Obama’s brief career has netted him a 7.5% rating.

I don’t agree with Senator McCain when it comes to his current positions on man-made global warming, drilling in ANWR, and so on. However, Obama’s positions on those matters would be even more extreme. For far too many people Barack Obama’s most redeeming quality for president is his race. For example, Bill Clinton recently said, “I’ve been waiting all my life to vote for an African American president,” then added, “I’ve been waiting all my life to vote for a woman for president.” What a foolish thing for a supposedly highly intelligent man to say.

In these perilous times America cannot afford to select its president based only on race or gender. When it comes to my vote for President in November, John McCain is the clear and easy option.

Copyright 2008, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

Sunday, June 1, 2008

"California Dreamin'"

In the above mentioned 1965 song by The Mamas & the Papas there is a line that goes: “stopped into a church I passed along the way…” Well, if things in the Golden State don’t soon change, if one were to stop by certain California churches on June 17, one very well might get to witness a homosexual wedding. With the monumental decision by the California Supreme Court, gays, not only in California, but all over the country (the California decision does not limit itself to California citizens only), are “dreamin´” of wedding bells.

So colossal and urgent is the matter that on May 30, ten states’ attorneys general asked the California Supreme Court to delay finalizing its ruling. You see, these states need time to decide if they are going to recognize the gay marriages performed in California. They want California to wait until after the November elections to see if their voters decide to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. California Attorney General Jerry Brown urged his Supreme Court not to grant the delay.

On May 29, New York’s governor David Patterson directed all of his state’s agencies to be prepared to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. This, even though in 2006 New York’s highest court ruled that New York law does not permit same-sex marriage, while also ruling that there is no constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

If the California court does not stay its decision, almost certainly gay couples from all over the country will flood the state seeking to be married. Most will return to states that have either: a.) a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (26 states) or, b.) a statute restricting marriage to two persons of the opposite sex (a total of 43 states). The results could be chaotic.

You see, even if California voters in November vote to amend the state’s constitution, which polls now indicate is likely to happen (a recent Los Angeles Times poll showed that Californians favored amending their constitution by a 54% to 35% margin), this would not necessarily invalidate the gay marriages that might be formed in between the time the California Supreme Court ruled and the time at which the amendment takes effect. California officials might have no choice other than to regard those same-sex couples as legally married.

Then there is the matter of the consequences of the Full Faith and Credit provision in the U.S. Constitution. This provision provides that, “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.” In other words, the beneficiaries of one state’s laws do not have to forfeit those benefits in another state.

In 1996, the U.S. Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Under the provisions of DOMA, marriage licenses granted to same-sex couples in one state do not have to be recognized by another state, thus avoiding the consequences of the Full Faith and Credit clause of the U.S. Constitution. However, with the California ruling, a much awaited challenge in the federal courts to DOMA could be forthcoming. Many experts think it likely that DOMA would be overturned. The nation would then be facing either legal recognition of same-sex marriage in all 50 states or an amendment to the U.S. Constitution defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman only, thus legally settling the matter altogether.

Also, there is the matter of the political ramifications of the California ruling. Since same-sex marriage is unpopular with the vast majority of the national electorate, if this matter becomes a significant election issue it would almost certainly benefit republicans. McCain voted for DOMA and still supports it. Barak Obama opposes it. After the California ruling, McCain said that he recognized “the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution ... (and) doesn't believe judges should be making these decisions.” In contrast, Obama said that he “respects the decision of the California Supreme Court.”

Obama also opposes an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect traditional marriage. McCain has opposed this as well (in light of DOMA he sees it as unnecessary, and he favors states making their own decisions on the matter), but he has indicated that he would support an amendment if the states’ rights to decide the matter were taken away.

I have written several times over the last few years about the chaos that could result from redefining traditional marriage (visit my Web site for previous articles). Everything from chaos in families, to chaos in government and government institutions, to chaos in private and religious institutions could result. It seems more and more as if an amendment to the U.S. Constitution protecting traditional marriage is the only way finally to put this matter to rest. We need to start letting our elected officials know this.

Copyright 2008, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World
tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com