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Archive for December, 2009

This video demonstrates why we need to fight handing any more power to the powder blue helmeted kleptocrats and liars in Turtle Bay.   Their quest for power is more important than the dignity of truth.

If the good professor cannot answer simple questions and instead has the temerity to attack the questioner, then I have no use for him.  The credibility of science is straining under the weight of bogus data, conspiracies to make the proof fit a preordained outcome, and the aspirations of the conspirators to become the Lords of the New Order they are seeking to impose.

H/t to Eddiebear, who has some choice words for the good professor and his freinds.

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This wouldn’t have happened except for a ridiculous post, and a challenge.

Now, in the interest of fairness,  I have to say that I like Rutherford.  Yes, I know he’s a lib.  Yes, I know that he is hopelessly wedded to the Left’s agenda, but he does two things I have NEVER seen another liberal do:

1.  He’ll actually debate you…at least some of the time, which is more of the time than I have ever gotten from any other American lib; and

2.  Sometimes, when he just can’t help himself and when he rides that MSNBC/Rachel Maddow/Keith Olberman train way out past the last stop in the country of reason, he will sometimes snap out of it and admit that he was wrong.

Ths doesn’t mean that he doesn’t frequently say things that cause me to check his glass to confirm that the contents aren’t 120 proof, but given his political persuasion and prior avoidance of any serious study of the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and other writings that would provide useful guidance for interpreting the law and its limitations, it can hardly be helped.

The other thing that impairs his ability to see clearly is his unbridled admiration for Barack Hussein Obama.  No matter the evidence before him, Rutherford simply cannot quit Barack.  His latest example is this post, in which he gives the Neophyte-In-Chief such a tongue bath that all I could do initially was register my disgust:

Geez, R.

Stop already. You pushed Chris Mathews out of his common “position of respect” on his knees before Obama’s open fly.

*vomits*

I may or may not be back to comment specifically on some of the inanities in this embarrassing piece of hero worship. We were sure you couldn’t quit him, but I didn’t need to see the “behind closed doors” stuff either. It’s overkill, especially when applied to one so incompetent.

I know, I know.  I should have said more, but I had just completed the post below on Obama-appointee, and degenerate Kevin Jennings and the formerly criminal activities of members of the group he founded and was Executive Director of for years.  Had I unloaded, it would not have been pretty.  Predictably, I was called out for it:

You realize this is the kind of drop-a-turd-and-run stuff you constantly accuse Sensico of. I don’t think you can refute my premise.

Rutherford, old buddy, be careful what you wish for.

Premise: 

1.  a proposition supporting or helping to support a conclusion.

3.  a basis, stated or assumed, on which reasoning proceeds.

Is Barack Obama an American?

No, I have not lost my mind. I have not become a “birther”. President Barack Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961 (incidentally the same year I was born in New York City), is a citizen of these United States and is a legitimate President. What I want to address here goes beyond the facts of his birth. I want to get an angle on the constant “he’s not one of us” theme that we hear. I want to get beyond the obvious suspicions of racism and go a bit deeper, or since the argument is fairly obvious, perhaps not that deep. You be the judge.

So far, so good. 

On Sean Hannity’s Fox News broadcast former Vice President Dick Cheney made the usual ass of himself but one of the things he said can be examined more closely.

*Breathes deep, relishes the Cheney hatred* 

 Good, good.  Your hate makes Darth Cheney strong.  Give into your hate, let it drop that mask of “tolerance”…good.

Cheney says, “this is a guy who … does not share that view of American exceptionalism that most of us believe in.” Let’s put aside the disrespect inherent in “this is a guy” (he’s your damn President DICK), and look at the statement.

Hearing a ferverent Obama supporter express OUTRAGE!!!!11!! over what he perceives to be a disrespectful comment by Dick Cheney just gave me my USDA allotment of Irony for this year, and the following one.  You know better, Rutherford, and I’m disappointed.  Respect has to be given in order to be received.  President Obama isn’t really good with that, at least domestically, (he’ll be happy to bow to most  foreign leaders), but again, you knew that when you registered your complaint.

And when it comes right down to it, after hearing the President continue to avoid ownership of his failures of the last year by childishly blaming it on the previous administration, shows a lack of respect.  Not just for his predecessors, but for the people who elected him because they wanted HOPE! and CHANGE!, but only got a prevaricator who has elevated the blame game to high art.  Given the knocks that he apparently cannot prevent himself from taking, Cheney (and Bush) are perfectly entitled to be somewhat less than respectful to the man.  He campaigned for the job.  He won the election, he kept making promises (pass this stimulus plan right now, and unemployment won’t top [fill in the blank] percent), and he got what he asked for.  Now he has to take ownership of it, rather than continuing to blame it all on his predecessor.  It was never fresh, and it demonstrates a poor character on the part of a man who can point to no real accomplishment other than getting elected, fighting tooth and nail to keep records private, voting present as he moves up the political ladder, writing two books, and talking about himself whenever the opportunity presents itself.

 Obama does not believe that America is exceptional.

And he doesn’t.  Whether reading in his book as he holds forth on “typical white people”, or lectures us about everything we can’t do…drive SUVs, keep our thermostats set where we want them, or continually railing against the free market system that helped to build this nation, and apologizing in foreign lands for our shortcomings to people we owe no apology to, there simply is nothing to cause one to believe that he has any real appreciation for this people he campaigned so hard to lead.

 One could look, as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews did, at Obama’s keynote speech at the Democratic convention in 2004 where he says that his story could only happen in America, and see that Obama thinks our country is special. But does he see this in an academic, almost clinical way? Does he feel it viscerally?

Here’s where I have to do two things in the spirit of intellectual honesty.  The first is to admit that he wrote a good speech, that actually evoked images of some of the things that are right and good about America.  The second is to admit that he delivered it well, and that as long as the teleprompter is on, he is the best speaker going.

However, I look at what he said in his books.  I look at what he said on the campaign trail.  What American Presidential Candidate who loves his country tells an entire industry that he will bankrupt them?  What American Presidential Candidate tells Americans that they have to settle for less.  What American President tells Americans who want to own their own business some day that if they do, they’ll have to pay more in taxes to “spread the wealth around”?  I look at how he bows to other leaders (and spin all you want, it’s bowing).  I’m an American.  A proud American, and right now, I’m not feeling his love for this country.

Let’s rewind a few months to see Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz’s assessment:

The president has a problem. For, despite a great election victory, Mr. Obama, it becomes ever clearer, knows little about Americans. He knows the crowds—he is at home with those. He is a stranger to the country’s heart and character.

And I’m sure that it has nothing to do with the fact that crowds rarely expect specifics.  He can employ glittering generalities, and soaring rhetoric.  He can glad hand, and kiss babies, and no one will expect him to do anything more than smile, wave, and say something predictable.  He doesn’t have to look any one person in the eye, and demonstrate that he understands their life, or that the two of them have a common heritage.

He seems unable to grasp what runs counter to its nature. That Americans don’t take well, for instance, to bullying, especially of the moralizing kind, implicit in those speeches on health care for everybody. Neither do they wish to be taken where they don’t know they want to go and being told it’s good for them.

And yet he continues.  Firm in his belief that it is not only appropriate for government to dictate to the people what it believes to be good for them, he believes that it is government’s duty to do so.  He believes that government should dictate the miles per gallon your car should get, and even though this kind of government meddling was a huge contributing factor to the failure of General Motors (getcher Chevy Aveo here!) and Chrysler, his answer was more government.  The average American instinctively knows that if government is the answer, it was an onerous question.  Nobody likes being told what to do, and it is less appreciated when the directives come from government, when people who produce nothing start telling those that do how to do it.  This nation pioneered limited government, and it wasn’t until the progressive agenda aggressively changed the moral basis of law and conduct in this nation that people increasingly looked to government to help regulate conduct, thereby empowering it to grow and intrude further and further into the life of everyday Americans.  We now suffer these intolerable assaults on our liberties daily because someone lacked the courage and the foresight to speak the truth when their neighbors started crying out “There ought to be a law!” at every slight and petty outrage.  Now, the President, his functionaries, and Congressional leaders all fume and fumble at the suggestion that their powers to act in the nature of what they categorize as “our own good” might actually be limited, and he positively bristles at the fact that the Constitution [rightly] doesn’t contain any mechanism for redistributing wealth.

Dorothy says Obama is a “stranger to the country’s heart and character.” A similar perception to that of the former Vice President. Is Obama simply a victim of this assessment or has he contributed to it in some way?

Nonsense.  Cheney is neither.  Cheney has actually run a business…a sucessful business.  He has a clue what business has to put up with from government.  He knows the struggles businesses can have to make payroll.  He’s an outdoorsman.  He hunts.  He speaks plainly, and he expresses irritation with self-important government functionaries when he feels it.  He did not serve in the military, but he never once demonstrated a belief that he knew better than the professionals.  There is a lot more there for people to identify with then a candidate who stood before them and complained about the price of arugula, or who managed to write not one, but two books about his life and paper-thin resume before hitting his 40’s.  I don’t think there is any doubt he contributes to that assessment that he is a stranger to the country’s heart and character.

I think there is an intuitive answer that demonstrates Obama’s contribution to this perception. From the time he was born until he graduated from high school, Barack Obama lived outside the mainland United States. I would argue that Hawaii, just barely a state in 1961, was hardly representative of the “American experience” and of course, Obama spent several years in Jakarta, Indonesia. Twenty years after his graduation from an exclusive Hawaiian high school, he wrote in their bulletin, “The opportunity that Hawaii offered — to experience a variety of cultures in a climate of mutual respect — became an integral part of my world view, and a basis for the values that I hold most dear.” [1] I think we could safely argue that although mostly raised by his Kansas bred grandparents, Barack Obama got anything but a typical mid-west white bread view of America.

Do you understand how condescending that last sentence sounds?  Putting aside the racial connotation, (Yes, I know it isn’t racist when a person of color says it, but our intellectually stunted Attorney General castigated we Americans for failing to have “an honest conversation about race”, so I believe I’m doing a patriotic solid by pointing out the examples I see in the hopes that we can all eventually decide that NONE of us will decide to be victims over it, or we ALL can be victims over it, and we can tear ourselves apart in the process.) I can successfully argue that he is hardly the first who didn’t have a “typical mid-west white bread view of America”.   Clinton spent time abroad as a student.  LBJ’s upbringing could hardly be referred to as “typical”.  FDR and Kennedy were bluebloods.  Yet their lack of a “typical mid-west white bread view of America” didn’t prevent them from actually demonstrating an understanding of and connection to the people they sought to lead.

I believe that having not lived in the mainland United States until college, that Obama had an objective view of our country atypical of most of our other Presidents. In Obama’s world view, America might be special, but not necessarily “better” than other civilized countries. America might be a land of virtue and ideals but not the be-all end-all barometer of morality. On the contrary, America could be capable of doing the wrong thing. America could be imperfect. America could need improvement.

Objective?  By what definition?  As I read and read reread your statement, I compare it to the definitions in Websters Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language.  I think you mean this : 5.  not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiasedan objective opinion.

But after having the excruciating displeasure of listening to his books and speeches, pontifications, and lectures, I think this one is closer to the truth: 7.  Being the object of perception or thought; belonging to the object of thought rather than to the thinking subject.

I’ve listened to him read ‘Dreams of My Father’.  Have you?  Because if you have, I don’t see how you could begin to say with a straight face that he is in any way not influenced by personal feelings, interpretation or prejudice.  But then, he’s said things as President that show the opposite of this trait you want to apply to him:

As unPresidential and prejudicial as it gets. 

I believe that Obama’s objective view of our country, much from the perspective of an outsider (even more outside than the average black man), makes his love for our country appear less visceral. America likes its Presidents to reek of Americana, whether it’s Abe Lincoln splitting logs or Eisenhower or Kennedy bravely defending their country in war. Obama comes to us with a different story. A story of an outsider who wants to fix the problems that the insiders may be too blind to see. Such outsiders do not usually engender affection from the insiders.

 I think that this says more about you than it does Obama.   I take issue with your implication that “the average black man” is an “outsider”.  Blacks have contributed much to this nation and this society, or so I have been told every February for as long as I can remember.  You might say “they were the exceptions, not the rule.”  I say no one starts on the top.  You can be born with money, but that doesn’t automatically make you an “exception”.  You might start poor and stay that way your whole life.  “The average black man” is not an outsider today.  I have a poster in my office of my class in law school when we started.  There were as many black faces as there were white.  There were as many female as male faces.  While not every person’s contribution is equal, it simply isn’t honest to portray the average black man’s experience in this country to that of an “outsider”.  Stop clinging to victimhood.  It is as much an impediment to “an honest conversation about race” as any other factor in this country, because it allows the holder to avoid taking ownership of their own destiny, and play the blame game when things don’t work out as planned. 

Obama doesn’t come to us as an outsider who wants to fix the problems the insiders may be too blind to see.  He goes to others, and speaks freely in apologetic tones, professing shame for our “flaws”, and basking in the approbation of foreigners who are only too happy to agree with him, while at the same time seeing him as the weak sister he is, and planning what it is they can wheedle out of him by playing to his pathological need to be loved and admired.

Is Barack Obama an American? Well, yes he is but he is a different kind of American. He is an American who believes you can be special and still be equal to your peers, showing them respect and apologizing when you’ve done them wrong. America is a proud country, proud to a fault. Humility, on an international scale runs, as Ms. Rabinowitz puts it “counter to its nature.” Hence she and Dick Cheney will probably never understand what a good American Barack Obama really is.

I hate to break it to you, but our peers are not equal to us.  As they sneered at us, and issued casual condemnations of our policies and previous leaders, they did so in the luxury and safety that we provided for them as the world’s beat cop for more than 50 years.  While they integrated a common market and built lavish welfare states, including the government health rationing systems you so admire, we kept Soviet aggression in check, remained the world’s reserve currency, and provided more medical innovation to more of our own people then they could dream of.  They don’t have the right, in their undeniable jealousy of American Exceptionalism, to condemn us.  And no matter how much he wants to be The World’s President, he doesn’t have the right to be humble on my behalf, and the behalf of my country.  Sucking up, apologizing, and wringing your hands while lamenting to the world about “America’s Failures” is not being a good American, any more than me talking down my family, complaining about how lazy my kids are and what a spendthrift my wife is makes me a good husband and father.  And Ms. Rabinowitz and Dick Cheney know it, as do countless other Americans.

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I have been criticized in the past for my stance on gay marriage.  Usually, it’s because I start talking about the slippery slope and the poor legal reasoning used to justify it, which is generally something like this: 

“the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others. Nothing that “civil marriage has long been termed a civil right,”‘ the court concluded that “the right to marry means little if it does not include the right to marry the person of one’s choice, subject to appropriate government restrictions in the interests of public health, safety, and welfare.” 

-Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. 

Of course, this case cites the cases of Zablocki v. Redhail and Loving v. Virginia, but fails to note that in both cases, the couples were attempting marriage as it has always been defined in western tradition and common law, that is to say between a man and a woman, and in the former, the state was blocking the petitioner’s right to marry based on back child support and in the latter, the state was attempting to prevent an interracial marriage.  When you strip these important facts from the quotations cited, the argument boils down to “I want it.  You say I can’t have it.  That violates my civil rights.” 

Of course, my response was, and remains, “If we are going to grant such rights based on what you want, then we don’t have a basis to say no when in ten years, or fifteen years, or twenty years, we have someone standing in front of us who really loves their dog, and wants to get married, or wants more than one spouse, or wants to marry a child…because after all, it’s what they want, and if it is good enough for you, then it has to be good enough for them.” 

The first response is typically “That’s a ridiculous example.  No one would ever think that such a thing was ok.” 

“Really?  What’s the basis for denying it?” 

“Well, it just isn’t acceptable.” 

“Maybe not, but I don’t have to go back too many years to find a time when homosexuality “wasn’t acceptable”, and gay marriage was unthinkable.” 

“Well, your arguments make it sound like they are perverted or something.” 

“And?  There still are many in society who see it that way also.” 

“You’re a mindless Bible-thumper.  We are building a society that doesn’t make moral judgments.” 

“Baloney.  You are trying to change the moral judgments of society when you try to make the law favor this activity instead of sanctioning it.  Don’t kid yourself.  Your position isn’t moral neutral.  You just want to remove a moral code that is time-tested and that works, and substitute it for one that is untested, but has a boatload of warm ‘n fuzzy feelings and good intentions that you hope will get you past its inherent short-sightedness.” 

“It’s a fundamental right.” 

“It’s a change to a legally defined term reaching back centuries on no firmer basis than “I was made this way, and you have to change who you are as a society in order to conform to my whims.  Frankly, that’s a pretty flimsy justification for a lifestyle choice, especially when on the other hand we are constantly being told that it isn’t a choice, but the ones crying the loudest have absolutely no proof that it is anything other than a choice.  At least in a case like Loving v. Virginia, the denial at stake was based on a provably immutable characteristic.  Everyone can understand that a white person cannot wake up one morning, decide they are now black, and make it so.  The same cannot be proven for gays, and if we are going to institutionalize a lifestyle choice that was hitherto a frowned upon practice in society, then we have no basis for stopping  the next “couple”.” 

“Well, you can’t equate homosexuality with pedophilia.” 

********************************************** 

I think that argument just got a little tougher to make with a straight face (no pun intended). 

I posted earlier this week about Assistant “Safe Schools” Czar, and militant gay activist Kevin Jennings, and his connection to the group he founded, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and how speakers at a GLSEN conference were talking to young (14 year old) conference goers about sex, and sexual practices…BUT WAIT!  There’s MORE! 

One of the male teachers at this conference decided that this was an appropriate conversation to have with the young students at the conference: 

Male Teacher: … Spit versus swallowing – I don’t know about the calorie count of cum. All right. Is it rude? Let’s ask this question: Is it rude not to swallow? 

Students: No! Oh, no! [Many “no’s” from the children.] 

Male Teacher: No. So it’s in good bedroom etiquette … [unclear] to spit out? 

That’s right.  A teacher.  A public employee, of the type that we used to count on to look after our childrens’ best interest was caught having a completely inappropriate conversation with children (14 year olds) about oral sex. 

Even better?  You can listen to it yourself: 

I sure am glad someone told me it was wrong to think of homosexuality as a perversion, and that there was no reason to put it in the same category as pedophilia.  ‘Cause after all, there isn’t anything creepy or wrong about a public employee, a male teacher discussing whether or not its rude to spit after oral sex with a bunch of fourteen year olds.  Relax, these are just the kind of people President Obama wants to appoint as “safe school czars”.  And it must be working…this pervert felt perfectly safe discussion such things with those children. 

I guess the safety of public school students takes a back seat to tolerance and promotion of perversion.  Once again, “Some animals are more equal than others.”

Nice Deb has more on the perfectly acceptable goings-on… 

H/T Gateway Pundit

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In addition to not understanding history, they think they have the authority to do anything they please.  From FOXNews.com:

But Reid argued that Republicans are using the same stalling tactics employed in the pre-Civil War era. 

“Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘slow down, stop everything, let’s start over.’ If you think you’ve heard these same excuses before, you’re right,” Reid said Monday. “When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said ‘slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough.'” 

He continued: “When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted they simply, slow down, there will be a better day to do that, today isn’t quite right. 

“When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today.” 

That seemed to be a reference to Thurmond’s famous 1957 filibuster — the late senator switched parties several years later. 

Reid’s office stood by the remarks, with spokesman Jim Manley saying Republicans have “done nothing but obstruct health care” in the Senate. 

“Today’s feigned outrage is nothing but a ploy to distract from the fact they have no plan to lower the cost of health care, stop insurance company abuses or protect Medicare,” Manley said. 

Uh Harry?  That slavery thing?  Yeah, that was ended by a Republican.  Considering you thought that was the biggest arrow in your quiver, you might have taken enough time to figure out which way you were pointing before you drew back on your bow, genius.   And those who were opposing Civil Rights legislation?  Those were southern Democrats.

No wonder you and your partners in crime think that the Constitution is just a list of suggestions that you all hope the rest of us never read.

A piece of free advice, Harry.  When you are retired in the next election, change your name, grow a beard, and color your hair, then find yourself a deep, dark hole, climb in, and pull it in after you, because when today’s youth come to realize just how much you have stolen and are attempting to steal from them, I doubt very much that they will be feeling very charitable.

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You keep making the silly allegation, Dems.

We’ll keep telling you that your race card is maxed out.

H/t to Nice Deb

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“Of all the views of this law [for public education], none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe as they are the ultimate guardians of their own liberty.”Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIV, 1782. ME 2:206

Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”–Article 3, Northwest Ordinance

“I believe that education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform. All reforms which rest simply upon the law, or the threatening of certain penalties, or upon changes in mechanical or outward arrangements, are transitory and futile…. But through education society can formulate its own purposes, can organize its own means and resources, and thus shape itself with definiteness and economy in the direction in which it wishes to move…. Education thus conceived marks the most perfect and intimate union of science and art conceivable in human experience.”John DeweyMy Pedagogic Creed, 1897

Anita Bryant was also for homophobia.  She started a campaign in the late seventies called ‘save our children.’ which was designed to repeal the few protections that existed in that time in our country for LGBT people. She succeeded. She panicked our nation. She started a nationwide crusade that led to the creation of the moral majority and the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. She was very successful, and I look at Oregon in the year 2000, and I think history repeats itself, and as Marx once said the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce. I am hoping this will be a farce.”–Current Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools Kevin Jennings, speaking to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), in Iowa, 2000.

Jennings founded GLSEN, and was its executive director for a long time.  GLSEN promulgates a reading list that it purports promotes safe schools.  Teachers can order these books as part of their curriculum, or students can order them directly.

Gateway Pundit has more on the books, including excerpts.   You don’t have to be a Christian to find them wildly inappropriate for children, and it is just one more indication among many that Mr. Jennings should not be allowed near children, let alone acting as a safe schools czar.  One could ask, with cause, just who he is making the schools safe for,  since he has already indicated that he is perfectly ok with adults stealing our children’s innocence

Reading even a portion of the excerpts, and considering the judgement that finds a place for this sorry excuse for a human being in education, or an educational establishment that would for even a second, tarnish its credibility by even considering letting him be involved in any way, shape, or form, it is clear that we have departed completely from the goals set forth in the Northwest Ordinance, and as that has happened, can the safety of our people, resting on what is now an unguarded liberty, be far behind?

Of course there are many who think that Mr. Jennings needs to go.  I’m given hope by the fact that I am not the only one.  But it does nothing to soften my opinion.  It’s time for Mr. Jennings to go…before he makes the mistake of getting too close to my children.

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This is my current favorite hat. I’ve had a few throughout the years, but I never had one that acknowledged the link between three things so intrinsic to the history of a people, and as odd as it sounds, I usually get a chill when I grab it to put it on. Not a chill like the tingle Chris Matthews gets whenever he hears his master’s voice, or catches sight of him somewhere, but a small dose of the awe and wonder of a heritage unmatched by any other people on the planet.

1776. The mere mention of it raises that feeling in the small of my back. A time when much of this continent was still wild, and settlements up and down the eastern seaboard represented the outposts of civilization. A blend of the better parts of the old world bound up with the promise and anticipation of the new. A time when brave men of means and accomplishment gathered in the city of Philadelphia to reject an earthly sovereign and to cast off his myriad injustices and tyrannies which were no longer acceptable to men who’s lungs were full of the freedom and independence that distance from the crown and the confidence of having met life on their own terms and made something of their own is likely to create. And also a time when leaders, and farmers rose up, and took up arms against the crown that ruled them from afar.

These images, and others are evoked every single time I read the Declaration of Independence. As a citizen, I own the points of contention with the King of England, not because I suffered under his rule, but because as a citizen of this country born a few scant years before the bicentennial of this document, part of my soul is inflamed by the idea of any person acting in such a fashion toward my countrymen. And this has always made it feel like such a conundrum to me. Even as I was learning to be a lawyer, I struggled with how to identify the role of the Declaration of Independence in today’s world. Many of my classmates would readily identify it a historically significant; indeed there would be no United States of America without it, but at the same time, their analysis would end there. To them, it was a dead document. Historically significant, but legally inoperative. Yet this analysis always ate at me. Surely the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” was not removed from our birthright? Surely the conviction and simplicity of Jefferson’s words still rang out as part of our national character, rather than an echo of a “less complex time”, as some were eager to assert.

Maybe it’s that part of me that has found no satisfaction in these types of answer that has been seeking out the history of this nation’s founding from a perspective of trying to recognize the full nature of the founders…not from the “modern” perspective of seeking every flaw, and every innuendo. It doesn’t hurt to remember that for all of their truly great accomplishments, they were still men, but it does little to breathe meaning into the words that have persisted long after the echos of their footsteps have faded from the halls they walked. And it does less to explain the legal history of the country prior to the 1940s, a legal history promulgated by intellects every bit as sharp as those of our founding Fathers.

This has led me to start reading books I would not have dreamt of perusing when I was a know-it-all political science student, safe and warm in the bindings of academia, and its agenda-driven teachings. Starting a year or so ago with a very large book that had been out of print for more than one hundred years, I began to realize that there is much of our history that is no longer taught to us. This lead me to question why that might be, and with much reading, and sharing with friends, I came to understand at least one reason why this is, and why without an awakening of sorts, this is not likely to change any time soon.

For my birthday this year, received two books. The first, The 5000 Year Leap, is one I have not yet started. The other, Faith of Our Founding Fathers, I started last Sunday afternoon. Earlier this week, I was reading it before my morning shower, and I read the following:

The Declaration, according to constitutional attorney Michael Farris, was “the Charter of our nation.”  It makes clear what most citizens of the colonies believed – that they were establishing a new nation based soundly on the laws of God.  The opening paragraph of the Declaration of Independence reads:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

Commenting on the relationship of the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution, Farris stated:

“By basing our right to be a free nation upon God’s law, we were also saying (by implication) that we owed obedience to the law that allowed us to be a separate country.  The last paragraph of the Declaration is the most important part, for that is the part which actually declared that the United States was a separate nation.”

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other acts and things which Independent States may of right do. 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.”

The Declaration of the United States is our Charter.  It is the legal document that made us a nation like all the other nations of the world.  It doesn’t tell us how we are going to run our country – that is what our Constitution does.  In a corporation, the Charter is higher than the By-laws and the By-laws must be interpreted to be in agreement with the Charter.  Therefore, the Constitution of the United States must be in agreement with the Declaration of the United States (more commonly known as the Declaration of Independence).  The most important statement in our Declaration is that we want to operate under the laws of God.

Why is all of this important?  Because today, when the courts are deciding what the Constitution  means, they should remember our Charter – the Declaration of the United States.  The Constitution doesn’t specifically mention God, but it doesn’t have to, because the Declaration is a higher document.

The Declaration says that we are a nation under God’s laws.  Therefore, all other laws of our country should be consistent with the law of god or they violate our national charter. [Emphasis Added.]

This set my thoughts alight.   Finally, I understood why this document still speaks with such authority. And yet, because I had never heard it referred to that way, I couldn’t accept it at face value.  I got out my handy-dandy Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (1996 Edition), and looked it up:

1. a document, issued by a sovereign or state, outlining the conditions under which a corporation, colony, city, or other corporate body is organized, and defining its rights and privileges.

2. (often cap.) a document defining the formal organization of a corporate body; constitution: the Charter of the United Nations.

4.  a grant by a sovereign power creating a corporation, as the royal charters granted to the British colonies in America.

So far, I couldn’t just dismiss the idea yet.   When I got to work, I looked up the word “Charter” in my legal dictionaries and my legal thesaurus.

From my Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Abridged Edition:

An instrument emanating from the sovereign power, in the nature of a grant, either to the whole nation, or to a class or portion of the people, to a corporation, or to a colony or dependency, assuring to them certain rights, liberties, or powers.  Such was the “Great Charter” or “Magna Charta,” and such also were the charters granted to certain of the English colonies in America…

A charter differs from a constitution, in that the former s granted by the sovereign, while the latter is established by the people themselves.

From Barron’s Law Dictionary:

A document issued by the government [sovereign] establishing a corporate entity. 

In earlier law, the term referred to a grant from the sovereign guaranteeing to the person or persons therein named certain rights, privileges, and powers.  Thus, the earlier American colonies were recognized by charters granted by the King of England.

The Magna Charta or The Great Charter, granted by King John to the barons of England in 1215, established the basis of English constitutional government.

From the Legal Thesaurus, edited by William C. Burton, Second Edition:

CHARTER (Declaration of rights) announcement, constitution, decree, official announcement, proclamation, promulgation, pronouncement, public announcement, public statement, publication, writing

So by now, my skepticism was waning, and I started to think that the book had it right.  So now I decided to throw the question out to my friends, some of whom went through school before I did, and may have actually be taught that the Declaration was indeed a charter.  The responses were not encouraging.

“Legally, the Declaration of Independence strikes me as the opposite of a charter. It rejects the royal charters establishing the colonies, but does not really set the ground rules for any new organization.”

“The DoI strikes me not as a charter, but simply that, a declaration. And it formed no government. It merely stated that the existing governments of the 13 colonies were soveriegn and seperate from the crown.”

“Black’s, 4th ed., p. 298.

Conventionally, a charter emanates from a sovereign and conveys a grant of authority, normally subject to prescribed rules and limitations. E.g., corporate charters granted by the states today.

The DoI does not do anything like that. It is a polemic explaining why 13 separate colonies believe the tyrannies of the British sovereign have entitled them to secede. It did not establish any type of new federal authority or government. It’s just a joint statement by 13 colonies.”

“What legal significance does the DoI have? None in today’s courts. And that’s as it should be. Even if it had significance at the time of the declaration, that would have been superseded by the Articles and later the Constitution.”

“So I guess that anyone who thinks that it is a charter is an idiot.

Bingo!”

Except that I wasn’t ready to give up on the concept just yet.  So I spent several hours researching it further.  I found an interesting statement in this article at the Heritage Foundation

This Fourth of July marks the 225th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. This occasion is a great opportunity to renew our dedication to the principles of liberty and equality enshrined in what Thomas Jefferson called “the declaratory charter of our rights.”

It caught my attention, but the author, Matthew Spaulding, failed to cite the source of the quote.  I concluded that it must be available, and continued my research.  When I refined the search term, I found this:

The Declaration of Independence… [is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Adams Wells, May 12, 1821.
 
Of course, now I wanted to see if the letter was available online.  It was:
 
Why the signature of Thornton, of New Hampshire, was permitted so late as the 4th of November, I cannot now say; but undoubtedly for some particular reason, which we should find to have been good, had it been expressed. These were the only post-signers, and you see, sir, that there were solid reasons for receiving those of New York and Pennsylvania, and that this circumstance in no wise affects the faith of this Declaratory Charter of our rights, and of the rights of man.
At this point, I doubted the efficacy of arguing with the ghost of the Charter’s principal author, and indeed, decided that the Declaration of Independence is a charter, albeit a unique one in that the authors recognized the rights granted by a sovereign not bound in flesh and blood, and used such rights to justify the break from the rule of an earthly sovereign.  However, what I was not prepared for was having the United States government agree with me that it is a Charter.  However, that’s exactly what I found when I went to the US Archives Website, which lists the Declaration of Independence along with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights under the aegis of “Charters of Freedom.”
 
 
So, I can practically hear you say “So why does it matter, BiW?  So it’s a charter.  So what?”
 
Because if it is to be considered a charter of our rights as men, then it is still relevant today, and should guide not only decisions by the Courts, but also of the legislature, as observed in this article:
 
If you were asked the most important document in American History, what would be your answer? The Constitution or the Declaration of Independence? Perhaps to some, the Constitution is what has survived and in the minds of many is the determining factor of the founding of this nation. Yet, when we look no further than the Preamble of the Declaration, we begin to understand the thought process and the reasoning of these men who founded this nation we call the United States of America. It is from the Declaration of Independence that we became a nation and the Constitution only established the form of government that was to guide us through generations to follow.

There can be little question that I believe that perhaps the wisest of all of our founders was Thomas Jefferson. His uncanny ability to address issues of the day in a manner that is timeless in meaning and depth was unquestionable even today. It is always in our best interest to look back and glean the guidance from our founders as we look to issues of the day. When we do, we are better capable of making decisions to preserve the intent of our founding documents and to preserve this republic in it’s form as intended in 1776 and beyond. When we approach the issue of rights, one question comes to mind. Where in the Constitution does your “rights” as an American come from?

Ah, a rhetoric question you say! We often hear the phrase “my Constitutional right” as something that is cast in stone. Yet, as you read the Constitution, no where are you going to find “your rights” spelled out OTHER than to say that the government shall make no law depriving you of your “rights” in the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. So where DO your rights, that government isn’t supposed to deprive you of, come from exactly? Let’s turn to Jefferson and see exactly the thought processes he had in his writings:

 “The Declaration of Independence… [is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and of the rights of man.”

–Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Adams Wells, 1819. ME 15:200

Go read the whole thing.  It is an excellent explanation why the latest actions of Congress are a betrayal of our founding ideals.

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