Watkins - #2By Nancy Thorner – 

What did the American Founders actually intend for the country and does it even matter today?

William Watkins, Jr., as the featured speaker at The Heartland Institute’s Wednesday evening free series of event, spoke about his book, Crossroads for Liberty: Recovering the Anti-Federalist Values of America’s First Constitution. Watkin’s book takes a surprising and thought-provoking look at the American Revolution, the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and asks what we can learn from them.

William Watkins, Jr. is a research fellow at the Independent Institute. He received his B.A. in history and German summa cum laude from Clemson University and his J.D. cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He is a former law clerk to Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. of the U.S, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He has served as a prosecutor and defense lawyer and has practiced in various state and federal courts. Other books include Judicial Monarchs: The Case for Restoring Popular Sovereignty in the United States, and the Independent Institute books, Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy; and Patent Trolls: Predatory Litigation and the Smothering of Innovation. 

William Watkins, Jr. introduced by Jim Lakely, Director of Communications at The Heartland Institute

William J. Watkins, in Crossroads for Liberty, rescues the Articles of Confederation from obscurity and condemnation. Watkins does not claim that the Articles constituted a perfect system, but it was a much better system than has been portrayed in history books.

For many years, the Articles of Confederation have been taught in American History class as having created too weak a central government, that it accomplished nothing, and that thankfully it was scrapped and replaced with the U.S. Constitution. Not so, according to Watkins. The Articles needed some reform, but it was a credible document before the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

Watkins likewise cleared up a misconception held by many that the Revolutionary War was all about taxation, brought to a head with the Boston Tea Party. Not true, he said. The argument was about sovereignty. Where did it lie? Did it lie in the British Parliament, or would individual states be able to govern themselves. In the Declaration of Independence, King George III of England was mentioned as the recognized power of authority whose removal was necessary for local state assemblies to achieve local rule.

Articles of Confederation Empowered State Governments

As to why the Articles of Confederation were adopted in the first place, patriot leaders at the time didn’t want some far off government telling them what to do concerning local matters. The Articles of Confederation were designed to let the people of each state govern themselves, while forming an alliance to maintain their independence. Delegates couldn’t serve more than three years out of a six-year period. In this way, legislators would feel the bit of the laws they passed.

In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, Federalists like Alexander Hamilton began to express dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation, thinking it a hopelessly weak common government for the United States that needed replacement. Others, like anti-federalist Patrick Henry, strongly voiced how under the Articles of Confederation its government had put an army in the field for seven years to defeat the mighty British Empire. Said Henry: “Ditching the Articles of Confederation would only lead to an increasingly centralized government that would eventually result in weak states dictated to by a centralized government.”

Using the same reasoning as proclaimed by Patrick Henry, Watkins noted how the goals of the Articles of Confederation had been met:

  • Great Britain was defeated. Hadn’t the British Navy ruled the world?
  • Self-government and the states had been preserved.

But economic hardship did exist in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War due to the cost of achieving freedom from Great Britain – i.e. hard cash was limited, the protection of the British Navy was lost, as was the right to trade with the British West Indies. 

Ratification of Constitution Hinged on a Bill of Rights 

Federalists won the argument. Led by Federalist Alexander Hamilton, who believed a Constitution with a federal system of government could accomplish the same thing without the deficiencies in the Articles – and who further argued that because the Articles of Confederation were committed to states’ rights reform of the Articles was not possible — a Constitutional Convention was needed. Subsequently, a Constitution was written during the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia by 55 delegates to a Constitutional Convention that was called ostensibly to amend the Articles of Confederation (1781–89), the country’s first written constitution.

The new Constitution was submitted for ratification to the 13 states on September 28, 1787. It was ratified by nine states in June of 1788, as required by Article VII. The date of March 4, 1789 was set by Congress as to when the new government would begin operating, with the first elections under the Constitution held late in 1788. 

Why did four of the 13 states refuse to ratify the Constitution when first submitted to them? As Watkins explained, one of the many points of contention between Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the Constitution is that it lacked a Bill of Rights that would place specific limits on government power. Although nine states had ratified the Constitution by June of 1788, the key states of Virginia and New York would only ratify the Constitution after James Madison promised that a Bill of Rights would be added after ratification.

Two states, Rhode Island and North Carolina, refused to ratify without a Bill of Rights. In June 1789, Madison proposed a series of amendments to be debated in the first Congress. These amendments to the United States Constitution (10 of them) became known as the Bill of Rights.

Rough Sailing for the Newly Adopted Constitution of 1787

Watkins enumerated three lies that angered segments of the American population after they had been assured that certain things would not happen with the ratification of the Constitution.

1st lie

Farmers were told that the excise power in the Constitution wouldn’t be used except in unusual situations. The Whiskey Rebellion was a response to the excise tax proposed by Alexander Hamilton, who was Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury in 1791. In January 1791, President George Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton proposed a seemingly innocuous excise tax “upon spirits distilled within the United States, and for appropriating the same.” What Congress failed to predict was the vehement rejection of this tax by Americans living on the frontier of Western Pennsylvania. By 1794, the Whiskey Rebellion threatened the stability of the nascent United States and forced President Washington to personally lead the United States militia westward to stop the rebels. Learn More

2nd lie

It was the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798, signed into law by President John Adams, that when put into practice became a black mark on the Nation’s reputation. People were lied to again. In direct violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech, the Sedition Act permitted the prosecution of individuals who voiced or printed what the government deemed to be malicious remarks about the president or government of the United States. Fourteen Republicans, mainly journalists, were prosecuted, and some imprisoned, under the act.

3rd lie

Alexander Hamilton’s claim that the Articles of Confederation were useless, and the only remedy was to draft a new governing document.

Anticipated Fears about 1787 Constitution Were Not Speculative in Nature 

Watkins suggested that our Constitution of 1787 is not the greatest gift of political science that the world has ever seen.

1. How can one size fit all with a nation of 50 states?

2. How can a national government be in charge of 300-plus million Americans? 

3. Shouldn’t individual states serve as laboratories of experimentation and policy making?

4. Does James Madison’s worry about the accumulation of power, which, he said “in one place is paramount to tyranny,” seem justified?

5. How can “We the People” monitor those we elect given the super-sized districts they represent? Watkins believes that the present system of limiting the House of Representatives to only 435 members is detrimental to limited government, for as the population expands those representatives become increasing disconnected to the very people they are supposed to be representing.

6. Can representative government even exist in a country of this size?

A massive shift of power happened when Senate members were elected. The Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution – proposed by the 62nd Congress in 1912 – established the popular election of United States Senators by the people of the states. The amendment supersedes Article I, §3, Clauses 1 and 2 of the Constitution, under which senators were elected by state legislatures.

As Watkins stated, the Founding Father reasoned that only licentious behavior and luxury could destroy the Constitution. Some 230 years later, this long-ago fear has been realized, as the founding principles of this nation have been eroded and cast aside in the interim. 

Human nature is flawed, and, as noted by Jefferson, “the chains of the Constitution” were needed, but what can now be done? As reasoned by Watkins, we certainly cannot return to the Articles of Confederation, nor is it possible to return to the Constitution, at least not as it was first conceived by our Founding Fathers.

Watkins suggested that general education is needed so the public, and especially young people, come to realize that the Socialism spouted by Bernie Sanders, embraced without even realizing what was being offered, is an evil and unworkable system of government.  

Selected Questions and Answers

Q: Why was the American Revolution different from revolutions in other nations?

A: Our revolution was based on the Rule of Law, whether sovereignty existed with the King of England or with state assemblies, which gave us a foundation upon which to base our government. The American people perceived that things were out of kilter and had to be restored.

Q: Is an Article V Convention a realistic plan? Is this an efficient way to address some of the flaws in our Constitution?

A: Watkins didn’t think it wise to take what we have and then trust that the results will be positive. As Watkins notes in his book: “There never have been enough states requesting a convention and this is for good reason. First, no one knows whether such a convention would be limited or unlimited in its scope. If the states requested a convention to consider proposing a balanced budget amendment, would the convention be prohibited from also offering amendments on matters such as abortion or capital punishment?” Watkins adds, “A convention could result in much chaos and constitutional uncertainty.”

“On paper,” Watkins laments, “they [the states] could demand a convention, but in reality Congress holds all the cards when it comes to constitutional change.” Instead, Watkins argues that “the states need the ability to propose and consider amendments without the involvement of the national legislature or the risk associated with a convention.” 

Q: Why the need for the Bill of Rights? 

A: People and states were fearful of a new federal government having too much power. 

Watch here the YouTube video of William J. Watkins, Jr. discussing his insightful book, Crossroads for Liberty. 

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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Eternal-Vigilance-is-the-Price-of-Liberty_Engraved-Outside-National-Archives-in-Washington-DC_Photo-by-Vincent-J-Bove

By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil –

Yesterday the 4th of July was celebrated nationwide with picnics, parades, and firework displays.  Of great concern is that too many within America’s younger generation have no idea what is actually being celebrated on Independence Day.  Somewhat redeeming is the result of a 2016 American Enterprise Institute (AEI) opinion study.  Fifty-six percent of those polled said they were very proud to be American citizens, which actually put our country more than midway down in the “highest response” category.  Even so, over half of American citizens love our country and are not reluctant to say so.

Most Americans understand the importance of liberty, but not all can explain what it actually means. 

Abraham Lincoln explained liberty in the following way:
“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.”

The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, “Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland” (April 18, 1864), p. 301-302.

The Ten Cannots

An outspoken political conservative, Rev. Boetcker, is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots, which was originally published in 1916 and sometimes falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln.  The pamphlet emphasizes freedom and responsibility of the individual himself.  Sadly, some of these “cannots” have become standard progressive thinking which is being promoted by the liberal Democratic Party, which are listed below for your consideration:

1.  You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.  

2.  You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.  

3.  You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.  

4.  You cannot encourage the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.  

5. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.  

6.  You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.  

7. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.  

8.  You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

“Socialism” no longer a dirty word

Fast forward to the current 2016 presidential campaign where throngs of young people cheered loudly for avowed 74-year old Bernie Sanders, a self-described Socialist, running for president of the United States as a Democrat.  This man once proudly defended Communist dictatorships across the world.  

In America, for the first time in nearly a century, socialism is not a dirty word or a shunned label, but instead is treated as a benign economic system that is more equitable and fair than capitalism.  This is particularly the thinking of voters under 30.   A Pew poll from June 2015 shows a staggering 69 percent of voters under 30 who express a willingness to vote for a Socialist for president of the United States, well before Sanders’ electoral successes in the early Democratic primaries. 

It is interesting that America’s senior citizens understand Socialism to be associated with Communism, such as that which they experienced with the Soviet Union and the Cold War. What created this gap in thinking?  For seniors their opinion is based on having lived through the threat of the Cold War and its final end, which was the result of the Soviet Union collapsing for a myriad of reasons, largely associated with its failed form of government. 

What has caused the Millennials in our country to have a different opinion of Socialism?   The cause is largely due to the failure of our nation’s education system.  School books, professors, teachers, etc. no longer accurately define the superiority of America’s governing system nor provide the horror that results from once great countries who fell into Socialist and/or Communist style governments.

How close is this nation to discarding the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and instead embracing the lure of Socialism?  The massive crowds promoting Bernie Sanders should be a warning signal. That both Sanders and Clinton lean so far to the Left should send chills rather than thrills even up Chris Mathews’ leg. 

Communism Contrasted by the Virtues and Strengths of a Free Society 

In order to stop the creeping socialism in America, one must first understand the evils and deficiencies of communism and contrast them with the virtues and strengths of a free society provide by our forefathers and propelled America into greatness.  Four comparisons are noted:

SHOULD EDUCATION BE CENTRALLY CONTROLLED?

What Americans believe: 

Education is best controlled when it is in the hands of local boards, responsive to the wishes of the parents and the community.  The goal of education is to produce an intelligent, moral, and self-reliant citizenship.   Education must be free from propaganda and must prepare the student to exercise his proper share of control over his government.

What Communists believe:

Education must be controlled by the Central government.  Individual will be indoctrinated to follow, without question, the dictates of the Socialist state.  The thought content of all studies must be filtered through specific basic requirements. Individualism is the enemy of the people, therefore the student must be regimented and taught to accept all decisions of government regarding his place in the State and economy.

FREEDOM OF THOUGHT — NATIONAL SAFEGUARD OR DANGER?

What Americans believe:

To be strong and enduring, a nation must be composed of citizens who are free to think for themselves.   In no other way can people fully utilize their imagination, resourcefulness and capacity for progress.   The freedom to explore new ideas is one of the most basic of freedoms.  When filtered through a sound code of morality the good ideas are separated from the bad, not immediately perhaps, but in time to prevent serious damage.  

What Communists believe:

To be strong and enduring a nation must be controlled by intellectuals who instruct the people in thinking in accordance with government policies.  Free thought leads to dangerous conclusions not in keeping with Communist doctrine, while controlled thought builds national unity.

IS LOVE OF FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND GOD “OLD FASHIONED”?

What Americans Believe: 

That in our way of life there are many things, many blessings that have no base in materialism — love of home, love of family, patriotism, loyalty to friends, and devotion to God.  These are all integral parts of American heritage and give satisfaction and happiness.

What Communists Believe:

That everything is material — if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.  The government must teach the people that love of home, and family, and loyalty to friends are secondary to anything which furthers the progress of Communism.  The people must discard God.  Materialism is the “be all” and “end all” of Communist endeavor.

JUSTICE — THE LAWS OF MANY OR OF A FEW? 

What Americans Believe:

That the accepted standards of justice are the laws which have been formulated through hundreds of years of man’s struggle to find a reliable code.  They find expression in the law of the land and in our great heritage of common law.   These laws are clearly promulgated.  Justices in our system are sworn to live up to this law and not to impose their own arbitrary standards of judgment. Thus, we are a government ruled by established laws and not a government of men.  

Communists believe:That the proper and final test of right and wrong is “does it serve the ultimate Communist purpose?  If it does, it is good; if it does not, it is bad.  With this cornerstone of justice, if any law exists that interferes with the goal, it is conveniently by-passed. Arbitrary decisions by superiors overrule the law.  Rule of man satisfies the Communist need, not rule of law. 

Are Americans in the process of losing their nation little by little?   You be the judge.  Sadly, many Americans make their decision based on whatever media source they use, which often is far from fair or balanced.  Many vote for a candidate based solely on their ethnicity, color, or campaign promises they rarely keep.  

It is far safer to evaluate candidates on facts, such as what they have already accomplished verses their failures.  Also, the specific Party to which they are affiliated holds a big key as to how they will govern, who they will pick for their administration, and which justices they will nominate for the Superior Court.  

America’s form of government allows the people to pick their leaders;  the question is will they use this precious gift to discern the best person, one who will absolutely honor our Constitution and system of laws

_______

Technorati Tags: Constitution, Independence, Nancy Thorner, Price of Liberty

Friday, September 25, 2015

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By Nancy Thorner & Bonnie O’Neil – 

A very thoughtful article was published by Mark Rhoads at Illinois Review on Thursday, September 17. Rhoads took to task former Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Lindsay Graham for their shallow answers regarding the same-sex marriage decision. Both men reasoned that Obergefell v. Hodges must be regarded as “the law of the land”, because of Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803) and Article III of the Constitution. Article III defines the judicial branch as such:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof,” and treaties, “shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”

Court opinions are not included in this Constitutional definition of Article III, notwithstanding that Supreme Court decisions are noted as such at the top of each page of any Supreme Court decision as “Opinion of the Court.” Therefore, a Supreme Court decision all by itself does not become “the law of the land”. A court opinion does not have the same weight as an amendment to the Constitution passed by Congress and ratified by the states, which accordingly affords citizens the right to fight Obergefell v. Hodges by any legal means and at any level possible.
There is good reason to believe that the majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges is no more the “Law of the Land” than Dred Scott was immediately after that infamous opinion was issued. It was merely an opinion binding on the specific parties involved–a position articulated by politicians such as Lincoln.  Might Republicans take a lesson from Abraham Lincoln who repudiated the Dred Scott decision in March of 1857 as wrong and declared that it was not binding on the other branches of government or on anyone who was not a party to the involved.  In standing up against the abuse of power by federal courts, Republicans became the majority party.
It’s incumbent on the other two branches of government, and citizens, to stop the judiciary from abusing our Constitution by executing power not granted under the Constitution.  This in no way implies that a president should break laws, only that a president and congress should stand up against judicial supremacy when it has gone awry.  Unfortunately this is a stand that the present administration would never ascribe to and which Republican legislators lack the will and the courage to attempt.
Chief Justice Roy S. Moore and the Gay Marriage Decision
Chief Justice Roy S. Moore’s remarks centered on the gay marriage decision. He lamented the decision of the five unelected lawyers who decided to change the definition of marriage.  Moore referred to the decision “as a revision of the Constitution which robbed people of their freedom to govern self, and where judges reinvented the definition of words when the words are not found in the Constitution.”
According to Justice Moore, our Constitution acknowledges the sovereignty of God and that our religious liberty comes from God.  As realized by the four judges who wrote the minority opinion, the gay marriage ruling would bring the Constitution and God into conflict.  Moore further related how the first mistake made by the five majority opinion judges was their lack of understanding (or denial) of religious liberty as a gift from God.  Said Moore:  “It’s an unalienable right God gave to this nation. George Washington knew there was a God and how God reacted with government. Should we just sit silently while our rights are being taken away, or will we be like Patrick Henry who said, ‘Give me liberty or give me death?”‘?
In speaking about our national anthem, Justice Moore drew attention to how there was more than just one verse to the “Star Spangled Banner.” The 4th verse has special meaning as a reminder that our rights come from God and not from any man or group of men. Listen here to the 4th verse sung by a former marine
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave
 
Forefathers’ Intentions for This Nation

There  are those who argue our forefathers did not intend America to be a Christian nation.  Judging that premise by their decisions and actions, the very least one could derive is that America was to be a nation that believed in and honored God.  For anyone to doubt that, they would have to first explain  why our first public school lessons had biblical verses and/or scriptures throughout every subject.  There had to be a strong Christian presence to explain that prayer opened each official session of government from the federal to city level, and every courthouse had a bible on which a witness first had to hold their hand and swear to tell the truth.   Children in every public school opened the their school day with a prayer.  Our forefathers inscribed  bible verses on our monuments and buildings in Washington D.C., and throughout our land.   Every state constitution begins with a statement acknowledging God.  Our coins have “In God we Trust” , and the vast majority of our citizens identify themselves as Christians.  What we should explore is why and how we allowed a small minority of atheists and liberals to claim our forefathers did not want religion in our public places, when the facts scream otherwise.

How did we lose perspective of the emphasis our forefathers put on honoring God as a people?   Once again much blame can be put on the Supreme Court. On June 25, 1962, the United States Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale that a prayer approved by the New York Board of Regents for use in schools violated the First Amendment by constituting an establishment of religion. In the following year, in Abington School District v. Schempp, the Court disallowed Bible readings and prayer in public schools for similar reasons.  These two landmark Supreme Court decisions have been charged with altering  American civil society and helped usher in  the culture wars that dominate our people and country today. To be asked is if our culture is better or worse for those Court decisions?  For those of us who lived before and after the drastic cultural change, we can testify our nations’ moral standards turned in a tragic direction.  It can only be described as another classic, disastrous example of judicial overreach in which judges’ opinions are interpreted as law. Historical precedence was not even considered by a Court intent on pushing their agenda on our nation.

Our nation came into existence in large part due to church leaders identified as the Black Robed Regiment, but due to Black Robed Justices and the silence of church leaders today,  we see our nation in moral trouble and the church minimized to the point of being inconsequential in regaining what we have lost.  As a nation, citizens must intervene.   We all must demand that our government entertain the Constitutional option of impeachment for judges when they usurp their roles,  violate their oaths, and grab powers our Constitution does not grant them.   Judicial tyranny must cease and a balance of powers restored.  We also must ask our church leaders why they too abandoned their role of protecting our Christian country from its enemies, such as those who ignore our historical religious background.  Both our government and church allowed immoral laws to be enacted, and thus are responsible for allowing immorality to thrive.
 
What Congress can do
Andy Schlafly spoke of possible ways to deal with the abuse of religious freedom as exhibited in the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.  Why then has no action been taken in the Republican-controlled House and Senate?    
  • An Article of Impeachment could be filed in Congress against the local federal judge for eastern Kentucky, David Bunning, for the imprisonment of Kim Davis.  Only one congressman (from a safe district) is needed from any state to file the document on the basis that Judge David Bunning exceeded his authority to do so.  This would send a messages to all the justices that Congress is starting to fight back.
  • A bill could be filed in Congress to limit funding for the incarceration of Jill.  In so doing this would encourage other county clerks, holding the same religious conviction as that of Jill, to keep the ball rolling so there are more individuals like Jill Davis.
  • Congress could take the jurisdiction away from the Supreme Courts to rule on further cases involving marriage.
Regarding the final bullet point, in Article III, Section 2:  “…the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction…with such exceptions and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”   Congress can strip the court of its power to rule on marriage, saying that it’s a right reserved to the states or the people by 9th and 10th Amendment.  Although a rarely invoked legislative tool, Cruz certainly knows about it and has referred to it many times in speeches and statements about prodding Congress to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over the issue should the Supreme Court legalize gay marriage.
For over 150 years, the Court held to the historically correct position in interpreting the First Amendment. During this period scant mention was made of Separation of Church and State, until in 1947 the court invented the distorted meaning of the first amendment, utilizing the separation of ‘church and state’ in Everson v. Board of Education. Rulings since 1947 have not reflected a neutrality toward religious denominations but a hostility toward religious thought, which have served to undermine the foundation of not only our moral code but our system of law and justice.

We live in a critical time.  If we wish to be free we must fight against the judicial activism that has become problematic.   A word of caution: Whenever these words are heard, it’s the “law of the land”, consider  that phrase is simply wrong.  The judiciary branch does not establish the “law of the land” under our Constitution.  Doing so is more evidence of judicial tyranny and “we the people” must challenge what is becoming  a dangerous precedent.

Other articles featuring Eagle Council XLIV events in St. Louis, Missouri, September 10-12, 2015:
 
Thorner: Judicial Activism Criticized at Eagle Forum Conference
 
Thorner/O’Neil:  Restoring Judicial Balance is Essential for America’s Future

http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2015/09/thorneroneil-restoring-judicial-balance-is-essential-for-americas-future.html#more

Nancy Thorner 331 E. Blodgett Ave., Lake Bluff, IL  60044   (847) 295-1035

Bonnie O’Neil   314 Mornng Star, Newport Beach, CA   92660  (949) 645-4450

The nation’s attention is being focused on guns, and gun ownership. To say that the way in which the attention is being focused, and the specific issues on which it is focused is flawed would be a profound understatement.

One position being voiced, would, if adopted by the defenders of the 2nd Amendment, do more to undermine it than to uphold it. That is the idea that “some guns are bad”, or that “some guns should only be available to government”, or that the discussion should focus on “needs”, not rights. Because this position, in its various forms, concedes the argument to the gun-banning crowd, it would have the same effect as all other appeasements have had throughout history: it just encourages the other side they can achieve complete victory.

Here’s what is wrong with banning guns, types of guns, or specific guns. 1. Rights are rights, not needs. 2. As a practical matter, only the law-abiding gun owners would be affected by any new law, and the guns we may own are not a threat to anyone, anyway.

The argument against a ban thus occurs on two levels: 1. Moral and ethical: the right to bear arms is a natural right, the curtailment of which constitutes a prima facie injury to those who choose to exercise it. 2. Pragmatic: banning certain weapons, or types of weapons would not keep criminals from possessing and using them.

On that point, it is quite pragmatic to argue that we who do not commit crimes should have access to the same level of weaponry that is available to criminals.

This all gets very silly, when one considers that the opponents of private firearm ownership are exactly that: opponents of private firearm ownership. For each weapon, of any type, they will present an argument–of sorts–why “no one needs to own one”. Like big cats on the African plain, they pick off stragglers by separating them from the herd. Today it’s military-style weapons; tomorrow it’s “powerful” handguns; pretty soon, it’s that old single shot .22 squirrel gun your grandfather got when he was 10. Notice the “herd” has shrunk to the point it is totally defenseless. Unlike the cats, who only want a meal, the opponents of private firearm ownership truly will not rest until ALL guns, of EVERY type have been outlawed. TO THINK OTHERWISE IS TO MAKE A DREADFUL MISTAKE.

Beyond that, they are part of a larger group that has as its goal rendering the Constitution and all of the Bill of Rights irrelevant. As our President said before the 2008 election, what bothered him about the U.S. Constitution was that it is largely a document that places restrictions on the government. For many of our opponents, that makes the document “seriously flawed”–so much so that it cannot be fixed by amendment, it must, instead, be treated as a “living document”, until every part of it has been re-interpreted, stood on its ear, and until its meaning is the opposite of the original intent. “Animal Farm”, déjà vu.

The only sane position to take is to oppose—vigorously oppose any new restrictions on gun ownership.

Initially published at Illinois Review on January 10, 2013.

It’s up to Us!

November 3, 2012

By Nancy Thorner & Jane Keill –

As children we are taught not to hate. We do not hate Democrats themselves, but it is what they represent, their ideology, and most certainly their policies and legislation that we cannot abide.

Particularly worrisome is how our Constitution is so cavalierly treated and even ignored by those who consider themselves superior to the intellect of our Founding Fathers, as attempts are made to decry this document as antiquated and no longer relevant to this day and age.

With heavy hearts, having viewed with misgivings and fear what has happened over the past four years, the gravity of the present situation demands that we present an overview of the last four years on the cusp of what we and others view as the most important election in this nation’s history.

For more than 50 years, the Liberal/Progressive Democrats have steadily inched their way toward a socialistic, government-will-take-care-of-everything system in the United States.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants, WIC/food programs, the Great Society, War on Drugs, War on Poverty………hundreds of endless programs that have wasted billions and billions of dollars and not solved the problems for which they were intended no matter how compassionate they were.

Along the way, some occasional Republicans would try halting this progression for a time, but inevitably the votes swung back to the Progressives and they have continued their march toward the Nanny State.

Sadly, we have allowed it to happen. ‘We’ is the current mature generation, the Baby Boomers, which have consistently voted politicians into office who were marching down this Liberal path. Politicians elected to office over and over again have accumulated years of power and influence which they have used to their advantage and that of their party.

In recent years, the roadway leading to government control of just about everything has been lengthened and widened. There’s been more and more leeway in enforcing the laws (illegal immigration, guns, traditional marriage). There’s been softer and softer interpretation of the US Constitution, laxer and laxer application of our laws until ‘We’ elected the Democrats to Congress in 2007, 2008, 2009. It was in 2008 when the perfect storm cloud of liberal domination came to fruition.

We elected Barack Obama as President.

Many voted for Obama, proud that he was the first person of color ever elected, who further promised to reach across and heal the racial divide. Instead, Obama came with an agenda that most of us didn’t know existed — to change America in directions we did not recognize. Along with full Democrat control in the Senate and in the House in 2008 and 2009, the ideal conditions existed to wreak Obama’s will on the country. For two years, President Obama got what he wanted, and the Democrats gave it to him (Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, two Supreme Court liberals).

There was a brief braking in the Democrat’s momentum in 2010 when the Tea Party stood up to be counted because no one else would. Republican leaders, displaying a lack of spine that so often defines them, weren’t stepping up to the plate and rarely spoke up against anything that was being done. House Speaker John Boehner, Minority Senate Leader, Mitch McConnell and Congressman/Senator Mark Kirk failed to step forward to raise anything remotely resembling strength or courage. Even after the 2010 election when the Republicans took control of the House, they couldn’t leverage any effective action, always wailing that ‘This is the best deal we could get.’ Again and again, their bargains with Obama and the Democrats ended up in impotency.

When the President began to issue Executive Orders that changed standing laws and breached the Constitution, barely a voice of objection was heard. Certainly, our elected Republican representatives couldn’t find their voices.

Under Obama and the Democrats (and with the complicity of the Republicans), the United States has been buried in trillions of dollars of debt, much of it borrowed, along with government printing presses churning out money like there was no tomorrow. In the coming years, the taxes related to Obamacare, an outdated tax system, government overspending and the entitlement programs already underway will bankrupt the country.

In the state of Illinois, corruption and lying and graft and bribery are so epidemic that we have sent four governors (of both parties) to prison in the last 40 years. The state is so deeply in debt we will never pay it off. Taxes go forever upward. Spending also continues to spiral forever upward. Illinois has been controlled by the Democrats for most of the last 30-40 years, but the Republicans are just as deep in the muck as their colleagues across the aisle. And, ‘we’ continue to elect them, year after year after year.

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune suggested that no one should vote for a Democrat congressman in Illinois even if he/she is a good person, as this might be the only way to get rid of Speaker Mike Madigan who exerts tremendous destructive power and control in the state. With power comes control, which Madigan demands and gets. Yet who is to say that Republicans wouldn’t abuse power in time if entrusted with control of the Legislature?

What then must we do? Each of us must stop, look and evaluate how we have been voting over the years, who we have elected, what we have supported and what we got out of it all. Illinois, California, New York – all Democrat states — are in critical financial trouble. Who put them in these positions? If you have contributed to these problems, you must stop to rethink your support for the politicians and party that put these states in such conditions.

Our children and grandchildren are waiting on the other side of the precipice. Most of them have no real idea of what’s coming at them. Many of them have been indoctrinated to believe this is the way it’s supposed to be. They don’t know any better and many are too young to know as we do a different kind of America. In future generations, they will never believe there was a different America. Sadly no one will be around to tell them about it. Their history books will have been scrubbed of information that would give insight into how things used to be, as those in power know that ignorance is the best way of keeping control of young minds.

Now, we have one last opportunity to bring this juggernaut to a halt. We have one last election to put a solid roadblock in the path although what has already been set in place will be difficult enough to halt. We have to take responsibility for what we haven’t done during the last 50 years. We have to save our country.

On November 6, we must stand up and take back control of our leaders in Washington, DC. We must elect Republicans to enough positions that we can keep control of the House of Representatives, gain control of the Senate and replace Obama in the White House. That will at least slow the movement of the Liberal/Progressive/Democrat Party.

And, after that, we must continue to rein in those we have just sent to Washington. Despite their campaign promises, they will quickly slip into the mire and do what politicians always do – grasp for power. We will have to keep after them using all of our resources – Facebook, Twitter, texting, e-mails, phone calls, letters – whatever will get us in their faces. And, we must stand strong against their weakness and make sure they go in the direction we want them to go – not in the direction they wish to take us.

If you have not already voted, get to your polling place and vote. If you prefer to go out on election day, then go on November 6. But, get there. No excuses are acceptable. We have this one chance to correct our past votes. Take it.

It’s up to us!

Published at Illinois Review on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012

Illinois Family Institute celebrates 20 years with Wallbuilders’ David Barton

By Nancy Thorner –

 

HOFFMAN ESTATES – The Illinois Family Institute (IFI) with David E. Smith, Executive Director, celebrated its 20th anniversary of advocating biblical principles in the public square at its 2012 Fall Banquet at The Stonegate Conference and Banquet Centre on Friday, September 7.   The evening highlighted Wallbuilders’ David Barton, who encouraged Christians to get involved in politics.

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The evening started with introductory remarks of welcome, as David Smith introduced Julie Roys as the Master of Ceremonies.  Julie is the senior producer for the WMBI Morning Show and has been a trusted voice of biblical wisdom on Moody Radio since 2007 (90.1FM).    .

 

Music during the program included the National Anthem sung by Debbie K and a stirring rendition of the Battle Hymn of the Republic by the Wheaton Bible Church Sanctuary Choir led by Ross Heise, with pianist, Marsha Foxgrover.

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A remarkable portrayal of Patrick Henry was featured when Dr. Mark Zumhagen, dressed appropriately in colonial garb, recited Patrick Henry’s timeless Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death speech made in St. John’s Church in Richmond to discuss relations with Great Britain in March of 1775.  Like Patrick Henry who was willing to die to achieve liberty, the IFI has been advocating and fighting for liberty in the public square for 20 years.

 

After dinner was served Julie Roys recognized the Benefactors and the Elected Officials present.  Next in the program was the presentation of three special award.  Plaques were presented to the recipients by Executive Director David Smith.

 

The Covenant Keepers Hall of Fame award recipients, Bud and Clara Cawthon, were not in attendance to receive their award.  Instead, a short video filmed by Executive Director David Smith was shown of his interview with Bud (97) and Clara (95) at their home in Pittsfield, IL. The Cawthons were married on April 14, 1937 in a Methodist parsonage in Pittsfield.  The couple celebrated 75 years of togetherness with God and the Bible as the center of their lives.

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Known to many at the IFI event, Penny Pullen was awarded the Outstanding Achievement award. Penny’s background is full of dedication to the pro-family movement, as when she served as a state rep from 1977 to 1993. Recently Penny was state chair for Rick Santorium in IL.  Currently she is the State President of Eagle Forum.

 

The third presentation of the night, The Voice of Truth award went to David Norck.  David Norck is an example of one who walks softly and carries God’s truth in his heart.  After a full day of work, David Norck walks door-to-door trying to stop legislation such as the pending comprehensive sex education HB 3027.

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IFI Executive Director David Smith’s remarks

 

Following the presentation, IFI’s Executive Director, David Smith, offered his own remarks.  Julie Roys called David Smith “one of the hardest working conservatives in the state.”

 

David Smith recounted the story of Butch O’Hare, after which O’Hare Airport was named, to illustrate how courage derived from events of the past can relate to today’s challenging times.

Butch O’Hare’s father, Eddie O’Hare, although he tried to teach his son right from wrong, as member of the of the Capone mob, one day Eddie came to the conclusion that offering his son a good name was far more important than all the riches he could lavish upon his son  “Easy” Eddie accordingly testified about the mob and helped convict Al Capone.  Eddie in wanting to be a good example for his son, and having given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, paid the greatest price when his life ended with a blaze of gunfire.

Lt. Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare subsequently became a WW l l hero and was presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor for his courageous actions against the Japaneses and defending the U.S.S.  It was through the teachings of Butch O’Hare’s dad that Butch was able to rise above what had been his father’s sordid life.

Continuing, David Smith challenged Christians to be prepared to make sacrifices, even though there are those who profit from evil activities such as gambling.  Smith called Illinois the Land of Evil because it promotes and protects both the slaughter of human babies and homosexuality.  Smith did rejoice that the gambling bill was defeated when vetoed by Governor Quinn in response to citizens contacting legislators
Smith likewise reminded those gathered how the religion of Jesus Christ is the only religion that is forbidden when he said, “We, as Christians must choose righteousness over peace.”  Because so many Americans refuse to take a stand against evil, Smith urged us to “choose courage over fear” and to work “to prepare for a new birth of Christianity in this nation and here in Illinois.”

 

Having finished his remarks, David Smith invited James Lansberry from Samaritan Ministries, a Gold Level Benefactor, to come up on stage to talk about a Christian sharing program to cover medical bills.  Lansberry spoke of a non-insurance approach where medial needs are shared directly with fellow believers. www.samaritanministries.org

 

Following Lansberry, Pastor John Kirkwood, an Advisory Board member of an IFI and host of Uncommon Sense (www.uncommonshop.com), made a special appeal for funds, telling us not to view our giving as a donation, but rather as a gratitude to God and a testimony to our Founding Fathers.  Pastor Kirkwood notedd that a supporter of IFI had promised to match gifts up to $10,000.

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David Barton’s message

 

Finally the much anticipated event of the evening arrived when David Smith introduced Keynote Speaker David Barton.

David Barton’s exhaustive research has made him an expert on historical and constitutional issues.  He is the author of numerous best-selling books, with subject matter drawn largely from his massive library-museum of tens of thousands of original writings, documents, and artifacts from early America.

 

Barton heads the WallBuilders organization, a national pro-family organization that presents America’s forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on our moral, religious, and constitutional heritage, two presentations were made.  www.wallbuilders.com

 

As initially stated by Barton, what makes this nation different from other nations is the Bible.  The Bible deals with right and wrong, not the secular and the spiritual, which has resulted in a battle that is ongoing between religion and morality.  “We are allowed to practice our faith, but must do so in private.”

 

Barton also explained how “exceptionalism” is a term applicable to this nation.  It was Alexis de Tocqueville, the 19th century French political sociologist, who coined the word exceptionalism to describe America when he visited and toured the nation in 1841. www.tocqueville.org/chap1.htm

 

In dealing with the issue of separation of church and state, David Barton went back in history to the time of Moses and Aaron to explain the Biblical distinction between church and state as defined by the roles assigned to Moses and Aaron by God.

 

Three distinct periods of history were noted by Barton;  1) The first three centuries were the “Centuries of Purity.”  2) The next twelve centuries were referred to as the “Dark Ages when the state took over the church; it was never the other way around. 3)  The “Age of Reformation” followed the Dark Ages.

 

Barton used the reign of King Henry VIII, who lived from 1491 to 1547, as an example of a supreme ruler who was head of both church and state.  After the death of King Henry, the daughter of the King and Anne Boleyn became Queen.  Their daughter is now known as the first Queen Elizabeth and ruled from 1558 to 1603.

 

An incident by Rev. John Greenwood during Queen Elizabeth’s reign led to the Age of Reformation.  Rev. Greenwood believed that the Queen was not higher in the church than God. For this radical belief Greenwood was condemned to hanging by Queen Elizabeth.

 

To be noted is that Rev. Greenwood was the first to separate from the Established Church in England.  He founded the religious doctrine know as Puritanism or Congregationalism. The little band of Pilgrims that landed at Plymouth, Mass. in 1620 were his followers.   Many religious groups followed the Pilgrims to America as they rebelled over the state control of religion in their countries of origin.

 

David Barton then expounded upon a still controversial issue — separation of church and state — which didn’t rear its ugly head until Thomas Jefferson was elected president in 1801.  It all came about when Jefferson responded with his now famous letter dated January 1, 1803 to a letter received from the the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut.  The Danbury Baptist Association believed, as did the founder of the Baptist church in American, Roger William, who had written in1644  “that there must be “a hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world.”

 

In responding to the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson used the “wall of separation” clause found in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Many believe that at the time Jefferson intended that the First Amendment’s “separation of church and state” phrase should mean “free exercise of religion” and not “exclusion of religion” from government.

 

This all changed in the 1947 Everson vs. Board of Education decision when Justice Hugo wrote in his written decision that Jefferson had gotten it all wrong:  “In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.”

 

David Barton noted numerous examples of President Obama’s hostility toward the Christian religion in an article published on February 29, 2012, America’s Most Biblically-Hostle U.S. President.  It is an eye-opener and well worth your time to read. It will only reinforce your already firm belief that President cannot be elected to another four years in office.

 

In chronological order are (1) numerous records of Obama’s attacks on Biblical persons or organization; (2) examples of the hostility toward biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference to Islam’s activities and position.    www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=106938

 

One display of President Obama’s hostility highlighted by David Barton, especially for Catholics, is how President Obama revoked the conscience protection put in place by President W. Bush in February of 2009 for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs.

 

In closing, David Barton made these poignant statements:  “Religious liberty is the first thing to go; when religion goes our liberty also goes”  –  “We have a God-given right to religious liberty, but it’s just not politically protected.”  –  “Religion and morality cannot be separated from public life; God calls for the same morality in our secular lives as he does in our spiritual lives.”

 

The pre-dinner prayer was given by Rev. Gerald O’Reilly of Santa Maria del Popolo in Mundelein in which he blessed marriage and the unborn, speaking to all present as being “united as one in truth.”

 

The Benediction was given by Pastor George Flattery of Stone Church in Orland Park.  I Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 58 was quoted by Pastor Flattery as a message that should be heeded in this 20th year anniversary of the Illinois Family Institute:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

 

David Barton used the passage from I Corinthians as a message to take home with us.   We were reminded that our labor is never in vain.  We were further told to go out and do our part to promote Biblical moral values and the sanctify of life both here in Illinois and at the federal level