Archive for the national defense Category

One Day Left: A Constitutional Conservative Looks at the ’08 Election

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, national defense, Obama, politics, taxes on November 3, 2008 by Randy Streu

I can’t pretend I’m not going to be relieved when this circus of an election season is over.  As a Conservative, this cycle has been frustrating and exhausting — and, at times, exhilarating.  One of the most sobering realizations for a Conservative in these times is that the vote for a Third Party candidate is a wasted one.  And, this election, there have been times where that was exactly the direction I was heading.  Granted, in these times, their imminent slaughter is not the only reason I couldn’t in good conscience vote for a party that stands more closely to my own values (such as the Libertarian or Constitution parties), but my level of irritation at recent actions of certain Republicans has definitely made it an option worth considering.

Still, though my Republican-of-choice was not ultimately chosen as the GOP candidate (indeed, neither were my second or third options… in fact, McCain ranked pretty near the bottom, to be honest), I still determined early on that I would hold my nose and cast my vote. 

McCain has done much since that decision to secure my vote (and yes, for you naysayers, his selection of Palin as VP still ranks, for me, as one of his better decisions), and some to make me question it.  But over all, this election has, for most Conservatives I Know, never really been about John McCain.  It’s not been about George W. Bush.  This is not a year in which Conservatives, by and large, will be voting for a candidate, so much as against a set of ideals.

I’m not going to elaborate much on which ideals I’m against — a cursory glance through the various posts on this blog should provide plenty of insight into where I’m coming from.  But, for one thing, I’m against the idea that the Government has the moral authority to determine who deserves the money a man makes, for the simple reason that he happens to make more than some arbitrary amount.  Barack Obama is for this idea.

This alone, with no other considerations, is enough to make me vote against Obama.  As it turns out, there are other considerations.   Many others.  Abortion, gun control, Foreign policy, character, integrity… getting the idea?  But even without these other things, I could still not vote for Obama, because of the first.

A man, or a party, who has claimed moral authority over a man’s property or earnings has also claimed authority over that man’s liberty, because property and liberty are inseparable.  A governor who would make a man a slave to another in this way (because, really, this is the end result of wealth redistribution) is not a man of solid character.  He is untrustworthy as a leader — certainly as a leader of what was conceived as a nation of free men.

Barack Obama claims to know the Constitution.  Scripture says even the Devil knows the Bible.  The question, for me, is not whether Barack Obama knows the Constitution.  It is whether he honors it; whether he loves it — not just as a solid “political document,” but as the foundation of this country.  Does he understand the meanings of it, and the intent of the Founding Fathers — and does he agree to uphold those ideals?  Because if he does not — and indeed, recently uncovered interviews appear to suggest this very possibility — how can he take an oath swearing to do exactly that, and still hold himself an honest man?

Just What the Hell is Going On Down There?

Posted in immigration, national defense, politics, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on August 6, 2008 by Randy Streu

Though you won’t hear it from most major news outlets, Washington Times (along with Newsmax, WND and UPI) reports that a US border patrol agent was recently held at gunpoint by Mexican troops — on United States Soil. According to the report, Mexican soldiers crossed the border in a fairly isolated location, approached the border agent (who has not been identified) and pointed their rifles at him.

Surprising and outrages, perhaps — but even more so is the fact that this is only one over more than 200 such incidents to take place since 1996. Some incidents have not been quite as threatening as this one, while one, which took place in 2002, involved armed Mexican soldiers actually firing on a lone border agent, actually shooting the agent’s vehicle with a .50 caliber weapon.

While it is certain that at least some of the 200 incursions by Mexican military onto our soil were accidental (after all, it’s not as if there’s a border fence…), incidents like the two I’ve mentioned above are clearly threats to US agents, obvious international incidents, and, if we’re to be honest about it, acts of war. These actions may or may not be sanctioned by the Mexican government, but the United States has the right, authority and duty to demand an explanation from Mexico, and extract the promise that these events cease immediately, under threat of severe military consequence.

The fact is, The US Customs and Border Patrol is law enforcement.  They are simply not equipped to deal with a threat to national security — as armed Mexican soldiers entering US property unprovoked clearly is.  If only we had a group of trained soldiers whose job it was to guard the nation.

It is long past time to get on the backs of our elected officials about this.  It’s time to build the damned fence.  It’s time to militarize the border.  It’s time for the government to do what we elected them to do: protect the United States of America.

The Federal Government Is Trampling your Right to Contact America’s Enemies in Private

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, national defense, News, politics, Stupid Media with tags , on July 9, 2008 by Randy Streu

I will freely admit that I’ve longed believed the mainstream media has a left-wing bias.  I will also freely admit that I, personally, have more of a right-wing bias, and that I am therefore more sensative, perhaps, to such biases when they come from a purportedly “balanced” media.

So I was annoyed, but not surprised, when I read the ABC News write-up of the Congressional passage of the FISA Bill.  From the page title (“Spy Bill Passes: Gov’t Free to Spy on You”) to its faintly veiled commentary (“And so the FISA bill was an ‘historial embarrassment’ that Specter became complicit in when he chose later to vote for the law.”), the piece is rife with the sort of fear-mongering nonsense for which the news media is, sadly, becoming known.  And,  of course, their basic conclusion, that the Government wants to SPY ON YOU, is not only way off-base, but an out-and-out lie on the part of liberals and media goons.

What the bill does do — what the Homeland Security domestic spying program has always done — is allow for the wiretapping of known enemies of the state (i.e., terrorists), and those inside our borders who are in contact with them.  How do we know these domestic individuals are in contact?  Simple.  When you call a tapped phone, your call is traced.  The bill also grants cooperating phone companies a level of protection from lawsuits for the act of, you know, aiding in the defense of our country.

So let’s review:  The government isn’t spying on you.  George Bush doesn’t give two flying figs about your date last night, or how hot the neighbor is, or about the crappy book you’re reading.  Unless you happen to be chatting up a known Enemy of State, your communication is secure.  We simply don’t have the resources to tap every phone in America, and Americans wouldn’t stand for it if we did (even Republicans).  Nobody’s “rights” are being violated — unless you consider the ability to privately contact a terrorist a “right.”

Just a fair warning, by the way: Anyone who chooses to argue by incorrectly quoting Ben Franklin, and attempting to equate his brilliant remarks on essential liberty and temporary safety to the situation here will simply be labeled an idiot and ignored, unless you can demonstrate how contacting known terrorists falls under “essential liberty.”  Good luck with that.

What is a “New Democrat?”

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, Economy, Elections, healthcare, national defense, Obama, politics with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2008 by Randy Streu

The Democrat movement of old is pretty well a corpse now.  Gone are the days of John F. Kennedy.  Gone are the days of those Democrats who, though they were wrong, at least used words that made some level of sense when discussing economics or foreign policy.  The kind of Democrat with whom you could respectfully disagree without being called a fascist, a racist, a bigot, a misogynist or a neanderthal — and for whom the conservative has his own list of less-than-flattering epithets.  No… sadly, this is the time of the “New Democrat.”  As the Republican Party slides further Leftward, so, too, does Democrat culture.  Both parties are now so far removed from their own pasts that I’ve heard it said JFK himself would be a Moderate Republican, were he alive today.

The “New Democrat” is like a younger, more extreme version of the Old Democrat.  Where the Old Democrat favored tighter federal regulation over what was still a largely free-market system, the New Democrat, the Obama Democrat, favors something closer to full-blown socialism.  Where the Old Democrat, though as unwilling to change his stripes as the old Republican, could be approached rationally, the New Democrat relies largely on emotion for policy, and on name-calling for opposition.

The key identifier for the New Democrat is, I think, irrationalism.  Either an unwillingness or inability to see the irony in their positions:

The New Democrat sees an Orwellian “Big Brother” in the government’s attempts to keep tabs on known terrorists and associates through wiretaps — but has no problem with income penalties or wage garnishments for government programs.

The New Democrat believes abortion should be legal because “It’s a woman’s right to do what she wants with her own body” — but thinks seatbelt laws, smoking bans and federally mandated healthcare are A-Okay.

The New Democrat thinks people who do nothing all day are entitled to tax-payer money, but believes people who invest time, money, risk and effort into a successful product ought to be forced to bear the burden for those who don’t.

The New Democrat defines “Racist” as somebody who opposes giving preferential status to a job or college applicant based on race or gender — rather than on the “content of their character.”

The New Democrat believes the Government should be kept out of the Bedroom — but not out of the Board Room.

In short, if it increases Government, the New Democrat is all for it.  If it increases individual freedom, initiative and responsibility, it is anathema to the New — the Obama — Democrat. 

Conservatism as Moral Imperative: Why am I Conservative?

Posted in abortion, civil rights, Constitution, First Amendment, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags on May 8, 2008 by Randy Streu

In July of 2003, a group of Berkely researchers for the American Psychological Association did a study on what makes a Conservative.  Rather unsurprisingly, after basing their “research” on the fairly specious definitions to be found in “fifty years of literature,” they basically decided that Conservatives are narrow-minded, bigoted fearmongers by nature or psychology.  That Conservatism, in other words, was a pathology rather than a set of values.

I’m not going to spend this post dispelling the moronic notions put forth in this five-year-old study; if I recall it was fairly deftly dispatched at the time.  But I did come upon this study again the other day, and it got me thinking:  why am I conservative?  What is it that makes being Conservative make so much sense to me?

It is that question I’ll try to answer.

I like to tell people I tried being a liberal once, while I was in college.  I found out I felt neither guilty for my own position in life, nor entitled to anyone else’s.  As glib as this is, there’s also a lot of truth to it — and it cuts to the heart of my position of Conservatism. 

In contrast to the mainstream (and incorrect) view of Conservatism, I am not judgemental or pessimistic.  I’m not wealthy by any financial standard.  I’m not distrusting of, nor biased against, those of other races or genders.  I’m also not a fan of NASCAR, just to eliminate all stereotypes.

Instead, I am something of an optimist.  Although I usually consider myself a realist, the fact is, I believe the best is always possible.  I’m quick to give my trust (though not as quick to give it back once I’ve been burned), and quick to believe in people.  True to stereotype, I am an Evangelical Christian, which goes a long way to explain my concern and, yes, compassion, for my fellow man.

All these things are why I am a Conservative. 

I believe Thomas Jefferson was right when he said, “A man is governed best who is governed least.”  I believe man — every human, regardless of race, creed or sex, is capable of providing for himself without help from a government entity.  Because of this, I believe every individual ought to be responsible for himself and his own family.  Indeed, I believe we function at our best when we are unfettered by government intervention.  I don’t believe a man ought to be given special dispensation because of race.  Being black is not a handicap, and anyone who thinks it is, is a racist.  The same goes for being female.  Or gay, for that matter.  I believe it is not compassionate to foster dependence upon others. 

Real compassion, I believe, is in allowing a person to make his own decisions with the same opportunity for reward and consequence as everybody else.  I don’t believe compassion is forcing others to provide for anyone — rather, when somebody needs help, compassion is providing for them yourself.

I am Conservative, because I believe it is the morally correct position.  I believe a man’s thoughts, beliefs and actions (so long as those actions don’t adversely and without permission impede another’s freedoms) are between him and God alone.  I don’t believe in telling somebody what they can and can’t do within their own persons or households — with exceptions only for that which would needlessly harm another human being.  I also don’t believe in forcing members of society to morally justify or accept those positions in others that they find distasteful or immoral.

I am a Conservative because my conscience demands it.  Slavery in any form — intellectual, moral, political or physical — is evil.  I believe the money a man makes is his money, and that when that money is taxed, it is to be for the purposes outlined in the Constitution — and not for anything else.  To do otherwise is to make that man a slave.

I am a Conservative because I believe life is precious, and must be protected.  I believe humanity is the highest life form on earth, and created after God’s own Image.  Therefore, at all costs, human life must be sustained.

Finally, I am conservative because I believe it is the job of government — the job we, the People, pay them for — to protect us from those who would do us harm.  This is the mandate from the people.  This is the only morality of government:  to keep the peoples’ trust.  To keep us safe. 

Conservatism is for me, a moral imperative.  I am Conservative because it is the way that makes the most sense — from an intellectual level, as well as spiritual. 

The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment: a Look at Language

Posted in civil rights, Constitution, national defense, News, politics, Second Amendment with tags , , , , , on March 19, 2008 by Randy Streu

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the US heard arguments on individual gun-ownership rights in Washington, D.C.  District of Columbia v. Heller is the first case before the Supreme Court to test this issue nationally, though it perhaps shouldn’t have been.  There are actually several lower-court cases in which this issue was incorrectly decided; but the timing is fortuitious in this case, as a majority of the justices seem inclined to accurately read the language of the Second Amendment.

The amendment, for those uncertain, reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  And it is this language which causes the controversy (though a clear reading of the rest of the document shows that it needn’t be controversial). 

The anti-gun lobby reads the language to mean gun ownership is allowed only insofar as is necessary to serve in the military.  However, when you apply basic textual criticism, in reading the second part of the amendment, you see that the right, as such, to keep and bear arms, exists quite independently of the government.  Indeed, this the theme of most of  this nation’s founding documents: individual rights aren’t granted — only limited. 

This intent is clear in the language of the Second Amendment as well.  “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  Not, “the people shall be granted the right to bear arms.”  The Signers were well aware of the difference in intent here.  The right to bear arms is a right we have, says the Constitution, and the government shall not infringe on that right.  Put another way, the Amendment basically says, “The government will not limit the right of the citizenry to keep and bear arms, and one reason for this is the need for a prepared militia.”

The language is key.  The Constitution, along with the Bill of Rights, do not grant a single right.  Liberty, as has been pointed out at this site before, and as has clearly been recognized by the drafters of the Constitution — especially if one takes the time to examine the other founding documents — is the natural state.  We are born free.  Governments don’t grant rights; only limit them. 

And the second amendment, regardless of reasoning, is clear in its mandate: the right to bear arms must not be infringed.

-Streu-

My Government III: “… To Secure These Rights…”

Posted in civil rights, My Government, national defense, politics, Second Amendment, taxes with tags , , , , on February 28, 2008 by Randy Streu

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
–From The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America

When the founders of this nation wrote the document explaining the departure of the North American colonies from under the Crown’s rule, they prefaced it with a brief explanation of the Rights of Man, and the responsibility of a Government to those rights.  They asserted, correctly, that a government which failed to recognize the consent of the governed, and to facilitate the rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, such a government had forfeited its own right to rule.  It is clear that, not only did these individuals believe this to be the standard of what was to become the United States of America, but indeed the standard of Just Government the world over.

The first paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence set the precedent for the Constitution when it was drafted — and the responsibilities of the government that document established.  Put simply, the responsibility of the government is to facilitate (or, “secure”) the Divine Rights of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. 

On both a national and state level, this consists of the establishment of laws for the general order and welfare.  The common sense nature of this sort of law is such that the legislation of them is not so much to inform, but rather to provide precedent for reprisal should such common sense be ignored.  The average person knows on perhaps a primal level that it is wrong to murder, to steal, to cause harm.  Because not all men are honest, or good, however, we have laws on the books such that when bad men act badly, we me seek recompense and retribution.  Thus, on the local level, police forces are established “to serve and protect.” 

Nationally, the securing of these inalienable rights is manifest in the form of border security and national security.  Federal Border enforcement, a strong and well-maintained standing army, foreign intelligence agencies and a National Guard are all vital to this security and are indeed the chief responsibility of a National (Federal) government.  Administrations seeking to diminish or altar the roles of these agencies have been rightly criticized for acting against their Constitutional charter.

Much has been made in the recent past of the money spent by this nation on our military.  As will be discussed in the near future, those who would suggest a budget cut on this level are not only hopelessly naive about our safety and security, but woefully ignorant of the job of the Federal Government.  Indeed, any Administration which cuts military spending, or closes domestic military bases in favor of domestic entitlement programs is guilty of negligence in the highest degree.

A large part of domestic defense is the security of our sovereign borders.  The security of these borders is necessary not only for the defense of life, but indeed of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Ours is indeed a nation of immigrants.  We have a rich history of immigration and assimilation.  But such immigration must be tempered by just regulation as to who enters this country, and why.  Such regulation must not be based on race, color, creed or sex — such discrimination on a government level flies in the face of liberty — but on independence, ambition and prudent, rigorous examinations as to national security.

In other words, immigrants must always be welcome to this free nation, but such individuals must be both willing and able to provide for themselves and their families legally and independently of government aid — boon to society, in other words, rather than a burden.  And, they must be seen to pose no threat to our national security after reasonable investigation into their backgrounds.

Finally, the founders of this nation, in drafting the constition, provided for the penultimate source of personal and national security among Americans — the citizens themselves.  Referred to in the United States Constitution, under Article I, Section 8, as well as Article II, Section 2, this was clarified in the Second Amendment:  “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment to the Constitution has nothing whatever to do with hunting, or with skeet shooting, or with hobbyists of any flavor.  The Second Amendment is about the right of the individual to keep and have the tools necessary to defend his home, his family, his community and his country from foreign and domestic threats to life, liberty or property.  Vital to a free and sovereign nation is an armed citizenry, well-trained in the use of their weaponry and prepared to answer the call to defend themselves and their nation. 

In fact, the right to defend one’s self is key to the Inalienable Rights referred to by the Declaration of Independence. 

The responsibility to defend is the logical extension of a government for, by and of the people.  Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is secured by the free individual, and by the government formed and maintained by his consent.