Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Current Supreme Court Makeup

We now have 4 Conservatives, 4 Liberals and 1 Moderate on the Court.

This means if the next logical Justice to step down is the 85-year-old Stevens, then this will be the real key replacement. It is rumored that he will step down before Bush leaves office.

All this talk of the Court being dominated by the Right is not really true. Before we had two moderates with only three conservatives and four liberals. It is true however that O'Connor would "often" side with the Liberals and Kennedy would "often" side with the Conservatives, which would usually give the liberals a 5 - 4 majority.

However, if Kennedy keeps with his past, then he would now "often" give the court a new 5 - 4 Conservative majority.

I personally hope Bush names Judge Michael W. McConnell for the next seat.

If you think this nomination was rough, the next nominee will be vilified as Hitler re-incarnate no matter who the person is.

The Current Make up of the Court is as Follows: (Name - Age)

Moderates (1)
Kennedy - 69

Liberals (4)
Ginsburg - 72
Stevens - 85
Souter - 66
Breyer - 67

Conservatives (4)
Scalia - 69
Thomas - 57
Roberts – 51
Alito – 55

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Value of Life.

There is a Hierarchy of life. Let us assume for a moment that there are such beings as Angels and there is a God. If so then the value of life would be as follows:

1. - God
2. - Angels
3. - Humans
4. - Animals/Mammals/Birds/Fish/Etc.
5. - Insects/Bugs
6. - Plants
7. - Other

Now, when it comes to the Human link in the Chain we must ask ourselves if some human life is more valuable than others.

Let us look at the following scenario:

A Bus is on course to run over a dog or a six-year-old child and you must run and grab one of them and carry them to safety. Which would you choose? Most would choose the child because a human is more valuable than a dog.

Next, it is the choice between Hitler and the child. Which would you choose? Most would choose the child again because a child’s life is more valuable.

Next, a 70 year old lady or Hitler? Yep, the 70 year old lady.

This is the basis of why Conservatives can choose to execute a murderer without a sleepless night and has sleepless nights when they read about abortion. Not all life is of equal value.

Some on the left will agree but will value an old person as less valuable than a young murderer. Euthanasia has it's values backwards.

The above is my humble opinion.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Separation of Powers

When the Founding Fathers considered all of the problems associated with all forms of government, they found that the only way to protect the citizens from tyranny was to break up the normal power that governments wield.

There are three basic powers that governments have:

1. The Power to Make Laws.
2. The Power to Execute Laws.

3. The Power to Judge Laws.

The Founders set each function to different groups.

Make Laws (Legislative Branch) :
The ability to make laws was given to the Legislature. The Founders determined that just allowing one vote per state would not be totally fair to the Larger States, so they established a legislative body represented by two votes per state in the Senate and then had representatives based upon population in a state by having a House of Representatives and between them they would make the laws. Thus we have 50 States that have 100 Senators and 50 States that have 435 Representatives.

The House of Representatives is currently set at 435, but can be changed by Congress. To also address the problem of having people elected for life at the one extreme and having them elected for only one year at the other, the Founders decided to have the House seek elections every two years, while the Senate is for six years. Thus the House is said to be more responsive to the citizens while the Senate can be more stable by having longer terms.

Originally the Senate was elected by the State Legislators, which I believe was the better method because that makes it more responsive to our State needs and the State legislatures know who is doing the best job. As it is now, we elect the best-advertised person instead of the best person.

Execute Laws (Executive Branch) :
The President is charged with enforcing or executing the laws that Congress passes. He is also in charge of the Military as Commander-in-Chief. The power of the President is limited by only being able to carry out laws enacted and also by the budget when he is acting during wartime. He does not have any powers that are not spelled out in the Constitution.

The Executive Branch has been guilty in my opinion of grabbing legislative power by what is called “Executive Orders.”

Judge Laws (Judicial Branch):
The Judicial branch of our government is supposed to narrowly determine if laws made by congress are constitutional and to determine if cases brought to them are otherwise lawful. They were supposed to just vote “Yes or No”, and if the vote was “No”, then it was up to Congress to rewrite the law to make it right.

We have seen this branch of the Government be able to essentially write laws by way of instead of just saying that the law did not meet Constitutional Standards, they would issue findings that “explained how the law in question did not meet the standards” which by making an Abortion law unconstitutional and then explaining how the Constitution protected Abortion” it had the effect of writing new law by saying the Constitution had “implied protection” for abortion. This in turn allows abortion by default instead of by legislation.

Judge Alito had a quandary. There are over 100 cases that have ignored precedence and this means that Judges have been allowed to be “open minded”, but at the same time some at the hearings wanted Alito to admit that he should not have an open mind when it came to Abortion by declaring it to be “settled law.” The Constitution was never meant to be a “living document” when it came to the Judicial branch, only the Legislative branch. The Supreme Court is to narrowly apply the interpretation of the Constitution.

But, as you can see, we have the Executive and Judicial Branches making laws. This is eroding our Constitution protections from loss of freedom.

That is, in my humble opinion.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Slavery – Information Please.

Now before I get myself set up as acting like an authority on the subject, I will begin by saying….”As understood by me”….and in my opinion.

“Slavery has existed on nearly every continent, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and throughout most of recorded history. The ancient Greeks and Romans accepted the institution of slavery, as did the Mayas, Incas, Aztecs, and Chinese. Europeans began importing slaves from Africa to the New World beginning in the 16th century.” - Encyclopedia Britannica

Who again did the "importing" according to the Encyclopedia Britannica? The "Europeans."

There have been both white and black slaves. The Hebrews were freed from Slavery by Moses in the "exodus" from Egypt.

In the Biblical times, there were two different forms of slavery. Involuntary Servitude Slavery, and Voluntary Servitude Slavery.

UPDATE 1-4-06


It should be pointed out that Voluntary Servitude is not evil, where Involuntary Servitude is, even though both are a form of slavery. Because of what people have done to races like the Jews and the Africans, it is a delicate thing to even mention the two in the same breath as one is Racist as well as Evil, and the other is neither.

In Biblical times, when people would sell themselves to a rich person to be their "slave", it was not a bad thing because both parties were entering into a contract that was "directly" negotiated, with both parties freely choosing. To me this is a much preferred way to help the poor than to have society vote to have the poor helped by way of "indirect" taxation, as some people will be helping the poor without "freely choosing."

It would seem that everyone would want to help, but there is still an element of lost freedom in the process. It also has a way of allowing people to "cheat" the system much easier, such as the cases we have all heard of where some have "milked" the system for about $50,000.00 per year and have no physical disabilities.

There are those who cannot support themselves and deserve to be helped, (somehow/someway), but there are those on the public "dole" that can work, but refuse to, and those are the ones who have sold themselves to the public as a slave. And the truly sad thing is they are not even "working" for the public. Those that have chosen to help the poor with taxes are doing it with good intentions but the end result is a loss of freedom by those who are forced to help without a choice.

End Update:


Only the Voluntary Servitude was looked upon as being not only legal, but also a way of helping others. I will not go into much detail on the quotes from the Bible, as I will leave that to the reader, but suffice it to say, there were several purposes to having or becoming a Slave.

First the Jews recognized early in history a sad lesson on the human condition. Some people value security more than freedom. People could not ask for the government to feed and clothe them back then, but they could sell themselves to a wealthy family and have all of their cares and needs taken care of for life. No need to worry about going hungry because you would be guaranteed a place to sleep, food to eat and clothes to wear for as long as you were a slave and in some cases for as long as you lived. Today it is those who want "cradle to the grave" security from their neighbors, the taxpayers, to take care of them. Some call it Socialism, or perhaps "Western Socialism" might be a better discription.

Thus the laws of Moses, Roman laws and others made provisions for both free and bond people.

There were four types of legal slavery under the Laws of Moses:

1. Voluntary servitude by the sons of Israel (Temporary Slaves) – Those who needed assistance, could not pay their debts, or needed protection from others were allowed to become indentured servants. (Ex. 21:2-6; Deut. 15:12-18) This way they could work within a secure environment until they could overcome their problems. Many early settlers to America came as indentured servants.

2. The Voluntary Permanent Slaves – If people wanted the life of security, they could freely choose to be a permanent slave. (Ex. 21:2-6; Deut 15:16-17). Their ear was pierced to indicate their acceptance of permanent subjection to a master. These were the people like those today that would rather be dependent upon others to provide their needs than to risk hunger and be free. These people today have chosen slavery to the government instead of a personal master.

3. A Thief or Criminal making restitution - Those who could not or would not pay the person harmed by their theft, were sold as a slave. “If a man steals . . . he shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft” (Ex. 22:1,3). The servitude ceased when enough work was done to pay for the amount due in restitution.

4. Pagans could be permanent slaves – Since pagans had barbaric traits such as idol worship, human sacrifice, and other horrific practices, if the pagans were to see the beauty of becoming free by obeying the commandments of God, (if we are told that if we touch the hot stove, we will get burned, then if we obey the commandment to not touch the stove, are we not more free because of our obedience?), they could be released from thier agreement and become free men again.

The other method of slavery, (involuntary Servitude), was not biblical or part of the Law of Moses. In fact if a man had a slave that was forced into slavery, then he was treated as a horse thief was in the days of the Wild West, he was put to death for there were few acts worse than stealing a man’s freedom.

While aspects of slavery are Biblical (for punishment and restitution for theft, or for those who prefer the security of becoming a permanent bondservant), the Bible strictly forbids involuntary servitude.

The legal, or Voluntary Servitude aspect, is the reason that both the Old Testament and the New Testament talked about slavery in a "matter of fact" fashion. It was because it was a matter of law if the person had used his "freedom of Choice" to become a slave, or one of the other leagal options then it was accepted as a choice to be respected.

Jesus often critsized the poor treatment of slaves, but never condemed the legality of the practice because it was a matter of "render unto Ceaser what is Ceaser's" or in other words, obey the laws of the land. (Much of the above about the 4 types of slavery was gathered from information by Stephen McDowell.)

Now, in the beginnings of the settlements in America, we found people practicing the non-biblical practice of involuntary servitude. This practice was seen as evil by anyone who knew his or her bible and by anyone who could understand the concept of the Golden Rule.

While in relative numbers there were very few Plantation owners who could afford slaves, from the time of the early beginnings of this evil practice in about 1610 until 1776, My understanding is that there were about 700,000 slaves in the Americas. I may have to look this number up again, but that is the number that sticks in my mind.

Now, who were in favor of this evil? Again, it was the Plantation owners and other rich white folks who had lost their understanding of the Golden Rule because of greed, vanity and racism.

So, who carried the torch for this evil practice? Well reluctantly those who favored States rights but were against slavery were in a quandary. Did they go back on their firm belief in States Rights or did they try to “force” federalism on the states? The founders came up with an ingenious strategy, since many territories were still awaiting statehood, but still under federal jurisdiction, the founders made laws that any new state must make slavery illegal.

Who else carried the planks of slavery? Which party was the party of the South? Yep, the Democrat Party was. "The Democratic Party had become the dominant political party in America in the 1820s, and in May 1854, in response to the strong pro-slavery positions of the Democrats, several anti-slavery Members of Congress formed an anti-slavery party – the Republican Party. It was founded upon the principles of equality originally set forth in the governing documents of the Republic. " - David Barton

"The original Republican platform in 1856 had only nine planks – six of which were dedicated to ending slavery and securing equal rights for African-Americans. The Democratic platform of that year took an opposite position and defended slavery, even warning that “all efforts of the abolitionists [those opposed to slavery]. . . are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences and . . . diminish the happiness of the people and endanger the stability and permanency of the Union.” The next Democratic platform (1860) endorsed both the Fugitive Slave Law and the Dred Scott decision; Democrats even distributed copies of the Dred Scott ruling to justify their anti-black positions."

In an 1865 publication documenting the history of black voting rights, Philadelphia attorney John Hancock confirmed that the Declaration of Independence set forth “equal rights to all. It contains not a word nor a clause regarding color. Nor is there any provision of the kind to be found in the Constitution of the United States.” – Hancock, Essays on the Elective Franchise, pp. 32-33. - David Barton

For more info on the history of the Democratic Party see here.

Today, the Democrats still like having people dependent upon them. If they promise a chicken in every basket, and a free lunch, and free health care, they will find willing slaves that would rather have security than freedom only instead of selling thier freedom to a master, they sell it for help from the benevolent masters in Washington D.C., the "free lunch" great society. Insted of "give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and feed him for life.", they want gratitude and votes every election for thier "give away" programs that keep voters beholden to them. So they "give" them a fish every day so long as they "obey." (No husbands, or "if we find a man living here, we will stop your welfare check because we are the master.")

Most of us will never know what the people who had to put up with the most evil practice on the face of the earth, (involuntary Servitude), or forced slavery, had to endure because only if you are non-white could you ever know what it would be like to face discrimination because of the color of your skin.

My wife’s mother is Half Mexican, (my wife's grandmother was full Mexican and her granfather was full Italian), and she tells me all the time about her discrimination and what it is like, but I still cannot imagine. May God bless all those who have had to put up with Bigots on this planet.

Again, I know there will be opposing views on this as it is part of God's plan that there needs to be opposition in all things, so for those who disagree, fire away as I respect most all opinions because we all believe in our worldview, and who am I to say "who" is right, I am only concerned with "what" is right, and of that, I am only sure that all of us "believe" we know, but since both sides cannot be so, it will be up to the readers to ponder in their hearts.

All I ask is for respect by way of "just present information" and not vanity by saying "who" is wrong and "who" is right. Make it about the information or message and not about the messenger, please.