02/8/16
Unclaimed

Unclaimed Prizes

Lottery TicketsBY: T.F. STERN | The Moral Liberal

There was quite a bit of chatter going on this past week about the possibility a $63 Million Dollar lottery prize would go unclaimed.  My daughter in law wondered out loud, “Can you imagine finding out you had the winning ticket only to be told you waited too long to claim your winnings.  That would be awful; just think about how you’d feel.”

The idea of missing out on something that big would upset most folks; but then I got to thinking about it from a different angle.  What if you never found out?  The winning numbers were picked; but you never bothered to see if they matched the ticket you purchased; how bad would you feel since you never knew how much money you missed out on?  For all you knew the only money you lost was the two dollars spent on the ticket.

Life is like that for most folks; but this has nothing to do with purchasing a lottery ticket.

Mortality is the ticket we purchased to prove ourselves, to make ourselves eligible for all that God has.  Interestingly, each ticket purchased is a winner; the only losers are those that are not claimed.

Admittedly there are some qualifiers in order to claim your prizes; but rest assured, you did purchase a winning ticket the moment you accepted the Great Plan of Salvation.

C S Lewis on Children of God posterSome folks don’t even know who they are as they go through the challenges of life.  Oh, they might know their parents, grandparents and even a long list of ancestors going back hundreds of years; but do they really know they are children of our Heavenly Father?  Do they understand their royal lineage makes possible an inheritance beyond our ability to grasp?

We are created in His image and, in due time, we’re expected to figure out how to behave according to the commandments and other instructions given via the scriptures and servants of the Lord.  Upon successful completion of our probationary period we are promised all that he has; if that’s not greater than any lottery prize then I don’t know what would impress you.

Once you’ve figured out you’re holding the winning ticket; will it alter the way you approach life?  I would certainly hope so.


T.F. SternThe Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern,is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.

01/3/16
Declaration of Independence

Our Sacred Honor…

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

Declaration of Independence being signed

The words we speak are important, what we hold sacred and what we will defend, even until death if required.  If we raise our arm to the square we are taking a solemn oath, considerably more than just lip service (someone please pass this information along to our elected and appointed representatives).  Our sacred honor is at stake as we declare our words are true, not only to our fellow citizens; but with God.  There is never a time when Pledges, Oaths and Testimonies are to be treated lightly.

Some years back a document was signed wherein grievances against the King of England were listed along with a formal Declaration of Independence.  As with most important documents, those who signed it were testifying of its truthfulness, no different than if they’d been standing in a court of law bearing witness to those present; except in this case these men were bearing witness to the entire world.

Perhaps that’s why they finished with these words, words that mean much as you consider, …each man signed with full knowledge, … the serious nature of such a  declaration…

“…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

I mention testimonies and sacred honor as they play a significant role for those beginning a course of study this year, the Book of Mormon.  In Sunday School we prepared by reading from the Introduction where two documents worth mentioning are kept for good reason; the Testimony of Eight Witnesses and the Testimony of Three Witnesses.

Testimony of Eight Witnesses

“Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.”

Eight Witnesses BOMWhile reading the account given by the eight witnesses I was immediately reminded of those who’d pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor before the world to declare our independence.

These were bold statements which could not be taken lightly.  Having held the metal plates containing an ancient language that Joseph Smith was to translate and which would go out into the world, a world filled with skeptics; they didn’t claim to understand what had been written on those gold plates, only that plates from which the Book of Mormon sprang physically existed.  These witnesses knew many would be reluctant to accept additional scripture, even more would reject the Book of Mormon completely; that said they willingly signed their names.

An ancient prophet recorded the Lord’s foreknowledge of skeptics in our dayregarding the Book of Mormon…

“And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.”

As you continue to read the rest of that chapter; the presumption being you will continue reading, it becomes clear the Lord has shared and will continue to share his words with other children who have been scattered while He blesses the seed of Abraham as promised.

The second document, the Testimony of Three Witnesses is both a physical and a spiritual affidavit of importance for all God’s children.  These individuals were witnessing the restoration of the gospel for this, the Final Dispensation.

They had seen an angel of the Lord present before them the Book of Mormon plates, explain, at least in part, the information provided on those plates and; perhaps more importantly, they were commanded by God to act as witnesses to what they had been privileged to observe regardless of what consequences the world would see fit to impose.

When you think about raising your arm to the square and testifying, the full impact of your testimony comes into play.  Not only are you swearing before your equals, your fellow men; but you are standing at the feet of God who knows the truth of all things.  What’s at stake?  Only your sacred honor; Heaven help those who bear false witness.

A friend of mine, Russ Parker, temporarily lost his wallet the other day.  Other than being concerned for the possibility of having to replace his drivers license and credit cards he’d also lost several items of personal value contained therein; treasures of wisdom if you will, that he reads on a daily basis to motivate and support him.

He showed the wallet which he’d later found along with a scrap of paper with one of the treasures of wisdom which I’ll share.  It’s a short quote from Ezra Taft Benson’s General Conference talk given October, 1986.

Book of Mormon Power Outlet image“It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth, though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears testimony of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. You will find the power to avoid deception. You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path. The scriptures are called “the words of life” (D&C 84:85), and nowhere is that more true than it is of the Book of Mormon. When you begin to hunger and thirst after those words, you will find life in greater and greater abundance.”

With that I challenge you to obtain the truths contained within the Book of Mormon, that you might hunger and thirst after those words and find life in greater and greater abundance.   I add my testimony that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith is/was the Prophet of God chosen to bring forth the restoration of the gospel in our day.  On my sacred honor, and in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


T.F. SternThe Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern,is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.

12/27/15
Jesus

Left behind at the Temple

Jesus at age 12 teaching at the templeBY T.F. STERN
The Moral Liberal

A couple of years ago while I was working at the Houston Texas Temple in the Baptistery a large youth group came by to do vicarious ordinance work for their kindred dead. One young man, age 12, was attending the temple for his first time and was a bit embarrassed when, during his turn to do baptisms, he got water up his nose causing his sinus cavities to drain uncontrollably. This was near the end of his group’s visit and when the young man came out of the dressing room he was alarmed, almost in a panic as he looked around and found he was alone in the Baptistery.

He’d concluded that while he’d spent an inordinate amount of time in the dressing room, that perhaps his group had gone on without him, leaving him to find a way home. There was a momentary look of despair which caused me to step up to the challenge.

I explained to him that one time in the distant past another young boy about his same age had accidentally been left behind during a family trip to the temple. I mentioned that it was someone high up in the church that he’d probably heard of; waiting for him to gather his thoughts on who it might have been.

“Was it Thomas Monson”, he asked on his first guess?

“No, it was someone much higher”, I responded. You could see that my answer puzzled the young man; who would be higher than the President of the Church?

I then explained how Jesus had gone to the temple as a young man and while teaching the elders of Israel his family left him there by accident; but upon going a short distance realized his not being present so they immediately returned to find him with the learned men, expounding great truths with power and authority.

“So you’re in good company, now aren’t you?” The young man thought about what I’d said and the biggest smile came over him, his shoulders squared up and he no longer felt embarrassed for having lost control of his sinuses. An adult member of his group came from the outer foyer looking for him about that time. I wish I’d been able to take the young man down the hall to where the picture of the young Jesus teaching at the temple was hanging on the wall; but that area was restricted so it wasn’t to be.


T.F. SternThe Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern,is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.

11/20/15
The People of the Cross

God’s Country not Allah’s

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

The Jazz Singer 02

I haven’t heard the expression, “This is God’s Country”, in quite some time as folks show gratitude for all that is around them here in the good old U.S.A., land of the free and home of the brave.  “Everywhere around the world, They’re coming to America…”, hard not to picture the Jazz Singer with the crowd getting into it, pride in our nation caught in the moment.  Those who respect our county, which goes without saying includes respect our laws, laws based on God’s eternal principles; fill out the proper forms as they prepare for legal entry either as temporary guests or something more that may includes citizenship.

In the movie Neil Diamond’s character drives home the idea of becoming Americans, the dream of being part of this great nation.

…Everywhere around the world
They’re coming to America
Ev’ry time that flag’s unfurled
They’re coming to America…

{…}

My country ‘tis of thee (today)
Sweet land of liberty (today)
Of thee I sing (today)
Of thee I sing
Today, Today, Today
Today, today, today…..

I love the reference to a patriotic tune written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, specifically the last stanza where he sums up our strength as being tied to our Creator.

Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

If a person enters our country in any way which isn’t lawful then it must be assumed that his/her intentions are less than honorable.  We have enough folks living here who’ve rejected God and the principles upon which our nation was founded.  They hate our constitutional republic and individual God given rights protected by it.  Perhaps this explains their willingness to import others who hate America.

What about those fleeing a war zone, migrants seeking safe haven, can’t we make room for them?  Isn’t there a place in our hearts for the sanctity of life?  (For those in favor of abortion; are you ready to go down that particular road?)  Let’s try not to confuse helping those in need with helping those who wish to enslave or kill us simply because we aren’t followers of Islam.

I wasn’t going to mention those on welfare who are draining the treasury dry with each passing day; no, I was going to consider the subject of migrants, thousands upon thousands of folks looking for something better than what they have now.  But…

An article by Brittany M. Hughes quoting Senator Jeff Sessions, (R – Ala), he explained that, 10K Syrian Refugees will cost taxpayers $6.5B; that caught my attention.  We’ll be on the hook for, “…lifetime education, welfare and healthcare costs – all of which are benefits refugees are legally entitled to once they are accepted into the country.”  Why so much?

Pardon a blunt question; but how the hell did our government ever get so convoluted as to guarantee permanent welfare to anyone, much less refugees, migrants and illegal aliens?  No wonder our national debt has skyrocketed out of control.  With money management tactics like this it’s a wonder we haven’t gone belly up… (According to some we already have gone belly up; just waiting for the toe tag)

“A recent analysis finds that admitting 10,000 refugees to the United States presents a net lifetime cost to taxpayers of $6.5 billion, meaning that under the current plan to admit 85,000 refugees this fiscal year, taxpayers will be on the hook for $55 billion.

For the cost of resettling one refugee in America, we could successfully resettle 12 refugees in the region. Creating safe-zones in Syria and the region is a vastly more effective and compassionate strategy. Such a proposal recently was put forth by former Secretary of Defense Gates and General Petraeus, among others.”

Aside from the cost in Dollars to American taxpayers, do we really want to invite these people into our country?  Are they compatible with our way of life and do they plan to become Americans, be assimilated or will they become a secondary society living off our money; but planning to eventually replace our society?   Why not, as Sen. Sessions alluded to, set aside some portion of the Middle East as a safe haven for folks seeking shelter?

La RazaThink about the invasion of illegal aliens from Mexico…and according to La Raza (the Race) that is exactly what is being carried out, an invasion to reclaim what these folks believe is their land, land stolen from them.

“In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal gringo invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny. … Aztlan belongs to those who plant the seeds, water the fields, and gather the crops and not to the foreign Europeans. … We are a bronze people with a bronze culture. Before the world, before all of North America, before all our brothers in the bronze continent, we are a nation, we are a union of free pueblos, we are Aztlan. For La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada.”

That closing two-sentence motto is chilling to everyone who values equal rights for all. It says: “For The Race everything. Outside The Race, nothing.”

Sure doesn’t sound like these folks want any part of being members of the United States; being assimilated into our society, now does it?  Apply that thought process to Muslim migrants to America.

The goal of Islam is to enslave or kill all who are not of Islam.  That’s a simple fact which makes it difficult for me to open my arms wide and greet these newcomers into our society.

In a piece attributed to Nonie Darwish; Joys of Muslim Women, we’re warned very specifically:

“(In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in Canada, Australia, the U.S. And Britain To elect the heads of Government by themselves! Rest assured they will do so… You can look at how they have almost taken over several towns in the USA .. Dearborn Mich. is one and there are others….Britain has several cities now with Sharia Law controlled zones, totally controlled by Muslims)

{…}

It is too bad that so many are disillusioned with life and Christianity to accept Muslims as peaceful… Some may be but they have an army that is willing to shed blood in the name of Islam.. The peaceful support the warriors with their finances and own kind of patriotism to their religion.  While Canada, Australia, the U.S.A. and Britain are getting rid of Christianity from all public sites and erasing God from the lives of children the Muslims are planning a great jihad on North America, Australia and Britain.” (emphasis added)

The leadership in Washington tells us we should not consider Islam as a threat; that we need to open our borders for migrants without a serious vetting to keep out invading Muslims, close our eyes and ignore hundreds of years of history associated with these barbarians and pretend they just want to live among us as equals.  Sorry; but that doesn’t wash.

I have a hard time accepting Washington’s mandate, that … They’re coming to America, Today…like it or not… They’re coming to America, Today.  This poorly thought out invitation to folks from the Middle East will not turn out well, not for us, Today… and certainly not for our children and grandchildren.  This is an invasion.

So there you have it.  We’ll either sing, “Our fathers’ God to Thee, Author of liberty, To Thee we sing”… or our children and grandchildren will be doomed to “Allah Akbar”, life under Sharia law and Muslim tyranny.


T.F. SternThe Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern,is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.

11/6/15
Global Warming

The Pot Calling the Kettle Black?

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Global Warming Communism poster

Reading the headline articles can be interesting and often times difficult to tell if it’s a legitimate item or if someone is pulling your leg.  Take this next item which came via the Associated Press for example; at first I thought it was a spoof piece like you’d find over at The Onion, it’s not…

The opening line of Michael Virtanen’s article reads:  “New York’s attorney general is examining statements by Exxon Mobil and Peabody Energy to determine whether they deceived investors about the causes and impacts of climate change, an official familiar with the investigations said Thursday.”

Where does reality end and fantasy take over when the topic involves Climate Change?

Exxon Mobil apparently had been mandated to warn investors about financial risks involved due to government regulations which may or may not be adversely affected because of government reports and subsequent regulations on the oil and gas industry.  Even so, the article included the company policy which showed they were at least in partial compliance if not complete subjugation to the powers that be.

“ExxonMobil’s nearly 40-year history of climate research that was conducted publicly in conjunction with the Department of Energy, academics and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

ipcc-busted-logo2Let’s get this right; wouldn’t want to mislead anyone…The United Nations IPCC report, a report which has been proven to be based on fraudulent data gathered and edited in such a way as to intentionally mislead for the sole purpose of political power and redistribution of wealth on a planetary scale that rivals any con game…that report used by our own government to empower the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into implementing Draconian measures which have nearly crippled the energy industry and have, for all intent and purpose declared that it will put the Coal Industry out of business…along with the Department of Energy and paid academics on the dole from the very same administration…these are the trusted folks with all the facts?  (Every now and then a good run on sentence makes more sense than following the rules)

It would seem Exxon Mobil is between a rock and a hard place, pardon the geological pun…  They’ve made efforts to get along with the self appointed ‘high priests’ in charge of the Church of Man Made Global Warming, implemented extreme measures to go along with mandates which were put in place for the sole purpose of putting Exxon Mobil and other oil exploration companies out of business and yet continue to exist and convince investors that the odds of making a return on those investments was/is worth the risk.

So who is being taken for a ride?   If the State of New York wants to investigate deceptive practices, “…to determine whether they deceived *investors (*substitute “the general public”) about the causes and impacts of climate change…”, shouldn’t they be looking at someone other than the oil companies who are only trying to stay in business and turn a profit?

Don’t take my word for it; recognized scientist and Professor John Christy, who was at one time on the Climate Alarmist Bandwagon, and former lead author of the IPCCwrote:

“Regarding the Hockey Stick of IPCC 2001 evidence now indicates, in my view, that an IPCC Lead Author working with a small cohort of scientists, misrepresented the temperature record of the past 1000 years by (a) promoting his own result as the best estimate, (b) neglecting studies that contradicted his, and (c) amputating another’s result so as to eliminate conflicting data and limit any serious attempt to expose the real uncertainties of these data.”

In lay terms, the IPCC Report is a fabrication, a fraudulent script intended to deceive in order to provide a means of redistributing power and money…in short, a lie!

Lamar Smith wrote in his article, The EPA’s Game of Secret Science, as originally found in the Wall Street Journal on July 30, 2013 and linked via the internet site JunkScience dot Com:

“As the Environmental Protection Agency moves forward with some of the most costly regulations in history, there needs to be greater transparency about the claimed benefits from these actions. Unfortunately, President Obama and the EPA have been unwilling to reveal to the American people the data they use to justify their multibillion-dollar regulatory agenda.”

“To cite a few examples of where the EPA would like to take the country, the agency is moving forward with strict new limits on ozone that by its own estimates will cost taxpayers $90 billion per year, which would make the regulation the most costly in history. Other examples include a Mercury and Air Toxics Standard for power plants (previously known as “Utility MACT”) that the EPA estimates could cost up to $10 billion a year. Yet more than 99% of the EPA’s health-based justifications for the rule are derived from scientific research that the EPA won’t reveal. Taxpayers are supposed to take on faith that EPA policy is backed by good science.”

But, hey, what’s a few billion dollars among friends?  It’s only the energy industry being destroyed and let’s face it, our ancestors lived comfortably in caves without electricity for a very long time.

Before the State of New York wastes even more taxpayer money chasing the White Rabbit down that hole perhaps they might refer to an article by the late Alan Caruba,  A History of the Disastrous Global Warming Hoax:

“It is the greatest deception in history and the extent of the damage has yet to be exposed and measured,” says Dr. Tim Ball in his new book, “The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science”.

{…}

“Several UN conferences set in motion the hoax that is based on the assertion that carbon dioxide (CO2) was causing a dramatic surge in heating the Earth. IPCC reports have continued to spread this lie through their summaries for policy makers that influenced policies that have caused nations worldwide to spend billions to reduce and restrict CO2 emissions. Manmade climate change—called anthropogenic global warming—continues to be the message though mankind plays no role whatever.”

Those Big Bad Oil companies making a profit, all the while killing Mother Earth; polluting the water, the air and endangering our children’s future…shame on them for misleading investors, not telling them our government was trying to put them out of business, that the EPA and the United Nation’s band of thugs would lie in order to bring about a total collapse of capitalism.


T.F. SternThe Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern,is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.

07/14/15
Dept. of Public Safety - Texas

Yet another open letter to locksmiths

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

DPS logo

I’m directing this to the newly appointed member of the Texas Department of Public Safety/Private Security Bureau (DPS/PSB), the Honorable C. D. Sims, an accomplished locksmith in his own right; however anyone associated with the Locksmith Industry is invited to consider what is presented.   There’s been a burr under my saddle, so to speak, ever since the locksmith industry was hog tied into being licensed so many years ago and placed under (the thumb of) the DPS/PSB with Not One Single Locksmith on that governing board.

Forgive my sense of history; but we fought a war over the idea of taxation without representation.

Saying it’s about time a locksmith was on the DPS/PSB would be an under statement; so without wasting any more time, C. D., (the rest of you Honorable board members might want to pay attention as well), how about addressing an issue which has been ignored or didn’t seem important to those who have gone before you.

Mandated continuing education hours in order to maintain an existing Locksmith License

I wrote an article back in 2010, Subjects of Texas, regarding the increase of mandated continuing educations hours required by the DPS/PSB in order to maintain a valid locksmith license.  At the time all locksmiths, regardless of how many years they’d been active in the Locksmith Industry, all were required to include 8 hours of locksmith related courses, taken only via approved instructors in the State of Texas; however, that increased to 16 hours without any justification.

What I wrote then still applies:

The DPS/PSB cannot justify its expensive and time consuming requirements, and I might add; requirements which do not serve to protect an unsuspecting public from scoundrels posing as legitimate locksmiths because those individuals who have acquired a locksmith license are not a threat and never were a threat to an unsuspecting public. The DPS/PSB has hijacked a part of the private sector and enslaved them with petty Lilliputian rules and regulations which serve only to guarantee permanent employment for DPS/PSB employees; a typical bureaucracy and drain on an already weak economy.

On more than one occasion I’ve submitted a proposal to the DPS/PSB, along with this same suggestion through the Greater Houston Locksmith Association (GHLA), to the effect that licensed locksmiths who have been performing their skills for 10 years or more should be exempted from mandated continuing education courses in order to maintain that license.

This isn’t to say that locksmiths intending to stay up to date or ahead of their competition should not endeavor to improve their skills via continuing education courses which are available in a wide number of important areas; only that the State of Texas should have no say on what should or should not be mandated once a locksmith has proven his or her skills for 10 years or more.    This recommendation fell on deaf ears and was not acted upon.

Recently an article by George F. Will appeared in the Washington Post, The 110 year-old case that still inspires Supreme Court debates.   That particular case was the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1905 Lochner decision which dealt with unionized bakeries attempting to mandate, through government intervention, the number of hours small family owned bakeries could work in order to compete in the market place under arbitrarily contrived figure set by the unions and passed along by the State.

The Lochner case found in favor of the small bakeries, specifically individuals going about, as best they could, supporting themselves and determining for themselves, how many hours to work, sleep or maintain a healthy work environment.

While the ruling was not unanimous, it did establish, or more accurately, re-established and “affirmed the United States’ foundational doctrine: Majorities cannot legislate away individuals’ constitutional rights for preposterous or protectionist reasons.”

In a recent opinion concerning occupational licensing in Texas, Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court said:

“Lochner meant that government must prove the public necessity of its restrictions of economic liberty. Sensible judicial deference to government regulations does not require judicial dereliction of its duty to gaze skeptically on government’s often ridiculous rationalizations of them.   Since the New Deal, when courts abandoned protection of economic liberty, government has felt no obligation to produce evidence of the rationality of its restrictions. So, disreputable reasons go unchallenged.”  (emphasis added)    

So I once again turn this unsavory mandated continuing education issue back to you Honorable members of the DPS/PSB.

Can the State of Texas, specifically the DPS/PSB PROVE the public necessity of its restrictions of economic liberty?  Mind you, locksmiths have already PROVEN they are capable and trustworthy by virtue of the fact they have already obtained a Locksmith License.  It is up to the State to PROVE that individual locksmiths cannot continue to serve the public without the additional hours of mandated continuing education courses.

Unless it is the board’s contention that locksmiths forget most of what they have learned over a lifetime’s investment in their chosen area of specialty, then it’s pointless to rationalize this ridiculous and expensive waste of time and effort on any ‘journeyman locksmith’, a mandate which produces no measurable added security for the public.

The State of Texas should not be in the business of violating any individual’s God given rights of doing what they can to support themselves and their families.   It’s time to eliminate mandated continuing course requirements for any licensed locksmith with 10 years or more experience.

T.F. Stern

06/30/15
Fourth of July

Celebrating What?

T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

America-Independence Day 02

I started to write a short comment, something to do with preparing to celebrate the 4th of July.  Oh, well, as often happens; a different avenue presented itself.   Speaking of different roads to go down…

With all the changes in accepted public attitudes is it any wonder some folks are calling for the destruction of long revered symbols from the past?

Young rabble rousers have been challenged to stomp on the American Flag, same sex marriage was found to be a God given right in the constitution according to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court; albeit the use of the term ‘God given’ was not used, only that it was a ‘right’.

The Confederate Battle Flag was found guilty of racism and banished to the same closet with the Washington Redskins logo as it clearly has no place in society today.

The odor of cooking of bacon bothers followers of Islam enough that some restaurants have been forced to remove it from the menu; mustn’t antagonize our Muslim neighbors who have been so tolerant of others.

Rumor has it there’s a lawsuit attempting to force a remake of the movie, Paint Your Wagon.  Instead of Clint Eastwood’s character, Partner, butchering the tune, They Call the Wind Mariah, a local Imam wants it redone as They Call the Wind Sharia…; claims that because of Islam’s long standing contributions to the founding of America, a claim which Obama has often referred to as part of America’s great heritage…(forgive me; I’m cleaning off some excess residue from my brown shoes while writing.  Yes, I’ll go to great lengths for a pun)

While we’re busy changing things, let’s go for the gold…What say we get a new National Anthem, one that is all inclusive, something that matches the debauchery which has become acceptable in society?

anything-goes-logoCole Porter had a life style that shocked civilized society not too long ago; but his extraordinary talent permitted such indiscretions.  In our day he might have trouble keeping up.  Porter wrote this catchy little number and it took off like a bat out of hell back in his day, Anything Goes.

Can’t you just see an Olympian stand on the winner’s block, the new National Anthem of the United States of America played as the Rainbow Flag is spotlighted for all the world to acknowledge our accomplishments.  The athlete turns his/her back to the camera, drops his/her drawers and moons everyone.  That folks, could very well be our destiny.

While eliminating any and all references to the grand and glorious history that made America Home of the Brave and Land of the Free, the Twenty Dollar Bill could easily have a woman’s image on it; perhaps Madalyn Murray O’Hair; and you can bet the farm by the time this happens our money will cease to have In God We Trust engraved on it.

As this rant comes to a close it’s only appropriate to follow with another tune, one that reflects my doing a face palm,  Look What They’ve Done to My Song

Before our history is completely wiped clean, removing from our memory the ramblings of some old White guys, sometimes called our Founding Fathers…

Let us prepare to celebrate our Independence Day, keeping in mind many high school graduates believe that July 4th is the day Hot Dogs were first sold at a televised baseball game; take a moment to appreciate that once upon a time most folks understood that individual liberty was paid for by men who mutually pledged to each other their Lives, Fortunes and sacred Honor; and none of this could have happened without Divine Intervention.


T.F. SternThe Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.

06/23/15
Guns

Open Carry Laws present challenges

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

Samsung Galaxy S 5 phone

We went to the local Verizon store this past weekend, a chance to upgrade my cell phone and take advantage of Father’s Day specials.  Lucy already had a Verizon account so by dropping my T-Mobile service and switching I’d get a new phone and save money to boot.  The store was fairly busy and we had to wait for a salesperson.

I’d barely learned to use my old phone; what was I thinking as I tried to figure out the new technology, technology my kids and grandkids know all about.

There was a uniformed Houston Police Officer working security so I introduced myself as a retired cop and exchanged pleasantries while waiting.  I asked him if there had been any special training for officers to deal with the new Open Carry Law which goes into effect at the first of the year and was a bit surprised when he said there had not.

The officer was a two year veteran; in other words he could still be considered a rookie… that coming from an old guy who retired from the department about the time this kid was born.  He wore the new dark blue uniform which I’m not a fan of as it makes officers look less approachable, more militaristic; but that’s just my opinion.

I mentioned my concern that the Department hadn’t provided additional training for street officers in dealing with the general public as the Open Carry Law went into effect.  The mindset of a street officer upon seeing a weapon has to be prepared for the worst while treating the situation with Kid gloves.   I can hardly wait, sarcasm button engaged, as future stories hit the Houston Chronicle, “Officer Shoots Citizen For No Reason Other Than He Saw A Legally Permitted Pistol”, or some such headline.

Lethal_weapon 1Here’s a movie clip from, Lethal Weapon, with Danny Glover playing the part of Roger Murtaugh, an ‘old head’ cop being assigned a new partner, Martin Riggs, a ‘burn out’ with possible mental issues played by Mel Gibson.  Their first meeting didn’t exactly go off well.

Riggs, waiting to meet his new partner, was sitting on the edge of a desk and took his pistol out to wipe it off, not really thinking that drawing a gun in a police station might cause unintended results.

Murtaugh, who’d been half way paying attention to the unknown suspicious looking individual, alerted those around him, “Gun!”

Everyone in the office went into high alert mode as Murtaugh focused on the potential threat, went to take Riggs down; but Riggs being more efficient in take down methods had Murtaugh on the floor in a heartbeat.

“Hey Murtaugh, meet your new partner.”

Cops are in for a tough time as they have to re-train their minds and methods as pertain to a public which now will have Open Carry.

Any police department that doesn’t have a plan, a policy with basic guidelines dealing with individuals walking about with weapons that are perfectly legal…that department is in deep doo-doo.

There’s a story out of Gulf Port, Mississippi, which highlights one of the challenges; individuals who take Open Carry to extremes just to show they can.  Apparently these two…trying to decide what to call them; Bozos, Clowns, Ass Clowns (getting closer)…mind numbed jerks (getting warmer), future Darwin Award participants (Bingo!).

“According to authorities, the two men walked into the Walmart on Highway 49 around 8 p.m.  Witnesses said the man holding the shotgun was actively loading and racking the firearm.”

{…}

“Cox (police chief in Philadelphia, MS) said the new law does not allow someone to walk down the street with a gun in hand.  This is considered brandishing a weapon, which is still a crime, he said.”

Police officers are going to run up against all manner of folks who are legally carrying firearms; wouldn’t it be a good idea to offer training for both officers and the public on the best way to keep from starting a remake of Gunfight at the Okay Corral?

What about the public’s perception of how police officers are going to treat average law abiding citizens who take advantage of their right to Open Carry?  This is all new territory and there’s plenty of room for miscommunication by citizens and/or police, trampling of perceived God given rights in the name of  making the public safer; the list is endless and full of opportunities to get someone killed.

One thing is sure; the courts will have plenty of happy lawyers filling their bank accounts while we’re sorting out the details one by one.

Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for everyone.  Open Carry was signed into law to protect an individual’s God given right to own and bear arms; it’s not a permit to act like a fool and scare your fellow citizens half to death.

05/23/15
Jade Helm

Jade Helm – Reason for Concern?

By: T F Stern
The Moral Liberal

Jade Helm Crazy Cartoon

Conspiracy rumors abound as Jade Helm  military exercises begin to roll forward in various places of the United States.  Is there reason to be concerned or is this simply a chance for our military personnel to practice?

One factor to consider would have to be the public’s loss of trust towards those in government.

“A key component of the controversial Jade Helm military exercise set to take part in nine U.S. states this summer will involve soldiers operating “undetected amongst civilian populations,” to see if they can infiltrate without being noticed.”

{…}

“Despite assurances that the training is to prepare troops for overseas missions, Army documents in the past have made clear that plans for martial law are in place for within the Continental United States (CONUS).

A leaked 2012 US Army Military Police training manual, entitled “Civil Disturbance Operations,” described how soldiers would be ordered to confiscate firearms and kill American “dissidents.” The manual also revealed that prisoners would be detained in temporary internment camps and “re-educated” to gain a new appreciation of “U.S. policies,” in accordance with U.S. Army FM 3-19.40 Internment/Resettlement Operations.”

I suppose we should trust the military; after all, they are paid to protect us…right?  President Obama trusts the military completely; that’s why when he ordered U.S. Marines to be disarmed during his Inauguration Parade.

“He’s gutted their healthcare, plans to cut their pay and apparently, doesn’t trust them either. David Codrea over at Gun Rights Examiner points out that Marines marching in President Obama’s second inaugural parade recently were caring rifles without bolts, meaning they were removed.”

President Obama should bear full responsibility for the public’s loss of trust.

Obama’s administration has shown time and time again its ineptitude and utter contempt for following limitations placed on government by the Constitution. I’d list them all here; but space being at a premium…Fast & Furious scandal, Solyndra loan/gift of taxpayer funds, Obamacare’s “You can keep your doctor”, NSA spying on Americans, IRS targeting political enemies of Obama, Benghazi, racially dividing the nation, Executive Orders to get around Congress on Illegal Immigration, supplying arms to the Muslim Brotherhood, apologizing to the world for America’s greatness at the United Nations…  Is it necessary to continue?

It wouldn’t be so bad if Obama’s administrators were simply inept; but their arrogance toward the public which employs them makes it even more difficult to excuse a total lack of respect for their stewardships.  When asked to justify their actions the general rule is to stonewall requested information, refuse to answer or plead the 5th in order to avoid prosecution for crimes against We The People.

When the largest military operation ever to take place on American soil during peacetime is being carried out with only Washington’s promise that it’s nothing out of the ordinary, there’s no reason to be concerned or the check’s in the mail…let’s just say a little skepticism is in order.

There was an old black and white movie made back in the early sixties, Seven Days in May, which dealt with the theoretical possibility of a military take over of the government.  The plot called for a group of upper echelon military to stage war games exercise and use that moment to remove the president from office under the pretense that he was unfit for office.

While the story line doesn’t match up, at least not entirely with today’s political setting, there are many similarities which are worthy of consideration. Seven Days in May, was a fictional story; however, think on this:

“President Kennedy had read Seven Days in May shortly after its publication and believed the scenario as described could actually occur in the United States.”

Obama has removed top ranking officers from the military, men who had not planned on retiring; men who have publicly stated that they could not and would not follow orders from the White House to fire on American civilians.

I have just been informed by a former senior military leader that Obama is using a new “litmus test” in determining who will stay and who must go in his military leaders. Get ready to explode folks. The new litmus test of leadership in the military is if they will fire on US citizens or not. Those who will not are being removed.”

Obama has scheduled Jade Helm as a military exercise to be carried out in several states, some labeled as “Hostile”, states which just happen to have voted against him and his agenda to transform America.

Is this a military take over, similar to the one in Seven Days in May, only in reverse; a president of the United States setting the stage for Martial Law?

Obama didn’t trust U.S. Marines to have loaded weapons during his Inauguration Parade, he doesn’t trust American citizens with weapons either.  Is Jade Helm the elephant in the middle of the room that nobody can see, Obama’s bold opportunity to seize American’s weapons via a supposed military exercise?

FEMA DomesAre those FEMA buildings what they purport to be or is there a more sinister, a dark side to their being located behind schools or on Wal-mart properties shut down for “emergency plumbing repairs”?

While we’re into making outlandish comparisons…didn’t Richard ‘I am not a Crook’ Nixon have plumbers… White House Plumbers to fix those who stood against him?  Maybe Obama has a team of plumbers going to fix what needs fixing and they’ll use Wal-mart as cover during Jade Helm.

Here’s my solution to restoring a smidgen of trust in our government at this time. Call off Jade Helm and put the public’s mind at ease. There’s enough unrest going on without pouring gasoline on an already smoldering fire.

Is there reason for concern regarding Jade Helm?  You don’t have to be into conspiracy theories to come up with…yes.


T.F. Stern

The Moral Lib­eral’s Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern, is a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer, self-employed lock­smith, and gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since Jan­u­ary of 2005.

05/15/15
War Games

War Games and Life’s Lessons

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

War GamesGoing through Facebook this morning I glanced at a photo taken of a friend, Ryan Scott Welch, as he posed during a war games exercise.  My thoughts turned back to that time when I was in the Army.

My MOS was as a Military Policeman; but a lot of the training was geared toward general Infantry situations.

After months of training we were tested on a combat course designed to challenge nearly every thing we were supposed to have learned.  It was a long time ago and some of the details escape my memory; however, we went out in teams of four or five men and had to navigate our way through hostile territory.  There were trip wires to avoid, holes to get around, bad guys hiding in bushes, snipers in trees and all manner of traps that, had they been ‘real’, could get you sent home in a body bag.

I’m proud to say our team made it through the arduous course without a hitch, having neutralized all attempts to kill us off.

An officer greeted us at the end of the war games course and congratulated each member of the team for having done a good job.  He explained that we’d need to go through a debriefing, a chance to critique and improve the course for future training opportunities as he pointed us in the direction that led to the debriefing tables.

About five or six yards down the path, while we were still congratulating ourselves, we accidentally snagged a trip line.  A loud blast knocked us to the ground as a booby trap exploded.

My first thought, one which seemed appropriate at the time, “Man, that’s just not right.  We already finished the course”   It should be noted the language used may have been less than Church Standard; but you get the idea.  I don’t think any of us could hear for a several minutes as the blast effect lingered.

After letting us regain our bearings we were given some valuable information, something we hadn’t considered.  He made sure he had eye contact with us, a long meaningful few moments before saying, “Men, you just got a free pass.  That could have been the last sound you heard in this life.  Remember…”, holding us riveted with his eyes, “until you’re out of the Army and home sleeping in your own bed; never relax or let down your guard.  The moment you do you’re dead.  You are always a target”

That lesson applies to everyone, at least in a general setting.

While going about this probationary state, mortality, as given by our Creator, there will be many challenges to… I was going to say, getting out alive; but that really isn’t applicable, now is it?

We are to endure to the end and return home, having followed the commandments and having served with honor.  Our Father in Heaven knows the challenges we face; so does the Adversary.  Never relax or let down your guard.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.