05/23/18

An American Monument

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

While reading the scriptures this afternoon, in the Old Testament from the Book of Joshua that were part of this past Sunday’s lesson, I wanted to highlight Joshua 4:6, regarding the priests who carried the Ark of the Covenant across the River Jordan on dry land while the Lord held back the waters.  Each of the tribes of Israel were instructed to place a rock stacked in the middle of the river as a monument, a reminder of how the Lord protected Israel

“That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones?”

It struck me as important to acknowledge the Lord’s hand in all our doings; but mostly I considered how this might apply in our day, a sad reminder that so many of our fellow citizens fail to recognize the Lord’s hand in establishing and maintaining this land of liberty.  It has gotten to the point where some not only don’t show gratitude for the miracle that is America; but are in outright defiance of God’s eternal laws.

Then a bit further, in Joshua 24:13 the Lord pointed out how the people of Israel were handed the promised land, not by their own efforts; but as a gift from the Lord.

“And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.”

How sad; a significant percentage of Americans don’t appreciate all that has been done by those who went on before.  Those who fought and died in various wars to protect individual liberty; even back to our founders.  All our victories, our abundance, and yes, our exceptionalism has been done with the help of the Lord.

This current generation’s ingratitude and sense of self-importance, relying on the arm of flesh, leaves me wondering what kind of citizens are left to work with as real challenges are always just beyond the horizon.  Without the help of the Lord this nation couldn’t exist.

Some fully understand the relationship of our Creator and the nation He prepared for a moral and obedient people…; which is why they want America destroyed from within, remove constraints placed on government by the constitution and transform this nation into a totalitarian socialist state, one that replaces inalienable God given rights with entitlements handed out by whomever is in power.

This past April during the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, our newly sustained Prophet and President of the Church, Russel M. Nelson, made the following statement :

“In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”

We as individuals need to turn to the Lord for strength and guidance; the same is true for our nation.  How is this to be accomplished when so many folks have lost their way, have forgotten or ignored the rich history of our country?

Our founders made it a point to establish days of Thanksgiving, fasting and prayer days and to remind everyone of Providence and Divine Intervention playing an important role in our independence and other blessings.  I find it unfortunate that we as a people don’t have a monument in our River Jordan, a means of reminding our children of the Lord’s hand in our lives.

At one time our National Flag was sufficient to act as that monument, a means of reminding us of the price of liberty while at the same time acknowledging Divine Providence; but apparently our Flag is offensive; to whom is it offensive… and should it matter to those of us who understand what that Flag stands for?

America needs a monument for future generations to gaze upon and ask, just as in Joshua’s time, “What mean ye by these stones?”  Perhaps we can once again use the American Flag as that reminder; she is, after all, a grand old flag.

05/10/18

Scouts Have Lost Their Moral Compass

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

At one time the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) had my support; but that was before they lost their moral compass or sold it in order to please the politically correct leftists.  Perhaps that compass is on a back shelf at the local pawn shop next to a copy of the Boy Scout Manual, the one containing their Oath.

Scout Oath. On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. (emphasis added)

Many years ago, back when I was an assistant Scout Master, I enjoyed helping the boys learn how to use a compass and map.  There’s a merit badge for it, Orienteering.  I’d go out the day before our meeting and hide the Prize, something the boys would have to find by use of directions on a map and orienting that map to their surroundings via a compass.

These kids were sharp and figured out the basics in short order.  It taught skills that might come in handy; say, perhaps if they ever went camping in the wilderness or entered military service.

I stopped supporting the BSA quite a while back, when they caved on their moral principles and accepted homosexual adults into their ranks.  That’s when I stopped writing the BSA organization my yearly financial contribution.  I couldn’t support an organization that flagrantly violated their own Oath.  (I’ll have to write a separate article about why I quit supporting the Republican Party)

As reported in the Huffington Post …

“The Boy Scouts of America voted Monday (July 27, 2015) to lift a long-established ban on gay adults  as employees and volunteers within the organization.

The BSA’s full executive board voted 45 to 12 in favor of the change, effective immediately. The vote came after the National Executive Committee unanimously approved a resolution earlier this month stating that “no adult applicant for registration as an employee or non-unit-serving volunteer, who otherwise meets the requirements of the Boy Scouts of America, may be denied registration on the basis of sexual orientation.’”

I continue to support the local Troop, the one that comes by four or five times a year on specific holidays to plant the American Flag at the edge of my yard.  They even added the Texas Flag for those occasions when it’s appropriate.  This service cost me $40.00 which helps fund various activities and the money stays at the local level rather than going to the national organization.

I’ve been reprimanded, about the only way to describe it, reprimanded by some for not being accepting, holding out my arms outstretched in love and fellowshipping Christian fashion for those who’ve only wanted to be part of the Boy Scouts and contribute their skills; but because they’ve got the stigma of being a homosexual, a pervert and threat to young boys they could never be adult leaders to these young men.

My response is, No.  Christian standards instruct followers to love the sinner while avoiding the sin.  It does not include accepting the sin as if it were no different than righteous activity.  Our society has undergone an interesting adjustment that mistakenly removes distinction of unacceptable behavior from common sense discernment.  We are not all one big happy family doing what Jesus would have us do.

For this reason it is important that our young people be protected from the ways of the world, those who would have us believe there is no difference between right and wrong.  The Scouting program fell into a trap and rather than fight for the right they’ve decided it’s easier to get along.

There may have been a threat of litigation, something the left uses to persuade folks to see things their way…or else!  How long can you afford to fight for your conservative cause in the courts, a never-ending system with built in appeals to the next higher court, many of which have activist judges?

It really doesn’t matter how the BSA came to their decision; maybe they actually agree that having homosexual adults in charge of little boys, and don’t forget the little girls now, that’s a good idea. Either way, they’ve decided to follow the path of least resistance.  Little boys and girls along with homosexual adults will fill the ranks of Scouting; but at what cost?

In one of the Indiana Jones movies, the one where an ancient knight was left to guard the Holy Grail, he observed the power-hungry fool who drank from the ornate golden chalice and immediately paid the consequences.  The remark left the old knight’s lips, “He chose poorly”, stating quietly what we all knew to begin with.

There’s another line that comes to mind from the movie Shooter, where a corrupted government shadow organization tied to a U.S. Senator goes about murdering anyone who gets in their way.  One of it’s leaders was called to sit in on an investigation by the head of the Department of Justice as they discovered evidence of genocide in a small African nation, all carried out to obtain the right of way for an oil pipeline.

After exposing the shadow group for what and who they were, the arrogant shadow leader got up and began to leave telling them it was out of their legal jurisdiction and control; but prior to exiting the room the department head rebuked him, “Your moral compass is so…(altering the exact quote without offending)…your moral compass is so messed up…(substitute the more familiar crude expression)…so messed up I doubt you can find your way across the parking lot.

I’d have to say the same for the BSA, they too have chosen poorly and might have difficulty running an Orienteering Course, that is if it involved crossing a parking lot.

04/4/18

Perpetuating the Assault Weapon Lie

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

Image M-15 DEF Defensive Sporting Rifle courtesy of Armalite

For openers…the never-ending assault on the 2nd Amendment has been going on for a very long time.  It could be said that those pushing this agenda are beyond patient with their eyes open for any opportunity to move the individual’s right to own and bear arms into some dusty history book, a memory of things past.

If you haven’t been paying attention then perhaps a look at the newly revised definition of Assault Rifle as found in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary might be a bit troubling for some.

Assault Rifle: any of various intermediate-range, magazine-fed military rifles (such as the AK-47) that can be set for automatic or semiautomatic fire; also a rifle that resembles a military assault rifle but is designed to allow only semiautomatic fire (bold type added for emphasis)

Does the word vague come to mind?  It should!  Keep in mind that sniper rifles used in the military are often blot action rather than fully automatic or even semi-automatic rifles.  So almost any rifle could be designated as looking like a military weapon later on down the road when the folks at Merriam-Webster alter the definition a little more to suit the communist agenda.

It wasn’t too long ago the New York Times came clean and admitted that 30 years ago the term Assault Weapon was a made-up term, created out of thin air so to speak to scare the average citizen into going along with a political movement to ban any weapon that looked scary.

Handguns were used in more than 80 percent of murders each year, but gun control advocates had failed to interest enough of the public in a handgun ban. Handguns were the weapons most likely to kill you, but they were associated by the public with self-defense. (In 2008, the Supreme Court said there was a constitutional right to keep a loaded handgun at home for self-defense.)

Banning sales of military-style weapons resonated with both legislators and the public: Civilians did not need to own guns designed for use in war zones.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, folks on the left can’t stand the 2nd Amendment and want to take away an individual’s right to own and bear arms.  They are willing to go for a piece at a time if they can’t do it all at once.

The use of trigger words (sorry for the intended pun) … trigger words that categorized look-alike weapons available to the general public as if they were the same as military grade weapons along with the alarming use of the term ‘war zones’ was enough to get the bill passed, even if it expired under the sunset clause after 10 years; the propaganda had worked.

I mentioned that the term Assault Weapon was created out of thin air; but it happened long before the 1990s.  The first recorded use came from NAZI Germany of all places.

According to Wikipedia:

“The term assault rifle is generally attributed to Adolf Hitler, who for propaganda purposes used the German word “Sturmgewehr” (which translates to “storm rifle” or “assault rifle”), as the new name for the MP43, subsequently known as the Sturmgewehr 44 or StG 44.”

For whatever reason the name stuck, perhaps because “Sturmgewehr” sounded threatening or more macho; but come to think of it, most words in German come off sounding threatening…never mind; it got signed off on and so that’s where we got the term assault rifle, at least that’s the story.

Jumping back to present day efforts to deprive average citizens from owning any assault rifle, a term which we now understand to be nothing more than a figment of the lefts very successful imagination and efforts; from the Chicago Tribune, suburban Deerfield, just north of Chicago, has given “owners of assault weapons living in north suburban Deerfield have until June 13 to remove the firearms from within village limits…”

“The new ordinance prohibits the possession, sale and manufacturing of certain types of assault weapons and large capacity magazines within the village, according to the ordinance.  One change from the law as it was originally discussed exempts retired police officers from the ban, according to Village Manager Kent Street.

Violations carry a fine of between $250 and $1,000 per day, according to Matthew Rose, the village attorney.  He said the fine is levied each day until there is compliance.”

Wasn’t it George Washington who explained that the general public should not only be armed; but be armed to the same extent as their government?  Why would a retired police officer’s 2nd Amendment rights be superior to any other citizen’s?

The 2nd Amendment is the target and once an item is placed on the communist agenda it never stops being a goal to achieve.  If it takes a year, ten years or several generations you can count on the folks on the left to seize any crisis and use that crisis to its advantage.

02/26/18

Gun Confiscation and Speedy Due Process

By: T F Stern | Self-Educated American

There is a concerted effort pushing the gun grabbing agenda of late.  Each time a firearm has been used in a horrific crime the so-called grass roots movement surfaces, taking pot shots (forgive the term), pot shots at our individual inalienable God given right to own and bear arms.

In case you’re unfamiliar with how inalienable rights work, these rights existed prior to the formation of government and cannot be taken away except under very limited situations.  They have been identified and are protected FROM government which means that your neighbors cannot decide to vote them away since these rights didn’t come from government; these rights come from God.

Is it any wonder the left wants to get rid of any and all reference to God?  Without God there can be no God given rights.  Let that sink in and the larger picture becomes more defined.

Our Founders fought a war to establish and preserve inalienable rights risking their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.  Near the top of that list of God given rights that needed to be protected from government… the right of individuals to own and bear arms.  It didn’t specify hunting or sporting firearms; the use of these tools was left up to the discretion of the individual.

The hotly contested issue of firearm ownership was fresh on the Founders minds since King George had attempted to confiscate any and all firearms leading up to the Revolutionary War.  Subjects of the King couldn’t be trusted to submit to his will if they had the ability to object by force.

Jumping to our day, Becky Loggia writing for the Western Journal explains how Florida might have an answer to school violence and mass murders.  After reading it I had to wonder if  Governor Rick Scott of Florida might be a direct descendent of old King George as he seems to have doubts regarding the average citizen’s inalienable right to own and bear arms.

“We must take care of our kids,” Scott said, according to CNN. “Keeping guns away from dangerous people and people with mental issues is what we need to do.”

Who in their right mind would find fault with such a grand statement?  Certainly we must take care of our kids and keep guns away from dangerous people and people with mental issues; the trick is now, and always has been how to accomplish this in a constitutional republic.

There are already laws that cover protecting children and keeping guns out of the hands of specific dangerous individuals such as convicted felons and individuals found mentally incompetent.  Is this resourcefulness an extension of existing law or is this something else?

Governor Scott’s initiative is called the “Major Action Plan” and creates a “Violent Threat Restraining Order” which would speed up securing court orders so “firearms may be confiscated if a family member complains about the gun owner”.

Is this how the 2nd Amendment works or is this a way to ‘get around ’ equal protection of the law by denying rights selectively?

The article went on, “There would be speedy due process for the accused and any fraudulent or false statements would face criminal penalties,” the plan states.  That’s a catchy phrase, Speedy Due Process, modern and with a hint of legality; that might sell to the masses, let’s give it a go.

Would someone explain the difference between speedy due process and undue haste?  It seems the State of Florida has decided that Due Process is no longer fashionable and should be upgraded, or is this downgraded?

Undue : Excessive, disproportionate, exceeding propriety, ill-advised, improper, needless, objectionable…

Shall I continue?

Undeserved, unjustified, unmerited, unreasonable or unwarranted…

I could go on; however, Governor Scott and those who support such infringements on 2nd Amendment rights must be aware that what is being proposed stands in direct conflict with long established legal precedent.

There can be No Speedy Due Process; there is Due Process or there is usurpation of power that infringes on inalienable rights.

With emotions ruling the day rather than reasoned thought, this remains a golden opportunity in time for anti-2nd Amendment folks, those who can’t stand the idea that individuals control their own destiny rather than being subjects of government.  They are coming out of the shadows with eager anticipation, “Get those Guns!  Get those Guns!”.

I wonder how this will all play out.

02/23/18

Who Should Get to Vote?

By: T F Stern | Self-Educated American

As a matter of civic duty, the means by which a liberty loving people determine the course their government will take, it’s natural to have this discussion come up from time to time.  It’s to be expected after a horrific event such as claimed the lives of 17 young people when a crazed gunman mowed them down with a semi-automatic rifle, a rifle which uniformed (intentionally misinformed) individuals refer to as an Assault Rifle.

Matt Walsh shared his views regarding raising or lowering the age required to vote in a recent article, Should Raise It. Here’s Why .

“In recent days, the Left has renewed its push to lower the voting age to 16.  They claim that the “civic engagement” of the kids from Parkland, Florida proves that high school students should have the right to vote.”

Walsh went on to say, and this part struck me as more important…

“There is a general misconception common among Americans on both sides of the political aisle. We believe that voting is the divine destiny of all citizens and the fewest possible restrictions should be placed on the practice.”

Rather than being overly concerned with how old an individual might be in order to vote wouldn’t it be in our country’s best interest to use some other form of qualification, a means of establishing adulthood based on something other than age?

That brings up the topic of maturity, proving the ability to act and behave as an adult.  (that just about destroys it for anyone in elected office…)

Mature individuals as a rule have figured out how to manage a budget, live within their means, avoid criminal pursuits and in general are a positive addition to the society they associate with.  They don’t go about tearing their communities down; rather they figure out ways to make it better for themselves and their neighbors.

If you consider this as a measuring stick, a litmus test of maturity, then determining some basic requirements for eligible voters can be established without worrying about age, race, gender or religious leanings.  It would; however, eliminate about 20% of the population from voter eligibility, free loaders who’ve been dependent on redistributed wealth of from others.

Here’s the point, should folks running for elected office pander for votes from those expecting handouts or entitlements or would our communities be better served if those seeking office were held responsible to those actually supporting their communities?  That sure sounds cold; but mature individuals have to make these kinds of decisions.

If some teenaged kid creates a company that rivals that of any adult then he’s contributing to the community much more than some welfare queen with six children from six different baby daddies; or am I being too blunt?  Young men serving in the military are risking their lives in defense of our nation and yet some would deny them their 2nd Amendment rights upon returning home to civilian life without Due Process.

I mentioned the intentional misrepresentation of certain weapons, those defined as “Assault Rifles/Assault Weapons” that somehow are supposed to be exactly the same as fully automatic machine guns and rifles issued by the military…gotta’ take a deep breath, in and out…that’s better…

The term Assault Rifle/Assault Weapon is a made-up term, a fabrication by anti-gun leftists created to scare low information individuals.  The New York Times admitted this after pushing the lie for over 30 years.  There’s no such thing as an Assault Rifle being sold to the general public; machine guns are illegal to purchase without spending a fortune for a special tax stamp that isn’t available without considerable effort.  In short, any responsible citizen, regardless of age, should be able to enjoy his/her 2nd Amendment right until such time as a court of law determines otherwise.

What are the qualifications we might discuss prior to letting one of our fellow citizens vote?  Voting isn’t a right; it’s earned upon becoming a mature contributor to society.  We have gone down the road to socialism by giving the vote, willy-nilly, to those who’ve been sucking our treasury dry and have given nothing in return.

How about we start with something simple, something easy to identify?  To be eligible to vote an individual must a U.S. citizen…and not be accepting Welfare, Food Stamps or in general be on the government dole.

Before anyone jumps on the “racism” horse, it might be an eye opener to find whose been accepting welfare.  Here’s an accounting taken from back in 2012; but it would be similar in most any year following.

“In 2009, 18.6% of the population was participating in at least one means-tested benefit program. That number was up to 21.3% in 2012.”  (which included those accepting SSI benefits from disability and individuals who couldn’t work.  It did not denote whether individuals who’d paid into the SSI program and become vested were considered recipients of welfare)

“Forty-three percent of people had been receiving benefits for 37 to 48 months”

“In 2012, an average of 41.6% of African Americans received means-tested benefits each month. About 18% of Asians or Pacific Islanders and 13% of whites received benefits each month. Thirty-six percent of Hispanics of any race received government assistance.”

Here’s my question, what difference in the mindset of those seeking election would be observed if they understood that only responsible voters would decide who got elected?  Wouldn’t we see a shift toward more responsible government?

Let’s set the bar; to be eligible to vote an individual can’t have been receiving welfare in the 2 years prior to election day.  Non-citizens have no say in how we run our government.

I’ll give folks on the left a chance to go by the garbage bin where they can obtain Free rotten produce, a chance to hurl their kind thoughts my way.  They certainly couldn’t be expected to pay, not for useless waste; that’s what conservatives are expected to pay for.

02/19/18

And so the battle continues…

By: T F Stern | Self-Educated American

I’ve posted a scan of a postcard sent to my folks many years ago when a friend was visiting Scotland.  It’s the Fraser Clan colors along with the family moto, All My Hope Is In God.  I keep this image at my desk, a reminder of where I sprang from as I bear my grandfather’s last name as my middle name.

My grandfather was something of a scrapper, in today’s terms, a piece of work.  He did a good job of sprucing up in his later years; it was either that or he wouldn’t have been permitted near any of his grandchildren from what I learned.

He joined AA and never took a drink during my lifetime; but even as a young boy I could see there was an untamed spirit held hostage somewhere in his soul.  He delighted in the idea of showing off his machismo at the drop of a hat.

One time while visiting him on my birthday weekend he decided I needed a haircut.  Never mind that my parents had taken me to the barbershop the day before traveling into town on the train; he said I needed a haircut.

We went to one of the rougher areas of New York, the same place he went to get his hair cut.  Looking around it gave every impression of being the kind of place to avoid.  It’s my guess, just a guess mind you, that my grandfather had hoped to get into some kind of ‘dust up’, a chance to show his fighting skills.  It didn’t happen; but he had a sly grin on his face as if he’d won all the same.

That’s the Fraser Clan spirit; and of course All My Hope Is In God.  You might wonder why I’ve gone down this path…

I too like a good ‘dust up’ from time to time, a chance to get up in someone’s face, back them into a corner or simply drop them to the floor.  I know; it’s something I shouldn’t be proud of, a personality trait that I’m supposed to leave behind as I learn how to become more Christ like.

I’m a work in progress and recognize my need to repent; but it sure felt good as the adrenaline poured through my veins sharpening my wits as each move landed me one step closer to victory.

The Spirit can’t abide contention and so I’m left to my own devices when I permit myself to sink back into the Fraser Clan mode of dealing with adversaries.  I do enjoy explaining my point of view in public forums like Facebook; however, as often happens, I let my old Fraser Clan personality run roughshod over others.  For this I must repent; and will do so… some other day.

02/15/18

Morality and Congress – an Oxymoron

By: T F Stern | Self-Educated American

While paramedics were still checking for victims of this latest school shooting, marching orders from gun grabbing leftists were being handed out.  “Get those guns, those evil guns must be rounded up for our children to be safe.”  No doubt the tragic loss of life in Parkland, Florida should affect each of us, right down to our very souls.

But that’s just the point; the soul of our nation has a festering cancer which must be treated… and it has nothing to do with individual ownership of firearms.

CNN had a  lead article, “Biden says Congress has ‘moral obligation’ to take action after Parkland”.  His exact quote, “I am at a loss for what more to say. I grieve with the families in Parkland today. I grieve with the families across the country who have suffered loss due to gun violence. Congress has a moral obligation to take action and spare more families from this violence,” Biden tweeted.

In other words, according to Joe Biden and those on the left, Congress needs to ignore the 2nd Amendment once and for all in order to get those evil guns away from stupid Americans who shouldn’t be trusted.  Doesn’t that about cover how the left sees us?

Contained within that same article, “Congress has a moral responsibility to take common sense action to prevent the daily tragedy of gun violence in communities across America,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tweeted Wednesday.”  In my best Saturday Night Live, Church Lady voice, “Well isn’t that special.”

The leftist agenda is and always has been to disarm American citizens at any cost.  Once the government has removed all the guns, citizens become subjects of the state without near as much hassle. If that means playing on the tears of parents left childless from a crazed gunman’s senseless act of violence then so be it; just make sure to play up the part about his use of an AR-15 to make sure we get public sentiment working to complete the job.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who are in mourning over this latest senseless shooting. That said…how about we talk about reality?

The brutal truth nobody wants to hear is that in a free society danger lurks around every ‘next corner’.  There is no such thing as a ‘safe space’ where you never get your feelings hurt, never run into a bully or have to defend yourself or loved ones from a crazed lunatic with a weapon. This is one of the reasons why individuals arm themselves and why it is a Natural Right (God Given Right) in a free society to offset those times when an individual runs up against situations which cannot be resolved in a peaceful manner. There is no way to guarantee safety from random acts of violence and so we remain armed as our only reasonable protection from that danger.

Exactly what is Congress going to fix?  Folks on the left are jumping up and down demanding we fix the gun problem.  Some things are not within the scope or power of Congress; but let’s not let little details like that stop them from gumming up our Constitutional Republic.  (sarcasm button engaged)

John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers, or as some refer to them, ‘old white guys’, shared these  words of caution, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.  Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

I point this out to Joe Biden, clearly the moral watchdog for our nation, a man who wants to become a presidential candidate for the Democrat Party; but only if they can ignore  Biden’s insatiable lusting after women, touching them to the point where Secret Service agents had to protect them from his groping.

Wasn’t there a platform issue during the  2012 Democrat Party Convention, they didn’t want to acknowledge God or something to the effect?

“Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte today booed, jeered and shook their fists when the chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, declared that an amendment to the party’s platform that restored a mention of God had been adopted.”

Maybe that’s important when asking Congress to do something that it’s ‘morally obligated’ to do. Bear in mind, roughly half of the Senate and Congress are card carrying Democrats.

What do Democrats use to anchor themselves to morality and/or religion if they come right out and denounce any association with God?  Isn’t that a fair question?

James Madison pointed out, “Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.”  Isn’t that simply another way of saying subject to God, no different than the use of the word Creator in our Declaration of Independence?

The only way to ‘fix’ the gun violence issues that plague our nation begin and end by following the laws of God.  There’s no other way to say it.  Disarming the general public is how totalitarian governments enslave their subjects; not how it works in the land of Liberty.

02/8/18

Just Say NO to High Speed Rail

By: T.F. Stern | Self Educated American

My wife and I own property on the north side of Houston and another piece of property half way between Dallas and Houston close to where the proposed High Speed Rail (HSR) reportedly would be constructed and operate.  Being a taxpayer and property owner means I have a ‘dog in this fight’.

You can review all DEIS-related documents and provide comments to the FRA directly at this link: https://www.fra.dot.gov/Page/P0779

We’ve been assured by those in favor of this very expensive project that all manner of funds have been secured and that land right of way will be covered by eminent domain since this project will serve the entire public.  Supposedly construction costs along with operating expenses have been calculated and support going ahead with a fancy technologically advanced Bullet Train that will take passengers from Houston to Dallas with a few stops along the way.

It has been suggested that a one-way fare on this train will cost approximately $200.  I hope this information is inaccurate; but even so that’s not competitive with existing air fare that is already in place and that existing air transportation is not taxpayer subsidized, something which the HSR package will heavily depend upon for operational expenses and maintenance.

Aside from the assurance (same as any promise made by a politician) that funding has been or will be secured for the entire project, there are other factors which should be of concern.  The highest on that list, very few folks I’ve talked to think the project is even wanted; except by those who would make a considerable pot of money for building this boondoggle of a money pit.

The folks along the path of the HSR concern me the most.  Eminent Domain is a sticky subject, one that has been abused more and more over the years.  We are being asked to take the government’s word that property rights will be respected, that any land required will be obtained in an equitable manner.  If that were true then the existing corridor between Houston and Dallas would be the site of the HSR.

I read where the proposed Houston Terminal for the HSR  might be near the old Northwest Shopping Mall (Highway 290 and 610 Loop).  There was a picture posted, an artist’s conceptual image that would make us all proud to have such a structure.  Why build the terminal adjacent to a financially rundown location when a real hot spot would be closer to a financially robust area such as the Galleria?

It would make more sense to have the HSR along the I-45 corridor, one that already exists, as there are multiple Park and Ride lots stationed along that route.  Folks wanting to use such a Bullet Train back and forth, Houston to Dallas, would in all probability want to be dropped off at convenient locations where they could access their car(s) or be picked up in a timely manner rather than add additional expenses such as taxi, Uber or rental units.

Some folks are pushing in favor of this never-ending taxpayer money pit, not an exaggeration of terms. Passenger rail service has proven to be a huge burden on taxpayers as Amtrak must be subsidized (taxpayer funded forever) just to keep afloat, according to a report by the Cato Institute.

I’d forgotten; we’ve been promised (same as any promise made by a politician) that would never happen with this new Bullet Train project.  Projected expenses will be kept and the HSP would come in under budget and within the time frame assigned without the need for taxpayer funding.  (There’s some beach front property in Arizona for sale if you believe that.)

Nothing has been said about recent passenger rail accidents that have killed and maimed so many folks in the past month or so.  Three major Amtrak (government run) passenger train accidents doesn’t exactly build public confidence for building yet another, a chance to ride into the eternities via a Bullet Train traveling at speeds approaching 200mph (guided missile), one that runs on railroad tracks.

What about protecting this vast stretch of rail, approximately 240 miles depending on where terminals are located, what about protecting this investment from acts of terrorism?  I didn’t see any mention of how that might be accomplished; but then again, what difference would it make? (borrowing a line from Hillary Clinton when several Americans were killed in Benghazi).

My last concern has to do with a recent Court Decision wherein it was ruled that governments, local, State or Federal were not obligated to keep contractual agreements.  This ruling was attached to police and fire fighter’s pensions in Rhode Island; however, this ruling sets the president upon which any and all contracts made with government entities will look to.  It validates my insistence, promises from government officials aren’t worth the paper they are written on. (same as any promise made by a politician)

Sorry; but these and a host of reasons that I’ve not even considered make such a proposed HSR project unacceptable.

01/24/18

Baseball Hall of Fame and Sour Grapes

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

With winter comes the inevitable doldrums while awaiting Spring Training.  In only three short weeks pitchers and catchers from every team will report to get things going as the 2018 season promises to bring a smile back on our faces.  We can only watch so many repeats of The Natural, For Love of the Game, Major League, The Rookie and of course The Pride of the Yankees; couldn’t leave that one out, before we go stark raving mad.

(Image courtesy of MLB via Wikipedia)

I noticed on one of the social media forums an interest in who should or shouldn’t be considered as candidates for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Everyone has a favorite ball player and reasons why each deserves that highest of honors; but then again there are just as many who would argue, some vehemently, that because of ‘this, that or the other’ certain players should never be considered (Sour Grapes?).

A few names come to mind on the ‘this, that or the other’ list of players; those who’ve done something unforgivable, an unpardonable sin against the game which banishes them into outer darkness; well, maybe not quite that far; but certainly keeps them out of Cooperstown.

Start with everyone’s favorite bad guy, Pete Rose, who committed the unpardonable sin of betting on baseball games.  Never mind that he might well be one of the best players to ever put on a uniform…that’s not to be considered; he violated a rule so that’s it, he’s out  (Sour Grapes?).

A couple of others stick out; Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.  Their names are sullied due to the ‘alleged’ use of banned substances that may or may not have lifted their natural abilities to such an extent as to make their careers stand out.  In the case of Bonds there was also his use of a specially designed arm hinge which ‘may’ have assisted his ability to lift the ball at just the right trajectory to get it over the wall and out of almost any stadium.  So if you mix that with physical enhancement steroids you can become a home run junkie (Sour Grapes?).

Then there’s Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire; both could knock the cover off of a baseball; but was it their own strength or was it due to steroid use?  Sosa also got caught with a corked bat when it snapped in half during a game (Sour Grapes?).

I’m sure the list could be extended with lots of names; ball players who for one reason or another ‘fell from grace’ with a portion of the public.  These individuals will never get the 75% of votes required as they appear on the ballot form.

Here’s my solution; a way of honoring the dishonored if you will.

Create a special room at Cooperstown, call it the Asterisk Room (that’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke… in honor of the 61* attached to Roger Maris by those who couldn’t stand his hitting one more Home Run than Babe Ruth; …but of course he did have more games to do it in).

In this Asterisk Room (Sour Grapes Room) we could identify the great players who totally screwed themselves from being in with all the other truly great players.  Custodians responsible for cleaning and maintenance are going to love the new annex as they clean spit off the glass more often; some folks never forgive or forget.  That said; these players deserve a place in Cooperstown.

I got through the entire article and never once mentioned the hair brained idea of speeding up the game to keep fans interested…oh please; don’t get me started.

01/22/18

Who is looking after our best interests?

By: T.F. Stern | T F Stern’s Rantings

This past weekend it was reported that a small news team attempted to “sneak a fake explosive device”  through a TSA checkpoint at Newark’s airport. After reading several accounts of what may or may not have happened I came away wondering if the individuals arrested actually posed a threat to society or were they performing a service by testing security measures that are currently in place?

“The TSA said members of the group “attempted to intentionally carry through the security checkpoint an item in a carry-on bag that had all of the makings of an improvised explosive device.  At the same time, others in the group covertly filmed the encounter.”’

It got their attention, that much is sure; but what threat to security was there?  The information shared gives every indication that a small group of journalists were testing to see if the folks at TSA were doing a good job. If that’s the case then wouldn’t TSA thank them for having provided some form of proof, a means of extended job security for the Jack Booted Thugs who routinely violate everyone’s Fourth Amendment right to be secure from unwarranted searches?

According to an  article by Jeff Goldman , this was all a big misunderstanding, “Left Hook Media and Endemol Shine North America issued the explanation and an apology for the disturbance it caused at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint after nine people associated with the show were arrested Thursday.”

TSA begged to differ, “It said the item inside the roller bag included a motor, wires and PVC pipes, “which are all indicators of an improvised explosive device such as a pipe bomb.”’

The law these individuals violated,  U.S. Code Title 18 Part I Chapter 40 section 844 , states that merely going through the TSA checkpoint with a suspicious item that “…will be used to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual…” (emphasis added) is all that’s needed to file charges, which is exactly what happened.

If these folks had worn napkins on their heads and pretended to be insulted, implied that racism against Islam was involved in the arrest process, claimed it was only a Clock; perhaps they’d have been invited to visit with former president Obama…but, hey, that’s another day, another time…

Now, let’s try this same law enforcement principle on Hillary Clinton as pertain to her handling of official government email while she was Secretary of Defense.  Did I say ‘enforcement’; I meant to say lack of enforcement, my bad.

You might recall something about a handful of email, perhaps a small basket; okay it involved a few large dump truck’s worth of official government email that were sent via Hillary Clinton over an unsecured server.  This was done in direct conflict with procedures put in place to protect national security.  But; on top of that, her handling of email, some of which were clearly labeled Classified or Top Secret…her ‘sloppy or careless handling’ of them also constituted a violation of law.

“FBI director James Comey has stuck by his claim that declining to bring charges against Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information was the right call because proof of intent was lacking.”

So, if you’re willing to accept that lame explanation, Hillary wasn’t charged with the crime she committed because the FBI claims they can’t prove intent.  Well, maybe they need to read the law which was violated, the one which doesn’t mention anything about needing to prove intent.

Here’s what Andrew MCCarthey wrote for National Review back in May of 2017:

“…this claim is specious on multiple levels. Subsection (f) of the pertinent statute (the Espionage Act, codified at Section 793 of Title 18, U.S. Code) makes it a felony to mishandle classified information “through gross negligence” — i.e., proving Clinton was sloppy or careless (or “extremely careless,” to use Comey’s own description) could have been sufficient.”

It’s okay to arrest and charge journalists for showing how TSA does it job by filming them as they identify a fake explosive device that was incapable of harming anyone but when a real threat to national security has been identified, a member of the untouchable elites who operates an extensive Shadow Government, that individual is above the law. If I’m mistaken I apologize…but I’m not mistaken, am I…

This article has been cross posted to The Self Educated American, a publication whose banner reads, “Standing Fast By the Judeo-Christian Heritage, Limited Government and the U.S. Constitution”.