Monday, April 26, 2010

Why Lt. Col. Lakin is not mistaken

Socrates famously said that an unexamined life is not worth living. However that may be, there's new proof everyday that a critically unexamined so-called news report is not worth reading.

A case in point: A slyly derogatory article at foxnews.com purporting to discuss the prospects of Lt. Col. Terry Lakin's effort to obtain, by means of a military trial, evidence that bears on the question of Barack Obama's eligibility for the office of President of the United States.

The article sports a headline that applies to Lt. Col Lakin the inaccurate epithet "birther" invented by Obama faction propagandists to distract from the profound question of Constitutional authority that is really at stake. It goes on to suggest that Lt. Col. Lakin made some kind of legal procedural error ("has chosen the wrong venue") by declining to obey doubtfully lawful orders issued in the name of the President of the United States. To substantiate this assertion the story quotes from "Phillip D. Cave, a Washington attorney and director of the National Institute of Military justice." "Cave said the validity of Lakin's orders, under military law, does not depend on the president but on the chain of command. He will be convicted and is in jeopardy of dismissal."

Cave speaks as if it is acceptable, under the Constitution of the United States, to distinguish the authority of the "chain of command" from that of the President of the United States. If this distinction is accurate, then there must be a Constitutional source other than the President for the authority flowing through the alternative military chain of command. But the U.S. military is an instrument of the U.S. government's executive power. The Constitution vests the whole of that power in the President of the United States. To avoid all possibility of misunderstanding, it explicitly states that the President is the Commander in Chief of the all the Armed Forces of the United States. To be Constitutional, therefore, any and all authority flowing through the chain of command must originate in the President, and any and all orders issued to officers in that chain of Command must ultimately depend upon and exercise the President's Constitutional power.

The words which commission all U.S. military officers reflect this fact.

The President of the United States of America

To all who shall see these presents, greeting:

Know Ye, that reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity and abilities of .................., I do appoint ["him" or "her"] a ["Second Lieutenant" or "Ensign'] in the [name of service] to rank as such from the .... day of ........ ...... This Officer will therefore carefully and diligently discharge the duties of the office to which appointed by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging.

And I do strictly charge and require those Officers and other personnel of lesser rank to render such obedience as is due an officer of this grade and position. And this Officer is to observe and follow such orders and directives, from time to time, as may be given by me, or the future President of the United States of America, or other Superior Officers acting in accordance with the laws of the United States of America.

This commission is to continue in force during the pleasure of the President of the United States of America for the time being, under the provisions of those Public Laws relating to Officers of the Armed Forces of the United States of America and the component thereof in which this appointment is made.

Done at the City of Washington, this .... day of ........ in the year of our Lord ................ and of the Independence of the United States of America the ..........

By the President:

Whatever his claims to expertise in military law, when Mr. Cave relies on the concept of a military chain of command independent of the President he is entirely at odds with the provisions of the Constitution. In particular, he contradicts the Constitution's subordination of all military authority to civilian control, embodied in and exercised through the President. Any military tribunal that adopted Mr. Cave's view of the chain of command would assert the existence within the military of a source of authority not subordinate to the President, and not part of the executive power of the U.S. government, which the Constitution vests exclusively in the person of the President. Such an assertion would be, on its face, unlawful, unconstitutional and extremely dangerous to the stability of the United States government.

Unlike the military in most other parts of the world, the U.S. military has a uniform and honorable tradition of unquestionable submission to the authority of the U.S. Constitution and its provision for the civilian control of the military. Military officers swear an oath to uphold the Constitution, and pursuant to that oath they "observe and follow such orders and directives, from time to time, as may be given by me, or the future President of the United States of America, or other Superior Officers acting in accordance with the laws of the United States of America."

Herein lies the nub of Lt. Col Lakin's dilemma, and that of every other commissioned officer now serving in the U.S. military. If a Superior Officer issues a command relying on the authority of an individual claiming to be President of the United States, but not in fact Constitutionally eligible for the office, is obedience to that questionably lawful order consistent with the sworn duty to uphold the Constitution, and the laws of the United States made pursuant thereto?

There is no question that doubt exists as to the Constitutional eligibility of Barack Obama for the Office of President. Had there been any authoritative pronouncement on the subject from an impartial and constitutionally empowered element of the U.S. government (the Supreme Court or the Congress) the officers of the military would be obliged to defer to that authoritative and constitutionally authorized judgment. But the Congress has refused to address the subject, and the Supreme Court of the United States has evaded the issue. Their dereliction leaves the doubt constitutionally unresolved, so that every military officer, and indeed every citizen of the United States, can have no certainty as to the Constitutionality of any action performed by Barack Obama when he claims to wield the executive power of the U.S. government. Indeed, if Obama is not constitutionally qualified to be President, the Constitution plainly states that the executive power passes to the Vice-President.

The framers of the U.S. Constitution established a unitary executive precisely in order to avoid the potentially self-destructive spectacle of the U.S. government as a double-headed monstrosity whose doubtful assertions of authority on one side or the other could force elements of the Armed Forces of the United States to base their discipline and obedience on personal loyalties and dependencies, rather than on their duty to the people of the United States, whose more permanent will the U.S. Constitution embodies.

Unless the people of the United States are willing to allow their self-government to be usurped by a regime dependent on the choice of military Praetorian guards (like that of the ancient Roman Empire), the present situation is intolerable. The Fox online news article leaves hanging the defamatory suggestion that Lt. Col. Lakin's action is personal "grandstanding." This is a callous and deeply disrespectful lie. With the frank and single minded integrity a free people should expect from its military officers he simply seeks a constitutionally authoritative resolution of an issue that leaves doubt where doubt may be fatal to the integrity of his oath bound conscience, as well as the democratic, civilian form of republican government established by the U.S. Constitution.

Lt. Col. Lakin is not the one who has mistaken his actions. Indeed, he shows the intelligence, courage and common sense thus far sorely lacking among the civilian authorities for whose Constitutional position he shows greater respect than they themselves have so far demonstrated. I have no doubt that he hopes, as we should all pray, that his case will advance until it puts before these so far shamefully derelict authorities a conscientiously inescapable opportunity to stop evading their duty, and to heed, as Lt. Col. Lakin has, the clearly stated requirements of the Constitution they are sworn to uphold.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Which is really the third party?

On the whole, the present spectacle of GOP floundering confirms the view that the two parties are simply two legs of the same body. As one steps forward, the other steps back. But both are moving toward the same end, which is to overturn the sovereignty of the people. For the moment the people still retain what appears to be the decisive role in deciding what individuals actually occupy the seats of government power. So both parties must clothe themselves in language that appeals to the overriding passion of the people, which is the passion for equality.

At one time, both professed to accept the premise of the American founding that equality is the imperative of natural justice, as determined by the will of the Creator God. This translates the passion for equality into a reasonable demand for equal justice.  Obviously, equal justice cannot be achieved by disregarding the requirements of justice, which include respect for both the God given rights of individuals and the right of the people to government based on the consent of the governed. Therefore neither political party openly advocated the notion, commonly associated with socialist regimes and communist party dictatorships, that the ends justify the means. But the Democrats tended to define equal justice in terms of material goods and outcomes. The Republicans defined it in terms of equal rights and opportunity.

Unfortunately, throughout the twentieth century forces worked in the United States to destroy allegiance to the basic tenets of the American founding. They aimed especially to invalidate the idea that the authority of God is the basis for individual rights as well as the right of the people to self-government. The Democrat leadership first and most openly committed itself to this work. Over time they advanced it far enough to cow or convert key elements of the GOP leadership, until both acted with the tacit understanding that politics should be redefined to exclude any and all references to moral standards derived from what the American founders recognized as "the laws of nature and of nature's God." This meant first neglecting and then openly rejecting the premises of the American Declaration of Independence. But without these premises, concern for doing things justly gives way to an obsession with material outcomes. Political issues are redefined in terms of the standard measure of material outcomes, which is money. All that matters is how much or how little the government spends.

But this effectively means that the Republicans have simply surrendered to the Democrats' materialistic understanding of equality. After all, once the authority of the Creator has been discarded the goods defined in terms of that authority (like unalienable rights and political liberty) no longer make sense. Material goods are left as the only measure of equality. But the measurement can only be taken after the fact.  It provides no basis for making judgments about the means employed to produce the facts. In the absence of "the laws of nature and of nature's God" outcomes are all that matters.

Since justice is simply an outcome (not a standard or principle) there is no basis for the demand that the use of government power be limited by respect for rights as an element of justice. What's right is whatever contributes to the "right" outcome. But there's no way of deciding the right outcome except the command of superior power or force. However rhetorically disguised, this allows the reemergence of the age-old excuse for political injustice: "might makes right."

In every respect, from its premises to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution meant to implement the decent sovereignty of the people, America's democratic republic was intended to reject and decisively banish this excuse for evil. Yet now we have two entrenched political parties that embrace an understanding of politics that effectively contradicts this intention.

What can the American people do to defend their sovereignty? What are they willing to do? The Tea Party movement suggests that there is in fact a third party, a party of right and rights and liberty. In the sentiments and aspirations of the people, it is the majority party. But though it fights for and represents the assertion of the sovereignty of the people, the operation of the present entrenched two-party party system works to assure that the political position it ought to occupy is in the hands of a usurper that wears the label but no longer serves the purposes of the republican cause.

Given this situation, there is an ironic and almost mocking ambiguity in the name given to the grassroots movement that now embodies citizen protest against the so far successful elite drive to overturn the sovereignty of the people. In the historical context the Tea Party label harkens back to the Boston Tea Party and the colonial protest against Great Britain's refusal to work with and through the institutions of representative government Americans established for themselves during the colonial era. But today the NEA dominated government schools routinely give short shrift to the founding period. Apart from the ugly sexual innuendo the Obama faction puppet media has used to denigrate the movement, all the tea party appellation brings to mind for some people are Alice-in-Wonderland images of characters gathered for a diverting but otherwise purposeless ritual: all form and little if any substance.

This suggests that somewhere behind the original impulse that stirred the Tea Party gatherings there may have been a tactical ploy, intended (probably by Republican operatives) to rouse feeling for political purposes, but not as an authentic focus for truly representative political action. But the failure of the entrenched political duopoly has been egregious. Everyday new facts and episodes confirm that it is painfully at odds with the feelings and expectations of a large number of Americans. It is also responsible for the most precipitous overall decline in the nation's well being and prestige in our history. This has led to great grief and concern among the American people which in turn has fueled intense citizen activity that includes many people never before moved to be so politically active. They sense the passing of government of, by and for the people. They are not content to let it die without a fight.

America's constitutional system was set up precisely in order to provide them with effective means of restoring real representation to their legislatures and other political institutions. But the extra constitutional party duopoly has subverted the constitutional system.  In its stead there emerges a system of elite control that uses specious laws and regulations to hobble the citizens' free associations and organizations, destroy their funding mechanisms, and altogether to suppress their independence. In effect it reestablishes the regime of elite tyranny that dominated human societies until the United States became the first nation truly to implement the sovereignty of the whole people.

America's democratic republic came about because, by God's providence, people who were highly influential American leaders at the time followed the discipline of faith and reason to conclusions about justice that recognized the right of the people to govern themselves. What leaders will do so now? Whoever they are, they represent the leaders the Tea Party movement needs to lift up as its representatives if, as its name implies, it is to be a faithful reiteration of the fabled spirit of 1776.  Where will they be found?  One thing is certain: not among those touted by the "Great Mentioners" in the puppet media, or in any way served up by the "God is unmentionable" crowd in control of the present party system.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Greetings from the Tea Party trail

My apologies for the hiatus in posts.  Since the 13th April I've been traveling.  My first stop was Dayton, Ohio where a large crowd made clear that the spirit of America is rejecting the elite effort to overturn the sovereignty of the people and destroy the American way of life.  Though the leaders of both major parties want everyone to believe it's all about money, throughout the evening God, liberty and the Constitution received the loudest ovations.  Afterward people came up to me with tears in their eyes, grieved for their country, but drawing hope from what they had seen and heard.
Yesterday I spoke to a Tea Party event in Montgomery, Ala. and another in the small town of Trussville, Ala. The hearts and the loudest ovations were the same as they had been in Ohio.  At least where I went, the Tea Party means to live up to the spirit of 1776, including a sincere commitment to reject benefits offered at the expense of liberty and to fight against the destruction of the rights of the people, even though it means risking all in the battle.  The arrogant elite leaders who think the fighting spirit of the American people has been dissipated by the determined elite assault on our conscience and will should think again.  Freedom will not go down in this country without determined resistance from our people who still remember what it means to be an American.
I'm on my way to a pro-life event in Green Bay, Wisconsin and then home.  The things I have seen and heart have broken and lifted my heart.  Once I can settle down to writing again, I will try to distill the result.  What I feel overwhelimingly is that the elites who have betrayed and sought to corrupt the good heart of this people have much to answer for, and answer they will: to the people and to the Creator, God whose authority so many of them no longer respect.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Palin drops the other shoe


Recently I ran across a video interview in which Sarah Palin enthusiastically declares "I support Michael Steele…I think he's doing a great job. Michael Steele is an outsider. The machine, I think, is tough to penetrate--I think it's been good to have an independent outsider trying to create some change in the Republican Party."

Michael Steele has from the first day of his tenure been a spokesman for the RINO, pro-abortion, amoral, 'money is god' elite minority that presently controls the Republican Party. The statement that Steele is an outsider is an outright lie. He has for some years now made himself the tool of the elite RINO clique. There's only one sense in which Steele is an outsider. He's outside the purview of the conservative views of the pro-life, God-fearing grassroots' majority of the GOP's voting base.

Last week Steele went so far as to validate Obama's ugly abuse of the racism charge. To cover what he himself admits to be his "mistakes" he paired himself with Obama as a black being judged by a higher standard than whites. Obama has lied, broken every election promise, hidden all aspects of his background and never been called to account. No politician in American history has been held to a lower standard of accountability. So what is Steele talking about? Just like Obama and his verbal terrorists, Steele brandishes the charge of racism in order to intimidate his critics, and distract from the fact that their criticisms have a solid basis in fact. This gives aid and comfort to some of the worst elements of the Obama faction's media and political thugs. Will Steele stop at nothing in the effort to protect himself and silence his critics? How then does he differ from the arrogant Obama intimidators that as RNC Chairman he purports to oppose?

He imitates the Obama faction verbal terrorists, and Sarah Palin's response is to praise him for doing a good job. How can people who claim to be conservative go on blinding themselves to the truth about Sarah Palin? Just as they did when she was governor of Alaska, her actions belie her superficially constructed conservative image. In the critical area of her personnel choices she blithely promotes the wrong people, as she did when, as Governor, she boasted about putting a pro-abortion Planned Parenthood leader on the Alaska Supreme Court. Now she backs McCain, and heaps prevaricating praise on Michael Steele, though the words and actions of both men confirm their deficiency in anything that more than superficially resembles sincere, consistent conservative principle.

If Sarah Palin was authentically committed to the restoration of political integrity Tea Party people long for, she would be calling for Steele's resignation, not trying to use her popularity to shield him. I'm sure my words will merit shushing and the usual rotten tomatoes from people once again determined to hand the RINO GOP leadership another triumph of hope over experience.  Do Sarah Palin's supporters want people to treat her the way the Obama's media claque treats him? Are we to be mesmerized by her words, but by no means analyze her actions? This kind of mentality herded people into supporting the betrayal of conservatism that characterized the locust eaten years of the Bush faction's preeminence. It's what created the void that Obama stepped into. The last thing America needs is more of the same, sweetened with a change of gender.

Sarah Palin's actions more and more confirm that she is pure and simply a 'Judas goat'. Her assignment is to gain some credibility with the disaffected conservatives in the GOP's grassroots base, then lead them over to RINOs like McCain and Steele (or Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney clones like Scott Brown.) She is a fabrication of the GOP's elite RINO leadership; a tool intended to help them survive what would otherwise be their certain political demise in the tidal wave of anger that is poised to sweep socialists, liberals, RINOs, CINOs (conservatives in name only) and other liberty threatening flotsam and jetsam out of their seats of power and influence. If this is the objective of the move to make Palin an icon of the Tea Party movement, many of the anguished, deeply sincere people who are pouring their hearts and hopes into the movement are simply being set up for another episode of heartbreak and betrayal, and this perhaps the last. If they truly wish to save America's liberty, they should first take care to save themselves this disappointment. It may be we have but one more shot at stopping the elitist juggernaut that means to overturn America's democratic republic. We must aim to make it count.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Steele and the true republic


Given the ‘money-is-god’ priorities lurking behind the supposed political pragmatism of the forces still in control of the GOP, it's not surprising that some are now openly seeking the resignation of RNC chair Michael Steele on account of what they see as his liberal abuse of contributors' money.  They rightly understand the incongruity of such perceived abuse from the man supposed to be the chief spokesman for the a electoral strategy going all in behind an approach that seeks to make the Obama faction's fiscally insane tax and spend mania pretty much the exclusive focus of the 2010 elections.
These forces don't play up the fact that, in the institutional environment of the RNC under Steele's influence, a young staffer apparently saw no risk or incongruity connected with using RNC funds for a bash at a faux orgiastic lesbian themed nightclub, complete with simulated girl-girl sex.  No matter that it was likely to promote the perception that homosexuality is just good, clean fun- the enthusiastic choice of elite and spirited young GOPers, with time and an RNC expense account on their hands.
The RNC staffer’s apparent indifference to the moral perception created by the expenditure raises an uncomfortable question.  Since his first day in office Chairman Steele has been hawking a particular brand of political Kool-Aid.  Its primary ingredient: the 80-20 percent solution to the conundrum of candidate selection, resulting in candidates who attach little importance to issues of moral principle like the defense of innocent life, or maintaining laws that respect the unalienable rights of the natural family.  Was the staff gaffe a natural child of the current GOP leadership's quietly evident "let them eat cake” smugness toward moral conservatives?  Though they undoubtedly make up a majority of the GOP's grassroots base, the RINOs choose not to worry about their sensibilities.  After all, what choice what do the folks they have misnamed ‘values voters’ have but to back the much hyped pro-choice, pro-“gay marriage” Scott Brown types the RINO leadership wants people to believe are the 'great white hope' for the GOP's return to power in Washington?
Of course, the real problem isn't that they are arrogantly content to leave the GOP's moral conservatives with no choice for good conscience.  It's that they leave America with no choice for true liberty.  Free choice "libertarianism" is as close as they come.  Basically that's the view that defines liberty as the right to make as much money as you can and use it for whatever you please.  It's the not-just-orthographically recognizable cousin of "libertinism", a self-indulgent 'lifestyle' that tacitly assumes some kind of access to a generous spigot of cash or credit.
Unlike Obama’s socialists, the libertarians at least have the decency to believe that it should be your own money.  But they blithely discard the moral understanding that draws the line of propriety between free use of your own belongings, and the criminal expropriation of OPP (other people's property.)  They obstinately ignore the connection between right and rights and, the consequent need for an authoritative principle that allows us to recognize the first and make just use of the second.  Though many such libertarians profess to be great admirers and supporters of the U.S. Constitution, they disclaim all knowledge of the principle of right asserted by the generation that produced it, which was quite simply the authority of the Creator, Ruler and Judge of the universe.
If God is the principle of right, then we are bound to limit our use of the rights derived from that principle to actions consistent with God’s authority, from which those rights derive.  If we define liberty as the exercise of rights, then it necessarily involves this self-limitation, which is therefore the first manifestation of self-government.  Indeed, it gives us the root meaning of the term.  Though they pretend to be strong proponents of limited government, many self-styled libertarians ignore or willfully reject the fact that the imperatives of self-government provide the logical, reasonable basis for insisting on it.
Adolescent impatience with interference from 'nanny government' isn't enough.  It may be superficially popular (especially in times inclined toward libertinism,) but it's not a serious justification for opposing government actions that will plausibly do some good.  It won't relieve the moral opprobrium and collective guilt of letting penniless people starve, or homeless people die from exposure.  The rhetorical juxtaposition of collective decency with stingy individual or corporate selfishness is what too often allows so-called liberals to take the moral high ground above conservatives.  Their positional victory in this regard at least partially explains why RINOs and phony conservatives are reluctant to deal with moral issues.
But the money obsession that prevails because of this reluctance plays right into the hands of the totalitarian government minded socialists.  It validates the materialistic premises that inform their view of history, and their otherwise untenable understanding of justice.  They pose as champions of the just grievances of the oppressed masses.  But their actions ultimately reconstruct mass oppression.  They concentrate power in the hands of the few- a new ruling class with just a change of characters and an ideology that substitutes the verdict of history for the divine right of kings.
The American idea of liberty is based on the divinely sourced unalienable rights of all people.  In light of this idea, the power of the few, however rhetorically justified, no longer suffices to legitimize law and government.  Legitimacy requires the consent of the people ascertained and implemented by institutions built to respect, incorporate and exercise their capacity for self-government.  Because God is the source of their unalienable rights, this exercise first of all involves respect for what is right, as established by the provisions of His will (the natural law.)
The politics of true liberty must therefore give priority to upholding and defending the Constitution and the laws that implement this respect.  These represent the collective goods, the goods the whole people have in common: the true 'res publica'.  When will there once again be a Party in America that raises the standard of this true republic; one that not only claims its name, but thinks, speaks and acts for the sake of its deeply rooted moral identity and purpose?  Though I am no longer a 'Republican', and never could be a 'Democrat', I shall in my heart always be a citizen of that 'democratic republic'. It was our Founders' vision and it remains as Lincoln said, "the last 'best hope' of earth."  Relying, as they did, on faith in the God who made us, I will go on striving for that hope, trusting that, moved by the same love that created us, God will help to keep us free.  But He won’t do so unless we let Him, because freedom requires our consent.  If the so-called Republicans start living up to their name, they will look for an RNC head who symbolizes that affirmation of God’s goodwill.  When they find that person, they’ll have a truly good reason to ask Michael Steele to step down.