Constitution 101 (1)

The following is Lesson One in a Ten Part program presented by Hillsdale College on understanding The United States Constitution. Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we understand our founding documents, particularly the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution.

Lesson 1: The American Mind

You may feel free to simply watch or follow along with the attached Study Guide

Lesson Overview:

America’s Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson said, was the product of “the American mind.” Our Constitution was made with the same purpose as the Declaration—to establish a regime where the people are sovereign, and the government protects the rights granted to them by their Creator.

The word “constitution” means “to ordain and establish something.” It also means “to set a firm thing strongly in place.” It is linked to two other words: statute and statue. All three words—constitution, statute, and statue—connote a similar idea of establishing something lasting and beautiful.

The Constitution, then, is a work of art. It gives America its form. To fully know the “cause,” or purpose, of America, one must know the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, its author, mentioned four thinkers for their contribution to molding “the American mind”: Aristotle, Cicero, Algernon Sidney, and John Locke.

Studying these philosophers is a wondrous task in itself, and it greatly helps our understanding of America, just as it informed the statecraft of the Founders. Knowing the meaning of the Declaration and Constitution is vital to the choice before us today as to whether we will live under a Constitution different than the one bequeathed to us.

Joke du Jour

A first grade teacher collected well known proverbs. She gave each child in her class the first half of a proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb. It’s hard to believe these were actually done by first graders. Their insight may surprise you. While reading these keep in mind that these are first graders, 6 year-olds, because the last one is a classic!

Better to be safe than……………………………punch a 5th grader
Strike while the ………………………………..bug is close
It’s always darkest before………………………..Daylight Saving Time
Never underestimate the power of…………………..termites
You can lead a horse to water but………………….how?
Don’t bite the hand that………………………….looks dirty
No news is………………………………………impossible
A miss is as good as a……………………………Mr.
You can’t teach an old dog new…………………….math
If you lie down with dogs, you’ll………………….stink in the morning
Love all, trust………………………………….me
The pen is mightier than the………………………pigs
An idle mind is………………………………….the best way to relax
Where there’s smoke there’s……………………….pollution
Happy the bride who………………………………gets all the presents
A penny saved is…………………………………not much
Two’s company, three’s……………………………the Musketeers
Don’t put off till tomorrow what…………………..you put on to go to bed
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and…..you have to blow your nose
There are none so blind as………………………..Stevie Wonder
Children should be seen and not……………………spanked or grounded
If at first you don’t succeed……………………..get new batteries
You get out of something only what you……………..see in the picture on the box
When the blind leadeth the blind…………………..get out of the way
Better late than…………………………………pregnant

Say the Word and We’ll be Free

I’ve heard from many sources, even conservatives, who say the price of gas is no longer in our control. Maybe it never was. Blaming the president is good politics, but that’s all it is.

It is said, there is nothing Obama can say or do to effect the price of gas at the pump. This is a global problem. There are many more competing factions for a finite amount of oil. China, India, etc. They need oil like they have never needed it in the past. We have to compete with them. That drives up the price. Makes sense, I guess.

Then there are all the problems occuring in the Middle East. That whole region could collapse at any moment. That too, is driving up the price. Again, sounds logical.

It is also said by many that we can’t simply drill our way to lower gas prices.

So, I guess we’re just stuck. Or are we?

Before looking for a solution, let’s first take a peek behind the government’s regualtory curtain.

Time for some history.

In 1972 Congress passed the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act , which provided for the establishment of National Marine Sanctuaries. Oil and gas drilling are prohibited in these areas.

In 1982, the U.S. Congress directed that no federal funds be used to lease federal tracts off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, or central and northern California. Over the years, buried in appropriations bills,  Congress was able to add other areas until the prohibited area included all the east and west coasts, and the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Congress repeated the effective ban on offshore drilling in these areas every year until September 2008, when an appropriations bill passed the House and Senate without the ban. We’ll cover 2008 in a bit. It’s an interesting year.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush issued an executive moratorium restricting federal offshore leasing to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and parts of Alaska. The moratorium banned federal leasing through the year 2000 off the East Coast, West Coast, the eastern Gulf of Mexico (offshore Florida Gulf Coast), and the Northern Aleutian Basin of Alaska. In 1998, President Bill Clinton extended the moratorium through 2012.

In 2002, Congress imposed a moratorium on drilling on or directionally beneath the Great Lakes. The ban was made permanent by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

Part of the central and most of the eastern Gulf of Mexico was declared off-limits to oil and gas leasing until 2022 by the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006.

The bottom line is, thanks to our government, drilling for our own energy is prohibited virtually everywhere. Now there’s an energy policy we can all be proud of.

Ok, so we’ve established that America’s domestic energy policy is suicidal. What was so exeptional about 2008?

In the summer of 2008, President George W. Bush announced that he would veto any appropriations bill that maintained the Congressional moratorium. Without the votes to override his veto, Congress subsequently let the drilling moratorium expire.

 In July 2008, President George W. Bush also rescinded those restrictive executive orders that had prevented oil & gas drilling.

So what. Politicians say many things and nothing changes. Everyone knows they never mean it. Spoken or written, these are just words. What effect could these policy changes have had?

Well, you be the judge.

Just prior to ‘W’s’ July, 2008 proclamation and action, a gallon of regular gasoline, on average, was a staggering $4.11. By August it was $3.69. A drop of over $0.40 in a month.

Not impressed? How about this. By the end of December, 2008, a gallon of regular plummeted to $1.61. and a barrel of oil went from a high of $147.00 to $30.28.

Am I saying that this precipitous drop was due solely to Bush’s actions. No, but I guarantee it played a big part. Why? Because the rest of the world knew someone in this country finally meant it. They knew Bush was serious about domestic drilling.

It’s human nature. When the worlds oil producing nations concluded we were actually serious, I mean really serious about exploiting our own resources, the price of a barrel of oil would naturally plunge. They simply couldn’t afford for us to produce most of our own energy. Foreign oil would drop just to price out domestic production.

The evil speculators, you know, the ones that always get blamed for jacking up the price of oil. Those same speculators would drive the price down so fast it would make your head spin.

Now, I am not an oil or energy expert. I am neither a foreign policy expert, nor an energy speculator. I don’t have to be.

 This is not about oil or gas or market speculation. As I said, this is about human nature, which is quite predictable.  It happens everywhere & in every industry. With competition comes lower prices. It’s really that simple.

So, why didn’t the prices stay low, you ask? Well, we had an election and Barack Obama won. He reinstated all the moratoriums and here we are again, at the mercy of foreign suppliers and subject to Middle East upheaval.

Attribution: Government/Senate Archives

Joke of the Day

A Burley Biker is riding his Harley by the zoo in Washington, DC when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage.


Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her, under the eyes of her screaming parents.  


The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.


Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back letting go of the girl, and the biker brings her
to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly.


A reporter has watched the whole event. The reporter addressing the Harley rider says, “Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I’ve seen a man do in my whole life.”

 
The Harley rider replies, “It was nothing really, the lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger and acted accordingly.”


The reporter says, “Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist, and tomorrow’s paper will have this story on the front page…So, what do you do for a living and what is your political affiliation?”


The biker replies, “I’m a U.S. Marine and a Conservative.”


The journalist leaves.


The following morning the biker buys the paper to see news of his actions, and there on the front page is:

U.S. MARINE ASSAULTS
AFRICAN IMMIGRANT
AND STEALS
HIS LUNCH

 

Newsflash: PETA Lies

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have always been against the cruelty or abuse of animals.

They have fought to ban all laboratory use of animals and for that matter, any use of animals. They swear to being vegan or vegetarians.

They won’t use any products made from animal material such as leather, furs or feathers. Some of the members of PETA go so far as to abdicate the necessary extinction of mankind so that animals will be free of our cruel treatment.

PETA is supposed to be the most animal friendly organization in the world.

However, this may be one of the most animal cruel and hypocritical organizations in the nation. The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a non-profit organization, obtained.
documents from the Virginia Department of Agriculture that sheds an entirely different portrayal of the animal rights group.

According to the documents received by CCF, they show that PETA, which is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, has killed more than 27,000 animals since 1998.

Those animals killed by PETA represent nearly 95% of those that were supposedly rescued by the group. CCF said that last year PETA found homes for only 24 pets while killing nearly 2,000 cats and dogs.

PETA dubiously claims it does not run a “traditional animal shelter” and that it puts down animals that are too sick or injured to survive.

But reports indicate that nearly 85% of the
animals rescued by PETA are destroyed within the first 24 hours and before they can even try to locate a new home for them.

PETA picked up dogs and cats from animal shelters in North Carolina and killed them before they even left the state.

A 2003 report showed PETA euthanized over 85 percent of the animals it took in, finding adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By comparison, the Norfolk SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals and the Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent.

In a 2005 interview, Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko said,  “PETA raked in nearly $29 million last year alone, but apparently it couldn’t spare any money to care for the flesh-and-blood animals entrusted to its employees. It’s ironic — If anyone else were caught red-handed with 31 dead dogs, PETA would be holding a press conference to denounce them.”

In 2005, two PETA employees, Andrew Cook and Adria Hinkle, were arrested by police who observed them throwing the dead carcasses of dogs and cats into a dumpster in North Carolina. It was learned that the animals had been killed in the back of the PETA van before being dumped.

In 2007, the two employees were tried for 21 charges of felony animal cruelty, seven counts of littering and three counts of obtaining property by false pretensesin North Carolina.  Evidence presented during the trial showed that PETA employees killed animals they considered “adorable” and “perfect.”

During the trial witnesses testified that PETA told them they “shouldn’t have a problem at all finding homes” for dogs left in their care. Other North Carolina shelter personnel testified that they were under the impression PETA would find homes for the animals they handed over to PETA. These impressions were incorrect.

Thanks to Superior Court Judge Cy Grant the charges were reduced to eight misdemeanor charges before the jury began to deliberate. They basically got off scott free.

PETA has an annual budget of about $37 million and while they may advertise for donations to care for and find new homes for rescued animals, one has to wonder exactly what they do use their millions for.

Since they are a non-profit organization and they obviously are not using their donations for the purposes stated, someone in Virginia needs to investigate them and bring them to justice for fraud and cruelty to animals and have their non-profit status revoked.

Attribution: Godfather Politics, The Center for Consumer Freedom

Joke of the Day

One fine day, Jim and Bob are out golfing. Jim slices his ball deep into a wooded ravine.

He grabs his 8-iron and proceeds down the embankment into the ravine in search of his ball. The brush is quite thick, but Jim searches diligently and suddenly he spots something shiny.

As he gets closer, he realizes that the shiny object is in fact an 8-iron in the hands of a skeleton lying near an old golf ball.

Jim calls out to his golfing partner in an agitated voice, “Hey Bob, come down here, I got trouble down here.”

Bob comes running over to the edge of the ravine and calls out, “What’s the matter Jim?”

Jim shouts back, “Throw me my 7-iron! You can’t get out of here with an 8-iron.”

Jobs Americans Won’t Do

Federal Program Gives Summer Jobs to Foreign Students

While young people in the United States are suffering record levels of unemployment, the Summer Work Travel is already hiring foreign students for summer jobs that won’t be available when Americans start looking for summer work later this year.

The latest unemployment figures for teens, ages 16-19 is between 25 & 35%, yet the Summer Work Travel (SWT) program each year admits more than 100,000 students from around the world to work at American beaches, restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets, factories, and other establishments.

The State Department calls SWT a “cultural exchange” intended to showcase the American way of life and win friends among future world leaders. As we witness American flags being burned everyday on the news, the program is smash hit.

State Department-designated sponsoring agencies, team with foreign partners to recruit students, help them obtain visas, and match them with employers.

Participants and their employers are exempt from Social Security, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes, according to Jerry Kammer, a senior research fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies. So you see, the program is a benefit to all but the unemployed American teenager.

“Unfortunately, the program has boomed — from about 20,000 in 1996 to a peak of 153,000 in 2008 — it has denied a place in the workforce for many American young people, who are now suffering record levels of unemployment,” Kammer writes in the Baltimore Sun. Of course this program is no different from any other government. If it is allowed to begin, it will always expand.

One parent who spoke with Kammer, Sarah Ann Smith, said her teenage son’s dishwashing schedule at a restaurant went from 24 hours a week before SWT workers arrived to zero hours after six foreigners began working there.

“It’s wrong to have a program that allows foreign kids to come in and take jobs that American kids need,” said Smith. “SWT is out of control.” But, paraphrasing John McCain , I’m sure they’re only doing the jobs that Americans won’t do.

The State Department claims to be conducting a review of the SWT program.

“Much of our nation’s immigration policy — for both temporary visitors and permanent residents — is made with little concern for its impact on American society,” Kammer observes.

“Reevaluating SWT is a first step toward changing that. It’s my guess that little will change.

Attribution: NEWSMAX