"Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil."
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (The Message)

Texas AG to BLM: “Come and Take It”

After the federal Bureau of Land Management unsuccessfully attempted to extract monies at gunpoint from a Nevadan rancher, Breitbart Texas now breaks a story where the same agency is now attempting to seize 90,000 acres from the State of Texas, specifically along their Oklahoman border.

“I am about ready,” [Texas Attorney] General [Greg] Abbott told Breitbart Texas, “to go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas.” …

Abbott challenged the BLM director directly stating in his letter [to BLM Director Neil Kornze], “Nearly a century ago, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the gradient line of the south bank of the Red River—subject to the doctrines of accretion and avulsion—was the boundary between Texas and Oklahoma. Oklahoma v. Texas, 260 U.S. 606 (1923). More recently, in 1994, the BLM stated that the Red River area was “[a] unique situation” and stated that ‘[t]he area itself cannot be defined until action by the U.S. Congress establishes the permanent state boundary between Oklahoma and Texas.’  Further, the BLM determined that one possible scenario was legislation that established the ‘south geologic cut bank as the boundary,’ which could have resulted ‘in up to 90,000 acres’ of newly delineated federal land.  But no such legislation was ever enacted.”

The full letter can be found here.

In the article, Gen. Abbott believes that this apparent issue can be resolved legally, and — as he puts it — if he goes to court over the issue, it’ll be his 31st lawsuit against the Obama Administration.

Florida, Alaska Next States After Georgia to Pass Convention of States Application

On March 6, 2014, my great State of Georgia became the first State in the nation to pass a Convention of States application intended to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.

Then, over the past several days, both Florida and Alaska passed their respective applications.

As I attempt to help spread the word about the above initiative, the following links are also helpful in better understanding the nature of an Article 5 Convention of States:

SCOTUS Upholds Michigan’s Ban on Using Affirmative Action in Colleges

As reported by the AP and live-blogged by ScotusBlog.com:

We have the second and last opinion: Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. The decision of the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

The opinion is divided. Justice Kennedy wrote the plurality joined by the Chief Justice and Justice Alito. They conclude in their opinion that there is no authority in the federal constitution or in the Court’s precedents for courts to set aside Michigan laws that commit to the voters the determination whether racial preferences may be considered in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admissions.

The Chief Justice has filed a concurring opinion. Justice Scalia has filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Thomas.

Justice Breyer filed an opinion concurring in the judgment. Justice Sotomayor has a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Ginsburg. Justice Kagan took no part.

The plurality opinion stresses that the case is not about the constitutionality or the merits of race conscious admission policies in higher education. Rather, the question concerns whether and in what manner voters in a state may chose to prohibit consideration of such racial preferences.

The actual decision can be seen in PDF format here.

While awaiting a “Plain English” explanation of the above by ScotusBlog, their live blog certainly suggests that this ruling continues to uphold the tenth amendment, in that States have every right to determine “whether and in what manner voters in a state may chose to prohibit consideration” of issues such as racial preferences, insofar as such laws do not counter the US Constitution.

Why the Second Amendment Matters

In Wednesday’s Investors Business Daily, an op-ed piece was posted that seriously questioned the militarization of federal agencies. The main issue setting off such questioning, of course, has been the recent showdown between the Bureau of Land Management and a Nevadan rancher, Clive Bundy.

In fact, apparently the BLM even herded some American citizens into what they called “First Amendment zones,” despite the fact that the Constitution stipulates no such power or authority on behalf of the federal government.

But, did the BLM have to approach this particular situation with Mr. Bundy in the manner in which they did? As the article states:

“The government’s option,” said Fox News contributor and former Judge Andrew Napolitano, “is to take the amount of money (Bundy) owes them and docket it — that is, file the lien on his property. The federal government could have done that.

“Instead, they wanted this show of force. They swooped in . . . with assault rifles aimed and ready and stole this guy’s property, they stole his cattle. They didn’t have the right to do that. That’s theft, and they should have been arrested by state officials.”

It’s a legitimate question and conversation to have. If the next time you owe something to some agency of the federal government, they decided to first come after you with assault weapons in hand, how is that going to make you respond? This really is the same situation.

Yet, why is the federal government doing this, and per the linked article — as well as months of general news coverage — a myriad other agencies buying up millions of rounds of ammunition, for any other reason except for the fact that the Constitution stipulates a second amendment?

Remember when Barack Obama said way back in July, 2008, the following?

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” (emphasis added)

Could he have stipulated the above also for federal agencies in light of his inability to water down the second amendment in any way?

Is this type of response by the federal government the type of response that you as an American citizen are happy with?

An even more fascinating issue will be that of domestic drone use. What do you think will happen, post-2015 (when the FAA begins specifying regulations for domestic drone use), when drones are used in lieu of ground forces to enforce what are effectively liens in the case of Mr. Bundy?

Whatever your political stripe, I think it’s past time to get engaged in the political process and begin seriously considering just how far the federal government should go in enforcing laws.

After all, those of us who believe in the second amendment see using firearms only as a last resort — it would be nice if federal agents would see things the same way.

Carl and Brandon Gallups Explain Presidential Eligibility Endgame

In his latest Freedom Friday broadcast, radio talk show host and “Cold Case Posse” detective Mike Zullo confidant Carl Gallups shared the latest on the presidential eligibility investigation into President Barack Obama.

Among the points made were that Mr. Gallups wishes to restore what he sees as a return to constitutional government and implies that several other individuals could be implicated in whatever Det. Zullo’s investigation is said to produce.

Here’s a YouTube snippet:

He Is Risen!

 

If you want to boil down the difference between Christianity and any other faith, creed or philosophy that claims its origin in a higher power, “he is risen” is the great, distinctive and exclusive marker for Christianity.

Even Christianity becomes nothing more than a bunch of rules to follow if it weren’t for Jesus rising from the dead — accompanied by scads of testimonials and evidence that it actually occurred.

But even beyond the historical context is the relational context that binds the crucifixion and the resurrection together. Humanity created innocent but corruptible. The Fall ensues, bringing sin into the world, thereby corrupting humanity and creation. All of this puts a chasm in our relationship with the Creator of the universe.

Ultimately, Jesus having risen from the grave proves God’s holy love in wanting to restore a relationship with us once again.

Do you have a relationship with God? That’s the real point of Easter.

 

Western States Say “It’s Time” To Reconsider Federal Land Ownership in Light of BLM vs. Clive Bundy

Image courtesy St. Louis Tribune

In recent news, alternative news sites such as InfoWars.com actually broke news that the federal Bureau of Land Management had been actively seeking monies from a certain rancher — Clive Bundy from Bunkerville, Nevada — so active, in fact, as to attempt to enforce their demands at the point of a gun (several firearms, in fact).

Then, InfoWars.com went even further by discovering that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (also of Nevada) had not only been working what would have been a potentially very lucrative alternative energy deal with a Chinese company but that his eldest son, Rory Reid, was not only the firm’s chief representative, but is also the former chairman of the Clark County commission (in which Bunkerville is located).

Now, several western State lawmakers are coming together to figure out how to prevent situations like the above from happening to begin with. More than 50 such lawmakers from nine States got together in Utah on Friday to decide how to go about getting control of resource-rich lands from the Fed:

“It’s simply time,” said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who organized the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands along with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. “The urgency is now.” …

He was the sponsor two years of ago of legislation, signed by Gov. Gary Herbert, that demands the federal government relinquish title to federal lands in Utah. The lawmakers and governor said they were only asking the federal government to make good on promises made in the 1894 Enabling Act for Utah to become a state.

The intent was never to take over national parks and wilderness created by an act of Congress Lockhart said. “We are not interested in having control of every acre,” she said. “There are lands that are off the table that rightly have been designated by the federal government.”

A study is underway at the University of Utah to analyze how Utah could manage the land now in federal control. That was called for in HB142, passed by the 2013 Utah Legislature.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) addressed the group that represented other States including New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington. As of yet, other States haven’t gone as far as Utah’s legislation, but five have task forces or other analyses ongoing.

The temperature of these lawmakers was likely best expressed by the following MSNBC interview with Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore. She handled the interview, in my opinion, with confidence, poise, and lots of grace. Then again, one cannot expect to play the victim against the press when one knows that the press will not look upon your views favorably:

To put federal land ownership in perspective, here’s a map from 2004 showing relative proportions from across America:

Good Friday

Credit: Crosswalk.com

It is, once again, Good Friday — the day the Church annually celebrates that Jesus died on the cross.

Fascinating concept, isn’t it? The idea that someone claims to die for the world, regardless of whether or not that world even pays attention to this act. But, this act of dying is really a fulfillment of a number of things, the primary one being to restore a relationship between humanity and the Creator.

This isn’t narcissistic love that humanity is overly accustomed to; that’s a type of love for self-serving purposes.

Love, properly expressed, is freely given, and holy love is exactly expressed on the cross. God the Son fulfills the holy love law commitment made by God the Father and simultaneously allows all of us to directly relate with God once again.

I hope and pray that in your spiritual journey that you’ll come to know God by allowing him into your life.

Franklin Graham is Starting a Great Conversation about Islam

 

Via TheRightScoop, Franklin Graham, son of the legendary evangelist Billy Graham, spoke some very straightforward words to a reporter from the Charlotte Observer regarding those who would attempt to bring Sharia law into America:

“And I would say to Muslims in this country, if they want to practice Sharia law, go back to where you came from, to those nations that recognize sharia law,” said Graham. “But we have our own laws here.”

I think this is the first Christian leader to have come out, on the offensive, and specifically state his disagreement with Islam, at least in the general court of public opinion.

Of course, I would go further in this conversation and ask the question: “Why do you want to bring Sharia Law into America? What purpose would you have in doing this, when American law already celebrates a diversity of opinion with a respect for others’ views?”

In classical theology (with which I’d expect Mr. Graham is likely schooled), we can certainly compare the values of Christianity versus Islam. Christianity certainly claims no small amount of exclusivity in being right. Therefore, either both religious systems are wrong, or only one is right; there can be no other position, rationally.

But going on from this point, is the premise for an incoming Muslim to eventually convert America to be a fully Islamic nation? I personally would have a problem with that, if for no other reason than our Constitution guarantees a theologically-free State, whereby individuals are free to worship — or not worship — as they choose.

Senator Ted Cruz and Presidential Eligibility

On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took the step of releasing his long-form birth certificate. This was seen by one reporting establishment as not only a confirmation that he might seek the US presidency but also to apparently “undercut critics” as to his eligibility for the high office.

Instead, it evoked precisely the opposite reaction.

Radio and TV personality Glenn Beck suggested that this is now a “new birther movement” and that Hillary had been involved in the original Obama birther movement.

Radio personality and constitutional scholar Mark Levin broke ranks with the birther wing of the Tea Party wing of the GOP by stating that the eligibility issue for Sen. Cruz would be a legal issue to be determined by the courts.

Sen. Cruz responded to his initial action on radio by stating that he didn’t know for sure if he was also a dual citizen, both of the United States and Canada, and further stating nothing definitive about his eligibility (except to also suggest this is an issue for the courts to decide).

Then, to complete the cycle, Sen. Cruz completely renounces (or claims to be doing so, if he has any such citizenship attached to him) his Canadian citizenship.

A copy of his birth certificate can be found here.

The challenge over presidential eligibility (which is a question that often gets hijacked by a conversation over race, as Mr. Obama is the first presidential candidate in modern times to be faced with the question by anyone in the public sphere) is a challenge simply because American jurisprudence has no actual language that interprets the constitutional requirement to be President.

For example, the State Department has this to say regarding presidential eligibility in a citizenship document (beginning on page 7):

FAM 1131.6-2 Eligibility for Presidency
(TL:CON-68; 04-01-1998)
a. It has never been determined definitively by a court whether a person who
acquired U.S. citizenship by birth abroad to U.S. citizens is a natural-born
citizen within the meaning of Article II of the Constitution and, therefore,
eligible for the Presidency.

The documentation goes on to say the following:

d. This statute is no longer operative, however, and its formula is not included in
modern nationality statutes. In any event, the fact that someone is a natural
born citizen pursuant to a statute does not necessarily imply that he or she is
such a citizen for Constitutional purposes.

In other words, not only is the above stating that presidential eligibility has never actually been defined, but we don’t even know to what degree such a definition would require with respect to evidence!

Those who believe that Sen. Cruz is eligible for the presidency point to the concept that if his mother is an American citizen, then that makes him enough of a particular type of citizen to make him eligible for the presidency.

Others say they don’t know (also my official position), because nobody has ever tried such a case in the judiciary. And since this blog has been around since late 2008 tracking the eligibility issue throughout State and federal courts, I can definitely say that no such case has, in fact, been heard.

Why is this? For a number of reasons, but primarily due to some legitimately technical legal hurdles:

  • Subject matter  jurisdiction: Most courts believe this is a political matter, and so will be vary wary to declare themselves to be officially responsible for deciding the matter;
  • Lack of standing: Most Plaintiffs who bring the issue up do not possess the right to bring the question before the court, even if that court had jurisdiction to decide;
  • Insufficient remedy: Most courts do not see a sufficient enough remedy to the situation to be able to bring a case forward;
  • Ripeness: Most courts believe that the Electoral College and/or the electorate in general, during time windows already specified in the Constitution, should be when the issue is decided.

The above are some of the main reasons why this issue hasn’t been decided in the judicial branch.

Therefore, the bottom line to the issue is that — outside of opinions in the court of public opinion — there is presently no actual definition that is officially agreed upon on which to substantially determine the eligibility of a presidential candidate whose citizenship credentials raise sufficient doubt.

This remains true for Mr. Obama, Sen. Cruz, and perhaps others who have presidential aspirations.

-Phil