The Integrity of The Constitution Is Non-Negotiable [Video]

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Last year following the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida I wrote an article about the Consitution being non-negotiable for America. The reactions from the Left to the recent shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio have prompted a more complete analysis of that subject.

The last article in this journal focused more on the President’s words in the wake of those horrible events. The focus shifts here to a larger part of the picture, the integrity of the Constitution itself.

The Integrity of the Constitution Is at Stake

U.S. ConstitutionThe English word “integrity,” has a commonly understood meaning similar to “honorable,” or of good moral character. However, there is a lesser-known meaning of the word which is,

the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished:

It is this particular kind of integrity of the United States Constitution that is threatened today. I refer, of course, to the renewed attacks on the 2nd Amendment because of the recent mass shootings.

There is little doubt that the goal of the Left is to banish the 2nd Amendment with its troubling [to the Left] individual citizen’s “right to bear arms.” The newest ‘limits’ they wish to place upon this right are simply tracking points toward that goal.

What is not understood by many is the full consequence of tossing the 2nd, should the Left be allowed to continue this narrative. Whether the Left realizes this or not is irrelevant because the result is inevitable.

The fact is that any repeal of the 2nd would result in shattering the integrity of the Constitution itself. Moreover, this is uniquely true of any one of the first ten Constitutional Amendments, better known as the “Bill of Rights.”

Repealing Any Part of the Bill of Rights Would Destroy the Constitution

To gain some further insight into this, examine the reason the first ten Amendments were proposed. It is found in the preamble prior to listing the Amendments themselves.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

U.S. Constitution

From top left clockwise: Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson

The framers came to the realization that without some declaration of American’s individual and unbreakable basic rights, the powers granted to the government could be used by future leaders to usurp such rights. The phrase ‘restrictive clauses’ was intended to mean restricting the power of the state, not the power of the individual.

That is evident in the wording of each one of the Bill of Rights, for they speak of what the government can’t do while asserting the rights of the individual citizen. Should any of them be removed the cascade of consequences would inevitably devastate the other parts and do what the founders most feared, increase the power of the state over the citizen.

It is important to examine the rights in the Bill of Rights and understand the inter-connectedness of each and that should one be swept away by the winds of the Left, the rest will fall sooner or later. The only course is to insist upon the integrity of the Constitutional guarantees in the Bill of Rights.

The Rights in the Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is a profound and wise document, and it deserves being read in the original wording. If any reader wishes to do so, it can be accessed online here: https://constitution.com/bill-rights/.

In this meager attempt to make the essence of the document a bit clearer, these are my plain-spoken “Bill of Rights.”

The First Amendment mentions five distinct rights: 1. Congress can’t restrict freedom of religious belief or practice., 2. Congress can’t halt freedom of speech. 3. Congress can’t restrict freedom of the press 4. Congress can’t stop the citizens from peacefully assembling, and 5. Congress must allow people to petition the government for a “redress of grievances.” That is, the government must listen to the complaints of the citizens.

The Second Amendment: The government can’t infringe upon a citizen’s right to private ownership of firearms.

The Third Amendment: The government can’t force anyone to house military forces on their own property.

The Fourth Amendment: The government can’t search a citizen and take their property/or arrest them without probable cause.

The Fifth Amendment also delineates five specific rights: 1. The government can’t hold or imprison someone for a serious crime without an indictment from a Grand Jury unless it happens during military service in wartime. 2. The government can’t put anyone on trial for the same crime more than once. 3. The government can’t make anyone testify against themselves 4. An individual accused of a crime has the right of the “due process” procedures of the law. 5. The government can’t take private property for public use without paying a fair price for it.

The Sixth Amendment, like the Fifth, deals with the rights of the individual accused of a crime. Four specific rights are noted here: 1. The accused is entitled to a trial by an impartial jury and the trial must be swift and public. 2. The accused has the right to a lawyer for his defense 3. The accused has the right to face his accusers. 4. The accused has the right to produce witnesses for his case.

The Seventh Amendment: In lawsuits seeking more than an award of twenty dollars, the government can’t deny a right to trial by a jury whose decision is final.

The Eighth Amendment restricts what the government can do in criminal cases. There are three rights declared here: 1. the government can’t punish the accused by demanding an excessive amount of bail, 2. Nor can they impose excessive fines on the guilty 3. Nor can they execute cruel and unusual punishment upon the guilty.

The Ninth Amendment: The rights mentioned in the Constitution do not deny other human rights.

The Tenth Amendment: The Federal government can’t exceed the rights given to it in the Constitution, and any rights not mentioned in the Constitution go to the states and the individual.

I am neither a lawyer or a Constitutional scholar, although I do know and have read the Constitution several times. Moreover, I have learned from many others who are such experts.

Here is one example concerning the 2nd Amendment from Prager University,

With that caution, I believe these form a reasonable interpretation of the Bill of Rights, however roughly expressed. Together they virtually scream of one overriding principle, that the individual citizen’s rights are of first importance.

The Bill of Rights Are Connected by the Idea that the Individual Citizen’s Rights are Paramount

The founders took great care to ensure the individual citizen’s rights in three key areas. The first was in the area of personal expression in various forms such as speech, in the press, and religious expression.

The second area was the right to personal safety and defense against even a government turned tyrannical. It was meant as a guarantee that other rights could be defended by the citizen should an attempt be made to take those rights away.

The third area was the right to be considered innocent of any crime unless one is proven guilty. This is the bedrock of American justice.

All of these ideas were unique in world history at the time, and remain rare in the world even today. Without all of them, the whole Constitution loses integrity and the citizen shrinks in importance.

Leftism, SocialismThe Leftist goal is advanced whenever individual rights are diminished in America. For at bottom, the individual is only relevant in the Socialist Left’s world to work for the goals of the group, as dictated, of course, from a central-planning edifice ruled by Leftist elites.

These ground-level principles of the Bill of Rights work to ensure individual liberty while evoking individual responsibility. Which of these principles might be considered the most important is debatable.

Many would say the right to bear arms in defense against enemies is most important. After all, if a citizen can’t defend his or her rights against a threat, no rights can’t be exercised freely at all.

However, others might say that the right to free speech is most important because if one can’t defend individual rights verbally or in writing, eventually those rights will be taken through government power.

Moreover, if the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty is taken away, then the rights of speech and defense can be abrogated with arbitrary accusations of crimes by the government authorities. One doesn’t get a weapon or a forum while in jail.

The truth is that fervent battles against liberty are being waged by the Left within every part of American society. Battles aimed right at the heart of the Constitution’s protection of individual citizen’s freedoms.

The First Amendment is under attack constantly by those who would banish Christianity from the public square, as well as attacks by Antifa and the SJW’s of the Left. The Second Amendment is under assault by Leftist media and politicians, especially after the recent mass shootings.

The principle of being innocent until proven guilty is constantly undermined by the selective assignment of guilt first by the Left whenever the President or his supporters are involved.

America simply can’t afford to erode and possibly lose any of these bastions of individual liberty! The integrity of the Constitution must remain intact or the whole building of our free society will fall.

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Scutter’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Adam Theo’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of DonkeyHotey’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Charles Fettinger’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

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Dangerous Over-reactions to the Recent Mass Shootings [Video]

Gun control

The recent mass shootings in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, Ohio this past weekend have once again turned the political spotlight on the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Left always has its attacks primed for these eventualities, and as usual, their arguments are forceful demonstrations of folly.

Of course, that does not discourage the Left from screechings at conservatives, directly blaming President Trump, to calling for completely unconstitutional measures that would demonstrably violate the 2nd Amendment. None of those actions are unexpected from the Leftist core believers as well as their political shills.

This journal has warned before of the danger of trying to infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans. In this instance, the danger may be taking a surprising twist.

What is surprising, and alarming, is the reaction of some conservative law-makers and frankly, some statements from President Trump himself. He gave a critical speech about the shootings and gave some proposals which are ostensibly tailored to help reduce or prevent such horrific happenings in the future.

However, before I delve into the President’s words, I need to confront the absolute false narrative of the Left that Trump is a racist white supremacist and responsible for the shootings. Those on the Left, at whatever level of government or media they exist, are simply lying to advance their evil agenda.

Trump’s speech more clearly than ever should have satisfied the most ardent critics that he is not a racist or a white supremacist. He could not have more forcefully denounced both claims on a comprehensive level, but that doesn’t stop the malicious Left from lying about him and trying to silence him.

Not only has President Trump never said the racist things the Left keeps lying about, but his actions also demonstrate that he is not racist in any way. He spoke with sincerity, grace, and firmness in his response to the shootings.

His speech contained many statements that were both correct and consoling to the victims of these shootings. However, some of the proposed “solutions” are cause for real concern.

A Warning About The Mental Health Warning

Mass shootingsPresident Trump called for legal action which would deny the possession of firearms to people who are determined to be ‘mentally ill,’ in some manner. This certainly sounds like a reasonable proposition, however, as with many such measures, it is far more complicated and fraught with danger than most realize.

The first problem is akin to almost any type of government ‘solution’ proposed to almost any problem in society, the problem of abuse. It is not stretching the truth to say that for most laws if someone wants to abuse it in their favor, they can find a way to get what they want.

There are already forms of such laws denying firearms to those deemed mentally ill in certain places around America. One example is Florida’s “Baker Act” law, which provides for temporary commitment to a mental institution up to 72 hours with a minimum of due process.

The Baker Act is an existing law that provides for temporary institutionalization of individuals who meet certain criteria. It can only be used by specific authorized persons, including judges, mental health professionals, law enforcement personnel, and doctors. More importantly, the law is limited by the fact that those officials must have sound evidence suggesting that the individual might meet the Act’s definition for mental illness. In addition, he must pose a risk of harm to himself or others – or demonstrate self-neglect.

With this existing statute, there are at least some reasonable legal safeguards determining who can be subject to being held in custody. For instance,

people cannot be involuntarily institutionalized simply because they’re acting strangely, refuse to seek psychiatric examinations, or have occasional mood swings or outbursts.

The questions looming over this new proposal is ‘On what basis, and by whom, is someone to be declared too mentally ill to keep freedom and their 2nd Amendment rights?’ Moreover, if the existing measures are not adequate now, how far is the government willing to go to in this area?

Perhaps more frightening and direct measures will be deemed necessary. Which brings us to another, and more concerning subject, the idea of so-called ‘Red Flag’ laws.

The Red Flags About ‘Red Flag’ Laws

Gun control laws‘Red Flag’ gun laws function as gun confiscation orders. In his speech, President Trump called them “extreme risk protection orders.”

They are designed to deny access to, or possession, of firearms to those deemed at extreme risk to commit violence with those firearms. They could be deemed as an ‘at extreme risk’ individual according to certain ‘red flags’ which those close to the person had determined might be dangerous.

John Lott, the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center and an expert on ‘Red Flag’ laws commented on the nature of these laws during an interview on “The Buck Sexton Show,” from August 5, 2019.

You’re trying to predict whether somebody’s going to go and commit a crime. …It’s kind of like the old Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report,” without the psychics.

This moves beyond the mental illness warning criteria to include things such as criminal history when evaluating whether or not someone should have a firearm. However, as Mr. Lott also points out, we already have access to criminal records and felonies as well as some misdemeanors already disqualify a person from owning a gun, so this is superfluous.

The potential for abuse lies in the additional legal measures these laws propose in order to confiscate someone’s guns. Some have suggested that simple arrests, even without a conviction, should be considered as possible ‘red flags’ to trigger the seizure of firearms.

The abuse comes into play easily when, for example, a disgruntled spouse or employee is the target. They can be essentially flagged as a threat to commit violence on the say-so of someone who doesn’t like them and is looking for an excuse to punish the offending party.

Some might ask, ‘Won’t these individuals be assessed by mental health professionals?’ Even if that is true, the record of mental health professionals in predicting future criminal behavior is abysmal. As author Rob Morse notes,

Psychiatrists who have access to complete medical records often have to assess if a patient will be violent. They make that assessment for the safety of the patient and for the safety of hospital staff. These doctors make the correct prediction 60% of the time when they are predicting behavior for the next 24 hours. That means they are slightly better than flipping a coin while they are looking a day into the future. Psychiatrists have no idea if the patient will be violent in the next week, the next month, or the next year. These highly educated and dedicated specialists can’t predict the future. That record will get worse as red-flag laws let non-professionals disarm near strangers with a phone call.

Moreover, this could easily result in making situations worse rather than better. Morse goes on to make this salient point.

Concealed carry holders are several times less likely than the police to shoot innocent people. Who is at risk when the police knock in the dark of night to confiscate legally owned firearms?

The danger of this becoming law is rapidly coming upon us, as Senator Lindsey Graham is already proposing ‘red-flag’ legislation. No details of his plan are available at present, except that he makes a point of mentioning that Trump seemed ‘supportive’ of it.

The Hate Crime ‘Death Penalty’ Threat

Inset.3.8.8.2019This is perhaps the most disturbing part of President Trump’s address. In a brief but powerful sentence, he called for the death penalty for both mass shooters those who commit “hate crimes.”

Admittedly, there is little time in such a short speech to elaborate on the meaning of this declaration. No real details about the proposal were presented there.

The danger lies within the very nature of the ‘hate crime’ designation. It is far too ambiguous a label to use for this extremely important issue.

The current legal definition of a hate crime according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation is,

…a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

The FBI is quick to add that hate itself is not a crime, and thus they are committed to also protecting a person’s right to free speech. To be blunt, the FBI has not inspired a lot of trust among regular Americans since the exposure of their spying operations against a sitting president and the hate their operatives have displayed against Trump and his supporters.

So please forgive me if the assurances of the FBI do not really reassure me at this point. Moreover, the expansion of hate crime accusations and arrests in many nations are alarming, to say the least.

In fact, in 2013 the Canadian Supreme Court actually declared that certain types of religious speech qualify as hate crimes. In this case, it involved biblical speech against teaching homosexuality in public schools.

Should such offenses as these be punishable by death? Or would that only apply to certain groups in society, perhaps of the Christian variety?

Lest one think that this could not happen in America, consider this. In 2012, just seven years ago, no one was even considering banning people from social media for ‘misgendering’ a transgender man who claimed he was a woman.

Real Problems and Solutions Are Ignored

Inset.4.8.8.2019The true tragedy of this is that there are real problems with the amount of gun violence overall, and some real solutions to them which are being completely ignored while potshots are being taken at the 2nd Amendment, pun intended.

For example, in just the cases of mass shootings in the United States, one factor is more common in all of them since Colombine in 1999. The environment of the home and family.

If there’s a thread, it’s young men whose biological father was missing in their lives. After the Parkland school massacre in Florida, the Heritage Foundation cited a study showing that among the 25 most-cited school shooters since Columbine, 75 percent were reared in broken homes. Most, according to psychologist Peter Langman, an expert on school shooters, came from homes that also experienced infidelity, substance abuse, criminal behavior, domestic violence and child abuse.

It’s not racism, not ‘white supremacy,’ not even mental health, video games, and certainly not those who support the 2nd Amendment the most, law-abiding gun owners! It’s the absence of a father in the home.

Isn’t it strange how this particular metric is also a great predictor of criminal activity as well as mentally disturbed behavior? For instance, witness these statistics,

  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)

  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average.  (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)

Perhaps our political leaders should focus more on that very real problem if they aim to slow gun violence and violence itself in society. In fact, a large number of problems could be ameliorated if more families remained intact, but that is fodder for another time.

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:25 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top image courtesy of Maryland GovPics Flickr page -Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Barrett Cook’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Obama44worst ever’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Paul Schreiber’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Quinn Dombrowski’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

Concerning Presidential Greatness on President’s Day, My Top 10 List [Video]

U.S. Presidents

The White House

President’s Day in America was Monday, February 18, 2019. It is an amalgamation of two former holidays commemorating the birthdays of Presidents Abraham Lincoln [Feb. 12, 1809], and George Washington [Feb. 22nd, 1732].

They are widely regarded as the greatest American presidents in history. There are solid arguments for either to be number one, however, there is no doubt the other would hold the title of second greatest Chief Executive.

A slight caveat should be noted. These rankings are solely the opinions of the author, though he would like to believe they are considered somewhat informed opinions.

What Makes a Great President?

It is exceedingly rare that a president is considered one of the “greatest” while he is in office. Only many years later is greatness seen the proverbial 20/20 vision of hindsight.

Therefore, it is correct to exclude the current occupant of the White House and his predecessor from this list. This is much the same as rules governing inclusion to a sports hall of fame, such as the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which allows a longer perspective with which to judge greatness, and that seems a wise notion.

The criteria I used to judge presidential greatness are; the President’s Challenge, Competency, and last but certainly not least, his Constitutional Fidelity.

The Challenge is the historical situation in America when that leader took office. For example, was the nation in great peril or relatively safe at the time.

Competency measures how well the national situation was handled while in office, and Constitutional Fidelity is all about how the president carried out his tasks. Were his actions supportive or destructive of the Constitution and its principles?

I favor the earliest presidents for one main reason. Their job was the establishment and growth of a nation built to exist upon rule by law, and the success of the American experiment was on some shaky ground back then.

With these considerations in mind, here is my list of the greatest presidents in history; numbers 10 through 1.

10. Harry S. Truman – 33rd President, 1945-1953

U.S. PresidentsThis man of plain speech from the “Show Me” state came to office in a no-win situation. He had to steer the nation through the death of his legendary predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, the atomic end of WWII, and violent Communist aggression during the Korean War [1950-54].

President Truman navigated these rough waters with determination and responsibility and helped launch the post-war economic boom of the 1950s. He earns number 10 on the countdown.

Truman was well-known for some wonderful quotes and quips during his time in the White House. However, here is a less-known fact about Truman and his devotion to his wife, Bess.

…years ago, the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, MO, made public 1,300 recently-discovered letters that the late President wrote to his wife, Bess, over the course of a half-century. Mr. Truman had a lifelong rule of writing to his wife every day they were apart.

9. John F. Kennedy – 35th President, 1961-1963

10995742826_d302cb1fdd_mRanking ninth is last great Democratic president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. He has the tragic distinctions of being both the Chief Executive with the shortest time in office and the last President to have been assassinated.

During his brief time in office, Kennedy’s accomplishments were frankly astounding. He stared down a credible threat of nuclear destruction during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

 In October 1962, U.S. spy planes discovered that Soviet missile bases had been deployed in Cuba; the resulting period of tensions, termed the Cuban Missile Crisis, nearly resulted in the breakout of a global thermonuclear conflict

JFK, as he was affectionately known, also began the last full decade in which the U.S. has both started and finished a ten-year period with a budget surplus! You read it right folks, and we haven’t seen a decade like that since.

Finally, JFK is responsible for launching (pun intended) the “space race” by challenging America to “land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.” That impossible task was accomplished on July 20, 1969, though Kennedy did not live to see it.

8. Dwight D. Eisenhower – 34th President, 1953-1961

4209377891_43ea498230_qEisenhower is most famous as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in World War II. He commanded the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, and led the Allies to victory in Europe.

Immediately upon becoming the President, Eisenhower had to confront the Korean War and the very real Communist threat. He presided as Commander in Chief while the war was ended with a peace agreement establishing a demilitarized zone created North and South Korea.

He became the first President to confront the reality of the Cold War between Soviet Russia and the United States. He was a popular Chief Executive, and many viewed “Ike” (as he was known) as a likable and down to earth character.

Here is a taste of an early campaign commercial for Eisenhower,

7. Ronald Reagan – 40th President, 1981-1989

2546838226_843089d70d_mThe most recent to serve as the President on this list is Ronald Reagan. He stands as the greatest President of this author’s lifetime.

Reagan was a conservative Republican whose efforts domestically and internationally on behalf of America were incredible.

“Reaganomics,” as it was dubbed, brought the American economy back from the brink of Carter’s ‘malaise’ of double-digit inflation and unemployment. Reagan’s policies of tax cuts not seen since JFK and smaller government created a booming economy from one headed for a free-fall.

Moreover, Reagan’s defense stance of “peace through strength,” was the main catalyst resulting in the victory of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. In my view, had this policy continued to be pursued going forward, Russia and perhaps China as well would not pose the hazards they do at present.

However, most endearing about Ronald Reagan from my perspective was his staunch pro-life stance. He continually championed the pro-life cause throughout his two terms and instituted the “Mexico City Policy” that defunded international groups promoting abortion around the world, including Planned Parenthood.

6. James Monroe – 5th President, 1817-1825

2308871091_e881983a4b_mNumber 6 on this list is James Monroe who followed the presidency of Madison and the War of 1812. He served as Secretary of State and Secretary of War during that period.

Among his many accomplishments was his key role as a diplomat in France during the negotiations for the Louisiana Purchase under Thomas Jefferson.

Moreover, he was the last President who had also been personally involved with adopting the U.S. Constitution. As a Virginia delegate, Monroe was one of the few who opposed ratification of the Constitution,

claiming it gave too much power to the central government.

Nevertheless, Monroe put aside his reservations once the document became ratified and he upheld it vigorously.

He is most famous for the “Monroe Doctrine,” put into place in 1823. It was a historic achievement in the annals of foreign policy, which established that European colonization in the Western Hemisphere would no longer be tolerated.

This doctrine has served as a template for much of American foreign policy and international relations to this day.

5. James Madison – 4th President, 1809-1817

5990880058_318b4abc7a_m James Madison was elected in 1808, on the heels of the popular Jefferson presidency. His physical presence was far less impressive than the previous three presidents.

Five feet four inches tall and weighing about 100 pounds, small boned, boyish in appearance, and weak of voice …[his] strong actions belied his mild demeanour.

His actions while involved with the Constitutional Convention of 1787 earned him the historical title of “the father of the Constitution.”

his Virginia, or large-state, Plan, put forward through Governor Edmund Randolph, furnished the basic framework and guiding principles of the Constitution, …Madison believed keenly in the value of a strong government in which power was well controlled because it was well balanced among the branches.

James Madison was also the first President elected who had not served as Vice President. He was Jefferson’s Secretary of State before ascending to the office of Commander in Chief.

The infant American nation had to face a second war with Great Britain in 1812 under Madison’s guidance. That war brought America closer to defeat than perhaps any conflict with a foreign power.

In fact, it was the only time a sitting President and his staff and family had to evacuate Washington D.C. James Madison earned his place as number 5 on the list by saving the nation from an early death in the “second war of Independence.”

4. Thomas Jefferson – 3rd President, 1801-1809

5251015455_4a2802e7c9_mAnother of the original “founding fathers,” of the United States, Thomas Jefferson distinguished himself as a lover of liberty early in his career. He is best known as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Jefferson also presided over the largest land expansion in American history with the purchase of the Louisiana Territory in 1803.

One of the most significant achievements of Jefferson’s first administration was the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million in 1803. At more than 820,000 square miles, the acquisition (which included lands extending between the Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico to present-day Canada) effectively doubled the size of the United States.

Jefferson served under John Adams as Vice President and the two men were inextricably linked throughout their lives and careers. In fact, both Adams and Jefferson died on the same date, July 4, 1826, 50 years after the adoption of the Declaration.

3. John Adams – 2nd President, 1797-1801

5116002922_ec0c7d2134_qThe second president of the United States earns number three on the list. I believe he may be the most underrated for his immeasurable contributions to the founding of America.

As a lawyer, John Adams acquired a reputation as a fierce advocate of a defendant’s right to counsel and the presumption of innocence when charged with a crime. Moreover,

 As a diplomat in Europe, he helped negotiate the peace treaty with Great Britain

Another little-known fact about John Adams is that,

He assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and was its foremost advocate in Congress.

A superb way to appreciate the greatness of John Adams is to view the relatively recent Mini-series “John Adams”.  The seven-part series was broadcast in 2008 and features actor Paul Giamatti in what could be his finest work.

Here is a short clip from that series recounting the first meeting of Adams and George Washington.

2. Abraham Lincoln – 16th President, 1861 – 1865

2612137018_157a754635_mAs I noted at the beginning, Lincoln is either first or second on everyone’s list. Over the last few years, most presidential historians have ranked “Honest Abe” as first.

The arguments for a number-one nod are indeed compelling. He faced arguably the greatest threat to the continued existence of the United States and had to win the bloodiest war in American history to do it.

In the brief course of his presidency, Lincoln also set in motion the greatest cultural upheaval and change in peacetime America with the abolition of slavery. He had his presidency tragically ended by being the first President to be assassinated in office.

To top it all off, he gave the greatest speech ever delivered by any president after the battle of Gettysburg. The Gettysburg Address was hand-written by Lincoln, poignant, poetic, and brief in its brilliance.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln

November 19, 1863

1. George Washington – 1st President – 1789-1797

10693481286_7cdb7c5b35_mIf George Washington’s career had ended as a military commander, he would still have been revered as one of the greatest leaders in American history. He fought some of the most famous battles of the Revolutionary War, and the portrait of Washington and his men crossing the Delaware River is a historical classic.

However, it was the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania that defined the character and courage of the General. His soldiers underwent enormous hardship and loss that fateful season.

The 11,000-man force went into winter quarters and over the next six months suffered thousands of deaths, mostly from disease. But the army emerged from the winter still intact and in relatively good order.

Washington was recognized as a natural, though reluctant, leader by his compatriots and was overwhelmingly chosen as president of the first Constitutional Convention in 1787. In fact, he did not seek the office of the President the first election of 1788 and had to be strongly persuaded to run.

However, there was no presidential ‘race’ to speak of. In fact, Washington became the only president ever to be elected by a unanimous vote of the electoral college.

His humility was demonstrated daily and he was keenly aware of the pivotal role he played as the first President.

At first he declined the $25,000 salary Congress offered the office of the presidency, for he was already wealthy …However, Congress persuaded him to accept the compensation to avoid giving the impression that only wealthy men could serve as president.

Washington’s impeccable honesty and integrity impressed friends and foe alike.

For over 200 years, Washington has been acclaimed as indispensable to the success of the Revolution and the birth of the nation. But his most important legacy may be that he insisted he was dispensable, asserting that the cause of liberty was larger than any single individual.

This list was compared with another from 100 presidential historians and published by Business Insider. That list ranked the greatest 20 presidents of all time.

The biggest difference between my list and theirs is the criteria used by historians for evaluating the presidents.

100 historians and biographers rated 43 US presidents on 10 qualities of presidential leadership: public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic management, moral authority, international relations, administrative skills, relations with Congress, vision, pursued equal justice for all, and performance within the context of his times.

Challenge and Competency would include most of their ten qualities. But, where is the standard of the Constitutional Fidelity as a measuring stick?

Somewhat surprising to me is that though my top 10 is not in precise agreement with the historian’s judgment, all of my selections were included among the 20 greatest on their list. What do you think?

Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. Isaiah 55:4 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

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Originally published in TIL Journal

Leftist Abuse of the First Amendment, Part 2 [Video]

First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was crafted to help ensure five different fundamental freedoms, religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly, and to petition the government.

This is the text of the First Amendment:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, or to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Left of recent years has engaged in abuse of at least four of those rights. Last time we examined the abuse of the freedoms of religion and speech. Here we will survey the leftist abuse of the freedom of the press and the freedom to peaceably assemble.

Abuse of the Freedom of the Press

Image.article.8.25.2018The ‘press’ of today encompasses the news/media complex of print media, radio, broadcast networks, cable news, and the fast-growing internet world including social and anti-social media.

This may be the easiest freedom to abuse because it can be hidden under a veneer of professionalism and ethics. It also happens to be an easy way to leverage influence and power toward a personal or corporate agenda.

The agenda of the Leftmedia is an active promotion of socialism. Since the election of Donald Trump, this has been tethered to an incessant and hostile denigration of him and his administration.

Examples of this kind of conduct are legion. I have covered many of them in past articles. This is a persistent theme seen in response to every action the president takes or proposal he makes. This hostility extends to anyone in his administration and even his family and friends.

One of the more recent demonstrations of abusing freedom of the press came in response to Education Secretary Nancy DeVoss’ suggestion for perhaps arming some teachers in the classroom. Here is a portion of that response.

PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor… claims she has spoken with advocates who believe any programs that arm teachers will pose a threat to minority students. “If you start arming teachers, there are black and brown students … who are being disciplined more than their white counterparts, you could then start seeing statistics where potentially black students are getting shot or in accidents when their teachers are trying to shoot or do gun safety measures,” Alcindor claimed.

The suggestion that arming teachers will be a threat to minority students is both ridiculous and racist. It is an incendiary comment meant to stir up racial tensions and demean a member of Trump’s cabinet.

As far as the Left is concerned, the fact that a blow can be aimed at the Second Amendment is a bonus benefit. This is a terrible abuse of the freedom of the press to spread false innuendo and rumor devoid of fact.

Abuse of the Freedom to Peaceably Assemble

Image2.article.8.25.2018This freedom is the keystone of the ability to protest against or show support for causes in a public forum. Peaceful assemblies of even large groups of people cannot be prohibited within certain limitations for public safety and venue capacity.

Leftist abuse of this freedom has been increasing since the middle of the Obama administration with the violent protests of groups such as Black Lives Matter. There were pertinent examples of abusing lawful assembly such as one from April of 2015 where protesters blocked an interstate in the San Francisco area.

Officers detained six people here. Authorities tell KTVU all six were taken to the city jail and booked for unlawful assembly and being a public nuisance.

However, some of the most egregious abuses of the freedom to assemble were carried out during the presidential campaign at rallies for candidate Donald Trump. These involve the inciting of violence by Clinton and DNC supporters planted at the rallies.

The following video contains graphic language. It is raw footage and viewer discretion is strongly advised.

This kind of conduct is a deliberate abuse of the right to assemble peacefully at a public event. It is also abusing the freedom of speech in order to disrupt those who are exercising their freedom to assemble.

It is abuse solely for political gain, and it should be unacceptable as well as prosecutable. As of this writing, the leader of these efforts, Bob Creamer, has stepped down from his position, but there have been no attempts at prosecution.

Moreover, the Wisconsin Attorney General has refused to even investigate the organization, Democracy Partners, which Creamer led. Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe responded to this non-action by the AG.

Project Veritas Action has released a written and video response to Wisconsin Attorney General Schimel’s memorandum regarding Project Veritas Action’s Democracy Partners video investigation. …However, according to Schimel, “Based on all the available facts I do not believe there is any basis to conclude that the videos demonstrate or suggest violations of Wisconsin criminal laws.” Project Veritas Action and its legal team strongly disagree.

Unhindered Abuse Will Result in Loss of Freedom

The U.S. Constitution delineates our various individual rights on paper. Those rights are built on the foundation laid out in the Declaration of Independence.

Image3.8.25.2018.articleThe Declaration itself clarifies a very important point. Individual rights are not granted by the government. They are given inherently by God to human beings.

When any part of these constitutional rights is abused, the entire structure of the document is threatened.  It is impossible to violate just one portion of the Constitution without bringing down all of it.

In practical terms, if such leftist abuse of the First Amendment is unchallenged and unhindered the entire gambit of liberty enjoyed by Americans is at risk. The process is already beginning impelled by the Democratic socialist machine, funded by leftist operatives such as George Soros.

The United States Constitution is a testimony to human freedom on earth. It is also a plea for the people of the nation to value our freedom as a precious gift from God.

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1

If freedom is properly valued then its beneficiaries will ‘stand firm’ in that freedom. That is true for the liberty of a nation, and the freedom of the soul.

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles 2001
The Constitution of the United States, National Center for Constitutional Studies, 2009, 2012

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Kyle Dickson’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Scott Beale’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of duncan c’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of russellstreet’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

First published at TIL Journal