Is Our Nation Broken?

Lately I have been saddened by the division in our Nation. I think it has always bothered me that we have a long history of division. Like when we hated on the Indians and all but annihilated them and enslaved a portion of our society that was predominately black and further punished them with segregation and Jim Crow laws, but I had hoped we had left some of that behind.  The most obvious division today is among the Haves and the Have Not’s and between those who want more government control and those who do not. Those we have elected to lead us have been putting on a pretty good show of fighting for the cause of their constituents, yet our government continues on its set course. That course being more control over its people and more information about their lives and more of their money. Obviously they are not content to just control their own citizens, but people all over the world as evidenced by the surveillance of foreigners and the constant intervention in other nations by our government. Should we be in a constant state of war without a defined enemy. The stated enemy is terrorism yet we refuse to acknowledge that it is a war with Islam where the Quran calls for the killing of non-Muslims. We also have the internal and external war on drugs where tens of thousands of people have lost their lives in a struggle to illegally provide the United States with drugs and hundreds of thousands of Americans are imprisoned and lose their property because their drug of choice is not alcohol or tobacco. These things are being used as an excuse to gather information on every citizen in this country and many abroad. Privacy in our communications, information searches, shopping habits and our medical history is gone and all that information along with our location is now available to our government. We have surrendered our individual sovereignty for the illusion of safety.

Lets consider some of the implications from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One provision is the smokers have been accessed a $3000 penalty or premium increase that cannot be subsidized with tax money. That $3000 is just an arbitrary number. What if it increases to $6000 or more and how hard would it be to say that anyone who uses an illegal drug should be charged more. You could always just not tell them but likely medical exams in the future will include toxicology exams since the government is picking up the tab. Laser powered molecular scanners will very likely find their way into medical diagnostics and drug use will be obvious, both legal and illegal. If you do not report your drug use you will be guilty of felony fraud.

The use of the Internal Revenue Service as the enforcement arm of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is also troublesome. Does anyone remember the abuse of power about awarding or withholding tax-free status to groups and individuals along party lines. The Internal Revenue Service has always been used by our elected leaders to reward those in their favor and punish those who are not. It is also being used to divide our nation. We are split between the Haves and the Have Not’s where according to CNN Money, 10% of the people pay 70% of all income taxes. Randi Rhodes once told me that it wouldn’t do any good to tax the poor because it is like squeezing blood from a turnip but I disagree. Those who do not pay income taxes ( about 47%) don’t have any skin in the game and they can vote for whatever benefits they want from government and not have to worry about how it is paid for. When we authorize our government to take away from a few to supplement others it is theft, even if it is backed by the rule of law. If everyone pays, then we could find the level of government benefits that we can agree on and pay as we go. This astronomical national debt thing has to stop if we are to leave any kind of decent future for our children and grand children.

If America wants to turn this around, it can be done, but we have to act in unison. Stop voting for lifetime politicians. Their allegiance is not to you but too their party. Demand term limits and run for office if you are dissatisfied with the selection of candidates. We need more ordinary citizens in office. Above all watch those that take office and let them know what you expect from them. Silence is seen as approval.

Randy Johnson

Who Will Win The War On Drugs

The present trend in the legalization of marijuana would seem to indicate that the Feds are losing the war against marijuana. With two states legalizing the drug for recreational purposes and twenty states, plus our nations Capitol, legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes and the latest Gallup poll now showing 58% of Americans favor legalization you would think so. But I am not so sure. I still think the Feds have a few cards up their sleeves. Recently Reason Magazine reported that the NSA has been sharing information with local and federal law enforcement about illegal drug activity obtained through their advanced surveillance of our internet and phone usage and then telling the law enforcement authorities not to reveal the source. This alone is disturbing, but those we elected to protect our freedom through legislation don’t seem to believe we have the right to be left alone and have any privacy and there has been very little public outcry about it. Like I have said before, they view silence as approval and that only makes them more bold. There has not been much in the news about the new laser powered molecular scanners that can tell what you had for breakfast from 50 meters away but I am sure they are being improved and made more portable. Now the IRS will have access to all of our medical records because of the affordable health care act. Privacy is becoming a thing of the past and those we have elected to represent us increasingly see everyday Americans as a threat. Remember how the Department of Homeland Security has been stockpiling ammunition. I am not sure what the intentions of this administration are but so far they seem to tell us one thing and then do another, like when President Obama said that he would leave medical marijuana alone and then escalated the raids on state legal distributors. Soon the government may have what they need to enforce the war on drugs successfully but I don’t know if people will tolerate that level of oppression. I do know that the government has a long memory and they are not very forgiving. The Gallup poll showing 58% approval of legalization does give me hope though. No matter how much the Feds want to control our lives, they still have to get re-elected.

Randy Johnson

What Divides Us?

As the House of Representatives votes to de-fund Obamacare, with a bill that would fund the government by raising the debt limit to prevent a government shut down, the Senate and the President have vowed that the bill is dead with no chance of passing. Both Democrats and Republicans are locked in a struggle for a prize that would reward their constituents. That prize being health care, or more importantly who would pay for it. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is actually a huge wealth redistribution scheme. It raises the premiums on those that can afford health insurance to pay for the insurance of those that can’t and will be supplemented with Tax money and money that we had to borrow from the Federal Reserve. The whole problem with the battle is the taking of money. It could be simply called theft by government to give to those less fortunate. And of course while playing the role of the middle man, the associated regulatory bureaucracy, the IRS, will need increased funding in order to pay for expenses associated with running the new government cash eating monster. Why would anyone want to make the IRS bigger and more powerful.?

What we need as a nation is to get our budget under control and stop the process of borrowing 43% of what we spend and begin to pay that money back. The interest on the national debt alone is crippling with an estimated cost of 5 trillion dollars over the next decade. We currently owe $49,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States, or $135,000 per taxpayer in this country and it seems to be accelerating exponentially. The young voters in this country should be screaming at their elected officials to stop this madness that will cripple our future economy with debt we cannot repay. A burden that will be passed to our children and their children. Simply put, we need to pay as we go instead of borrowing the money, even if we have to raise taxes. That gets us to the crux of the problem, who gets the bill. Currently about 50% of Americans don’t pay income tax and some even get money they did not contribute. The people who do not pay taxes are not vested in the system.  When those that pay little or nothing start voting benefits for themselves, from the tax revenue of the few that pay the most taxes, it creates hard feelings, stifles innovation, and investment that creates jobs and rightfully so. While I am not a big fan of progressive taxes, lets just skip that part and assume that we should take a higher percentage from those who make more. The poor that can work should not be exempt from some income tax so that they share in the burden of helping those that can’t or won’t. Lets make it a fixed ratio of say, a 2 to 1 ratio or even a 3 to 1 ratio, where the wealthiest taxpayer pays a higher percentage, but all who have income should pay something and get rid of special interest deductions and credits. Then it is no longer the poor stealing from the rich with taxation, and we could raise the tax rates to whatever people were willing to tolerate and pay for what we want from government. We could find the balance that society wants with taxation and government services and it would heal the divide that has split our nation.

Randy Johnson

Nullification Is Essential To Maintain Freedom

I’ve been hearing about jury nullification as a defense against prosecution for marijuana crimes. It is an interesting concept, where the jury just refuses to convict the defendant just because they disagree with the law or because they believe it should not be applied in a particular case. This was used extensively to stop the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act before the Civil War and the Volstead Act during the prohibition of alcohol. During prohibition, as many as 60% of the alcohol violations were nullified by juries. With greater than 50% of Americans now believing that marijuana prohibition should end, it is very likely you could get a member of your jury to vote for your acquittal. NJWeedman, Edward Forchion, a New Jersey medical marijuana patient, has used jury nullification as a way to avoid prosecution. Forchion is an outspoken critic of the war on marijuana and has some very good ideas about mounting an effective defense in court against prosecution. He spent 6 months in jail for exercising his freedom of speech when he made commercials that called for an end to marijuana prohibition, yet he still marches on as a warrior in the fight against prohibition.

The states that have moved to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use have also nullified Federal marijuana laws to a certain extent, by stopping the enforcement of those laws by local authorities. It has been an uphill battle where some local law enforcement have refused to honor the will of the voters in their state and enforce Federal marijuana laws anyway. Still progress is being made where a wave of acceptance for medical marijuana has swept the country and over 50% of Americans now believe marijuana prohibition should end, and that it should be regulated and taxed similar to alcohol.

Oath Keepers is an organization of active and former military, police and first responders that have vowed to uphold their oath to support and defend the Constitution of The United States, by refusing to obey unconstitutional orders such as, to disarm the American people, detain Americans as enemy combatants to be held without trial and to conduct warrantless searches. This also is a form of nullification that protects our freedoms and rights that are under attack by the Federal Government. Their motto is “Not On Our Watch”.

When those we elect to lead us, refuse to honor their oath to support and defend the Constitution, the responsibility falls on us to stand together and defend our rights and way of life. Our best defense against this assault on freedom, is to watch those we elect to represent us and hold them accountable by removing them from office when they fail to protect our rights. That system seems to have failed, where our two-party system yields more of the same, regardless of which party is in majority. Our rights of freedom of speech, the right to privacy, the right to be secure in our personal effects, and the right to self-defense are constantly being eroded by our government. Nullification can be a very powerful tool to prevent the loss of freedom if we just refuse to play their game.

Randy Johnson

Congress Ignored Prohibition And Bought Liquor During Prohibition

The history of George Cassidy’s bootlegging operation in the House of Representatives and The U.S. Senate are chronicled by Green Hat Gin where 4 out of 5 members of Congress ignored the Volstead Act, and purchased illegal alcohol for their own consumption in the Halls of Congress. George Cassidy even had an office in the basement of the Cannon House Office Building for 5 years until Capital Police caught him bringing illegal liquor into the Cannon House Office Building. He was never prosecuted for the crime but simply moved his office to the Russell Senate Office Building and continued his bootlegging business for another 5 years. Then as now Congress holds itself above the law while holding us accountable to their dictate.

Congress quietly rolls back insider trading rules for itself.

Congress gets special attention and exemptions for health care coverage.

Congress gets free trips from lobbyists.

Congress exempt from security protocols at airport security.

Free vacations for Congressional staff paid for by foreign governments.

Congress gives special deals to campaign contributors.

Congress is exempt from a number of Federal laws protecting employee rights such as whistleblower protections, protections from retaliation, and compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act among others.

Political conventions lush with perks and free booze.

Are members of Congress pubic servants or just self-serving?

Randy Johnson

Stop Killing People For Using Marijuana

I keep finding stories about people killed over marijuana possession. Eighteen year old Ramarley Graham was shot to death by officer Richard Haste in his Grandmother’s bathroom while allegedly trying to flush a dime bag of marijuana down the toilet after New York City police saw him make the purchase and followed him to his residence. A video shows Graham walking to the residence and entering with police running up to the door a few seconds later, where they unsuccessfully try to kick the door in. They moved around to the rear of the residence and finally gained entrance by breaking in. Also in the home at the time were his Grandmother, Patricia Hartley and six-year-old brother. Several stories have evolved from the initial event such as that Graham had a gun that was never found and that Graham had struggled with the police which turns out not to be the case according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The indictment of the officer involved in the shooting has been dropped because the Grand Jury was not informed that fellow officers had told Haste that Graham was armed. Graham’s Grandmother was treated badly after her grandson was shot The grandmother, 58 years of age and 85 pounds, was forced into a chair and her arm twisted while police called her a f—ing liar for covering for her grandson, and hauled her in for questioning for 7 hours, while she was denied heart medicine and medical treatment and officers delayed her lawyer from seeing her for 90 minutes.

Since police have acknowledged watching the hand to hand drug buy, I am certain they knew it was not a large quantity of drugs. It was obviously a personal use, small time drug buy which brings us to the question of why it was so important to break into a home and shoot someone over a small amount of marijuana. Is it so important for society to eliminate drug use that they will do so at all cost, even killing people? While I do fault the police, for this tragic over use of authority, they should not stand alone in fault here. Also culpable are the Police Commissioner, and all the elected officials from the mayor all the way up to Congress and President Obama who played a role in directing police to pursue small time drug buyers and users with such aggression. The police in this case were likely just following a directive that came from someone far above their pay grade. That does not excuse their behavior but it does shed a little light on a much larger problem that starts with Congress and The Office of The President and filters down to the poor and people of color that are preferred targets in this war on drugs. While the Office of the President no longer calls this a war on drugs, the tactics have not changed where police are urged to aggressively pursue drug crimes through Congress making military weapons and equipment available to local police departments for free or drastically reduced prices and offering grants for police to train for and interdict drug use. More and more our fourth amendment rights are circumvented or ignored while judges rule that the end justifies the means in this war on drugs.

But what about the people caught up in this horrible, hateful and unjust war. The victims like Ramarley Graham, or his Grandmother or his younger brother. Was it just to kill this man just because he liked marijuana. At his age purchasing alcohol would have been just as illegal, but it is very unlikely he would have been shot over a six-pack. Did his grandmother deserve the abuse she received after watching her grandson being killed by police. The saddest part of this story is that it is just not that uncommon. It breaks my heart to think that society supports this kind of treatment of our fellow Americans at the hands of those we trust to serve and protect us, from our local police all the way up to The President, but that is exactly what is happening. Without public outcry in defense of those abused by our justice system, our leaders see silence as approval. When we vote them back into office after supporting this kind of behavior, they think we approve. We are all guilty of what happened to Ramarley Graham and others like him when we don’t rise up in defense of those abused by the justice system. There is no justification for ruining people’s lives and killing them because of marijuana. Call your Mayor, your Congressman and Senator, and call The White House and tell them you want this to stop, unless you approve.

Randy Johnson

Whats Wrong With Paramilitary Raids

The war on drugs has led this nation to a point where citizens should have a real fear of encounters with police. All too often innocent people are shot in their own homes in a violent raid at the hands of paramilitary police looking for drugs. All too often these raids are at the wrong address. The police typically enter the home in the wee hours of the morning when people are asleep. When startled awake by police, breaking down your door and yelling, while storming through your house with flash bang grenades, assault weapons and lights, the victims of these invasions are in real danger. For one thing the police are likely scared and are looking for anything that may be perceived as a threat and ready to respond with deadly force to make sure they are not harmed. But people do not always react the way you would expect them to, especially when startled, scared, and half awake. Many people have firearms in their homes for self-defense, others may have a bat or a golf club and we all have the right to defend our homes. But anything in your hand, like a phone, or just having your hands where the police cannot see them is likely to cause them to panic and start shooting. The justification for this type of raid seems to be that the suspect may try to destroy evidence. In my line of thinking, if they have enough evidence for a paramilitary raid on someone’s home, then why are they worried about further evidence? This type of raid puts the whole family at risk. Typically the family dog is shot, the family is herded into one room in their underwear and held at gunpoint while the house is torn apart. Sometimes family members, even children are shot by mistake.  Wouldn’t it be safer to arrest the person at work or in a traffic stop, and then go search their house without the violence of a home invasion that endangers everyone involved. More and more we are treated as though we were the enemy of America instead of citizens. I think it is a pretty heavy hand in fighting a war against people who rarely ever fight back. In fact, I can’t remember a violent protest against marijuana prohibition, ever. The only violence I have seen would be from the crime syndicates who supply the drugs because our government won’t allow a legal source. Most of that violence is infighting between drug gangs that are fighting for turf to protect their market or settle disputes. All the other violence in the war on drugs is directed towards the users at the hand of law enforcement. It’s a very one-sided war, where drug users are not even allowed to own guns or ammunition by Federal Law. A right I might add, that was stripped from them without trial, representation or justification over a decade after the government declared war on them.

Police are almost never held accountable for mistakes in these raids. Accidental shootings are said to be justified if the police say they perceived a threat, even when they get the wrong house. Police have lost respect for our privacy and our rights against illegal searches and the Supreme Court has ruled that dogs may authorize searches. Some people have tried fighting back, by video taping the police’s actions as evidence of abuse, but this often brings wrath from law enforcement. People are arrested and phones or cameras are confiscated even though the Supreme Court has ruled that police can have no expectation of privacy in public law enforcement and video taping of police is legal. Congress seems to support these paramilitary raids by making military equipment and weapons available to local police either free or heavily discounted and offering grants for police departments to train for and conduct these raids. The Cato Institute tracks these raids and even has an interactive map highlighting errors made by law enforcement where innocent people are targeted by these raids and where needless deaths and injuries have occurred.

No Knock Raid preformed by Lindy (caution graphic images)

It all seems to swing on the premise that we as a society must eliminate drug use. Is it really that important to have the illusion of a drug free society that no one actually wants anyway? We all use drugs in one form or another. Anyone who claims otherwise in just not being honest. We use drugs to feel better. Most of the drugs we take are not curative, but only designed to alleviate some symptom and anyone who still believes alcohol is not a drug is delusional. We take drugs as a social catalyst, to relax, to correct sexual dysfunction, for restless legs, depression, pain relief, weight loss, to stay awake and for energy just to name a few reasons. It’s almost impossible to turn on a television without seeing an ad for some drug or a law firm wanting to represent people to sue a drug manufacturer for some unwanted side effect of a drug. Just because people use a drug, doesn’t mean they are sick or criminal, any more than you would consider that for those who use alcohol. We’re just people trying to get through life the best way we know how. What is so horrible about using marijuana that would justify a war against us?

Randy Johnson

NSA Surveillace Is Unacceptable

There are a large number of our elected officials in Congress and The President who believe that they are justified in maintaining the surveillance of our electronic communications and internet searches along with our banking records and medical records. Their justification seems to swing on the premise that they are protecting us from terrorist threats. My question is what is going to protect us from them?

A majority of them seem to believe that continuing the blatantly racist and useless war against marijuana is a good idea. I’m not saying that marijuana should not be regulated, but the Federal Government has a long history of favoring rich industry in its actions and that is what I believe is the primary motivation for continuing their failed marijuana policy. I want the Federal Government out of the business of ruining people’s lives over marijuana. Let states decide how marijuana should be regulated.

There is sufficient evidence now showing that marijuana is far safer than alcohol or tobacco and it has a very promising place in future medicine, yet those we have elected to lead us regularly ignore and suppress any evidence showing marijuana to be beneficial to society. Their action only serves to protect industries that would be negatively effected by legal marijuana and hemp. Most Americans would benefit from a well-regulated marijuana and hemp market when considering how useful the marijuana plant can be. Hemp for instance is one of the best plants to make biofuel and petrochemical products and is carbon neutral. It can also be made into building products such as beams and sheathing to replace lumber and is a fine source of fiber for paper. It can also be made into clothing and hemp seeds have all the essential oils and nutrients for human health and have been used for human and animal food for thousands of years. The medicinal uses of marijuana alone should be enough of a reason to change the restrictions on marijuana use in the Controlled Substances Act, but Congress and the President seem bent on protecting the pharmaceutical industry and others. States that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes have seen a 9% reduction in traffic fatalities, likely due to people substituting marijuana for alcohol. If marijuana was available for recreational use those traffic fatality reduction statistics would likely be even more dramatic.

Even if all this were not true, allowing adults to celebrate with a libation different from alcohol should not be illegal as long as it caused no more harm to society than alcohol. Alcohol causes far more harm to society than all illegal drugs combined and the harm from marijuana is a miniscule part of that harm to society. When the overwhelming racial bias in the prosecution of the war on drugs is factored in, I believe our freedom is in serious jeopardy. Until our government has a long history of protecting our freedom, instead of selling us out for profit, I for one want the surveillance stopped.

Randy Johnson

We Have Rights Our Government Refuses To Honor And Obligations We Have Neglected

Recently I have noticed that a large percentage of people I have talked to, did not know who Edward Snowden is. Most would add that news is depressing and they try to avoid it. Even my wife has told me the same thing. She avoids news because it is depressing. But we all suffer from information overload. In our society, we are constantly bombarded with new and often unimportant information mixed with information that we need, so it is not in our best interest to ignore it. We take it all in and filter what we believe is relevant or important and ignore the rest. We also live in a society where communication is almost as easy as looking at a watch and entertainment is as close as our phone. We can play interactive games, text, watch movies and surf the internet virtually anywhere, yet we have become disconnected from the things I believe are most important. Keeping watch over those we elected to lead us and protect our freedom.

Those we elected to represent us in government have failed to protect our rights and to uphold their oath of office. They refuse to acknowledge our second amendment as a right and treat it more as a privilege that can be legislated away incrementally, locally as well as at the federal level. All Constitutional rights and natural rights should be the same in any state or territory in our union. It is the job of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution of The United States of America as the supreme law of the land and protect our freedom, yet those in office are constantly looking for ways to circumvent the Constitution. Greed and corruption are rampant and it has become business as usual for Congress to pass laws favoring one business over another to create wealth and reward campaign contributions. A revolving door system of bureaucrat’s go back and forth from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, the same can be said for companies like Monsanto and Cargill and the Department of Agriculture and the FDA and the pharmaceutical companies. Lobbyists from the richest and most powerful industries meet in private with members of Congress and the President and form federal policy and law without the voice of the people. If and when our rights, get in the way of this profit machine, government lawyers look for ways around the Constitution and our freedom suffers. Our fourth amendment rights against unlawful searches has also been attacked. Our elected leaders have allowed and likely encouraged the NSA, FBI, DHS, CIA and who knows what other government agency to view and record all of our phone, text, email, banking records and now the IRS will have access to all of our medical records. Even the Supreme Court which is supposed to be the last line of defense against unconstitutional laws passed by legislature, unanimously decided that dogs can authorize searches.

We have failed as well, in our obligations as citizens of society and to our government. We must work if we can and support our government by paying taxes, obey the laws and be willing to serve as jurors in the judicial process. We also are obligated to watch over those we elect to lead us and hold them accountable when they fail to uphold the Constitution. We are also obligated to come to our country’s defense if needed in time of war or any other national calamity. Regardless of whether we agree with one another, we have to live in this country together and find a way to get along. Yet we continue to push our elected officials to pass laws to keep us safe or to keep us from being offended. That leads them to pass laws that restrict freedom in almost all cases. Free people are no longer allowed to act on their freedom for fear of offending someone or getting sued. Communities are passing laws preventing all kinds of things such as smoking, gardening, clothes lines and lemonade stands. Our children were put on a diet by Federal mandate and one child was expelled from school for chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. Reason and common sense have given way to panic and hysteria where knee jerk reactions from our leaders further our loss of freedom. Discipline among our children has been lost and the judicial system has become the backup plan and we have the largest per capita prison population of any nation on earth. What happened to the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”?

Randy Johnson

Is Congress Above The Law

The war against marijuana is more about what is good and beneficial to people and society about marijuana and protecting existing industries from competition than the health risks or damage to society from its use.
Consider hemp, which is one of the best feed stocks for biofuel or ethanol production. We could grow enough hemp to rival our petroleum production and it is carbon neutral. Hemp can also be used to make fabric for clothing and does not require the vast amount of chemicals used in cotton production. Over 50% of all agricultural chemicals, such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer are used in cotton production. Hemp can also be made into sulfur free charcoal to be used to fire coal-fired power plants, and again it is carbon neutral. It can be made into building materials such as sheathing to replace plywood and beams to replace lumber, saving our forests that actually capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Henry Ford once made a car from hemp based plastic that was said to be stronger than steel when struck with a hammer and it ran on biofuel made from hemp. Hemp seeds contain all of the essential oils and nutrients that are necessary for human health and have been used as food for people and livestock for thousands of years. Hemp was so vital to the development of our nation that up until a hundred years ago we had laws mandating that farmers grow hemp and it was even legal tender for a time in our nations history.
As far as smoked marijuana or marijuana edibles, marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. It has been found to be effective in treating pain, spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, wasting, post traumatic stress, cancer and more, yet our government steadfastly ignores all of this evidence, even though they hold a patent on marijuana that describes in detail how marijuana is efficacious in treating cancer. Could they be protecting the pharmaceutical industry? States that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, have seen a 9% reduction in traffic fatalities. The study did not determine the reason for this drop in traffic fatalities but speculated that it may be because people may have been substituting marijuana for alcohol. If that turns out to be the case, recreational marijuana may have an even greater effect on reducing traffic fatalities. Marijuana is far safer for individuals and society, than alcohol or tobacco from a health viewpoint and does not have the strong association with violence that alcohol has.
Based on what is currently known about marijuana, the arguments our government uses to support marijuana prohibition are baseless and just plain wrong. The only thing that makes any sense to me is that our government is protecting certain businesses from competition or loss from legal marijuana and hemp. But then again, why would you expect anything else from the corrupt government we have that believes they are above the law, the Constitution and the will of the people?
Randy Johnson

Happy Independence Day

July 4th marks the birth of our nation. Brave men risked their lives, their fortunes and the lives of their families in an act of treason by sending our Declaration of Independence to King George III and declaring that they would no longer tolerate the acts of tyranny perpetuated by royal dictate from a king that did not recognize their rights. It listed several basic human rights that had been violated and declared that some of our rights were ordained by God and therefore could not be taken away by men. They declared that all men are created equal and that when governments become hostile to basic human rights, and after long suffrage, men have the right and obligation to throw off those bonds and form their own government and that those who govern do so by the consent of the governed. Their actions set the stage for what would become the greatest nation on earth, an economic and military superpower and a beacon for freedom and democracy. We have every right to be proud of America and all that it stands for.

It is worth noting though, that not all Americans share the same reverence for this holiday celebrating our freedom, because not all of them received their freedom as a result of the birth of our nation. The American Indians certainly have no reason to celebrate the birth of a nation that destroyed their way of life and stole the land that had been passed down to them through countless generations. The blacks in this country generally celebrate their independence on Emancipation Proclamation Day, when slavery was abolished. Even then they had to wait and suffer before they were allowed to vote and faced decades of persecution and discrimination because of racial prejudice and hatred. Women’s right to vote came years later. Although our Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal, it has taken us 237 years to get to where we are today and still people are struggling for equal treatment and freedom under the law.

The Edward Snowden affair highlights what the founders of our nation were fighting, a government that has lost its way and become openly hostile to the rights of its citizens. In direct violation of our 4th amendment rights of privacy and guarantees against illegal searches, our government has decided it is ok to spy on us and believes we have no right to even know about it, much less question their motives or ask how they justify such actions. Congress swore an oath to support and defend our Constitution, yet they have become openly hostile to protecting our rights and the rule of law that they are obligated to uphold. Another battle in the assault on our 4th amendment rights is the war against marijuana where now the Supreme court says that dogs may authorize searches and paramilitary raids on homes and helicopter and drone surveillance have become all too common, just for choosing a drug that is not alcohol. A drug that is safer for the individual and society than alcohol, yet those who use marijuana are still treated as enemies of the United States. They are persecuted and prosecuted at every opportunity and people of color are still arrested and incarcerated at a grossly disproportionate rate.

We are still one of the most free nations on earth but we seem to be going in the wrong direction and loosing freedom to a government bent on gaining knowledge of all parts of our lives and control of all of our actions. More and more we are being treated as though we are the enemy, yet we are The United States of America, and those that govern us are supposed to represent us and govern by our consent. I just hope it is not too late to preserve our nation and the freedom that so many of our brave men and women have fought for. We still have a long way to go before we are all free. Lets keep our eyes on the prize.

I hope you all have a happy Independence Day.
Randy Johnson

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi

Dear Congresswoman Pelosi and other distinguished members of Congress,

I recently read in the news where you said at a press conference concerning the Edward Snowden affair, that your job is to keep Americans safe. I believe you are in error in that belief. Your oath of office if you will recall says that your job is to support and defend the Constitution of The United States of America. The Constitution says that Congress is to provide for the common defense of this nation, not to keep it safe. Keeping America safe is our job by volunteering to serve in the military or even being drafted into service if the need arises. We also must be willing to serve as jurors and police if needed to preserve the rule of law. Your job is to make sure that our Constitutional rights are protected and to make sure the military and police have what they need to defend our great nation. Which means planes, ships, tanks, bullets, guns and bombs to fight those who would threaten The United States or our Constitution. Never should we have to give up any of our rights to have the illusion of safety. If we can’t have both, this American would rather be in a state of war. I would never choose safety over freedom. That would be an act of a coward and a disgrace in light of those who have valiantly fought to preserve our freedom and way of life. Just issue me an M4 rifle or I can bring my own and a ride to the enemy and I will gladly risk life and limb in defense of our nation, our Constitution and way of life. Our rights against illegal searches and privacy should never have to be surrendered to have the illusion of safety, nor should our right to bear arms. When Congress believes that we must surrender our Constitutional rights to be safe, they become the enemy. What defense do we have to that?

Randy Johnson

There Are Traitors Among Us

With the news of Edward Snowden releasing classified information about NSA surveillance of Americans to the press, I am reminded that we have traitors among us. Edward Snowden was a contractor, working closely with the NSA in the direct role of surveillance of Americans by listening to phone calls, reading texts, email and observing web searches in search of terrorist activity. He fled to Hong Kong and exposed what he says is an unconstitutional breach of the Fourth Amendment of our Constitution by our government. He has been called a traitor by Dick Chaney and Nancy Pelosi but the claims he has made are really not new.

From The Guardian

Edward Snowden said “I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you, or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the President if I had a personal email.”

Glenn Greenwald follow up: When you say “someone at NSA still has the content of your communications” – what do you mean? Do you mean they have a record of it, or the actual content?

Both. If I target for example an email address, for example under FAA 702, and that email address sent something to you, Joe America, the analyst gets it. All of it. IPs, raw data, content, headers, attachments, everything. And it gets saved for a very long time – and can be extended further with waivers rather than warrants.

User avatar for Anthony De Rosa

1) Define in as much detail as you can what “direct access” means.

2) Can analysts listen to content of domestic calls without a warrant?

2) NSA likes to use “domestic” as a weasel word here for a number of reasons. The reality is that due to the FISA Amendments Act and its section 702 authorities, Americans’ communications are collected and viewed on a daily basis on the certification of an analyst rather than a warrant. They excuse this as “incidental” collection, but at the end of the day, someone at NSA still has the content of your communications. Even in the event of “warranted” intercept, it’s important to understand the intelligence community doesn’t always deal with what you would consider a “real” warrant like a Police department would have to, the “warrant” is more of a templated form they fill out and send to a reliable judge with a rubber stamp.

In an article at Reason magazine by Brian Doherty titled “5 Alarming Things We Should Have Already Known About the NSA, Surveillance, and Privacy Before Ed Snowden” Brian sheds light on (1) Three whistle blowers that have been prosecuted for leaking classified information about NSA surveillance on Americans (2) The governments use of Telcom companies like Google and Yahoo who had been given immunity from prosecution and law suits because of their cooperation with the NSA (3) Anyone who writes about and repeats what Edward Snowden has revealed about the NSA is a criminal under federal statute. (4) As early as 2008 anyone paying attention would know that communication privacy in America had become a joke with the NSA having a room at a huge ATT data center in California where data was funneled through NSA equipment where they captured everything. (5) The Fourth Amendment had already been gutted by the Supreme Court when it ruled that business data or data stored by a third-party was available for government scrutiny.

It is clear that several if not all members of Congress and the President knew and were complicit in the NSA surveillance of Americans. This is a direct violation of our Fourth Amendment rights as guaranteed in the Constitution. According to the Oath of Office for Congress, they are required to support and defend the Constitution of The United States. I’m pretty sure that includes the Forth Amendment. If members of Congress refuse to honor their oath of office and are complicit in its circumvention, doesn’t that make them traitors as well?

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Randy Johnson

If You Don’t Want The Right To Bear Arms Then Change The Constitution

My right to bear arms in defense of me and mine are rights that had been honored in free societies for hundreds if not thousands of years before the Constitution of the United States was written. The founders of our nation and signers of the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution believed so much in our right to bear arms that they enshrined that right in the Bill of Rights. My right to bear arms should be the same in any state or territory of the United States. It is my second amendment right and states should not be able to deny that right, just like they can’t take away my right to freedom of religion or my right to speak out against tyranny. These rights spelled out in the Constitution were put there to protect our freedom and the right to bear arms is crucial to that end. The type of weapon that can be owned or used should not matter because the right to bear arms, among other things, is also to stop tyranny from our own government. To surrender our guns to any government would be Un-American. Congress, Presidents past and present and the Supreme Court have failed to protect that right from state and local governments and that right has been under federal attack as well. As citizens we have failed to oversee those that we elected to lead us. Without our voice, our elected officials assume we approve of what they have allowed to happen to our second amendment right. We must speak out against this tyranny now or that right will continue to be infringed.

For those of you who hate guns and want to get rid of them consider this. There are an estimated 300,000,000 guns in this country and without the government going door to door, searching houses and killing all who oppose them, these guns are not going to go away. Most of these guns at the present are in the hands of good people who believe in the rule of law and would stand in your defense if need be. But when you make criminals out of us for exercising our rights and demand that we be defenseless, that changes the whole game. Now you are going against the Constitution that many Americans have sworn to protect against all enemies foreign and domestic. For our elected officials to refuse to support that right is a direct violation of their oath of office. As long as the Constitution says that we have the right to bear arms, that right should be honored anywhere in the United States or its territories. If society can’t accept our right to bear arms, there is a set procedure to change the Constitution spelled out in Article 5 of the Constitution. But if our own government refuses to follow the Constitution, we are no longer a nation ruled by law, but subjects, ruled by decree from the elite who believe they are above the law. Either change the Constitution or honor our rights.

Federal employee oath of office.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Article. V. of the United States Constitution

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Amendment II of the United States Constitution

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Randy Johnson

Will Government Surveillance Destroy Freedom?

How far will our government go in its effort to control us and keep themselves safe from any threat, or could it be that they really do have our best interest at heart? An article in Wired Magazine written by James Bamford about the new Utah Data Center in Bluffdale, Utah highlights the ever-expanding and scary secret spying on Americans by our government. The art of intelligence gathering has been expanding at unimaginable rates. Methods of gathering information on us from monitoring our location by cell phone GPS signals, to actual monitoring our phone calls, text messaging and e-mail have been improving at great speed under the guise of national security and remain shrouded in secrecy. Huge data bases have been built with more under construction to collect, categorize, analyze and investigate data collected on all of us looking for any perceived threat to national security from drug use to terrorism. Huge computers with amazing speed and capacity pour over data night and day recording and analyzing data from all our phone and computer communications, both personal and business. Data about our web surfing, shopping, internet searches and communications are stored and categorized while being scanned for target words and phrases or connections to known threats. Virtually everything we do is recorded on some computer somewhere and the NSA wants access to that information to examine, looking for any activity it may suspect as criminal or suspicious. Breaking the encryption of all this data takes extremely fast and large computers and they are being built. Former NSA senior crypto-mathematician, William Binney quit the NSA in 2001 citing violations of the U.S. Constitution is his resignation.

Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its
warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,”
he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and
they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started
violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.” Binney says Stellar Wind was far
larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on
domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the
program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to
80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul
only grew from there. According to Binney—who has maintained close contact with
agency employees until a few years ago—the taps in the secret rooms dotting the
country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that
conduct “deep packet inspection,” examining Internet traffic as it passes
through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.

The software, created by a company called Narus that’s now part of Boeing, is controlled remotely from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland and searches US sources for target addresses, locations, countries, and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. Any communication that arouses suspicion, especially those to or from the million or so people on agency watch lists, are automatically copied or recorded and then transmitted to the NSA.

The scope of surveillance expands from there, Binney says. Once a name is entered into the Narus database, all phone calls and other communications to and from that person are automatically routed to the NSA’s recorders. “Anybody you want, route to a recorder,” Binney says. “If your number’s in there? Routed and gets recorded.” He adds, “The Narus device allows you to take it all.” And when Bluffdale is completed, whatever is collected will be routed there for storage and analysis.

According to Binney, one of the deepest secrets of the Stellar Wind program—again, never confirmed until now—was that the NSA gained warrantless access to AT&T’s vast trove of domestic and international billing records, detailed information about who called whom in the US and around the world. As of 2007, AT&T had more than 2.8 trillion records housed in a database at its Florham Park, New Jersey, complex.

Verizon was also part of the program, Binney says, and that greatly expanded the volume of calls subject to the agency’s domestic eavesdropping. “That multiplies the call rate by at least a factor of five,” he says. “So you’re over a billion and a half calls a day.” (Spokespeople for Verizon and AT&T said their companies would not comment on matters of national security.)

Considering what the government may do with this ever-expanding sea of information Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier published an article in Popsci titled, “Should We Use Big Data To Punish Crimes Before They Are Committed”. Similar to the movie Minority Report, law enforcement may soon have access to unlimited data on all of us fed into huge computers capable of (with surprising accuracy) predicting our behavior. These systems of logarithms that define human behavior and analyze our actions have been shown to predict human aggression with 70% accuracy and it will only get better as advances in these programs are made. As long as this information is not used to punish people for anticipated actions it may not be a problem, but who knows how this loss of privacy will affect our future. Almost as scary is the danger of being categorized and labeled by this information. It could be used to deny employment, insurance and even medical care or gun ownership. How safe will we be when our secrets can be mined and sold. This type of surveillance of our shopping habits and e-mail is already being used to target us with sales and investment offers.

Soon none of us will have any secrets. Drones will soar above us watching our every move and record our communications. Check points with molecular scanners and facial recognition will check if we are armed or carrying drugs and look for people suspected of being criminals. Huge databases with our lives laid bare will be used to target us in ways we never dreamed possible. This information could be used to target gun owners for confiscation or virtually any group or person deemed worthy of government scrutiny. We are all vulnerable to this invasion of privacy and our freedom has already been infringed. Our Constitutional rights are incrementally being neutered and the saddest part is most of us are unaware or unengaged. Apathy may bring the end of freedom as we know it.

This article at Prison highlights the recent onslaught of violations of our constitutional rights and the use of ever-increasing surveillance on all aspects of our lives. It discusses the use of drones, information surveillance of our computer and phone usage and smart street lights that can listen to our conversations, track individuals with facial recognition software and cameras and even be used to give instructions through built-in microphones. Who will be the first criminal to surrender to a street light?

A research project under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security called FAST (Future Attribute Screening Technology) tries to identify potential terrorists by monitoring individuals’ vital signs, body language, and other physiological patterns. The idea is that surveilling people’s behavior may detect their intent to do harm. in tests, the system was 70 percent accurate, according to the DHS. (What this means is unclear; were research subjects instructed to pretend to be terrorists to see if their “malintent” was spotted?) Though these systems seem embryonic, the point is that law enforcement takes them very seriously.

I know this age of information keeps us busy. We are bombarded with texts and e-mail. We have almost limitless entertainment and information at our finger tips. Never in the history of man has so much information been so portable and accessible or so overwhelming. And never have we been so disconnected from the process of governance. It may be caused by apathy or information overload but we have failed to oversee those that govern us and hold them accountable to constitutional limits. The part that worries me, is that many of our elected officials don’t seem to recognize our rights anymore and they may use this wealth of information to take away more of our rights. We need to demand that they recognize and honor our rights if we want to keep them. The longer we wait, the less likely we will succeed in preserving our freedom.

Randy Johnson

How Will Washington D.C. Respond To Legal Marijuana

In an interview with publication Maclean’s of Canada, Gil Kerlikowske, The U.S. drug czar may have shed a little light on future federal policy concerning Colorado and Washington’s voters decision to legalize marijuana. Gil Kerlikowske said “You’ll continue to see enforcement against distributors and large-scale growers as the Justice Department has outlined. They will use their limited resources on those groups and not on going after individual users.” He went on to say that he did not see marijuana as a human or civil right issue, but as a public health issue. As the interview moved into prescription drug abuse and the influx of Canadian pharmaceuticals where he suggested tamper resistant medications that would not crush or gel when mixed with water. He also touted that our drug interdiction officers work closely with lawmakers to increase manpower in troubled areas. He is also in favor of mandatory drug rehab saying that people who go to rehab voluntarily or under court order have virtually the same success rate. Then he made what I believe is a stupid statement. Speaking about prescription drug abuse he said, “It continued to grow up until this last year at astronomical levels. More people dying of prescription drug abuse than heroin and cocaine combined. After marijuana, we see prescription drugs as the next most significant drug problem we have. It has covered every demographic, age, race, ethnicity, gender. And it’s a bit disproportionate in poor and rural areas.” If more people are dying from prescription drug abuse than heroin and meth combined, how is marijuana the most significant drug problem we have when virtually no one dies from marijuana use and the public health issue is grossly overstated. Where is the damage to society that justifies this heavy hand from the Justice Department against marijuana. I believe the message here is that we can expect more of the same from federal authorities. They will continue to ignore the will of the people, raid and prosecute growers and distributors and anyone who gains enough notoriety to deserve their attention. Also I would expect the harassment of property owners and property confiscations to continue, but it is unlikely that they would ever have the manpower to go after individual users of recreational or medical marijuana. Eric Holder is promising an official response soon. He might say something different but I don’t have a lot of hope. These changes need to come from Congress.

Randy Johnson

3D Printing Of Guns Is Improving

In an update to an article published January 18th, titled “3D Printing May Be The Key To Our Freedom” about a printed lower receiver for an AR15, Defense Distributed has improved on the initial model that failed after six shots. The improved version has fired over 600 shots without failure. Also available is a CAD file to print a 30 round magazine for AR15 style rifles. Keep in mind there are many parts for an AR15 that currently would not be feasible to print out of plastic such as the springs, barrel, upper receiver, bolt and firing pin, but these parts are not currently regulated and can be purchased through the mail without an FFL dealer. The ability to make your own gun has been within the realm of anyone who has access to a lathe and milling machine for as long as I can remember and it is perfectly legal to make a gun as long as you don’t make a gun that is currently prohibited, such as a machine gun or a short barrel shotgun. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, is currently trying to ban 3D printing of guns in anticipation of untraceable weapons that do not show up on metal scanners. Similar to the idea of eliminating nuclear weapons, stopping this technology is like trying to put the nuclear genie back in the bottle. Guns simply cannot be un-invented and any attempt to confiscate or eliminate gun ownership is destined to fail. Even if the current 3D gun files available for download could be tracked down and erased, it would not be long before someone else came up with another version. Our government’s attempt to control every aspect of our lives is starting to meet resistance in ways they never imagined. States legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes and 3D printable guns are just the beginning. However, I am concerned about The Department of Homeland Security’s recent acquisition of 2 billion rounds of ammunition. What horrible plans do they have in store for us next? Are our elected officials so worried about maintaining control that they would use deadly force against us to stay in power? Is it too late to vote them out? I sure hope not.
Randy Johnson

This Declaration Of Rights By Dan Richeson Would Be Great To Print Sign and Mail To Congress And President Obama

Submitted on 2013/02/26 at 4:54 PM

Declaration of Rights of Cannabis Users

Mission Statement: To bring an end to cannabis prohibition in 2013 by gathering signatory members through promotion and declaring our rights through the document, “Declaration of Rights of Cannabis Users”. Giving prohibitionists reasonable opportunity to affect appropriate, timely and agreed upon change and, if necessary enforcing our rights in a peaceful way. After April 20 2013 adopting a zero tolerance for acts of brutality and injustice by prohibitionists.

The laws regarding cannabis were born on the wings of lies and pampered by propaganda such that now the tightly held belief systems are going to have to reckon with the desire of all humanity to live with dignity, free from the oppressive tyranny that ignorance and bigotry have spawned.



Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.
Whereas for too long now it has been observed that disregard and contempt for human rights has been allowed to exist in the body of politically motivated law that outlaws the possession, cultivation and use of cannabis by adults. The signatories of this Declaration wish to live in peace in this society, have been engaged in constant communication with their elected representatives individually or as part of groups. The actions of the government in this regards demonstrates continued contempt and disregard that we the undersigned feel that we have NO RECOURSE but to regard our government and some of our fellow citizens as hostile towards our declared rights and indifferent to the tyranny, oppression and terrorism that we have too long had to deal with.
Whereas by this declaration we provide the opportunity and impudence for representatives to engage in good faith negotiations which will lead to peaceful coexistence
Whereas we the undersigned do hereby declare that IT IS OUR RIGHT to cultivate, possess and use cannabis AND that any law that says otherwise will be treated by us as the tool of tyranny.
Whereas we the undersigned in declaring our desire to realize our liberties and our desire to live in peace also recognize that the point is near where our rights and liberties will have to be defended.
Whereas we the undersigned are willing to do all we can to avoid conflict we hope that this WARNING also provides our fellow citizens and our representatives the impudence to also seek peace and understanding within our society.

[Your name]
Dan Richeson

Why Do We Go To War

A few days ago, as I ate lunch at the park in front of the Hutchinson County Veterans Memorial. I started wondering what we fight for as a nation and individually, and why we send our sons and daughters to war. Words come to mind like, duty to country, honor, national defense, and security. Today our armed forces are all voluntary, but many of the soldiers honored here were drafted into service. Does that change the reasons we fight? Society needs to be able to assemble armies in its defense, even a conscript army if needed. The survival of our nation and way of life may demand such action. We faced real threats to our sovereignty and security in WWI and WII and so did our allies, but what about Korea and Vietnam? Was our sovereignty and security in danger then, or was that just our attempt to stop communist aggression amid the Cold War? Were we able to achieve those goals? I would call Korea a partial success. South Korea is a democratic country with an economy built on free enterprise and it is prospering. But the Korean people are divided, with their kin to the north governed by a desperate and aggressive despot, who rules his people with fear and punishment. And they are technically still at war with a real threat of the violence ensuing again. If we had not maintained a military presence there, it is very likely all of Korea would be under communist control today. None of our goals were met in Vietnam with the communists taking control of Saigon as we were leaving and yet, today they are a united, peaceful people. Who decides when we go to war and what the motivations are? The reasons to go to war are never simple and may cover any variety of considerations from economics to survival but certainly the preservation of our freedom should be one of the reasons we fight. Our nation was born with a struggle for freedom from the rule of England. Our Declaration of Independence lists a number of violations of basic human rights by the King and extols our right to shed that rule in favor of self-rule as all men are created equal with rights granted to us by God and not men. This was an act of treason under English rule and those who signed that document did so knowing that it put their lives and fortunes at risk, yet those brave men and those who fought by their side, did so willingly. Our Constitution goes further describing our rights as a people, by enumerating them in the bill of rights, to ensure that government would not be able to take them away. These are important rights that ensure that we can live safely and securely among others without the worry of being governed by tyrants.

All of our servicemen take an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But how many of the recent wars we have been involved in were about a threat to our Constitution or the sovereignty and security of our nation? Were we defending an ally from a threat to their sovereignty or security? Certainly if our country is attacked we should respond in defense. Even preemptive strikes against known threats are justifiable, but all acts of war have consequences. Because of the brutality of war, some of our young will always be killed or wounded. And then there are the mental scars from being witness to the horrors of war. The fear of death or injury and seeing your friends killed or injured are hard to imagine, let alone learn to live with. Just the longing for home to reunite with the ones we love tends to wear on most people. And then there is the memory of the killing of others and watching the enemy suffer or die. Is it any wonder that the suicide rate among our servicemen is so great. War is a terrible thing for both sides of any conflict and even when the hostilities end, the painful memories of war endure. War should always be a last resort.

Our Congressmen and Senators also take the same oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, yet rarely do they face imminent danger in their daily lives. But their responsibility to defend the Constitution is just as important because they write the laws governing all aspects of our lives. They are on the front lines of protecting our freedom in the laws that they vote for or against. Their responsibility to ensure that all laws passed, maintain our freedoms as described in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence cannot be overstated. These  documents should be the guiding principle in all laws passed by Congress or signed into law by our President.

Often as I read the news and study current events I am reminded that not all members of Congress share the same reverence and respect for the Constitution of the United States. The recent debates about the right to keep and bear arms are a perfect example of that. Even before the Sandy Hook massacre, our right to keep and bear arms was seriously infringed and it was all done at the hand of Congress and backed up by past and current Presidents and supported by the Supreme Court. My second amendment right to keep and bear arms should be the same in any state or territory of these United States, yet our Congressional leaders have allowed a patchwork of differing laws governing our rights to bear arms to become the law of the land. Even if we follow the safe passage clause of the Firearm Owners Protection Act, we can still be in violation of state or local laws if we are delayed because of car trouble or if we are too tired to continue our journey. In order to pass through a state with restrictive firearm laws a person must unload and lock the gun in the trunk of their car and are not allowed to stop except for food and gas. Would we surrender our right to a trial by jury or our freedom of speech so easily? What about our freedom of religion? Isn’t our right to self-defense one of those rights granted by God?                                                                                                  And what about the tenth amendment where the powers not delegated to the United States as described in the Constitution are reserved to the states or to the people? Do our Congressional leaders understand that? Where in the Constitution do they get the power to tell states that they cannot experiment with medical marijuana laws or even recreational marijuana laws? Our Congressional leaders should be actively defending our rights, not circumventing state law to keep us under the thumb of oppression. Since Congress authorized the oath of office for all Federal employees, they should know that they are obligated to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and our rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. We, as Americans, should demand and expect as much from them. Their obligation to preserve our Constitution and freedom should be no less important than that of our sons and daughters that we ask or require to risk life and limb in war.

The Constitution does not provide the wording for this oath, leaving that to the determination of Congress.  From 1789 until 1861, this oath was, “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States.” During the 1860s, this oath was altered several times before Congress settled on the text used today, which is set out at 5 U. S. C. § 3331.  This oath is now taken by all federal employees, other than the President:

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.  So help me God.”

The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights

Randy Johnson

Will They Try To Confiscate Our Guns?

In light of the current gun legislation issues, I want to mention that almost all new guns available have been sold and any new arms or ammunition will likely be purchased soon on arrival. I have heard rumblings of resistance to gun confiscation and people are concerned about their freedom. Sheriffs and police across the country have vowed to fight gun confiscation. I also am concerned about my freedom and have been for a long time. How did states ever get the right to take away our Second Amendment right? Would we surrender our freedom of speech, or our right to a speedy trial of our peers for crossing a state line? Why should we have to give up the security of being armed to cross state lines. My right to keep and bear arms should be the same in any state or territory of these United States. I do not believe however that our government would ever attempt to disarm all Americans at one time. First they will begin with people who get caught with illegal drugs or alcohol violations. Then anyone who is involved in any domestic violence or fringe groups like Christians or Constitutionalists. Eventually they would like to completely disarm us, but any attempts of all out confiscation would likely promote an armed response. So goes the story of the frog in the pot. Heat it slowly and it won’t resist.

My sincere hope is that these people who are trying to take our freedom are voted out and replaced with people who honor the Constitution and believe in the rights of the people. However I am also very sceptical that will ever happen. In the last election, Congress had a less than 10% approval rating and yet over 90% were re-elected. I do fear armed responses to gun confiscations by SWAT teams may become a part of our future. The Government does have an alternate plan though. A friend who proudly served in the United States Army told me, in 1989, all soldiers had to swear an oath, that if ordered, they would fire on American Citizens. I wonder if that is still the case and if not when did it begin and end? I guess we can hope I am wrong. Voting them out wouldn’t be near as costly in American lives.

Randy Johnson