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Tyranny by Ten

This Tuesday, two and a half days ago, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals created a new law about guns and gun ownership in America out of thin air and completely contradicting recent US Supreme Court decisions the lower courts are bound to follow

If you want to see why citizens’ faith in the judiciary branch has declined, this bizarre decision is the best latest example.

It is gross over-reach far exceeding the court’s authority, and nullifying all of the judicial precedent litigated and decided before by the highest court.

Recall that judges cannot make up law.

They are fully bound by precedent.

They cannot make up policies.

They cannot come to a conclusion that is outside the subject of what has been litigated in front of them.

They cannot second-guess Congress.

They cannot ask what personal motives were behind a president’s executive order.

It does not matter what a judge personally thinks. None of this is supposed to enter into a judge’s ruling. When it does, the ruling is meaningless garbage.

Judges can only interpret the laws that are passed by Congress and signed by the President, or the state equivalent. That is it. That is their sole scope and ability.

At their most precise and honest moment, judges simply determine if a law is Constitutional, or not, or if it needs to go back to the state or federal legislative branch for re-work.

Brazen activism like this week’s decision serves only to undermine the judiciary, not strengthen it, because people will either utterly ignore these wayward judges, or they will seek to have them removed from their office, for good cause. Or both.

I myself do not feel bound by this illegal decision, and I will not comply with it no matter who says I must. These ten judges-gone-wild do not outweigh the collective decisions of the populace. If this court wants my guns, the authors of this decision can come to my home and try to take them away.

Come and (try to) take them!

In this particular instance of judicial malfeasance, ten of the court’s fourteen judges decided on their own that a new legal test was needed, a test that had never been used before by Congress, by the framers, the Constitution, or prior courts.

These ten judges decided to call it the “weapons of war” test, and they simply state that the Second Amendment never intended for American citizens to possess “weapons of war,” which according to these judges include the basic AR-15 rifles that are commonly used to hunt coyotes every week across the nation. Never mind that this new test would have eliminated from their personal possession the very military grade guns the American Patriots used to defeat the British.

But obviously logic is not of concern to these judges. The language of the majority decision and supporting decision is florid, full of political and emotional hyperbole, uses sophomoric logic and impolitic language (“the American people deserve a break”), and is simply disconnected from Constitutional text or legal precedent.

It is the equivalent of my kids saying “So, there!” in an argument.

But wait, there’s more!

Beyond being merely political, the majority bizarrely state that the decision is consistent with the US Supreme Court’s Heller decision, when it is in fact completely contradictory. Talk about shades of Orwell’s “1884,” where up is down, black is white, etc.

This is not a legal decision, it is a political decision.  It is a bold, defiant “I dare ya!” act by ten radical politicians wearing sombre black robes. And it is not just about guns. This decision is about rogue, out-of-control judges destroying the fabric of our Republic, which was not designed to turn over all issues to the judiciary, as if they make our every decision for us. This court throws the whole delicate machine of democracy out of kilter.

These judges are anti-democracy, plain and simple. They want a certain policy outcome, and because they cannot get it legitimately, legally, through the established legislative process, they simply want to wave a magic wand and make it so.

As much as this illegal decision shocks me, I do have to thank these judges, because they have outed themselves. By engaging in such egregious over-reach, illegally reaching deep into the realms of policy and law, they have willingly exposed themselves as frauds deserving of the most serious correction our system of government allows for – removal from the bench.

Now it is up to those American citizens who want to ‘drain the swamp’ and reclaim American government so that it serves We The People, to remove these anti-democracy activists from their sacred judicial roles. We can push to have them impeached or removed administratively.

Either way will do. Tyranny by ten cannot stand. We the People demand our rights.

 

Every action leads to opposite reaction

As anti-freedom gun-grabbers continue on in their march for government supremacy over the citizenry, they seem surprised when that same citizenry reacts.

Take Barack Hussein Obama, for example. Like Rapist-In-Chief Bill Clinton before him, Obama’s anti gun crusading has driven millions of Americans to either buy guns for the first time, or to buy even more guns and ammunition than they had before.

As the federal government and its Big Government allies in the mainstream media, academia, and activist groups amplify their assaults on citizen liberties, the citizens begin to coalesce into like-minded groups. In the beginning of America these were known as militia. Today they are simply loosely knit groups of advocates for the First Amendment, Second Amendment, and Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution. They are reacting to the illegal and unconstitutional pressures being brought to bear on them collectively and individually, pressures under the color of “law.”

Today I watched as Shira Goodman and a bearded man with her walked around the crowd in the Pennsylvania State Capitol rotunda, where the annual Second Amendment rally was held. Shira and I have debated on live TV before. She represents CeaseFirePA, an anti-freedom and Big Government group. I imagine she was counting the number of people at the rally. It is true that the number of people at any given rally are an indication of the political strength they represent.

The place was packed. From top to bottom, side to side, you could barely move. Between 1,000 and 2,000 people today. Contrast that with the 25 people who showed up for CeaseFirePA’s rally two weeks ago.

Shira looked sallow and grim faced. The bearded man with her looked frightened, and he tightly clutched some case he was carrying.

We rally participants were fired up, and when one of the speakers (Rep. Daryl Metcalf, I think) pointed out that today we had shown up unarmed, and rue the day when we do show up armed, we loudly roared our support.

The political Left has been on an anti-America warpath for so long that it appears they do not realize how far they are pushing so many citizens. For decades normal Americans have conceded little and big victories to the Left, often with a sense of resignation that “things are changing.”

What is different about the gun issue, now, and different about now versus twenty years ago, is that an entire two generations of Americans have watched the Big Government Left practically swamp the average citizen.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen. The less our liberties and freedoms, the fewer our rights.

In a nation like America, based on laws and citizenship, the Left’s policy wins are increasingly perpendicular to the trajectory of America the nation and most of its citizens.

That is “the silent majority.”

Yes, it is true that millions of invaders have been ushered in by treasonous Federal servants, in an effort to tilt the vote balance forever in the favor of one Santa Claus after another, dispensing free things paid for by hard working taxpayers.

But the real result is a deep and building undercurrent of resentment. Call it the “Tea Party,” conservative movement, whatever, it is a groundswell of formerly free citizens fearful of losing the America they love and worked hard to create.

Statists like Shira Goodman and her friends at CeaseFirePA are so completely devoted to Big Government that they cannot comprehend a citizen rebellion. Like a horse, their blinders are so big that they cannot see what is happening around them. Sure, Marxists like Mark Potok at the Southern Poverty Law Center, another anti-freedom, anti-Christian outpost, are constantly cited by their Left friends in the Washington Post and other mainstream media outlets. But that cat is out of the bag, and putting it back in is not going to happen without a hell of a fight and lots of scratches.

One wishes that all these crusading pushers would leave the citizens alone, so that we can go back to our lives, liberty, and pursuit of our happiness. But it ain’t gonna happen. These guys will just keep on pushing until the citizens have nowhere to turn.

And then look out.

Risk & Sacrifice separate grass roots activists from insulated party professionals

In 2009, like many other citizens shocked at the sudden, dramatic changes and corruption re-shaping America, I greatly increased my political activity.

Part of a grass-roots wave of citizen activists that year, I ran in a four-way US Congressional primary.  It’s a long story, and in short I ended up liking one of my opponents so much I hoped he would win.  Along the way, several people closely affiliated with the Republican Party tried to dissuade me from running, assuring me that a certain sitting state senator would beat the incumbent Democrat, congressman Tim Holden.

Our campaign still netted about 25% of the vote in a four-way race, which is solid performance, especially considering that one of the candidates had run before, one was a sitting state senator, one was a well-known political activist, and we had gotten a late start and spent little money.

In the general election, Holden crushed the Republican state senator who won that primary race by 400 votes.

Fast forward to January 2012, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects a new, heavily gerrymandered Republican redistricting plan.  At the heart of the court’s decision was the “egregious” and grossly unnatural shape of the 15th state senate district, where I happened to then reside, and still do now, too.

The PA Supreme Court called the new district “the iron cross,” and indeed it looked like a cross shape and was iron clad against upstart citizens asserting themselves in political races reserved for establishment members only.

(My current congressional district is the same, with only about ten blocks of Harrisburg City included in what is otherwise a large, rural district reaching the Maryland state line. Guess who lives in that ten-block area. Yes. Me. )

Given my previous public interest in running for the 15th senate seat, it was obvious that excluding our family’s home from that district was purposeful: It was an attempt by political bosses to artificially silence and thwart an otherwise good candidate who does not see his job as serving political bosses.

The court’s ruling allowed a handful of us to wage a tremendous grass roots 11th hour campaign for that senate seat, getting our start two days into the three-week ballot petition process.

Although we did not win, we did give the political bosses a hell of a challenge by winning a huge number of votes with only pennies spent.

A year later, York businessman Scott Wagner beat those same political bosses for his state senate seat, in a historic write-in campaign against a million dollars of party money. The race, and its remarkable result, drew national attention.  Clearly the voters responded to Wagner’s grass roots campaign in the face of a party juggernaut.

This evening I spent some time speaking with an NRA staffer.  We met at the Great American Outdoor Show, which is the former Eastern Outdoors Show and now NRA-run at the PA Farm Show complex, and he gave me an opportunity to vent a bit and explain my frustration with the NRA.

To wit: An increasing number of grass roots activists now perceive the NRA as merely an arm of the Republican Party establishment political bosses.  The same bosses who oppose conservative/ independent candidates like me and Wagner.

See, back in 2012, I was the only NRA member in that three-way primary race (to be fair, one candidate had been an NRA member for several months, which could never, ever be construed as a political move, even though he was the candidate selected by the same political bosses who created a safe district for him to run in), but the NRA refused to get involved.

If there was any endorsement that was deserved in that race, it would have been the NRA endorsing their one and only member, and a decades-long member at that – Me. (Firearm Owners Against Crime did endorse the one pro-Second Amendment candidate, thank you very much, Kim Stolfer)

And then tonight it dawned on me on the way home from the Farm Show complex…two basic but defining experiences separate grass roots activists and candidates from the party establishment: Risk taking and making sacrifices.

By definition, grass roots candidates take many risks and make many sacrifices, both of which are seen as signs of weakness by the establishment.

Self-starters motivated by principle and passion for good government, the grass roots candidates and activists have to reach into their own pockets to get any traction, and they often risk their jobs and businesses in challenging the establishment power structure.  To get invitations to events, they have to reach out and ask, knock on doors, make phone calls.  They have to cobble together campaigns made of volunteers and pennies, and they usually are grossly under-funded now matter how successful they are.

On the other hand, party establishment candidates have the ready-made party machine in their sails from the get-go.  Money, experienced volunteers, paid staffers, refined walking lists, the establishment can muster a tremendous force in a relatively short time.  Establishment candidates also enjoy artificial party endorsements (formal or informal) that give them access to huge pots of party campaign funds or a leg-up in other ways.

Establishment groups like NRA view grass roots candidates the same way as the party establishment views them- trouble makers.

In short, few if any establishment candidates put in their own money to drive their campaigns, take risks, or make sacrifices in their pursuit of elected office. Everything is done for them by other people.

So long as party establishment staff and officials and groups like NRA maintain this artificial lifestyle and view, this alternate reality, this disconnect between the grass roots voters and the party that needs their votes will continue and deepen.

So long as the voters see grass roots activists and candidates struggling against an unfair arrangement that is created solely for the preservation of political power and profit, they will continue to migrate away from the party and support people they can relate to the most.

An elder in my family once told me that taking risks and making sacrifices build character and lead to success, and although a 26-year career full of both risks and sacrifices has often left me wondering at the truth of that claim, I increasingly see it bearing out in electoral politics.

The voters are not dumb; they can see the pure American earnestness in their fellow citizen fighting City Hall.  They respect risk-taking and sacrifices made in the pursuit of saving America.  That is a strong character which no establishment candidate can or ever will have.

Those political parties and groups that ignore that strong American character do so at their own risk, because they will lose the supporters they need to be successful.

 

Perry County gets an eyeful of cr@p from anti-gun schemers

In what must be a warm-up for the 2016 state senate race in Perry County (in which I hope to be the Republican nominee), gun control schemers have drummed up a ridiculous problem. The Perry County Auditors are now suing Sheriff Nace for personal gun owner records, to which they have no legal access nor any expectation of access.

It is a political stunt.  It is an effort to undermine gun owner rights and put gun owners on the defensive, in order to make easier the state senator’s re-election there.

Given that the newly incumbent and very liberal state senator there is far in the minority in Perry County, where even the Democrats are fiercely pro-Second Amendment, this is undoubtedly a politically fostered, carefully coordinated effort between the senator’s political party and anti-gun activists.

Simple things

America’s Second Amendment is not about hunting.

It is not about target shooting.

It is not about shotguns, single-shot twenty-twos, and bolt-action deer rifles.

Incredibly, it is about an armed citizenry being able to stand up to its own government.  It is a crazy idea, right? So crazy that only America, the world’s bastion of liberty, has it.

How frustrating is it to get into one Facebook debate after another with adults who not only have not bothered to research the Second Amendment, but who deliberately refuse to be educated once they are well into the debate.

Feelings are not a substitute for facts.  Debates about Constitutional law require facts, historical quotes, Founders’ intentions, etc.  Sure, I understand that lots of people are afraid of guns.  Why not?  They are dangerous.  But your fear cannot dictate my rights.

US Supreme Court tells us what we already know, and ignores the obvious

If the rule of law requires both mutual consent and contention between America’s three branches of government, our modern inclination to simply look to an authority to tell us what to do, what we may do, is a sign that Americans have grown tired of the hard work of running a republic.

The US Supreme Court has little authority but what moral authority it can muster through reasoning based on our Constitution. Yet increasingly, the court is used as a policy center to impose laws that otherwise failed in Congress.

This week the court held – gasp – that prayer is allowed in government meetings. Never mind that America’s founding fathers prayed together before working on governance. Never mind that for at least 200 years, Congress convened in prayer before convening in policy. In chambers. Never mind that our federal and most state founding documents recognize God, not government, as the source of human rights. In other words, Americans have been invoking and praying to God as part of official duties since our founding. There’s nothing new here. There’s nothing to question.

If it was done then, then yes, it can (and should) be done now.

Today’s general legal wranglings involve questions that ought not even be asked. But because there’s a group of people at war with America’s culture, institutions, and Constitution, these questions get asked as if they’re serious, legitimate, worthy. They’re none of those. But they serve the Left’s purpose of advancing an anti American agenda.

The Court also declined to hear a contested New Jersey law prohibiting the carrying (“bearing”) of handguns in public without proof of necessity. The Second Amendment means what it says, the court has held twice that it means an individual right, and since our founding Americans have, like prayer in government, been carrying guns in public.

There’s nothing new here except the liberals in NJ, whose war against America goes unchecked.

Here’s the thing: Laws are only as good as the potential to force their adherence by threats of force, incarceration, fines etc. It’s one of the great ironies of the pacifist Left that they enjoy, nay, require, the full coercive force of government to achieve their policy goals.

But citizens can disobey. And citizens can challenge authority. Will the Left feel bad for jailed gun-bearing conservatives, or government leaders invoking God before sitting down to business, as the Left felt bad for civil rights protestors once  jailed by anti- black police and politicians?

Don’t count on it. Logic, consistency are not hallmarks of the Left. But we can overcome, nonetheless.

Participated in 2nd Amendment Rally; where was NRA?

Just in from the field.

PA Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, Kim Stolfer of Firearm Owners Against Crime, and Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America organized and led a wonderful pro-freedom rally just now at the Pennsylvania Capitol steps in Harrisburg.  Dozens of state and local elected officials, from both parties, Democrat and Republican,  stood in the rain to show their appreciation and support.  State Senator Tim Solobay (D), an ass-kicking big guy and the senate’s official “Walking Refrigerator,” proudly wore his Western PA gun rights hat.  State Senator Scott Hutchinson (R), stood tall in the rain and cheered on the speakers.

Constitutional rights should not be a partisan issue.  Sadly, too many Democrats make gun ownership an issue, when it has zero to do with crime control.

Missing from action was the NRA.  No official presence, no speaking role, no unofficial presence.  What is going on here with my favorite organization?  Organizational snafu?  Too much pride?

Citizen, activist, and elected official speakers alike championed America’s unique freedoms, quoting often from their own life experiences and from America’s founding fathers.  Each speaker pointed out the hypocrisy of anti-freedom gun-grabbers, who are more comfortable in a feudal hierarchy than in the free Republic we have fought so hard to keep from tyranny.

Standing at the top of the steps, looking out over the sea of rain-soaked citizens, with their American flags, Don’t Tread on Me banners and similar hand-held signs, I was choked up with emotion.  As every past year, I feel honored and fired up to have participated in this year’s annual PA Second Amendment Rally.

April 29th 2nd Amendment rally at PA Capitol steps

April 29th Second Amendment rally at PA State capitol front steps, 10:00 AM, rain or shine. PA Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, Kim Stolfer of FOAC, Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America, and many other speakers will be there. PRIZE is a Smith & Wesson Shield in 9mm or .40 S&W, courtesy of S&W and Ace Sporting Goods. All participants will be given a free ticket to win. See you there! — Josh

Interesting times…ancient Chinese curse

An ancient Chinese curse goes “May you live in interesting times,” meaning that turbulence should mar your life.

Well, turbulence has arrived: Tom Ridge is now joining anti gun activist Mike Bloomberg in a new effort to destroy the Second Amendment. At a time when murders are at record lows, due in great part to greatly liberalized concealed carry opportunities across America, it’s impossible to justify Bloomberg’s obsessive focus on stopping that increased self defense. Ridge has been a political hero of mine, and he was an excellent governor.  How sad.

Another oddity is the unlikely presence of a primary competitor to present governor Tom Corbett. Political activist Bob Guzzardi will remain on the ballot, despite PA GOP efforts to remove him. I’ve never met Guzzardi, but I do believe in competition and political choices for voters. Guzzardi represents those values. Corbett has nothing to fear, and he should use the challenge to strengthen his responses to the ridiculous attacks by Democrat candidates for governor, specifically the bizarre claim that budgets have been cut for schools.

Guns – Your individual right

Gun ownership is an individual right, not a “collective” right.

There is no such thing as a “collective” right in the American liberties enumerated in our Constitution.

If you think otherwise, you really must study the Constitution more.  Local to the Harrisburg area is an organization that provides classes on Constitutional issues: http://reclaimliberty.com/

The “collective right” idea was ginned up out of thin air in the 1970s by anti-freedom activists.  The US Supreme Court has rejected it twice, and there is not an honest scholar anywhere who believes in it.

The Bill of Rights is exactly that – a list of individual rights and liberties that belong to American citizens.  No one can take them away.  Whether you choose to exercise those rights, or not, is your choice.