THE DEATH OF RULE OF LAW – Part I of VI: The Balance of Power

Introduction

The U.S. Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in Congress, then ratification by thirty-eight states before it can be lawfully changed or overturned… or it can simply be ignored.

People who hate the Rule of Law fill our world, because, in simple terms, the Rule of Law stops them from getting their way at the expense of others. From its inception, the United States of America was Earth’s greatest legal experiment. The one nation founded on the Constitutional Rule of Law, a kingless nation created by the people, for the people, with a democratically elected government of the people. It lasted only 225 years. Before it quietly came to its end, America’s democratic system of Rule of Law gradually overcame many longstanding global injustices while still respecting each citizen’s right to self-determination.

The Founding Fathers built America in a world where, for the most part, democracy did not exist, human rights were not inalienable, governments controlled religious freedoms, slavery was endemic, women and children were chattel, the common man could be imprisoned for speaking his mind and The Law considered him guilty until proven innocent, and citizens feared their own military and police. Our Founding Fathers wanted something better. They wanted a free yet strong nation, where the citizens could be who they would be, and the Rule of Law was above all citizens.

  • A nation where the Catholic, the Protestant, the Jew, the Muslim, and the atheist could share the same public square.
  • A nation where a citizen could speak out on the street corner as well as in the press, and like-minded citizens could freely gather.
  • A nation where individuals had the right to keep and bear arms to insure the country against tyranny and defend the free state.
  • A nation where the citizen had the right to protect his home, property, and private affects against the government, military, and police unless they possessed a lawful warrant.
  • A nation where citizens could not be arbitrarily imprisoned, and were presumed innocent until proven guilty by a jury of their peers.
  • A nation where federal powers were limited to those granted in the Constitution, and other powers are reserved for the individual states and citizens.
  • A nation where a citizen’s rights were not limited to those enumerated in the Constitution, and the people had the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances.

Think on where these very basic rules have led this country. Slavery has been abolished. All citizens of the age of majority can vote in free elections. Women have the right to divorce. Children have rights. We achieved a desegregated society, a true international melting pot of races, cultures and beliefs, each having equal protection under the law, without becoming a homogenous blend of gray. Then, with the dawning of the new millennia, our Constitutional democratic republic began to collapse… and the majority turned a blind eye.

 

Death of Balance of Power

America is a constitutional democratic republic founded on the principle of balanced power with a ground up approach. Sitting atop our system of government is The Law, embodied in the Constitution of the United States of America. All citizens, including the President, are beholden to The Law. Only God resides above The Law. At the bottom are the citizens, with a right to free speech, a right to gather, a right to bear arms, and a right to vote, who elect a government of their peers. The citizens stand alongside an unfettered press who report when the powerful and rich violate The Law. The elected government consists of a legislative branch to make laws, a judicial branch to interpret laws and mete out equal justice to all, and an executive branch with a president who is the head of state and commander-in-chief. These branches of government are supposed to be autonomous in their areas of power, and any excesses are supposed to be held in check by the other branches.

I will not hazard to guess the day and hour when the Balance of Power envisioned by our Founding Fathers died. The power of the presidency has been steadily growing beyond its constitutional bounds for generations. The judiciary has become increasingly activist, legislating from the bench since at least the 1960s. The legislative branch has come almost completely under the sway of wealthy donors and corporate political action committees over the last thirty years. Approximately fifty percent of the electorate relies on government handouts while paying virtually no taxes, and the majority of the press is driven by the progressive agenda. All I can say is, that as of today, the balance of power in the United States is effectively dead.

The U.S. Presidency – No Longer Subject to the Constitution

Since 9/11/2001, the executive branch of our government has been chaffing against its Constitutional restrictions and ignoring the Rule of Law in general, always maintaining that the end justifies the means. For example, through the use of executive order, President Obama has made significant changes to the Affordable Care Act. While Senator Obama had the legal authority to propose those changes, President Obama does not. Being the head of the executive branch of government, President Obama is responsible for the actions of the IRS. Since Obama’s election, the IRS has engaged in illegal records tampering and willful harassment of conservative activists and political candidates, such as Christine O’Donnell, in a very effective campaign to stifle political free speech, chill the right to assemble and manipulate the election process.

In theory, the president cannot create The Law, yet he does. In theory, the president has the Constitutional responsibility to see that The Law be faithfully executed, yet he does not. The controlling legal authorities – the legislative branch, the judicial branch, the free press, and the citizens – have largely turned a blind eye for the sake of expediency. It is as though Due Process of Law no longer matters as long as the majority gets their way.

America has been turning Left since FDR’s New Deal. America’s Progressive Movement, commonly mislabeled as “Liberalism,” completely abandoned true liberal ideals, such as a dedication to quality education, generosity of heart, a love for literature, science and freedom of thought, embracing interests other than one’s own, and a general respect for Rule of Law, once they became the majority around the turn of the century. Those truly liberal voices, that for generations cried out for and won equal protection for all, have been drowned out by mean-spirited progressives who have destroyed public education, covet entitlements and redistribution of wealth, utterly despise religious faith, and generally refuse to be victimized by the notions of virtuous behavior. The new American majority, the ‘electorate,’ values expediency over nobility, politics over statesmanship, and largely believes that the end justified the means. We tolerate a gross level of political corruption, even encourage it, as long as we get our slice of the corruption pie. Good, old-fashioned Chicago politics on a national scale. The electorate is the ultimate Controlling Legal Authority, and if we encourage our leaders to break laws and violate the Constitution every time we vote, they will jump at the chance.

Monkey See Monkey Do

Seeing that President Obama has successfully exceeded his Constitutionally granted authority with no civil, criminal or political consequence, Oregon governor, John Kitzhaber, illegally suspended Oregon’s death penalty laws and waited for some controlling legal authority to stop him. Nothing happened. Seeing that President Obama and Governor Kitzhaber got away with ignoring state and federal constitutional laws, Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee, also illegally suspended his state’s death penalty laws. Once again, suffering no consequences. No legislative backlash. No voter recall. No investigation by the attorney general. Nothing. Why? Had these two governors, using identical justifications and rationalizations, attempted to suspend assisted suicide or abortion, their constituents would have torn them to political bits. Why? The answer is simple. The progressive electorate in both Oregon and Washington is very left of center. They love abortion and celebrate euthanasia, but they do not care much for the death penalty. They are entirely willing to suspend the Constitutional process if they get the result they want.

This, folks, is the real slippery slope. We are sliding down to a place where the Rule of Law is dead. There are literally hundreds of examples of federal, state and locals officials nationwide that overturn the will of the voters and dismiss the Rule of Law in favor of their personal agendas. As a reward, the electorate reelects them term after term after term. In the name of expediency, we have done it to ourselves. We have cut a swath through The Law to get at the Devil, and now the Devil has turned on us and we no longer have The Law to defend ourselves.

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The BBC Intentionally Misleads Global Readership about Guns and Violence in America

PROMISES BROKEN

I promise. Two simple, yet powerful words. I swear. My solemn oath. The ‘promise’ is the most common form of contract known to man, and holds sway from the least of children to the greatest of leaders. Yet it is entirely unenforceable, for there is no controlling legal authority beyond the character of the promise maker. In politics the solemn oath of office is a satirical farce. The citizen knows the politician has no intention of keeping any promise or oath. For instance, in the United States, every politician swears to uphold and defend the Constitution, and then relentlessly attempts to subvert it. Why? The Constitution interferes with the politician’s ability to force their personal agenda upon an unwilling population.

The ‘promise’ is also the foundation of journalistic integrity. A journalist’s power is found solely in their integrity. Journalists want their readers to believe they are credible, so they promise to be truthful and adhere to a code of ethics and fairness. Like politicians, journalists spend a huge amount of resources maintaining the illusion of honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, with no controlling legal authority, journalists, like politicians, often undermine public enlightenment with falsehoods and misinformation. Why? The truth often interferes with the journalist’s ability to force their personal agenda upon an unwilling population.

THE BATTLEFIELD

From the Japanese internment during WWII to Obamacare, America’s history is rife with constitutional battles pitting the U.S. government against We The People. Today’s constitutional battle pits the majority of American citizens, who believe in the inherent value of the 2nd Amendment, against opportunistic politicians seeking to diminish the citizen’s right to bear arms. In this battle American politicians find themselves with a new and extraordinarily powerful ally, the British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC’s journalists bring with them a finely crafted cloak of global integrity, a bully pulpit, if you will. The citizens of our world trust that the BBC will demonstrate the highest integrity in it reporting, so when the BBC sides with forces seeking to subvert the Constitution of the United States of America, the BBC legitimizes them.

THE BBC’s ‘BIG FISH’ STORY

On January 16th, 2013, the BBC published an article that intentionally misleads its readers about relationship of lawful gun ownership and violence both inside and outside of the United States of America. The article, titled US gun debate: Guns in numbers, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20759139 cherry picks data and intentionally omits facts in order to frame the U.S. as a violent “outlier … when compared with other highly developed countries.” They put their data in a slick little chart, threw in a few photos of semi-automatic weapons, and made it a fait accompli. America’s lawful gun culture is at the root of American violence. No further investigation needed.

THE PITS INSIDE THE BBCs CHERRIESTHE FIRST DECEPTION: The BBC is quick to point out that guns will kill 3.2 of every 100,000 Americans. That is over 30 times higher the United Kingdom’s extremely low rate of 0.1 gun deaths per 100,000! Ouch! What they fail to mention is that America’s overall death by violence rate is 6.5 per 100,000, and the U.K.’s overall rate of death by violence is 1.2 per 100,000. The Brits still kill each other, but simply do it without guns. Both countries are well below the global average of 11.47 violent deaths per 100,000.

THE SECOND DECEPTION: The BBC claims that “On a global scale, this rate puts the US 26th in the world, behind Honduras, El Salvador and Jamaica,” for murder. This is not a factual statement. Worldlifeexpectancy.com ranks 192 countries by their rate of death by violence. 91 countries have a higher rate of death by violence that the United States. Actually, it is Guinea, the former French colony, who is in 26th place with a rate of death by violence of 25.3 per 100,000. The law-abiding citizens of Guinea own so few firearms they make the Brits look like gun nuts.TRUTHFUL DATA POINTS

THE THIRD DECEPTION: The BBC next claims that, “when compared with other highly developed countries, the rate shows the U.S. as an outlier.” This is another false statement where the BBC cherry picks their data points. Yes, the U.S. is a bit high, but is lower than Estonia, and not a far cry from Finland and Latvia, who are all peaceful, developed countries. If any country is an “outlier” it is the U.K. Most countries where citizens have little right to bear arms have extraordinarily high violent death rates.

THE FOURTH DECEPTION: The BBC finally infers that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, what they refer to as “Guns in Numbers” is the direct cause for high murder rates in the U.S. The BBC builds this grand falsehood on a foundation of misinformation and baseless claims – what my father would have referred to as a “whopper!”

First, the U.S. murder rate has dropped 50% in the last twenty years, while at the same time private gun ownership has risen by nearly 50%.

Second, about half of American murderers choose a means of killing other than guns.

Third, statistics show a disarmed population is usually at a higher risk of death by violence.

People are going to kill each other whether they have guns or not, and as the saying goes, “God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal.” Criminals, terrorists, drug cartels, rebels, and corrupt governments all over the world arm themselves to the teeth with weapons often supplied through legal channels by one government or another. Taking away the right of law-abiding citizens to defend themselves simply creates a vast reservoir of potential victims. For example, Washington D.C. has some of the most restrictive firearms laws in the U.S. yet remains an intractable den of gun violence. Also, I am certain that the genocide in Rwanda would have had an entirely different outcome had all the victims owned the ability to defend themselves.THE HAND PICKED CHERRIES

SHAME ON THE BBC: Like it or not, journalists have an ethical responsibility to present honest, objective findings in the news. Readers believe, perhaps naïvely, that Journalists deal with them fairly and honestly, and take what journalists report as not only factual, but independent of government or cause. With great power comes great responsibility, and organizations such as the BBC have a moral obligation not to be the tool of, or mouthpiece for, any sociopolitical agenda, even if it is an agenda of their own creation. Maybe someone can buy the BBC a dictionary so they could look up the word, “shame.” After all, they own it.

Guns, Liberty and Violence

INTRODUCTION

(The link to the data tables is in the right column under MORE INFORMATION)

Governments around the world rightfully arm their police and military forces. Paramilitary organizations and criminal organizations, such as rebels, terrorist groups, and drug cartels, are also armed to the extreme detriment of society. Pinned between those two warring factions lies the ordinary citizen who wants to live in peace. What about them?

The founding fathers of America lived in a time where the king, through his might, controlled their world. Citizens of the kingdom could not worship as they chose without risk of persecution. They were subject to searches and seizures of their property, including their food, without just cause. The king’s soldiers could take over a citizen’s home and eat his food without providing any sort of compensation. Citizens could be arrested, held, even convicted without charge or fair trial. With only the king in mind, the government levied with no benefit to the citizen who paid. The king did not allow the citizens the right to gather and voice their grievances, nor could they publish any challenge to the king’s authority. Granted to man by God, the king took all these liberties away.

The framers of the Constitution of the United States remedied all these injustices with the first ten amendments to the document. Within those ten amendments, America’s founding fathers gave America’s citizens a very grave right, the right to bear arms and then to organize as a militia, a reserve of armed citizens, to ensure  our freedoms are secure. The Second Amendment was not included in the Constitution to satisfy the needs of hunters and sportsman. Its sole purpose is to guarantee that the citizens of a free state own the ability to resist tyranny.

Recent tragic events in the United States have again placed our Second Amendment rights at the center of the spotlight. People are honestly questioning whether our right to bear arms has become an anachronism, an unnecessary liberty. Is America’s gun culture at the root of our violent society? Will regulating and confiscating firearms make our country a safer place for our children? Arguments on both side of the debate are heartfelt, emotional, and filled with anecdotal evidence… but what are the facts?

For the purpose of this essay, I gathered twenty-one categories of demographic data for one hundred and seventy-four countries across the globe, and then examined the per capita rate of violent deaths and suicides and per capita private firearm ownership across various like groups. I gleaned this information from reputable databases such as those produced by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the Central Intelligence Agency. I treat each country as a though they are a unique clinical trial, a liberty experiment, and attempt to find trends through the use of averages. The results were both startling and sobering.

THE GLOBAL AVERAGES

For the 174 countries I examined, the average rate of violent deaths and suicides is 21.46 deaths per 100,000 in population, the average gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is $14,663, and the number of privately held firearms is 10.14 per 100 in population.

Using the State of the World Liberty Index, I then divided the nations into a ‘good half’ and a ‘bad half’. For instance, the top ten in the better half of our world, in order, are: Estonia, Ireland, Canada, Switzerland, Iceland, the Bahamas, the U.K., the U.S., Cyprus, and New Zealand. The bottom ten, in order, are: North Korea, Libya, Cuba, Myanmar, Laos, Turkmenistan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe, and Equatorial Guinea.

For the 87 countries that make up the better half of our world, the average rate of violent deaths and suicides per capita drops to 18.14, while their average per capita GDP rises to $21,638 and gun ownership rises to 12.94 per 100 in population. For the 87 countries that make up the lesser half of our world, the average rate of death by violence and suicide rises to 24.88, while their GDP drops to $7,793, and gun ownership drops to 7.30.

For the top ten countries on the Liberty Index, the average rate of death by violence drops to 12.98, the GDP rises to $35,500, and the rate of privately held firearms rises to 28.39. For the bottom ten countries on the Liberty Index, the average rate of death by violence actually drops a bit to 21.14, the GDP drops to $5,110, and the rate of privately owned firearms drops to 4.88.

GUNS VIOLENCE AND LIBERTY COMPARATIVE TABLE

THE MAGIC OF MONEY

When looking at the raw data, I saw a magic point at which GDP significantly affected the risks of death by violence and suicide. The average risk of death by violence and suicide in the 43 countries that have per capita GDPs above $23,000 is less than half that of the average risk of the 131 countries with GDPs below $23,000. Yet these wealthy nations citizens own firearms at 2.5 times the rate of the poor nations. This leads me to believe that, in general terms, the risk of death by violence and suicide is coupled to available resources, not guns.

THE PRICE OF SAFETY

23 of the 40 safest nations on earth are Muslim. The safest place, as far as risk of death by violence and suicide is concerned, is the United Arab Emirates, yet their citizens own a lot of firearms. The average violent death and suicide rates for the 40 safest countries is an amazingly low 5.62 deaths per 100,000 citizens. Their average rate of citizen owned firearms is double that of the 40 most violent counties. If we extract just the Muslim countries from this list, the death rate drops to 5.00 even though their average GDP is only $18,178! How is this accomplished? Authoritarian rule. Muslim countries generally deny their citizens those rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. In Muslim societies women and children have no rights and they persecute minority religions. Statistically they are ‘safer’, but at a real cost to liberty and freedom.

THE FOUR GREAT POWERS

Our world has four great powers: The United States, China, Russia, and the sum of Islamic countries. Nobody else really has any say about anything. The citizens of China, Russia, and Islam all live under authoritarian rule. Only the United States is considered a nation where its citizens enjoy freedom and liberty. Despite low gun ownership, Russia leads the charge when it comes to death by violence and suicide at a whopping 39.70 deaths per 100,000 in population. Russia’s violent death rate is 2.4 times that of the United States, yet U.S. citizens own 10 times the firearms! The citizens of Islam own twice as many firearms as the Chinese, yet have a lower rate of violent deaths and suicides.

LIBERTY VERSUS TYRANNY

There are 43 countries on Earth where citizens have the freedom to live largely as they choose. Their average per capita GDP is $30,221, their average rate of death by violence and suicide is 17.72 per 100,000, and their average rate of privately held firearms is 16.18 per 100. Of those 43 nations, 38 are predominantly Christian, while none are Muslim. The United States of America has been their champion for the last century. The United States’ GDP is $48,300 and its death rate is 16.74. This implies the U.S., through the use of the liberties guaranteed in its constitution, is doing a bit better than the average free country.

There are 54 authoritarian governments on Earth. Their average GDP is $10,224, their average rate of death by violence and suicide is 22.58, and their rate of gun ownership is 7.57. Of those 54 nations, 26 are Muslim. The aggregate of Islam (all 43 countries) has a GDP of $11,481 and a death rate of 12.76. This implies that Islam, through application of its religious law, is better at controlling the rate of violent deaths and suicides than other forms of authoritarian regimes. Islam also outperforms free states that value liberty and freedom.

FREE NATIONS, GUNS AND VIOLENCE

Of all the statistics, this one most surprised me. There are 43 countries that, by nature of their government and people, are considered ‘free.’ Their average rate of death by violence and suicide is 17.72, their average per capita GDP is $30,221, and their average rate of citizen owned firearms is 16.18 per 100. Those nations whose population owns more than 16 firearms per 100 citizens have a death by violence and suicide rate of 13.97. Those nations who own fewer than 16 firearms per 100 citizens have a death by violence and suicide rate of 19.73. The disarmed citizens die by violence at a rate 41% higher, on average, than the armed citizens. This finding not only decouples the citizens right to bear arms and high violence rates, it implies that citizen owned firearms play a role in reducing death by violence and suicide rates.

ANECDOTES ARE DANGEROUS AND FOOLISH

The United States is often compared to the United Kingdom in the argument to restrict private gun ownership. The citizens of the U.K. do not own guns, and their death by violence and suicide rate is about half of the U.S. When people use this comparison, in their desire to win the argument, they ignore that the U.S. death by violence and suicide rate is lower than Finland, Belgium, Estonia, South Korea, and Japan. The citizens of the U.S. own more guns than those countries, too.

Recently I had a naturopath barge into my pharmacy while I was administering influenza vaccines to patients. She chastised me, as though she were an ‘expert’, because the preservative in the vaccine, thimerosal, contains 25mcg of mercury. She was angry that I administered a flu shot to a woman who was breastfeeding. Her evidence? Her son had some sort of developmental problem. She threw all clinical and pharmacologic data out the window. It did not matter to her that the negligible amount of mercury from the vaccine would be rapidly excreted in the mother’s stool, the post-vaccine breast-milk exposure of mercury to the child would be virtually nil, and all the good clinical data from around the globe demonstrated no statistical link for her claim. She knew it in her heart! I had doomed that breastfed child to some horrible future and she was mad as hell. It does not matter to her that the flu has already killed six people in Washington State, including a twelve-year old boy. Based on this interaction, I must suspect all naturopaths are loons. Actually, here I base my opinion on twenty-five years of dealing with naturopaths, but you get the point. Anecdotes and testimonials are useless if the truth is what you want.

SUMMARY

The number of firearms owned by private, law-abiding citizens around the globe does not adversely affect the rate of death by violence and suicide. In fact, data implies that the right to bear arms may actually enhance overall social safety. However, resources, religion, and liberty all play a huge role in a society’s level of violence. Both China and Islam use oppression and conformity to achieve a peaceful society for nearly three billion people. In those societies individuals are not free to look left or to look right. The United States of America leads the free world with the Christian ideals of freedom and liberty for just over one billion people. The free world has a slightly higher risk of death by violence and suicide. I accept that risk, for I cherish my God-given liberties and my right to defend them if need be. The remaining three billion people on Earth are condemned to a life of violence and poverty with no means to defend themselves because they do not have any guns.