Monday, April 23, 2012

NRO on "People's Rights Amendment"

Keep the First Amendment
(from the editors at National Review Online)

The phrase “stunning development” is used far too often in our politics, but here is an item that can be described in no other way: Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats, frustrated by the fact that the Bill of Rights interferes with their desire to muzzle their political opponents, have proposed to repeal the First Amendment.

That is precisely what the so-called People’s Rights Amendment would do. If this amendment were to be enacted, the cardinal rights protected by the First Amendment — free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances — would be redefined and reduced to the point of unrecognizability. The amendment would hold that the rights protected by the Constitution are enjoyed only by individuals acting individually; individuals acting in collaboration with others would be stripped of those rights.

The Supreme Court and U.S. law have long held that Americans do not surrender the rights they enjoy individually when they act in association with one another. This has been a fundamental feature of U.S. law since the very beginning, and even before that, inasmuch as the notion that collective action does not deprive us of our rights goes back into the Common Law as well. U.S. court cases going back to the 18th century recognize that fact, as does federal statute: 1 U.S.C. §1 reads in part: “the words ‘person’ and ‘whoever’ include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals.”

Strange things give the Left the heebie-jeebies, and “corporate personhood” seems like a strange thing. But “corporate personhood” is simply the notion that incorporated groups — businesses, political parties, unions, nonprofits, etc. — are single entities under the law. One would think that the Left would find this convenient: If Monsanto is not a “person” under the law, it cannot be regulated, taxed, sued, or fined, because for the purposes of the law it does not exist. Without the ability to treat enterprises as a single legal entity, there would be no redress for damages caused by a defective GM vehicle except to file claims against each individual owner of the 1.57 billion shares of GM stock outstanding.

But if GM and Monsanto can be sued, then they can defend themselves from suits. If they can be taxed on their property, then they can own property. If they have liabilities under contracts, then they have rights under contracts, too. If they have liabilities under the law, then they have rights under the law.

But the Occupy Left and the Democrats who sympathize with those ignorant misfits resent the fact that some business enterprises oppose their political agenda and support their opponents. (And some don’t: Wall Street gave generously to the Democratic party, and to Barack Obama particularly, in the 2008 election cycle.) The Left controls the unions, the government bureaucracies, most of the media, and the educational establishments, but its dreams of taxation and regulation do not sit particularly well with many who have to pay those taxes and suffer the regulation. The answer, in the mind of Pelosi et al., is to strip those opponents of their political rights.

The so-called People’s Rights Amendment would have some strange consequences: Newspapers, television networks, magazines, and online journalism operations typically are incorporated. So are political parties and campaign committees, to say nothing of nonprofits, business associations, and the like. Under the People’s Rights Amendment, Thomas Friedman would still enjoy putative First Amendment protection, but it would not do him much good inasmuch as the New York Times Company, being a corporation, would no longer be protected by the First Amendment. In short, any political speech more complex than standing on a soapbox at an intersection would be subject to the whims of Nancy Pelosi.

Representative Donna Edwards, a Maryland Democrat, nonchalantly concluded that the amendment would of course strip even political campaigns of the First Amendment rights: “All of the speech which, whether it’s corporations of campaign committees and others engage in, would be able to be fully regulated under the authority of the Congress.” The entire point of having a Bill of Rights is that there are some things Congress may not do. “Congress shall make no law” is a phrase that Democrats cannot abide, apparently.

One of the great dangers of such efforts to regulate political speech is that it puts incumbents in charge of setting the rules of the game under which their power and their position may be challenged. That is a recipe for abuse and corruption, and for smothering those critics who would draw attention to abuse and corruption.

Nancy Pelosi proposes to amend the Constitution the way the iceberg amended the Titanic. The First Amendment has served us well. Nancy Pelosi has not, but she has led her Democrats to a disturbing place in their quest to secure power, even at the cost of cashing in the Bill of Rights.

(for the text of the proposed amendment, click here)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mike Huckabee endorses George Faught

In a huge development in the 2nd Congressional District GOP primary, Mike Huckabee has endorsed George Faught. Press release from the Faught campaign:

Gov. Mike Huckabee Endorses George Faught for Congress

Huckabee becomes 50th major national or state endorsement
for Faught in the 2nd Congressional District race

Muskogee, OK – Republican congressional candidate George Faught today announced that a big name is supporting his campaign to replace retiring Congressman Dan Boren in Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. This morning, former presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee went public with his decision to back George Faught in the 2nd District race.

Huckabee stated, “I’m proud to endorse George Faught for Congress because he is a man of honesty and integrity, a man of deep Christian faith who we can trust to do what is right. He led the successful fight to defeat the first wave of ObamaCare right here in Oklahoma: the $54 million dollar health insurance exchange. In Congress, George Faught will fight to repeal ObamCare, balance the budget, and cut EPA regulations to help Oklahoma create new energy sector jobs. Join me in supporting a true conservative leader – George Faught for Congress!”

Mike Huckabee served as Governor of Arkansas from 1996-2007, and was recognized nationally for his leadership. After an early career in broadcasting and advertising, he spent 12 years as a pastor, and became the youngest president ever of the Arkansas Southern Baptist State Convention, the largest denomination in Arkansas. Mike is the host of the number one rated weekend hit HUCKABEE on the Fox News Channel and Cumulus Media Networks’ syndicated radio program, The Mike Huckabee Show, heard on more than 175 stations. He’s also heard three times daily across the nation on The Huckabee Report syndicated on almost 600 stations, and has authored 9 books. After his campaign for the Republican nomination for President in 2008, in which he finished second to John McCain, he formed HuckPAC to assist Conservative Republicans running for office nationwide and has amassed a volunteer team with thousands of activists in all 50 states.

"I am honored to be endorsed by Governor Mike Huckabee. It speaks volumes for such a strong national figure to get involved in a crowed primary, and this is just another sign that my campaign continues to build momentum as we enter the final months of the primary," Faught said. "Gov. Huckabee knows that I am a trusted, proven conservative who will fight to protect our values, repeal ObamaCare, cut spending and balance the budget, and cut red tape so Oklahoma can create new energy sector jobs to get our economy rolling again."

Along with his endorsement,  Faught has already garnered endorsements from leading figures such as conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly, Dr. Michael Farris, Colin Hanna, Mike Jestes, Bunny Chambers, thirty-eight state legislators, and numerous other individuals. Organizations publicly supporting Faught include the political arms of the Family Research Council and of Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, the American Medical Association and three other major medical groups, Can-Do Conservatives of America, among others. The Huckabee endorsement marks the 50th major state or national endorsement received by Faught.

Owner and operator of a successful carpet cleaning business for nearly 25 years, Faught and his wife of 29 years, Becky, live in Muskogee, and are the parents of three grown children - all born and raised in Muskogee. In 2006, Faught became the first Republican since statehood to represent District 14 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. You can learn more about George and his campaign by visiting his website, and by following him on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jason Carini for House District 23

Jason Carini files for Oklahoma House District 23
Catoosa resident and small businessman wants to promote smaller and more transparent government.

Catoosa, OK --  Jason Carini, small business owner and Vice Chair of Rogers County Republican Party, has announced his campaign for Oklahoma State House District 23 [note: this is the late Rep. Sue Tibbs' district].  House District 23 includes portions of Wagoner, Tulsa and Rogers counties, and incorporates the cities of Tulsa, Catoosa, and Verdigris.  A big believer in smaller government, Carini said, “I believe that government should create an environment that encourages business growth.  I also support the current legislature’s effort to end the state income tax and let citizens keep their own money.”  

Carini was home educated through high school and graduated in 2006 from Patrick Henry College in Virginia with a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy.   He and his brother co-own Green Country Mowing, founded in 2009.  Carini has previously worked and volunteered for numerous conservative organizations and campaigns, getting his start with Dr. Tom Coburn’s 2004 Senate race.  Jason and his wife Jessica live in Catoosa and are expecting their first child in June.

To learn more, please visit

I have known Jason for many years, and can personally vouch for his character and conservatism. In a time when practically all Republican candidates and elected officials claim the title 'conservative', fewer actually deserve it. Jason has been dedicated to the conservative cause since before he could vote, and has proven that commitment through his involvement with grassroots organizations and campaigns over the years. His hard work has been evident not only in his political involvement, but also in building his business.

The residents of House District 23 won't find a better man for the job, and the state will benefit if Carini is successful in his bid. With the GOP in complete control of state government, we must elect principled statesmen who will work to cut the size of government, protect individual liberty, and defend our Judeo-Christian values. Conservatives across the state would do well to support Jason's efforts.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BREAKING: Santorum Drops Out

At a press conference minutes ago in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum announced that he is suspending his presidential campaign, all but guaranteeing Mitt Romney the GOP nomination. Santorum said that he and his family made the decision to enter the race around their kitchen table, and made the decision to exit the race over the weekend around their kitchen table.

Santorum, presumed "dead" for much of the campaign, had a stunning victory by a mere handful of votes in Iowa, launching him to become the number one challenger to frontrunner Mitt Romney. He went on to win, with a shoestring budget, 11 states, over three million votes, and more counties than the rest of the field combined.

With his exit, Mitt Romney will become the GOP nominee. The focus over the coming months will now move to speculation on Romney's vice presidential pick.

To Rick Santorum, his family, and his campaign staff, congratulations on a hard-fought campaign. You surpassed every expectation, and should be proud of your efforts.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Empty Holster Week

This past week was the annual nationwide Empty Holster Protest, during which college students across the country donned empty handgun holsters to draw attention to harmful gun restrictions on college campuses.

Here is the press release from Students for Concealed Carry:
Students nationwide are once again strapping on empty holsters in support of the right to pack heat. The nonviolent protest, organized by Students for Concealed Carry, runs April 2-6 and is designed to highlight the ineffectiveness of campus gun bans.

“Gun-free zones are defense-free zones,” said David Burnett, the group’s spokesman. “Announcing your campus is gun-free is a reckless invitation to psychopaths. We’re trying to show we have to put an end to such dangerous and irresponsible mandates.”

Hundreds of colleges have taken part in the protest in recent years, and the group expects this year to be no different. Enthusiastic students from dozens of major universities have already signed up for the protest via the group’s website, eager to raise awareness about self-defense restrictions on their campus.

Students for Concealed Carry was founded after the Virginia Tech massacre by students who noted the college’s gun ban failed to stop the shooter. More than 20 other college shootings have taken place on “gun-free” campuses since 2001, including six victims at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center shooting in March.

Colorado’s Supreme Court recently sided with the group, in a ruling that struck down a college gun ban. In 2011, five more states extended greater freedom to college gun owners, and over 200 campuses now allow some form of carry.

Despite their progress, Burnett says the group’s goals are often misunderstood. “We’re not out to arm everyone. We’re just saying if you have the legal permit and can legally carry virtually everywhere else, why is your right to self-defense suspended on campus? Guns in the hands of the right people can save lives, and universities are stopping the right people from protecting themselves. “

The group points to Utah and Colorado as proof that campus carry works. “These schools have allowed campus carry for years without incident,” says Burnett. “If anything, the crime rate drops.”

“It’s all about protection,” says Daniel Crocker, the group’s president. “Signs on the doors are just a government guarantee that criminals won’t encounter armed resistance. They won’t protect anyone, but a permitted handgun might. Until colleges can guarantee our safety, they shouldn’t criminalize self-defense.”

On Monday, a former nursing student walked into a Christian college in Oakland, California, and began a shooting rampage that left seven people dead and three wounded. His killing spree went unchecked, and he was able to leave the scene before police arrived. Authorities believe he had ample time during the attack to reload his firearm.

“This is a poignant and ironic example of the very thing we’re protesting,” said David Burnett, SCC’s spokesman. “Colleges invite these shootings by guaranteeing criminals their victims will be disarmed. It takes more than signs to fend off killers. Gun-free zones are defense-free zones. Since our colleges can’t guarantee our safety, it’s time for them to allow us a fighting chance and decriminalize self-defense.”

Burnett and Crocker are exactly right. As with most other school shootings you hear about, "gun-free zones" enable criminals to perpetrate their crime unhindered. Banning guns only means that law abiding citizens will be disarmed and defenseless, while criminals will continue doing what they have always done - break the law. Concealed Carry has been tremendously effective and successful everywhere it has been implemented. It's time that college campuses no longer be easy targets for would-be killers.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Muskogee City Council Runoff Today

Muskogee's February 14th municipal elections resulted in three of the four city council seats going to a runoff. That vote is taking place today. If you reside in Muskogee, and are a registered voter, don't forget to vote. Because 'ward-voting' has not taken effect yet, voters in all four city wards can vote in all three races.

Personally, I voted for Gary Cooper in Ward I (my ward), Shawn Raper in Ward II, and D. Boots in Ward III. All three gentlemen are fine individuals, and would serve Muskogee well as city councilors. While municipal offices are non-partisan in Muskogee, these three men are facing union-backed candidates in the runoff. Cooper, in particular, is running against a very liberal candidate.

If you live in Muskogee, and have not voted yet, I encourage you to vote for Gary Cooper, Shawn Raper, and D. Boots.