An Updated Second Amendment

Constitution Heading*Re-posted from News and Views by Daniel Defoe | An Updated Second Amendment

It is time to stop treating the Constitution like it is the Bible or written in stone like the Ten Commandments. It needs to be updated and clarified and the best place to start is with the 2nd amendment. The way it is written now is like reading a Nostradamus prophesy.

“Sitting alone at night in secret study;
it is placed on the brass tripod.
A slight flame comes out of the emptiness and
makes successful that which should not be believed in vain.”—NostradamusCentury I, Quatrain 1: 1555 Lyon Bonhomme edition. Just what exactly was he babbling about? Well…it’s kind of up to interpretation. 

“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.”—The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Just what is meant by “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state” or “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” the 2nd is in conflict and like NostradamusCentury I, Quatrain 1, it is up to the interpreter to decide just what its core meaning is. 

In United States versus Cruikshank. The Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment only restricts the power of the national government in taking away rights and that the right to keep and bear arms exists apart from the Constitution, not because of it, stating “This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence”. 

In United States versus Miller. The Supreme Court decided if a firearm does not have some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia. the 2nd Amendment does not guarantee the right to keep and bear said firearm.

In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court ruled, The Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Handgun bans and the trigger-lock requirements as applied to self-defense violate the Second Amendment. 

In McDonald versus Chicago. The Supreme Court ruled, The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self defense in one’s home is fully applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. What the WHAT?! 

Interpretation should not be in the least part involved in such a critical part of our lives. It appears to be each interpretation changes with the beliefs of the person making said interpretation.

Change the 2nd Amendment to the following:

“The citizens of the United States of America have the right keep to arms in their homes. With the exception of those prohibited by federal law and those reserved for the exclusive use of the Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard. Federal law will determine the cases, conditions, requirements, and places in which the carrying of arms will be authorized to the inhabitants.”

There should be only four ways private citizens may lawfully purchase, register, own and keep firearms in the home:

1: For hunting  
2: For target practice  
3: For shooting sport competition  
4: For collection  

Private citizens wishing to acquire a firearm and ammunition should be required by law to do the following:

Apply for a firearm acquisition permit in person by submitting the following: 
a: Certified birth certificate.
b: Proof of income by submitting original employment letter stating position, time of employment and salary. If self-employed or retired, proof of such status.
c: Criminal FBI background check showing no convictions, for every sale of and gifting of firearms.
d: Copy of proof of address 
e: Copy of government-issued photo identification
f: If firearms are requested for shooting or hunting. The purchaser must submit copy of hunting and or shooting club membership card, indicating day, month and year of the beginning and end of validation.
g: Written justification for the type of firearm the applicant wants to own
h: Proof of firearm safety class participation and passing.
i:  Citizens should only be allowed to keep a total of 10 registered firearms nine long guns, one handgun per household.

Anticipation of killing another person a.k.a. self defense as a reason for owning a gun is an antiquated thought process. To qualify for a handgun license, you must either be a licensed collector or belong to and regularly attend a target shooting club. If you live in an area without clubs? Create one. Anything in life worth possessing never comes easy and possessing a lethal tool should not come easy either.

When giving written notice as to what type of firearm you plan purchase, if you say you plan to use it to hunt squirrels, your license doesn’t allow you to a high-powered rifle. If you already have firearms suitable for hunting squirrels, it becomes increasingly difficult to give a reasonable justification to own more. Sensible gun purchasing would help prevent the acquisition of private arsenals. 

I am not advocating for the banning of guns. Hunting and shooting can still exist. By adopting laws that give priority to public safety, we can save tens of thousands of lives. Sure you can try to throw Chicago in my face. The facts are with greater restrictions on a persons ability to straw purchase firearms the less likely a “legally” purchased firearm will end up in the hands of those who have no right to own a firearm. 

If the United States were to enact the plan I have laid out here and enforce laws that are currently on the books. Death by gun would drop drastically in this country.

Common Sense – Those That Have Wealth, Want to Keep It, and Want More

Congressman CaricatureFor those that haven’t figured it out yet, here it is: Those that have wealth want to keep it; they don’t want to share it; and they want to use it to get even more.

Ronald Reagan’s old “trickle-down” economic policy was based on giving tax breaks to the wealthy, including corporations, so they would make more money, and in return they would invest that money, feeding the economy and all downstream. However, this policy has proven to a huge failure. Yet, we have continued to stick with this failed policy for over 30 years now.

The wealthy don’t want to invest in ways to benefit the overall American economy, they want to invest in ways to benefit themselves and the economy of the 1%. They have no incentive to invest otherwise. When their marginal tax rates were 70%, it made sense to invest and get tax credits rather than “pay taxes” without any resulting gains to themselves. But now that the wealthy have been the recipients of continuous tax cuts over the past 30 years, why would they. They can either hide their wealth away in a bank in some foreign tax-free haven, or they can invest in risky speculative, sometimes illegal, opportunities that will return them massive wealth versus investing in safer long-term investments that may actually benefit the general economy.

And what are they doing with this excess wealth that is “not trickling down”; they are buying politicians so they can influence and pass legislature that benefits them even more at the expense of the other 99%.

Yet our elected representatives keep slapping us in the face with all this austerity crap about cutting costs and benefits that only impact the 99% while giving more tax breaks and benefits to the wealthy and corporations.

When is it going to change? Don’t wait for your duly elected congressional representatives to do any about it, because this excess wealth has already bought and paid for them to do their bidding…not yours.

Who Are the Koch Brothers and What Do They Want?

As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear. In the coming months and years the Koch brothers and other extraordinarily wealthy families will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors’ mansions and the presidency of the United States. These billionaires already own much of our economy. That, apparently, is not enough. Now, they want to own the United States government as well.

Four years ago, the Supreme Court handed down the 5-4 ruling in Citizens United vs the Federal Election Commission. A few weeks ago, they announced another horrendous campaign finance decision in McCutcheon vs. FEC giving even more political power to the rich. Now, many Republicans want to push this Supreme Court to go even further. In the name of “free speech,” they want the Court to eliminate all restrictions on campaign spending — a position that Justice Thomas supported in McCutcheon — and a view supported by the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Importantly, as a means of being able to exercise unprecedented power over the political process, this has been the position of the Koch brothers for at least the last 34 years.

The Koch brothers are the second wealthiest family in America, making most of their money in the fossil fuel industry. According to Forbes Magazine, they saw their wealth increase last year from $68 billion to $80 billion. In other words, under the “anti-business”, “socialist” and “oppressive” Obama administration, their wealth went up by $12 billion in one year.

In their 2012 campaigns, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent a little more than $1 billion. For the Koch brothers, spending more than Obama and Romney combined would be a drop in their bucket. They would hardly miss the few billion dollars.

Given the reality that the Koch brothers are now the most important and powerful players in American politics, it is important to know what they want and what their agenda is.

It is not widely known that David Koch was the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 1980. He believed that Ronald Reagan was much too liberal. Despite Mr. Koch putting a substantial sum of money into the campaign, his ticket only received 1 percent of the vote. Most Americans thought the Libertarian Party platform of 1980 was extremist and way out of touch with what the American people wanted and needed.

Fast-forward 34 years and the most significant reality of modern politics is how successful David Koch and like-minded billionaires have been in moving the Republican Party to the extreme right. Amazingly, much of what was considered “extremist” and “kooky” in 1980 has become part of today’s mainstream Republican thinking.

Let me give you just a few examples:

In 1980, Libertarian vice-presidential candidate David Koch ran on a platform that called for abolishing the minimum wage. Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, not only does virtually every Republican in Congress oppose raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage, many of them, including Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, are on record for abolishing the concept of the federal minimum wage.

In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party favored “the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.” Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of one percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party, as seen in the recently passed Ryan budget, is to end Medicare as we know it, cut Medicaid by more than $1.5 trillion over the next decade, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “Under the Ryan plan, at least 40 million people — 1 in 8 Americans — would lose health insurance or fail to obtain insurance by 2024. Most of them would be people with low or moderate incomes.”

In 1980, the platform of David Koch’s Libertarian Party called for “the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.” Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, the mainstream view of the Republican Party is that “entitlement reform” is absolutely necessary. For some, this means major cuts in Social Security. For others who believe Social Security is unconstitutional or a Ponzi scheme this means the privatization of Social Security or abolishing this program completely for those who are under 60 years of age.

In 1980, David Koch’s Libertarian Party platform stated “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes … We support the eventual repeal of all taxation … As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.” Thirty-four years ago, that was an extreme view of a fringe party that had the support of 1 percent of the American people. Today, 75 Republicans in the House have co-sponsored a bill that Paul Ryan has said “would eliminate taxes on wages, corporations, self-employment, capital gains, and gift and death taxes in favor of a personal-consumption tax.

Here is what every American should be deeply concerned about. The Koch brothers, through the expenditure of billions of dollars and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party. And now with Citizens United (which is allowing them to pour unlimited sums of money into the political process) their power is greater than ever.

And let’s be very clear. Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, oppose an increase in the minimum wage or cut federal funding for education. Their world view and eventual goal is much greater than all of that. They want to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the most vulnerable in this country. Every piece of legislation!

The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.

Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers.

For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back.

Re-posted from | by Bernie Sanders





In A Red State of Denial

State of DenialOklahoma – A Red State of Denial

I was born and raised in Texas, so about the only thing I knew about Oklahoma when I was young was that it had a lot of Indian reservations and they always had a good football team that had a rivalry with the University of Texas and they played each other every year at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. But as I started growing up I went to school there to learn computer programming, then I got drafted and got assigned to Fort Sill after basic training, got my first job after getting out of the Army there, and ultimately met and married my bride of 40+ years there. So I have a lot of connection to Oklahoma, even though we have been living in Texas the majority of our married life.

I can honestly say that Oklahoman’s are your typical good, hard-working folks. They are farmers, ranchers, railroad workers, school teachers, etc. But something has happened to Oklahoma during this time. As the political state-of-affairs and “civil war type temperament” has escalated throughout the country dividing it into Red and Blue states, Oklahoma has fell victim to the uncaring and big business-friendly rule of the Republican party.

So what does this mean to Oklahoma? A few statistics first:

  • Oklahoma’s official poverty rate is higher than the national rate
  • Oklahoma is considered a poor state, with the nation’s 16th-highest poverty rate
  • According to the Census Bureau, 637,429 Oklahomans fell below the poverty level in 2012 — $11,170 for a single person, $15,130 for two people, $23,050 for a family of four
  • Most poor Oklahoman’s are unemployed or underemployed. Excluding children, 17 percent did not work during the previous 12 months, while 32 percent worked part-time or part of the year. Only 11 percent had full-time, year-round jobs
  • Oklahoma has the nation’s third-highest rate of people working at or below the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Well aware of these statistics, what does the Republican governor and state legislators do to help their fellow Oklahomans? They go into a state-of-denial.

Minimum Wage & Employee Benefits

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) recently signed a bill prohibiting cities across the state from establishing mandatory minimum wage and employee benefits, including vacation or sick leave days. Her rationalization being that efforts to increase the minimum wage across various municipalities could potentially harm local businesses and noting that “most minimum-wage workers are young, single people working part-time or entry-level jobs.” So to protect businesses, Gov. Fallin and the Republican state legislators decide to take away the ability of the Oklahoma poor to make a living wage, all the while complaining about the number of people that are on food stamps. Common sense says that increasing wages would help reduce the need for food stamps. Speaking of food stamps.

Food Stamps

Oklahoma recently passed a law that requires those seeking food stamps to get a job. That’s right, those poor and hungry citizens seeking food stamps in the state of Oklahoma will soon be required to get a job. If you want food stamps you are expected to pull your weight and maintain a job.

ACA & Expanded Medicaid

When the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the federal government could not compel states to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, it provided Republican-led Oklahoma the opportunity to step up and do what was right for their currently uninsured citizens – they declined to participate. The Affordable Care Act requires the federal government to pay 100 percent of the costs of expanding Medicaid for three years. After that period, the law mandates the federal government pay 90 percent of the costs of expansion. By refusing to expand Medicaid, Oklahoma will forgo more than $1 billion in federal funding over time. Meanwhile, the state of Oklahoma will continue to be on the hook for millions in uncompensated care costs – as when uninsured residents visit the emergency room.

Solar Energy

Both the Oklahoma House and Senate recently passed a solar surcharge bill that would allow regulated electric utilities to impose a surcharge on customers who install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines. That’s right, private citizens who want to install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines will have to pay a fee to their electric company for producing and using their own energy, even though they will be generating extra electricity and pumping it back into the electric company’s system to sell to others. This bill is now in the hands of Gov. Fallin for approval. Not hard to figure the outcome of this decision.

Obviously this shows how the Republicans-in-charge in Oklahoma feel about their citizens. They will go to any extent to protect big business at the expense of their own poor populace. This is the same model currently being pushed across the country in the Red states and demonstrates how the Republicans are the “party of big business.” It’s more important to protect the interests of businesses than the people that actually work in those businesses.

Of course the totally amazing component in all of this is how these same citizens who are getting screwed by their elected representatives, continue to suck up all the one-sided, Republican-provided propaganda and truly believe that their elected representatives are doing what’s best for them.

I suppose the people in Oklahoma deserve what their Governor and state legislators are doing to them, because they voted for them and continue to re-elect them each election.

When will the people in Oklahoma stop voting for their own economic downfall and move towards the 21st century?

Sources:,, Washington Post, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, Oklahoma Watch, Huffington Post, CBS KOAM Channel 7 News