Tocqueville’s America

“Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville.

And he’s correct as the era of constitutional government is over. The U.S. has developed a post-constitutional culture where independent citizens are dependents, relying on the government for their needs.

In this, Congress has made itself the weakest of the three branches. Today’s post-constitutional congressman’s job is to hold hearings on school lunch menus, to add new benefits under Medicare, and to issue press releases about a newly funded bridge for some district.

The goal of the Constitution’s authors was to ensure liberty; separating the powers of the three governmental branches, so no one branch became dominant. They believed at the time, that the Legislative branch was the most dangerous branch because of its closeness to the people.

For this reason, precautions were established to make it less potent. Yet, over the last 100 years, Congress has surrendered powers given in Article I of the Constitution to the Executive branch; the Federal Reserve prints money and manages the economy; trade agreements are on a “fast track;” and military base closures are made by unelected commissions.

In his ruling on ObamaCare, it took Chief Justice Roberts 21 pages to explain that the language of the law is “ambiguous” when it is actually quite plain. For the Court’s majority protecting entitlements is what really matters, not the law.

And, now there’s no area of American life in which the federal government doesn’t play the ‘nanny.’ It makes college education “affordable to all”, provides housing and mortgages, offers food and cell phones, secures access to “free” birth control; “protects” children against obesity; and now subsidizes healthcare.

We were warned that our liberty would be overthrown by a “soft” tyranny, not in violence and with this latest Supreme Court decision, that prophecy has come true. The American citizen, once seen as independent, self-sufficient, and resourceful, is a footnote replaced by one more likely to be a bailed-out investment banker or the recipient of an “Obama phone.”

Tocqueville also wrote: “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

Sadly, this Constitutional Republic, the United States of America, has past.

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The Most/Least Patriotic States in U.S.

A new poll from WalletHub.com shows Nevada is in 39 when it comes to being the most patriotic state in the Union. The state of Virginia came in at number one, while New York state place last.

Further breakdown showed that for “military engagement,” Alaska ranked first, while Minnesota is 50. For civic engagement, Wisconsin is number one, while Arkansas came in last.

Nevada placed 18 and 48 respectively.

The same survey adds that patriotism is waning. While 38 percent of Americans said the U.S. was the best country in the world in 2011, that number fell to 28 percent in 2014. With a ranking of one being the best, so-called ‘red states’ scored an average of 24.1 compared to 26.7 for ‘blue states.’

ObamaCare Wins, America Loses

Despite the simple wording, “established by the state” would only be allowed to offer ObamaCare, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that people who signed up through the federal marketplace can continue to receive subsidies. Thirty-seven states didn’t set up such exchanges.

Progressives claimed voiding the law would’ve caused individual plan insurance prices to skyrocket in two-thirds of the U.S. and a loss of health coverage for people in states served by the federal insurance marketplace. They also claimed that it would have created a segregated country in terms of individual health insurance.

Because of the Supreme Court’s decision, the so-called “employer mandate,” requiring larger employers to offer affordable health insurance to their workers or pay a fine also remains in place. The ruling also keeps the individual mandate requiring most Americans to have some form of health coverage or pay a tax penalty.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who was widely criticized by for his previous determination that ObamaCare was constitutional, authored the decision.

“The upshot of all this is that the phrase ‘an Exchange established by the State under [42 U. S. C. §18031]’ is properly viewed as ambiguous. The phrase may be limited in its reach to State Exchanges. But it is also possible that the phrase refers to all Exchanges — both State and Federal — at least for purposes of the tax credits,” he wrote.

Roberts’ opinion was countered by Justice Antonin Scalia.

“Today’s interpretation is not merely unnatural; it is unheard of. Who would ever have dreamt that ‘Exchange established by the State’ means ‘Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government’?” he wrote.

“We should start calling this law SCOTUScare,” he added.

Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano also had little nice to say about Roberts.

“Last time around when the government said it was not a tax and the challengers said it was not a tax, the chief justice ruled it was a tax and that saved it,” Napolitano said. “This time around he took the plain meaning of ordinary words, ‘established by the states,’ and somehow held that they were ambiguous, and that he could, and that the majority could, correct the ambiguity according to what they thought the drafters meant.”

It’s like watching a condemned man dig his own grave.

Welcome to My Revolution

Klamath isn’t a place where many people came to live. Instead they came as tourists or with the military, but they mostly left. We came to Klamath with the Air Force and stayed.

Like most Baby-boomers I had what I believed to be a very uneventful life, yet I thought of adventure and excitement all the time. I grew up going to church and revering God, learning not to complain or be disrespectful, going to school and to love my country.

Even at 8-years-old I was wise enough to question, “There must be something more than this?”

We children walked through secondhand smoke, adults dropping their voices to near inaudible tones so we wouldn’t hear — we children walking through the room unheard so we could hear. It was a time when no one wore seat belts, when automobiles were big and trucks were for the lumberjack or farmer and we kids could play in the street until vapor lights overhead popped to life, buzzing and humming a breath announcing the end of day.

We swam naked in the creek, each taking turns to see who could hold their breath the longest, shivering wildly as we got out and until we found a spot in the wooded canopy that let sunlight drop on our goose-pimpled bodies. Later we’d play astronauts, lying on the redwood benches of the picnic table in our backyard, until one day the moon became visceral as Neil Armstrong proclaimed “one giant leap for mankind.”

With that every thing seemed possible.

Never having very much money, my parents struggled to make ends meet and sometimes the power or the telephone was shut-off. From time to time, we’d receive a couple of boxes of hand-me-down clothes. It was like Christmas as we’d explore what was hidden inside those boxes, hoping what we found would fit.

We didn’t complain – it was jus’ life.

By nine I knew how to separate the laundry – whites, colors and darks – and at what temperature to wash them in. I also knew how to iron – having learned on my Cub Scout uniform.

We had a television that my parents bought in Europe when they were stationed there, which eventually broke and we ended up borrowing an old set from Grandpa. My parents had a remote for both sets – me — as I often heard, “Tommy, get up and change the channel.”

And we only had three TV channels to choose from. Much of the time it was radio or the record player that entertained the family at night.

With Dad working hard and Mom ending-up returning to work, the material wealth came in the form of new carpeting, wood paneling, and new furniture. Also in magazines – ‘Readers Digest,’ ‘Life,’ ‘Look’ ‘National Geographic,’ ‘True Detective,’ True West,’ ‘Old West,’ and ‘Rosicrucian Digest,’ where I poured through each issue and which taught me the love of reading.

Then I discovered newspapers, the rough draft of history and I was hooked. The Cold War, Viet Nam, Summer of Love, Tet, Martin Luther King, university sit-ins, Civil Rights act of 1968, Bobby Kennedy, the Democratic National Convention, rioting, gun control, Richard Nixon, Chappaquiddick, Apollo 11, Woodstock, Helter-Skelter, Attica, My Lai, Kent State, 26th Amendment, China, SALT I, Watergate, Roe verse Wade, the War on Drugs, Skylab, the oil crisis, and the Bicentennial.

“See” I would tell myself, “I knew something was going on beyond this place.”

This is how I learned that the same people who wandered up and down the Haight-Asbury district in San Francisco and spit on returning G.I’s and those who had battled police in the streets of Chicago in political protest would one day be national leaders. They were also the instruments a new segregationism.

Group after group declaring society had wronged them through the excessive power of white privilege: Black power, Chicano activism, the American Indian Movement, Feminists, Gay rights, Atheism and Americanophobia. And then there was me – with my white male, Catholic, U.S. loving life – completely unrepresented.

It was a different world, a different time, a different place and yet it wasn’t all that long ago, because it was my life and my revolution.

Ronnie Pasch, 1960-2015

It was a kick to the gut when I opened my email and read, “Sorry to have to tell you but one of our own from Klamath has passed away. Ronnie Pasch died yesterday.”

Ronnie was born May 8, 1960 in Crescent City to Dorothy May and Bob Pasch. He passed away at Rogue Valley Hospital in Medford on June 25, 2015 at the age of 55 after striking his head during a fall from his bike.

Ronnie and I grew up together. We were in Cub Scouts and we loved to run and play in the woods behind my house when he came over.

He was a lifelong resident of Del Norte County, with most of his years in Klamath, attending Del Norte schools, where Ronnie excelled in social involvement. He’ll be remembered for his joy of life, which was contagious to everyone he met throughout his life; nobody was a stranger to Ronnie.

To everyone that knew him, Ronnie’s love for life was clearly evident. He loved bicycle riding and motorcycles and was known for his enthusiastic saying “There goes some Hogs!”

Ronnie’s survived by his wife Alice, mother Dorothy Pasch, sister Renee Marrero, of Arcata, and his children Jessica Kendrick, of Crescent City, Ronald, of Portland, and step daughter, Christina Shelton of Crescent City. He’s preceded in death by his father, Bob and brother Robert Pasch.

As I wrote his sister Renee, “I’m so sorry. When we were kids we had so much fun together. I’m so happy he had a good life.”

Looking Back to See Ahead

From the banning of all things Confederate, to the survival of ObamaCare, to the equal marriage ruling — this past week has been difficult for me. All three affect me as an observer of politics and a commentator on the social morays of this nation.

Starting from the top, banning anything in America, that neither break people’s bones, draws blood or steals their hard-earned money is wrong. Simply put, it’s is an affront to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

But it seems folks either don’t know it or don’t want to know it. I mean what can we expect when a group of freshly graduated high school students are unable to answer the basic question, “When did the 13 colonies declare independence from Great Britain?”

Like it or not, the Confederacy is a major part of our history. This nation, our forefathers, fought a Civil War over states rights on one hand and slavery on the other and came out unified afterwards.

I find this amazing.

As for the U.S. Constitution, it, I am afraid no longer exists. When a justice on the Supreme Court can read, “established by the state,” and create an entirely different meaning from those four words, our system, based on that all-encompassing document of liberty’s finished.

There is no logical reasoning behind this profound misinterpretation. Not even a dictionary can help as each year publishers add slang phrases like ‘Fo’Shizzle’ and ‘Twerk’ to our common lexicon.

These would at one time been considered passing fades and never given a second thought. But because of ‘political correctness’ and the desire for inclusion, we now make exceptions to what was once guided by ‘common sense.’

But the most difficult by far has been the expected ruling on ‘marriage equality.’ This is a subject that splits me into two camps of thought and belief.

The first would be my faith, guided by the Bible which states homosexuality is a sin. My faith also says that I’m supposed to forgive sinners, yet my homosexual brothers and sisters haven’t sinned against me, so I’ve nothing to forgive them for.

My faith also states that it isn’t my job to judge anyone, no matter how I feel about their actions. Furthermore, I’m commanded by my Lord to act in love and treat others as I want to be treated.

I think I’ve lived up to this — but I could be wrong, and I’m sure I’ll hear about it come judgment day.

Viewing this ‘equal marriage’ ruling from a political and societal stand-point: I again ascribe to Thomas Jefferson’s words, which I paraphrase — if it neither breaks my bone nor picks my pocket, what difference does it make to me. Government along with religious orders of all stripes, need to stay out of the lives of the private citizen, this includes to whom each of us chooses to love and to marry.

Finally, life in the U.S. is going to become more difficult. Expect a financial down turn worse than what we saw in 2007 and look for more changes that strike against the ‘societal norm,’ we’ve been accustomed to, and pray that we can once again survive the internal strife we are about to witness.

Reid Wants UNLV to Change Their Nickname

Symbols of the Confederacy are finding new criticism in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of nine churchgoers June 17 in Charleston, South Carolina. Advocates for removal say the public placement of Confederate flags, and now statues of Confederate figures, could imply an official endorsement of the separatist movement based at least in part on the embrace of slavery.

Now, Nevada’s Senator Harry Reid is adding his voice to the list.

He said that University of Nevada, Las Vegas should change the “Runnin’ Rebels” nickname. He claims its based on a Confederate Civil War soldier.

Founded in 1957, UNLV positioned itself as the Southern counterpart of the more established University of Nevada, Reno and its Wolf Pack mascot. And while the first version of the mascot was a cartoon wolf dressed in a Confederate-styled uniform and named Beauregard, it was abolished in 1976 following complaints from Black athletes.

The current ‘Hey Reb’ mascot first appeared in 1983 and is designed to look like a mountain man who wears a gray hat with a scarlet band around it. The Mascots appearance was changed in 1997 to the square-jawed, mustachioed mascot seen today.

Reid also said the Senate would be examining dozens of statues that line the halls of the U.S. Capitol, because eight are historical Confederate figures including Jefferson Davis, who was elected president of the Confederate States of America. Reid said he would add the bronze figure of Pat McCarran, who served as Nevada senator from 1932 to 1954, to that list of questionable statues.

“Pat McCarran was one of the most anti-Semitic — some of you might know my wife’s Jewish — one of the most anti-black, one of the most prejudiced people who has ever served in the Senate,” Reid said of McCarran in 2012.

Federal law allows each state to place two statues in the Capitol. Nevada’s second statue is of Sarah Winnemucca, a 19th century Paiute educator and lecturer.

In December 2013, Reid attacked Washington Redskins football team stating it’s “a racist name.”

And while we debate this, Reid is pushing expanded background checks for gun sales, saying: “The United States is the only advanced country where this type of mass violence occurs. Let’s do something. We can expand, for example, background checks…We should support not giving guns to people who are mentally ill and felons.”