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Monday, November 29, 2010

A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy

Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, Chris Dodd, Kent Conrad, Sam Graves and Laura Richardson; quick what do these names have in common?  You guessed it, they are all congressmen recently accused of ethics violations.  But guess what else they all have in common?  They are all still in office, along with Tim Geithner, the Secretary of Treasury who seems to not know how pay taxes and Attorney General Eric Holder who according to his own staff dismisses voter intimidation cases based on race.

Do you want a stomach turning read? Visit and see if your Senator or Representative is listed there. We all know that DC is a corrupt place but it’s a little stunning to see just how bad it really can be.  The worst part is that many of these people are elected repeatedly, returning to the scene of the crime for one term after another.

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that the Capital is a ‘wretched hive of scum and villainy.’  But in the same breath they’ll tell you can’t do anything about it, it’s just the way things are.  Why do we accept such criminal behavior from our elected officials, all of whom took an oath to uphold and defend our Constitution?  Why do we shrug our shoulders and roll our eyes when Charles Rangel gets a finger wagging for tax evasion that would have landed you or I in prison?

When I moved out to the Midwest from the coast, I made a discovery.  Weather works different when there is no ocean nearby.  The ocean acts as a temperature stabilizer, keeping the temperatures from rapidly soaring from one extreme to another.  Out here the Midwest it is not unheard of for there to be a 40 degree change in less than a few hours.  When you are used to 90 degree weather, 50 degrees feels like the dead of winter.  But 50 degrees, after a day or two of 60 degrees, barely feels chilly because we are use to it.

We have to be careful what we get used to.  When corrupt politics feels normal to us, we invite corrupt politicians.  The acceptable levels of corruption gave us Obamacare.  It would have never passed without bought votes and less than veiled threats.  And we let it happen.  Yes we moaned about it, but what did we do about it?  When our elected official crossed the line and accepted a bribe to vote for Obamacare did we call him back to his state and read him the riot act?  Did we threaten to remove him from office and throw him in jail?  No, we just whined and moaned.

There was a time in America we would run a corrupt politician out of town, maybe even throw in a little tar and feathers for free.  Politicians knew where to draw the line because they knew where their constituents drew the line.  We have corruption because we accept corruption.

Until our reaction to ethics violations is instant and harsh we will have a Congress that refuses to play by the same rules we do.  Congress will only be as criminal as we let them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Tea and Crumpets Party

Two days ago in the European Parliament Nigel Farage of England tore into the leaders of the European Union for their blatant disregard for the sovereignty of the individual nations that made up the Union and their unashamed move against Democracy in those same nations.  Sound familiar?

For two years now we have been in a headlong rush toward a European Socialist style of government.  During that same time the European Union has been in a headlong rush toward true Communism.  The common man in both Unions is beginning to see the edge of that cliff coming up fast and they are screaming for someone to slam on the brakes.

Compare Nigel Farage’s accusations to Rick Santelli’s rant that started the Tea Party Movement.   (Bear in mind that Farage’s speech is as excited as a true and proper English gentleman ever gets.)  It won’t be long until there is a call in the more reasonable Western European states for a return to what we now call Democratic principles.  The English Tea Party is coming, and they drink a lot more tea than we ever did.

We are an arrogant people if we think that the struggle for individual freedoms and rights is solely an American experience.  Have we forgotten the pride and hope in the eyes of those purple thumbed Iraqis as they showed our cameras their mark of honor after having voted at the risk of their very lives? Did we miss the storm of innovation and economic power that was the Japanese experience after they stopped following their Emperor mindlessly and put their trust and powers in the hands of elected representatives?  

There is great change coming on a far greater scale than just here in America.  For every nation that plunges deeper into Socialist slavery there will be one that one that reverses course and grants its citizens greater individual freedoms.  If we work hard enough at this, we can be one of the lucky free nations.
Update:  I messaged Michelle to get her input on this as she is a true Brit.

"Not knowing much about politics - sorry! - I can't make much of a comment except to say that I do in theory agree with what he was saying. Including what he said in the earlier youtube vid. And I do think most others (the general public) in the country would agree wholeheartedly. Everyone moans about Brussels :("

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Outrage Outage

There seems to be a lot of outrage these days.  We’re outraged mostly at the TSA this week.  There was some outrage when Ahmed Ghailani was found ‘not guilty’ on all counts except one that could only be described as “aggravated vandalism.”  There was almost outrage over the stealth movements on Net Neutrality and the Farm Safety bill, both of which would radically impinge on basic liberties.

How are we expressing this outrage?  I mean, besides in the prerequisite ALL CAPS in the usual forums. The TSA outrage has generated a lot of angry letters to elected officials and plenty of shocking news coverage.  This week has been a gift to the cable news networks.  There have been a few courageous souls who have bared more than their anger at the checkpoints just to make their point.  A lot of people, who weren’t going to fly anywhere, said they weren’t going to fly anywhere as long as those TSA people were up to their shenanigans.

But why is anyone flying at all?  Or is our outrage just a lot of all-caps?  We used to be good at outrage, it used to go places.  We used to get really worked up when people stomped all over our Constitutional rights. We used to climb onto ships and throw their cargo into the bay.  We used to line up to volunteer to go overseas and fight evil on its own doorstep.  We used to lock arms and march into fire hoses and growling dogs.  American outrage used to have some teeth.

Is the problem that our Constitutional rights aren’t as important to us anymore?  Why don’t we value them as much as we used to?  Is it that we didn’t pay enough for them?  Our forefathers did.  They paid heavily for those freedoms.  They paid in dreams when they set everything aside to fight the threat to liberty.  They paid in fortunes when the cause of freedom didn’t pay the bills.  They paid in blood when those who would destroy liberty raged in violence against its defenders.  What have we paid?

What have you paid?  What value have your actions placed on your liberties?  There have been some victories recently.  The cause of freedom has made some strides.  But it is only a beginning.  The real fight is yet to come.  If we aren’t ready to sacrifice our dreams, fortunes and possibly our lives, will we be truly able to win that battle?

If our outrage doesn’t motivate us to sacrifice enough to conquer tyranny and re-establish a Constitutional and free country, will the resulting victory be total enough to be more than just a dragging out of the Liberal’s agenda?  If we don’t pay for our freedoms, will our children ever know to be outraged at their loss?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Step One: Repeal the 17th Amendment

The first item in my list of steps to The Plan to Restore Our States is to repeal the 17th Amendment. Lets take a look at why this is so important and what the unwanted side effects of the 17th Amendment have been.

The 17th Amendment altered the existing Constitution by declaring that the U. S. Senate was elected by popular vote in each state. Previously the Senators had been selected by the State Legislation of their respective states. Because the amendment is nearly 100 years old now, the idea of an office such as a U. S. Senator being appointed, without the voice of the people, is a very alien concept to most.

First you must understand that there is no ‘filler’ in the Constitution, every word and line was fiercely debated and agonized over. When the Founding Fathers said that the Senators were to be appointed, it wasn’t an offhand decision. It was a check and balance.

Think of the early Federal government as a three sided table. The President with his Cabinet represented the Executive Branch on one side. The Legislative Branch is the second side, comprised of the House and the Senate.

The House of Representatives, all popularly and democratically elected, represented the citizens in their small, manageable districts. They were the ‘Democratic’ part of the equation. The Senators, two from each state, were appointed by their State Legislators. These gave us the ‘Republic’ element, they represented the States in the Legislative Branch. Jefferson’s “Democratic Republic” was perfectly balanced.

And lastly there was the Judicial Branch which protected the Constitution.

James Madison explained in the Federalist Papers that the Legislative Branch was so large that it needed to be divided to keep it from over powering the other two. Many of the Founding Fathers worried about what they termed the “Tyranny of the Majority.” They feared the ability of the 51% to endanger the liberties of the remaining 49%. Having a divided Legislative Branch chosen in two very different ways was a check against this possibility.

The Representatives safeguarded the needs of the people and made sure they kept their freedoms, but still had order and safety. The Senators safeguarded the needs of the States, keeping the Federal government from assuming too much power unto itself. The President created a unifying vision for the country and united face for foreign relations.

The 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913 during the Woodrow Wilson presidency. Wilson was probably one of the most Progressive presidents America had seen up to that point and was a strong believer in a large, powerful Federal government.

So what happened to the balance of our three sided table? With the Senators no longer dependant on the State for their office, they no longer felt obligated to protect its sovereignty. Being elected like the House of Representatives, they acted like Representatives but without a District to represent. The special interests realized that they had a ready ear in the Senators and descended on them with money and perks. In values and ideals, the Senate moved to the Executive Branch side of the table and all balance was lost.

The meteoric rate of growth in the Federal government can be traced back to this moment in US history, the passing of the 17th Amendment. The States had been pushed away from the table and no longer had a direct influence over the direction taken by the Federal government. Now the table held representation for the People, the Nation and the Lobbyists.

The Lobbyists and the Executive Branch found that they had many common interests, mostly in the realm of larger government, tax loopholes and corporate welfare. The three sided table had become quite unbalanced with two of the three side trying to grow the Federal government to the detriment of the States’ sovereignty.

Supreme Court Justice Scalia said of the 17th Amendment recently, “The 17th Amendment has changed things enormously. We changed that in a burst of progressivism in 1913, and you can trace the decline of so-called states’ rights throughout the rest of the 20th century. So, don’t mess with the Constitution.”

Reversing the 17th Amendment would be one of the most significant steps we could take in restoring States’ rights. But that would take a super majority of two thirds in both the House and the Senate. The repeal could possibly pass the House, they would enjoy being the sole representatives of the the people again.

But why would the Senate pass the end of its own gravy train? They would only do it if the vast majority of the people demanded it. It would also help if the States signaled they would be happy to re-appoint Senators who voted for it. If the States want their sovereignty back they will have to actively fight for it. Getting two thirds of the State Legislations to vote to repeal the 17th Amendment should also be pretty easy. It would be very much to their benefit.

But none of this will even come to the floor until there is a huge groundswell in the populace for the repeal. It will take concerted, focused grassroots effort to educate and motivate the public to demand such a law.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Plan to Restore Our States

Today we find ourselves staring at a Federal government we do not recognize. Our own government, shaped by the very people we elected, no longer represents our hopes and dreams as Americans. As the Federal government expands, creeping into every aspect of our lives even to the point as to decree what kind of light bulbs we will use, it more resembles the Old World tyranny we fought 234 years ago.

We are once again serfs to a distant tyrannical oligarchy filled with bureaucrats armed with petty rules and regulations. Powered by self assumed powers and authority backed with intimidation, these desk bound totalitarians dictate our fates and micro-manage our lives. We have no recourse against this regulatory horde, we did not elect them. We did not appoint them to their positions or define their authorities. Those we chose, elected and trusted with our freedom and our Constitution, did this to us.

Our elected officials demanded the fruits of our labor. They told us that we were selfish for wanting to enjoy that which we had earned and to provide for our families. The elected spoke of duty and fairness, all the while they tread the very Constitution they were charged with under their feet and lived by a radically different set of rules. They cheated and lied and paid no price, for they were too important to be hindered by mere morality.

The Federal government passed laws to hinder our pursuit of happiness; they hobbled our liberty and told us it was for our good. These elected shook their heads disapprovingly at our faith and our God and sent us into the shadows to worship according to our conscience. They elevated the base and then reprimanded us for not embracing those who despised our morals.

How did this happen? How did this blessed land, formed by inspired men and created to be a beacon of hope and a cradle of freedom become the shackled, dark and hopeless nation we see before us today?

It happened by moving the ruling power little by little further away from us. As time went by the States lost more authority and rights to the Federal government. The Federal government was too far away from us for us to be bothered by it, besides, could we really make a difference on such a large national scale?

Federal programs replaced our local State efforts and soon we forgot that the States themselves were meant to be sovereign entities. We stopped going to the States to rectify problems and pled our cases to the Federal government instead.

This United States of America will not be the nation we dreamt of until the States are the States our founding fathers dreamt of again. There must be a radical reversal of powers back to the States and away from the Federal government.

There are five things which must be done to return the States to their rightful positions in a Constitutional government.

1. Repeal the 17th Amendment. The 17th Amendment took the election of Senators away from the State Legislation and elected them by popular election. This denied the States a seat at the table at the national level thus denying them the ability to truly defend their sovereignty. Senators now are more beholden to special interests and the Federal government than the States they represent. The populace would still be represented by the House.

2. Pass the FairTax. This would eliminate all the punitive and hidden taxes the Federal government has shackled us with and replace them with a single transparent Federal sales tax. This would deny the Federal government the ability to manipulate and coerce a State’s citizens by targeted taxation. It would also make the true magnitude of the Federal government’s plunder of a State’s wealth visible.

3. Return Federally confiscated lands to the States. The Federal government currently holds 650,000,000 acres of land. This is equal to roughly 1/3rd of the United States. Most of this land is simply sitting there unused. This land is the wealth of a State and belongs in the hands of its citizens. There is enough land to give every American 2 acres or to create 16.25 million 40 acre homesteads. We’ll need to step up our mule production.

4. Eliminate the Dept. of Education, Dept. of Energy, and HUD. Each of these departments has taken the right of self rule away from the States and moved it into a centralized government. The American education experience has suffered since the creation of the Department of Education. Our States are denied the right to utilize their own energy resources by the Department of Energy. HUD has filled our cities with urban decay and littered our States with planned ghettos.

5. Eliminate Federal welfare. The role of the State is to care for its people, when that role is usurped by the Federal government the State no longer has real purpose. When the Federal government doles out welfare, it loots the wealth of one State to reward another State.

These five items, if passed, would radically change our current situation. They would create wealth and freedom across the nation and return the American dream to the common man. To restore our nation we must restore our States.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Letter to Michelle

I have a dear friend who lives in England and is aware of the political upheavals on this side of the pond. She is also aware that I am a political junkie. So she asked me a simple question. For future reference, this is not a safe thing to do with me.

Dear Michelle:

You asked me to describe to you my political views so that you could better understand politics. Not the safest of requests, but one made in earnest and I will be all to happy to oblige.

Let me start by saying that you already understand a lot more than you think you do. The problem is that you have confused the political process with all its bureaucracy and Machiavellian intrigue with actual political thought. It would be like confusing the Southern Baptist Convention with all its bylaws and politics with religion.

Remember, you asked for this.

All humans have the common trait of Self Interest. This is not to be confused with Selfishness. Self Interest is what drives us to eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired and generally seek anything that promotes our welfare and happiness. As human beings we are able to extend this umbrella of Self Interest to include our immediate family, those we care about and possibly even complete strangers. We care for and show love for our own children because it advances our goals for our lives and it makes us happy. Self Interest is beneficial to man as individuals and as a whole.

Because of Self Interest we can trust most human beings to act in a way that promotes their welfare, no government is needed to intervene on behalf of the individual. Most people have sense enough to come in out of the rain and to feed themselves. Many even have enough determination and drive to educate themselves, find meaningful labor and provide well enough for themselves and their offspring.

The individual does not need government.

Unfortunately individuals refuse to stay far enough away from each other. The Self Interest of one occasionally runs afoul of the Self Interest of another. This of course leads to conflict and chaos, which threatens the Self Interest of others in the vicinity.

Since people will act in their Self Interest, the threatened bystanders will apply order to the conflict and chaos, settling the matter in accordance to the moral compass of the community. The solution will be enforced by the fear of being ostracized or by threat of actual physical force. This is the very essence of government.

Government is how a community protects the Self Interest of the individual citizens.

My Self Interest is not your Self Interest. We have different goals and needs and work towards them in different ways. The greater the number of Individuals (308,549,000 in the US, 62,041,708 in the UK) the harder it is for a central government to perfectly ensure the Self Interest of each citizen.

If the government were to simplify things by creating a Common Self Interest, the enforced Self Interest would be a poor fit for most of the population. Almost any citizen of Red China, where the individual’s life is chosen for him, can attest to this. A population that cannot pursue the Self Interest that best fits it is an unhappy population.

So an efficient government does not provide for the Self Interest of its individuals. It can’t do it in anyway that would be beneficial for the population or would be efficient.

So what is a government for? An well thought out government opens the way for the individual to pursue his own Self Interest by protecting him interference by others and by protecting his right to actually pursue said Interest and to enjoy the fruits of that pursuit.

A beneficial government does no more that protect a man’s right to pursue happiness as long as it does not impinge on others and to enjoy his property. It does not guarantee the successful pursuit of happiness, that is on the individual. It only allows it to happen as unhindered as possible.

The original Constitution of the United States (the only one I am really familiar with.) was written to this end. The Federal Government was given a very small and well-defined list of powers: including defending the country, treaties, and commerce between the states. All other powers were left to the states, which were meant to act as mini-nations as it were. Each state would see to its citizens the best it could for its unique populace and environment in accordance with the Bill of Rights.

The Bill of Rights kept governments from interfering too much with the individual’s Self Interest.

A democraticly elected representative government safe guarded the rights of the people by because the elected knew that a single election could cost them their seat at the table.

But something went wrong. All because the elected officials decided to act outside the rules out of kindness. Some people are just not cut out for the whole Self Interest pursuit. Some people can’t provide for themselves. The poor had always been the ward of the churches before. But the government decided they could do it better, they had money and means, even if it was actually the population’s money and means. So the government started spending funds and energy on those they felt needed it.

When it became apparent that you could be given money if you could convince the powers that be that you needed it, convincing elected officials to see things your way became a cottage industry. Thus lobbyists were born.

More “needy” meant more money was needed, so more taxes were levied. More taxes meant that pursuing your Self Interest became harder – thus creating more needy.

Eventually a shift in thought took place. The government no longer saw itself as the caretaker of the Rights of the individuals but as the caretaker of the individuals themselves. So they started regulating everything to protect the individuals from every possible danger. And the lobbyists came back.

Soon the regulations stopped protecting the individual (whether they wanted it or not) and began to protect the organizations that hired the lobbyists. Often at the detriment of the individual and their pursuit of happiness.

This new round of governing led to yet more taxes to pay the costs, more government bureaucrats to administer the programs and more obstacles to the Self Interest of the citizens.

Today the US government has reached the same point that several European countries have already reached. The government now sees its role as to protect and grow itself, not its citizens. All property belongs to the government first, but on loan to the citizen. All Rights are granted by the mercy of the government, not God given.

The current US government only vaguely resembles the one described in the founding father’s Constitution. As much as 90% of the laws and departments in the government are outside the powers granted by the Constitution.

Worse, the population has forgotten what a Constitutional government is like and accepts it current enslavement without question. The current tax burden on the average American is now many times higher than the one that started the Revolutionary War.

Many of the citizens rely on the government to take care of them, giving up their right to pursue happiness for the luxury of having mediocrity handed to them on a platter.

It is the responsibility of the citizens of any country to demand that their government protect their God given right to the pursuit of Self Interest and the fruits thereof and do nothing else.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

An Undefined State

We live in the United States of America. We just don’t realize it. Oh, we know the name of our homeland, we just don’t know what it means to be a “United States.” You were probably raised in this country and had to memorize the States and their capitals in elementary school. Everyone knows what a State is, right? It’s that part of the address that keeps the city from running into the zip code. Right?

The definition of the word State, understood by the folk who coined the term “United States of America”, was much different than ours. The modern definition of State was unheard of in 1776. Jefferson and Company had studied the great governments of the past, the ones that worked, and the ones that didn’t. Many of them were “city states” or small, self-contained governments.

Wikipedia speaks of “…a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, independent from other states and powers, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state.”

The States, known to the founding fathers, were all self-governing nations, not serfdoms like our States now. They never meant for the Federal government to be a “nation.” It was supposed to be more of a “United Nations.” Each State was the true “nation,” each with its own government, laws and unalienable sovereignty.

The 10th Amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States [read: Federal Government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Notice that the States do the proscribing, not the Federal government. The Federal government does not prohibit any power to the States but is instead denied powers by the States, powers that they reserve to themselves. The Federal government we are saddled with today is constantly denying States the ability to govern themselves according to their own conscience.

Imagine trying to explain to Thomas Jefferson that the Federal government was going to sue a sovereign State for the crime of protecting its own borders and inhabitants from a foreign intrusion. Or that the Federal government would confiscate 650 million acres of land from the States without due process. The government is currently sitting on land equal to nearly everything east of the Mississippi. That’s 2 acres for every man, woman and child in America. What could you do with your 2 acres? The Federal government is doing pretty much nothing with it right now.

Our current situation is completely reversed from the original intent of the Constitution. This country won’t work the way it was meant to until the States work the way the Founders envisioned them.