Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Guilt Through Television

As though it wasn’t enough to have the government increasing our debt exponentially and taking over whole sectors of the economy, now Americans will also be assaulted with guilt through their televisions. It’s not enough for this administration that Americans will be paying for their excesses for generations to come, we must also volunteer to spread their propaganda. Hollywood has acquiesced to requests from the government to include promotion for the “iParticipate” program. This is not just accepting advertising for that propaganda machine, but the actual inclusion of encouragement to participate written right into the scripts of weekly or even daily television shows for the week of Oct. 19th-25th. The sites you may be directed to are run by the Entertainment Industry Foundation (, the AARP (Create the and the government itself (

While Americans are among the most generous of people with our time and our money, apparently we are not volunteering for the “right” things. Here are just a few of the opportunities available at the sites that will be touting this propaganda during the week of Oct. 19th-25th.

There is the opportunity to “refute the lies” about Mr. Obama’s proposed healthcare plan through participation in a volunteer opportunity labeled “How to Spread the truth about Healthcare Reform” complete with a propaganda video showing bloggers and radio talk show hosts as a sneering masked woman named Miss Information. They want these volunteers to become unpaid trolls on blogs, talk radio and websites that oppose the administration’s healthcare agenda.

Planned Parenthood wants volunteers to push their political agenda in the upcoming healthcare legislation. Namely that the government should provide for elective medical procedures on the taxpayers dime.

The Secular Student Alliance, on, wants help to support and spread atheism and secular thinking among schoolchildren. Why should parents burden themselves with providing a religious education when the government can find volunteers to do it for them? Perhaps the folks at forgot the 1st amendment? ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” While this isn’t establishing a law, only a volunteer opportunity, why should these religions be promoted at taxpayer expense? (Atheism requires faith in the notion that there is no God, thus it is a religion.) is also looking for executive level volunteers who consider Iraqis to be “fully human” (Americans everywhere should find the implications of that phraseology insulting.)for an opportunity labeled “Provide Policy Guidance to correct Iraq Policy”. Apparently all that spending did not include money to keep our top brass informed on foreign policy and military matters and volunteers are needed to correct that deficiency. (See bottom of article for the text included on that page.)

Then there is the opportunity to become a “Global Warming Ambassador” This nifty little deal is sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, a strong supporter of Cap and Trade legislation. You too can tell folks that they should want to pay more for the energy supplies they need to survive because disputed and manipulated data on global temperatures has resulted in scientifically questionable conclusions.

Not all of the volunteer opportunities are manipulative propaganda, but Americans may want to ask themselves why there are any. The pressure to insert this administration’s propaganda into television programming and volunteer sites is a truly outrageous abuse of government power. One might ask who is paying the salaries of those who researched and wrote these volunteer opportunities as well as who is funding The unfortunate answer is almost certainly that the money for this is coming from the American taxpayer. The government is supposed to maintain our freedoms, not tell us what to do with them and certainly not to dictate to us how to use our free time. Americans are quite able to find volunteer and political advocacy opportunities, if that’s how they choose to use their free time, without being manipulated into serving a government agenda under the guise of volunteerism or service.

Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

Author's note: All of the links originally included in this article have been adjusted, one assumes as the result of a reasonably competent government web-site manager, so that, instead of going to the specific pages mentioned, they all go to the start page. For this reason, I have not included those links in the re-posting of this article. I saved the webpage to my computer for the most egregious of those links as I anticipated that such would be the case. I have included the text of that page here.

Here is the relevant text of that page:"

Provide Policy Guidance to correct Iraq Policy
Posted By: The Project to Stabilize Iraq

Description: Explain to the President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisor, Special Envoy, CENTCOM Commander and Ambassador the foundations of Arab society, the values of Arab people, how and why the current approach is injuring US national security, and what should be done instead. Most of the effort of this project will be aimed at getting face time with the identified individuals. Only about 45 minutes per briefing will be required to conduct actual explanations. Assume 15 hours of prep for each briefing.

Dates: Now/Anytime

Days: Daily

Location: Washington, DC See Map

Tasks for Volunteers: Mandatory: must have executive level experience developing and providing policy analysis and advice concerning international relations with the Arab world. Mandatory: must respect the people, culture and values of Iraqis. Must consider Iraqis fully human. Desired: Relevant Academic and publishing credentials

Learn More: Email this address

Available to: Men/Women

Details: Are attendees paid? No
Disability friendly No

Type: Education"

I felt compelled to include this, because I don't want folks to assume that I am lying when the link takes them to a portal page rather than the actual "volunteer opportunity".

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Taxation with Manipulation

Why is the United States tax code so complicated? One might think that our elected representatives could manage the chore of taxing people with a few relatively simple and easily understood words. Instead Americans are subject to thousands of pages of ever changing regulations. What possible use are all those regulations?

There have been several calls in the recent past for simplification of the tax system in America. They seem to have boiled down to two options: the fair tax and the flat tax. The fair tax (HR 25,/S 296) is a sales tax. It is paid once, at the point of purchase. The flat tax is a system whereby everyone is taxed the same percentage of their income. The rich would pay more because they make more. Both plans contain provisions by which those below the poverty level would receive a refund. There are a number of concerns with both of these plans, mostly regarding changes to the status quo and how those changes will affect the nation.

Will America see either one of these proposals come to a vote, much less enactment? It’s doubtful for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that the tax code is being used to influence the behavior of American citizens. The tax code is used as both the carrot and the stick. It rewards “good” behavior and it is used to punish “bad” behavior. The definition of “good” and “bad” is often dependent upon whomever is in power at the time. How much would a beer or a pack of cigarettes cost you without the “sin tax”? Would you really donate as much to that charity if it wasn’t the end of a year in which you needed another tax write-off? How about installing those new, energy efficient windows-they ones approved for the tax break?

Another reason the tax system hasn’t been simplified is because the current tax system isn’t just being used as a way to collect revenue for the government and influence behavior. It is a sword of Damocles hanging over the head of every American citizen. It is one of the largest and most effective law enforcement tools the government has. How can individual Americans scrutinize the thousands of pages of tax code that are changed and amended every single year to be sure they have done everything as they should? What American does not feel the least bit of trepidation when the time comes to sign their tax returns certifying that “to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete”?

Is this really an appropriate use of the tax system? Do the words ”to promote the general welfare” grant authority to the government for this kind of social engineering, experimentation and tyrannical oversight of our personal finances? Common sense and the most cursory of readings of our founder’s writings indicate otherwise. And yet, should any of the current healthcare proposals be passed, Americans will all be making healthcare choices determined by the fact that we will all be subject to being “taxed” for not obtaining “government approved healthcare.” We may even go to jail for non-compliance. Not to promote the general welfare, but to implement the policies of a president and administration who believe that the fruits of our labor should be “redistributed” according to their values, not ours.

Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Congress Will Not Listen On Health Care

It seems that our legislators, despite the thousands who showed up at their town halls to protest such measures, despite the tens of thousands attending other TEA Parties across the nation all year and despite the millions attending various 9/12 rallies, still do not understand the message the American people are sending. The American people want government to resume it’s proper, Constitutional role. For a good example, let’s look at the current healthcare debate.

Our legislators continue to insist that “something must be done” to control healthcare costs and that “something” must involve at least a partial government takeover of our healthcare system. Many of them profess alarm at the anger and opposition they are seeing, but refuse to believe that American citizens are rejecting the entire notion of government run healthcare. They often suggest that those who oppose their legislative attempts to take control of the healthcare system are lacking in compassion. Many of them have referred to large segments of the American population in derogatory terms. It is time for them to wake up.

This debate is not just about healthcare, it is about the foundational principles of this republic. The issue is whether or not we, as individuals, have the right to control our own lives and property and to make our own decisions about our healthcare. Doctors are professionals, providing a service that many times costs more than it should because of a system already filled with intrusive, overbearing, needless, bureaucratic, governmental interference. If our legislators are truly interested in lowering healthcare costs, perhaps they should consider deregulation and tort reform. Perhaps they should allow interstate competition for health insurance companies. In other words, they could consider getting the government out of the way and letting the free market work.

For anyone, least of all our elected officials, to suggest that those who oppose government run healthcare are lacking in compassion, when the question before us as a nation has little or nothing to do with compassion for one’s fellow man, is outrageous. Americans donate more of their time and money to charitable and service efforts than the people of any other nation. As was noted in the Seattle Times in a 2007 article: “Americans give twice as much as the next-most-charitable country, according to a November 2006 comparison by the Charities Aid Foundation. In philanthropic giving as a percentage of gross domestic product, the United States ranked first at 1.7 percent. Britain was next at 0.73 percent, while France, with a 0.14 percent rate, trailed such countries as South Africa, Singapore, Turkey and Germany”. Notice that the USA gave more than twice as much as the 2nd place nation.

Government run programs are not known for compassion. Witness Oregon’s response to Barbara Wagener, a woman suffering with lung cancer. The state health plan refused to pay for her cancer drugs, but offered to pay for palliative care, including drugs she could use to commit suicide.

The government is known for corruption and fiscal irresponsibility. The American people are known for compassion and charity.

Listen carefully legislators. Americans as a whole are a compassionate and giving people and we do not want government run healthcare. Americans want the freedom to make our own choices, even if that means we occasionally fail to make good choices. It is not the government’s job to control the choices we make with our freedom, it is the government’s job to make sure we have the freedom to make those choices. The current administration and Congress seem disturbingly unwilling to grant that point, and that is why millions are gathering to peacefully protest the actions of this administration and this Congress.

Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

“A Republic - If You Can Keep It”

Those were the words of Benjamin Franklin upon being asked what kind of government the new nation had after the vote was taken to approve the Constitution. Yet, there is very little mention in the mainstream media these days about our republic. Schools for decades have taught that the USA is a democracy so maybe the media and so many of the adults who believe the same thing can be forgiven. However, it is imperative that Americans, as a nation know the difference between a democracy and a republic if we wish to keep our republic.
In a democracy, the majority rules. The majority can vote each other out of house, home and freedom. The majority can vote in sharia law if they want. In a democracy, individuals have very little recourse if they want to go against the will of the majority. That’s one of the reasons our founding fathers declined to make this nation into a democracy. In the words of James Madison, “Democracies have been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and in general have been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their death.”
How many times have Americans been bombarded by the notion of spreading freedom and democracy to other nations? In reality, we can only spread one, because freedom is incompatible with democracy. You can have one or the other, but not both. If we could spread the American form of government abroad, that would be spreading freedom, but democracy?, no.
So what is a republic? If democracy is so unstable and violent, what is a republic and why is it more desirable than a democracy? The Oxford American dictionary defines a republic as ” A country in which the supreme power is held by the people or their elected representatives or by an elected or nominated president.” That may sound the same as a democracy, but it is not.
In the case of America, it means that the people have approved a Constitution to define the powers of the government. This is one of the reasons why many Americans are upset about the president’s speech to our children. The president is elected to serve America, not to turn our youngest Americans into government servants. In the debate to approve the Constitution in Pennsylvania, one of the delegates, Mr. Wilson stated that the supreme power of the uniquely American form of government resides in the people.
“The truth is, that, in our governments, the supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power remains in the people. As our constitutions are superior to our legislatures, so the people are superior to our constitutions. Indeed, the superiority, in this last instance, is much greater; for the people possess over our constitutions control in act, as well as right.
The consequence is, that the people may change the constitutions whenever and however they please. This is a right of which no positive institution can ever deprive them.”
In a republic, we each have a personal responsibility to oversee and correct the government when it infringes on individual rights. In America, we are to do that by electing people of good character to office - regardless of their party affiliation. And “We the People” retain the right to change those legislators and even the Constitution itself. The supreme power of our government resides with the people, but not in such a way that the majority can run roughshod over the rights of the individual. That is the essential difference between a democracy and a republic. The question before Americans now is still “Can we keep it?”
Belanne Pibal is a Liberty Features Syndicated Writer.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

An Unclean Bill of Health

I have been submitting columns and op/ed pieces to Liberty Features Syndicate for a few months now, between other duties. I thought sharing those articles here might be a good way to keep this blog working rather than leaving it to posterity. Mr. Morris has no objection and I haven't heard from Mr. Tams and Mr. Schrag on the matter yet. So, without further ado, here is the first column. It was published by LFS on August 25th. My title for this piece was "Liar,Liar, Pants on Fire!", and my original opening a bit more...aggressive -a little too aggressive for the editor, which is why it was published under it's current title. I regard working with an editor as a new learning experience.

With the current proposed health care bill, it is hard to believe how much politicians think they can dupe Americans. After having looked over the proposed bill — HR 3200 — it is a wonder that these people can look straight into a camera and tell such bold faced lies about what is and is not in this bill without regard to the real affect it will have on every American.
And just for the record, the government has no money but that which it receives from taxes. It doesn’t matter if you call it a fee or a separate fund or a fine, the bottom line is: it’s a tax. A tax, by the pertinent definition in the Oxford American Dictionary, is: “a sum of money to be paid by people or business firms to a government, to be used for public purposes.”
So, those in support of this plan can play with semantics all they like, but the American people know where the money is coming from and they don’t want their money used to pay for abortions-period. This bill will result in taxpayer funded abortions.
There are lies about keeping your current doctors and insurance. This Congress must think the population is deficient in math skills and common sense. The fines (taxes) on people and employers for not participating in the government’s plan are prohibitive. Most businesses will simply run the numbers, discover the fee (tax) is cheaper and viola those private plans, the ones people can keep if they like them, will be no more.
There are lies about health care rationing. Has anyone besides whoever wrote them actually read those sections of the bill? The part that outlines how it will be determined whether or not someone is eligible for healthcare and if so, what kind, how much, by what doctor and at what facility? Their solution will be the cost effective means health care rationing. There’s no nicer way to say it. For this program to be affordable, there must be rationing.
There are lies by omission.
Those things that are not being mentioned, such as the fact that all Americans will be required to have their medical histories in a government database whether they want to or not. There is a disturbing lack of comment on the proposed national healthcare card which all Americans will be required to have. A card which will give the government access to our bank accounts as well as our medical histories.
There is also a lack of comment on the fact that there will be no way to dispute the withdrawal of whatever fees the government decides we owe for those services. Does anyone think that, having given the government free access to their finances, such access will not be abused? Please note, this card will be required for everyone, not just those in the government plan.
Then there is the biggest lie of all; that Congress has the authority to take over the nation’s healthcare industry in this manner. This proposal goes far beyond the enumerated powers of Congress in the U.S. Constitution. The states could implement this type of program on their own, as Mass. and Maine have already done, but Congress has no authority to impose this type of legislation on the country as a whole.
Belanne Pibal is a guest contributing writer for Liberty Features Syndicate.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” --Elizabeth Stone

Happy Mother's Day to all who have taken that risk.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Madison, WI Tax Day Tea Party Part 3

The next speaker was a 17 year old homeschooled student, Melika Willoughby.(My apologies to anyone whose name I may have misspelled.) Miss Willoughby asked that the government stop spending her future. She commented that when she was born her share of the national debt was $7100.00, but noted that it will soon quintuple. She said "It is time for We the People to once again take the helm of government." I found it refreshing (and reassuring)that she commented on the sacrifices of our founding fathers and indicated that such sacrifices will need to be made again. She ended with the words "God Bless America".

Sean Duffey, the District Attorney of Ashland County, opened by quoting Mr. Adams' statement that "Facts are stubborn things." He went on to say that we were here because our elected representatives "didn't read the bill." (I regard this as a scathing commentary on our elected representatives. What, after all, is their job, if not to read and understand every piece of legislation upon which they are voting?) He said "The American people are the engine of prosperity, not the government". He called us to remember our duty as citizens and quoted Mr. Reagan with regard to keeping the faith in our times.

Our host, Mr. Block, then thanked the Capitol Police for their assistance and relayed their reasonable request that we remove any sticks from our signs before taking them into the capitol building before introducing Mr. Pat Synder from WSAU Radio.

Mr. Synder requested that, in order to reduce our carbon footprint, we should all hold our breath for 60 seconds. (One might think he knew the EPA would be categorizing carbon dioxide as harmful in a few short weeks.) He then compared the number of tax preparers in our country to the number of doctors and used that comparison to highlight the issue we were there to protest. He remarked that legislators who provide entitlement programs are like those who provide crack cocaine for addicts, with the addicts being those people who benefit from the entitlements. While Mr. Snyder was entertaining and correct, I and the folks near me took exception when his comments about Mr. Obey extended to a statement that we should be thankful that we weren't married to him. One of the gentlemen near me said "We don't need to make that kind of statement to make our point-We're better than that" as his neighbors called out "cheap shot, cheap shot". I include this, not to chastise Mr. Snyder, but rather to point out the character of the crowd and I hope Mr. Snyder sees it as such. I enjoyed the rest of his speech and found his observations on the lack of diversity in politics, education and the media to be relevant and necessary. If no one is willing to point out the 500 pound gorilla in the room, how can it's presence, not to mention the danger it presents, be effectively addressed? He ended his remarks by saying:"We've got to take a stand, we've got to teach our kids, we've got to be mentors." and instructing the crowd to go to

Mr. Block then introduced the very young(24)mayor of LaCrosse. Mr. Matt Harter. His speech was short and to the point. He challenged the crowd to get involved, stay involved and take back our communities.

The next speaker was Pastor David King. Mr. Block commented that he had had a request for footage of a democrat speaking at a tax day tea party and Mr. King kindly agreed to be that democrat. He started out by remarking that he tells his congregation "We are born to raze hell". He went on to say that he had a habit of ticking people off. Now, I have been known to stir the pot a bit myself,(because if you don't stir the pot, the people on the bottom get burned and the folks on the top lose something to evaporation and become a thin scum over everything), but I have to say that in my case, he succeeded. I found his rhetoric, while entertaining, to be disrespectful and somewhat offensive, considering that many people had brought their children. His points were well made, but not what I expected from a pastor.

He suggested that the capitol police should be administering a drug test to the governor and the legislature. He suggested that we need a legislature watch web-site(I think there are several sites already performing that function.)to keep an eye on what they are doing, then said "we all know what our governor is doing-Put the pipe down!" He continued with his humorous drug analogies and went into a different analogy of what we, as taxpayers were getting from our government. He said "We got a taste of gettin s*****d without gettin kissed" He used this to say the legislature should at least make sure we got a little something out of the outrageous spending package that was approved. (In my opinion, we should be insisting that we be married before we get kissed or anything else. Call me a prude if you like-I'm good with that. Why buy the cow after all?) I'm sure this analogy could work on several levels, but I'm not going there. I'm appalled that such a statement was made to a crowd with entire families attending.

It made the point but it illustrated something else. Pastor King had commented earlier about some people being disenfranchised in order to preserve a building, or put up another building(my apologies-I can only write so fast and missed that bit). He said that "any time someone says a building is more important than the people in it, they need to go." His point was that government money should be spent on programs for people, not buildings. This is illustrative of the difference between liberals and conservatives. As a conservative, I believe that I have a duty to help those less fortunate than myself. Liberals tend to believe that the government has a duty to help those who have problems helping themselves.

Now I am not saying Mr. King is a liberal(just a democrat). He clearly believes in personally helping others as is witnessed by his work with the Milwaukee God Squad. But if we really want to get fiscal control of our government, we are going to have to bite the bullet and get rid of entitlement programs at all levels. Charity needs to be handled at the individual level through the private sector. If hurricane Katrina showed us nothing else, it showed us that the private sector is far more efficient and reliable than the government at administering charitable efforts. The funding of entitlement programs is going to sink us if we don't get this point.

The job of the government is to govern, not to engage in charity. Governing involves securing our borders, maintaining a standing army, administering a system of laws, and yes, collecting taxes to maintain infrastructure and pay and properly equip that standing army and etc. Different levels of government have different responsibilities under the Constitution, but charity is not one of them. In the words of James Madison, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger upon an article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." Perhaps the words of Congressman Davy Crockett would be better: “We have rights, as individuals, to give as much of our own money as we please to charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of public money.” Then there is President Franklin Pierce who said: “I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity. [To approve such spending] would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.”

Unless we, like Miss Willoughby, recognize that sacrifice is necessary, we cannot regain control of our government. The Tea Party movement is a good place to start, but let us now set our foundational principles in stone and resolve to wean ourselves from government handouts as our first and foremost duty to ourselves and our nation. Let us make arrangements to take care of our own and those who have no families to care for them. Then let us firmly and gently remove those entitlement programs which should never have been undertaken by our government.

Orville Seymour was the next speaker. He was representing a group called Citizens for Responsible Government. His people were the ones asking for help to circulate a petition to recall Governor Doyle. You can find more information at

the last speaker. Vicki McKenna was introduced as "The rock star of radio." She chastised the MSM for not doing their job, the legislature for hastily convening committee meetings to allow some legislators to avoid meeting with their constituents after she was done speaking,and commented on Governor Doyle's part in the loss of Thomas Industries and Johnson Controls. You can see part of her speech here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Madison, WI Tax Day Tea Party Part 2

Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, continued the message of the day by calling on legislators to back off and recognize that strong families are the heart of the economy and the nation. Her message, that the current spending is taxation without representation because those who will have to pay it off have not yet been born, was very well received by the crowd. She continued by telling legislators: 'Your job is to govern this state, not to gouge it's families'. She remarked on the difficulty of leaving our families anything except staggering, horrendous debt. She also called on the crowd to work to replace all of our elected officials.

This was a fairly common theme and one to which I must take exception. There is good reason to get rid of many of those who are currently sitting in our congress as well as our state legislatures, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. These folks have made the decisions they have, often in response to input from those who want the things they think such legislation will bring about and in absence of any input from those of us who believe in personal responsibility, self determination and limited government. Instead of throwing them out, I think we should examine their records, decide who is truly representing the best interests of their constituents and our country and throw the rest out. In addition, I think we need to show some support for those who are trying to do the right thing by sending them feedback and opinions. It's a lot easier for an elected official to stand up and do the right thing if they know they are not alone. Yes, get involved, but do more than complain.

Mayor Dave Ross from Superior asked "I wonder where the tax raisers rally will be? He went on to say "The incumbent I beat said he was driving down taxes by raising them 13%...We now have a plan to get to zero debt for our municipality." This was greeted with much approval. I have to say, that when I mentioned this speech to someone later, they said: "Well that sounds good, but has their crime rate gone up? What services did they let go? Are their streets clean? These are all good questions, but they miss the point. The point is that if we cannot afford to pay for services, we shouldn't buy them. There were huge crowds lining Pennsylvania Ave. for Mr. Reagan's funeral. There were only a few bits of litter after that crowd had cleared. After Mr. Obama's inauguration, the placed looked like a a garbage dump. What's the difference? I would submit to us all that the difference is the difference between the attitude that says "I should pick up after my self and leave the place cleaner than I found it" and the one that says "Someone else will pick it up for me-that's why I pay taxes." And that's what this movement is about-picking up after ourselves and being good stewards of our government and our country for our children and generations yet to be born.

Mr. Ross finished by asking "How much of our money does the government want? All of it!...They have forgotten that they are our servants." One hopes they have been reminded and will continue to be reminded in days to come.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Madison, WI Tax Day Tea Party Part 1

I joined the largest crowd to protest on the state capitol steps since the Vietnam war protests in the 60's on the 15th. Despite the media spin for other locations we had a well mannered crowd of approximately 8,200 in Madison.

Mr. Mark Block, head of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans For Prosperity was the organizer although he jokingly said he must not be a very good one or he would have ordered more buses to shuttle people from the parking area at the Alliant Energy Center to the capitol square. He did have 12 speakers and representatives(I am assuming AFP local chapter heads) from 72 counties in WI who had helped to get the word out about the event.

The first speaker was Congressman Paul Ryan who challenged the MSM's assertion that this wasn't a grass roots movement. Among the gems in his speech were these:" They (the political and media elite in this country) want you to pay up and shut up; Your patriotic duty is to pay taxes because the government is smarter than you are; America is an exceptional nation....and we want to keep it that way; We don't want to become a European nation, we want to maintain it an American nation." He then mentioned that this budget doubles our national debt in 5 years and triples it in 10, but that such spending is not necessary. He urged the crowd that if you believe in the principles that built this country- freedom, self-determination and liberty- then join us.

Then (to a bit of heckling) the Reince Priebus, the state chairman of Wisconsin's GOP had the microphone. He said "If we've learned anything over the past 4 months, it's that elections matter." The crowd heartily agreed. (There were a number of people who said they truly regretted having voted for Mr. Obama.) Mr. Priebus went on to say that "Big government stops here, big government stops today." While the crowd approved of the sentiment, they were skeptical of the GOP's ability to restrain themselves should they once again gain the majority.

The next speaker was Jerry Bader of WTAQ-Green Bay. He commented on Mr. Krugman's statement about the tea parties- that "They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects."
In response, Mr. Bader said "This is the most reality Madison has seen in more than 100 years." (He's right, I grew up in Madison and have been known to refer to my hometown as "Universityland surrounded by la-la land".) He told the crowd that our greatest freedom is to have the chance to try and fail. If you've bought too much house, you're going to fail and that's the way it should be. He said Great success often comes from great risk. The implication is that without the opportunity to take great risks, we are shortchanging our opportunities to find great success as well. He encouraged the crowd to take risks and do more. Get involved and stay involved.
I'll add bits from the rest of the speakers as I have time this week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blogger Conference Call

I have posted this on my own blog and am re-posting it here so that I can glean the opinions of a wider audience (should those who follow this blog choose to share their opinions).
On March 16th, I received an e-mail from the House Republican Conference. It said that they are reaching out to blogs who do not currently receive their Congressional updates and videos.
They also extend invitations to exclusive blogger conference calls with House members on hot topics being discussed in Washington. I participated in my first such conference call with Reps. King, McCotter and McMorris Rodgers on the 25th.
Some of the topics addressed were the strategy of the current administration, the debt, increases in spending, entitlement spending, AIG, and etc.
To hear the call click here. This call lasted about 30 minutes. Mr. McCotter's remarks starting at 27 minutes, 45 seconds are refreshing.
"Our truths are self-evident, not relative"

I'm not quite sure why I was invited to participate in these calls as I am not a republican, but rather a conservative.
Let me know what you think. Is this sort of conference call valuable?
If so, and I decide to continue to participate and post on them, Would you prefer that I write a transcript of the call, post a link to the call itself, as I've done here, or just excerpt bits that I find relevant?

Monday, February 23, 2009

National-Federal Structure as explicated in the Federalist Papers

As with any other book I've read and/or studied where I'm drawn to particular chapters or paragraphs and sentences, or phrases within particular chapters or paragraphs, over and over again for one reason or another, so it is with the Federalist Papers which is divided into 85 individual essays, many of which in their individual capacities are actually part of larger bodies of essays explaining the same topic as distinct from all others. For example Federalist nos. 30-36 are all devoted to explaining the general power of taxation as enumerated in the Constitution.

Other of the Federalist Papers take on a different characteristic; they are, insofar as they can be separated from the whole body of the Federalist essays, stand-alone essays. Such, I think, is Federalist #39 which explains our National-Federal Structure as the founders originally designed it. In fact, I think it was in studying Federalist #39 that I first began to use the phrase "Our National-Federal Structure," but that's beside the point. The point here being that I do not use this phrase without evidence or authority. Our government was originally designed to take on both national and federal characteristics as per the founders themselves, and as explicated specifically in Federalist #39.

But of course many of the federal characteristics of our original compact have since been eroded, and/or altogether abolished during the course of the 140+ years since the closing of the Civil War. Our government has since assumed, by degrees, a much larger role than originally anticipated by the founding generation, and thus has taken on more of the national characteristic at the expense of federalism. And, yes, going even beyond what was originally intended by the framers of the fourteenth amendment.

Nonetheless Federalist #39 has always been one of my particular favorites among the Federalist essays because it explains the National-Federal Structure of our government as the founders originally designed it. Read therein where we've gone astray as concerns the proper balance of the national and the federal characteristics of our Republic. But do not stop at reading it once, as this simply will not do.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Further Federalism

My friend Mr. Morris posted a great video in the prior post - please scroll down and watch. I've long been simultaneously exhausted and thankful that there are a lot of people who look at the events of the world and ask "what do we do now?"

Thankful, because at least people are dissatisfied with the direction of the country; weary because of the enormous work it will take to return to our first principles. But, return we must, or fail, and take our place in history along with the other failures of men and government.

I have recently put up a couple of posts on related topics, one on the Tenth Amendment and one on good-old fashioned local action.

In time, I think our premise here will be borne out: that we're suffering from imbalance and excess, and that the only remedy for that is a renaissance in self-government through a gradual but relentless application of balanced government. There's plenty on that topic on this blog, for that matter.

I intend to be rather busy between now and April 7th, but hope to be able to post here more frequently than I have been. As always, I look forward to your comments, Dear Readers.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our National-Federal Structure

The phrase "our National-Federal structure" is one I've used countless times in discussions on our form of government at this blog and elsewhere across the internet, in private conversations and debates, and so forth and so on. And it occurs to me, having just watched a good You Tube video on the very subject (although I don't think anyone has ever mentioned it) that some might get the impression from the position of the words as I've always written and spoken them, that I consider the national aspect of our structure of government to be more important than the federal aspect of same. Let me assure you, if this is your impression, that nothing could be further from the truth. The only reason I express the phrase in this order with the word national preceding the word federal is because it simply sounds better than "Our Federal-National Structure." The most important thing to keep in mind, of course, is that our governmental structure is not one or the other, but both federal and national, and preferably in that order.

The You Tube video-lecture posted below is the fifth of a larger series of lectures on the constitution. I don't know whether the series is yet complete, and I don't know at this point how many lectures are contained in the existing series. You can investigate that for yourselves if that is your desire. This particular lecture, however, is custom made for posting at this site as you shall soon see. Our friend Mike Tams should take a particular liking to it methinks. Without further ado ...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulus Excuses

Having written to Senator Kohl about the (then) upcoming stimulus package vote, I was not surprised to receive a reply from him. He voted for the stimulus package. I am posting this here because there are residents of other states who are no doubt receiving similar correspondence form their legislators regarding their votes on this matter.

Among other gems in his excuse missive were these:

  1. "Consumer confidence is at or near an all time low." Perhaps that's because the average consumer is aware that it is impossible to spend one's way out of debt.
  2. "The average Wisconsin family would receive a $900 tax cut this year from the legislation." Perhaps the good Senator would like to tell us how much this package is going to cost each average WI family to pay it back too? Essentially you are saying that you, in your wisdom, have exchanged $900.00 this year for untold thousands to be paid back by our children and grandchildren. I would have preferred magic beans.
  3. "I support the economic recovery package, but I do have reservations. The price tag on this bill is enormous, and I understand the opposition to this legislation by those who feel it costs too much money. To address these concerns, the Senate voted to reduce the cost of the legislation by over $100 billion through cuts in education, modernization of federal buildings, health information technology, and other areas." Well, wasn't that nice of you, a whole 100 billion. Is that sort of like when retail stores raise all their prices 30% a few months before Christmas and then declare a 20% off sale after Thanksgiving? I fail to see the savings.
  4. "I supported this compromise to help keep spending under control " The 100 billion dollar reduction in a bill that is egregiously beyond the bounds of common sense is not really a compromise. It looks more like a way to allow those legislators such as yourself a way to make yourselves still have an appearance of respectability. It failed.
  5. "This plan is not perfect, but it is a bold and responsible action " This plan is so far from responsible that you should be required to spend remedial vocabulary building time with your dictionary sir. If you had a child attending college who, with his first credit card, had amassed $100,000.00 in debt and he told you he was going to get another card that would let him spend $1,000,000,000.00 to get him out of that financial prison, would you call that responsible?

Senator Kohl, I appreciate that your response was polite. In my opinion, you and your fellow democrats have betrayed not only your home state constituents, but the nation in voting to pass this monstrosity. I think you have taken this action more out of concern for partisan politics than for the good of the country as a whole. I think each and every one of you should be recalled and replaced with people who know the difference between party and nation.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Where Will You Go?

I have been hearing many disturbing things after the election of our new administration. I have had sensible people, people of long acquaintance, who seemed steady and unshakable, confide their plans to leave the country "when it gets too bad." I read on the blog-o-sphere of theories that we are headed for a civil war, because the election and subsequent actions of our new administration have cast the differences between liberals and conservatives into a stark and unpleasant new light. I have read and seen on the news (little though I watch it these days) that Americans are buying record numbers of guns in anticipation of civil unrest and worse.

To those who plan to leave, I must ask:"Where do you plan to go?" In what country will you have more freedoms than you can claim in America? There is no other country where you will not be as or more oppressed than whatever you see shaping up here. It behooves you to stay and join the rest of us in fighting for our country. God willing, it will not come to armed battles between Americans, and it should not, if we get busy now and demand good character in our politicians.

Let us show discernment in our choices. When our politicians demonstrate poor character, let us bestir ourselves and recall them immediately. Let us demand good behavior in our judges and remove them when they stray from it. Let us demand a return to fiscal sanity and recall any representatives who do not provide it.

We, among the population of the world, have the God given and Constitutionally affirmed right to do these things. If America falls, where will you hide from the darkness of oppression that is sure to overtake the rest of the world? It is not our place to bend before the rest of the world. It is our place to demonstrate the rightness of our cause and our ability to maintain our form of government as responsible, free men and women and to require the rest of the world to come up to our standards.

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." Samuel Adams

For those who will stay and fight for our American experiment, I have for you this excellent speech. The available remnant of our Congress had gathered at York, in 1777, after several setbacks to question whether there was any hope of success. There seemed no hope, everything seemed to be going against us. Samuel Adams stood and addressed the group with these words:

"If we despond, public confidence is destroyed, the people will no longer yield their support to a hopeless contest, and American liberty is no more. Through the darkness which shrouds our prospects the ark of safety is visible. Despondency becomes not the dignity of our cause, nor the character of those who are it's supporters.

Let us awaken then, and evince a different spirit, - a spirit that shall inspire the people with confidence in themselves and in us, - a spirit that will encourage them to persevere in this glorious struggle, until their rights and liberties shall be established on a rock.

We have proclaimed to the world our determination "to die freemen, rather than to live as slaves." We have appealed to Heaven for the justice of our cause, and in Heaven we have placed our trust.

Numerous have been the manifestations of God's providence in sustaining us.

In the gloomy period of of adversity, we have had "our cloud by day and pillar of fire by night." We have been reduced to distress, and the arm of Omnipotence has raised us up.

Let us still rely in humble confidence on Him who is mighty to save. Good tidings will soon arrive. We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection."~ from "Samuel Adams A Life" by Ira Stoll.

That last line is worth repeating because it is true. "We shall never be abandoned by Heaven while we act worthy of its aid and protection." Let us act worthy of Heaven's aid and protection and we will reclaim our country.

"When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea.
And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.
Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him." ~Acts 22:26-29

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What Minnesota's missing

The Minnesota legislature has declared Mr. Franken to be the winner. The Wall Street Journal
documents a severely mismanaged recount. Both of these miss the real issue.

A man of character wouldn't accept the seat under such conditions. A man of character would refuse to accept the seat until the ballots were counted in a way that accords with his own principles of honesty and high moral standards.

Character counts and Mr. Franken is clearly not a man of character if he is willing to accept the seat under such a cloud.