Sunday, October 31, 2010

Coming Randslide? Rand Now +15 In New PPP Poll

Rand Paul is pulling away gaining 2 more points in his lead over Democrat Jack Conway according to a new PPP poll released today. It isn't over until the votes are actually counted but this is looking real good for Dr Paul.
Rand Paul has expanded his lead in the Kentucky Senate race even further over the last week and is headed for a blowout win. His margin over Jack Conway is 55-40.

Kentucky is obviously a conservative state. Conway's ability to win was always going to depend on getting a lot of folks who supported John McCain in 2008 to vote Democratic for the Senate this time around. The most amazing finding on this final poll is that Rand Paul is actually picking up more Obama voters (15%) than Conway is McCain voters (9%). That's the formula for a landslide.

In the end Rand Paul did not have any trouble reunifying his party after the Republican primary- GOP voters are going for him by an 88-8 margin. Conway meanwhile is bleeding Democratic support. He's getting only 61% of the vote from his own party while a full 34% say they plan to vote for Paul. Paul also has a 48-40 advantage with independents.
Via Memeorandum

David Broder - War With Iran Will Boost Economy And Get Obama Reelected

What else might affect the economy? The answer is obvious, but its implications are frightening. War and peace influence the economy.

Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran's ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.
Are you kidding me? If this line of reasoning had any basis in reality, our economy would be booming given the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that we have been involved in since 2001 and 2003 respectively. And does he really think that Obama will win any friends on the right, NeoCon or otherwise, while completely pissing off the anti-war left?

This is twisted logic at it's best and just another attempt to justify already out of control government stimulus to the Military Industrial Complex. Instead of spending on more foreign intervention that will blow up in our face, we need to focus more on defending our borders and getting our economy back on track. A nuclear Iran poses as much threat to us as North Korea does; very little.

Via Memeorandum

Gasp! Frank Rich May Be Right

Even a broken clock is right twice a day, the old saying goes, and for once I have to agree with Frank Rich.

Many Americans have hitched onto the Tea Party wagon, so it comes as no surprise that the Republican establishment has tapped into the anti-Obama, anti-Pelosi, anti-Reid, anti-government fervor in order to get back in the drivers seat of American politics. Unfortunately, while this will slowdown the progressive train rolling through DC, I see little benefit to people in the country class like myself.

After the November 2nd elections when the GOP takes back the House, and maybe the Senate, it will be business as usual in DC. Sure some of the bums will have been thrown out but the swamp won't even be close to being drained. There will still be bailouts for the politically connected, out of control spending and above all a Leviathan that is ever expanding.

So don't be fooled by the rhetoric from the ruling class, they are only telling us what we want to hear in order to gain our trust and our votes. Things won't change until we realize that we are merely pawns in their game and when that happens all hell is going to break loose.

But whatever Tuesday’s results, this much is certain: The Tea Party’s hopes for actually affecting change in Washington will start being dashed the morning after. The ordinary Americans in this movement lack the numbers and financial clout to muscle their way into the back rooms of Republican power no matter how well their candidates perform.

What the Tea Party ostensibly wants most — less government spending and smaller federal deficits — is not remotely happening on the country club G.O.P.’s watch. The elites have no serious plans to cut anything except taxes and regulation of their favored industries. The party’s principal 2010 campaign document, its “Pledge to America,” doesn’t vow to cut even earmarks — which barely amount to a rounding error in the federal budget anyway. Boehner has also proposed a return to pre-crash 2008 levels in “nonsecurity” discretionary spending — another mere bagatelle ($105 billion) next to the current $1.3 trillion deficit. And that won’t be happening either, once the actual cuts in departments like Education, Transportation and Interior are specified to their constituencies.

For sure, the Republican elites found the Tea Party invaluable on the way to this Election Day. And not merely, as Huckabee has it, because they wanted its foot soldiers. What made the Tea Party most useful was that its loud populist message gave the G.O.P. just the cover it needed both to camouflage its corporate patrons and to rebrand itself as a party miraculously antithetical to the despised G.O.P. that gave us George W. Bush and record deficits only yesterday.

But those Americans, like all the others on the short end of the 2008 crash, have reason to be mad as hell. And their numbers will surely grow once the Republican establishment’s panacea of tax cuts proves as ineffectual at creating jobs, saving homes and cutting deficits as the half-measures of the Obama White House and the Democratic Congress. The tempest, however, will not be contained within the tiny Tea Party but will instead overrun the Republican Party itself, where Palin, with Murdoch and Beck at her back, waits in the wings to “take back America” not just from Obama but from the G.O.P. country club elites now mocking her. By then — after another two years of political gridlock and economic sclerosis — the equally disillusioned right and left may have a showdown that makes this election year look as benign as Woodstock.
I also suggest you read this great article from the July/August issue of The American Spectator, America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution to see how we are being gamed.

Via Memeorandum

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Can The Federal Courts Be Trusted?

Imagine being involved in a dispute with a neighbor and the person chosen to decide the outcome is the wife or parent or sibling of the neighbor. What would the chance be that the ruling would be in your favor? Probably not very good.

But this is what happens when the federal courts are asked to preside over cases between the federal government and the states. A co-equal branch of the federal government becomes the final arbiter to determine the outcome of a dispute between one of its own and another party. How fair is that? As Amphictyon noted in response to the SCOTUS ruling McCulloch v. Maryland the states never agreed to this arrangement.
I do humbly conceive that the states never could have committed an act of such egregious folly as to agree that their umpire [SCOTUS] should be altogether appointed and paid by the other party. The supreme court may be a perfectly impartial tribunal, to decide between two states, but cannot be considered in that point of view when the contest lies between the United States, and one of its members.
So why do the states and "we the people" tolerate this arrangement if it were never agreed upon in the first place? One can only surmise that it is out of ignorance and fear. Ignorance in that we have never really been taught the true intent of what the Constitution sought to protect and fear of reprisal from the federal government. In my opinion, that ignorance is easily being displaced in this day and age by the rising tide of small government enlightenment and the fear is totally misguided.

If the several states were to simply stand up to the federal courts and say that enough is enough, what recourse would the federal government have? Certainly we would not see a repeat of the War of Northern Aggression as there would be no tolerance toward a federal invasion of a state in the union. The federal government could impose economic sanctions on the states, but would that really be effective? It would surly hurt the fed more than the state because the fed is dependent more on revenue from the citizens of the states than the state is from the federal government.

What we have come to is a tipping point in our Republic, where the states need to simply ignore unconstitutional rulings from the federal courts and go about their business as they are granted by the Tenth Amendment without fear of reprisal.

The federal courts cannot be counted on to be a neutral party in disputes between the federal government and the states and only through nullification the states will rightfully be able to reassert their sovereignty. After all a federal court cannot rule absent a violation of federal law or of the Constitution and in many cases that is what is exactly what they are doing today.

Left Coast Rebel Interviews Van Tran For PJTV

Via Left Coast Rebel

Click on the image to view the interview.

Big Government And You

Want to better your standing? Don't bother.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New PPP Poll - Rand Paul +13

With a week to go it appears that independents are breaking toward Rand Paul as he widens his lead over Democrat Jack Conway to 53-40 according to the latest PPP poll.
Independents have moved toward Rand Paul in droves over the last month and a half and as a result he's built his lead in the Kentucky Senate race up to 13 points at 53-40.

In a September PPP poll Paul led by 7 overall while also holding a 7 point lead with independents. Now that advantage with independents is a whooping 39 points at 66-27. There's been virtually no movement among Democrats or Republicans over that period of time so most of the movement in the race can be attributed to that shift.
In other news, it now looks like the poor, innocent protester that was "stomped" by a Rand supporter is really a bat-shit crazy leftist who was stalking Dr Paul and lunged at him. Of course the available video doesn't catch this and only shows the aftermath, making the Paul supporters look like thugs. Granted the foot to her shoulder was completely gratuitous but no one knew what this woman's intentions were and subduing her was the right thing to do.

Via Memeorandum

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who Is The Forgotten Man?

In an address in 1883, William Graham Sumner expanded upon two of the essays from his collection What Social Classes Owe to Each Other and defined what he believed to be the Forgotten Man.

Now while these words are from nearly 130 years ago, they are as true today as they were then. The Forgotten Man (and Woman) is the same today and wants nothing more than to be left alone to enjoy the fruits of their labor without the threat of government plunder.

If you identify with this definition of the Forgotten Man, you will enjoy the rest of the address here.
Now who is the Forgotten Man? He is the simple, honest laborer, ready to earn his living by productive work. We pass him by because he is independent, self-supporting, and asks no favors. He does not appeal to the emotions or excite the sentiments. He only wants to make a contract and fulfill it, with respect on both sides and favor on neither side. He must get his living out of the capital of the country. The larger the capital is, the better living he can get. Every particle of capital which is wasted on the vicious, the idle, and the shiftless is so much taken from the capital available to reward the independent and productive laborer. But we stand with our backs to the independent and productive laborer all the time. We do not remember him because he makes no clamor; but I appeal to you whether he is not the man who ought to be remembered first of all, and whether, on any sound social theory, we ought not to protect him against the burdens of the goodfornothing. In these last years I have read hundreds of articles and heard scores of sermons and speeches which were really glorifications of the good-for-nothing, as if these were the charge of society, recommended by right reason to it scare and protection, We are addressed all the time as if those who are respectable were to blame because some are not so, and as if there were an obligation on the part of those who have done their duty towards those who have not done their duty. Every man is bound to take care of himself and his family and to do his share in the work of society. It is totally false that one who has done so is bound to bear the care and charge of those who are wretched because they have not done so. The silly popular notion is that the beggars live at the expense of the rich, but the truth is that those who eat and produce not, live at the expense of those who labor and produce. The next time that you are tempted to subscribe a dollar to a charity, I do not tell you not to do it, because after you have fairly considered the matter, you may think it right to do it, but I do ask you to stop and remember the Forgotten Man and understand that if you put your dollar in the savings bank it will go to swell the capital of the country which is available for division amongst those who, while they earn it, will reproduce it with increase.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Iran Brokers Iraqi Government Deal

So let's see, the Iraq War cost us $740B along with 4,500 dead and 32,000 wounded American troops. Meanwhile Russia and China get the oil and now it appears that Iran will become a power broker for who controls the Iraqi government. But hey, at least we rid them of Saddam and those deadly WMD's.

Guardian UK
Iran has brokered a critical deal with its regional neighbours that could see a pro-Tehran government installed in Iraq, a move that would shift the fragile country sharply away from a sphere of western influence.

The Guardian can reveal that the Islamic republic was instrumental in forming an alliance between Iraq's Nouri al-Maliki, who is vying for a second term as prime minister, and the country's powerful radical Shia cleric leader, Moqtada al-Sadr.

The deal – which involved Syria, Lebanon's Hezbollah and the highest authorities in Shia Islam – positions Maliki as a frontrunner to return as leader despite a seven-month stalemate between Iraq's feuding political blocs.

It also positions Iran as a potent buffer to US interests at a time when America is looking to change its relationship with Iraq from military overlords to civilian partners.
Seriously though, if this doesn't highlight why we need to restrain from intervention in the affairs of other nations, nothing will. The Neo-Cons sold us a bill of goods by offering the myth that we would be repaid with oil money and that bringing our brand of democracy to the region would help to stabilize it. Instead, two of our biggest competitors for oil win the rights to produce it and the government who is the least friendly towards us in the region gets to determine who runs the show in Iraq.

Talk about unintended consequences.

WSJ Misses Mark On Roots Of Tea Party

In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz's op-ed entitled Why Liberals Don't Get the Tea Party Movement completely misses the mark on the birth of the "Tea Party" movement and what it really is. To read Mr Berkowitz you are led to believe that the movement was "[b]orn in response to President Obama's self-declared desire to fundamentally change America" but that is not the case. The first "Tea Party" event took place in Boston on December 16 2007 on the 234th anniversary of the original Boston Tea Party as part of a Ron Paul rally and moneybomb (which raised $6.4M for Dr Paul's Presidential campaign), a full 13 months before Obama took office and an important distinction because it ignores the anger directed at the Bush administration for it's massive increase in government spending and infringement on civil liberties.

While I applaud him for explaining the underpinnings of Constitutional values and he is correct that "Tea Partiers" "want to reduce the massively ballooning national debt, cut runaway federal spending, keep taxes in check, reinvigorate the economy, and block the expansion of the state into citizens' lives.", Mr Berkowitz only portrays half of what the original movement is all about. Paulists (or Paultards as the progressives like to call us) also want to put an end to our overseas military interventions, restore civil liberties lost in the post 9/11 hysteria and rid the federal government of unconstitutional agencies like the Federal Reserve, Department of Education and the DEA to name a few. None of which are high on the agenda of the average conservative but things that the founders warned us about, especially in the Anti-Federalist Papers.

The "Tea Party" movement that Mr Berkowitz describes is really the result of a co-opting of Ron Paul's more libertarian message by the Republican Party toward, as Dr Paul once put it, a "neocon type of influence" that is more pro-war and pro-Homeland Security. It is certainly an irony that people who claim to be for smaller government at the same time want impose our system of government on other nations and infringe on the civil liberties of American citizens.

Unfortunately, this may be the downfall of the movement with it's hopes pinned on returning the Republicans to Congressional power come November. Much like many progressives that have soured on Obama's failure to live up to his message of "Hope and Change" in their eyes, will true small government advocates be disappointed and loose faith when the same Republicans who were for the massive expansion of government under Reagan, Bush 41 and Dubya are back at the helm doing what they do best or will it make us stronger and more determined to change the direction of Leviathan?

Only time will tell.

Via Memeorandum

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Do We Really Want Less Government?

While killing time in my doctor's office, I came across an article by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone and even though it is a progressive rant against the right for the most part, one sentence in the beginning of the article got me thinking; do we really want less government? Yes it is true that we all talk a good game but when push comes to shove, will we be happy if we get our way?

Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans are against cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs. Also, small government conservatives are generally against cuts to defense spending and see no problems with our massive military intervention in far off lands. It does seem that government overspending is good when it is for something you want.

From my own personal experience the car I recently purchased was financed with a low interest rate loan mainly because of government manipulation of the interest rates (sure my good credit had something to do with it) as was my wife's car purchased last year. The house we bought in 06 was only a reality because of the FHA and the newly expanded roads and highways I take back and forth to work each day were done due to federal funding.

This is definitely food for thought, but from my own perspective I am willing to continue the fight, supporting the cause of less government. That's not to say that I will not continue to use the means available under the current system to better my life, just that I am willing to make sacrifices and adapt once we get our way. It may make me full of shit in Matt Taibbi's eyes but I really don't care, the revolution will commence.

Matt Taibbi on the Tea Party
How corporate interests and Republican insiders built the Tea Party monster
A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can't imagine it.

After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.

"I'm anti-spending and anti-government," crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. "The welfare state is out of control."

"OK," I say. "And what do you do for a living?"

"Me?" he says proudly. "Oh, I'm a property appraiser. Have been my whole life."

I frown. "Are either of you on Medicare?"

Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!

"Let me get this straight," I say to David. "You've been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?"

"Well," he says, "there's a lot of people on welfare who don't deserve it. Too many people are living off the government."

"But," I protest, "you live off the government. And have been your whole life!"

"Yeah," he says, "but I don't make very much." Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it's going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I've concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They're full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry's medals and Barack Obama's Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about — and nowhere do we see that dynamic as clearly as here in Kentucky, where Rand Paul is barreling toward the Senate with the aid of conservative icons like Palin.

Gary Johnson Keynote Speaker At Arizona Nullify Now! Tour Stop

Just announced, former NM Governor Gary Johnson will be the special keynote speaker at the Tenth Amendment Center's Nullify Now! stop in Phoenix on January 29 2011.

Through historical writings, case studies, and speeches by the Founding Fathers, more than 10 speakers will give you a logical, moral, and constitutionally sound case for nullification, revealing:
  • How we can roll back Obamacare, cap and trade, and other unconstitutional expansions of federal power through nullification
  • Why the Founding Fathers believed that nullification was the “moderate middle ground,” not the road to secession
  • Why the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution gives the states the power to nullify unconstitutional laws
  • Why states – not the Supreme Court – should arbitrate disputes between the states and the federal government over the constitutionality of the federal government’s actions.
Special Keynote Speaker: Gary Johnson is an American businessman, triathlete, and libertarian-leaning Republican politician who served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico, from 1994 to 2002. He is the Honorary Chairman of the Our America Initiative. Which as a 501c4 non-profit advocacy committee that seeks to broaden the parameters of the public policy debate of current topics in the national arena.

As Governor, Johnson was known for his common-sense business approach to governing. He eliminated New Mexico’s budget deficit and cut the rate of growth in state government in half. During his term, New Mexico experienced the longest period without a tax increase in the state’s history. Additionally, Governor Johnson vetoed 750 bills (which was more than all the combined vetoes of the other 49 Governors in the country at the time) and thousands of line item vetoed bills. He is known for his creation of a level playing field in business, and the prevention of favoritism in regulation and laws.

I got my tickets, have you?

Foreclosure Armageddon

Millions of Americans, myself included, foolishly bought overvalued homes during the housing bubble. Now it turns out that our notes were sliced and diced so many times that we cannot be sure that our monthly payments are going to who is the legal owner of the note thanks to MERS. This is a crisis of epic proportions for everyone involved and could lead to another financial meltdown that Congress will be asked to fix.

One the one hand, there is the school of thought that homeowners can force their lender to "produce the note" during foreclosure proceedings, but this defense only works in judicial foreclosure states. By doing so, borrowers have the hope of stalling the proceedings and can stay in their home rent-free or under a best case scenario walk away owning the home free and clear. But this is a straw man because while the lender does not have a valid contract to collect, the borrower is not disputing that they actually owe the money but merely disputing who they owe it to and therefore would be unjustly enriched if they were allowed to keep the property without paying. In Arizona, for example, in Weisband Chapter 13 Case No. 4:09-bk-05175-EWH while the court ruled against GMAC, they made it clear that Barry Weisband still owed money to someone.
The Debtor argues that, in an asset securitization scheme, only the securities investors have standing to seek stay relief because they are the only parties with a financial interest in the securitized notes. However, because the Debtor executed the Note and received consideration (which he used to purchase the house), the contract is enforceable regardless of who provided the funding. In other words, the fact that the funds for a borrower’s loan are supplied by someone other than the loan originator, does not invalidate the loan or restrict enforcement of the loan contract to the parties who funded the loan. A number of cases and treatises recognize that consideration for a contract, including a promissory note, can be provided by a third party. See, e.g., DCM Ltd. P’ship v. Wang, 555 F. Supp. 2d 808, 817 (E.D. Mich. 2008); Buffalo County v. Richards, 212 Neb. 826, 828-29 (Neb. 1982); 3 WILLISTON ON CONTRACTS  7:20 (Richard A. Lord, 4th ed. 2009); RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS  71(4) (2009).

Notes are regularly assigned and the assignment does not change the nature of the contract. The assignee merely steps into the shoes of the assignor. In re Boyajian, 367 B.R. 138, 145 (9th Cir. BAP 2007); In re Trejos, 374 B.R. 210, 215 (9th Cir. BAP 2007). No additional consideration is required, as opposed to a novation which creates a new obligation. Id. at 216-17 citing RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF CONTRACTS 280, cmt. e. Therefore, the Debtor’s argument that the Note is unenforceable because the funder of the Note was not the payee fails. The Note is still valid and can be enforced by the party who has the right to enforce it under applicable Arizona law.
Conversely you have the conundrum that would allow the banks and other interested parties to basically disregard contract law in the interest of the economic well being of the country. Some pundits, like John Carney at CNBC, believe that Congress will step in and with a wave of the pen they and the POTUS will make it all right. (For those of you that are skeptical you need to look no further than the bailouts of GM and Chrysler where the unions were pushed to the front of the line over secured creditors.)
Here’s what is going to happen: Congress will pass a law called something like “The Financial Modernization and Stability Act of 2010” that will retroactively grant mortgage pools the rights in the underlying mortgages that people are worried about. All the screwed up paperwork, lost notes, unassigned security interests will be forgiven by a legislative act.

The put-back crisis is not driven by economics. It is driven by legal rights. And there’s simply zero probability that the politicians in Washington are going to let Bank of America or Citigroup or JP Morgan Chase fail because of a legal issue.

So here’s what I expect will happen. The lame duck session of Congress will pass a bill that essentially papers over the misdeeds of the banks that originated mortgage securities. Every member of Congress and every Senator who has been voted out of office will cast a vote for the bill. And the President will sign it.
Essentially there is no good solution for this but once again the federal government will overlook the bad behavior of their benefactors and bail them out at the expense of the American people under the guise of TBTF. This my friends will be another further attempt by the government to blur the public-private line of the free market. Contrary to the claims of many, we are not headed in the direction of socialism, instead we are on the fast-track to fascism.

Our Republic is so screwed.

Via Memeorandum

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ron Paul And The Judge - Freedom Watch 10/9

Ron Paul - "I think the revolution is inevitable, I think we are in the early stages, I think it can be very good... but I do not believe the revolution will go without a lot of turmoil."

No, he's not talking about a violent revolution here, like many of us, Dr Paul knows that the system is going to collapse under its own weight and while it will spell hard times, it will also allow us to return to our Constitutional roots.

Constitutional Myths From The Left

Reading a piece on Think Progress I saw this little nugget of Constitutional dishonesty and actually had to laugh at what amounts to either ignorance on the author's part or a blatant disregard for the truth.
Tearing Up The Constitution: Beyond the fringe claims that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional, leading GOPers have embraced repealing the Constitution’s grant of citizenship to all children born in the United States, repealing the constitutional right to elect your own senators, and one leading GOP Senate candidate claimed that it is unconstitutional for the United States to belong to the United Nations.
Evidently the fine folks at Think Progress need a bit of a history lesson on the 14th and 17th Amendments.

The 14th Amendment was never intended to give birthright citizenship to anyone born in the US and Senator Jacob Howard, who proposed for the language of the amendment, said as much during the debates over the 14th.
This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country.
Birthright citizenship is not an absolute for illegal immigrants because the parents, and therefore the child, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the US because they still owe their allegiance to another country. Just because it has been accepted for so long and Justice William J. Brennan Jr gave it credence in Plyler v. Doe does not make it a truth. In reality, the citizenship clause does not need to be repealed but rather enforced.

Another piece of historical blindness in the Think Progress piece is why the founders gave the power to elect Senators to the states. This was done in order to give state legislatures a voice in and a direct link to the federal government as Publius (James Madison) pointed out in Federalist No. 62.
It is recommended by the double advantage of favoring a select appointment, and of giving to the State governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former, and may form a convenient link between the two systems.
Just because the states gave up this right with the 17th Amendment it doesn't mean that they can't take it back again. A repeal of the 17th is essential for the states to gain the upper hand back from the national government and reassert their sovereignty.

Think Progress can dismiss these ideas as radical all they want but the fact of the matter remains that the beliefs of Constitutional Conservatives are more in line with the founders' vision of the Republic than those of nanny-state progressives who prefer a Socialist style government. Progressives are the ones who have been tearing up the Constitution for over 100 years and we have finally had enough.

Via Memeorandum

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Snyder v Phelps And The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
As offensive as the protests of the Westboro Baptist Church at a military funeral are, I believe that the SCOTUS is about to go down the slippery slope of restricting our freedoms of speech and assembly if they rule in favor of Albert Snyder. In reality, this is a case that should not have gotten this far as it has since it is a civil matter and the jury in the original case was probably correct in awarding Albert Snyder damages for the church's intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy and civil conspiracy. But even that is a stretch because the WBC protest was actually at a distance of "hundreds" of feet from the church and some of the offensive speech was posted online. It was the The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that screwed the pooch and turned this into a First Amendment showdown.

If the SCOTUS does in fact rule in favor of Mr Snyder, it would be counter to the decision found in Texas v. Johnson where Justice William J. Brennan Jr opined, "if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable."

A SCOTUS decision in favor of Mr Snyder could have other far reaching implications as well. Could the protests of Holocaust deniers or those of pro-Nazi groups be under fire next? Would Muslim groups have a case against someone who post a Muhammad caricature online, burns a Koran or protests against the Ground Zero Mosque? Some people find the rhetoric of pro-life protesters offensive, would they be targets now too? Could this slippery slope be used against Tea Party protesters as well?

See what I mean, it cuts both ways?

We need to look beyond the vile actions of the WBC and other groups like them and ask ourselves, do we really want the SCOTUS to infringe on any speech that is considered merely offensive or in poor taste? After all, some people find offense in anything.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The End Of The Regular Season

With the end of the regular season and my beloved Red Sox off to scatter in the wind for an offseason of golf, it is time to remember the words of former MLB Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti and his writing about the end of a season The Green Fields of the Mind.

And what the hell, since it's Sunday, a little Rule 5 for good measure.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops. Today, October 2, a Sunday of rain and broken branches and leaf-clogged drains and slick streets, it stopped, and summer was gone.

Somehow, the summer seemed to slip by faster this time. Maybe it wasn't this summer, but all the summers that, in this my fortieth summer, slipped by so fast. There comes a time when every summer will have something of autumn about it. Whatever the reason, it seemed to me that I was investing more and more in baseball, making the game do more of the work that keeps time fat and slow and lazy. I was counting on the game's deep patterns, three strikes, three outs, three times three innings, and its deepest impulse, to go out and back, to leave and to return home, to set the order of the day and to organize the daylight. I wrote a few things this last summer, this summer that did not last, nothing grand but some things, and yet that work was just camouflage. The real activity was done with the radio--not the all-seeing, all-falsifying television--and was the playing of the game in the only place it will last, the enclosed green field of the mind. There, in that warm, bright place, what the old poet called Mutability does not so quickly come.
Read the rest here

Is November The Answer?

Yes and No.

While we supposedly have a good group of liberty minded, small government candidates that have a chance of being sworn in to Congress in January, Rand Paul is the only one that promotes the true libertarian viewpoint and even that is up for debate. My fear is that if we do see a Republican takeover of Congress, we will see a small shift from intervention in our economy but at the same time see an increase in foreign intervention and further infringement of our Constitutional liberties as Republican controlled Congresses have done in the past. The problem is that the federal government will still be holding all the cards and will continue to run roughshod over the rights and freedoms that our founders wanted to bestow upon us.

The real answer to change in the direction of our nation lies on the local level. Nothing is truer than the axiom "all politics is local" and the best way to affect change on the federal level is to elect people locally that will stand up to leviathan and assert the sovereignty of their state over the powers of the federal government as the founders intended.

For too long we have allowed DC to oversee our nation's direction and have given away our rights, liberty and freedom in the name of safety and security. Our nation was founded as a collection if independent states with a national government who's job it was to defend the nation, coin money and settle disputes among states. Today they have rendered the Constitution null and void, controlling every aspect of our lives through central planning.

It is time to swing the balance of power back to the states and to achieve this we must have people in our State Houses and Governor's seats that will assert the rights given to them. Remember, the 10th Amendment is very clear, The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. Regardless of what the SCOTUS has ruled, they have merely been a party to the usurpation of states' rights under the guise of a neutral party when they are themselves an agent of the federal government. Is it any wonder they rule they way they do?

Until state politicians stand up and say enough is enough, the battle for our republic is a lost cause. Keep this in mind when you vote come November.

Consistently Supporting Liberty And The Tenth Amendment by Jason Greene

Via Tenth Amendment Center

One of the main obstacles to getting the “tenther” movement and the message of freedom to spread is that too many people claim they are for freedom on some issues (guns, taxes), but simultaneously claim to be anti-freedom on others (marijuana, gay-marriage).

Our two-party political system has raised people to believe that based on which party you subscribe to, you are supposed to advocate for either the federal government to get out of the way in regard to things that you like and to get in the way of people doing things that you don’t like. This is the essence of the problem. To truly embrace freedom and the tenth amendment movement, people need to start opposing federal involvement in EVERY area that is not authorized under the Constitution and not only in the activities which they personally disapprove.

For example, I know many Republicans who constantly decry government interference in gun ownership and business, but practically BEG for it when it comes to banning gay marriage and drug use. The same goes for the other side; I know many Democrats who say that government needs to get out of the way when it comes to marijuana and gays in the military, but they decry any attempt to lift the federal ban on abortion and/or repeal federal gun laws. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Personally, I am not a drug user and personally oppose marijuana. However, I adamantly oppose federal regulation of the substance and fail to see how others using it affects me in any meaningful way. To be consistent in my support of freedom, I have learned to oppose federal regulation, even of activities that I do not like nor participate in. This is the point of a free society.

Like Michael Boldin often says, we need to embrace an “every issue, every time” mindset when it comes to the Tenth Amendment. We should support freedom for ALL issues and let the states/people decide LOCALLY what is best for them and their communities.

The two-party system continues to divide and conquer us on and issue-by-issue basis, propagating an us-versus-them mentality in order to herd us like sheep toward a particular political party. Prove to them that this won’t work any longer by opposing federal intervention in ANY area that is not authorized in the Constitution! Support freedom by being consistent in your defense of liberty, regardless of the issue!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

NYT Afraid Of "Tea Party" Reading List

Let me just say that I don't consider myself a "Tea Partier". While I believe in the theme of the movement I consider myself to be a libertarian who believes in many of the same small government principles but not beholden to any political party.

That said, in it's ongoing bout of Tea Party Derangement Syndrome, the NYT printed an article today, Movement of the Moment Looks to Long-Ago Texts (subscription required but provides a login, willneverregist/willneverregist) almost mocking people like us for reading the works of great thinkers like Frédéric Bastiat and F.A. Hayek. Memo to the Times, we also read the works of other great Austrian economists too, like von Mises and Hazlitt, the writings of the Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson and George Mason and horror of horrors the Constitution.

Imagine that, people drawing on the ideas of others for guidance in the battle against governmental tyranny. I guess not everyone is enlightened enough to worship at the alters of Marx, Lenin, Mao and Alinsky as the NYT would prefer.

[W]hen it comes to ideology, it has reached back to dusty bookshelves for long-dormant ideas.

It has resurrected once-obscure texts by dead writers — in some cases elevating them to best-seller status — to form a kind of Tea Party canon. Recommended by Tea Party icons like Ron Paul and Glenn Beck, the texts are being quoted everywhere from protest signs to Republican Party platforms.

Pamphlets in the Tea Party bid for a Second American Revolution, the works include Frédéric Bastiat’s “The Law,” published in 1850, which proclaimed that taxing people to pay for schools or roads was government-sanctioned theft, and Friedrich Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” (1944), which argued that a government that intervened in the economy would inevitably intervene in every aspect of its citizens’ lives.

Neither Hayek nor Bastiat were writing with the United States in mind. But their arguments, too, have become fodder for a movement that believes that government intervention is the wrong solution to the country’s economic woes — and is, in fact, the problem, resulting in runaway national debt.

Hayek, who won the Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 1974, argued that when a government begins any kind of central economic planning, it must decide which needs are more and less important, and therefore ends up controlling every aspect of its citizens lives.

Bastiat called taxation “legal plunder,” allowing the government to take something from one person and use it for the benefit of someone else, “doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.” In his view, protective tariffs, subsidies, progressive taxation, public schools, a minimum wage, and public assistance programs were of a piece. “All of these plans as a whole,” he wrote, “constitute socialism.”
Via Memeorandum
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