Thursday, December 17, 2009

Congress Has Become Taxation Without Representation

-By Warner Todd Huston

We are speeding headlong toward a time when our Congress will have become just like Mad King George’s Parliament, that body from which in 1776 the American colonists separated with the rallying cry of “no taxation without representation.” Our national government is fast becoming just as unrepresentative of the people as far off Briton was when we went to war to become the United States of America.

Does that seem like a hyperbolic statement to you? At first blush, it might. But a considered look at the direction in which we are quickly heading will prove that, compared to the British Parliament that raised the ire of our forefathers so long ago, today’s Congress shows many signs of the same, oppressive, haughty, disinterested politicians that considered their national government more important than the local’s interests and needs.

Representation is the key word, here. What does it mean? What did it mean then? Of course, the problem was that it meant two different things to the opposing sides of the Revolutionary era, hence the conflict. In England, representation meant that Parliament “represented” the whole of the country and that each member of that body was elected from their home to go forth and become a member of the whole. British politicians generally did not imagine that they were representing their hometown when they went to Parliament.

As an example of the basic assumption of Parliamentary representation, a pamphlet published in 1765 in London asserted that, “every Member of Parliament sits in the House not as a representative of his own constituents but as one of that august assembly by which all the commons of Great Briton are represented.” (”The Regulations Lately Made Concerning the Colonies and the Taxes Imposed Upon Them, Considered,” by Thomas Whately)

On the other side of the Atlantic, however, the American political system had evolved in the opposite direction. The distance between colonies, the fact that they didn’t all meet together and each represented distinct and separate proto-states, this tended to propel the colonial political scene toward local interests and control. Consequently, when someone was sent to any political office in the colonies, it was expected that he would represent those that sent him, not the greater body into which he entered. Local interests were premier.

Consequently, when it came time for Parliament to consider tax policies to be imposed on the colonists (the Paper Tax, Tea Tax, Towshend Duties, et al), there was no expectation among them that the colonists themselves needed any members of their own sitting in Parliament to represent their fellows. Parliament itself was considered the proper representation of all Great Briton’s possessions regardless of what individuals sat there.

The colonists, however, were quite upset that their own people had no voice in the national body and were incensed that taxes descended upon them without their ascent to the policy. Parliament seemed haughty, disinterested, unconnected and unconcerned with the colonist’s needs and desires and Americans felt as if enslaved to far off masters that never asked for as much as a by your leave. The people and the government seemed in no way connected to the colonists.

Now, doesn’t that sound like Congress today?

Of course, this is not to say that Congress is in every way a far off body of disinterested masters haughtily unconcerned with the voices back home. But who cannot see that it is becoming more like that every day?

Repeatedly, for instance, we find Congressmen and Senators suddenly adopting the national party line and doing a 180 from previous positions — the ones that got them elected — or succumbing to giant piles of cash from interests outside the state that elected them. Remember Al Gore, the staunchly anti-abortion politician from Tennessee that suddenly became a Roe fan once he entered Congress and decided he had national political ambitions? Even this year we saw Senator Gillibrand from New York do an instantaneous about face on the Second Amendment once she entered the Senate. She was well known as pro-Second Amendment and then she got appointed to the Senate and, voila, she’s suddenly anti-Second Amendment. Additionally, Republicans in Illinois just discovered that Congressman Mark Kirk is a proponent of Cap and Trade proving himself amenable to destroying the entire energy industry and laying an oppressive tax on every American despite what they might want. Why did he do it? Because he got money from the enviro-wacko lobby from outside his state and decided to give them his vote instead of the people of Illinois, that’s why. It was a simple, unprincipled dash for the cash.

Increasingly nationally focused Non-Governmental Organizations are gathering large sums of money to influence Congressmen to their cause whether the people back home care about the lobbyist’s issue or not and this is not to mention the increasingly demanding control of the national party establishment forcing Congressmen to spout the party line often times in contravention to what those at home support.

There are many reasons for this. The 17th Amendment, for instance, dangerously detached members of the Senate from local control by making them beasts of the party and elected by “the people,” instead of sent by the states to represent state interests. And there is the increasing cost of running for election. Any more, only the ultra rich can run a campaign without having to worry if the national party will support them financially — and that support is often keyed toward whether or not the candidate assumes the party line.

As it happens, the voice of the folks back home is receding farther and farther into the background as members of Congress pay increasing heed to national issues, donors outside their state, and party doctrine instead of local interests.

How long will it be until Congressmen will firmly decide that they represent “The United States” instead of the individual States there from? In fact, Congress is already far down that road toward ignoring the voices back home and deliberating on what they imagine is good for the whole of the country instead of those that sent them to D.C. in the first place.

So, how are they getting away with it? One way is that, while these unconnected, haughty pols make laws they deem it in their political interests to pass, they hide behind baubles and pork sent home in an insincere attempt to make it seem as if they are “doing something” for the folks back home.

Still, our voices from home can force a Congressman to change course. But it takes the collective outrage of the people back home to force that course correction because all too often it seems as if Congress is intent on its own agenda with no mind to what the little people back home might want. Instead of going to Congress with their constituents first and foremost in their minds, the people are an afterthought as the national agenda is pursued.

Congress may not quite yet be a perfect emulation of the Parliament that taxed American colonists without including them in on the decision making process, but how much longer will it be until that hubris is revisited on the people of this nation?

We should not entirely despair, of course. The true system that the founders created is still there underneath all the garbage that later generations piled on top of it. It will take dedication of the citizens to hold their representatives accountable to return this system to a more pure one, but more than that it will take education. As Ben Franklin is reputed to have said to a woman wondering what the founder had wrought, we have a Republic “if we can keep it.” That takes educating ourselves on the issues as well as just how our government is supposed to work.

All is not lost, to be sure. But with the poor education we are now offering our youth, it cannot be much longer before no one has the slightest clue what it was that the founders created and just why it is special enough not to let slip through our fingers.

We conservatives serve as the stopgap to the degradation of our country. Liberals and the uneducated see no reason not to rush headlong to wholesale destruction of what the United States “is.” They just don’t care a whit about what we are. Like Buckley said, it is our duty to stand athwart their path and yell STOP. But our duty is not just to be bellicose. Ours is to educate and keep this country on the straight and narrow and one of those duties involves holding our representatives accountable within the American system. We can fix it, if we have the fortitude. The alternative is to lose the world’s greatest nation and to see our great experiment end in failure and that is just what the left wants.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remembering the Boston Tea Party

Lance marks the 236th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party

If you hadn’t already heard, today is the 236th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. The website EyeWitness to History has an account from George Hewes, who was there:

In about three hours from the time we went on board, we had thus broken and thrown overboard every tea chest to be found in the ship, while those in the other ships were disposing of the tea in the same way, at the same time. We were surrounded by British armed ships, but no attempt was made to resist us.

…The next morning, after we had cleared the ships of the tea, it was discovered that very considerable quantities of it were floating upon the surface of the water; and to prevent the possibility of any of its being saved for use, a number of small boats were manned by sailors and citizens, who rowed them into those parts of the harbor wherever the tea was visible, and by beating it with oars and paddles so thoroughly drenched it as to render its entire destruction inevitable.
God bless the lovers of liberty. Let us resolve to make sure that we throw out every miscreant politician who seeks to deny us our natuiral rights. Remember in November!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A message to RINOs, Newtists, and David Brooks!

To every single "Republican" who says backing Conseratives will lead to failure for the GOP, we at WWTFFD say HELL NO! 
Rubio tied with Crist! There's a lesson here for the NRSC. Something about pearls before swine.
At this rate, Crist might be Scozzafavaed by March of next year. One can only hope, at least.

Red Code Rally photos

Taking our country back from the Neo-Marxists is job number one. Here are some pictures of some patriots with the right idea, via the Left Coast Rebel

More info at Michelle Malkin

Ed posted some videos at The DaleyGator, so please check them out

What happens when the government ignores our Constitution?

One of the founding principles was the right to own property. But, today, our "leaders" seem to lean far more towards the Stalinist view of "property rights". Via The Pirates Cove

The Clean Water Restoration Act currently pending in the U.S. Senate could reach to control even a “seasonal puddle” on private property.

Eleven senators and 17 representatives in the U.S. House have sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasting the measure as one of the boldest property grab attempts of all time.

This bill is described by opponents as a sweeping overhaul of the Clean Water Act that could threaten both physical land and jobs by wiping out some farmers entirely.

“Right now, the law says that the Environmental Protection Agency is in charge of all navigable water,” said Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., chairman of the Senate Western Caucus and an opponent of the bill.

“Well, this bill removes the word ‘navigable,’ so for ranchers and farmers who have mud puddles, prairie potholes — anything from snow melting on their land — all of that water will now come under the regulation of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency,” he said.
They just keep taking away our liberties, because they DO NOT BELIEVE in liberty! My friends, we must take this nation back, and it starts with removing these miscreants next November!

Mourning the Bill of Rights

Great post up over at the Classic Liberal

Today is Bill of Rights Day. Should we celebrate? Or should we mourn the Bill of Rights?
The Bill of Rights should be mourned, not celebrated. It is defunct. Intended as the bulwark of the right of decentralized self-government, it now serves mainly as an excuse for the opposite: a roving judicial veto of state policies that federal judges dislike.

So, if the people of virtually every state ban flag burning or regulate abortion, provide capital punishment or support prayer in school, that does not settle the matter. Unlike 200 or 100 years ago, today the federal judiciary is apt to step in to stop state legislatures from adopting policies like this.

The people never consented to have the federal judges behave this way.

The purpose of the first ten amendments was laid out clearly by their Preamble. “Preamble?” You might ask. “What preamble?” Although the main body of the Constitution is never published without its Preamble, one could study American history for a lifetime without ever encountering the Preamble to the Bill of Rights.

That Preamble says that Congress is recommending amendments to the states because a number of states in ratifying the Constitution “expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added.” Since the people were afraid of the new Federal Government, that is, the Bill of Rights was being added to hedge in the powers of the Federal Government more carefully.

So, for example, the Tenth Amendment stated what Thomas Jefferson called the underlying principle of the entire Constitution: “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.” In other words, the Constitution gave the Federal Government a few enumerated powers, and those were all.

That is why the First Amendment begins by saying that, “Congress shall make no law.” Congress, not government generally. The point was to leave such questions in the hands of elected state legislators.

America’s Revolution was fought and won in the name of self-government via elections to state legislatures. King George III and Parliament insisted that those legislatures could legislate only when and as far-off officials essentially unaccountable to American colonists said they could. The Americans rejected that idea. In fact, rejecting that idea was what made Britain’s North American colonists into Americans.
Be sure to read it all, our nation is dying right before our eyes. It is dying because of many things, but the most telling blow comes from abandoning our founding documents My friends, pray for this nation.

God blessed us with those men who had the wisdom to found this nation, and only He can now bless us with the leaders to return us to our roots.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

American Liberty v. Obama’s Social Engineering

Frank Salvato has a great piece up over at The Publius Forum. It is a must read and fits perectly into what this blog is all about.

After the General Election of 2008 I made a conscious effort to give President Obama a chance. I wanted to give him an opportunity to be true to his word; to prove that he was committed to governing from the center. I also wanted to demonstrate that I was not of the same ilk as the Bush-hating, “he stole the election,” fact-ignoring Progressive malcontents that served to divide the country over the eight years of the Bush Administration. But now, a year after the election, and as we approach a full year of the Obama Administration, it has become abundantly clear that Mr. Obama has abandoned almost all of his campaign promises (but for his commitments to the SEIU) and is governing from the far Left. He has instituted a campaign of social engineering that can only be described as a direct threat to liberty.

Liberty is defined as, “freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.” It was the single most motivating factor in the American Revolution and war for independence. Our Founders and Framers risked their lives to free the people of what would become our nation from the elitist tyranny of King George and his court, a tyranny that choked liberty – personal and societal – dead.

In addition to the limitations placed on religious freedom and freedom of speech, taxation was excessive and exploitative and it was imposed without representation. Many of the colonists believed the denial of direct representation in the British Parliament was an illegal denial of their rights, as colonists were considered Englishmen subject to the king’s rule. Thus the credo, “no taxation without representation,” served as the rallying cry for Patriots in each of the thirteen colonies as they coalesced into a movement toward American independence.

Thomas Jefferson is quoted as having said, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” If Jefferson were alive today to witness the encroachment of government into the private sector being perpetrated by the Obama Administration or the non-representation of constituencies in the House of Representatives under Nancy Pelosi and the US Senate under Harry Reid, he would be validated in his statement.
Intolerable Acts

In the run-up to the American Revolution, the British Parliament imposed five laws that Patriot colonists referred to as “Intolerable Acts .” Four laws were enacted in direct response to the Boston Tea Party:

The Boston Port Act closed the port until such time as the East India Company should be paid for the tea destroyed.

The Massachusetts Government Act gave complete control of seating government officials to the King and Parliament. It also severely limited activities at town hall meetings.

The Administration of Justice Act allowed the king’s appointed governor to move trials of accused royal officials to another colony or even to Great Britain. This made it nearly impossible for witnessed to testify against those charged due to monetary and geographical constraints.

The Quartering Act allowed the king’s appointed governor to house soldiers in non-governmental buildings.

The rult of the imposition of these acts was the formation of the First Continental Congress and the eventual Declaration of Independence, which not only stated the colony’s declared independence, but enumerated the Patriot colonists’ grievances with the king.
Intolerable Acts II

Today, we are witnessing another establishment of “Intolerable Acts” by the 111th Congress and the Obama Administration that enable an encroachment into the private sector and onto the personal liberties of every American; an encroachment of liberties that dwarves the Intolerable Acts of 1774.
The Stimulus Bill

The $787 billion stimulus bill that was rushed through Congress by a coalition of liberal Democrats and neo-Marxist Progressives, and signed into law by President Obama, was less a bill that stimulated the growth of the US economy or the creation of jobs and more a pork-laden special interest bill that was timed to be dispersed for the maximum political benefit it could afford the elected Democrats and Progressives. In reality, the almost trillion dollar legislation was a raid on the Treasury by political factions to reward loyal special interest groups and bankroll the intellectual manipulation of voters in 2010 and 2012, just before the elections.

The Healthcare Reform Bill

The trillion dollar healthcare bills proposed by both houses of Congress and championed by the Obama Administration have more to do with a governmental power-grab of one-sixth of the US economy than they do with affording the uninsured in the United States healthcare benefits.

Instead of crafting legislation that would mandate the private sector to cover the uninsured and promote true free-market competition among private health insurance companies (which would lower premiums for all), the Obama Administration and Congress are deceptively marketing a government take-over of the healthcare insurance industry as a protection against the “evil healthcare insurance industry.” An examination of the almost bankrupt federal Medicare program provides a perfect example of government-run healthcare.

The EPA, CO2 and Cap & Trade

With the recent announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency that carbon dioxide (CO2 – the stuff we exhale and which is required for plant growth) is now considered a pollutant by the federal government, the Obama Administration has enabled itself to not only usurp the legislative process but coerce the electorate and the total of the energy industry into supporting a Cap & Trade Bill. Of course, this designation – as well as any legislation designed to address this issue – is based on the now debunked junk science of anthropological global warming – or what the disingenuous eco-zealots are now calling climate change.

With this designation, FOX News reports that the Obama Administration has positioned itself to force one of two outcomes with regard to energy management in the United States:
“The Obama administration is warning Congress that if it doesn’t move to regulate greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency will take a “command-and-control” role over the process in a way that could hurt business.
“The warning, from a top White House economic official who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity, came on the eve of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s address to the international conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“…while administration officials have long said they prefer Congress take action on climate change, the economic official who spoke with reporters Tuesday night made clear that the EPA will not wait and is prepared to act on its own.”
Taxation Without Representation

The 111th Congress and the Obama Administration have veered violently away from representative government where the citizenry is concerned and moved to execute a government that represents special interest groups, unions, advocacy organizations and the two political parties. They have crafted legislation behind closed doors and in the company of special interest groups and union officials that provides wealth and privilege to the few while mandating a debt that future generations will have to bear if, in fact, we do not collapse the US dollar and watch, helplessly, as our country fades into the pages of the history books as another failed experiment of government and human nature.

A Usurpation of the Established Branches of Government

In seating a plethora of “czars” – overseeing everything thing from broadcast regulation to safe schools, jobs and the economy to environmental issues – President Obama has effectively usurped the congressional oversight used to vet cabinet level appointees and department heads. In essence, Mr. Obama has seated a shadow government with ideological generals who answer to no one but him. This usurps the complete idea of representative government as mandated by the US Constitution.

The Revolution Starts Now
James Madison, the Father of the US Constitution, said in Federalist 10 :

“Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. Nor, in many cases, can such an adjustment be made at all without taking into view indirect and remote considerations, which will rarely prevail over the immediate interest which one party may find in disregarding the rights of another or the good of the whole

“…Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

Today, enlightened statesmen are not at the helm. Political opportunists who have their own interests and the interests of the financial benefactors in a position of priority are seated in power. And while there are a scant few in government who still do adhere to the notion of public service and are still dedicated to their oaths of office and the US Constitution, the controlling majority of those in federal government – and in many cases state government – have come to represent everything our Founders and Framers despised in the elitists they waged war against for independence.
Now, the question is this, will those of us who still believe in the sanctity of the Charters of Freedom – The Declaration of independence, The US Constitution and The Bill of Rights – defend them, doing so in a cohesive manner so as to avoid the politics of factionalism – as with the institution of litmus test politics, or will we watch, helplessly, impotent, as Rome burns?


Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal . He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. He recently partnered in producing the first-ever symposium on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism in Washington, DC. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. He can be contacted at

Friday, December 11, 2009

Your Founding Quotes of the Day

Come from the greatness of Thomas Jefferson
The will of the people is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.
How lovely it would be if Congress listened to that sage advice
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it always to be kept alive.
We can see today that the Democatic Party wishes that spirit to be non-existent.

An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.
Imagine if our political leaders had such character. Instead of seeking power, they would be seeking to serve their constituents.

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.
No words better sum up the divide between those Americans who love liberty, and those who desire the government to take care of our every need.

Cross posted at The DaleyGator

Saturday, December 5, 2009

No Isolated Incident: Why Was the Boston Massacre so Shocking?

-By Warner Todd Huston

You may heave heard of the saying “nature abhors a vacuum”? In essence, it means that once something disappears nature quickly fills the hole left behind. Well, in history there is another axiom about “vacuums.” It is that nothing occurs in one. In this short piece, we’ll take a moment to find out why the Boston Massacre was one of the final straws that severed the bonds of affection between the American Colonists and the British Crown and we’ll see that it didn’t occur in a proverbial vacuum. Far from being a sudden action or one that happened without precedent, the Boston Massacre was the culmination, at least philosophically so, of actions of a similar nature that had been happening in both England and the Colonies for months beforehand.

Any student of the American Revolutionary era knows of the Boston Massacre. It was that incident that occurred on March 5, 1770 in Boston, Massachusetts during which five colonists were killed by a contingent of skittish British Infantry. It was an incident inextricably linked to the beginning of the Revolution that founded the United States of America.

The row began when British Infantry private Hugh White was confronted by a townsman claiming that the soldier hadn’t paid a debt. The argument went on for some time during which more colonists gathered. At one point, Private White struck a young man with his musket butt angering the crowd further. Eventually, several hundred Bostonians gathered and began hurling insults at the beleaguered soldier causing several more British troops to come to White’s aid. Momentarily, one of the British troops was struck with a club and, once he regained his feet, the angered private fired his musket into the crowd. This startled the rest of the soldiers causing them to follow suit. It became clear later that the officer among them did not order his troops to open fire, but five colonists were killed in the incident nonetheless.

Soon afterward, the British soldier involved were arrested and charged with murder. At length, the imprisoned soldiers were represented in court by John Adams with the result that the men were acquitted of the crime. But Adams’ successful defense of these soldiers was not the sort of solution that allowed the Colonists to forgive and forget, nor was the final verdict looked upon by many as justice properly carried out. To the most suspicious of the Colonists, it appeared as if the fix was in.

By itself, it might seem odd that this one incident led inexorably to the American Revolution. A cynical review of that history might make one suspicious that the colonists merely inflated this messy conflict into far more than it really was to serve their separatist purposes. However, the Boston Massacre was not a lone, solitary incident but was of a piece with a series of events that led to this attack being a final straw of sorts.

To begin with, the political culture of the Colonies had been steeped in the small-government, pro-liberty thinking of English Whiggery made popular several decades prior by John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon in the weekly periodical “The Independent Whig.” Trenchard himself was well-known among the most educated and politically active Colonists for writing a 1698 book entitled “A Short History of Standing Armies in England,” and even more famous — at least in the Colonies — for penning “Cato’s Letters,” an extended treaties on liberty, freedom of speech, and freedom of conscience. “Cato’s Letters” became one of the sources that fed the ideology of the American Patriots.

The fear of a standing army, though, had also become ubiquitous in the philosophy of peace loving colonists of both pro-separation as well as pro-British sentiment. A careful examination of history showed the colonists that every time a government emplaced an army among the people — those not on the frontiers, in any case — tyranny and despotism soon followed in that location. Boston had already been inflamed for two years before the massacre when the British regulars entered the town on October 1, 1768.

For his part, the governor of Massachusetts, Sir Francis Bernard, had been looking for a reason to bring in the Army to quell the rising incidents of tax evasion and other near mutinous behavior in his province. The Stamp Act and his ill advised 1760 Writs of Assistance to Massachusetts’ customs tax collectors had had the people in an uproar since he was appointed governor. During those two years, Bernard used these “lobsterbacks” to enforce tax collection as well as to act as a police force. Many incidents of a questionable nature had already occurred between these soldiers and the increasingly resentful townsfolk.

So, as Bernard escalated his actions by bringing in the military to tamp down insurrection his action inadvertently fed right into the worst fears that the colonists had. Once the troops arrived, the Colonists had become more sure than ever that their liberties were about to be stolen away from them and the fear that they were to go from free British citizens to virtual slaves under the heel of a standing army that would be used to grind them into dust became common even among some pro-royalists.

To spread the word, as the British Army entered Boston, a series of articles began to appear in the New York Journal (from dispatches sent out of Boston) chronicling the outrages suffered by Bostonians at the hands of the British regulars. The series lasted from October 13, 1768 to November 30, 1769. Called “The Journal of the Times,” this series was reprinted first in the Pennsylvania Chronicle, then the Boston Evening Post and then throughout the Colonies. These articles also appeared widely in England.

But, it wasn’t just a matter of fears and a ginning up of suspicions by those interested in rabble rousing against the Crown that led to further feelings of revolutionary zeal. Real incidents of government abuse were piling up one on top of the next in both the Colonies and England herself previous to the Boston Massacre. Every move the soldiers made was viewed as another act of oppression of the Colonist’s liberties and rights as Englishmen.

There was also a situation occurring in England that seemed to mirror the oppression happening in the New World. Americans with political interest had become taken with the situation of English politician and radical John Wilkes. Wilkes was seen by many Americans as the epitome of the man of the people standing against the tyranny of overpowering government.

Wilkes had been voted into Parliament by his voters half a dozen times, yet the Crown refused again and again to allow him to take his seat. At some point, Wilkes had ben accused of being an “outlaw” for having written a ribald poem titled “An Essay on Women” that the Crown deemed pornographic and it was widely known that a particular member of Parliament used his position to thwart Wilkes’ ability to take his rightful seat in that body. Wilkes was involved in an awful lot of controversy but one incident in particular caused the American Colonists to see him as their example of growing English tyranny.

In May of 1768 a mob had formed in St. George’s Fields, London to jeer the imprisonment of John Wilkes. As it happened a detachment of British troops fired on this crowd killing several. The troops were also used to hunt down and shoot to death a young boy that was, it turned out, wrongly accused of being one of the mob’s leaders. Worse, those soldiers involved in the St. George’s Fields massacre were let off without any consequences, a situation that many Americans would see as a parallel with the not guilty verdict of the soldiers in Boston a few years later.

Not long after this incident in London, in February of 1770, some soldiers in Boston ended up killing an eleven-year-old boy in another riot against a customs house there. Because of the amount of time it took for incidents to be communicated over the vast ocean, the St. George’s Fields attack was fresh in the minds of the colonists and many quickly equated this Boston incident to the Wilkes incident. Of course, shortly after the eleven-year-old boy was killed by British troops in Boston in February of 1770, the Boston Massacre occurred in March.

These incidents, the constant harassment and imprisonment of the popularly elected Wlikes in London, the killing of civilians during the 1768 riot in England and the killing of the boy in 1770 in Boston, as well as the irritant of the British troops being used against the Colonists in Boston, added up to an obvious conspiracy to destroy British liberty, quash British rights, and unleash a despotic, overweening government upon the people. It all amounted to a final straw as far as many were concerned.

Yet, then came a brief two-year-long period when it almost seemed as if the Crown had begun to realize its mistake. The troops were withdrawn from Boston and several of the onerous taxes like the Townshend Duties were repealed. But, by 1773 it started all over again with the Tea Act which soon to lead to the Boston Tea Party in December. From there it wasn’t long until full-blown revolution was on hand at the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, which became the “shot heard round the world.”

Finally, it should be remembered that incidents of a like nature were playing out throughout the colonies, not just Boston, until Tea Parties of the sort that happened in Boston harbor occurred in several eastern costal cities in several colonies. It didn’t take much of a logical leap for politically active colonists to shift from imagining that their government was merely incompetent to feeling that there was a concerted plan emanating from the King and carried through several personnel changes in Parliament to destroy their constitutional rights as Englishmen.

As you can see, history is always more complicated than a simple review of “the” incidents is concerned. The Revolution did not skip from the Boston Massacre, to the Boston Tea Party to the first shots at the battle of Lexington and Concord but had rather a wide range of incidents both in the Americas and in the Motherland that finally led up to that great conflagration.

And now, you know a little it more about those interesting and perilous times.

Your founding quote of the day

Comes  from Ben Franklin, and is I think very timely considering the current attempt by climate change "Scientists" to say the deabte about AGW is settled, and the media's current policy of repeating this lie.

Printers are educated in the Belief, that when Men differ in Opinion, both sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Public; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter: Hence [printers] cheerfully serve all contending Writers that pay them well, without regarding on which side they are of the Question in Dispute

Friday, December 4, 2009

Your Founding quote of the day

Comes from George Mason.

When the last dutiful & humble petition from Congress received no other Answer than declaring us Rebels, and out of the King’s protection, I from that Moment look’d forward to a Revolution & Independence, as the only means of Salvation; and will risque the last Penny of my Fortune, & the last Drop of my Blood upon the Issue.

Why did Jefferson say "We hold these truths to be self-evident"?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

These words are the most well known in American history. The Declaration of Independence, penned by Thomas Jefferson, is the mission statement for the American republic. Every principle that America was founded upon can be traced back to those words Jefferson wrote in the Summer of 1776. Of all those words, so carefully chosen, and so eloquent, these two have been on my mind of late. "Self-evident." Why self-evident? Why did Jefferson choose those words?

I would submit that Jefferson chose those particular words because they best defined the most basic of American principles. That principle? That our rights, our basic liberties are natural rights. Not rights selected, alloted and limited by any government. Rather these rights, which would later be listed in our Constitution, are not man's, or government's to give, or to restrict. They are our rights at birth. Jefferson believed, as did Franklin, Mason, Madison, Washington, and the rest that it is the natural condition of mankind to be free. Alexander Hamilton defined the source of our liberties quite eloquently.

The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for, among old parchments, or musty records.

They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of  the divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power.

So, it was quite natural for Jefferson to use the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident" wasn't it? That liberty is the natural right of people was not a great discovery for our founders. To them, saying that humans are blessed with the freedom to pursue happiness, and live as they choose, was as simple as saying the sky is blue, or that grass is green. Again, Jefferson saw the great truth that birthed this great nation. We are created with certain liberties as surely as we are born with lungs, eyes, or toes.

To ask if a man ought to have liberty was to the founders a non-question. Men are free, because they were created to be free. Again, this, to men like Jefferson was what we might refer to today as a no-brainer. The importance of understanding this cannot be overstated if we are to understand why this country was founded. The words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" ARE America.

Those words define the most basic principles that Americans must defend today. The Left does not believe Jefferson was right. Their ideology is so clouded witth delusions that they are not able to truly honor Jefferson's words. To the Left, despite their cliams of loving freedom, people are not created free. Take any issue that divides Left and Right and weigh it on the scales of Jefferson's words.

The right to self-defense? To keep and bear arms? To the Left, no such individual right should exist. In the Jefferson model, that right is not up for question. We are free, and being free means being free to defend ourselves, period!

Take the current debate over health care "reform". The plan that the Left favors mandates everyone have health insurance. It does not respect individualism. Again, this is completely anti-thetical to the principles of Jefferson.

Examine any position the Left argues for, and put in on the scales of Jefferson's principles. Government regulations, high taxes, laws that invade our personal lives, or that place the government in the role of restricting basic liberties, such as seat belt laws, laws dictating that a restaurant owner cannot allow smoking, or tax laws that punish the productive.

Take a close look at the relentless campign of political correctness the Left has been waging for years. How would Jefferson react to speech codes? The Fairness Doctrine? Net Neutrality? The war on Christmas? The war on any viewpoint that dares dissent from Leftist (Marxist) doctrines? What would Mr. Jefferson say about these?

I think Jefferson might see the real goal of the Left. I think he would have two very apt words to describe their agenda. Self-evident!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where Have you Gone George Washington

-By Warner Todd Huston

President's Day is coming up in just a few short months, but I don’t celebrate “President’s Day.” I celebrate the presidents individually, not the whole gaggle of them at once. These days, George Washington has been relegated to that “truth telling guy” to be seen on the one dollar bill and on TV commercials at the end of February or that guy lumped in with Lincoln on “President’s Day.” And that is a shame, indeed, for, without George Washington, our presidency and nation might have had a far different attitude.

But, what made Washington such a giant for our times as well as his? For one thing, he knew how to act in public.

Back in the 1700’s

In the year 1759 a man named William Robertson wrote a book called The History of Emperor Charles V, a book some claim was the standard after which modern historical study and writing has come to be patterned. Mr. Robertson, who became Principle of the University of Edinburgh in later years, introduced a salient point into the era of the Scottish Enlightenment. That idea was that "Politeness" in society would result in becoming a civilized nation. And it was a politeness perpetuated and spread through capitalism that was the best avenue to achieving that civilized level.

He wrote "In proportion as commerce made its way into the different countries of Europe they successively ... adopted those manners, which occupy and distinguish polished nations." So, as the theory goes, man by his very nature craves material possession and property. To get that property he must work for it with his best skills. To make use of these skills he must rely on neighbors to get supplies to employ such skills as well as to become customers for his skills. This leads man to act in a solicitous manner of his neighbors so that they will be disposed to employ him and his abilities. This "politeness" employed by the individual inculcates the action in society at large which, in turn, enlarges that field of involved persons to counties and then the country in general, neighboring countries and, ultimately, the world and the governments they create.

Yet, even before the intelligencia of Scotland waxed eloquent on the reasons and why-fors of commerce, civilization, and conduct religions had already realized that such concepts, if only on a personal level, simply made sense. As early as 1559 the French Jesuits has compiled a series of maxims to govern human interaction many based on the Bible’s teachings. These maxims became all the rage in the mid 1600's when they were spread throughout Europe.

So, with the theory of politeness in its various vestiges firmly entrenched in commerce and foreign and interpersonal relations it became obvious that one needed codes of conduct agreed upon by all to govern the rules of the game. This code of conduct became to be known as ethics in business and politics. In personal conduct it became known as etiquette. It is etiquette that underlies political ethics. Without etiquette, ethics struggles to exist. Unfortunately it is etiquette that seems to have died in modern society.


A few months ago I was walking through an itinerant book store, an empty store front temporarily rented by entrepreneurs who have bought returned books or close out books at cut-rate prices to sell cheaply to the public. In the history section I saw there the usual Clinton apologist books and Bush Hatemonger’s screeds that no one wanted, the dry collegiate studies of the fall of the Roman Empire and the coffee table compilation books that have recently fallen out of favor. Suddenly I spied a spare little book edited and commented upon by Richard Bookhiser called Rules of Civility, The 110 Precepts That Guided Our First President In War And Peace. This 90 page hardback book sported the price of only $4.00 so I picked it up.

I took it home and spent the few minutes it took to read the Rules that were said to have governed the life of George Washington and found myself wondering what the heck happened to civility in this country? What happened to the etiquette that, once upon a time, governed civil society?

Washington was the best of both worlds in a revolutionary leader. He was able to lead a rebellion as well as govern the new country after the rebellion succeeded, as Mr. Brookhiser points out in his forward. It was once remarked by a European diplomat's wife that Washington had, "perfect good breeding and a correct knowledge of even the etiquette of a court.” High praise, indeed, from a haughty European in the days when they were so sure the United States of America were doomed to ignominious failure.

Today many of the rules seem archaic as they laid out rules on how to eat in public, When to wear a hat and when not to, the correct posture and the like. But even in these seemingly pointless "rules" one gets the distinct impression that the training to be imparted by these precepts are meant to work from the personal to the interpersonal informing the whole man, not just the public man. A concept we seem to have totally lost in our day of "rights" and desires. We have come to an age where what we "want" supersedes good posture, delicate eating habits and proper dress. We tell ourselves we are more than what we wear or how good our table manners are and so we dispense with such “nonsense.” But is it nonsense? Do we give ourselves short shrift when we ignore such once common ideals of conduct in our arrogance? It might become obvious as we view how people treat each other in public, while we feel the palpable anger in the air as each person seems so sure that they are not getting the "respect" they deserve. But do they treat others with the same respect they are so sure they deserve in return?

As you read further into the rules you'll find a road map to polite social discourse and comportment that you will just know have been lost to society. Here are a few of them for the purpose of comparison to today’s standards:

22) Show not yourself glad at the misfortune of another though he were your enemy ... Be NICE, even when you win.

25) Superfluous compliment and all affectation of ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not neglected ... Real ceremony is a matter of respect not an end in itself, as Mr. Brookhiser notes.

36) Artificers and persons of low degree ought not to use many ceremonies to lords or others of high degree, but respect and highly honor them, and those of high degree ought to treat them with affability and courtesy, without arrogancy .... At first sight this might tend to enrage today’s man yet when you truly look at it this rule commands everyone, both high and low, to treat people with good grace and respect something that seems sorely lacking today.

80) Be not tedious in discourse or in reading unless you find the company pleased therewith ... How many blow-hards do you find droning on about their theories and feelings today?( Hey wait a minute, don’t look at ME!)

81) Be not curious to know the affairs of others, neither approach those that speak in private ... Don't be a nosy gossip. That would erase most of TV and the newspapers report, I would imagine.

84) When your superiors talk to anybody hearken not, neither speak nor laugh ... of course that would presuppose we HAVE superiors these days. It seems everyone assumes that no one is their “better” these days.

89) Speak not of the absent for it is unjust.

109) Let your recreations be manful not sinful.

Naturally these are just a few examples but don't they all ring with a sense of delicacy, justice and common decency? Can you see how social discourse would improve with wide acceptance of such precepts? I would urge each of you to find this book or others like it and read General Washington's maxims. It can do nothing if not improve your life.

Let me close this with the last rule in the series. One that is definitely forgotten these days ...

110) Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

So, as the new year begins, I want to say Happy birthday, sir, but where have you gone George Washington, indeed?

The price of a constitutionally illiterate electorate

Cross posted at The DaleyGator

Warner Todd Huston lays it out Be sure to read it all. Huston echoes my feelings on this.
The reasons that I could never get elected to any government position is the same reason why conservatives have a tough time getting elected and, if they end up elected, can’t govern in this era of the ill-educated voter. First I’ll lay out my main principles…

Leave me alone

Stop taxing me

Shove your regulations
That’s about it. Though there are complexities and nuance contained in them, these are the main tenets of modern conservatism simply put. And therein lies the problem. How can one get elected when his basic tenets are that government should do less, stay out of our lives, and mostly go unnoticed and unseen? In essence a conservative is saying: “Elect me and I’ll do nothing for you.” It’s a tough message to sell in a day when people have lost touch with the American principles that are contained in those very tenets.

Leave Me Alone

The true conservative American does not want welfare or government involvement in his daily life. A real American wants government to shut up about his kids, his education, his religion and his home and hearth. A real American wants the freedom to make his own way in life, to grab for the brass ring without government holding him back. A true American is a self-reliant, family centric being that simply wants his government to leave him alone. This means that government must also stay out of it when men fail, too, and a good conservative understands this.

Stop Taxing Me

A real American understands that some taxes are necessary but feels that the up to 60 percent of his income (depending on where you live) that is currently stolen by greedy government do-nothings is exorbitant. A true American does not want to pay for illegal aliens to get heart transplants, or mentally disturbed people to get sex changes, or for government to pay for infanticide. A real American also has some trouble seeing his hard earned tax dollars going to third world dictators as “aid.” And a real American really hates it when politicians and government placemen retire at age 50 to live on many times more money in government pensions than anyone in the private sector is ever likely to see. The waste, graft, and corruption in government is something that makes the average American wary of his government but makes a conservative sick to his stomach.

Shove Your Regulations

A true American does not want a government hack coming into his back yard to tell him how to build a shed and then charging him, perhaps, hundreds of dollars, for a “permit” for the privilege of building it. A real conservative has a problem with a government forcing itself on him at every turn charging him fees and licensing costs as he tries to start a business that will feed both his family and his employee’s families. A real conservative knows that NO business is “too big to fail,” nor should any ever be considered so.
These principles essentially mean that conservatives have expectations that the citizen tells government what to do, not the other way around, and that he wants the room to make his own way free from constant interference and nanny state hectoring.
Huston goes on to talk about when America cherished, REALLY, cherished our founding principles, and offers a solution. This blog is all about the things Huston writes about.

Retake the initiative in our schools. Get rid of the anti-American educational establishment. Bust the unions, fire the tenured professors, dump the false doctrines of “wymin’s” studies, stop pretending Marx is a worthy philosopher, and again teach our children why America is a great nation.

We can bring back our American first principles. But it won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. It also won’t happen with electing just one leader. It will take all of us as a movement to effect these changes to return us to our greatness. It will take all of us to defeat the moral relativism so firmly entrenched in our schools. It will take a concerted effort to defeat this anti-Americanism but it can be done.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Your Founding Quote of the Day

Jefferson had dozens of great quotes to choose from, and this particular quote seems very timely to me.

I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground that 'all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are preserved to the states or to the people.' ... To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill (chartering the first Bank of the United States), have not, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution
Oh yes, very timely indeed. As Congress seeks to take over your health care, substitue health care for bank, and.....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

George Washington's Thanksgiving proclamation

Via Saber Point

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness :”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted’ for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Meet George Mason

George Mason was one of the key voices in the Americam ideal of limited government and individual rights. He has been called the Father of the Second Ammendment, and his greatest contribution was drafting the Virginia Bill of Rights

But the most significant contribution Mason made to the fledgling state government was writing a constitution and bill of rights during a six week period in May and June of 1776. Mason's readings in history had convinced him that "there never was a government over a very extensive country without destroying the liberties of the people," and he sought to remedy that with a declaration of rights. A committee was assigned to do the writing, but except for Madison's insertion of stronger wording on freedom of religion, the words are entirely Mason's. Some of Mason's phrases appear in the U.S. Bill of Rights that passed 15 years later. The idea as well as the wording caught on, and by the end of 1776 five colonies had adopted declarations of rights, and by 1783 every state had some form of a bill of rights.
Mason's hand was clearly the guiding force behind this process. Edmund Pendleton, president of the Virginia Assembly, wrote to Jefferson, who was in Philadelphia working on the Declaration of Independence, that "the political cooks are busy in preparing the dish, and as Colonel Mason seems to have the ascendancy in the great work, I have sanguine hopes it will be framed so as to answer its end."

Edmund Randolph said that of all the plans being discussed, "those proposed by George Mason swallowed up all the rest." Nearly 50 years later, Jefferson added, "the fact is unquestionable that the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of Virginia were drawn originally by George Mason."

The Declaration of Rights was approved by the Assembly on June 12,1776, and 17 days later Mason had a final draft of the state constitution approved by that body. Although he remained in the legislature four more years and influenced nearly all major bills, Mason never made a more important contribution than authoring the first American document that limited the authority of governments and strengthened the rights of individuals.

By 1780, Mason felt the new government was on firm foundation and he could safely leave of fice. In that year, he remarried and retired to Gunston Hall, letting it be known that he would consider any effort to draft him back into the legislature as "an oppressive and unjust invasion of my personal liberty."

But Mason was too respected, important, and opinionated to stay retired. At first, he spoke out from Gunston Hall on certain issues. In particular, he felt that American debts to British merchants should be honored, as the Revolution had not been fought merely to elude creditors.

Since Gunston Hall was located on the road from Richmond to Philadelphia, leaders on the way from one capital to another began to stop and seek Mason's counsel. In 1783, when debate was going on over revising the Articles of Confederation, the wisest minds sought to involve Mason again. Jefferson wrote to Madison asking if he had stopped by Gunston Hall on his way home from the Continental Congress:

"You have seen G. M., I hope, and had much conversation with him. What are his sentiments on the amendment of our constitution? What amendments would he approve? Is he determined to sleep on, or will he rouse and be active?"

Madison replied,

"I took Colonel Mason in my way and had an evening's conversation with him . . . on the article of convention for revising our form of government, he was sound and ripe and I think would not decline participation in such a work."

Shortly afterward, Mason was part of a panel that negotiated a Potomac navigation agreement between Virginia and Maryland, which served as a sign that cooperation between states could be achieved and that Mason was ready to come out of retirement.
Mason was also a key player in drafting the Constitution, although he refused to sign it.

When the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was called, Mason agreed to go to Philadelphia as one of Virginia's delegates. He arrived on May 17, typically the last of his delegation to arrive, and lost no time in complaining. He had been in town less than two weeks when he wrote to his son that he had begun "to grow heartily tired of the etiquette and nonsense so fashionable in this city."

Yet for once Mason was impressed by his peers, writing that "America has certainly, upon this occasion, drawn forth her first characters." He was also impressed by the seriousness of the business at hand, noting that "the eyes of the United States are turned upon this assembly, . . . may God grant that we may be able to gratify them, by establishing a wise and just government."
Throughout the convention, Mason consistently spoke out in favor of the rights of individuals and the states as opposed to the federal government. He spoke out strongly against a 10- mile-square Federal district that ironically came to be located just a few miles from his home. Concerning the proposed District of Columbia, Mason said:

"This ten miles square may set at defiance the laws of the surrounding states and may . . . become the sanctuary of the blackest crimes! Here the federal courts are to sit . . . what sort of jury shall we have within the ten miles square? The immediate creatures of government!"

Mason also spoke out in favor of popular elections, unrestricted admission of new western states, and in favor of a three-part executive. As the summer wore on, compromises were reached on most major issues, but a growing Federalist consensus began to emerge. What finally turned Mason against the proceedings were decisions reached on a bill of rights and on slavery.
Although a lifelong slaveholder, Mason abhorred the institution, feeling that "every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant." He favored abolition as soon as it was economically feasible and wished to halt all future importation of slaves. However, a hasty compromise was worked out permitting the slave trade to continue for another 20 years.

This compromise upset Mason, and he wrote bitterly to Jefferson of
"the precipitate, and not to say indecent, manner in which the business was conducted, during the last week of the Convention, after the patrons of this new plan found they had a decided majority in their favor; which was attained by a compromise between the Eastern and the two Southern states to permit the latter to continue the importation of slaves for twenty odd years; a more favorite object with them than the liberty and happiness of the people."

For Mason, the last straw came on September 12,1787, when his proposal to include a bill of rights in the new Constitution was defeated 10 states to none. Not even Mason's offer to write an immediate version himself was enough to sway the delegates who were impatient to wrap up matters and go home. The convention also voted down Mason's proposal to hold a second convention, and Mason declared he could not support the final version. "Colonel Mason left Philadelphia in an exceeding ill humor indeed," Madison wrote to Jefferson, and Mason was not present when the other delegates signed on September 17.
Instead, Mason was one of the leaders in the fight against ratification of the new Constitution. He composed a three-page list of objections, and, after dutifully forwarding a copy to George Washington, published them in the Pennsylvania Packet on October 4. This publication served as a counter to the Federalist Papers that were written during the ratification fight.

Foremost among Mason's objections was that "there is no Declaration of Rights, and the laws of the general government being paramount to the laws and constitution of the several states, the Declaration of Rights in the separate states are no security." There were several other objections raised as well, but it was the lack of a bill of rights that was seized as a rallying point for the AntiFederalists.

Nine of the 13 states were needed for ratification, and the fight was a heated one in many states. One of the casualties was the friendship of Mason and Washington, as the latter bitterly referred to Mason as his "quondam friend." When the Virginia ratification convention began in June 1788, the AntiFederalist contingent was led by Mason and Patrick Henry. Among the supporters of the Constitution in the Virginia delegation were such luminaries as Madison, George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, John Tyler, Benjamin Harrison, and John Marshall, as well as Washington and Jefferson, who did not attend but were known supporters. After much emotional debate, Virginia ratified the Constitution by an 89-79 vote, four days after New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify.

After this defeat, Mason retired to Gunston Hall for the final time. He turned down a seat in the U.S. Senate, preferring as usual to offer advice from home. James Madison introduced a bill of rights that was essentially based on Mason's to the first session of Congress. Mason commented that "I have received much satisfaction from amendments to the federal Constitution that have lately passed . . . with two or three further amendments . . . I could cheerfully put my hand and heart to the new government."
Mason continued to offer advice to any who would stop by for it. Thomas Jefferson complimented him by saying, "whenever I pass your road I shall do myself the honor of turning into it." Jefferson visited Mason in late September of 1792, and found the Sage of Gunston Hall reconciled with himself on every issue except the slavery compromise. A week later, Mason died peacefully-to the end a man who hated politics but loved liberty.
What an incredible man Mason was, and very concerned with preserving our natural rights. Lord knows we could use men like him today. Men of principles, not politics.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Power to the people? Another Democrat lie

Democrats love to tell us that they are on the side of the working man, and they they are the party of the common folk. It is the Left who always shouts "power to the people!" If all of that rhetoric is accurate then explain why the Democrats are trying to shove a health care bill on us when 56% of the people oppose it.

Fifty-six percent (56%) now oppose President Obama and the Democrats health care reform bills. Thirty-eight percent approve of the legislation. This is the lowest support Rasmussen has recorded for Obamacare. Half of the polling was completed after the Senate vote. The support for health care reform was lower in that sample.
Just 38% of voters now favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s the lowest level of support measured for the plan in nearly two dozen tracking polls conducted since June.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% now oppose the plan.

Half the survey was conducted before the Senate voted late Saturday to begin debate on its version of the legislation. Support for the plan was slightly lower in the half of the survey conducted after the Senate vote.

Lower and lower all the time. In fact the more the people know, the less they like it! So, the next time a Democrat tells you that they are fighting for you...........

Cross posted at The DaleyGator

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What can Congress do?

We now know that the Senate will soon vote on a national health care plan. The House has passed their bill, the Senate will begin debate on their bill after the Thanksgiving break.

The most crucial focus of this debate should be simple. Is it constitutional? Yes, it is important to debate the impact on our economy, and our taxes, and on private insurance options. Will it lead to rationing? Will it deny care based on bureaucratic decision makers? Will it increase costs, waiting times, quality of care, etc. I would argue that this bill is disastrous on all of those fronts.

The main thing, though, is that we ought to demand that the Senate examine the constitutionality of such a bill BEFORE anything else. The Founders wrote our Constitution to set barriers that would prevent government from growing too large, and becoming a master of the people, rather than their servant.

I would argue that we are, as a nation, in deep peril because that founding set of rules, the Constitution, is being largely ignored by the Congress. They have forgotten it is there apparently. Certainly, if we are to endure as a nation that honors and protects the liberties our Founders knew we were endowed with, then we must insist that Congress obeys the Constitution. Without the Constitution, we are without hope. If the boundaries our Founders set for governmental power are not respected and followed then each of our liberties will, sooner or later, be sacrificed upon the altar of Statism.

So, what powers does the Constitution grant to Congress? Here is Article I Section 8 of our Constitution.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Now, I am sure that Reid and his ilk would tell us that the "general welfare" would include this health care bill. But, what would the Father of the Constitution say? Here are some words from James Madison, whom I dare say knows more about the Constitution than Reid.
With respect to the words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.
Section 8 of our Constitution lists the various powers of Congress, you may read them at the link, and no, Senator Reid, there is no grounds for the action you are seeking to force upon our nation.

Our Founders were very careful to constrain, through the Constitution, the powers of government, they knew how quickly government would, if left unchecked, devour our natural rights. George Washington spoke of the danger of uncontrolled centralized power

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.
Washington also made clear where the power should lie.
The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.
Thus it is our scared duty to ensure that Congress obeys the Constituition. If we fail, then our country will fail. Congress though, as well as our president, seems to have forgotten Washington's words. They have embarked on a course to secure all the power in their hands rather than in ours. They have forgotten where the source of our liberty lies. Consider Ben Franklin's words.
Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature
Hmmm, no mention of Congress, or the president there at all is there? Franklin was indeed a wise man. He not only knew the source of liberty, but the dangers of forgetting that source. Jefferson also was a wise man, he understood what could happen should government be unleashed from its constitutional restraints..
We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
When we consider the multitude of new taxes and bureaucracies in the health care bill, we best heed Jefferson's warnings. And we must force our government to heed them as well. Liberty and governmetal power are in a constant struggle, let us resolve to ensure liberty prevails.

Cross-posted at The DaleyGator

Friday, November 20, 2009

More taxes, more government intrusion, less liberty

While looking for a quote today, I ran across these words from Thomas Paine, and immediately thought of all the new taxes contained in the Senate health care bill. All those new, punitive, confiscatory taxes.

Taxes on businesses, taxes on individuals, taxes on health care plans, taxes, and more taxes, all in the name of helping us. Those words from Paine are very telling when we consider the current course the Liberals are on.

Beware the greedy hand of government, thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry.

As I have often said, it is the government that is greedy, not Americans who want lower taxes. It is not greedy to want to keep the fruits of our labors. That is simply the very just desire to exercise one of our natural rights. Our government, which generally seems to demand more and more of OUR money, more and more of the fruits of our labors, never is sated by tax increases is it? No, it wants more, and more. The Senate health care bill is no different, except in its audacity. Rather than taking many small bites out of our wallets and liberties, this bill shows that the great beast is ravenous, and intends to take massive bites. Bites, that we, as a nation, cannot sustain and yet remain free.

The founding quote of the day

George Washington would not be a fan of Sarah Brady and the other anti-gun nuts.

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence. The church, the plow, the prairie wagon, and citizen's firearms are indelibly related. From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable. Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place with all that's good. When firearms go, all goes; we need them every hour.

I need add nothing to his words my friends.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The founding quote of the day

John Hancock may be best known for his signature on our Declaration of Independence, which he made so prominent to assure that it could be seen by King George.

There, I guess King George will be able to read that.

That statement is a great example of the fire and determination the Founders posessed. They risked everything they had to change the course of history. In doing so, they formed a nation that honored liberty. Now, it is our turn. Will we ensure that Pelosi, Obama, Reid and the rest, be able to read OUR signature on American history?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The founding quote of the day

Consider the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin. If there is one thing sorely lacking in out politicians today, it is wisdom. We all understand that freedom of speech, and of thought are on the hit list of the Left. Franklin, understood that liberty needs freedom of thought and of speech, if it is to endure. The Left today, understands that to implement their Marxist- Utopian standards, they must first crush these precious liberties. As you read this quote, understand that the warning Franklin gave us must be heeded.
Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.
Friends, the left is working to cease thinking and to silence speech they disagree with. They desire ignorant, silent subjects, not liberty-loving Americans. Those who think, become wise, and will never embrace the evil ends of Marxist ideology. Nor will they be silent, or will they submit, or sacrifice their liberties. This is why the Left so desperately wishes to crush our dissent. What is at stake is our liberty, the liberty the Lord blessed us with. To reject that liberty, or to seek to deprive us of it are evil ends, and must never be tolerated!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

High taxes hurt economic opportunity

One of the key differences between Liberals and Conservatives is their tax policies. Liberals will tell you that higher taxes are necessary to help people, and will tell you also that higher taxes only ask the "richest" Americans to pay their "fair share".

Conservatives will tell you that those higher taxes hurt all Americans because they can discourage the richest Americans from investing, starting new businesses, hiring people, giving raises, etc.

So, who is right? Well, let us take a look at something Thomas Jefferson said.
A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement.
Now, it would seem that Jefferson, were he here today, would side with the Conservatives. Less regulation certainly is a Conservative ideal, and you could safely surmise that Jefferson would also agree that lower taxes would be part of leaving Americans free to regulate their own pursuits.

So, let us take Jefferson's words, and the Liberal and Conservative approaches and apply them to a story I found at Hot Air.
You don’t have to be a boxing fan to understand the uppercut that high state taxes gave to an opportunity for a big sports event in New York and New Jersey. Newsday reports on the decision by promoter Bob Arum to pursue a highly-sought bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in Jerry Jones’ new football stadium in Texas instead of Yankee Stadium or the Meadowlands. What KO’d the East Coast? High state taxes:

It appears the Tax Man is about to do to Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. what Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto could not.

Namely, knock both of them out.

Out of New York, that is. And New Jersey, too. …

But last night, Arum dropped the hammer on the fight taking place anywhere east of the Mississippi River.

“No chance,” Arum said. “Nothing would please me more than to have it at Yankee Stadium, but the way the tax structure in New York is set up, it’s impossible.”
The answer is, no state taxes in Texas and a ton of them in New York and New Jersey. According to Arum, the fighters could lose more than $12 million in taxes if the fight takes place in New York and slightly less if it winds up in the Meadowlands.
Arum said that between New York State and city taxes and a tax levied on nonresident independent contractors performing in New York, the fighters - and the promoter - would lose 15 percent of all revenue generated by the bout.
"It's just not economically feasible to do events like that in New York,'' Arum said. "It's ridiculous, really.''

So, the high taxes in the Tri-State area caused the fight, which will have a big economic impact wherever it is held, to move to a location with LOWER TAXES? Hmmm, higher taxes drive a major sporting event from one state to one that is far less punitive financially to those putting it on? I think we can all do the math here can't we? And who gets hurt? Yes, those rich folks like Arum, but also everyone working in the local area hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. Not too mention the loss in sales tax revenue for the cities surrounding this event. Everyone loses with higher taxes, everyone!

Looks like Jefferson was right.

Why does Obama keep bowing?

Hmmm, maybe this explains it?

Your founding quote of the day

Comes to us from Alexander Hamilton. This quote ought to be read to Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and every other senator and representative that voted for the Pelosi health care bill despite the clear wishes of their constituents. This bill, is unconstitutional, there is no place in that document that authorizes Congress to force Americans to buy health insurance. When Pelosi was asked about jailing Americans who refuse to buy insurance, she said it was fair. Earlier, someone asked Pelosi where, in the Constitution, she found the authority to force Americans to purchase insurance. She replied "ridiculous" and refused to answer. The first question, about any legisation ought to be is is constitutional!

No legislative act contrary to the Constitution can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy (agent) is greater than his principal; that the servant is above the master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people; that men, acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. It is not to be supposed that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their will to that of their constituents. A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by judges as fundamental law. If there should happen to be a irreconcilable variance between the two, the Constitution is to be preferred to the statute.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In the Midst of Our Present Turmoil...

What Would Benjamin Franklin Do?

It seems as though modern Conservatives and Republicans are having a difficult time trying to find the limits and scope of our 'big tent.' 'Groping in the dark to find political truth' is nothing new.

In 1887, during the Constitutional Convention, the delegates were having similar disagreements. After several weeks of futile efforts, all hope of progress dimmed. Benjamin Franklin rose to address the Convention and its President, George Washington.
Mr. President:

The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance and continual reasonings with each other-- our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes as ayes is, methinks, a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the human understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom since we have been running about in search of it...

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we sere sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?

I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-- that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writing, that "except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel: we shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and byword down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move-- that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.
Franklin was one of the least religious of the Founders, but, nonetheless, this was his recommendation in the midst of turmoil.

What Would James Madison say to today's tax and spend Democrats?

Ah, the "common good" we hear those words, or at least words to that effect from the Democrats in Congress and the Senate. We hear it from our Democratic president too. We also hear a lot about "spreading the wealth". The Democrats claim that it is their duty to use tax dollars to help certain Americans. Of course those tax dollars are not found growing on a Magic Money Tree. No, they come out of every working American's paycheck.

So, how would one of our Founders feel about the government "redistributing our wealth" to make things more fair? Well, we could easily read a quote from James Madison, who is the Father of the Constitution. In other words, if there was one single historical authority to turn to, it would be him no?

OK, so did Madison ever mention Congress spending OUR money? Well yes, look at this nugget.
I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.
How about the man who penned the Declaration of Independence? Thomas Jefferson? How did he feel about taxes, and national debt?
We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debt, as that we must be taxed in our meat and in our drink, in our necessaries and our comforts, in our labors and our amusements, for our calling and our creeds...[we will] have no time to think, no means of calling our miss-managers to account but be glad to obtain subsistence by hiring ourselves to rivet their chains on the necks of our fellow-sufferers... And this is the tendency of all human governments. A departure from principle in one instance becomes a precedent for[ another]... till the bulk of society is reduced to be mere automatons of misery... And the fore-horse of this frightful team is public debt. Taxation follows that, and in its train wretchedness and oppression.
Finally, consdider this quote from Benjamin Franklin. When Democrats begin their talk of spending the tax dollars they demand we pay to help us. Remember that a key element of liberty is being allowed to keep the money we earn. Remember that higher taxes, more government spending and regulation intrude on our abilities to enjoy the fruits of liberty. Remember, this quote when Nancy Pelosi starts telling us all that it is FAIR that Americans who choose not to have health insurance should be fined and even jailed!
Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.
That is the essence of American liberty, and our Constitution! We are not free because Nancy Pelosi, or any politician allows us to be. Freedom is not theirs to give, limit, or to take or regultate! Liberty is the natural state of mankind. The magic of our Founders, and of our Constitution is that they recognized that we are designed, created, with liberties that no man, no government may take away. Our Consitution does not grant any rights or liberties. It protects them. It protects them from the Nancy Pelosi's of this country. Never forget that!

Cross-posted at The DaleyGator