Friday, April 27, 2012

“Necessity, the tyrant's plea” - John Milton

America was born as a refuge from tyranny: Pilgrims traveled here to escape religious tyranny; protesters challenged the tyranny of the British Parliament at the Boston Tea Party; the Declaration of Independence was a poetic derision of the tyranny of King George of Great Britain over the states. It declared that God had endowed every person with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our National Anthem proclaims we are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and our Constitution was crafted to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" Abraham Lincoln stated in the Gettysburg address: "..that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Freedom from tyranny is not just a serendipitous consequence of our form of government, but it is the very foundation on which our nation stands. Understanding Freedom and  tyranny is paramount to understanding who we are as Americans. It is this reason I am writing this ..It is this reason I am sounding the alarm.

Our liberties are under siege in America: not from some foreign dictator, nor from terrorists, but from within the halls of power in Washington, D.C. The very persons we have selected to represent and lead us have ushered in a brand new form of tyranny which is not limited to one political party or group; it is permeates every level of government in both major parties. 

The Republican Party, over the last several decades, has often challenged the over-reach of the Democratic Party in producing excessive regulation and taxes on citizens under the pretext of helping them. Democrats often support laws that regulate what we eat, where we live, what cars we drive, how we obtain credit, how we educate our children, and what sources of energy we use. Democrats have created laws that diminish personal responsibility and have replaced them with government welfare programs that trap citizens in poverty and balloon the national debt. Many in the Democratic Party believe that average Americans are too inept to care for themselves, their families, their environment, their finances or their communities without the assistance of the government.

The lines between Democrats and Republicans have blurred somewhat, in recent years, as more Republicans join with Democrats in supporting Federal programs to help people, but generally, the Republican Party stands in opposition to many of the over-reaching Democratic policy proposals that interfere with the free-market or personal responsibility. This does not mean that tyranny is the exclusive province of the Democratic Party, to the contrary, the Democrat's form of tyranny may be more obvious to those who want the Federal Government out of our personal affairs, but it is the tyranny in the Republican Party that is more akin to the type practiced by King George of Great Britain ...that is because the tyranny in the Republican Party works to remove government 'of the people, by the people, for the people.

GOP leadership is comprised mostly of highly educated lawyers who have spent their entire adult life working in government. About half of GOP members of Congress are classified as millionaires while only 9% in the general population. Leaders of the Republican Party include:

  • Reince Priebus, Chairman of the RNC: Has worked his entire career in politics. Holds a Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law.
  • Mitch McConnell, GOP Senate Minority Leader: The longest serving U.S. Senator in Kentucky history and has spent his entire working life in government; holds a law degree from the University of Kentucky Law School. 
  • Eric Cantor, GOP House Majority Leader: Holds degrees from George Washington University, Columbia University and holds a Doctorate in Law from William & Mary.  Has worked in Politics since 1982.
  • Christine Todd Whitman, Co-Chair of the Republican Leadership Council: Holds a degree in Government from Wheaton College. Worked on Nelson Rockefeller's presidential campaign. Was the Governor of New Jersey and EPA administrator for George W. Bush and has spent her entire career in government.
  • John Danforth, Co-Chair of the Republican Leadership Council: Holds degrees from Princeton and Yale (doctorate of law).  Served as Missouri's attorney general in 1968, was elected Senator in 1976 and retired from the Senate in 1995. Was an envoy to Sudan and representative to the U.N.
This list is just a small sampling of the types of individuals who pull-the-strings inside the Republican Party.  The resumes of these people do not resemble that of ordinary Americans. These are not the types of people our founders envisioned would be our leaders. Our founders envisioned a citizen's legislature that was in tune with the lifestyles and wishes of those they represented. I don't see that I have much in common with any of the individuals on this list. I doubt I am alone.

I am not suggesting that being highly educated or wealthy isn't laudable, but I am suggesting that leaders who listen to lawyers, pundits and wealthy elites instead of ordinary Americans that make up their constituencies break the bonds of trust in our government. The distrust that has built up over the years between the citizens and the government in America is now at an all-time high. Approval ratings for those in congress is in single-digits. Who are these people? Why and how do they keep getting elected?

The answer is.. the Republican Party doesn't trust you to govern. They believe that the ordinary citizen is not educated enough or wise enough to make the best decision about who should lead this country. They set up party rules that make it very difficult for an ordinary citizen to rise up within the party without the consent of the leadership. They believe that only a small group of very well-educated elite (that have spent their  entire careers in government) are best suited to make decisions about which candidates will succeed and which will fail. It is not an accident that nearly every GOP nominee for the President has been correctly predicted at the beginning of the contest by political pundits. It is also why over 80% of incumbents win re-election. There are lots of rules and huge sums of money spent to keep the machine running in Washington, D.C. They do allow citizens to vote in elections, but they also do a really good job of duping average Americans into perpetuating the status-quo through fear-tactics, false advertising and by discouraging participation in the process. They'd really rather you just stay out of their way.

The tyranny of the GOP is the most dangerous form of tyranny. If ordinary citizens are no longer directing this country, then we no longer have government "of the people, by the people or for the people".. we no longer have representative government. 

The two-party system in America is dangerous. Both parties have grown too large and too powerful. The voice of the common man is being silenced. It is time for the citizens of this country to actually start doing the job that was given to them by our founders..

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed                                     The Declaration of Independence

Blindly choosing candidates based on party affiliation, slick advertising, or name-recognition needs to stop. We have more resources than ever to learn about those who seek elected office in this country. It is time to turn off the television, quit listening to mainstream media who have a vested interest in maintaining the current Washington, D.C. power structure, and get to work learning about and choosing those who would lead us. If we don't resume this responsibility now, we may not have the opportunity to do it later.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Trouble is Brewing for the GOP

Paladino (left) with Newt Gingrich in Buffalo, NY
The rumblings of discontent are getting louder among conservatives. Former New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino made waves yesterday by criticizing the GOP establishment saying, “Are you still mad as hell? You’re fed up and you’re not going to take it anymore?”  His words were met with loud cheers as he introduced Newt Gingrich in Buffalo, NY.  Paladino also had particularly pointed criticisms for Mitt Romney in an interview with MSNBC's Martin Bashir. Paladino sharply criticized Romney's decision to forego campaign appearances in New York and claimed his collusion with conservative media was tantamount to 'buying the election.' Mr. Paladino knows something that the establishment is not telling us: the conservative base of the GOP is furious with the GOP establishment. The media has ignored Newt Gingrich since Santorum's exit from the race, but Newt's ardent supporters continue to fight on. The Adelson's have recently contributed an additional $5 million dollars to Newt's Super-PAC, and yesterday Hans Reigle, Chairman of the Kent County Republican (and former Romney backer) switched his support to Newt Gingrich. The odds may be long, but Newt doesn't appear interested in backing down in his fight against the GOP establishment and their 'presumptive' nominee; cries from those supporting Newt are growing louder each day: "Run, Newt, Run!"

The ground-game for the Gingrich campaign in Delaware is showing signs of life as grassroots supporters from around the nation descend on the state to spread the word to Delaware voters that Newt is still in this race, contrary to reports in the mainstream media.  Call centers have sprung up and donations are pouring in to Newt's website

Newt Speaks at the 2012 New York Annual Dinner

The GOP establishment had assumed (wrongly) that once Romney had secured enough delegates to block the other contenders from reaching the 1144 threshold, that the others would concede and fall in line behind the front-runner, because this is precisely what has happened in nearly every election cycle in the past  50 years (Reagan-Ford in 1976 being the only exception). What makes this race different? It is a combination of increased voter awareness of the corrupt collusion by the RNC with mainstream media, the lack of authenticity of Mitt Romney, and the belief that electing Romney will deal a deadly blow to the influence of the conservative base of the GOP. Many conservatives are simply unwilling to participate in the destruction of the conservative movement by getting behind a man they believe will continue the big-government policies of the old GOP guard or will lose to Obama in November.

The GOP establishment's ignoring of reservations about Romney poses a real problem for Republican chances in November. The people being alienated by the elite are the very people they will need in November to get-out-the-vote to beat President Obama. Most of the work being done at the grassroots level in the GOP is spearheaded by those who resent Romney and the GOP party bosses most. Pretending these people don't exist will backfire for the GOP. Not only will the race for the Presidency be affected, but  GOP chances in House and Senate races may also suffer if these conservative party members choose not to campaign for the GOP. It is time for the establishment to recognize they may not have made the wisest choice in coronating Romney early-on. The GOP party elite may be presiding over the dismantling of their party.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What happened to the Tea Party?

Well, it is nearly tax day; tea-partiers are gathering in every corner of our nation to rally against big government, high taxes and run-away national debt. The days of tea-party dominance in conservative TV news coverage are long gone. It appears the Republican party establishment may have successfully squashed the tea-party faithful in a quest to coronate a waffling Massachusetts-moderate as the GOP challenger to Barack Obama in November. But, wait this the case? ...or is the media simply ignoring a brewing storm?

Mitt Romney is leading in the polls in his bid to become the next GOP nominee in the 2012 presidential race. It is no mystery how Romney has been able to garner so many endorsements and votes over the past five months: the amount of spending on behalf of Romney by his super-PACs and Romney's campaign is unprecedented, his favor with the GOP party leadership and conservative media outlets is long established, and he's been actively campaigning for the job since 2007. But how does all of this bear on his chances in November? There are troubling indicators; yet, close analysis of Romney's potential against Obama seems to be lacking. Is the conservative news media simply being lazy?...or are they content that Romney's political machine and big-money donors are sufficient to overcome his deficits? The fact that nearly every other contender in the GOP nomination battle has been operating on shoe-string budgets resulted in fewer negative attack-ads against Mitt Romney, but the distrust of Romney by a large number of voters in the conservative GOP party base is not a secret. The base is not happy with this choice. Tea party members are scratching their heads: How did we end up with the least fiscally conservative candidate? ..or did we? ..can we stop him? ...what are our options?

Mitt Romney has had a number of missteps on his path to the GOP nomination. He's made statements indicating he doesn't "care about poor people," that "corporations are people," and that he "likes firing people." Most of his misstatements are taken out of context, of course, but that isn't particularly relevant. The Democrats will use any statement to skewer their opponent. For Democrats it is not about informing voters, it is all about winning the fight, by any means necessary. This ad (above) produced by the Democratic National Committee has been played over 400,000 times since November of 2011. Democrats are painting a picture of Romney in the minds of voters that he is out-of-touch, untruthful and will say anything to be elected. The images here are chilling. Romney is not a particularly likable candidate. Why does the RNC believe they can win with this man?

Meanwhile, grassroots tea-party organizations are in disarray. The tea party has always been a disorganized collection of multiple groups of individuals pushing for restrained government spending and responsible fiscal policies in government. Early on, it was suggested that the power of the movement lied in the fact that they were not a typical political party, that they were just concerned citizens speaking out. Many in Republican party leadership were quick to embrace the tea-party movement. But, has the whole thing fallen apart? Is this lack of organization precisely why the choice of GOP nominee by tea-party members has been so divided? it why they are being ignored by conservative media and those in leadership in Washington, D.C.? Did the GOP establishment work to keep tea-party activists out of the political process? 

A storm is on the horizon. An increasing number of conservative voters who call themselves tea-party-members, are disgusted at the process on display in the GOP nomination battle. Voices of average citizens seem to be drowned out by pundits and journalists who appear to be directing the outcome in this race as they ignore contenders and promote Mitt Romney as the inevitable GOP nominee. This did not begin only recently, but has been going on since the earliest contests. Romney has been declared the winner by pundits and GOP party operatives in many primary battles and caucuses long before any votes were cast. Tea-partiers watch this play out daily on cable news, as they sit helplessly, wondering: how did this happen? they not want my vote?

What is even more disturbing to tea-party faithful are the negative characterizations of political figures who appeal to tea-party members and glowing endorsements of Mitt Romney to the exclusion of all other GOP contenders that are becoming routine among those in the GOP establishment:
  • Carl Rove has routinely criticized Palin, Perry, Cain and other tea-party favorites
  • Britt Hume has lashed out at Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum during the GOP nomination battle
  • Charles Krauthammer has criticized Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell, and Jim DeMint
  • Programs like Fox News' The Five and Fox and Friends appear to show favoritism to Romney
  • Ann Coulter has been openly campaigning for Romney since the process started
  • Dick Morris has endorsed Mitt Romney

Distrust is the process is very real. The line drawn between the ordinary folks and those pulling the strings in Washington, D.C. and conservative media has never been more stark. The GOP establishment has not only dismissed the concerns about Mitt Romney by the tea-party, but they are now completely ignoring them. They feel this nomination battle has ended, even though Romney has not reached the 1144 delegate threshold needed to secure the nomination. The tea-party is scrambling .. how will they proceed?

There is no mathematical path to the GOP nomination for any candidate other than Romney prior to the convention in Tampa in August, but Romney does not have the 1144 delegates sealed up at this point, so there is a way to stop his nomination before the convention and bring the vote to the convention floor. The only way that will happen is if the tea-party along with other conservatives unite to stop Romney. 

Tea-party members are feeling disaffected; they do not feel they've played a role in this process. They see our deficits soaring above $15 trillion and anxiety is growing. How can we send a big-government establishment type to D.C. in this environment? We can't survive economically without swift and dramatic action to cut government spending.. so why are we choosing a candidate who authored the blue-print for the most expensive and intrusive entitlement program to date: Obama-care?       

The time is short, but the consequences of our choice are enormous. Will the tea-party rally and change the course in the GOP nomination battle?  .. we'll soon find out.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Emperor is naked...

When Obama came out earlier this week to caution our Supreme Court about potentially striking down Obama-care, he made several misstatements that got the attention of the mainstream media.  I must admit, I have been stunned at the questionable statements coming from this president repeatedly since his inauguration in January of '09, but this time, I wasn't particularly shocked. I have come to the conclusion that the  characterization of Obama as a brilliant Harvard law professor and Constitutional scholar is a fabrication. Obama is an invented president.  

When Barack Obama burst onto the scene as one of the speakers at the July 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston Massachusetts, it was clear he was a rising star in the Democratic Party. He was relatively unknown until this speech, but he and his groomers were already beginning the process of crafting Obama into a presidential contender.  He spent the next several years getting noticed by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and other high profile media types who started the work of spreading the word: there is a new fresh face in the Democratic party - Obama will bring back Democratic party rule in DC.

But then, something different happened, something I had not seen happen in previous elections: This outsider, who was relatively unknown, seemed to be untouchable during his rise to power.  There were few stories in the media about his past. What were his grades in school?  Where are his writings, speeches prior to entering public life? What about his work with SEIU?  What was his relationship to those working in the infamous Chicago political machine? The press seemed so enthralled with Obama charisma and speaking abilities, they never even asked the most basic questions.  Thomas Sowell penned an article about Obama's Supreme Court comments, where he stated, "the media that exposed Nixon is covering for Obama"  It seems the mainstream media is so mesmerized by this president, they don't see that he is really just a naked Emperor and has no idea what he is doing.

Thomas Sowell also suggested in his article that President Obama was lying when he stated "I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress," because any respectable constitutional law professor must know that ruling on the constitutionality of legislation is precisely the role of the judiciary in our government, and Sowell may be right, but I am not convinced. Could it be that Barack Obama really doesn't know any better? Could he actually believe that the executive branch and that of the congress are not co-equal with the judicial branch? It would be stunning for any president to be so ignorant of our system of checks-and-balances, but there have been so many instances where Obama has shown utter disregard for the Constitution and our system of government, the question has to be asked .. Does Obama really understand how this system of government operates?.. or is he merely pretending?

Additionally, Obama has done many other things during his presidency that have shown he has little respect for his office or the people of this country: Why would a president weigh in on controversial stories such as the arrest of Henry Louis Gates and the Trayon Martin  shooting before hearing about any of the details of those cases? Why would a president appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and make thoughtless remarks about the Special Olympics?  Why would a president chastise Rush Limbaugh for statements made on his radio show about Sandra Fluke while simultaneously ignoring equally offensive comments coming from others in his own party?  Barack Obama has turned the office of the presidency into one big reality TV show. 

Barack Obama has been perpetually campaigning for office since he first broke onto the scene.  He had not really governed in any meaningful way prior to his ascendancy to the presidency, and his fumbling in office on decisions foreign and domestic shows that he has not effectively governed since arriving in Washington, DC. His constant attacks on the Republicans in congress make any sort of legislative compromise virtually impossible. Our government has been operating without a budget since Obama took office because the Senate democrats refuse to bring House budget bills to the floor for a vote. Obama's laughable budgets have been rejected by 100% of members of both parties in both houses. The number one crisis in our country is soaring government debt, yet Obama continues to spend money unchecked, with no budget, and attacks anyone who suggests we must reduce the size of government. Obama is in over his head. Obama is dangerous.

The mainstream media is unlikely to point out the obvious about this president. They will continue to heap praise on Obama as a likable guy who is doing the best he can to lead this country. And, Obama will continue to come out and make ridiculous contradictory statements that are wholly untrue. This is  evidenced by the recent reaction to Obama's Supreme Court statements .. the press is covering for Obama, saying he 'didn't really mean that.'

Unless the mainstream media snaps out of their coma and starts doing their job, expect more of the Barack Obama reality TV series to continue.. at least through November. Newsflash to the mainstream media: The Emperor is naked, and we are not laughing.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Will we rise up?

As I spend time this morning reading and watching the latest punditry regarding the 2012 race for the GOP nomination, it really is amazing how the entire race has seemingly been orchestrated and preordained by political operatives with deep pockets and deep ties to Washington, DC power. I doubt the Founding Fathers could have even imagined how our system of selecting our leaders has devolved into this messy corrupted system where political power and money seem to trump ideas and solutions. Champions of conservative governance are routinely dismissed by the elites in power. All of the GOP contenders in the 2012 race have used the right rhetoric to appeal to conservative voters, but the mainstream media has done a lousy job of parsing those words and comparing the rhetoric to voting records and actual performance in office. The endless supply of attack ads and incessant yapping by talking-heads in this election cycle have steered the behavior of voters in a way that is wholly undemocratic.  What a shame that so few vote in this country, and that a minority of those who actually vote know the positions of the candidates who they support. And, with so many conflicting messages and stories floating around, it is no wonder voters are disillusioned with the process. Turnout has been low during this 2012 GOP nomination battle .. that can't be because folks are happy with Obama's performance as president, so it must be because they are feeling disenfranchised by the whole system. I am one of those. The process has been hijacked...will we rise up to reclaim it?

The government in America was established on the principle that power in government is derived from the consent of the governed. That the people in this country hold the power.. that individuals are sovereign. We have the duty to select leaders to represent us who will remember where their power comes from. We have the duty to vote for candidates that represent our values and views, who will design, draft, pass, and sign legislation that is acceptable to us, who will uphold the principles of this nation as laid out in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution, who are not beholden to Washington, DC power-brokers, but are beholden to the people of this country.  Can we honestly say that this is the reality in America? Is our system of choosing leaders even remotely similar to that which was designed for us by our Founders?  I am not seeing it.

The only solution to the problem is for average Americans to rise up and take back government in this country. The halls of power in Washington, DC are filled with millionaire politicians who have spent their entire adult life feeding at the trough of government money and power. Our system of politics is designed to keep incumbents in office while thwarting the advances of those who would challenge the status quo. Occasionally a new champion will break through and be elected, but, in short order, such champions are  corrupted by the process and back down from their positions.. or worse, they begin to participate in the corrupt practices they once railed against. There are exceptions, of course, but rarely enough of those to effectively change Washington, DC.

My choice to support Newt Gingrich has been primarily because he is the only political figure in my lifetime  who has ever gone into Washington, DC and has actually made transformational change. He wrestled control of the process away from bureaucrats and career politicians and with little help or encouragement from the political establishment, cut government spending, reformed an entitlement program and ushered in a period of great economic growth in this country and all of this while battling Democratic party opposition and a Democratic president. Newt's opponents are now using his time working in and around Washington, DC against him, but Newt was never consumed by Washington, DC. Newt fought against the establishment in both parties when he worked there. Newt is the exception to the rule. He has spent most of his career in and around politics, but he has also spent his entire career as a warrior fighting the ruling elite in this country. I can think of no candidate better qualified to address the biggest crisis in American government today: the lack of representative government in Washington, DC.