Friday, December 31, 2010

Limiting Regulatory Overreach

Curtis Coleman
Curtis Coleman, Contributing Author: Over the past several decades, the U.S. Congress has become increasing derelict in its responsibility to create the nation’s laws, abdicating its legislative responsibility to executive-branch agencies where unelected bureaucrats have and are creating laws by regulation, circumventing the Constitutional mandate for elected representatives of the people to create laws by legislation. No single phrase more succinctly captured this perilous capitulation of responsibility than Nancy Pelosi’s infamous “we have to pass it to see what’s in it.”

Not only must this Congressional dereliction be stopped, it has created a critical need for increased Congressional oversight of the bureaucracies to which its irresponsibility has given birth. As The New York Times recently reported, “Federal rule makers, long the neglected stepchildren of Washington bureaucrats, suddenly find themselves at the center of power as they scramble to work out details of hundreds of sweeping financial and health care regulations that will ultimately affect most Americans.”

Here are three bills which have been or will be introduced in the U.S. Senate (and correspondingly in the House) which can augment an important and effective first set of tools for overseeing and limiting the regulatory overreach of the federal government’s proliferating agencies and burgeoning bureaucracies.

On June 22, 2009 Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) along with 17 co-sponsors introduced the Enumerated Powers Act (S. 1319). This bill will require that each Act of Congress contain a concise explanation of the specific constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress.

On September 22, 2010 Senator Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina), chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, was joined by 12 other Senators to introduce the REINS (Regulations from the Executive In Need of Scrutiny) Act.  According to a news release from Sen. DeMint’s office, “This legislation is intended to restore accountability to the process by which federal agencies finalize major regulations by requiring congressional approval for major regulatory actions.” Congressman Geoff Davis (R-Kentucky) has already introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House, (H.R. 3765).

The REINS Act would require that every new major rule proposed by federal agencies be approved via joint resolution passed by both bodies in Congress and signed by the President before they can take effect. A “major rule” is any rule that the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) finds may result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices for consumers; or significant adverse effects on the economy.

Over the weekend of December 24th, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) told The Hill that he will be introducing the 10th Amendment Regulatory Reform Act , which mirrors a bill (H.R. 4946) previously introduced by Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) in the House.

“Wicker’s legislation is designed in response to the new healthcare legislation and the federal regulations that are tied with it,” reported The Hill. “Wicker said the new [healthcare] bill would create 159 ‘boards, commissions, bureaus, programs and offices of the federal government which could be reviewed and challenged on an expedited basis with this legislation.’

“With the legislation, state officials could challenge the constitutionality of proposed regulations and that agency would then have 15 days to certify that they are not violating the 10th Amendment. It would also speed up the court process on regulations challenged by states.”

These three bills represent critical “must pass” legislation on the road to the restoration of the federal government to principles of the Constitution. They also constitute compelling opportunities for American patriots to be proactive instead of reactive, to be for positive change instead of only against destructive attacks on the fabric of the Republic.
Curtis Coleman is the President of The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy and contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: 10th Amendment Regulatory Reform Act, Enumerated Powers Act, REINS Act, Constitutional Crisis, Curtis Coleman, Institute for Constitutional Policy To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

Merry Christmas!

Tags: 2010, Christmas, Merry Christmas To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Conservative's Christmas Wish

America, You Asked For It!: When President Obama began shredding the US Constitution and tearing down United States of America, conservative citizens rose up and battled hard for two years. An awakening on our side like I had never seen in my lifetime. In November, it appeared our fight to stop Herr Obama and his Czar-loaded administration's
march toward a United Socialist States of America had been stopped. Democrats staggered and stammered in recoil as the election results rolled in and casted many of their members out. Republicans, who had run campaigns on conservative platforms toppled their Democrat rivals from coast-to-coast, from the Rio Grande to the Canadian border. Conservatives, weary of a nonviolent political war that had not seen a cessation of hostilities for two full years, stepped down and drew a breath.

But, in the 50 or so days since that supposed conservative victory, many of the Republicans have chosen to join hands with their Democrat colleagues and help them close the year with big liberal legislative victories. With a conservative tsunami sweeping America, Democrats have practically turned unemployment benefits into a permanent entitlement program, sacrificed our military readiness and effectiveness by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed services, and ratified a treaty that limits us from deploying missile defense systems vital to our national security. All of these liberal victories came so RINOs could demonstrate their willingness to compromise with their liberal loser colleagues.

President Obama, ambient with arrogance, proclaimed this lame duck session the, "most productive post-election period in decades. And it comes on the heels of the most productive two years that we’ve had in generations." Only weeks after suffering historic losses in a mid-term election, Obama and Democrats have rebounded in the face of the conservative tidal wave to pass the most controversial of their liberal agenda with practically no Republican resistance. Instead of fighting to represent the conservative constituents who delivered their victories, too many Republicans have helped Democrats push forward in the name of compromise. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer described the situation perfectly when he said Republicans are "clearing his [Obama's] path and sprinkling it with rose petals."

Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006, not because they were acting conservative, but because they were not! They had control from 1994 to 2006, and during that time government grew at an astounding pace, our Constitution was ripped in a bipartisan "compromise" called campaign finance reform, and illegal immigration exploded while a Republican compromise did nothing to stem the tide. Republicans lost control in 2006 because they were NOT pushing a conservative agenda! And it appears too many have already started down that path again.

Democrats lost control of the US House and suffered big losses in the US Senate because they pushed a far left agenda too far in the past two years. In less than two years, Democrats forced on the American people (against their will in most cases):

  • A government takeover of numerous banks,
  • A government takeover of the domestic auto industry,
  • A government takeover of the health care industry
  • A government takeover of the student loan industry.
  • Government spending increases that increased our national debt by 40%,
  • A monetary policy that has resulted in massive price increases on almost everything while the government reports little or no inflation,

just to name a few of the liberal agenda pills we have been forced to swallow though the masses made clear they were opposed to the march toward Socialism. The historic election made it impossible to claim the American electorate supports Obama's agenda. But now some Republicans are bending over backwards to show they can be good sports and let the liberal jackass party share the political spoils. WHY?!?!?

As a committed Conservative, my Christmas wish is for newly elected Republican Congressmen and Senators to link up with true conservatives like Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Sen. Jim Demint (R-SC), respectively, when they take their place on Capitol Hill next month. My wish is for these newly elected employees of the people stand firm on the conservative principles that won them their seats. My wish is for these new members of our legislative body to buck their RINO colleagues and refuse to appease liberals in compromises that fly-in-the-face of the conservative voters who elected them. My wish is for them to realize doing nothing is better than doing something wrong.

In sum, my wish is for our newly elected members in the US House and Senate to remember who put them in office and VOTE CONSERVATIVE!
John Allison is a high school math teacher, conservative activist, and blogs at America, You Asked for It!

Tags: Christmas, Election 2010, Lame Duck, Congress, Republican, RINO, Democrat, Socialism, Conservatives, Conservatism, Liberal Agenda, Obama, Krauthammer, Bachmann, Demint, Compromise, Appeasement

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

A veteran's view on gays in military

America, You Asked for It! This weekend may sound the death knell for the ban on gays serving openly in the US military. And if that death song is sung, it will be a detriment to the finest fighting force in the world.

Polling now shows a majority of Americans think it's time to repeal the ban, but less than 10% of American citizens have ever served in the US armed forces. I served four years in the United States Marine Corps, in a unit that heralded itself as the "tip of the spear," meaning we were the first to go in when Marines from our division were called. In two overseas deployments, our vehicles were always staged and ready to hit the beach when called. In my conversations with those who served before me, those who served with me, and those who served after me, I've come to know my views are not anomalous in the combat arms of the US military.

I'm not denying anyone, veteran or not, their right to an opinion on this matter, but I think the opinions of those of us who have served and are serving where the bullets fly and the blood splatters should carry a lot more weight than some protester on a corner at a college campus.

Those who want to repeal the ban often scream that an irrational fear or hatred of gays is the only reason anyone is against homosexuals serving openly. While I'm sure some of that exists, there are many other arguments to uphold the ban that any truly objective person can understand.

Let's start with living quarters. Most people have never been in a position where they were forced to sleep or shower with someone they didn't even know...unless they served in the military. In Marine Corps boot camp, everyone in a platoon showers together without stalls or privacy of any kind. The bathroom is one large room with toilets and urinals lining the walls, no stalls or privacy there. When I went through, Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) wasn't even policy. Homosexuals were banned from serving period. When we showered, it never crossed our minds that someone might be sexually stimulated because homosexuals were banned from serving.

In the field, we were assigned to sleep in the same tent with another Marine. We didn't get to choose who we slept with, but we didn't have to worry about the guy next to us being gay and coming on to us. On Navy ships, we slept inches apart in a room with 40 men. We dressed and changed without privacy, but we never had to worry about attracting the sexual attention of another man because gays were banned from serving. Our quarters on the airfield in Mogadishu, Somalia consisted of a plywood, one-room building. Forty men slept shoulder-to-shoulder on the floor.

For all of you who think because you have a gay person who works in your office and things work fine, you don't live, sleep, and shower with them. So, if you would feel the least bit uncomfortable working with that person under the above described conditions, you're a complete hypocrite if you still think gays in the military are a good idea.

The second big argument I'll make deals with families. The military has become much more of a family friendly organization over the past couple of decades, but it's still a job that comes with frequent long deployments. Time away is already hard enough on wives and children left at home, but at least they don't have to worry about the guy daddy's with being gay. Imagine the added stress this would put on a wife at home, wondering if her husband is relieving his sexual frustration with his gay foxhole-mate. Stress at home destroys morale for deployed servicemen, and morale is essential when serving in combat zones.

The last case I'll discuss involves the mission. It's understood that serving in a combat zone is an extremely dangerous situation ALL the time. Those who've never been there don't understand what that really means. It means you have to be on your toes all the time, you have to be focused and attuned to what's going on around you always. Danger lurks everywhere and letting down your guard for an instant can get you and your buddies killed. Any distractions are dangerous. But we've never had to worry about sexual attraction creating that distraction on the battlefield because gays can't serve openly in the military. If two guys are getting it on instead of getting the job done, things are going to get really bad really quickly.

I can hear it already, supporters of repeal screaming that just because someone's gay doesn't mean they're going to be coming on to everything around them. It doesn't mean that people who aren't gay will suddenly fall to the lure of sex with their gay buddy. Maybe not, but are you willing to bet our national security on it? Are you willing to bet the lives of servicemen who will die because of that distraction that you don't think will materialize?

Though President Obama has managed to get political a Secretary of Defense and a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to support repeal of DADT, top generals in both the Army and Marines both oppose repeal. These branches bear the brunt of combat operations and their leaders understand the risks better than Washington bureaucrats, and generals who worry more over their own political futures than the welfare of their troops.

"My suspicions are that the law will be repealed" eventually, Marine Corps Commandant James Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee. "All I'm asking is the opportunity to do that at a time and choosing when my Marines are not singularly tightly focused on what they're doing in a very deadly environment."

Today "Taps" will likely sound for the ban on gays serving openly in the military. And if it does, the finest fighting force in the world--the combat arms units of the US military--will irreparably suffer. But our politicians, including some Republicans, are more concerned with their own reelection prospects than the lives of those brave young men who serve in the combat arms.

May the blood of every young warrior who dies because of this policy shift forever torment the politically correct legislators and low-life, politically motivated military officers who blind themselves to the realities of the battlefield and support this bill.
John Allison is a high school math teacher, conservative activist, and blogs at America, You Asked for It!

Tags: Combat Arms, Don't Ask Don't Tell, DADT, Military, Gays, Combat, Marine Corps, Army, USMC, Democrat, Republican, War on Terror

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reviewing The Tea Party Movement

by Bill Smith / Ozark Guru: As we end 2010, conservatives have seen in the last two years an awakening within the general population with respect to the dangers of Big Government. In part, this awakening can be to the many groups, organizations, national figures, and the conservative new media. However, this article and the below research will address only the Tea Party movement.

As a conservative activist, I was involved long before there was a Tea Party.  I wish to thank those who nudge me along. As a retired military officer and university professor, at 60, I had planned to retire (slow down) except for writing/ blogging, speaking, fishing, golfing and enjoying home and family. I never expected that by 61, I would be more active than when I worked two or more jobs. By 2008, I was coordinating team efforts supporting 23 US Congressional candidates.  After my preferred candidates for the GOP presidential nomination withdrew or were defeated, I supported Sarah Palin and that "other guy" for president. By the end of the 2008 elections, I was physically exhausted. But as disappointed as I was with the election outcomes, I was encouraged and motivated by the number of young conservatives I met during the year.

William Clark, friend and adviser of Ronald Reagan, related how Reagan gathered his close supporters together after the election of President Jimmy Carter and said something to the effect that Americans can not abide socialism for very long. While he was proven right, Reagan had three years to build a coalition before launching his Presidential campaign.

In 2009, after Democrats took total control of Congress and the White House, a few conservative activists recognized that the American reaction would be more visceral and could be mobilized to respond to the Democrats pushing through their progressive agenda. When approached by these young activists wishing to build on "rant" by Rick Santelli on February 19, 2008, I realized that they were on to something. But, I questioned whether large numbers would rally. History has proved that I had no reason to be concerned. Then later, when large numbers responded and joined local Tea Party groups, I was concerned that the conservative movement would not be able to educate them on the political processes or ways to remain active which could lead to the Tea Parties deteriorating or being viewed as a tentative and short lived - thus ignored or suppressed by those in power.

Even with harassment by the Department of Homeland Security - negative warnings - of conservatives, including Tea Party members and the followers of three presidential candidates, I did not need to be concerned. As with any meaningful effort, Providence provided numerous people, including national personalities, who became nation-wide  teachers on the issues, threats to freedom and the processes. Existing conservative research and issue groups increased their communication and brought into their organizations many young conservative new media activists to expand their message outreach. Organizations like Americans for Prosperity and American Majority came along side local groups including the Tea Party groups to provided training, information and opportunities for involvement. In the end, leadership for the grassroots Tea Party was nurtured everyday grassroots Americans who adapted and learned as they organized.

A young man approached me about his holding a TEA Party in the Ozark Mountains. On April 15, 2007, Richard Caster, age 17, held the first meeting of the Ozark Tea Party which went on to have as many as 3000 people attend their events. Caster can be identified as one of the "early adopters" discussed later. As an aside, two years later in the 2010 elections, Caster was elected as the youngest Arkansas County Justice of the Peace (County board member) in Arkansas.

The above is just one of literally thousands of stores of people who for varied reasons got involved mostly via the Internet in holding their first Tea Party.   So, who were these people, what was their experience in politics, and why did they get involved? Then who joined the Tea Party after they were launched ; what were their interests and why did they join?

Sam Adams Alliance has completed research on Tea Party members. The below will present a summary of their findings in two categories: The Early Adopters and The Next Wave. All statistics below are taken from their reports which are available at their website. Sam Adams Alliance was the first to explore through in-depth research and survey data, the motivations, priorities and points of view of Tea party leaders.

The Early Adopters - Reading the Tea Leaves revealed that Tea party activists were a diverse group trying - often for the first time - to change the political landscape by holding elected officials more accountable.

The Early Adopters report reveals that:
  • A large number of Tea Party leaders are politically involved for the first time. 47% of activists surveyed said that they were "uninvolved" or "rarely involved" in politics before their participation in Tea Party groups.
  • When asked which issues were "very important" to them, 92% said "budget," 85% said "economy," and 80% said "defense."
  • No respondents listed social issues as an "important direction" for the movement.
  • 86% oppose the formation of a third party.
  • 90% cited "to stand up for my beliefs" when characterizing their initial reason for involvement.
  • 62% identified as Republicans, 28% as Independents, 10% as "Tea Party"

The Next Wave - A Surf Report gauges the activists who entered the Tea Parties after May 2009 and how they are shaping the momentum and impact of the Tea Party movement.

The Next Wave report reveals that:
  • Tea Party momentum is building: 74.5% of Next Wavers said the movement is "gaining active supporters" and 66% indicated that the movement is "more enthusiastic."
  • There was a nearly 30-point drop among Tea Party activists in their affiliation with the Republican brand.
  • There is a decrease in Republican sources of entrants to the Tea Parties and an increase in independents: 20% of Next Wavers were independents prior to the Tea Parties (compared with 12.6% of Early Adopters that were independents) and 74% of Next Wavers were Republicans prior, compared to 81% of Early Adopters.
  • The longer a Tea Party activist is in the movement, the more likely they are to be optimistic about the political landscape
  • Of those who were inspired by an individual to join the Tea Party movement, 63.6% -the largest number- cited a friend as being instrumental in their involvement." Only 37.5 percent of Early Adopters were recruited by friends. Rather, media personalities brought the highest number into the movement.
  • 89.3% of Tea Party activists have been active in introducing new people into the movement.
  • Both Early Adopters and Next Wave activists were new to politics; 40.5% of Early Adopters and 43.6% of Next Wave activists said they were uninvolved/rarely involved with politics prior to their Tea Party involvement.
Sam Adams Alliance has indicated they will perform future research into exploring the interactions between establishment political players and the Tea Party newcomers, as well as an investigation into understanding why those who share the same values as the Tea Party have not embraced the movement.

Looking back at the November 2010 election, even the biased media noted the reaction by the American voters. Setting aside liberal strongholds, in less than two years, voters voted to remove from office or to rejected the elections of new candidates who were liberals / democrats. As a result, major shifts occurred in the US congress and in State and local governments. Tea Parties activists put both voice and feet to the citizen dissatisfaction and were willing to get out and motivate others to vote conservative. Tea Party members and other did not wait four (4) years for a leader like Ronald Reagan to lead them to victory; instead they acted.

We can only imagine at this point in time the impact that Tea Party members will have in holding the new Congress accountable. And come 2011, if a responsible, honorable, conservative candidate with good communication skills runs for President, the America voters will have the opportunity to sweep liberals from the control of State governments and the US Congress and the White House. From a dream on Jan, 2009 to a real possibility on Jan 2011; let's make it a fact on Jan 2013! Remain faithful, be involved and remember that being a conservative is not for the faint of heart.
Dr. Bill Smith is a retired Air Force officer and former director of the $2.2 Billion European F-16 Co-production Program. He is a retired professor and is the editor of the ARRA News Service, Blogs For Borders and Conservative Voices. He is a conservative political activist, writes for several other sites and can be followed on Twitter (@arra).

Tags: Tea Party, research, research, Sam Adams Alliance, Bill Smith, Ozark Guru To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Even After November, Dems Don't Seem To Understand

By John Allison: Evidently, the slap in the face Democrats experienced in the November elections was not enough to wake them up to the fact that Americans are sick and tired of their flagrant waste of our tax dollars. Worse than last week's House bill that would freeze spending at fiscal 2010's already catastrophic levels, the Senate bill is packed full of earmarks and seeks to spend an extra $16 billion dollars Uncle Sam doesn't have!
The omnibus spending bill is likely to get the most attention, spanning 1,924 pages and spending an average of $575.13 million per page.

High-rolling Harry Reid, the Democrat Senate Majority Leader, even made sure his bill was bloated with $8 billion in earmarks that had been gutted from the House bill. The free-spending Reid is even threatening to keep the Senate in session through the customary break if Republicans continue to honor voters' wishes and stall the wasteful legislation.

Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell stated Democrats have yet to even show the bill to members of his party who would rather see a short term bill that will keep the government operating until the new Congress can be seated in January.

Though President Obama is suddenly making efforts to come across as a reach-across-the-aisle, bipartisan type of guy, his henchman Reid continues the behind-closed-doors, Democrat only crafting of legislation to be rushed out and voted on in the wee hours when few are watching. Just as his heavy in the House, Nancy Pelosi, last week derailed the supposed compromise he forged with Republicans on the soon-to-expire Bush tax rates, Reid is running interference for his party boss Obama. These shenanigans are likely designed to allow the President to claim he is working for compromise with his opposition, while his lackey congressional leaders give him cover with his liberal base.

Perhaps the saddest thing of all though is that at least four Republicans are considering voting with the jackass party to spend another $1.1 trillion of your hard-earned money. Bob Bennett (R-UT), Kit Bond (R-MO), George Voinovich (R-OH), and Susan Collins (R-ME) have all indicated they just might vote for the massive waste of taxpayer dollars.

Last month's elections made clear the will of the American people and too many in DC failed to get the message. With our national debt fast approaching $14 trillion, everyday Americans have been demanding spending cuts from our elected officials in the nation's capitol. But they're still not listening!

So, as you celebrate Christmas this year (probably less festively than in times past because you have no choice but to tighten your belt), know that Democrats in Washington (along with a few RINOs) are working hard to squander as many of your wages as they can before your newly elected representatives take their seats.

Don't ever forget how they take us all for mindless fools. 2012 is just around the corner!
John Allison is a high school math teacher, conservative activist, and blogs at America, You Asked for It!

Tags: Budget, Election 2010, Waste, Spending, Debt, Tax Cuts, Harry Reid, US Senate, Omnibus, Mitch McConnell, Obama, Bipartisanship To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, December 13, 2010

ACLU Wages War on Christmas

H/T Moonbattery for Photo
By Chris Slavens: It’s that “most wonderful time of the year” again. Children eagerly await a visit from jolly Santa Claus, while their parents try to squeeze shopping into a schedule already filled with parties, parades, church programs, and visiting relatives. Grandmothers bake dozens of gingerbread and sugar cookies, while rascally uncles down too much eggnog. Affluent northerners travel to Florida to escape cold weather, while everyone else yearns for a white Christmas.

And the ACLU—that staunch defender of American traditions and values—threatens to sue public schools for acknowledging what all the excitement is about.

Each Christmas season is marked by a series of spirit-dampening stories of towns forced to disassemble nativity scenes, retail stores intimidated into requiring employees to use generic greetings like “Happy Holidays,” and similar Scroogish travesties. This year, one such story comes from Tennessee, where the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to 137 public school administrators, supposedly in response to complaints from families, reminding them not to focus on any one religious holiday.

In other words, don’t call Christmas parties “Christmas parties.” Call them winter celebrations, holiday galas, solstice shindigs, or any other creative misnomer that obfuscates their true purpose and creates a comfortable non-reality for the handful of unfortunate students whose malcontent parents are offended by the celebration of a holiday that is jointly religious and secular in nature.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 92% of Americans celebrate Christmas, while a mere 6% do not. Of that 6%, only 25% celebrate an alternative holiday. That’s a whopping total of 1.5% of Americans who celebrate a December holiday instead of Christmas. And, apparently, most of them live in Tennessee; how else could that state’s chapter of the ACLU have received so many complaints?

Defending the letter, Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the ACLU of Tennessee, cites U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and hints that acknowledging Christmas could be considered an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

She is alluding, of course, to the oft-misinterpreted establishment clause of the First Amendment, which prohibits Congress from establishing a state religion. It obviously applies to a third-grade teacher planning a classroom Christmas party for the last day before break—or so those on the far left argue, rather unconvincingly.

Could it be that Weinberg is one of the 6% of Americans who do not celebrate Christmas, and is using the ACLU’s legal muscle and financial assets to push a personal agenda? Such Grinch-like behavior would certainly be unprofessional, if not unethical. If there was a Santa, Weinberg would be on the naughty list for sure.

The ACLU expects public schools to stage a pointless charade of pretending that the concerts, parties, and vacations common to this time of year are not specifically scheduled around December 25. This is an unreasonable expectation which deserves no serious consideration.

The correct course of action for public school administrators to take is to ignore the ACLU, which is not a government entity and does not represent the views of a majority of parents. It would be wrong to alter school policy simply to avoid the hassle of a lawsuit; this would be yielding to what is called the “heckler’s veto,” by which an antagonistic group goads the government into restricting another group’s First Amendment rights. In this case, the hecklers are the ACLU and the instigators it claims to represent.

Lawsuits are expensive, true, and no administrator wants to be on the receiving end of one, but what is the cost of a lawsuit compared to the cost of an eroded culture and disunited society, purposely divided by secularist troublemakers who value political correctness over common sense?

Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He writes from Delaware.

Tags: ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union, Christmas, Tennessee, public school, Hedy Weinberg, First Amendment, establishment clause To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Modern De Facto Slavery Of America

Photo by Current View
Related Article: Socialism is Slavery
By Patrick L Booth, Contributing Author: Slavery is properly defined as: The state of one bound in servitude - as the property of a slaveholder or household or a mode of production in which slaves constitute the principal work force. In the simplest terms, slaves have no right whatsoever to claim the fruits of their own labors. Slaves work for someone else who gives them whatever they have, to eat, to wear, to use, to live in, etc. and who keep the profits derived from their labor.

Upon hearing the word slavery, many people, perhaps most, associate it with USA history; the US Civil War and black chattel slavery of those imported into the USA from the 16th through 18th centuries. To many it conjures mental images of black field hands laboring in the South, picking cotton, wearing rags, a bandanna wrapped around their head and white slave owners cracking the whip over the heads and backs of their slaves.

However, ancient history is not the subject of this article. Though illegal in just about every country in the world, chattel slavery most certainly still exists in the world, fortunately no longer here, but there are other forms equally as vile. Making something illegal doesn't make it disappear. Herein I discuss the history and modern meanings of slavery in our time and how it affects us all.

"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." --Thomas Jefferson

If even the source of ones livelihood might be forcibly taken, whether legally or not, is that not a loss of liberty and an enforced form of slavery? Confiscated by due process of law, perhaps, but taken nonetheless. We just don't call it slavery because most everyone has agreed upon this form of governmental subjugation. If you actually think you own your house, etc. then stop paying the taxes assessed upon it and see how long it takes before someone else more willing to pay taxes takes possession of it.

How many farms and homes were lost to governments for non-payment of property taxes? It used to be a common theme for Saturday serial matinees but no more. Now we just get the government (or actual tax payers) to pay for it or lower interest rates through Fannie or Freddie or some other entity.

We invented the use of taxes in various forms for our mutual advantage to fund education and various other governmental services such as law enforcement. Although governments can now forcibly take properties to give to other entities that might pay higher taxes and enhance the revenues available to politicians, true liberty would require each recipient to pay specifically and only for the exact services each entity received or the expenses of their prosecution and incarceration as required.

Our modern "Entitlements" based form of social security and welfare arose because people feared the loss of even their most basic necessities to high taxes, low wages, and the inability of the so-called common man to put aside enough wealth to care for themselves in their old age. Roosevelt called Social Security the Old Folks retirement security fund. Now it is just a part of the vast entitlement and welfare system that affects virtually every facet of life in America. Entitlements exceed 60% of all the monies spent by the Federal Government and our national debt is several times our gross national product every year. Factually, Social Security hasn't taken in as much as it has spent in several years nor has there ever been an actual savings account. The monies derived from SS were simply spent each year by greedy politicians to buy votes from the weak minded and ignorant voters who simply did not know where their monies were going.

There is also the bondage of debt even though much of it is self imposed, for individuals and for nations. Borrowing monies that can never be totally repaid or that must be repaid at usurious interest rates ties individual, even national, effort to the enrichment of others at the expense of relinquishing the fruits of ones' own labors. That is a large reason China is growing precipitously and we are on the decline. They own most of our national debt and we pay them huge sums in the form of interest on that debt.

Of course, our pols cry "We are only indebted to ourselves!" but it isn't true. When the Federal Banking system has to borrow enormous amounts of money each year, they "sell" bonds to back-up that debt and those bonds derive interest. Nor is there the slightest chance we will ever get out of debt so long as we "spend" far more than we take in.

That fact is the principal one the Progressive Socialists who call themselves Democrats want to substantially increase income taxes on everyone in the US. Of course, they say they only want to increase taxes on the "rich" since they have more and should bear a greater amount of the burden imposed on all of us by dishonest socialist politicians. But the top levels of income in the US (those above 1 million annual income - 1 in 6 of our population) already happen to be bearing far more than 1/2 of all the monies taken through income taxes.

What the Austrian school of Economics (and most people not socialist Dems) wants is for the numbers of higher income people to be increased as rapidly as possible so more monies will be generally available. Since lower income people (those who receive the various forms of welfare) pay no income taxes anyway (or vary low percentages), it is easy for the dishonest Dems to say they only want to keep those poor "middleclass" incomes from having to pay higher taxes. The greatest fight is about how to grow those higher income populations.

Today, many people live fragile existences in a struggle for financial survival and their American Dream can be ended by missing just a few paychecks. The carrot at the end of the stick formerly known as "the American dream" has been replaced by a whip best described as our American nightmare. You no longer work just to achieve a better life for yourselves and your children. You work to keep a roof over your head and pray that you don't lose it because of oppressive taxation or bad policies being enforced from Washington. Most Americans are oblivious to the extent of taxation only seeing it happening each April 15. They aren't told by politicians or the media that besides income tax, they are taxed for just about every action they take and item that they buy. Go over a bridge, pay a toll (tax); pay your utility bills, pay surcharges (taxes); buy a product, pay sales tax; buy a vehicle or fuel for a vehicle, pay federal and state taxes. And those taxes are invariably controlled by politicians supporting their favored programs.

Americans willingly become de facto slaves when fear replaces free incentives such as motivations to work for themselves. Our leftist media regurgitates liberal-left talking points generally disguised as news stories about the wealthy living it up while common men and women struggle to feed themselves and their children. The idea is older than Marxism. Create dissatisfaction to the point that people will seek out populist politicians who promise much whether or not they can deliver anything (a chicken in every pot.) Then the Pols ask for even more power for themselves and their puppet masters to cure the very problems they create.

The latest promise of a heaven on earth is Obama's "Hope and Change" medical care plan. Though it is dressed up with flowery language and high-sounding platitudes, it is nothing more than a grand power grab of life-and-death decision-making. A friend asked me rhetorically: Why would Americans turn over their health and welfare - their very lives - to a bunch of crooked politicians who spend most of their time covering up, lying, cajoling and cheating, all in the name of power? How would you answer that?

Why indeed, are Americans so anxious to turn over life-and-death decisions to governments already proven incapable of managing even the smallest of programs? Could it be they prefer enslavement? Is it so much easier than self determination? Is Socialism really preferable to the free market system that once made us the envy of the world, the richest, freest nation in history? May God forbid it.

Although it was once commonly held that slavery was rare among primitive pastoral peoples and that it appeared in full form only with the development of an agricultural economy, there are numerous historical instances that contradict this belief. Domestic slavery and sometimes concubine slavery appeared among nomadic Arabs (who still practice it), among Native Americans who were primarily devoted to hunting, and among the seafaring Vikings to "serve" their farms in their stead. Some ascribe the beginnings of slavery to war and consequent subjection of one group by another.

Slavery as a result of debt, however, is evidenced in very early times with some peoples having had the custom of putting up wives and children as hostages for an obligation; if the obligation was unfulfilled, the hostages became permanent slaves. The Jewish nation arose from just such a servile existence. But the American experiment was to combat that idea and the ideals of individualism and American exceptionalism arose.

In 1863, the first Republican Party President, Abraham Lincoln, signed the historic Emancipation Proclamation, a document which changed the course of history for an entire group of people, an entire nation and an entire culture. It was intended to end the horrors of slavery by making ownership of human beings by other human beings, illegal. It has become a world famous document widely quoted and studied.

Unfortunately, a great many American citizens do not recognize the current revival of slavery as it is a bit more refined and less obvious enslavement. More and more Americans are willing to give up certain freedoms in return for uncertain promises of government largesse not realizing government can only give them what it takes from others. Most of these citizens don't even realize what they're doing or losing because the news and education media refuse to perform their role as purveyors of truth and accuracy. Our schools are culpable by re-educating our youth teaching them Socialistic values are the highest goals instead of the Christian values that grew our country.

Enslavement is not coming with a bang, but expands with a slow, relentless monotony. Each day, each week, each month, each year brings us closer to that state of de facto slavery as a result of our greed thinly disguised as "civil rights" and entitlements. Ask most Americans and they will tell you that food, clothing, shelter and other necessities are "rights," not just necessities but rights to which they are entitled and that must be provided by an omnipotent government.

Even when actually warranted, government charity most often morphs into government nightmares. For example, President Lyndon Baines Johnson's "Great Society" poured billions of taxpayer dollars into programs that have done more damage to the American family than any other public handout. The government pays women who bare children a monthly allowance based on the number of children in the household. The program and its underwriters failed to understand that the way the program's requirements were structured, millions of men no longer required for familial support were freed to leave home and in fact decided that the need for marriage was trumped by their need - or desire - for "free" money.

Then, rather than retreat from such obvious government mal-run social programs, succeeding presidential administrations and numerous lawmakers willingly continue to embrace spending programs that at best do not solve the problems they were created to solve. At worst they create additional societal problems. But they do buy votes from their new slaves so those lawmakers can remain in office. The current Free Healthcare Program of Obama and the Democrats is a classic example. Allow the Feds to say who gets what medical attention and how much is to be paid for it and intelligent Doctors will quickly realize they are better off not becoming Doctors or going into other professions.

All socialism is a form of enslavement and its practitioners and advocates need to be removed from positions of power and authority as quickly as possible.
PL Booth is an aviator, biker, lover of the Constitution, citizen activist and blogs in the Missouri Ozark Mountains at the Blue Eye View.

Tags: PL Booth, Blue Eye, socialism, enslavement, modern slavery, slavery, America, entitlements, free healthcare, obamacare, national debt, excessive taxation, Democrats, RINOs, Obama administration, wealth redistribution To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Grandma Got Molested at the Airport

Hilarious parody of the classic "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" drawing on the absolute insanity going on with the TSA in airports across the country.

Enjoy! [Video]
John Allison writes at America, You Asked for It!

Tags: TSA, Humor, Parody, Civil Rights, Conservative Voices To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Stop with the Class or Results Envy

Editorial by Leanne Hoagland-Smith: Today I have had it! No really have had it with class envy, class warfare, wealth envy or what I really believe is results envy. Who cares what someone makes or does not make? It isn't any of my business as long as their behaviors are legal according to the law. If they gain results through illegal means then there exists a process for that to be reconciled.

The recent talk about the extension of the Bush tax cuts which have been around for 10 years and truly are no longer cuts has my head spinning. What I cannot believe is how many people believe they deserve the efforts of others regardless of how they spin it.

Sure there are people who amass great amount of wealth compared to others who have not. For the most part, they saw opportunities where others did not see them. They took risks while others were sitting on the sidelines waiting for a moment of luck or confirmation that all would be great!

Over 2,000 years ago a Roman Senator by the name of Seneca said: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Why should I care if they pass that wealth onto whomever they delegate? Their wealth has been taxed at least once if not twice. And more importantly why should the government take even more of what they had already taxed? This does not make sense expect for those who continue to fuel the fires of wealth redistribution so that we are no longer a society where meritocracy is valued. Just look to the removal of valedictorian, salutatorian or even dodge ball if you disagree.

Today over in my Facebook page I shared a comment by Vince Lombardi who said: "If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?"

His comment is a fair and accurate assessment of the human desire to win. Yet one person complained about the multi-million dollar paychecks. Possibly in some cases they are not deserved because they violated the law. If they did and were not prosecuted, then that is the fault of the voters who elected them. However in many cases, these folks worked hard, saved their hard earned dollars, made risks, possibly lost those dollars, worked even harder, took more risks and eventually got ahead of the game so to speak.

Life is full of greatness provided you see and are willing to work to achieve it. When anyone starts to focus on what others have done and then expect those who worked or benefited from the past results of others such as in inherited wealth, then this devalues the human condition.

For those who are of Jewish or Christian beliefs, when we envy the results of others we are violating the ninth and tenth commandments of coveting. It is not our place to covet what is not ours. If you want something that bad, then go out and work for it. Do not expect the government to take from those who have worked and give to you because you choose not to work or work as hard as necessary to get what you want.

Maybe the problem is a simple confusion between needs and wants. Even many who are poor in the US live far better than my grandparents lived back in the 1920's to mid 1960's where they still had an outhouse, washed and bathed in saved rain water and cooked on a wood burning stove. My grandmother believed she still had the best life. However by today's standards of not having a cell phone, not having a color plasma TV, not having a washing machine, not having a dishwasher, not having a car (she rode a bike until she died at the age of 84), she lived in abject poverty.

When people start complaining about what others have, I am going to start telling them stop with the class envy, wealth envy and results envy. If you are not happy with what you have, then take action to make your life better through your own results and not through the redistribution of wealth by others. Life is what you make of it. You either have an attitude of abundance and opportunity or scarcity and limitations.

P.S. Life is truly not fair not ever will be given each of us are unique human beings with different genes unless of course you are twins. So get over life being unfair and start making good choices based upon your own individual efforts and not look for others to bail your butt out or provide for your needs which are really wants in disguise.

Tags: Leanne Hoagland-Smith, editorial, class envy, results envy, wealth envy, redistribution of wealth, death tax To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Abolish the Transportation Security Administration

By Chris Slavens: Democrats’ favorite strategy is to blame George W. Bush for everything from high unemployment to Hurricane Katrina, so it should come as no surprise that some on the left are attempting to pin the abuses of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on the former president, despite the fact that the Obama administration—with the exception of Hillary Clinton, who has political reasons to distance herself from her boss—is fully supportive of pat-down procedures that would, as one protesting passenger correctly noted, constitute sexual assault if performed by anyone other than government employees.

Strangely, however, a majority of liberals (at least those in the media) have chosen not to assign blame at all, and are instead diligently pretending that groping innocent citizens is the niftiest thing since solar panels, patiently reminding the unwashed masses that it’s perfectly acceptable to trade liberty for security.

The TSA was created during Bush’s presidency, two months after the tragic 9/11 attacks, but it was Democrats who insisted that airport security be handled by federal employees, rather than private firms. And, of course, the screening procedures in question were implemented a few weeks ago with the approval of a federal government controlled entirely by Democrats. Republicans have committed their fair share of screw-ups, but can’t be blamed for this one.

Unfortunately, the media has focused on a handful of bizarre mishaps (like the rupturing of a Michigan bladder cancer survivor’s urostomy bag during a pat-down), which distracts from the fact that the procedures themselves are outrageous even when performed properly. Forcing “free” individuals to expose themselves to potentially harmful radiation, or submit to full-body pat-downs which include the feeling of genitalia, is simply unacceptable. Such unreasonable actions justify civil disobedience.

Some lawmakers are listening to passengers’ concerns, like Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who introduced the American Traveler Dignity Act. It would revoke TSA screeners’ legal immunity, requiring them to obey the same sexual harassment laws that apply to the general public. Perhaps the new Republican majority in the House, which has reason to fear the withdrawal of Tea Party support if it does not govern as promised, will be more open to Paul’s proposals than past Republican majorities.

Everyone seems to have a different idea of what to do about the TSA. The left, because of its politically-motivated refusal to acknowledge any problems on Obama’s watch, pretends that there is no problem, and some of the faux conservatives on the center-right—the same who supported the unconstitutional Patriot Act several years ago—echo this view. Some argue that profiling (used successfully by the Israelis) is the way to go, which has sent liberal race-baiters into an arms-flailing tizzy. Others think that the x-ray scanners are just fine, and only the invasive pat-downs should be done away with. Or the reverse.

Regardless of the eventual outcome of the debate, an important first step must be taken before new procedures are established: The abolition of the TSA.

The agency was created nine years ago by an act of Congress, and now that it has proven itself to be incapable of providing security while respecting constitutional rights, it can be dismantled just as easily by another act of Congress. Acknowledge the mistake, issue an apology, and move forward. That is how good government works.

But it’s not how the current administration works. By continuing to subsidize security theater, and dismissing the valid complaints of concerned citizens, the Democrats in power are setting themselves up for a disaster in the next election. Did they learn nothing this year?
Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He writes from Delaware.

Tags: TSA, Transportation Security Administration, civil liberties, Ron Paul, American Traveler Dignity Act To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dems' gas tax hike would fuel Tea Party anger

Dems’ gas tax hike would fuel Tea Party anger
by Chris Slavens

The average price of a gallon of gasoline is $2.87, a number which will continue to climb as the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” scheme lowers the value of the dollar. That’s a 50% increase from only two years ago; in the weeks following the presidential election, the average price was about a dollar lower. But according to some Democrats, today’s price isn’t high enough.

Senator Thomas “Tom” Carper (D-DE) wants to raise the federal gasoline tax by twenty-five cents over a period of two years, increasing the current rate—18.4 cents per gallon—by 136% to 43.4 cents per gallon. The last time the tax went up, in 1993, it was increased by a mere 4.3 cents.

Has Carper filled up recently? Does he drive? Or are his vehicles powered by pixie dust and wishes?

The senator travels to Washington, D.C., by train regularly, so perhaps he can be forgiven for apparently forgetting that most Americans are already feeling pain at the pump, and will continue to struggle to afford fuel even without a mind-blowing 136% tax increase.

Then again, he might not be forgiven. With the exceptions of Wilmington, Dover, and a handful of overdeveloped beach towns, Delaware is a rural state. It’s not uncommon for residents to drive twenty miles to work, and in many cases “work” consists of serving summer visitors, as tourism is vital to the First State’s economy. One could almost believe that Carper is intentionally trying to anger his constituents, who will have an opportunity to reelect or fire him in less than two years.

Democrats defend the proposed increase by arguing that revenue must be generated somehow, somewhere, so why not at the tens of thousands of gas stations across the United States?

Their feeble argument reflects their thorough disconnection from the people they pretend to serve. The T-E-A in Tea Party stands for “Taxed Enough Already,” and the results of the recent election can only be interpreted as an unsubtle backlash against big government and tax-and-spend policies, yet still Democrats (and, curiously, some Republicans) insist on raising revenue to fund a predetermined budget. While working families scrounge and cut back, the government spends their hard-earned wealth freely—which is one of several reasons that the country entered a recession in the first place.

The federal government does not have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. In the real world, a household earns a certain amount, and bases its budget on that income. Why should Congress be above such a common-sense approach to handling finances?

The Democrats’ gas tax hike is not only utterly unnecessary; it will harm a vast majority of Americans, stifle the recovery and growth of businesses big and small, and possibly derail efforts to rejuvenate the economy.

Americans expect to see unfeigned efforts to cut spending, eliminate unnecessary agencies and programs, and reduce the seemingly infinite reach of the federal government, and while only an imbecile would believe that this can happen overnight, the average voter is not so naïve as to be fooled by half-hearted attempts to alter minor details of the progressive agenda, like rearranging the deck furniture on a sinking ship. Fundamental, far-reaching reform is craved, which is why a proposal to do the opposite—to raise taxes for no reason—seems more like a poorly-timed joke than a serious suggestion.

Obama said that electing Democrats would be like putting a car in “D,” to drive forward. He just neglected to mention how expensive driving would be with his party behind the wheel.

Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He writes from Delaware.

Tags: U.S. Senate, Carper, federal gas tax, Tea Party, Congress, Obama To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Constitutional Convention - Not A Good Idea!

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. - Hosea 4:6 [Covenant Wisdom]

Defending Our Constitution
Dr. Bill Smith: The following email has been making the rounds as a ruse to take America off track and to open our Constitution to a complete makeover. Having served 22 years in the military, I took an oath as a commissioned office that I stand by today: ". . . that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same." Thus, I must speak out against this populace treat to stir up emotions with the intent to destroy our Constitution.

While I "may" agree with the intent of the identified constitution amendment mentioned in the email, the real danger lies in the proposed idea of a Constitutional Convention.
First The Bogus Email:
This keeps appearing with more states signing on! We are on our way! A Constitutional Convention is on the horizon. . . . Governors of 35 states have already filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention . . . .

For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest was to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform ... in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law.

I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.

A Constitutional Convention - this is a good way to do that. It is an idea whose time has come. And, with the advent of modern communication, the process can be moved along with incredible speed. There is talk out there that the "government" doesn't care what the people think. That is irrelevant. It is incumbent on the population to address elected officials to the wrongs afflicted against the and me. Think about this . . . .

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months and 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ..."
The above email is designed to mislead people. It is meant to lead them to believe that they could call for a Constitutional Convention which would make only this one constitutional change. Then we would have this amendment to the Constitution which would keep those rascals in Congress in line and we would all be better off. The progressives, a lot of liberals, and radical groups would love readers to believe this. Why? Because it is not true and they have an agenda.

If a Constitutional Convention were legally convened, its delegates would have absolute authority without oversight by anyone outside of the convention. The delegates would create a new Constitution to replace the present Constitution. Do you believe that such a Constitution would be as well founded and as wise as the one creased by our reasoned founders? Most likely, we would cease to be a Republic. Note these words in the email, "incumbent on the population to address elected officials to the wrongs afflicted against the and me." Those words are pandering to emotions without the email explaining the ultimate outcome. It wants you to start thinking about a Constitutional Convention. There are other emails and venues promoting the same idea.

To reiterate, a Constitutional Convention would have no legal oversight and could eliminate or modify any or all of the bill of rights. They could eliminate those "nasty "NOTs" which presently limit the authority of the Federal government and establishes boundaries to their interfering with our lives. Also, new rights or restrictions on citizens could be established. While laws can and have placed restrictions on American citizens, they presently can be challenged under the present Constitution in court or repealed by Congress. The Constitution was meant to stand the test of time until the United States of America ceased to be Republic. Are we ready to surrender our Republic?

The Convention could add all kinds of new populace elements. I have heard students at a local university (and they all vote) claim that every person should be guaranteed a free college education. Also consider that there are a lot of people out there who believe that your property should be open to their use. And, on it goes.

Most likely, one major change would be changing the process of electing a president by eliminating the Electoral College. If this ever happens, it means that the major cities and a few states would solely determine who would be president. Consider that the majority of those who are on welfare and other subsidies reside in these cities and states. Thus, they would only elect a President who was supportive of more government handouts and funding their programs with other people's money. There is already a movement which advocates that state legislatures agree to join together with other states and to cast their electoral votes according to the popular vote outside their state and not according to the vote within their state. Our forefathers provided the Electoral College to give each state balanced representation in electing a president.

After a Constitutional Convention, we could even find ourselves with another form of government, maybe a Parliamentary form or a government with less checks and balances. The present concept of three branches of government (Congress, the Court System, and the Executive Branch) could all be eliminated. Our unique Constitution and our present system of government could be wiped out without recourse. We could wind up with unrestricted government and no bill of rights. An unrestricted government could be unleashed to drag us further into socialism or a dictatorship. The new Constitution could even recognize Sharia law or International law.

Ask yourself, "Why do liberals love the idea of a "constitutional convention?" Did you notice the line in the email, "I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop." This could be a line right out of the progressive's playbook. The hidden agenda of the email was not to promote the amendment but to encourage people to move toward a constitutional convention. A place where others espousing goodwill will have the opportunity to argue away the current Republic, the protection of our rights and freedoms, and the checks and balances that our forefathers gave us.

Consider the warning of Benjamin Franklin. His words were spoken at the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. "A lady asked Dr. Franklin, Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy. A republic replied the Doctor if you can keep it." [Notes by Dr. James McHenry, a Maryland’s delegates to the Convention; first published in The American Historical Review, vol. 11, 1906, p. 618.]

There exists a need for documented arguments / responses on this and other subjects relative to the Constitution. People need access to "right minded" information so that they can make sound decisions and fend off with confidence bogus ideas and communications designed to entrap citizens who are angry with the actions and behavior of their government. Threats like those identified above should be addressed in position papers by think tanks like The Heritage Foundation and The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy.

However, each of us bears a responsibility to educate ourselves. Listening to friends and discussing issues within groups may be interesting, but, it can also lead to "group think" when not grounded in truth and facts. A good starting place is for citizens to read the source documents of our founding fathers and the various debates and changes over the last 223 years since the close of the Constitutional Convention.

In 2012, we will celebrate 225 years of our present Constitution. We will also participate in the pivotal 2012 elections. Please commit now to reading the U.S. Constitution. Then, consider reading your state's constitution. Let's not chance false ideas of rewriting the U.S. Constitution. Let us hold our elected officials accountable to the Constitution that they swore to uphold.

[The Heritage Foundation has Free Pocket Constitutions.]
Dr. Bill Smith is a retired Air Force officer and former director of the $2.2 Billion European F-16 Co-production Program. He is a retired professor and is the editor of the ARRA News Service, Blogs For Borders and Conservative Voices. He is a conservative political activist, writes for several other sites and can be followed on Twitter (@arra).

Tags: Constitution, Constitutional Convention, amendments, defending, threats, email, freedoms, rights, Dr. Bill Smith To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The U.S. Constitution and Politics

by David McIntosh and Ralph Benko: The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States explicitly and strongly protects the free exercise of religion from interference by Congress and, by implication and extension, other government agencies.

The Fifth Amendment unequivocally mandates that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law. The Constitution's due process clause, as interpreted by standing decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court (and as noted by Justice Kennedy, the First Amendment principles protecting freedom of speech, belief, and religion) protects the right to marry, to bring up and protect the innocence of children, and generally to enjoy all privileges recognized by common law.

The common law, very much neglected by the law schools but very much alive as part of our operative jurisprudence, gives the force of law to traditional practices...such as the six-thousand-year-old, worldwide tradition that marriage is exclusively recognized as uniquely between a man and a woman and is not extended to commitments exchanged by lovers of the same gender.

Although it is not often noted or advocated in this manner, religious liberty, the right to life, and traditional values such as classical marriage are clearly protected from unlimited government power by the U.S. Constitution. Moreover, as demonstrated by 33 (out of 33) referenda upholding the traditional definition of marriage, these are not only explicitly constitutional, but also popular, democratic values.

Traditional values are challenged, rather than cherished, by modern cosmopolitan elites who are disproportionately influential in the public discourse, policy, and legal processes. In the trampling of explicit constitutional rights and democratic sentiments, America's status as a liberal democracy is being badly eroded. The values of a new elitist social aristocracy are being imposed over the will of the people and the clear text, and history, of the Constitution itself. Severe erosion has taken place both in liberality -- the understanding of what rights are sacrosanct even from a majority -- and democracy -- "the consent of the governed."

Classical Liberalism may be summed up succinctly and definitively in the lucid words of the Declaration of Independence:
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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Democracy -- from French démocratie, via late Latin from Greek dēmokratia, from dēmos "the people" + -kratia "power, rule" -- thus connotes popular rule. This is translated into action by the U.S. Constitution as (small-r) republicanism, the election of representatives to carry out the will of the people.

Conjoined, the phrase "liberal democracy" holds that government is legitimate insofar as it reflects the will of the people in support of their self-evident rights. The Declaration forthrightly states that the government's fundamental mission -- and therefore the foundation of its legitimacy -- is to secure such rights. The Constitution defines them, clearly and unambiguously, but its text and historical meaning are being ignored by the new political class that sees itself as a group of leaders, rather than representatives, of the people.

Traditionalists, conservatives, and populists have the opportunity to make a compelling argument on behalf of the key issues of the day by direct reference to our clearly stated constitutional rights and the democratic process. A constitutional populist analysis brings with it the highest degree of legitimacy and effectively confounds elitists, who attack those whose civic vision is founded in religiously informed values.

The arrogance of the elites is provoking a "citizens' movement." The Tea Party Patriots -- the largest, most vital, and most generally respected association of the Tea Party (with 2,800 chapters and rapidly approaching half a million members on Facebook), defines itself as a non-partisan grassroots organization of individuals united by our core values derived from the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States of America, the Bill Of Rights as explained in the Federalist Papers. *** We hold that the United States is a republic conceived by its architects as a nation whose people were granted "unalienable rights" by our Creator. Chiefly among these are the rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

The black letter, as well as the spirit, of the Bill of Rights and other constitutional guarantees, plus the historical role of government in securing such rights by iconic figures such as Washington and Jefferson, makes the case for conservative, traditional, and populist values more persuasively, legitimately, and decisively than we poor moderns can.

As a thought experiment, consider this. Every member of Congress, upon being sworn in, takes this oath: "I, Your New Congressman, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God." The president takes a similar oath.

Imagine approaching your elected Representative and asking her, or him, to sign a pledge that says, I shall not in any way support any bill or take any action prohibiting the free exercise of religion. So help me God.

Having already sworn to support the Constitution, there can be no principled opposition to reiterating support for a provision drawn literally from the First Amendment to the Constitution. This is exactly what a lawless federal judge did this summer when he struck down Proposition 8 -- the California referendum defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Turning the Constitution on its head, the judge took the law into his own hands and second-guessed the will of the majority of the people. He reasoned that the 52% of the voters who supported Prop 8 must have been animated by their private moral views. Precisely because the citizens were exercising their freedom of religion to vote on a public matter based on the tenets of their faith, the judge struck down the law. This type of reasoning is the greatest threat to religious -- and indeed all -- liberty in our country today.

A constitutional analysis which extends to our economic as well as moral rights is a very powerful one. Today we are being subjected to suppression of our constitutional liberties, often from a faction calling itself, Orwellianly enough, "liberals." For example,, possibly the most savvy and principled liberal group active today, is actively attacking the ruling of the Supreme Court in Citizens United under the rationale that "corporations are not persons" and thus not entitled to freedom of speech.

MoveOn's argument sloppily, or perhaps cunningly, overlooks the actual words of the First Amendment, which plainly says, "Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech, or of the press." The First Amendment makes no mention of "persons"! What, one wonders, is there about "Congress shall make no law" that liberals are having trouble understanding? The plenary prohibition on Congress could not be plainer.

By relying on a rigorous constitutionalist perspective, conservatives, traditionalists, and Tea Partiers make the strongest possible -- and arguably bulletproof -- case for demanding that the values, including religious values, held by the majority of Americans -- and protected by the Constitution -- be reflected in our laws, honored by the executive branch, and respected by the judiciary.

Let us begin, then, by demanding that our officials restore our First-Amendment right to religious liberty. Let us demand that they uphold our Fifth-Amendment right not to be deprived of life without due process of law and the Due Process and First and Fifth Amendments' protections of marriage as understood by our common law, and common sense, as applying uniquely to a man and a woman. And let us further demand that they uphold our right to determine the upbringing and education, thereby guarding the innocence, of our children.
David McIntosh is a former congressman from Indiana. Ralph Benko, author of The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World, was a deputy general counsel to two White House agencies under President Reagan and is an advisor to The American Principles Project. The article which first appeared in the American Thinker was submitted to the ARRA News Service editor for reprint by contributing author Ralph Benko

Tags: Constitution, politics, U.S., Framers of the Constitution, U.S. Constitution, 1st Amendment, 5th Amendment, First-Amendment,religious liberty, Fifth-Amendment, due process of law, Due Process, rights, protections of marriage, common law, common sense, David McIntosh, Ralph Benko To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!

Monday, November 8, 2010

GOP Must Return to Consistent Conservatism

By Chris Slavens

Republicans are feeling pretty good about themselves. In addition to picking up sixty-one seats in the House and gaining control of that legislative body for the first time in four years, they now control a majority of the states, and are poised to give themselves a long-term advantage by redistricting next year. The White House and Senate are still in Democrats’ hands, but the voters overwhelmingly rejected one-party rule, and Republican politicians clearly believe that the American people are on their side.

They couldn’t be more wrong. The GOP is fractured, like a fragmented vase held together by tape. It made it through the election by riding a wave of antiestablishment anger; many voters, especially independents, did not so much vote for Republicans as they voted against Democrats. Americans wanted to say “no” to liberal socialism, and did, but Republicans now have to offer the electorate something to say “yes” to. Unfortunately, they can’t seem to agree on what that something should be.

There is an ideological rift in the Republican Party, a division that could prove to be fatal if those in control refuse to release their stranglehold on power. There are the old Republicans—the establishment—who first feared the Tea Party, then attempted to infiltrate and control it, and the new Republicans, a far more ideological bunch who would rather drive their own party into the ground than see it head in the wrong direction. These conservative idealists want the best for their country, and view the GOP as a means to an end. Like a tool, the party will be used to complete a task. And, like a tool, it will be discarded if it doesn’t get the job done.

Those who think the Tea Party is a right-wing rejection of Obama’s presidency and policies would do well to remember that this antiestablishment movement—this revolution, for that’s what it is—was brewing while Bush was in office, as conservative groups like Campaign For Liberty blasted his administration’s big-government policies. Yes, the Tea Party led the charge against House Democrats in 2010, and the GOP owes its victories to a decentralized grassroots network of conservative activists, but the movement’s libertarian core will oppose Republicans just as vehemently if they squander the opportunity they have been afforded.

Republicans who stood by and said nothing as the Bush administration increased the size of the federal government, transferred power from the legislative branch to the executive, interfered in the affairs of sovereign nations, and perpetuated failed Keynesian economic policies cannot seriously believe that Americans want to return to an era of unprincipled, unconstitutional pseudo-conservatism, yet already there has been talk of replacing or improving ObamaCare rather than repealing it. Already, some speak of meeting in the middle, working across the aisle, instead of drawing a line in the sand.

Today’s right-of-center voters want something more than the compromising blend of social conservatism and fiscal liberalism that was once marketed as “compassionate conservatism.” They prefer consistent conservatism, a hypocrisy-free doctrine of less government, lower taxes, and more freedom. If the GOP does not reject the ideological inconsistencies that led to its becoming a minority party in the first place, it will find, sooner rather than later, that the Tea Party is perfectly willing to toss it overboard.

Chris Slavens is a conservative columnist. He lives in Delaware.

Tags: GOP, Republican Party, 2010 election, 2012 election, Tea Party, consistent conservatism, U.S. politics To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to Conservative Voices. Thanks!