Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Study Your History

Winston Churchill said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I believe that. I also believe this: Those who fail to learn from history do so because they never learned their history! Most citizens have no idea that today’s government doesn’t even faintly resemble the government our founders set up. Their vision was never a huge, over-reaching centralized federal government. To the contrary...

Thomas Jefferson said: “I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: that “all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states or to the people... To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition. The capital and leading object of the Constitution was to leave with the states all authorities which respected their own citizens only, and to transfer to the United States those which respected citizens of foreign or other states....Can any good be effected by taking from the states the moral rule of their citizens and subordinating it to the general [federal] authority?...Such an intention was impossible and...[would] break up the foundations of the Union.... I believe the states can best govern our home concerns, and the general [federal] government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore...never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold as at market. Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single [federal] government. Public servants at such a distance, and from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer and overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens and...will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder, and waste.”

James Madison agreed with Jefferson. In 1792, when it was proposed the federal government bailout a failing industry and prop it up with federal subsidies , he condemned the measure, saying: “Those who proposed the Constitution conceived [i.e., believed]… (and those who ratified the Constitution conceived) that this is not an indefinite [unrestricted] government…but a limited government tied down to the specified powers….It was never…supposed or suspected that the old Congress could give away the money of the states to bounties to encourage agriculture, or for any other purpose they pleased.” Madison warned that if federal government wasn’t kept limited, it would soon usurp state jurisdictions: “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the ‘general welfare’, and are the sole and supreme judges of the ‘general welfare’, [then Congress might] take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads...; in short, everything from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police would be thrown under the power of [the federal] Congress.”

Sound familiar?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inmates Running the Asylum

For a very long time, the only news the nation got came from the (mostly left-leaning) networks and newspapers. For those of us who listened and read, but shook our heads in disbelief and disagreement, that was all there was. With no other information options, we listened, read, disbelieved and disagreed, and did the best we could to separate fact from liberal fiction. Then... Ta-dah! Along came talk radio, then Fox News. At last, we were hearing the other side of the issues... the conservative side. At last, our voices were being heard, and our views were being presented, in the public square. The irony is that no one is more unhappy about that development than the people who have always pounded their chests, and patted their backs in pride, because they (allegedly) believed in everyone's right to free speech. Now that we have access to information beyond what those seeking the power to control this country, and its people, have wanted us to have, light is being shone into a lot of dark places, and the truth really is starting to set us free. And, we're seeing the writing on the (capitol) walls: "Everyone has a right to free speech... as long as that speech lines up perfectly with this government's liberal ideology."

A good example? The Tea Party movement. First, let me point out that the Tea Party is defined by MSNBC, no less, as "conservative-libertarian-leaning"... not far-right. These are hard-working, tax-paying, people with legitimate concerns about things they see destroying their lives, not to mention their country: too much spending, huge deficits, too-big government, and the amount of control this government wants to have over the people. Obama's their president, too.. yet, he and his people have expressed great disdain for some citizens simply because they believe in the 2nd Amendment and God... and that their government should answer to the people. Of course, that's when he's not ignoring them. Guess he's unaware that ignoring them is not a wise thing to do. Because, according to a Marist poll cited by the definitely-not-far-right Huffington Post, Obama ghas a 47% disapproval rating. Or perhaps he thinks it's a Democrat-Republican thing, which it's not, as there's been a huge shift in Independent voters, 57% of whom disapprove of the job he's doing.

Unfortunately, D.C. isn't the only government losing its mind and perspective. Right here in Central Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel, we have a mind-boggling example of off-track leaders: While trying to figure out how to make up a $41 million deficit, Orlando paid more than $200,000 to end its lease, 8-years early, with the non-profit Florida Safety Council... in order to turn the property over to a new charter school being started by Deputy City Attorney, Jody Litchford. The kicker here is that the school will occupy the property RENT-FREE for the first 3-years! School backers say the school will eventually repay the city for its short-term losses. They also say there's no guarantee it will happen.

Sheesh! No wonder this country's in trouble... from the local level to the federal, the inmates are running the asylum!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dear Grandmother... uh, Mr. President

Last Tuesday there was yet another Obama appearance and speech at a "Town Hall" meeting in Nashua, NH. I don't know what his audience came away with, I just know that I came away with a 3 item Wish List: (1) I wish he'd get off the campaign trail (2) I wish he'd get off the campaign trail, and (3) I wish he'd get off the campaign trail. If he'd do any one of those things, he might be able to get back into the Oval Office and work on some things that we really, truly, need; not what he's decided we need.
Actually, his approach to "giving" reminds me of my paternal grandmother. Every Christmas and birthday from when I was old enough to know what was going on, I got a pair of huge, old lady's underwear. We weren't poor, so she couldn't have thought I needed them, and if she thought she was helping me stockpile for a "rainy day", that didn't work, either... I never got big enough for them to fit me. (Thank God!) Nevertheless, I was expected to send Thank You notes. They all said the same thing: "Dear Grandmother, Thank you for the nice gift." Of course, if I'd been left to my own devices, they would have read: "Dear Grandmother, What were you thinking? Why would a 6-year old... 12-year old, etc.,... want underwear that she doesn't need, that's ugly, and big as a parachute, to boot? If you insist on giving me things, it would be nice if you could get to know me and give me what I really need."
Since polls, etc., haven't convinced Obama that he's way off base and that we really don't want all the "stuff" he's determined to give us, maybe we should do what I, as a child, couldn't do... maybe we should start a "Thanks, but no thanks!" campaign... maybe we should inundate the White House mailbox and our representatives' (I used that word loosely) mailboxes and ask them, "What are you thinking? Why would we want you to dismantle and bankrupt our health system, our banks, our corporations, our contracts, our real estate market... not to mention our Constitution. Why would we want you to keep printing money, going deeper in debt... why would we want you to put us in the position of having a foreign, communist country, like China, own and run our country?"
Yeah, yeah... you inherited this mess. Get over it... it's yours now and we expect you to work as hard at fixing it as you're working to make it even worse than it already was. Oh, and by the way, when you're broke, you're broke... continuing to spend like a lunatic will not turn our country's bottom line from red to black. We don't need all this shuck and jive, smoke and mirrors, lies and deception... we need a whole lot of common sense, truth, transparency and hard work. We've already done our hard work... now, start doing yours. I know it's easier to play Santa than to be Scrooge, but Christmas is over. Grow up. Deal with it.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Way I See It What are we going to do about it?

Living in a home means you're responsible for keeping it maintained. If a toilet stops up or stops working, you have a couple of sensible options: call a plumber, or if you're handy, figure out why it's not working, or what part's not working, then you get it fixed. Of course, there's another option... tear the whole house down first, then investigate and fix it. That's pretty stupid, isn't it? Not to mention slow and expensive. In other words, the cure would obviously be worse than the disease.

Living in the White House means you're responsible for keeping it maintained and fixing whatever's stopped up or not working... like health care. Now we may not be Harvard grads, nor smarty-pants lawyers, but congress should be ashamed of the fact that we're smarter than they are. I'm not talking about I.Q.; I'm talking about what's required to live life on a daily basis... common sense. The common sense that tells us it's stupid to demolish the house when all you need is a new float, or even just a plunger.

That demolition mentality and lack of common sense, among other things, are the reasons for my love/hate relationship with politics and politicians. I love that they give me so much to think and write about. On the other hand, I hate that they're so smarmy... so lacking in character and selfless servant-hood... so sure they're the most, and only, important things in the galaxy... so willing to sell out their constituents for power and financial gain. Yet, in spite of my cynicism, I still want to believe that some people step into the political arena with the right hearts and motives... with a clear understanding that it's not about them, it's about us and the U.S.

Unfortunately, our culture's obsession with the glitz and glamour of celebrity... the superficiality of beauty that's only skin-deep... clever speeches and sound bites... has turned elections into beauty pageants and popularity contests. We don't care whether the candidates lie, cheat, or whatever, to ensure their success and financial gain; we only care what they look like... how cool they are... what they're wearing... how smoothly they tell us what we want to hear.

Maybe that's why the health care protests and protesters have caught congress by surprise. It's the 2009 version of Shock and Awe. It's the proverbial slap upside the head. Maybe that's why they don't get it, no matter how many people show up at Tea Parties or Town Hall meetings. Maybe it's because we've been telling them in so many words and so many ways for so many years... no, make that decades... that whatever they do, as long as they look good saying it, have the moves and get the laughs when they're on some late night show, that no matter how many times they put themselves smack dab in the middle of an ugly scandal, that no matter how much they lie, cheat and steal from us, we'll keep putting an X next to their names. It's not a question of forgiveness... it's a question of expectations. Expecting integrity, honesty and accountability. So far they've lived down to our low expectations. So, what are we going to do about it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Well, talk about character. Or lack thereof. Governor Mark Sanford, (R-SC) disappeared for a week. Since nobody knew where he was, and he hadn't handed authority over to his Lt. Governor, essentially, the state of South Carolina was without a Governor. The people of South Carolina were lucky that nothing really big happened requiring his attention and/or emergency action. If, like John Stewart, you're shrugging your shoulders... it's just South Carolina... that's an attitude you can afford only if you don't live there.
Anyway, initially it was reported that he was in the Appalachian Mountains. Hiking. Just getting away from it all. But, unless international flights use the Appalachian Trail as a runway, that obviously wasn't it. 'Cause when he returned, he stepped off a flight from Argentina. That's where he was while he was AWOL. He was "visiting" a woman with whom he was having an affair. Like that's not bad enough, this guy is not only married, but he and his wife have 4 sons. And, even if he and his "friend" have a child together, you'd think he'd consider postponing his visit to Argentina until after Father's Day, in order to spend it with his (first) 4 kids, wouldn't you?
I may be in the minority here, but to say that I'm disappointed would be a gigantic understatement. But putting my disappointment and my reasons for it aside, I know what's usually the response to this "kind of thing": "I don't care about his personal life." Well, guess what!? I DO. Read my previous post where I talked about Integrity and Character.
Putting those two things aside, if that's possible, I have to wonder what was he thinking? Of course, that's assuming he was using the brain that's in his skull, attached to his neck, not the one... well... Whatever. Anyway, what is with these politicians who somehow think they can even have a public life? They don't call it "public" service for nothing. (As for the "service" part, well, that's a subject for another time.) When you decide to run for an office, if you are so naive and uninformed as to think otherwise, you would be well-advised to look for a future elsewhere.
Of course, now he says he's sorry. Now he says the affair is over. Now he wants the whole world to know that he didn't mean for this to happen... that it started out as an innocent, "dear friends" email relationship. And, according to him, it was only because when you're in politics where everything is fodder for the evening news, you can't talk to people about what's going on. For fear it'll be spread around, I suppose. I'm sorry, but isn't that one of the "perks" of having a husband or wife... you have someone to talk to that you can trust to keep your secrets?
Unless that secret is a mistress, of course. In that case, I'm pretty sure that's not something most wives would want to sit down and chat about over a cup of coffee, is it??

Liberty Lies in the Heart

More and more people are dissatisfied with the direction in which our leaders are taking us. We may not be geniuses... not that our leaders are... but it's been obvious for decades that there's something wrong with our government. And what's missing in the equation is not genius, but COMMON SENSE: sound practical judgment, independent of specialized knowledge or training. And INTEGRITY: steadfast adherence to a strict ethical or moral code; doing the right thing for the right reason, even when no one is watching. I'm talking about CHARACTER... the sum of your parts... Who You Are. This can't be over-emphasized, because as long as those things are missing, there will be chaos in the lives of every day people like you and I.
I'm not saying that every politician is lacking character, or that every American is the embodiment of character. But it seems that the average politician is lacking it more than the average American embodies it. I think that's why when people talk about where our country is headed, they say, "I'm discouraged. Our leaders are doing things that are illegal, immoral... even unconstitutional... and there doesn't seem to be a way to stop them". They want to just opt out... disengage... tune it all out. Maybe they want to believe that will work for them on some level, but the hard, painful truth is that the process, whatever it is, continues. With or without them. And one morning they'll wake up "shocked" to find themselves left to grapple with the results.
Perhaps they'll wake up like auto dealership owners did with all their hard work, money and dreams stolen, without explanation. Without rhyme or reason. Without recourse. Just taken through action initiated by their government.
Or perhaps they'll wake up like auto bond investors did expecting to be first in line in bankruptcy court, as law dictates, only to be last, after the government and the UAW. As this administration dictates.
Maybe they're business owners, desperately needing work, who'll wake up to find that they're not allowed to even submit a bid for work generated by stimulus money. Because they're not a union shop.
Maybe they'll wake up on a gurney in a "government" hospital praying they'll be cared for before it's too late... or being denied necessary care because a political appointee sitting in an office somewhere, decides they're too old or too sick to "waste" time, energy and money on.
Liberals call this "alarmist rhetoric". I call it recognizing the facts... a wake-up call. People world-wide have been, and still are, imprisoned or killed by their own governments for wanting a government like ours... one that Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, said should not be allowed to perish... a government "of the people, by the people and for the people":
Instead of giving up we need to keep standing up for what's right and what's ours... while our freedoms are still intact and our lives are still ours to live as we choose.
  • Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it. - Judge Learned Hand