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The Grassroots, The Establishment and Karl Rove

edbell | 05 March, 2013 14:30

Several months have passed and conservatives are finally recovering from the ravaging of freedom aka Election Day 2012.  Untold thousands of patriots worked diligently to place the latest GOP "electable candidate" in the White House. Now we're being told Constitutional conservatives and especially 'tea party' are poisoned brands.  In local, state and county GOP offices, many elected officials and disgruntled losing candidates are trying to place the blame on 'extreme' grassroots activists and their chosen candidates who scared away potential Independent voters. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Sadly. the Republican establishment knows better. Read any article about Republican failures in November 2012 and two candidates, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock are trotted out as examples of tea party failure. In both cases, the tea party was not the culprit.  Todd Akin was a product of Claire McCaskill and Harry Reid's financial influence in the Missouri primary. Their goal was to get the weakest possible Republican on the ballot against Claire McCaskill. They succeeded. From that point, the conservative grassroots attempted to drag Akin across the finish line even after Akin's stupid statement.  In Indiana, the grassroots carried Mourdock to an impressive primary win. Immediately afterward, embittered Senator Lugar, his acolytes and the Indiana establishment offered scant support. Lugar never gave public support to Mourdock.  Classy guy.  The tea party was kicked to the sideline throughout the summer and fall. In spite of it all, Mourdock was ahead in the polls until his unfortunate statement. A candidate failure in tandem with tepid state and national GOP support - by no means a tea party failure.

The Tea Party is also the pipeline for diversity that only receives lip-service from the Republican establishment.  No one would expect this new generation of ascendant conservatives to include Senator Tim Scott, an African-American, Cuban-American Ted Cruz and Indian-American Governors Bobby Jindal and Nicki Haley, all from the supposedly racist South. 
These are the people Democrats say don't exist on the right and they may not be on the national stage, but for the grassroots Conservative movement. It could also be assumed that each of these officials would prefer to delete the hyphenated term, opting to be an American.

The landscape would be quite different if top-down Republican power brokers still held an iron grip on the primary process. GOP elites, meeting in their back room echo chambers, seem convinced the path to success requires defeating primary candidates rising-up from the grassroots. GOP leaders like McConnell, Cantor and Boehner are frustrated with insurgent members of their own party demanding an immediate path to lower deficits and defunding of Obamacare.  They fear the rock-ribbed conservatives who have joined their ranks and see constant conflict dealing with highly-principled conservatives like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, Utah's Mike Lee or Kentucky firebrand Rand Paul.  The GOP leadership laments Conservatives that exhibit the resolve of Patrick Henry.  These patriots did not get elected to attend DC cocktail parties and they won't automatically vote for brokered deals by the House leadership. These are the folks Karl Rove hopes to deter early in the primary process.

Karl Rove, has been a political advisor to the GOP for many years and he has no desire to relinquish that role. He has decided to put big PAC money behind protecting the status quo. His ironically named 'Conservative Victory Project' will turn the PAC's money hose on the grassroots citizen activists who put the House back in GOP hands in 2010.  He wouldn't dare admit that the Tea Party movement has done as well or better than the GOP establishment.  Protecting entrenched Senators like Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and Lamar Alexander is the priority for Mr. Rove and his donor cartel.  Mr. Rove begs to differ, "This is not tea party versus the establishment," Rove said. "I don't want a fight."  That statement will be tested as Club for Growth targets nine RINO's in heavily Republican districts for potential primary challenges. If Karl spends PAC money to support the incumbents, the divide may resemble a certain canyon in Arizona.  Two philosophies are vying for dominance in the Republican Party. Rove's view is that the party and the seat trumps ideology and founding principles.  The Conservative grassroots say that without core values and the resolve to boldly assert them the seat and even the gavel are worthless.  The grassroots would tell you that this is a center-right country and selling freedom and prosperity will provide the values and the gavel.  Thankfully, it's not Karl Roves Party.

Will GOP elites and Rove's PAC succeed in blocking small government, free-market champions from primary victory?  Not a chance.  This tactic will backfire in spectacular fashion. Along the way, Mr. Rove may become irrelevant.  The casual 'low information voter may not know the players, but they know one of the 23 million unemployed or underemployed and they see shrinking paychecks, reduced hours, absurd regulations and overgrown preschoolers fighting in the DC sandbox. Engaged activists realize that GOP political experts like Karl Rove once touted Charlie Crist, Bob Bennett, Arlen Specter, and David Dewhurst as sensible, "electable" candidates. These were people who could "reach across the aisle."  By the way, two of those individuals left the Republican Party after losing to those 'unelectable' rabble-rousers Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey.  Even looking ahead to 2016, Karl and the establishment seem eager to continue promoting moderate clones like Jeb Bush. If memory serves, America's founders despised dynasties.

If the media were our only source if news, one would think the Senate membership could be counted on one hand. Attention remains focused on Senators like Mike Lee and Rand Paul, who not surprisingly, are the only two with a perfect rating from Club for Growth?  There's little doubt that Sen. Ted Cruz will also join their ranks as he articulates founding principles and applies the Constitution to key issues. This inordinate vitriol is proof that these men are speaking truth in a town that prefers tepid moderation and massaged rhetoric from their Republicans.  This small band of renegades for liberty are surrounded in DC, but still getting kudos from taxpayers.  Karl Rove wants no more of these 'characters' in DC and his PAC aims to shoot for moderation in defense of the status quo. To quote former Senator Barry Goldwater, "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice." But who would have believed quoting the Bill of Rights or demanding that our federal government be restrained to its enumerated powers would be labeled extremist rhetoric?

Will the grassroots always choose superior candidates to those selected by party power brokers? Of course not. But the people who leave their lives in the real world to endure the scrutiny of candidacy have a passion for reform and deep love for the ConstitutionThey eschew the ego-fueled ambition of career politicians and actually believe in the
once common American tradition of public service.  

 

Cincinnati Streetcar and Duke

richardinman | 12 February, 2013 12:17

Streetcar-wreck

The city of Cincinnati and Duke Energy are trying to play a fast one on Duke customers.

Background:

Most folks are aware of the Cincinnati Streetcar project and the associated budget battles that have gone on for quite some time now.  Put simply, Cincinnati is set on building the streetcar regardless of the availability of funds and how many budget games they have to play.  Evidently, the city was expecting Duke Energy to play good corporate benefactor and donate all their work to move utilities along the project’s route.  Duke didn’t believe they should foot the bill, but wanted to help best possible.  They came up with a set of “Riders” to a Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) request for rate increase

These “Riders”, once approved, would give Duke special options when dealing with a government entity (excluding state and federal). When an entity requests Duke to construct, modify, relocate and/or remove Duke’s facilities, wiring or other Duke owned equipment such entity would have the choice to either 1.) directly pay Duke  all costs related to such relocation regardless of the reason for the request and/or requirement or 2.) allow Duke to recover all cost related to such relocation regardless of the reason for the request and/or requirement from all Duke Customers residing or located within the geographical boundary of such entity through a monthly charge or 3.) some combination of 1 & 2.

There is also a rider that essentially distributes the cost of unpaid Duke bills to all other customers.  Thereby protecting Duke but passing the costs on to all Ohio Duke customers.

It is true that many outlying communities would not be directly affected by the Rider FRT part of the tariff filing. 

However, consider Duke’s extended payment plan options and how much of that can be passed on to the other Duke customers. 

When affected (City of Cincinnati) customers don’t pay their bill (which now includes this increase), that cost gets distributed to the remaining customers.

Further consider the precedence this sets.  Should all government entities expect all utilities to absorb costs incurred for relocation due to the entity’s projects?

Also, consider the following from the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel:

1. Facilities Relocation – Mass Transportation Rider (Rider FRT)

 

OBJECTION 27: OCC (Ohio Consumers’ Counsel) agrees with the Staff’s recommendation that Duke’s proposed Rider FRT should not be authorized for Duke to collect dollar amounts from customers. However, OCC objects that the Staff did not include (but should have included) in its rationale for not supporting Rider FRT the following public policy implications:

 

1)      Rider FRT unfairly discriminates among customer classes by giving members of one class – governmental entities – preferential treatment in paying the costs associated with their requests for relocation of facilities;

2)      utility company riders should not be used as a means for governmental entities to fund public works projects, as governmental bodies have other means for paying the costs of relocating facilities; and

3)      to the extent that the citizens of the governmental entity would not pay their electric bill, the Rider FRT portion of that bill would be collected from all other Duke customers through the uncollectible rider.

 

Talking points summary:

1.) Why should costs for utilities construction work associated with an infrastructure project be  buried in a utility rate increase? Transparency would suggest the project burden the costs.

2.)  Why should these costs be passed on to other Duke customers outside of the geographic boundaries of the governmental entity involved?

3.)  Sets a dangerous precedence of a private company charging rate payers for costs incurred on a public project, thus reducing the “published” costs of the project.

4.) Lastly, if costs will be increased based on projects in other geographic areas, rate payers are being “taxed” without representation.  At a minimum, related costs of unpaid bills should be redistributed within the geography of the governmental entity – not to all Duke rate payers within Ohio.

Call to action:

Submit online public comments here.

Attend a public hearing near you:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

Fairfield Township Administrative Building

6032 Morris Road 

Hamilton, 45011

 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. 

Union Township Civic Center Hall 

4350 Aicholtz Road

Cincinnati, 45245

 

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.

City Building, City Council Chambers

 1 Donham Plaza 

Middletown, 45042

 

Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

Cincinnati City Hall, Council Chambers

801 Plum Street 

Cincinnati, 45202

What's Next for the Grassroots?

edbell | 28 November, 2012 11:16

Since 2009, America's grassroots activists dedicated millions of hours to taking the country back from a central government leading us down the debt-laden path to European-style socialism.

In the months and years leading up to November's elections, engaged conservative activists warned that President Obama's reelection and continued Senate control by the left would signal the end of our Constitutional Republic and confirm establishment of a permanent winning Democrat electorate.  127,683,108 voters decided the outcome on November 6, but apathy may be the big winner in 2012 with 2.76% fewer voters making the effort when compared to 2008 - disheartening to activists who put aside family and friends to knock doors, place signs and make calls.  Anecdotal evidence suggests a cowardly Congress and pandering President have played the key role in driving citizens away from the polls.  Efforts by grassroots activists, endless candidate appearances by both political parties, supplemented by hundreds of millions in PAC ads only increased turnout by a meager .08% in those hotly contested swing states this year. A sad commentary; the time and money spent only shifted voter choices, but didn't spur more people to shoulder their civic duty.

So the question must be addressed - If conservative success is judged by Election Day 2012, has the message of fiscal responsibility, limited government and expanding freedom been rejected by Americans?  The answer to that question will either lead to our demise or point the way to our restoration as a free people.  Those activists who did the heavy lifting may not grab the reins for future campaigns unless they believe the country may still reject the soft tyranny of the current majority.

Before passing judgement, let's consider that winning majority.

The 2012 Democrat electorate was a coalition of the dependent (both voluntary and otherwise), unions, government workers and their families, single-issue organizations like LaRaza, Planned Parenthood, and Earth Justice to name a few,  The electorate was carefully misinformed by a fawning media while taxpayers tolerated a growing number of Democrat voters best labeled as the "takers" - enjoying government largess courtesy of the undefined "most fortunate among us."  The Dems enjoyed a majority of votes in November (54%) from women.  Many single women accept a surrogate spouse in paternal government as provider and protector.  Conservatives were rightfully appalled at the ever-dependent "Life of Julia" website and OFA's "War on Women," yet they secured the single moms and undergrad/post-college female vote (Google offers 700 million results for this fabricated controversy).  Finally, Democrats and the President, through their policies, locked-in a stagnant economy and high unemployment.  This prompted record numbers of people to apply for government assistance - bringing a 70% increase in food stamp (SNAP) recipients, surpassing 47 million.

During the 2012 election cycle, Organizing for America (OFA) perfected the formula for turning out the vote from their base with 813 field offices.  More noteworthy, they began the 2012 reelection campaign in March 2009, only two months after Obama was inaugurated; selecting the campaign leadership staff and keeping numerous offices open throughout Obama's first term.  OFA field staffers continued registering Democrat voters (1,793,881) over several years.  Both parties saw a voter fall off in 2012 compared to four years earlier, but new registrations helped Obama close on 65 million (64,820,413) as the final totals begin to settle.

The Democrats did an exceptional job of defining Mitt Romney (albeit falsely), especially in swing states like Ohio, long before his campaign ads left the starting gate.  The food stamp President was able to shift the blame and demonize Romney as the wealthy corporate elitist.  Mitt Romney logged a stellar performance in the first debate, but his character was savaged in swing states prior to  the debates or the GOP convention.  By the way, the Republicans didn't help their cause fighting the Conservative grassroots movement as they urged fiscal restraint.  The state and national GOP wasted precious resources fighting the same motivated people who supplied a majority of the volunteer base.  The grassroots, on the other hand, were tireless in their efforts, but often preached to the choir. Grassroots educational efforts never reached far beyond the echo chamber of already engaged citizens.

Should we place any blame on the candidate or his campaign?  Mitt Romney was careful not to espouse America's founding principles in the same passionate terms as Senator-elect Ted Cruz or Senator Mike Lee and that may be why he couldn't draw those bold distinctions on free markets versus the government-command economy.  The Campaign, made a decision not to expend resources courting the Latino or African-American vote, even though the GOP proclaimed, we are the big tent, but it's up to you to figure out how to fit in.  No one spent the last few years in urban (or even suburban) neighborhoods explaining how conservative principles could help the Latino family or the single mom.

So, the question remains, did conservative patriots spend the past four years trying to save a Republic that has already flat-lined?  Not by a long shot.  It's easy to overlook the thousands of liberty groups flourishing across the country that did not exist four short years ago.  These groups have established sturdy networks, working effectively across counties and states lines.  Fiscal conservatives also started the process of getting elected to local Republican precincts, to the chagrin of state GOP leaders.  Taking over the party apparatus may well be the most promising part of the movement.  Still, many GOP officials and party operatives have managed to learn nothing about the founding principles that drive the grassroots conservative movement, taking exactly the wrong message from the Election Day drubbing.

The answer to rejuvenating grassroots passion may also rest with the performance of Republican Governors over the next two years. The Conservative faithful will demand that Republican Governors push back against state health care exchanges and bare the fangs of state sovereignty on every issue showing the Tenth Amendment still has teeth.  The House has already shown little desire to stand firm against new taxes and the grassroots will search for a tougher breed of Constitutional conservatives to primary the worst actors in Congress.

Assuming the grassroots will reignite for the next round, conservatives must become a media force (both new media and replacing the Progressive Dinosaur media) while projecting both an urban and campus presence. The Conservative movement must reach a younger audience, not only 18-29, but high school teens and younger through the curriculum.  State legislatures can renew the call for a civics curriculum that portrays America and our political system in a positive light (Ohio recently enacted legislation for civics from grades 4-12).  At the same time, it will serve conservatives well to secure smaller government at the local and state level rather than wait around for the next national races. The grassroots dare not wait for the GOP to realize they must connect with latino families, young adults and single moms.  Each of these groups still value the family and yearn for a happy prosperous life for themselves and their children.  Some issues are a perfect fit for all these constituencies, like Parental choice in Education.  Today is not too early to focus messaging at the local level and not just during the campaign season.

The liberatarian/conservative message of individual freedom always wins, but we must reach the depressed conservative base and infiltrate the groups that form the Democrat coalition and understand that on the left, campaigning never ends.

 

America's Future Resides in the Character of Her People

edbell | 06 September, 2012 10:00

A resolute people of strong character and firm conviction cannot be vanquished.  Recent events lead me to believe many Americans are choosing to embrace the best aspects of human nature.  It's been awhile.  The popular culture and major media continue to wander in the desert of human despair, celebrating vice and violence, while mocking virtue and faith.  But people are connecting with neighbors and friends. They are speaking about individual responsibility, civic involvement, charity and aid.  People are learning, and talking, about the Constitution and the founder's who were inspired by great leaders of western civilization and judeo-christian values.   

Glenn Beck brought 60,000 people into Dallas Cowboy's stadium for an event devoted to Restoring Love and individual acts of charity.  To a person, the crowd realized the people, not the government, can and should do the work to uplift their fellow man.  Amazingly, this is not about social justice or collective salvation, but educating and motivating Americans to courageously stand for the values that our founders realized would set America apart. The final piece is love and charity.  This may be the most difficult, as we have witnessed
division and hate fostered by many of our fellow citizens.  We must approach them with love and convince them by our example that the individual is more compassionate than the bureaucratic collective.

Nothing illustrates better than contrast.  The 2012 Democrat National Convention in Charlotte is a case study in mass delusion enforced by peer pressure.  This collection of groups harbor grievances and seek favor from the redistributive government.  The left eliminates any reference to individualism in favor of collective progress.  They also
attempted to delete any reference to God from their platform, only exposure and public anger forced them to put it back in to their platform a day later over the objection of at least half the convention delegates.

The United States is still balanced on the abyss, but citizens are awake and rising to the challenge of restoring character and responsibility to their lives and asking the same of our fellow man.

Building a Base of Educated Voters

edbell | 30 June, 2012 14:12

After a recent weekend spent dropping candidate literature and manning a phone bank, I was reminded once again, just how few Americans swing the levers of power in our system.  Only 22% of Indiana's 4.4 million registered voters weighed-in on the May 8 primary, but Richard Mourdock beat incumbent Dick Lugar by 139,000 votes–an astonishing 3/10ths of 1 percent of the registered voters decided who will likely fill a U.S. Senate seat from the Hoosier State.    In Ohio's Presidential primary, about 20 percent (1,203,403) of about 6 million eligible Buckeye voters made the effort to vote for a GOP Presidential candidate—Keep in mind, people can now vote absentee with no hassle or disruption to the their daily schedule.  The man who may be our next President was chosen by a plurality of only 10K voters, or 16/100ths of 1 percent–each vote is solid gold in this small universe of participation.  Ohio's 11,536,000 citizens allowed approximately 10,000 people to decide who will battle for their future.  Of course, the goal is to increase turnout among informed voters. 

The general election will see a strong turnout, hopefully surpassing 2004.  The Kerry v. Bush election was considered a masterwork of GOTV strategy by Karl Rove.  Unfortunately, the brilliant organizing effort was geared to turnout voters for that election.  The party didn't build an enduring voter base to win future elections based on restoring America's founding principles.  Mitt Romney will employ many of the successful Rove tactics from 2004.  But that is only half the job.  Courageous governance is the real challenge for the federal leviathan.  The bitter partisanship will not end in 2012 and apathy has been a successful tool for the left.  The enemy has always been apathy and an insulated political party system controlled by loyalists and cronies.  Both parties preferred that Joe and Jane Taxpayer simply vote when asked then return to the sofa.  The tea party movement and election of Barack Obama changed the dynamics to the chagrin of both parties.  Real citizens are now involved in local precinct and committee level party activities.  The question remains; will the trend continue and more importantly, will these activists be able to motivate and grow the number of participating voters in primaries and general elections. 
 
While many worry about who will win the White House or whether the GOP will take back the Senate, I think about the long-term future of a country where no one thinks their vote matters. Or worse, a devolution away from civic responsibility.  Our liberty cannot exist without exercise of responsibility to hold every official accountable and demand that the rule of law command the actions of those we trust with protecting liberty and our tax money.  In November, Conservatives may depose the current President and usher in a new Senate majority, but our turning point remains an ongoing process that one election won't change.  The apathy witnessed over the last several decades is more a result of people not believing this great country could descend into economic ruin or allow a statist tyranny.  Illumination is our task and time may be the biggest enemy.

May Day Kicks Off a Season of Organized Anarchy

edbell | 02 May, 2012 09:19

Organized Anarchy, on first glance would appear a contradiction, but anarchy is a tool wielded successfully by groups on the left, with the intent to bring media attention and generate fear among law-abiding citizens.  On May Day in Cleveland Ohio, five men were arrested for plotting terrorist incidents which included blowing up a bridge and destroying bank signage.  The FBI was tracking their activities and arrested the group before they carried out their destructive plans.  Although the suspected terrorists went so far as to attach what they believed to be C-4 to their intended target, the Route 82, Brecksville Bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River. 

Occupy Cleveland wasted no time disowning the group and the mainstream media emphasized that these are "fringe" elements, although they were clearly active members of the Cleveland Occupy movement.
ABC News was quick to note that these anarchists don't share Occupy's non-violent views.  Unfortunately, a minuscule number of violent individuals can unleash mayhem on a community. The list of potential targets mentioned by these suspects include; the Republican Convention, the Cleveland Federal Reserve, and an upcoming NATO summit in Chicago.  The actors in this story harbored vicious ambitions.  Apparently recorded during a conversation with an undercover FBI informant, Wright predicted "a s--t load" of anarchists will go to Chicago after passing through Cleveland, after leaving the northern Ohio city "a pile of rubble and ashes" as anarchists in every major city in the country will ultimately be "rioting and destroying each city." 

I suppose there is a threshhold for public tolerance of violent acts.  San Francisco is cleaning up after
30 businesses were vandalized on the same day five anarchists were arrested in Ohio.  Police gave ample leeway to the black-clad masked activists as they smashed windows with crowbars and signs, threw paint and eggs on buildings and spray-painted anarchy symbols on the hoods of parked cars.  Who decides how much violence is acceptable, when enforcement of law is no longer linked to maintaining order?  Will this summer be a neo-Keynesian experiment in proving the "broken window" theory of economic stimulus?  Or is this simply the President's secret plan for moving America's economy Forward

May Day activities in Both Ohio and San Francisco beg the question: Can we assume the FBI will always be able to intervene prior to a successful domestic terror attack?  We can hope, but a small percentage of violent people in a very large movement asks too much of any police agency.  And do any of us want a police agency so powerful and intrusive that they could interdict every potential threat?  We return to the unpleasant prospect of purchasing complete safety by abdicating all liberty.  it's possible that many of our friends and neighbors are ready to sacrifice all freedom for the promise of safety, Benjamin Franklin stated that people who accept this deal will lose both and deserve neither. 


                                                                                            

twitter: @edbellOH

Breitbart: Exposing the Left and Confronting Tyranny

edbell | 22 April, 2012 17:38

Most Americans do not share the views of the institutional left and they take scant pleasure in controlling the behavior of their fellow man.  But we must acknowledge that very loud and powerful people on the left control much of our media, academia, and the levers of vast swaths of our government.  Pushing back against their agenda requires backbone, persistance and a thick skin.  The man pictured at left, in a collage of his words is Andrew Breitbart.  For the unitiated, he was a passionate warrior for freedom and media visionary who spent most of the last couple decades fighting those who wish to destroy this interesting little experiment in self-government called the USA.  Prior to his death at age 43, he beat the drum and sounded the alarm about the left, noting that we are fighting for our existence as a unique and exceptional Republic against those who would have us descend into socialist tyranny. Breitbart would tell you this is a war. Many citizens have little stomach for the type of war that's taking place. It is easier to believe that this march to the left will fade away.  Unfortunately, it won't subside and the left will never quit.  Andrew Breitbart has known this and fought to expose their agenda, taking arrows every step of the way.  He was a pioneer in the world of new media and a fearless defender of the good people, businesses, and organizations who are bullied and protested by the left.  He highlighted their lies and showcased the ignorance of their useful idiots on a regular basis. If you have a negative view of Andrew, I guarantee it's the result of media attacks by those he has exposed and rightfully ridiculed over the years.

His "new media" website, Breitbart.com, continues his mission of exposing hypocrisy and unmasking tyrants in government, thuggish unions and countless organizations created expressly to further a leftist agenda, bent on control of every human endeavor.

Andrew also realized that the Occupy movement is an orchaestrated, well-funded effort by the left to destroy Capitalism, confiscate the assets of the wealthy in the U.S. and other first world countries, while intimidating anyone who would speak out against their theft.

Soon, a great documentary will be released called "Occupy Unmasked."  It will expose the groups organizing and funding the protests and violence that the legacy media has worked diligently to hide from public view. Andrew Breitbart was working closely with the producers of this documentary prior to his untimely death. With luck, it will be released prior to November 2012, to serve as a primer for those who remain blind to the mounting evidence of organized institutional collusion in Occupy's activities.

Although grassroots leaders are aware of Breitbart's accomplishments, it became clear that much of America has only a vague knowledge of the man who would cheerfully confront tyranny on their behalf, so it seems appropriate to offer this well-deserved salute to a true American patriot. 

May Andrew's spirit and his mission live on in the soul of all who treasure freedom and may America see the enemy within while there is still time to thwart their plans.

The Truth About Jobs, or the Lack Thereof

edbell | 11 April, 2012 10:08

Recent Department of Labor Statistics show 88 million Americans of working-age are out of work. Take a look at the graph by the St. Louis Fed in the link above.  It's stunning by any measure.  The U.S. has 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day.  These two facts together prove that jobs are disappearing at a dramatic rate, otherwise about 300,000 new jobs would be available every month to younger workers looking to fill jobs being vacated by the boomers.  If 120,000 new non-farm jobs are created in March 2012, that tells us jobs are still disappearing at a quicker pace than new jobs are being created. 

Not only are the weekly unemployment numbers revised upward after release, but the monthly "birth/death adjustment" is fairly consistent in lowering the numbers of jobs created from a previous month. So, either shenanigans or poor methodology are occuring on both ends–jobs created and number of unemployed

Individuals and companies with capital to invest create private sector jobs.  This President is demonizing both companies and people who are likely to have capital.  The hallmark of his non-stop campaign is taking an additional chunk of money from the wealthy via the "Buffett Rule."  Existing businesses will be forced to endure even greater costs in labor through healthcare premiums or fines.  Creating an atmosphere conducive to job creation should be the goal of every administration, but the great untold story is millions of low-skilled employees will shortly become either part-time employees or unemployed if Obamacare proceeds apace toward full implementation.  This will translate not only into a drastically reduced standard of living for millions, but also an unsustainable strain on the safety net provided by government at every level.

Youth unemployment is most concerning to economists tracking America's economic prospects.  According to the Deseret News,
"Retail employers are finding it difficult to justify, on a cost-benefit basis, paying minimum wage (plus workers' compensation insurance and Social Security) to what are often entry-level employees." Historically, those employees are young people. The BLS statistics show a sharp jump in the unemployment rate of 16- to 19-year-olds, from 23.8 percent to 25 percent over the last month alone.  Retail has always been the entry job and unfortunately, those types of jobs, are fading away without any viable replacement on the horizon. It goes without saying, what occurs when millions of unemployed, frustrated young people are roaming the streets with marginal prospects for success.  The next generation is on the road to serfdom, a fundamental transformation that must be stopped in its tracks.

Why is this important?  Because the future of our Republic rests on the November 2012 Election, and the outcome of that election depends on voters perception of the financial health and direction of this country.  This President and his willing accomplices distort with impunity to present a false narrative about the ersatz recovery.   Chances are, anecdotal evidence from observations in our communities is a more reliable indicator of the real state of the economy.  Remember that old joke, "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?"  Glenn Beck often says, "A time is coming when we each must know what we believe, what is true."  That is not an easy task.
  Concerned citizens must dig deep for the truth amid opinion, omission and distortion.  The truth is a whisper, while lies are bellowed from the rooftops.  Our liberty will require responsible Americans to trumpet the truth and teach their children that government cannot create jobs, they can only hinder those who do.

The New White House Motto: Leading through Intimidation

edbell | 04 April, 2012 16:34

Heritage notes that President Obama once again dressed down the U.S. Supreme Court, pre-empting their anticipated decision on Obamacare.  Obama referred to them as an, "unelected group of people" who will have turned to "judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint" if they strike down Obamacare.  These justices are appointed precisely to negate intimidation of this sort by the President, Congress, or populist sentiment.  Supposedly, our President taught Constitutional Law and should  be fully aware of the importance of the separation of powers.  Many will recall the national scolding President Obama delivered during his State of the Union address a couple years ago that prompted Justice Alito to mouth "not true" on camera.  One fears for the future of this court, if they stand in the way of this President's dramatic transformation from Constitutional to "banana Republic."   President Obama's not quite veiled threats against the court have set a new low for unpresidential conduct more in line with a Richard Trumka union rally than comments from the chief executive. 
                           
Our Constitution will struggle to survive as the executive branch ignores the founder's checks on power and attacks all who get in the way. The President realizes that his opposition in Congress dare not attempt to prosecute extra-constitutional actions, fearing that the President, portrayed as a victim will assure his reelection.  The White House is also banking on an electorate with minimal knowledge of America's governing structure and limitations on executive authority.  Our woeful record on civics education is bearing fruit and has helped Mr. Obama acquire a constituency that can provide electoral success regardless of his performance. The question must be asked, Will the 2012 Presidential election succeed in deconstructing our constitutional Republic by forming a winning coalition of the coddled, the deceived and the ignorant?


This administration is well-aware that organized grassroots can end the reign of President Obama at the ballot box in 2012.  It may explain the unprecedented assault on liberty groups by the IRS and organized "economic terrorism" against conservative media hosts as well as businesses that support tea party activities.  Intimidation in all its forms is abhorrent to civic-minded, responsible people who treasure liberty.  Ending this reign of error will require an organizational and educational effort unsurpassed in America's history.  Our government has the tools and the will to usurp the last vestiges of individual freedom, let us hope we the people will show the resolve to end the madness and turn back toward freedom in November.

What did the Founding Fathers want for America?

richardinman | 17 March, 2012 16:13

Original Post is Found Here

If more Americans pondered this simple question they would have a more clear understanding of why those brave men who came before us risked their blood, treasure and sacred honor to create the greatest nation on Earth.

The Founding Fathers were a revolutionary group, diverse in their professions and yet unified in their goal: American liberty.

They understood that the citizens should have a say in their government and that the government only derives its legitimate power from the consent of the governed.

When Thomas Jefferson penned those timeless, eloquent words of freedom in the Declaration of Independence it sent political shock waves around the world that continue to reverberate in the minds of revolutionaries everywhere.

"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, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

A challenge was issued that kings did not automatically have supreme authority.

Rights come from Nature's God and it was time for men to rise up to secure these rights at any cost because it was the right thing to do.


The American Flag being presented to the Founding Fathers.
The American Flag being presented to the Founding Fathers.

Thomas Jefferson

The Jefferson Memorial - A tribute to America's third president.
The Jefferson Memorial - A tribute to America's third president.

The proper role of government.

Thus begun a radical shift in political thought. Individuals are not given rights by a government or king, the power of that government or king must be justly derived from the consent of the governed.

Rights would no longer be given to the people by the government, the government would be given limited rights from the people.

America would be a land of freedom and opportunity, with minimal government intrusion, a limited central government that would simply protect the people and maintain a safe environment for them to pursue happiness in anyway they saw fit.

The Founding Fathers would weep if they saw how destructive the government of the nation they risked everything to create had become to the liberty of the people.

The most common lie told is when a modern politician puts his hand on that Holy Book and swears to uphold and defend the United States Constitution.

If Americans truly want the Republic that their forefathers bled for, they must educate themselves on what the Founding Fathers wanted for America and fight to restore that vision through strict adherence and respect for the Constitution.

  • They must stop trading liberty for security.
  • They must stop thinking the role of the government is to be involved in all aspects of their lives.
  • They must take a good look at what the proper role of government is.
  • They must understand that as government expands, liberty contracts.
  • That government is best, which governs least.

Thomas Jefferson, a true literary warrior for American liberty, stated:

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

If Thomas Jefferson could only see America now.

 

Don't Tread on Me

Don't Tread on Me - A rallying cry during the American Revolution.
Don't Tread on Me - A rallying cry during the American Revolution.

The Bill of Rights

The Founding Fathers deliberated extensively in 1787 to produce the nearly perfect U.S. Constitution, the oldest written constitution still in use today.

Even after this expertly crafted document of limited government was created they still wanted to go further for liberty.

Thus in 1791 the Bill of Rights was added to the constitution and adopted by the several states.

The term "Bill of Rights" is actually quite misleading. The Bill of Rights is a collection of amendments to the Constitution that actually sets clear limits on what the Federal Government is allowed to do. It is more a bill of limitations on government then a bill of rights for the citizens.

So much freedom and protection was given to the citizens of the United States that it created the perfect catalyst for the fledgling nation to grow at a rapid pace. This addition to the constitution is so crucial to understanding what the Founding Fathers believed that I feel it is necessary to include all 10 of these precious limitations on government here.

The Bill of rights is something all Americans must understand and cherish.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

The erosion of American freedom.

The Founding Fathers believed so much in the people that they allowed them the freedom to do virtually anything they wanted as long as they did not harm one another. This is individual liberty.

Even our sacred rights to speak freely, worship the way we see fit, own firearms and be secure in the ownership of our private property are envied around the world today.

Governments try to fix problems by taking little bits of our liberty piece by piece and they always wind up creating more unforeseen problems which require new government solutions.

If there is a rise in gun crime, the solution is to limit the rights of the people to own guns. Never mind that less than 1% of all legally purchased handguns will ever be used in a crime, just make all citizens suffer for a tiny minority.

This is the current trend of our government in all aspects of our freedoms.

Most Americans only see the small incremental regulations on things they consider "problems" in society and don't rise up or protest.

They quietly watch their rights slip away at a very slow pace, ever so carefully and never quick enough to alarm them to action.

Government has begun to coddle citizens and provide for them by taking from the wealth that some citizens create and giving it to others. This philosophy promotes punishing success to reward failure.

Once the government heads down this road however, it creates dependency and the people who depend on that help from the government become incapable of surviving without it. Thus it becomes eternal.

People believe the government should do whatever it is doing. Sure there is outrage when a new program is mentioned and brought to the forefront but once it becomes law the outrage slowly subsides and a future generation would be outraged at the thought of repealing the law.

A perfect example of this phenomenon is the U.S. Department of Education. If you say you want to end the Department of Education people think you do not care about the children. Upon closer inspection though, one will find that ever since its inception in 1979 education in America has deteriorated.

This is due to the bureaucracy and centralized approach to education instead of the individual states, who are much closer to the citizens, creating and maintaining their own standards to create the best and the brightest citizens for their own economic benefit.

The States are losing more and more of their constitutionally enumerated power to the Federal Government and our nation is suffering because it.

The importance of states' rights.

Contrary to popular discussion, America is a Republic, not a democracy. Representatives of the people are chosen to represent them on the state level and also on the national level. We have an electoral college that selects the president, not a popular vote.

In a Republic, the most qualified individuals from among the people are chosen by the citizens to represent them in government.

In a democracy the people represent themselves. These distinctions are important when looking at national politics and then looking at politics on a state level.

The Founding Fathers wanted the states to govern themselves, with a loose Federal Government protecting them from outside threats and making decisions concerning multiple states, treaties with foreign governments and regulating commerce.

The term "state" always meant nation. France was a state, Great Brittan was a state all the nations of Europe were individual states. The modern use of the term is something closer to "province" because the true power of the states has been squelched by those who believe in strong central and national government.

The Founding Fathers knew better than this, which is why they added the 10th amendment to the constitution that expressly states that all powers not given to the Federal Government, are given to the States and the People respectively.

State governments are much closer to the people they represent and thus have much less bureaucracy. Also if a state became destructive to the rights of the people, the citizens could simply move to another state that was more consistent wit their beliefs.

If New York wanted to start taxing its middle class and businesses to provide services for other citizens, New Yorkers could simply move.

If the policies of New York's high taxation were damaging business there, the businesses could more to a more business friendly state like Virginia and all the other states could watch the experiments of state governments and determine if they would like to implement those changes in there own states.

Bad decisions were not supposed to punish the entire country.

This is the advantage of a Republic over some form of a pure national government.

Obviously the values of California are not the same as the values in Montana, so why should they be under the same blanket federal laws pertaining to morality such a drug use or prostitution?

If states' rights were still respected, individual freedom would be greater in some states then others and individuals would make a conscious choice on which state best reflected their values and move there, or fight tooth and nail within there own state to make the changed they believe in.

The Federal Government was never intended to impose whatever it wanted across the entire nation.

Massachusetts is not South Carolina and the people there should not be governed by the same blanket legislation, they should be able to choose the laws they wish to live under in their own state legislatures respectively.

Isn't freedom dangerous though?

Is freedom dangerous? Absolutely not. There should be some limitations, but they should be crafted by the states. Victimless crimes account for copious amounts of tax payers dollars and federal initiatives like the "War on Drugs" are giant strains on resources for very little benefit.

This may come as a surprise, but there are still drugs in America. There will always be drugs in America. If individual states want to go after the problem then by all means they should be able to legislate whatever laws they deem fit. If other states feel that adults should be able to do whatever they want to their own body because they are not owned by the government, then they should have that right to.

The government should protect citizens from each other and from foreign threats, protecting people from themselves is a nanny state mentality that is destructive to human liberty.


Ok, so what did the Founding Fathers want for America?

What did the Founding Fathers want for America? In short, the Founding Fathers wanted pure American liberty. With all of its problems it was still better than the alternative. People who are free are happy, creative and productive and they thrive if the government just stays off their back. They wanted a properly limited government and they designed one. It is up to America to remember that and fight to get it back.

I know the prospect of pure individual liberty is unsettling to some today. That tiny little minority of criminals, the less than 3% of the population scares the other 97% into passing legislation limiting all of the peoples liberty. But ask yourself, what is more important than freedom? What is freedom worth? It is priceless and it is a relatively new phenomenon in mankind recent existence. Cherish that freedom and study what the Founding Fathers of this great nation envisioned for the country.Get organized and vote accordingly. Future generations will be forever indebted to you.

Next time someone says to you that pure individual liberty is a "radical idea" and won't work in today's society, politely remind them that the Founding Fathers of America also had a radical idea -- that men could govern themselves, without a king!

The World Prefers a Constitution that Promises Utopia

edbell | 07 February, 2012 16:20

A recent study published in the NYT's claims that new countries around the world no longer look primarily to the U.S. Constitution as a model to emulate in creating their own founding documents.  This reverses a trend that gained steam after WW II.  and began to diminish in the 1980's and 1990's.  It's possible that people around the world are seeking guarantees of more than simply the pursuit of happiness and an opportunity to excel and prosper – they want a government that guarantees life's basic needs.  Our Constitution never incorporated the right to food, clothing, and shelter, yet our freedom to pursue these essentials provided the most powerful incentive to work, save and invest.  More importantly, our founding documents protected the fruits of our labor from onerous tribute to government and redistribution to covetous neighbors.  In the new century, countries incorporate very few aspects of our Constitution in their charter.  Academics find little to recommend in a document that only restricts the actions of government against the individual while providing no guarantees of life's essentials.   Activist government is a religion to the mainstream media and most of academia.  Our U.S. Constitution fails to fulfill their two main tenets of "providing" for the general welfare (we "promote", a critical distinction).  And government cannot coerce action nor commerce by the people, pending that fateful decision on Obamacare.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, finds it necessary to send fledgling countries elsewhere for a viable charter, suggesting the Egyptians consider South Africa's Constitution as a guide.  Justice Ginsburg would do well to note that people no longer look favorably to decisions issued by our highest court for interpretation of (primarily) human rights issues.  Sadly, the preference has shifted to European Human Rights Courts.

Why has our Constitution, the courts and country lost their international appeal?  Our President, media, and decades of academics have found only fault with our country and it's leaders, teaching our youth that the United States is no more exceptional than any other nation.  The NYT's predictably claims that "experts" cite the unpopularity of George Bush and American foreign policy as a primary reason the world no longer cares for our system of government.  The truth is actually the steady erosion of freedoms the world once admired and envied.  The Federal Courts, tasked with interpreting the laws and determining Constitutionality have allowed ever greater intrusion on rights and commerce, weakening the foundation.  Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once remarked that the theory of an evolving, "living" Constitution effectively "rendered the Constitution useless."

Each generation believes their ideas are superior and that their wisdom exceeds all who came previous.  The current bureaucratic elite are obsessed with creating utopia on earth, forging an enlightened activist government and let the Constitution be damned.    Radio host and author Mark Levin, in a recent interview with National Review summarized our current, to use his terminology, "Post-Constitutional America",  "There is so much that the federal government does today, and is poised to do tomorrow, that America can no longer be accurately described as a constitutional republic, or a federal republic, or a representative republic — although we still vote for our representatives.  The government retains certain characteristics of all three, but the fact is that the federal government is so large, intrusive, ambitious — ubiquitous, in fact — that it is devouring more and more of our civil society and threatening our individual sovereignty."

Our Constitution remains the best blueprint for governing a nation of responsible sovereign individuals.  Are Americans up to the challenge of defending this document and by extension protecting the last best hope for liberty, or will this turning point become a point of no return?

Tea Party Is Alive And Well

marketterling | 07 February, 2012 11:11

Mark Twain once famously quipped “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” after it was erroneously reported of his passing in 1897.  The Tea Party movement now understands how he must have felt after reading their own apparent obituary in Thedailybeast.com.  After 115 years there are some things that just don’t change.
 
As much as certain political circles would like for such a story to be true, the fact is it would be impossible to kill off the Tea Party.  Certainly there will be times when the movement will ebb and flow, but what those wishful thinkers don’t seem to understand and have never gotten is that the Tea Party movement isn’t about a candidate, a party, a person, a single office, or any of the other nonsensical brush strokes that we are often painted with.  The Tea Party movement is about an idea, a simple one that is engrained in the very soul of man.  Freedom!
 
The never ending yearning for freedom is engrained in our sole because it doesn’t come from politicians, nor is it granted by any government.  It comes from God.   It is nurtured at the grass roots level and lifted up to those who are sworn to protect it from above.  Just like when plants come up from the ground to reclaim abandoned structures, so does the Tea Party grow up to reclaim those freedoms once their leaders have abandoned them.
 
There are some within the Tea Party’s own ranks who have mistakenly believed that even grass roots models need to be controlled from the top down with a centralized command structure much the same way that socialist societies are typically structured.  However, just like socialist don’t understand, in a truly free society the ability to govern must be granted from the bottom up.  It is impossible to be free when controlled from the top down. This is why the Tea Party movement is and always will be a grass roots movement.
 
The Tea Party movement is alive and well and always will be.  It may at times take on different names or different forms, but the idea will always be the same.  It’s a movement that has been here since the beginning of man.  There may be times when we are the “silent” majority, and we don’t expect to win every battle.  But make no mistake about it.  The ideas that we are here to defend have existed ever since man has existed so I wouldn’t suggest practicing too many eulogies just yet.

Sleaze Bag Politics

marketterling | 26 January, 2012 00:22

Nancy Pelosi has successfully found a new low for politics.  In an interview she recently gave to CNN's John King she claimed that Newt Gingrich will never be President because of "something she knows".  The insinuation is that she's setting on a potential  time bomb so explosive that if he gets the Republican nomination she can throw a wrench into the whole political process.

Personally I view Pelosi as the ultimate nit wit.  After all, she's the one who claimed we needed to pass the health care bill just so we could find out what was in it.  But personal feelings aside, if she truly had something genuinely profound on Gingrich it would be at least her moral (if not also her legal) obligation to bring it forth now so that even if Gingrich couldn't continue forward, at least the process could unabated.  Instead she's opting for political party over doing what's right for the good of the country.  If that doesn't define her as a sleaze bag than I'm not sure what does.

Frankly I think she bluffing.  After all, we already know about the personal baggage Newt carries.  We also know about political decisions he's made that weren't the best.  The only thing left would be something of a legal nature and if she's purposefully sitting on that type of information she could end up having all kinds of legal problems of her own.  I believe she's merely trying to plant the idea of there being a potential bombshell in order to turn the public off of Gingrich.  That tells me she fears him as being more formidable than the other remaining candidates.  Ultimately whether she is or isn't bluffing, it still proves my point that she is playing sleaze bag politics.

The President's State of the Union Will Sell Benevolent Statism

edbell | 23 January, 2012 08:59

The next President, assuming that individual differs from the current White House occupant, could serve Americans well by dismantling the regulatory state.  Not to be confused with the few enumerated and critical functions of a central government, businesses and individuals need relief from government, not additional intervention.  Two of the remaining GOP Presidential candidates, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are to a lesser degree, still believers in a managed economy and limited government advocates should be concerned that the product (big government) will remain the same, only sporting a new label.  The primary fear (pun intended) is that the this series of GOP contests will not produce a champion for Constitutionally limited government.   When most candidates say they wish to get government out of the way, one almost detects a wink and nod acknowledging this is rhetorical pablum for all of us in flyover America.  By the way, benevolent statism, as referenced in the title, is a contradiction in terms.

Micheal Gerson of the Washington Post shows us that the mainstream media affection for omnipotent government has only grown, in direct contrast to their growing disdain for Tea Party Conservatives, aka "the rubes".  Mr Gerson wastes no time mischaracterizing Tea Party efforts on behalf of more economic freedom,
"It is a paradox that their arguments have generally been vague, ideological and unhelpful."  His article faithfully concedes, "Conservatives naturally focus on equal opportunity rather than on equal outcomes." Yet, he laments that our devotion to equality of opportunity is a more radical concept than we are willing to admit.  Unfortunately, major media scribes believe that our modern society can no longer function without the benevolent guiding hand of elite government redistribution.  Actually, tea party conservatives in Congress and across America have been specific, detailing where and how government must shrink.  The media is unwilling to imagine a non-activist government, which explains the deafening quiet as Tuesday January 24 denotes 1000 days without a budget offering from the Democrat controlled Senate.  Both media and political elitists prefer that the staggering pace of spending continue unabated, even as this President adds another 1.2 trillion to the first term debt load.  The planets seem to be in alignment as the State of the Union (SOTU) address shares the limelight with the Senate's notorious anniversary.

Every American could benefit from viewing the President's address, not as a testament to progressive achievement, but as a teachable moment for both young and old to learn about the evils of populist rhetoric and misdirection.  Millions of school-aged children will be told by their social studies teacher to watch as the king of regulatory excess spins fibers of oratory into campaign gold.  Children should have supervision to point out the loss of freedom inherent in our massive debt (investment) and to explain the shackles forged with each new promise from our elite masters.  One visit to either the official White House SOTU viewing site or the BarackObama.com website will confirm that this administration has mastered the tools of social media, creating an entertainment spectacle driven by celebrity rather than policy.  If only free market capitalism could enjoy the same unified media/government effort devoted to selling socialism the economy would be surging to dominance once again.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Modest Success

edbell | 11 January, 2012 08:52

Over the centuries, Scholars have written endless tomes about America's founders, attempting to discern their intent and motivations when they wrote the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.  As Dr. Matthew Spalding notes in 'We Still Hold These Truths', the 'pursuit of happiness' was an all encompassing phrase that generally referred to the right to property.  The ability to freely acquire and control assets, specifically property, was a key component of freedom, both then and now.  The attacks being levied on successful or fortunate citizens is like a virus, spreading anger and division, as vile rhetoric fosters envy among neighbors.

It has been a short journey from the Occupy Wall Street crowd raising metaphorical pitchforks against the 1 percent, to ersatz Republican Presidential candidates hammering away at their opponent Mitt Romney for the way he did business at Bain Capital.  Ex-Speaker Gingrich and Gov. Perry have gleefully joined the chorus of anti-capitalist demagogues on the left, blurring the distinction between themselves and our President.  Mr. Romney has taken several policy positions as Governor that deserve scrutiny, but we seem intent on demeaning one attribute that may aid him as a chief executive – his ability to find and cut the wasteful ventures in a business and place it on a profitable (job creating) path.  If Gov. Romney committed a crime, then by all means, we will hear the details, but if this is only an opportunity to pander for primary votes, then both Gingrich and Perry should be ashamed of the damage they are doing to our bedrock principles.   Before crucifying Romney the businessman, let's take a quick peek at the record with Bain
during his tenure.  As the Wall Street Journal recalls, "it began with a $37 million trust fund in 1984, and manages $66 billion today."  He took a modest amount of venture capital and made both himself and many other people wealthy, while helping companies create thousands of jobs and improve their operation – a nice contrast with the Obama Stimulus Capital Fund.  This is by no means an endorsement of his candidacy, although it may be a moot point by the time the primary circus visits Ohio, but we should acknowledge the stark difference between a job creator and a utopian academic. 

The national elections speak volumes about our direction as a country.  We are devolving into a people that desperately want a prosperous country, but not prosperous individuals.  We want companies to hire millions of unemployed Americans, paying good salaries and benefits, but we don't want to see them rake in big profits.  Somewhere along the way to our current malaise, we allowed 'crony capitalism',  a corrupt distortion of the free market to define all of the highly successful.  Let's start prosecuting the cronies and keep the Capitalism.  It has been a long time since anyone was willing to defend capitalism as a moral good, even though the touted alternative, socialism, creates a world of scarity, envy, and involuntary self-sacrifice.  2012 already holds a strange dichotomy with communist/murderer Che Guevara as backdrop for Mercedes new car sharing initiative – check out the cars on Havana's roadways if you admire the Guevara model of prosperity.  No, we won't see much philanthropy from the People's Paradise, but I guarantee a percentage of the millions made through Bain's VC investments has funded many worthwhile charities. 

We can't have it both ways.  Obviously, Americans desire the fruits of acheivement.  Witness the bounty of entertainment geared toward the luxurious lifestyles of the wealthy and famous.  The question is what do we want to teach our children?  When they see someone drive by in a fabulous sports car, do we want them to say, "someday I will work hard and be successful that I will own one of those" or instead, "someday we will make the government take that car away from him."  Yes, we stand at a turning point – the options are clear.

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