Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Do You Think They Care?

by Joshua J. Lyons
Originally published HERE at The Tenth Amendment Center on 12/2/09

Do you think our Federal representatives (or their staffers) care one iota about representing us?

1.)How many dozens of letters and emails have you sent your federal representatives in the past year? How many ridiculous form letters (that didn’t even address your concerns) have you received in return and how long did it take? The federal reps don’t care.

2.)How many calls have you placed to them just to have a patronizing staffer thank you for your call and say they’ll pass on your opinion to Sen. INSERT THEIR NAME? The federal reps don’t care.

Click here to read entire article

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Tea Party Movement

Over at the American Thinker this morning, I ran across an article by Kyle-Anne Shriver titled Tea Parties: Misunderstood and Vastly Underrated. This is one of the first articles written about the burgeoning movement that generally does a good job of explaining some of its evolving themes.

The Movement is beginning to take shape as more and more average citizens get involved and begin to translate their sign waving and hand clapping into what that really want. For what it’s worth, as a Tea Party Organizer myself, here are the general themes I see emerging from this group:

First, it’s not about a political party. Sure, sure, the groups are undeniably largely populated by disenfranchised republicans, conservatives and libertarians…this is unarguable. But there are democrats and moderates who are uneasy about where the country is heading and are attending these meetings as well. With that stated, very few that I speak with, and I speak to hundreds of people, are looking to a political party to solve the problems were in. In fact, the phrase I hear over and over and over again is this; “I’m a republican but I’m thinking of leaving the party and changing to independent.” When I ask why, it’s clear the average citizen sees both parties as essentially one in the same and both will lead to further infringement on liberty.

Second, most in the Tea Party Movement see their fundamental liberties under assault by an ever expanding BIG GOVERNMENT. They may not be able to quote the legislative act that encumbered a particular freedom, but something visceral, way down in their gut tells them that something is very wrong. This translates into action for them as they fear for their children and grand-children’s future.

Third, they’re willing, unlike the average politician, to take responsibility for the mess we’re in. While the average politician is always looking to the next election and how to capture a particular demographic, they rarely look back at how they contributed to the mess (click here if you want the pants scared off you). On the other hand, the average citizen attending a Tea Party is perfectly willing to accept the fact that they were asleep at the wheel, didn’t pay attention, voted based on party loyalty and generally only cared if something was happening in DC that affected them directly. Now that they’re no longer asleep (a posture by the way that politicians love the average citizen to be in), they’re beginning to study (typically Madison, Jefferson), read their pocket Constitution, and get acquainted with the Declaration of Independence. Somehow, these charter documents feel like a safe harbor, a place where a free people were born and they long for a reappearance of Thomas Jefferson to guide them out of the mess we’re in just as he did when British tyranny existed.

Fourth, now that they’re willing to accept their responsibility for the mess we’re in, members of the Tea Party Movement are willing to get to work AND sacrifice to fix it. As I’ve personally told the group I’m involved in, we’re at a “pick you pain” moment in history and most people in the audience noddingly approve the statement. We all “get it” that any solution at this point will involve pain and we largely ignore the political class that tries to tell us that “everything will be ok.” We know they’re not telling us the truth.

We’re all coming around to the idea that it’s really not Obama we’re angry with; people are beginning to see that BIG GOVERNMENT is the play-ground of BOTH parties. Thus, you’re seeing fewer and fewer anti-Obama signs and more and more Declaration of Independence and Constitution signs at rallies…this should tell us something about the views of the Movement. Recently, as a talk-show host on 930 WFMD, I went to the rally in DC regarding healthcare reform. Sure there we’re many anti-Obama folks there, but the majority of the folks that I interviewed from across the country were troubled by the extra-Constitutional healthcare legislation…that’s right, EXTRA-Constitutional. Not a person I spoke to, and I spoke to dozens and interviewed many, were there because they were republicans, rather they felt the Constitution was somehow under attack. Admittedly, only one person could clearly articulate which provision in the Constitution they believed was being violated, but that misses the point of this movement’s evolution; these folks, just average citizens, were able to clearly identify that Congress was about to way overstep its authority with this vote and they wanted to make sure their voices were heard.

Fifth, and perhaps most importantly, the real antagonist in this drama is slowly being revealed and coming into focus…BIG GOVERNMENT. People, hard working average citizens who carry the burden of paying for Washington are plain ole’ fed up with it and know that the only real solution is to somehow radically reduce its influence. Most are content to look to the State’s Rights movement and the 10th Amendment for their solutions right now and are hopeful that personalities like Judge Napolitano and websites like the Tenth Amendment Center can provide direction. But the people I spoke with aren’t content with simply writing letters or making phone calls or even just attending rally’s. They’re willing to hold their powder dry for now, but they’re beginning to see that the solutions to America’s problems lays in their hands; not the elite political class only thinking through the myopic lens of the next election and how to get their turn at the helm of BIG GOVERNMENT (see the recurring theme in the article?).

Finally, for now, the Tea Party Movement is organic and independent; which is a really good thing. It has not allowed itself to be co-opted by a political party, at least at this point, and resists any attempt to promote a particular candidate. In fact, recently, the tea partiers in Florida took the step of actually forming a new party in their state as a way to ensure the parties, especially the republican party doesn’t co-opt it. I have no idea whether or not a majority of the tea party members in Florida support this or not. But clearly, this demonstrates the independent nature of this movement; it want’s to be heard and not identified with the very system that has created the mess.

Will it succeed? Will the Tea Party movement see its promised land of flourishing freedom, keeping one’s own property and hard earned income, the ability to wildly succeed or just as spectacularly fail in a venture, the freedom to chose who to give charity to rather than being forced to though BIG GOVERNMENT mandated entitlement programs? I’m not sure. One thing I am sure of though, I’m hearing more and more clarion calls from history in the people I talk to and it goes something like this:

“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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

Immediatly followed by:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
The real question is, will another Thomas Jefferson emerge and make the government “fear the people again?”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cat Out Of The Bag?

by Joshua J. Lyons
Originally published HERE at The Tenth Amendment Center on 11/11/09

I can’t recall how many times I’ve written or talked about the Healthcare legislation not being about healthcare. It is interesting that a recent Wall Street Journal article validates this notion. The author of the article covered a piece on the New Yorker’s website from...

Click here to read entire article

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Healthcare Legislation Is Not About Healthcare

by Joshua J. Lyons
Originally published HERE at The Tenth Amendment Center on 11/5/09

As I originally blogged back in August, the healthcare legislation is not about healthcare; the entire purpose of the healthcare legislation is to centralize control in the hands of the federal government. From enumeration of powers to the ninth and tenth amendments, our founders relentlessly tried to protect our nation from a future tyrannical central ...

Click here to read entire article

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is retaking the GOP the real goal of the Tea Party Movement?

November 6, 2009
By Mark Kreslins

I read an October 28, 2009 article by JB Williams over at Canada Free Press titled “Tangible Tea Party Tactics” in which Williams argues that a primary tactic should be to take over the GOP. Williams frames these tactics as tangible and at first glance, he would seem to be correct and perhaps even plausible. But, is that really the point of the Tea Party Movement? Is it really a movement that seeks to simply replace the current crop of liberal democrats in the Congress with a conservative group of republicans?

While I laud the idea and the passion behind it, I’m afraid this will fall well short of the wholesale change that is really needed in Washington DC and by change, I mean real change.

In President Clinton’s first campaign, James Carville coined a famous phrase that defined the Clinton Campaign…it’s the economy stupid! For the Tea Party Movement, our opposition to republican or democrat candidates should be summed up in another simple phrase…it’s the big federal government and two party system stupid! In my view, the battle between Dede Scozzafava and newcomer Doug Hoffman in NY-23 was really a proxy war between the conservative/Tea Party movement and status quo big federal government two party system. With Scozzafava knocked out the NRCC desperately tried to associate itself with Hoffman only to kick him to the curb when he lost…now that’s the kind of principle I can rally around.

The two-party system has failed miserably as sadly, both parties support the status quo…BIG GOVERNMENT and therein lies the problem.

The fundamental question is whether this is what the Founders desired?

If we believe the Founders wanted a HUGE bloated ever-encroaching federal bureaucracy, the current two-party system fits the bill. However, there’s one problem with this scenario, we have to assume the Founders failed to realize that one-half of the country would perpetually be angry at the other. They must have also failed to realize that this anger would at times be expressed in rather violent terms such as the one I heard yesterday as I attended the “Republican Rally” in Washington DC. One fella, standing about 15 feet away from me wasn’t content with the “kill the bill” chant. No, he had to modify it to “kill the traitors” chant of his own. Fortunately, not many people around him joined in the chant, but I wonder about his friends back home.

So, is the problem really that the GOP isn’t populated with enough “conservative republicans” (whatever that means) and that the republicans aren’t in control? My experience tells me that’s not the problem.

Think of it this way; let your mind wander to a time where the federal government isn’t allowed, by a binding constitution, to grow to its current size. What would life be like if the federal government was forced to reduce its spending (and thus our taxes) back to pre-New Deal days of say around 5% of GDP? That would take the current budget from $3.8 TRILLION down to a more manageable $700 Billion.

Now, with only $700 Billion to spend, perhaps the job of Congressman wouldn’t be as coveted as it is now. Perhaps the special interests wouldn’t be so tempted to gerrymander elections with less than noble intentions and the Congress would be left largely to focus on their Constitutional responsibilities listed in Article 1. Section 8. of the Constitution.

Hmmm, whatever would they do with their time!

Sadly, this can only be seen if we let our minds wander; for the reality is, the two-party system will never allow this dream to become a reality unless We the People make them. They love their ruling seats in the Congress. How do I know this? I saw it first hand as a Legislative Assistant back in the 1980’s. Lord Acton was indeed correct, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

So, the average Congressperson has no problem whispering into the constituent’s ear, “pssst, don’t worry, I’ll take care of you” all the while reaching behind you, taking out your wallet and slipping out a few more dollars along with our liberties and we reply, “ahhh, they really care for us.”

Nonsense! Until We the People conclude that the problem is the two-party system and its marriage to a HUGE bloated federal government, Congress will continue its drunken sailor spending even though I suspect most of us emphatically don’t want a $3.8 Trillion dollar government or a $105 Trillion dollar debt created by a VERY unpopular Congress. Do we really think the republicans will reduce this…really?

It’s been said that a parent will fight to the death to stop a threat their children. It’s my belief that most Tea Party Movement members feel their children are being threatened by the HUGE bloated centralized federal government. The question is, are they really ready to fight?

Most recently, the symbol of an all powerful all knowing federal government has taken the form of healthcare reform. Specifically, one party (democrats) ignores the recent polling while another (republican) ignores the extra-constitutional realities of healthcare reform on Capitol Hill paying mere lip service to its unconstitutionality. Nancy Pelosi was quoted as saying “are you serious” when asked for the specific Constitutional Authority to pass healthcare legislation. The tenor of her response was clearly, “how dare you ask me that question; don’t you know who I am? I’m Nancy Pelosi and I’m the Speaker of the House and the Congress can do anything it wants and there’s not a darn thing you paean’s can do to stop us.”

Oh Yeah!

So, what should the Tea Party Movement really commit to and what should we do to obtain these goals?

The Tea Party Movement Should:

First, stop focusing on the two-party system. Simply taking over the GOP, as if that could ever really happen, is an extremely time-consuming proposition at best. And even if the Tea Party Movement was successful, when will this “New GOP” start addressing the real problem…BIG GOVERNMENT? We don’t have a lot of times folks, the clock is running.

Second, perhaps we should spend our time coalescing around a few “real change” ideas listed below and strategize on how we get the country back to the Founders original intent. This would necessitate really hard decisions and really hard work, but aren’t our children and grandchildren worth it. Or are we content shifting the chairs around on the Titanic with the current two-party system.

Thus, I present the following list of Really Tough Decisions (RTD’S)!

RTD #1 – Agree that the federal government must be shrunk in accordance with the original meaning of the United States Constitution. To do this, we must demand that some congressperson, any congressperson, introduce legislation to dismantle all entitlement, corporate welfare, and subsidy programs by 2020. This includes, but is not limited to: Social Security, Medicare, SCHIP, Medicaid, Farm Subsidies, and the Earned Income Tax Credit. I suspect we’re all aware that that this will be an incredibly difficult and painful task. But, as we all know, these programs are unsustainable and will eventually engulf the entire federal budget and take more and more from the working public. We’re in a pick your pain moment, I’d prefer to pick the pain that will give us back our liberty.

RTD #2 - Repeal the Tax Payment Act of 1943 and end employer withholding of taxes. This simple act will raise the level of awareness and accountability as each taxpayer is required to pay their taxes on an annual basis via a tax return. When people actually have to write a check to the newly formed Tax Collection Agency (see RTD #3), there will be a much greater interest in how the federal government spends our money. Never forget, the money they spend is ours, not theirs.

RTD #3 - Introduce legislation to change the name of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to the Tax Collection Agency (TCA).

RTD #4 - Introduce a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the 16th Amendment which gives the power of the federal government to tax property (income).

RTD #5 - Introduce a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the 17th Amendment and return to the original design for the State legislatures to appoint Federal Senators, thus giving the States the intended check on Federal legislation.

RTD #6 - Introduce Constitutional Amendments to define the so-called General Welfare, Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses in Article 1. Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution in accordance with the original meaning of the words as debated during the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

RTD #7 - Introduce a Constitutional Amendment requiring Congress to not exceed the Enumerated Powers in Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. This Amendment will prevent future Congresses from ever putting the country in jeopardy again as they have now with promises totaling $105 TRILLION dollars…a debt we can never pay.

RTD #8 - Introduce a Constitutional Amendment to require a balanced federal budget with the following exceptions: (a) A properly declared war by the Congress in accordance with the Constitution at which time the increased spending can only occur during the period of the war and shall end within 2 years of the cessation of military activities; (b) Incidences of national security events to which the budget increase may only be appropriated to military expenditures to protect the nation; (c) The balanced budget must be no larger than 5% of GDP.

RTD #9 -Introduce legislation to modify SEC. 5. (b) of the War Powers Act to read: Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1), whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (2) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States. Such sixty-day period shall be extended for not more than an additional thirty days if the President determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces within the additional thirty day period.

RTD #10- Support 10th Amendment legislation at the State level ensuring that the people of a particular state have at its disposal the greatest tool of liberty…self determination.

What should the Tea Party be willing to do achieve these goals?

1. Vote against any politician that will not embrace these goals.
2. Encourage and support candidates willing to restore a vision of limited government to our country.
3. Participate in acts of civil disobedience to raise awareness of the tyrannical behavior of the federal government.
4. Urge state legislatures to compel the federal government to stay within the Enumerated Powers of Article 1 Section 8 in compliance with the original meaning of the Founding Fathers using 10th Amendment legislation and other Constitutional Amendment means.
5. Educate, educate, educate on the Founders vision of a very limited federal government.

It’s my belief that the media and two-party system entirely miss the point of the Tea Party Movement. As the Movement coalesces, both should be aware that average Tea Party members:

- Are not content writing letters to our Congressman only to be ignored by them.
- Are not content writing letters to the Editor only to debate the same issue over and over and over again.
- Are not content simply meeting and complaining.
- Will no longer accept political double speak.
- Will no longer allow the federal government to force us to pay for programs that are beyond the Enumerated Powers in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution.
- Will not allow the irresponsible federal government to bankrupt our children’s future.
- Will only be satisfied when the federal government is radically shrunk and its influence over the average American and American business has been severely contained in keeping with the Founding Fathers principle of limited government.

In the end, I believe that if the Really Tough Decisions listed above are adopted by the Tea Party Movement, only then will liberty, true liberty, be restored. And should we reach this point of unity it will be with great enthusiasm that the Tea Party Movement will put the the federal government notice; they must prepare for the Sovereign States and We the People to assert our Constitutional rights. This will likely come come in the form of nullification legislation from the states against federal legislation that is not in keeping with their states priorities via the 10th Amendment or proposed Constitutional Amendments.

Failing to understand this misses the entire point of the Tea Party Movement…at everyone’s peril.

(Mark is the co-host of The Forgotten Men radio show Saturdays at 12noon on 930 WFMD and the co-founder of We Surround Them Frederick)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Are You Finally Ready To Trust Your Conscience?

Are You Finally Ready To Trust Your Conscience?
by Joshua J. Lyons
Originally published HERE at The Tenth Amendment Center on 10/31/09

Most politicians are not bad people, but the system has a way of chewing them up and spitting them out. Once in the system, they learn to play the game and almost always compromise their integrity when it can be justified and even sometimes when it cannot. This is done while we look the other way if it’s “our guy” and/or they give us something we want. That’s the insidiousness of democracy and these “representatives” continue to do anything to stay in power.

Many of the problems that we face today can mostly be chalked up to our divisions fueled by our two beloved major parties. While we’re fighting each other and pinning down scapegoats, the hotshot politicians are laughing all the way to the bank (you know…Citi, Goldman, so on and so forth).

I don’t believe citizens who still identify themselves as Republicans and Democrats are happy with the destination that either of our parties is taking us; they simply don’t know how to address mess they find themselves in. My gut tells me that the majority my fellow citizens want a representative to rely on defined accountability, common sense, and a set of principles that value the unalienable rights and responsibilities of the individual.

Additionally, I don’t believe the moderates and independents are the sissy’s that they’re portrayed to be. I don’t think these folks “just want everybody to get along” like a sad Rodney King line. I think they are looking for a leader to say what he means and does what he says – PERIOD! Many of the people in this group have simply caught on to the game that the politicians have been playing for so long.

Accountability is a key to success. We the People forget what we ate for dinner last night; politicians count on this! Make your campaigning representatives document what they will and won’t do, and make them provide you with a report card on how they are living up to their promises! With web technology, this is beyond simple.

We need citizen statesmen, not career politicians. Career “public servants” result in massive corruption. When you see earmarks by a representative – this is not actually us getting “our piece of the pie.” Although generally accepted as a necessary evil, make no mistake – this is unethical and it robs us citizens of our proper influence! Until we stand our ground, our masters will manipulate and control us. It is our responsibility to not hire a snake oil salesman even if his opponent is greasier! Doing so will stifle proper representation – we will never see honorable people if we keep up this perpetual cycle!

Another key to success is that We the People must also not ask our campaigning representatives to give us everything under the sun. Here’s a secret…it sends the wrong message. When we tell them we’ll vote for them if they take care of us…what do think they’re going to do? They’ll take your vote, assure you that everything will be alright with them at the helm, and then move on to the next sucker.

These things aren’t easy to hear…they’re not easy to say – that’s why almost no one says them. But these are not times where we have the luxury to not be direct…nor do I think you want a load of bullocks…do you?! You know how many people I’m going to tick off because of what I’m saying? People have deep seeded ties to parties, candidates, and friends in high places. It doesn’t matter…IT CAN’T MATTER. If we keep down this path much longer – we will follow the lemming leaders right off the cliff!

I am not going to follow them, but I am going to look for a principled, citizen statesmen. One who would represent me only to the extent of where their authority ends.

The Federal candidate I want to hear from would state the following:

-I will run for office for no more than “X” years
-I will not weigh in on matters not specifically enumerated in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution as was originally followed for the first 70 years of the nation
-I will use my position to inform my constituents through various media outlets of the corruption in government and the usurpation of the rights and responsibilities of the states and their citizens
-I believe that my actions in this life will affect judgment by my Creator and I am fully aware of the consequences
-I will document my adherence to these promises on the front page of my website

The State candidate I want to hear from would state the following:

-I will run for office for no more than “X” years
-I will, through legislation and bully pulpit, assert the rights and responsibilities of my state and its citizens and hold the federal government accountable for its usurpations of authority not granted to them.
-I will use my position to inform my constituents through various media outlets of the corruption in government and the usurpation of the rights and responsibilities of counties, municipalities, and individuals
-I believe that my actions in this life will affect judgment by my Creator and I am fully aware of the consequences
-I will document my adherence to these promises on the front page of my website

Even if you think this is unrealistic because, “hey, that’s just politics.” Isn’t this how you’ve been feeling?

Come join us and become part of the growing movement – this is one bandwagon it’s ok to hop on. Our children’s future depends on it.

(Joshua is the co-host of The Forgotten Men radio show Saturdays at 12noon, Eastern, on 930 WFMD – and the co-founder of We Surround Them Frederick)

Click here for the entire original article:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Summary of Tea Party Arguments

Summary of Tea Party Arguments Reprinted with permission from the blog "Pure Onsense"

[This concise and thoughtful treatment of the movement and WST-Frederick are partially based upon an interview with Joshua Lyons, a co-Founder of the group.]

Authors note:
I wrote what follows as an e-mail to a friend and former professor who wanted to know why I thought the Tea Partier groups were worth giving a fair hearing to–she admitted having some doubts about their arguments and motives. The summary I provided is pretty brief, but covers all the major points to the best of my memory, and as sympathetically as I could reconstruct them. (The whole thing could stand some revision and cleaning up, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway).

Update: Information Age indeed! The WST folks picked up on this post in no time, so I’ve made some proofreading edits. If there are any substantial shortcomings in my summary, I’m sure I can count on them to mention them in the comments section. For more official information, see We Surround Them Frederick’s
official website and their blog.


I’ll try to summarize their main arguments as succinctly as I can, based on their articles and a discussion I had with Joshua Lyons, one of the co-founders of We Surround Them Frederick (WST):

1. Big Government Is Bad

The federal government, through case law over the last 70 years or so, has expanded far beyond what the Founder’s intended. They cite the Federalist Papers as laying out that the powers of the Fed Gov’t were intended to be numerated and few, and for the States to pick up the rest. They say that health care reform is unconstitutional because such a program is not among the powers enumerated to Congress in Article 1, Section 8. Congress typically argues that the “general welfare clause” is open ended and gives them the authority, but WST denies this based upon the Federalist Paper #45, which was written by Madison, who also wrote the “general welfare” clause in the Constitution. ”The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” That is, WST says, the specific powers listed in Sec. 8 were intended to be exhaustive, not open-ended. Therefore, whenever Congress has done anything not specifically listed there or elsewhere in the Constitution (all amendments included) it has done so illegally. They often refer to a particular article (here) that presents the history of how certain judges and court cases, beginning with the New Deal, began redefining the general welfare clause through case law (that is, circumventing a Constitutional amendment, which would presumably be more difficult).

It’s also worth noting that WST favors a couple aspects of health care reform that they believe would be in keeping with the Constitution. They call for tort reform and opening up health insurance programs to competition with those based in other states, which they believe falls under the commerce clause.

2. Big Government Is Dangerous

One of WST’s biggest concerns–and here I have to agree with them–is the growing budget deficit. Lyons, with whom I spoke in person, had studied a number of economic indicators and claimed to have sources who believe that OPEC is considering dropping the dollar as the standard currency for trading oil. I don’t know enough about economics to confirm or deny most of what he told me, but common sense seems to tell me that allowing a huge deficit to balloon or even just remain for any prolonged period of time is dangerous. On this point, they are truly non-partisan: they hold Bush and Obama equally accountable for the stimulus bill and they claim that they were no friend to Bush even during his presidency on account of the huge expansion of government he spurred. (Lyons said he began studying Constitutional history eight years ago, implying disagreement and disappointment with Bush, who was socially, but not fiscally conservative).

3. What It’s Up To

At the root of everything, they view Big Government, which they say includes basically every president and Congress since Wilson, as following a liberal progressive agenda that seeks to wrest liberty from individual citizens by convincing them to give it up piece by piece. If you come back at them by saying that big government initiatives like the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act were actually efforts to ensure and protect liberty to citizens who were systematically disadvantaged, they fall back to a couple of arguments. First of all, they say that such matters should be left in the hands of the states (one of their fundamental principles is that the level of government that is closest to the people governs best). And second, they lament the plight of…

4. The Forgotten Man.

The Forgotten Man is the citizen who is, without his consent, required to hand his money over to the government in order to address some cause that–while well-intentioned–could have been handled without a law that tread upon his rights. (This leads into their whole argument against “redistribution of wealth”). When I talked to Lyons in person, I managed to drill into this argument a bit and I think what I arrived at is that they are opposed to the government ordering something that should be a moral choice, left to the individual citizen to decide. They claim that Forgotten Men are in fact compassionate and willing to help their fellow downtrodden citizens, but that the government does not have the authority to dictate compassion. (The blog post explaining the whole Forgotten Man thing is
here. FYI, I left my response in the comments section below the post, under the name PureOnsense).

Now I’m probably leaving off a few other important points, but I thought this would suffice to give you a taste of what these guys are up to. Partly in response to questions I posed to them through their website and other places, they wrote up a nice explanation of why they do not discuss much in the way of specific policies under current debate
here. In short, they think the entire political debate is fundamentally flawed: you can’t debate how to best set up health care reform when the reform itself is unconstitutional from the start.

So what I find interesting in all of this is that their agenda is not what I expected at first when the tea parties started showing up on tv over the summer. They are not subtly rebranded Bush supporters or Republicans, nor are they in any way racist, as the mainstream media very unfairly entertained for weeks on end without substantiation (I’d never before bought into the “mainstream media bias” argument until I started communicating with WST. I can’t help but see that they’ve been pegged as a dumb mob and left at that. It wasn’t until a week ago that I even heard the word “libertarian” mentioned by a pundit on CNN. The media has done a pathetic job covering the content of these groups’ arguments, and it really bothers me, even though I’m not fully on board with them).

When it comes down to it, they are simply concerned that the government is becoming too powerful and too overbearing, and their response has been exactly what the Founder’s would have wanted from concerned citizens. There are some shaky aspects to their views that will put them at a major disadvantage to liberals, and they recognize that they come off as lacking compassion when they oppose well-intended legislation aimed at social justice—they reply that social justice should be achieved socially, however, rather than through laws that strip personal liberties even while claiming to do the opposite.

And that’s about as sympathetically as I can summarize their views at this point. What I came to see after talking with Lyons was that he had a very well realized set of principles from which he was able to draw his arguments effortlessly. As for me, on the other hand, I realized I could not articulate my principles nearly so well, either to him or to myself. I have a feeling that there are things about what he argues don’t sit well with me, but my political views aren’t so well developed that I can put my finger on the problem yet. I will continue to work on that.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why we don't take specific policy positions.

Often, we read or hear comments that We Surround the Frederick (WST) is clear about what we are against, but short on what we’re for…a legitimate question. This post seeks to answer this question, though perhaps not as definitively as people or our critics may hope.

To begin, WST was not founded as a think-tank, or to advocate any particular policy objective. Rather, WST was founded to advance an argument that has great relevance to today’s public debate. Namely, that the idea of limited government and a truly free people as advocated by the majority of the Founders in 1776 and 1787 is a superior form of governance when compared to the current case-law based federal government. That’s it, that’s what WST is all about…advancing an argument that until WST and other groups emerged in the last year wasn’t really being discussed.

To be sure, the term “Constitution” or “Constitutional” comes up from time-to-time in relation to government discussions as in; “don’t worry, everything will be ok, after all, what I’m about to vote on is Constitutional.” But that was usually from a politician or other political operative seemingly to soothe the average voter mind on their desire to expand government even further.

Having wandered onto Constitutional territory in this post, rest assured, WST has no disagreement with those who suggest there was not unanimity amongst the Founders; we do not suggest or promote this concept. WST has no disagreement that shortly after the ratification of the Constitution, it almost immediately came under assault by advocates of a larger central government, we agree. Our disagreement is with those who seek to re-write history to suggest that what we have today was spawned from those very Founders who declared independence and codified the principles contained therein in the Constitution.

For indeed the federal government, from 1787 to roughly 1861 was nothing more than a smallish entity often failing at its efforts to expand. The federal government’s effort to tax personal production (The Whiskey Rebellion)…eventually withdrawn forcing the federal government, up through the Civil War, to rely almost exclusively on tariffs for revenue. Its effort to curtail the Bill of Rights (The Alien and Sedition Acts)…mostly expired or repealed. And finally, the US Government’s assertion, via the sword, that States would bend to the expansion of its powers. After the Civil War, the ground work was laid to have a robust and central government that would eventually swallow the sovereignty of the State.

Before any attempt to squelch WST before the conclusion of this post, please be assured that though we believe the Civil War began on legitimate Constitutional grounds; the right of a sovereign State to withdraw from the union, the slavery issue doomed them to defeat. No man has the right to own another and from the very formation of our Constitution, its greatest weakness was its failure to be true to the essential principle of the Declaration of Independence…that ALL men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights. WST concedes that this unholy concession to the South during the Constitutional Convention inevitably would lead to a national conflict, though in reality, this issue was not a primary reason for the War. That stated, one fortunate by-product of the War was the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would put a nail in the coffin of legal slavery. Sadly though, the attitudes would take much longer to disappear until a group in the South decided to stand up against the prevailing civil rights deficiencies that still lingered, even with the 13th Amendment.

However, acknowledging that one basis for the Civil War was wildly wrong, nevertheless, since the War, America has been on a trajectory that has culminated in a HUGE and bloated government that can

1. Tax any form of income, at any rate it likes, at any time it wants;
2. Create programs that are unsustainable such as Medicare and Social Security;
3. Create federal agencies that infringe on State Sovereignty and rob economic activity such as the IRS, Department of Education, NEA, FEC, and a myriad of other agencies;
4. Infringe on 1st Amendment Rights via the Fairness Doctrine;
5. Involved the United States in undeclared wars;
6. Take private property whenever is can justify a perceived need;
7. Ultimately, run up an un-payable $99 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT (

Thus, WST seeks to advance discussion about the principles so eloquently laid out in the Declaration of Independence; LIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT of Happiness.

WST asserts that both parties have abandoned any pretense to holding to this vision. Therefore as part of an ever growing movement taking shape across the country, WST is by-passing the two-party process and instead speaking directly to the people with our appeal. We call it the We the People message for the 21st Century.

Simply put;

- We believe America was established with a set of Rights, not handed down by a King or legislature, but by our Creator and/or Natural Law;
- We believe the ultimate power rests in the people, not the government;
- We believe and human history supports that the closest form of government to the people (town, local, state) is far superior to an all-powerful centralized government distant from the people.
- We believe the only Constitutional responsibilities the federal government possesses are to secure the liberties of a free people and not grow its power.

Thus, at this point in the movement’s evolution, we do not believe it necessary to make policy statements or take policy positions. Not because of any weakness on our part, but rather, we’d be making statements on a less than Constitutional playing field. We believe that much of what occurs in the sausage making process called the legislative process in Washington DC is not in keeping with the original meaning of the words contained in Article 1. Section 8. Therefore, until there is two-party agreement on the original meaning of the “Big 3,” the general Welfare Clause, the Commerce Clause, and the Necessary and Proper Clause, there really is no reason to expound on specific policies. This merely leads to multiple nuanced debates, open to emotion and subject to propaganda as we’ve seen for decades. Again, this has led to an un-payable $99 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT and a continuing degradation of civil liberties.

So, in a word, our “solution” to America’s problems lie not in the pro’s and con’s of a particular piece of legislation. Our solution is to resurrect a discussion and promote an argument that must be dealt with; are we a people governed by the original meaning of the words written in the Constitution and the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence or are we not? If we are not, then our future truly is bleak and our liberties are in peril. If we decide to resurrect the original meanings of the Constitution and the Principles of the Declaration of Independence, then we have some heavy lifting ahead of us. As for those of us involved in WST, we believe We the People can do it.

As it began, this post has not stated specifically which policies WST is “for.” If we did, it would entirely miss the point of WST and relegate us to the status of just another special interest group. We resist that effort.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sumner's Explanation of The Forgotten Man - Revised for the 21st Century

Sumner's Explanation of The Forgotten Man - Revised for the 21st Century
By Joshua Lyons 9/25/09

As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed – with the praise of Y – to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X or, in the better case, what A, B and C shall do for X. As for A and B, who get a law to make themselves do for X what they are willing to do for him, we have nothing to say except that they might better have done it without any law, but C is forced to comply with the new law. All this is done while Y looks on with glee and proclaims that A and B are so good for helping poor X.

A is the politician
B is the humanitarian, special interest, do-gooder, reformer, social speculator, etc.
C is The Forgotten Man (i.e. you, me, us)
X is the downtrodden, the oppressed, the little guy, the misunderstood, etc.
Y is the Mainstream Media

In other words…
As soon as THE POLITICIAN observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which THE DOWNTRODDEN is suffering, THE POLITICIAN talks it over with THE HUMANITARIAN, and THE POLITICIAN and THE HUMANITARIAN then propose to get a law passed – with the praise of THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA – to remedy the evil and help THE DOWNTRODDEN. Their law always proposes to determine what THE FORGOTTEN MAN shall do for THE DOWNTRODDEN or, in the better case, what THE POLITICIAN, THE HUMANITARIAN and THE FORGOTTEN MAN shall do for THE DOWNTRODDEN. As for THE POLITICIAN and THE HUMANITARIAN, who get a law to make themselves do for THE DOWNTRODDEN what they are willing to do for him, we have nothing to say except that they might better have done it without any law, but THE FORGOTTEN MAN is forced to comply with the new law. All this is done while THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA looks on with glee and proclaims that THE POLITICIAN and THE HUMANITARIAN are so good for helping poor THE DOWNTRODDEN.

The preceding commentary was based on William Graham Sumner’s explanation of The Forgotten Man.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

FNP Article 9/20/09

I decided to discuss this Letter to the Editor (LTE) here instead of the back-and-forth in the comment section. Here's the LTE:

Essentially, this LTE confirms exactly the premise of the LTE, that the country may be approaching a point of being hopelessly some level. Both camps, as I expected, arrived in the comment section; those holding to a "Living Constitution" position and those of us supporting an Originalist view of the Constitution. In this regard, the battle lines could not be more stark; sadly, there are few national leaders in either party that genuinely support the originalist view. At least their voting records would not demonstrate they're commitment.

So, what do we do here at We Surround Them Frederick?
  1. Remember, you're never going to win 100% of the people to the originalist view of the Constitution. Don't get frustrated or discouraged if you don't persuade every friend or family member to your view point. That's not the goal and we do not need 100% of the people to prevail. When I wrote the LTE, I knew a certain number of people would take an opposing view. What we need is enough people to gain power and reorient the debate to one that we can win; namely, that the Founders did not envision a HUGE, all-powerful central government. If this becomes the debate, freedom loving citizens will respond.
  2. Remember that we're up against decades of entrenched ideas about the role of government in our lives. We've all been raised (even us grey-hairs) under a school system that never taught the Constitution and the principles around it's founding. We've been raised to believe the vast bloated central government is the way it should be and have been told to ignore history that informs us that there has never been a liberty minded country with a large and pervasive central government...we will be no different.
  3. Remember, we're at the very early stages of the battle and they (the Living Constitution) crowd have had a 100 year jump on us. This will not be won in months and there will be many losses along the way. Our responsibility is to hold to our principles, not despair, and keep pressing ahead.
  4. Finally, muster courage to engage your friends, family, co-workers. Learn about the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Be prepared.

Folks, it has been an absolute highlight of my life to see what we have already accomplished as a group...together. Who'd have thought that by clicking a simple button 6 months ago, we'd have found 270 like minded people, made new friends, organized local TEA parties, launched a radio show, and have become a resource to the community for Constitutional issues. Who'd of thought.

This is just the beginning, we're getting our feet under us and while the future will be full of ups and downs, one thing I know for absolute sure, together, we're going to force our community to confront the realities of the consequences of a LARGE and BLOATED federal government.

Keep talking to your friends, invite them, connect them. My hope is by the end of March 2010, one year after We Surround Them Frederick was formed, there are 1,000 members connected to us.

Blessings to you all,

Mark Kreslins

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Do we just throw away the Constitution...?

The Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers have a great deal to do with how we ‘interpret’ the Constitution – as does the Declaration of Independence. They are interdependent with regard to how we understand the intentions of the founders. Thomas Jefferson wisely instructed that, "On every question of construction [of The Constitution], let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." What has occurred through manipulation and injection of humanism, progressivism, lust for power, and greed is the systematic divergence from the founders original intent. Society will cease to function without a constant order…when the law becomes a moving target – those without integrity will surely take advantage of the chaos that ensues.

In his FNP As I See It column, Mark has accurately laid out the overarching problem that we face as a nation. Until this is addressed and we decide what guidelines to follow – our exchange of power from one side to the other will ultimately divide us beyond repair. WST Frederick has the goal of bringing this topic into the local and national conversation and ultimately bring us back to our roots of a limited Federal gov’t and robust State gov’t.

Please read Mark's article here:

[From the Frederick News-Post's "As I see it" column A-9 this date]

The real national debate - from a local perspective

I started "We Surround Them Frederick" on March 3 by clicking "join" on I never imagined it would grow in size and influence like it has. Perhaps this suggests the status quo is no longer holding, and people are growing more and more dissatisfied with their options, whether Democrat or Republican.

Why do I believe this? The truth is, the current system of governance perpetually leaves one half of a country ticked off and feeling oppressed. This raises the question: Is this really what the founders intended when they signed the Declaration of Independence? Now some, who have never taken the time to read the writings of Jefferson , Madison and the others, may wonder what the heck I'm talking about and therein lies the problem.

We talk as though we all believe in the Constitution and adhere to it, yet did they really create a country where one faction gets to "rule" over another? Did they really intend Congress to manipulate three clauses in Article 1 Section 8 and rack up a projected future $99 trillion debt?

[yes, this is a correct calculated figure for our real long-term liability]

So when I read the comments in The FNP following the article on the Sept. 11 Tea Party, I was a bit taken aback by the vitriol and ask again: Is this really what the founders intended?

Those who advocate for an original intent position for the Declaration and Constitution are criticized as "crybabies," "crazy loons" or, my favorite, I am accused of belonging to a site ( that I'd never even heard of before the commenter mentioned it in his post. This is very revealing of where we are in our public discourse.

So, at the Sept. 11 Tea Party I never mentioned the word Democrat, or liberal, or Republican or right-winger. Instead, I pointed at Congress, with Rep. Roscoe Bartlett sitting off to my right, and properly identified Congress as the real problem. They're the ones in cooperation with big corporations who have saddled us with a debt we can never pay. Some of you might think that's fine; not me. So, on March 3, 2009, I clicked the button and the immortal phrase from "Field of Dreams" became a reality: "If you build it, they will come."

Perhaps a more productive exercise would be to help advance the ultimate argument we're confronting as a country. Simply put, are we still governed by the fundamental principles described in the Declaration and Constitution -- or are we not? If not, then there are consequences. One untenable consequence: to have one ideology oppress the other, which is fundamentally wrong. I see only bad outcomes with this course.

So, if the chasm is just too large, cooler heads should prevail and our country's leaders should gather in good faith to openly discuss 1776 and 1787 afresh. For just as there are Hamilton's legions today advocating a larger central government, there are also Jefferson 's legions wanting to eviscerate the size and reach of the federal government. I suggest that before lines get too dramatically drawn, cooler heads should prevail just as they did back in 1787.

Until this happens, I personally will continue to advocate Madison's position so well articulated in Federalist 45, to wit, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.

"The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State."


Mark E. Kreslins is the founder of We Surround Them Frederick , and is the co-host of the radio program "The Forgotten Men," which airs on 930 WFMD on Saturdays from noon to 1 p.m. He resides in Frederick .

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

9/11 Rally Meets the Tea Party

[from The Tentacle September 14, 2009]

9/11 Rally Meets the Tea Party

Steven R. Berryman

The convergence of local politics with national is impossible to escape now, even to the casual observer. With the timeframe overlap between the newest “Tea Party” style rally, the observances of 9/11s “Patriot Day,” and municipal primary elections tomorrow in Frederick, the relationship between party and constituent becomes even more blurred.

Saturday’s Washington Post led with “
GOP Sees Protest As an Opportunity” in the best possible position above the fold:

“Searching for ways to compete with Democrats after two consecutive electoral drubbings, Republicans have moved past earlier uncertainty about the protesters, who organized nationwide rallies this summer that have threatened Democratic health-care plans and eroded President Obama's standing with the public.”

Perhaps so, but I contend that the “Independents” currently supporting protest movements around the country still gravitate to the GOP, but – for various reasons – they are still very much “up for grabs.”

Flash back to last Friday, to the newly renovated Baker Park band shell; Tea Party Number Three got into full swing at 3 P.M. in the pouring rain. Six hundred faithful shuffled in and out over the next two hours.

I showed up a tad late, but the event was broadcast live so I missed nothing… and thought to wear my FDNY hat, a souvenir from Ground Zero in New York; American flag pin attached. And I was prepared to say a few words should the opportunity arise.

Tracking comments on a related Frederick News-Post article, I had been concerned about naysayers claiming a protest was not apropos for a 9/11 anniversary. They could not have been more wrong, as real patriots were in attendance, and were worried about the unbridled growth of government, the related consequences, and divergence from our Constitutional founding principles.

Much like the last two efforts, this local protest rally was hosted by WFMD radio’s enigmatic afternoon host, Blaine Young, and was coordinated by We Surround Them – Frederick’s Mark Kreslins and Joshua Lyons, the group’s founders.

[They both gave rousing speeches that can be found on]

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins gave a key invited speech, and appeared specifically as the sheriff, and made a note of it. Our sheriff is a faithful Republican, but that fact was not germane to the conversation at hand.

The elected official closest to the people” – as he rightly puts it – arrived with a montage speech that begun with covering the origins of the 9/11 attacks, a solemn remembrance, and managed to blend it into aspects and consequences of our current Constitutional overreach.

His concerns for a federal government run amok include our new financial liability, resulting in a vulnerability, with the Communist Chinese owning so much of our national debt, while selling us cheap goods at WalMart.

The undeniable cause of the above being the reckless spending of TARP bailouts, faux stimulus to select economic sectors, and energy “cap and trade,” which is vainly masked wealth redistribution for political gain.

“We are doing to ourselves, what a radical regime has already tried to do; to bleed ourselves to death with wasteful spending.” Later Dr. John Vitarello confirmed that the attempted HR3200 healthcare reforms would easily add $1.7 trillion to our national debt.

Fiscal conservatism surely has more value and relevance as an issue today than ever.

The creation of a brigade on the home front by our Department of Homeland Security (DHS) bothered the sheriff.

Although not quite the “brown shirts” of a National Socialist Party from another day, the ominous overreach is redundant, and oversteps local law enforcement, which is already in place and willing to adapt to contingencies such as national emergencies.

Who remembers still when President Barack Obama promised us a Civilian Security Force to match our National Guard in strength? Is this some prelude to internment camps for dissenters?

The unanswered questions give one pause.

How well did an engorged Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deal with Hurricane Katrina? Imagine how this type of oversight would impact a Johns Hopkins medial facility!

On healthcare reform, the rally featured an in-depth half hour talk by one of our finest local surgeons:

Outspoken cardiologist Dr. Vitarello is adamantly against a healthcare reform that would create a public option. His vision of a plan that would serve the people consists of one in which “the patient is the customer, and it’s all about the patient.”...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 11th Tea Party Speech "Enemies Within"

September 11th Tea Party Speech "Enemies Within"
by Joshua Lyons

Link to the speech:

Statism is the doctrine of giving a centralized government extensive reign on economic, political, and related controls at the cost of individual liberty. If this sounds familiar, you know…that we have enemies within.

These enemies have infiltrated our party system, our labor unions, and our non-profits. Around the country they have infiltrated our state and local gov’ts – our state legislatures, our city councils, and local Boards of Education. They have infiltrated our US Congress, our federal government agencies, and specialized posts directly appointed by our Executive Branch. I would venture to say that many of these people don’t even know what their participation and actions are producing. But there are many more that do know and are actively working toward systematically revamping our nation. These are the individuals who make statements, as our president did as a candidate on Oct. 30th, 2008. His proclamation was – and I quote – “we are 5 days away from fundamentally transforming the Unites States of America.”

The American sleeping giant has finally awoken partly because of these arrogant and blatant statements made in public by the radical proponents of Statism. This is why we are here – this is why we are compelled to gather together. The message of the Tea Party is of our liberties and what we must do to recapture them. The T-E-A acronym in TEA Party has come to be identified with “Taxed Enough Already.” I would like to suggest a new meaning for the T-E-A acronym. Tyranny Exists Already!

Don’t confuse my statement with hyperbole. To do so, would be a great folly and would play right into the hands of our opponents. Tyranny does not always show the familiar face of guillotines and firing squads. Sincere humanitarian concerns that are continuously acted upon for the good of the people (at the expense of their liberty), will only lead us down the path toward happy-faced tyranny. It is our civic duty to root out these acts and hold them up high for all to see. As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Hate crimes bills, Cap & Trade legislation, Fed wire-tapping of citizens, increased Social programs…
I ask you…WHERE DOES IT STOP?!?!?!? It doesn’t…it won’t…

If we do not fight for liberty now, I see a time in the not too distant future when we will look back and say, “Is the material comfort and superficial security I have – really worth the overbearing regulation and burdensome rules I’m forced to live by?” Let me remind you something Benjamin Franklin wisely said so many years ago, “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”

If we do not reverse the federal government’s rapid usurpation of power, we will have neither security nor liberty. We will experience a tyranny not seen in our lifetimes.

Washington must stick to the restricted authority that We the People consented to in our Constitution! And our damned state gov’t officials need to do their job and stop the monsters in Washington from stealing power not granted to them!

We would be wise to avoid constantly referring to the current environment as being Communism, Socialism, and Marxism. This is how the other side marginalizes us because the average American is still not plugged in and does not understand what is occurring. What we’re experiencing is Social Democracy. Social Democracy is the use of democratic means to achieve a gradual transition from capitalism to socialism. People…we are in the period between Republic and pick your “ism”

So you ask…who is the enemy within – who are problem? It is the deceptive radicals – these Statists!

They are the radicals!
They are the extremists!
They are ultimately our oppressors!

Those of us who are saying “enough is enough!” are not trying to stop anyone from succeeding; we are solely and uniformly declaring that “we don’t want our country fundamentally transformed!”

We are not opposed to progress…we are opposed to what progress means to the radicals!I say today marks a defining moment. This is the day that we stop throwing around the loose term liberal. That term may encompass the extreme Statists, but it also includes so many people that don’t fit into the real problem group. Think about it…it includes those who simply don’t want to be labeled selfish or intolerant, those who have well intentions and just want to help people…the list goes on. But most of them are the result of the problem, not the root cause. The root cause is the extremists who began this ball rolling at the beginning of the 20th century and continue to push progressivism under the guise of liberalism. We must be specific to call out the right people. Those people who we are in opposition to – we must now properly refer to them as Progressive Radicals!

Sides are being drawn and if we do not begin distinguishing the correct enemy now, we will forever be marginalized and that will lead to their ultimate victory. However, I have faith in this movement…I have faith in you! I know we can make this important distinction and I know we will win!

As I did the last time we gathered…I’ll close with a poem by Milton Mayer that you may know. While you hear this, do not focus on the figure heads of that era or ours…but recall the snowball effect of recent events that began in the fall of 2008 and have gained unprecedented momentum since then.

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;

And then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;

And then they came for the Jews,
And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;

And then... they came for me...
And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

And so I promise you…I will not be inactive. I will not stay silent.
I will stand up! I will speak up!Because for me and my posterity…there WILL be LIBERTY!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stay Alert

A friend posted on my facebook this morning a very troubling trend reported by the American Liberty Alliance. Essentially, they report that California was forced to abandon and retract the use of the term "tea bagger" when describing those who assemble peacefully to protest an out-of-control government. I'll spare you the need to look up the term, suffice it to say, it's not a pleasant experience nor a term that in any way accurately describes our movement.

So, as our movement continues to grow, be alert to the realities of our opponents desire to paint us as; wing nuts, terrorists, radicals, anti-American, evil-mongers, and yes, "tea baggers." The way I handle this is by using a bit of shame as I did on Fox News when I emphatically plead offense at their desire to call me something other than I am. Shame may not work with the person using these terms, but it may have an effect on the people hearing the phase being used.

Stay alert and don't be afraid to shame your accuser.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Healthcare Insurance is...Insurance.

Many citizens have forgotten the fact that we are not entitled to everything we want or even need to survive. We’ve come to expect that we deserve a job or a meal like it was our birthright. Hopefully, enough people will be brave enough to compassionately remind the citizenry that our birthright is that to be free. Once we trade the smallest pieces of our freedom for a morsel of security, our newly bound dependence charges us with the implication that we deserve neither freedom nor security.

The current national conversation around the Healthcare reform debate is one near and dear to all of us. It is a complex issue when one focuses on the specifics of the legislation or on the emotion that entangles us when we think about our personal Healthcare struggles. However, if the situation is broken down to its most basic elements, one can begin to grasp the significance of some core principles and get less caught up in the useless back-and-forth that the current conversation seems to always include.

  1. Importance of Authority – Our federal government was designed with limited powers. Our founders enumerated 18 powers given to Congress in Article 1 Section 8. Because they were historians, the founders knew that when unlimited power in the hands of a centralized government always resulted in tyranny. Their goal was to design a functional union of states, which held authority in all matters not defined for the federal government within the US Constitution. Until We the People again assert the founders intentions related to certain Constitutional clauses (i.e. General Welfare, Commerce, Necessary and Proper), we will be at the mercy of those who have inappropriately redefined these clauses to change our society. They have done so because they knew they could not change the law; We the People would not have let them. To the point of Healthcare, authority was never given to the federal government to provide Healthcare to its citizens. Doing so without going through the constitutional amendment process is usurpation of authority and creates null in-void legislation. Until We the People direct our state legislatures to pass nullification bills, we will face the real potential of our federal representatives usurping more power from us and becoming more tyrannical by the day. This continued cycle can only ultimately lead toward some form of Oligarchy or worse.
  2. Healthcare as a Right – Our founders did not craft the Constitution or the Bill of Rights to enumerate every right the people had. Conversely, it did enumerate the powers of the federal government. If it didn’t provide an exhaustive list, then one might ask how we can determine what is a right and what is not. The answer to that question is found when we understand (as the founders did) that rights came from our Creator (i.e. Unalienable Rights). Once we explore their writings and speeches as well as the historical figures that they studied, we begin to develop an understanding and appreciation of what they believed at their core. One such example is that the government could not force an individual to provide for another individuals needs. Providing for another’s needs is an example of Unalienable Duties, however this is outside the realm of government intervention. An individual does not have the right to Healthcare at another individuals expense, period. An individual does have the right to not have a third party interfere with someone providing healthcare to the individual. One might ask how such statements can be made or that we already provide for the welfare of the downtrodden. They would probably be the first to call someone a monster who says that the government has no place doing such things. However, I would wager that those “monsters” on average provide more assistance to the downtrodden and hurting.
  3. Insurance – The basic premise for having insurance is to transfer risk. We’ve come to expect that having insurance means any of our healthcare needs will automatically paid for by our insurance provider. Thinking that through the entire healthcare cycle, that can’t even pass the common sense sniff test. Jack Whelan recently said that Health Insurance "is not pre-payment of service, it is the transfer of risk of the financial impact of a potential event from yourself to a company." I can’t make the point any better than what is stated in the following article that was passed to me by a friend: Article HERE.
We who disagree with the current Healthcare legislation are not opposed to reforming Healthcare in this country; we are opposed to how it’s being forced upon us…and to who’s doing the forcing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

By what authority?

By what authority?
by Joshua Lyons
Originally published August 11, 2009 in the Frederick News Post

I want to be the first one to stand up and commend Rep. Roscoe Bartlett when such action is appropriate, but I will similarly stand up to hold him accountable when he strays from the oath he took to support and defend the constitution; for I am an equal opportunity accountability partner.

Click here for the full LTE:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Healthcare legislation is not about healthcare

The healthcare legislation is not about healthcare - it's about centralizing control in the hands of the federal gov't. This is what our founders tried to protect our nation from. We're at a full sprint toward rulers law being propagated by both political parties. Each citizens fate will be in the hands of a elite few.We must take our eyes off the specifics of the issue and focus on the authority granted to our federal representatives by the people (see the enumerated powers given to congress found in Article 1 Section 8 of the constitution). Otherwise, we'll continue in a losing back-and-forth game of arguing the issues where the ball keeps getting pushed a few more inches down the field toward the Nanny State endzone.

If you believe the founders had the answers to the problems that we face today, please join us at:

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

General Welfare Clause

Mark posted the link to this article on the site in the discussion forum. I thought this was one of the best articles I've read on the topic in a long time. I highly recommend that everyone read this article and do their best to commit it to memory. Please post any comments below. Enjoy!

Congress: A Wealth-Eating Virus
Originally posted on 04 August 2009
by Bob Greenslade

With the nation in the midst of an economic crisis, many groups and individuals are questioning the massive spending and so-called economic stimulus bills recently passed by Congress. This includes bailouts and appropriations known as earmarks and pork-barrel spending. Since the constitutionality of federal spending is never part of the debate, we need to re-visit Congress’ power to tax and spend.

The Taxing and Spending Clause
Congress’ power to tax and spend is found in Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution for the United States of America. This Clause grants Congress the power:

“To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.”

Click on the following link for the rest of the article:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fight ... for your right — to Tea Party

Fight ... for your right — to Tea Party
by Joshua Lyons
Originally published July 19, 2009 in the Frederick News Post (As I See It)

Over the past couple of weeks, a great deal has been said about the so-called Tea Partiers. Much of it has been negative to say the least. It was interesting to me that many of the disparaging remarks have been generalizations and incorrect speculation -- passed off as matters of fact -- of why they, them, those people participated in the July 4 Frederick Take Back America rally.While I cannot speak for everyone in attendance, I can attempt to share my motivations as a participant and organizer.

It is each generation's responsibility to preserve the freedoms that our founding fathers fought for and won for us. We inherited a system of government that was so unique it enabled a country to mature like no other and usher in more advances in 200-plus years than the previous 5,000. Unfortunately, over the past century, we have been part of a culture that has slowly forgotten why those patriots pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor. They primarily did so to recapture rights and liberties that had been wrongly taken from them by a tyrant king. It is my hope that we do not allow their sacrifices to drift away in vain.

For the past five generations we have experienced a progressive usurpation of power by those who we have been chosen to represent us. So often they do it for power or money as we all have somehow come to accept and even expect. But so many times it has come from a politician or bureaucrat of "good will" who is convinced they know what is best for us little people. C.S. Lewis once said: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Find the full story here:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Did anyone catch the radio show on Saturday (7/18/09)?

Post your comments on Saturday's radio broadcast. We had a great time, but what did you think?

What are your thoughts about Friday's meeting?

I'll start this off. Friday we participated in an exceptional meeting that laid the framework of where this group is going. I saw so many people who are ready to make a difference - truly inspiring! Thank you to all who made it. Hold on to your hats, keep your arms and legs inside the ride - this is going to be one long and exciting adventure!

Please post your thoughts / comments about Friday's (7/24/09) meeting. Any and all feedback is welcome (as long as it's PG-13 rated or below...). :-)