Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Health Care Debate: A Case of “Systematic Misunderstanding”

My Fellow Americans,

If the President’s health care summit (photo: CBS News) on Feb. 25 revealed anything, it showed America how far apart our leaders are in the debate.  Honestly, after about a year of this back and forth about health care, I wasn’t really surprised by the result.  I was searching for a way to describe what has been going on in this country – not only regarding health care – but also the stimulus package, cap and trade, et al.image6186902x

I think I found it.  It’s called systematic misunderstanding.

Let me share something with you from The Lexus and the Olive Tree, by Thomas L. Friedman.  On page 340, Friedman writes:

Again, the contrast: [Yousef] Boutrous-Ghali is the most creative, high-tech driver of globalization in Egypt, but his elevator man says a prayer before taking you up to his office.

[This] captured for me the real tension at the heart of Egypt while its small, cell-phone-armed, globalizing elites were definitely pushing to get online and onto the global economic train, most others feared they would be left behind or lose their identity trying to catch it.  Indeed I was struck, after a week of discussing both the costs and benefits of globalization, how most Egyptians, including many intellectuals, could only see the costs.  The more I explained globalization, the more they expressed unease about it.  It eventually struck me that I was encountering what anthropologists call “systematic misunderstanding.” Systematic misunderstanding arises when your framework and the other person’s framework are so fundamentally different that it cannot be corrected by providing more information.

Now, you may be saying to yourself: “No kidding.  Of course Democrats and Republicans don’t agree.  That’s why we have a two-party system.”  That is certainly true and you would be right in thinking that.  However, I think this is a fundamental concept that President Barack Obama is missing – either due to ignorance or arrogance.

If you were watching or reading the coverage of the health care summit closely, the concept of systematic understanding was evident throughout the day.  Staff writer Dan Balz of The Washington Post put it best when he wrote this in his Feb. 27 article:

Democrats think more government is the answer; Republicans say the opposite, that market competition is the best antidote to the ailing system. Republicans are focused on cost, both rising premiums and government expenditures. They haven't made universal coverage anything close to a priority. Democrats are more determined to expand coverage to many millions more who lack insurance. But they say they have not ignored costs. Their proposals, they argue, would reduce premiums and the deficit. Republicans say the projected governmental savings will never be realized.

If that doesn’t exemplify systematic misunderstanding, I don’t know what does.  Democrats say “government, government, government.”  Republicans say “market competition.”  That’s enough to conclude that the likelihood of there being an agreement on health care is miniscule at best.

However, it is my observation that this idea of systematic misunderstanding doesn’t just stop with Democrats and Republicans – it also expands to the current administration and the American people.  It appears as if the Obama administration doesn’t care what the American people want.  They basically go ahead and do their own thing – all in the name of helping Americans.  They act as if they are in tune with the majority of Americans when, in fact, that notion couldn’t be further from the truth.

Take for instance this excerpt from a Feb. 26 Fox News article by C.L. Gray, M.D.:

Republicans advanced several limited steps to move health care toward fiscal solvency while emphasizing patient and physician autonomy. Yet the Democrats rejected the concept of a stepwise approach in favor of sweeping reform crammed down the throats of 75% of American citizens (25% agree with the plan).

Americans are innately suspicious of sweeping government reform. They desperately want the problems with our health care system fixed, but they want the government to leave what works well enough alone. Voters are growing weary of the pork, payoffs, bribes, and backroom deals that now consume our capital. The Democrats have cut a deal with every major player at the table in an effort to gain control over health care reform and the American people know it.

I don’t know about you, but, to me, that doesn’t sound like a government that gets it.  It also doesn’t appear to me that the American people want the government involved in health care reform.  But their cries of “stay out” fall on deaf ears.  It’s systematic misunderstanding at its best.

Until Democrats and Republicans agree to keep government out of our health decisions and this administration gets more in tune with America – consider systematic misunderstanding a new buzz word.

Let me turn it over to you, America.  What do you think?  Should the government be involved in health care or should we let the market take care of it?

With the Democrats and the Obama administration not truthfully willing to listen to the other side, I don’t see coming to any kind of systematic UNDERSTANDING any time soon.

- The Refounding Father

Friday, February 26, 2010

What Is Popular Education?

My Fellow Americans,

As a follow-up to the piece about the conference at Hampshire College, I would like to speak with you today about the ideology of one of the conference’s sponsors: Project South.  As part of my research for the conference post, I looked into some of the various groups that I didn’t recognize.  What I seemed to find was more of the same.  Then I came across Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide.  From there, I learned that Project South supported what is called “Popular Education.”  And well, it only goes down hill from there.

Here we go…

Let’s define Popular Education, first, shall we?  According to an article published by the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany (and first prepared for the Popular Education Forum for Scotland), “Popular education is understood to be popular, as distinct from merely populist, in the sense that:

• it is rooted in the real interests and struggles of ordinary peopleheader1b
• it is overtly political and critical of the status quo
• it is committed to progressive social and political change.

Popular education is based on a clear analysis of the nature of inequality, exploitation and oppression and is informed by an equally clear political purpose. This has nothing to do with helping the 'disadvantaged' or the management of poverty; it has everything to do with the struggle for a more just and egalitarian social order.’

Furthermore, one of the general characteristics of Popular Education is that “attempts, wherever possible, to forge a direct link between education and social action.” 

How does that not sound like the Progressive movement of today?  Do we really want to be more like Europe – more like Scotland?

The article goes on to say:

Although the term has come to be associated with relatively recent developments in Latin America, it has strong resonances with both the radical tradition in British adult education and the distinctively Scottish interest in promoting democratic access to the exploration of ideas and to the debate about what counts as worthwhile knowledge.

Popular education seeks to connect the local and the global. In every context it proceeds from specific, localised forms of education and action, but it deliberately sets out to foster international solidarity by making these local struggles part of the wider international struggle for justice and peace.

What you need to be concerned about here is the fact that Popular Education “seeks to connect the local and the global.”  That part of the description is very important.  What ties progressives and Popular Education together is the idea of a “welfare world,” a place where – in a global or collective sense – we are all responsible for each other.

And those that support Popular Education believe that the only way to do this – is through a grassroots movement.  In a paper presented by Jerome Scott, the founder of Project South, along with Walda Katz-Fishman and Ralph Gomes at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, PA in August 2005, we learn exactly what people behind this idea of Popular Education are truly thinking (both Katz and Gomes are professors at Howard University and have ties to Project South).  The paper, titled “A Bottom-up Southern Strategy for Power in the 21st Century – Freedom is through the South,” explains that:

To build today’s movement to fight for and to win justice, equality, peace and popular democracy we must understand how the ruling class has historically controlled the American people and what we must do to break that control. The short answer is that the ruling class has controlled us through a southern strategy rooted in superexploitation, white supremacy, male privilege, division, and brutal repression. Today’s bottom-up movement needs its own southern strategy to challenge white supremacy at its core, capitalist private property, and male domination, etc. We need to build unity across historic divides and to model the principles and processes of popular democracy in our movement as we struggle to transform society. To win nationally, we must win in the South.

We begin to further understand Scott’s background and Project South’s mission – and thereby Popular Education – in another paper jointly-authored by Scott and Katz-Fishman, titled “America Through the Eye of Hurricane Katrina – Capitalism at its “Best” – What Are We Prepared to Do?”  This work was written in response to what they call the “human-made disaster of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita” which “devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, contextualizes the destruction of human life, community, and environment in history, economy, power, and peoples' struggles.”  (Human made disaster?  I guess somebody still believes in the global warming hype).

Scott and Katz-Fishman claim that:

The horrific destruction reflects the intentional abandonment and criminalization of the poor, working class, communities of color-- African American, Indigenous, immigrant-- especially women, children, elders, and environmental crisis over centuries. It teaches us two critical lessons. One, that the economic and political system of global capitalism, including the [United States] government at all levels, is broken and cannot be fixed. Two, that only a powerful bottom-up movement led by those most adversely affected can reconstruct New Orleans and the Gulf Coast around a transformative vision rooted in twenty-first century economic, political, and social realities that addresses their needs and hopes.

And now we see a prime target of the whole Popular Education ideology: capitalism.  What’s interesting is how this is connected to what is called Historical Materialism.  According to Wikipedia, “Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans collectively produce the necessities of life.”

Who initiated Historical Materialism?  Karl Marx – the father of communism.  Marx predicted Historical Materialism, or as he called it “the materialist conception of history,” would cause “the breakdown of capitalism (as a result of class struggle and the falling rate of profit), and the establishment in time of a communist society in which class-based human conflict would be overcome. The means of production would be held in the common ownership and used for the common good” (Wikipedia).

The problem is that Popular Education has been around for hundreds of years.  It is ingrained in the fabric of our society.  It is part of the mainstream.  It’s in our culture and schools.  It’s talked about on television.  It has become the norm – because the progressive movement has become the norm.

We see that these ideologies have the common goal of destroying capitalism and blaming it for all of society’s problems.  What we need to remember as Americans is that our country’s founders did not intend for things to be this way.  I ask that you learn about the things I introduce to you in here and pass them along to your friends and family.  Do your own research.  Tell me what you think.  Talk about it.  We need to understand where the other side is coming from if we want to have any hope of bringing about real change in this great nation.

Stay vigilant,

The Refounding Father

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Promoting Abortion: The 24th Annual Conference for Student & Community Activists at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA

My Fellow Americans,

The liberal/progressive agenda continues to be thrown in our faces.  We just can't get away from it – we see it promoted on the television, the radio, the Internet – and, yes, even in your U.S. mail. 

A female friend of mine brought something to my attention on Feb. 20.  My friend, a conservative woman who has never been pregnant, received a flyer from the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program and the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.  The headline on the flyer read: "24th Annual Conference for Student and Community Activists from Abortion Rights to Social Justice - Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom."  The conference is to be held from April 9-11, 2010 on the campus of Hampshire (logo:  (For more information on the conference, click here).

What is "Reproductive Justice" you ask?  Luckily for us, the flyer explains it.  Reproductive Justice includes:

1. Economic Justice2010_poster_banner

2. Access to Healthcare

3. Abortion Rights and Access

4. Alternatives to Prison

5. Comprehensive Sexuality Education

6. The Right to Have Children

7. Environmental and Climate Justice

8. Immigrant Rights

9. Rights, Respect, and Access to Care for People Living with HIV/AIDS

10. Youth Rights

11. A World Free from War and Violence

12. Disability Rights

13. Racial Justice

14. LGBTQI Sexual and Health Rights

15. Gender Justice

16. Support for Mothers

What I am having trouble wrapping my head around is how some of these “rights” included in “Reproductive Justice” contradict each other.  How can you promote the right for people to have children and support for mothers then turn around and support abortion rights and access to it?  On top of that, how can you be for a world free from violence and promote the killing of babies in the womb?  It doesn’t make sense to me at all.

What I also have trouble understanding is how a college can host such a polarizing event.  Then again, in its mission statement on its very own website,  Hampshire College does encourage its students to “…advance the cause of social justice…”  So, when you read that, you begin to understand how Hampshire hosting this conference came about.

The flyer also details who is speaking at or sponsoring the conference.  Who would possibly speak at or sponsor such an event?  The sponsors list includes the Tides Foundation – the organization founded by Drummond Pike.  The Tides Foundation has ties to ACORN – and Pike is good buddies with Wade Rathke, ACORN’s founder.  Rathke is also a board member of the Tides Foundation.  This organization is everywhere.

Who else will be there?  Well, Alexandra L. Cawthorne from the Center for American Progress, the organization headed by John D. Podesta and heavily-funded by George Soros.  In parts of 2006 and 2007, Ms. Cawthorne worked as a Democratic Legislative Assistant on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

But, oh, it gets better.  The American Civil Liberties Union is represented as well.  Speakers Dahlia Ward and Diana Kasdan will be there representing the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.  According to her LinkedIn profile, not only is Ms. Ward currently the ACLU’s State Strategist and a contributor to the ACLU’s blog, she was a community organizer for the Sacramento Mutual Housing Association

Ms. Kasdan is an attorney at the ACLU.  All she wants to do is make sure women who are in jail have access to “abortion care.”  She also blogs for the ACLU.

And don’t worry – if you can’t afford to go – you will still be accommodated.  I mean, God forbid we don’t give pregnant girls the opportunity to learn about their abortion rights.  There is a stipend for just about everything: the Comfort Inn (which blocked off rooms for the event), air travel, food, and, yes, even child care.  You know, the children who weren’t aborted?  We’ll take care of them for you.  Oh, and if you’re a social worker, you can receive continuing education credits!

I bring all of this to your attention because I find it down right disgusting.  Sure, it’s free speech – and you know I fully support the Constitution.  But, this is indoctrination to the fullest extent.

Furthermore, this is just another element of the progressive agenda.  Can you honestly sit there and say to yourself that this is not a minority thing – mostly an African American thing?  Do you think that minorities are a target for the progressive movement?  Think again.  It’s called population control.  And President Barack Obama’s science czar, John Holdren is all for it.

It is a fact that the majority of women who are having abortions are black.  Statistics collected by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2004 show that:too many aborted

  • “50% of U.S. women obtaining abortions are younger than 25. Women aged 20–24 obtain 33% of all abortions, and teenagers obtain 17%.
  • Black women are 4.8 times as likely as non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.7 times as likely.
  • 37.1% of all abortions are performed on black women who make up only 14% of the total population of U.S. women of child-bearing age.”

As of 2006, black women were only 3 times as likely as white women to get an abortion.  Shall we say that is progress?  I think not (photo:

It’s funny.  This whole conference is about rights.  But, what the conference organizers, speakers, sponsors, and attendees fail to realize (or just flat out ignore) is that the unborn child has rights as well.  Remember that pesky little Declaration of Independence?  How about the part that explains how we “are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”?  Do we forget that?  That child has certain rights as well – the most important (and the one that should be the easiest to acknowledge) being the right to LIFE.

I’ll spare you the science about when a baby has a heartbeat or how long into the pregnancy an abortion can be performed.  You can read the links I provided on your own.  But, what if Barack Obama’s mother or Martin Luther King’s mother had decided to have an abortion?  For you liberals, progressives, and Feminazis – think about that for a second.  Let it marinate in your corrupt minds for a while.  How many potential leaders, presidents, scientists, lawyers, and doctors are we killing – without ever giving them a chance at life?  (Photo: Google)

brxbxp45356 Instead of teaching these women what their “rights” are in terms of a procedure they will regret having for the rest of their lives, why don’t we teach people responsibility?  What about teaching them self-reliance and self-control?  While, yes, you do have the right to do whatever you want with your body.  What you don’t have is the right to do so in a way that affects others.  For instance, sure you can drink and get drunk.  That’s your right.  But, you are also responsible for the things that happen while you are drunk.  And if you drive – and kill someone – that’s on you.  So, with that in mind, sure, these women can have sex.  But, if sexual activity results in pregnancy – their body isn’t just theirs anymore. 

That unborn child has rights as well.

Tell President Obama and our “leaders” in Washington that we don’t want our tax dollars going to places like Planned Parenthood.  We shouldn’t be funding abortions domestically or abroad.

If you are as outraged as my friend and I are – do something about it.  Call Hampshire College about this conference.  Boycott the Comfort Inn.

Contact Information

Hampshire College:

The Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program
Hampshire College
Amherst, MA 01002-3359

Phone: (413) 559-5416

Fax: (413) 559-5826


The Comfort Inn:

Comfort Inn Hadley Amherst Hotel
237 Russell Street, SR 9
Hadley, MA  01035
Phone:  (413) 584-9816
Fax:  (413) 586-7512

I will be doing a follow-up post to this some time this week.  So, be on the look out for it.  I will be detailing a movement that is a part of this conference and a group which is pushing the agenda.  I’m doing research for it and gathering my facts.  Stay tuned.

God Bless America.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, George!

My Fellow Americans,

In honor of George Washington’s Birthday (a.k.a. President’s Day), I would like to share something  with you today.  According to Wikipedia, “[s]ince 1862 there has been a tradition in the United States Senate that George Washington's Farewell Address be read on his birthday.”  On this President’s Day, I can think of no better way to honor our first President. 

George Washington’s Farewell Address

To the People of the United States

1 The period for a new election of a citizen, to administer the executive government of the United States, being not far distant, and the time actually arrived, when your thoughts must be employed designating the person, who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprize you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made. 

2 I beg you at the same time to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

3 The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages have twice called me, have been a uniform sacrifice of inclination to the opinion of duty, and to a deference for what appeared to be your desire. I constantly hoped, that it would have been much earlier in my power, consistently with motives, which I was not at liberty to disregard, to return to that retirement, from which I had been reluctantly drawn. The strength of my inclination to do this, previous to the last election, had even led to the preparation of an address to declare it to you; but mature reflection on the then perplexed and critical posture of our affageorge_washington_3irs with foreign nations, and the unanimous advice of persons entitled to my confidence impelled me to abandon the idea.

4 I rejoice, that the state of your concerns, external as well as internal, no longer renders the pursuit of inclination incompatible with the sentiment of duty, or propriety; and am persuaded, whatever partiality may be retained for my services, that, in the present circumstances of our country, you will not disapprove my determination to retire.

5 The impressions, with which I first undertook the arduous trust, were explained on the proper occasion. In the discharge of this trust, I will only say, that I have, with good intentions, contributed towards the organization and administration of the government the best exertions of which a very fallible judgment was capable. Not unconscious, in the outset, of the inferiority of my qualifications, experience in my own eyes, perhaps still more in the eyes of others, has strengthened the motives to diffidence of myself; and every day the increasing weight of years admonishes me more and more, that the shade of retirement is as necessary to me as it will be welcome. Satisfied, that, if any circumstances have given peculiar value to my services, they were temporary, I have the consolation to believe, that, while choice and prudence invite me to quit the political scene, patriotism does not forbid it.

6 In looking forward to the moment, which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal. If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it.

7 Here, perhaps I ought to stop. But a solicitude for your welfare which cannot end but with my life, and the apprehension of danger, natural to that solicitude, urge me, on an occasion like the present, to offer to your solemn contemplation, and to recommend to your frequent review, some sentiments which are the result of much reflection, of no inconsiderable observation, and which appear to me all-important to the permanency of your felicity as a people. These will be offered to you with the more freedom, as you can only see in them the disinterested warnings of a parting friend, who can possibly have no personal motive to bias his counsel. Nor can I forget, as an encouragement to it, your indulgent reception of my sentiments on a former and not dissimilar occasion.

8 Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.

9 The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquillity at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee, that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the Palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion, that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

10 For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of american, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the Independence and Liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts, of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

11 But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those, which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the Union of the whole.

12 The North, in an unrestrained intercourse with the South, protected by the equal laws of a common government, finds, in the productions of the latter, great additional resources of maritime and commercial enterprise and precious materials of manufacturing industry. The South, in the same intercourse, benefiting by the agency of the North, sees its agriculture grow and its commerce expand. Turning partly into its own channels the seamen of the North, it finds its particular navigation invigorated; and, while it contributes, in different ways, to nourish and increase the general mass of the national navigation, it looks forward to the protection of a maritime strength, to which itself is unequally adapted. The East, in a like intercourse with the West, already finds, and in the progressive improvement of interior communications by land and water, will more and more find, a valuable vent for the commodities which it brings from abroad, or manufactures at home. The West derives from the East supplies requisite to its growth and comfort, and, what is perhaps of still greater consequence, it must of necessity owe the secure enjoyment of indispensable outlets for its own productions to the weight, influence, and the future maritime strength of the Atlantic side of the Union, directed by an indissoluble community of interest as one nation. Any other tenure by which the West can hold this essential advantage, whether derived from its own separate strength, or from an apostate and unnatural connexion with any foreign power, must be intrinsically precarious.

13 While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in Union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from Union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighbouring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rivalships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty. In this sense it is, that your Union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other.

14 These considerations speak a persuasive language to every reflecting and virtuous mind, and exhibit the continuance of the union as a primary object of Patriotic desire. Is there a doubt, whether a common government can embrace so large a sphere? Let experience solve it. To listen to mere speculation in such a case were criminal. We are authorized to hope, that a proper organization of the whole, with the auxiliary agency of governments for the respective subdivisions, will afford a happy issue to the experiment. It is well worth a fair and full experiment. With such powerful and obvious motives to Union, affecting all parts of our country, while experience shall not have demonstrated its impracticability, there will always be reason to distrust the patriotism of those, who in any quarter may endeavour to weaken its bands.

15 In contemplating the causes, which may disturb our Union, it occurs as matter of serious concern, that any ground should have been furnished for characterizing parties by Geographical discriminations, Northern and Southern, Atlantic and Western; whence designing men may endeavour to excite a belief, that there is a real difference of local interests and views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western country have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have seen, in the negotiation by the Executive, and in the unanimous ratification by the Senate, of the treaty with Spain, and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were the suspicions propagated among them of a policy in the General Government and in the Atlantic States unfriendly to their interests in regard to the mississippi; they have been witnesses to the formation of two treaties, that with Great Britain, and that with Spain, which secure to them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advantages on the union by which they were procured? Will they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there are, who would sever them from their brethren, and connect them with aliens?

16 To the efficacy and permanency of your Union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, however strict, between the parts can be an adequate substitute; they must inevitably experience the infractions and interruptions, which all alliances in all times have experienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a Constitution of Government better calculated than your former for an intimate Union, and for the efficacious management of your common concerns. This Government, the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, completely free in its principles, in the distribution of its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a just claim to your confidence and your support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of true Liberty. The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.

17 All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.

18 However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

19 Towards the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations, which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of governments, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that, for the efficient management of our common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

20 I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

21 This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

22 The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

23 Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

24 It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

25 There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

26 It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.

27 Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

28 It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?

29 Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

30 As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is, to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts, which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen, which we ourselves ought to bear. The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives, but it is necessary that public opinion should cooperate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue; that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment, inseparable from the selection of the general_george_washington_1777_lgproper objects (which is always a choice of difficulties), ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

31 Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it ? Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices ?

32 In the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim. 

33 So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

34 As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent Patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the Public Councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

35 Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens,) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove, that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

36 The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

37 Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

38 Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

39 Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

40 It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

41 Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

42 Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard. 800px-Washington_Farewell_Broadside

43 In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations. But, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit, to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

44 How far in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have at least believed myself to be guided by them.

45 In relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my Proclamation of the 22d of April 1793, is the index to my Plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your Representatives in both Houses of Congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

46 After deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it, with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

47 The considerations, which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the Belligerent Powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

48 The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

49 The inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominant motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

50 Though, in reviewing the incidents of my administration, I am unconscious of intentional error, I am nevertheless too sensible of my defects not to think it probable that I may have committed many errors. Whatever they may be, I fervently beseech the Almighty to avert or mitigate the evils to which they may tend. I shall also carry with me the hope, that my Country will never cease to view them with indulgence; and that, after forty-five years of my life dedicated to its service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion, as myself must soon be to the mansions of rest.

51 Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers.

George Washington
United States - September 17, 1796

Source: Archiving Early America

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To My Significant Other:

First of all, you know who you are. 

Second of all, I want to let you know that I love you with all my heart and look forward to a wonderful dinner with you tonight.

I thank God every day for having you in my life.

Love you.

PS: Can we watch something other than the Olympics later?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

America, Have We Lost Our Identity or Are We Ashamed By It?

My Fellow Americans,

I have been reading Thomas L. Friedman's National Bestseller The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization for a little while now.  I chose this book because I wanted to get a feel for how the markets worked on a global scale.  I've really grown to love learning about how everything is connected.  And while Friedman's book is dated -- it was published in 2000 -- you can still learn a lot from it (as long as you get past where he talks about the "green" movement).

One aspect of the book that stood out to me over the past week was in Chapter 13, titled "Demolition Man," where Friedman talks about culture.  On page 302, he writes: "Culture, at its best, can be one of the most powerful forms of voluntary restraint in human behavior.  It gives life structure and meaning.  It sanctions a whole set of habits, behavorial restraints, expectations, and traditions that pattern life and hold societies together at their core."

He goes on to talk further about what happens when a country or community loses its culture.  On page 303, Friedman writes: "What I fear is that Malaysia and Thailand, India and Israel, Qatar and Indonesia will eventually reach a point in their development where they too will want to revive [...] the sights, the smells, the colors, the street stalls, the architecture, and the landscapes of old.  Those were the nests in which their own distinctive cultures [...] were planted and nurtured.  But they could discover that they have been erased forever, not by some new, evolved form of their culture, which has happened throughout history, but rather by a sterile global culture smashed onto their society."

I share these two quotes with you because I fear America is losing its identity -- its culture.  I think we forget what makes America -- America.  The progressive movement that has taken over this country since the early 20th century has left us with a slanted view of America's history.

Thanks to the progressives, today, capitalism is seen as evil, your kids are being indoctrinated, and the history books are written with a -- let's just say -- false perspective.

Take for instance -- the Depression of 1920 and the subsequent "Roaring 20's."  The history books would have you believe that the market crash of 1929 sparked the greatest financial meltdown America has seen.  The history books would also have you believe that President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal" programs helped the U.S. climb out of the Great Depression.  Both, however, are false.

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., a resident scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and author of the New York Times bestseller Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse, explained what really happened in the 1920's in his article "The Forgotten Depression of the 1920's."  Woods writes: "According to the endlessly repeated conventional wisdom, the Great Depression of the 1930s was the result of capitalism run riot, and only the wise interventions of progressive politicians restored prosperity."

He adds:
Many of those who concede that the New Deal programs alone did not succeed in lifting the country out of depression nevertheless go on to suggest that the massive government spending during World War II is what did it.  (Even some nominal free marketeers make the latter claim, which hands the entire theoretical argument to supporters of fiscal stimulus.)

The connection between this version of history and the events of today is obvious enough: once again, it is claimed, wildcat capitalism has created a terrific mess, and once again, only a combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus can save us.

In order to make sure that this version of events sticks, little, if any, public mention is ever made of the depression of 1920–1921. And no wonder — that historical experience deflates the ambitions of those who promise us political solutions to the real imbalances at the heart of economic busts.

The conventional wisdom holds that in the absence of government countercyclical policy, whether fiscal or monetary (or both), we cannot expect economic recovery — at least, not without an intolerably long delay. Yet the very opposite policies were followed during the depression of 1920–1921, and recovery was in fact not long in coming.

The economic situation in 1920 was grim. By that year unemployment had jumped from 4 percent to nearly 12 percent, and [Gross National Product] declined 17 percent. No wonder, then, that Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover — falsely characterized as a supporter of laissez-faire economics — urged President Harding to consider an array of interventions to turn the economy around. Hoover was ignored.

Instead of "fiscal stimulus," Harding cut the government's budget nearly in half between 1920 and 1922. The rest of Harding's approach was equally laissez-faire. Tax rates were slashed for all income groups. The national debt was reduced by one-third.
I imagine you didn't learn that in the history books.  I didn't even know there was a depression in 1920 until I heard Glenn Beck talk about it this past week.  (Thank God for that man -- am I right)? 

Then again, we're not supposed to know about the Depression of 1920.  We are not supposed to know that free market principles work nor have examples of such.  To me, that's cultural theft -- no scratch that -- IDENTITY THEFT!  The progressives are robbing us of our identity to fit their agenda.  The kids are being robbed during history class of the truth.  I'm not sure there is much else that could possibly be worse than that -- not knowing who you truly are or where you came from.

And on top of that -- those of us who have really researched and learned the truth -- are made to feel ashamed about it.  Our President apologizes to other nations on our behalf -- as if being an American is something to be embarrassed about. 

We are taught that the Founding Fathers were rich, white, elitist slave owners whose antiquated beliefs are outdated. 

We are told the divinely-inspired document -- the Constitution -- that helped define this nation is a set of "negative liberties."

We are told that the Civil War was fought over the enslavement of African Americans.  Yes, that's what we are told to believe.  However, the Civil War was NOT fought over slavery.  It was fought over states rights -- over the right for states to choose what's best for them and not have the federal government interfere.  I know, I always rooted for the north and was thrilled they won.  But, when you put it in the context of states rights -- given the current debate over nationalized health care -- I would have pulled for the Confederacy.  No, I'm not for slavery -- nice try liberal swine -- but I am for states rights.

America, we are losing our identity.  We are losing our identity as a people of resilience -- as a people who can live through hell and come back even stronger ready to fight all over again.  We have forgotten how to fail and to use that failure to succeed. 

Do I need to remind you once again of September 11, 2001 and then of September 12, 2001?  Of how we were viciously kicked in the teeth and still managed to get up -- to stay strong.

We have it in us still.  The Tea Party movement has helped awaken the American spirit once again.

It's funny how I've seen glimpses of our past in the present day.  And this is what gives me hope and should give you hope as well.  I was watching Varney & Co. on the Fox Business Network the other day and the host, Stuart Varney, along with some other commentators, were talking about Google.  Apparently, Google, with no help of our amazing government, has decided to provide high speed broadband to small U.S. cities.  It's a simple concept, but it speaks volumes in terms of our lost innovative drive.  Forget the government, we can do it ourselves. 

That's what capitalism does -- it provides solutions.  That's the kind of attitude upon which America was founded.

And if the Tea Party movement has taught us anything -- it's that Americans are finally waking up and realizing who we are and where we came from.

We are Americans.  May we never lose sight of who we are or be ashamed of what we've done.

(Photos: Google)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

TEXAS: The Model State

My Fellow Americans,

For the last year and a half, given the state of the economy in the United States, I have looked around the country to find a place to live that would allow for the best quality of life.  I searched various states, scoured the Internet for small towns, and looked for any city that had any promise of job growth.  What I found was that no place seemed to compare to one state in particular: Texas.  The Lone Star state has lived up to its name: it really is the lone shining star in a sky full of duds.

So, what makes Texas (photo: Google) the best place to live in the United States?  Well, besides it being the home of my favorite politician, Ron Paul and my favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys, Texas has NO state income tax.  And if that isn't enough of a reason to move there, consider the following, courtesy of NBC Dallas-Fort Worth:

- "[Texas'] economy is stronger. The Lone Star State has more Fortune 500 companies than any other state in the Union. Texas has 64 compared to California's 51 -- including three major airlines, AT&T, Dell, Texas Instruments, ExxonMobil ... just to name a few. According to the article in Trends magazine, Texas also created 70 percent of all new jobs in 2008 and enjoys a robust surplus. California is adding roughly $25 million per day to its $26 billion in debt. Ouch."

- "It's safer in Texas. Whether the calamity be weather- or crime-related, Texas fares better than California. Your wildfires cannot be topped and no amount of Earth-rattling will dump us into the ocean. As far as crime goes, we both have the death penalty ... Texas just isn't afraid to use it."  (Could you imagine if the terrorists attacked Dallas or Houston instead of New York?  Let's just say we wouldn't be worried about where the trial would be).

- "Our elected leaders, while often not perfect, are not former actors, wannabe actors, widows of actors, formerly engaged to actors or want to work part-time as actors while they "serve" the people as politicians. By and large, Texas politicians are people who care about making Texas better through making things better for Texans. Seems to be working."

- "The cost of living is remarkably lower. The price of land and residences are exponentially lower. The difference in what you can buy here for $250,000 vs. California is shameful. We have no state income tax and no taxes on capital gains. No further words about this are necessary."

I want to talk to you more about the Texas economy.  A Sept. 21, 2009 story in the Houston Business Journal had this to say: "After a small contraction in 2009, the state’s gross domestic product is expected to increase by 1.7 percent in 2010, aided in part by a surge in home sales, according to economists with BBVA Compass. The GDP of the entire country, by contrast, is predicted to increase by only 0.2 percent [in 2010]."

Furthermore, "Though 48 states predicted budget shortfalls at the beginning of [2009], with Texas projecting a 9.5 percent deficit, it is the only state among the seven Sun Belt states covered by BBVA Compass to forecast a balanced budget in 2010."

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, in its Feb. 2010 Regional Economic Update, cites "[c]ontinuing improvement in the regional economy supports the prospects of a mild recovery.  Notably, Texas real GDP increased at a 3.3 percent annualized pace in the third quarter [of 2009]. In addition, total nonfarm employment increased in both October and November and fell slightly in December. Overall, from September to December, jobs were essentially unchanged...The Texas unemployment rate rose slightly in December to 8.3 from 8 percent, but remains below the national rate of [9.7] percent."

Perhaps even better than its economic prospects, Texas' conservative value system is a major draw for many as well.  Unlike many of our leaders in Washington, those that call the shots in this great state actually share the same values and principles with their constituents.  Politicians in Texas seem to hear their voters more.

Take, Ron Paul.  Consider Paul's message to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 7, 2008: "If you follow the Constitution, you will defend freedom. Freedom brings people together. It allows people to run their lives as they choose, it allows them to practice religion as they choose, it is not confrontational & not antagonistic. The welfare state, the warfare state, & the socialist state, is exactly the opposite. It divides us, because they take away our wealth, they control it in Washington. What is happening today? Millions of dollars of campaign funds & PAC money, and lobbying efforts to control the money that gravitates to Washington, DC. The pie is shrinking, and the people are getting angry, and we have forgotten what a free country is all about. We’ve lost our confidence, because we have to have safety nets here and safety nets here and do all of these things. It’s coming to an end and there’s a wonderful, beautiful answer. It comes in our traditions and it comes in the principles of liberty. If you promote liberty, liberty promotes peace. And peace promotes prosperity."

Oh, and did I mention the housing?  You truly can live like a king (or queen) in Texas -- especially in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Picture this: 2,250 to 3,250 square feet, 3+ bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, community pool, community golf, and community tennis courts -- all for less than $210,000.  Yes, it's true. And if you have a larger budget, say in the $500,000 to $700,000 range, you can live like a millionaire for three-quarters or even half the price in the Northeast.

Texas truly is the place to be, in The Refounding Father's opinion.  Conservative values, great housing, cheap land, a growing economy, and, not to mention, the chance the state will always secede!

That's why yours truly has considered relocating...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Barack Hussein Obama...the Narcissist?

My Fellow Americans,

It has long been a possibility in my view.  Since I first saw him speak during the campaign in 2008, I have firmly believed that Barack Hussein Obama (photo: Google) is a narcissist.  It is through his demeanour and constant demeaning of the American people that I have come to realize this most fundamental character flaw in our nation's President. 

To me, it is evident every time he speaks -- every time he seemingly "talks down" to us as if we're not equipped to understand him.  He is so eloquent and amazing after all -- how dare anyone question his authority or judgement?

Before we go any further, let's define narcissism:

According to WebMD, "Narcissism is a term used to describe a focus on the self and self-admiration that is taken to an extreme...Narcissistic personality disorder is one of a group of conditions called dramatic personality disorders. People with these disorders have intense, unstable emotions and a distorted self-image. Narcissistic personality disorder is further characterized by an abnormal love of self, an exaggerated sense of superiority and importance, and a preoccupation with success and power. However, these attitudes and behaviors do not reflect true self-confidence. Instead, the attitudes conceal a deep sense of insecurity and a fragile self-esteem."

The symptoms include (but are not limited to): (1) being "self-centered and boastful," (2) seeking "constant attention and admiration," (3) considering "themselves better than others," (4) setting "unrealistic goals," and (5) taking "advantage of others to achieve their goals."

Furthermore, "common traits of narcissistic personality disorder include the following:" (1) "...Belief that he or she is "special" and unique, and can only be understood by other special people, (2) Expectation that others will automatically go along with what he or she wants, (3) Inability to recognize or identify with the feelings, needs, and viewpoints of others, (4)...Hypersensitivity to insults (real or imagined), criticism, or defeat, possibly reacting with rage, shame, and humiliation, [and] (5) Arrogant behavior and/or attitude."

Please review those descriptions and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder again, paying particular attention to the ones I highlighted in bold
Correct me if I'm wrong, but do they not describe our current President?  Are these symptoms not conveyed during his speeches?  The fact that he has given (or made), according to CBS News, 411 speeches, comments or remarks (52 just on health care), 42 news conferences, and 158 interviews -- all in his first year -- is evidence enough that Obama may be (at the very least) borderline narcisstic.  Sounds to me like somebody enjoys hearing themselves talk.

Now, many have been duped, in my opinion, by Obama's charm and ability as an orator. And, as I said before, those who checked Obama's name off in Nov. 2008 are beginning to suffer from "voter's remorse."

One of those people is Sam Vaknin, Ph.D., author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited. Vaknin states: "I must confess I was impressed by Sen. Barack Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident - a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi "religious" impact on so many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects."

In an article from The American Chronicle, Vaknin provides a detailed outline of Obama and the behavioral traits of narcissists. Vaknin starts by giving us information about Obama's upbringing and childhood, saying: "Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia: a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995."

How would this relate to narcissism? As Vaknin explains, "Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers."

From there, Vaknin actually goes into narcisstic tendencies of leaders.  And what he shares is quite eye-opening.  Vaknin explains that "...narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment."

On top of that, "[n]arcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" - against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader."

Need further proof?  Let's review his State of the Union address from Jan. 27.  As Mike Flynn, Editor-in-Chief of, put it: "[In the address], Obama announced not a single change in his agenda or his priorities. Okay, well maybe one; his call for a three-year spending freeze. But, it is clear he isn’t really serious about this, since he also announced a huge swath of new spending initiatives. He still wants to enact sweeping changes to health care, even though it is political kryptonite."

It was obvious from his speech that Obama didn't think for a second he needed to change course.  To him, the American people simply don't understand what's good for them.  So, like a true narcissist, he needed to break it down into words the little people can understand.  Flynn continues: "He wants another bloated, pork-filled “jobs bill”, even though his “stimulus program” was a joke, and a failure."  Again, he isn't responsible for his plan not working -- everybody else (including former President George W. Bush) is at fault.

To further capture the true idea of a narcissist, let me share a short anecdote with you.  A friend of mine, let's call him Tom, is a person who knows all too well what a real life narcissist can do.  His mother, let's call her Claire, is the quintessential narcissist: always the center of attention, constantly playing mind games and manipulating people, and creating drama when their is none.

Tom, like most children of narcissists, grew up figuring his mother was like any other mother.  This was just life as usual.  It wasn't until he was older and out of the house that he started to become aware of his mother's narcissistic tendencies. 

Claire was a lawyer.  All throughout his college career, Tom heard how he would go to law school at the same place Claire went.  Despite the fact that Claire's career was mediocre at best, Tom never heard the end of how being a lawyer was the greatest thing out there.  For some people, that's true -- but not for Tom (or Claire for that matter).  Like the typical narcissist -- Claire bragged about how great of a lawyer she was -- and put Tom down for pursuing other opportunities -- constantly.

Then, came Tom's girlfriend, Katie.  Claire wasn't too fond of Katie.  Why?  Well, beside the fact that Katie was a young, beautiful girl who Tom adored, Claire felt threated by her.  After all, the true narcissist craves attention -- the world revolves around them. 

Tom left home and didn't come visit much.  He started a life with Katie -- not that it was particularly difficult to avoid his mother -- she consistently put his career objectives (and taste in women) down.  Katie was the devil trying to destroy the family -- according to Claire.  Family ties became severed as Claire continued to berate Katie and Tom.  To this day, things are not reconciled.  Tom has never forgiven Claire -- not that it would matter though.  To the narcissist, they never do anything wrong -- everybody else is to blame.

And that's just one family.  Imagine what a guy like Obama can do -- to an entire country.  I share this with you today because I believe it's important.  We need to understand who is leading our country, America.  We need to understand who the people are around us.  We need to know where we stand and where our family, friends, and neighbors stand. 

I pray that we learn about our leaders -- and each other -- before it is too late.