Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

I’m going to rant a bit on the “Occupy” protests. So, brace yourselves! (Or, as our illustrious VP, Low Blow Joe, would say: “Gird your loins!” 😉

This week, rather than ranting about whether or not a major Presidential candidate may have called a woman “Sweetie” 15 years ago, or whether our current President DID call TWO women “Sweetie”, on camera, during his campaign for the job 3 years ago, or whether that same current President knew about a plan to arm dangerous Mexican drug cartels with American weapons; No, rather than turning this into a platform for speculation over minutia, I will instead stick to important issues: Kids misbehaving.

This week’s rant: Dystopian, or Destructive?

By now, most of you have heard that Occupy Oakland is conducting a “general strike” today (Wednesday, November 2nd). Never mind that an actual strike is a work stoppage to make a point about work conditions/wages to one’s employer. And people camping in parks for weeks on end can’t technically be considered “employment” (at least, not until O’s Jobs Bill passes).

Nonetheless, “strike” is their term, so let’s run with it. This is being presented as a courageous move, a show of solidarity. Some occupiers are even couching it in language reminiscent of Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” (On DVD next Tuesday, by the way.)

True enough, Rand’s working title for the story was “The Strike,” but she scrapped it due to Teamster (at the time) connotations. The disconnect here is not subtle. Occupy organizers wish to cloak themselves in heroic archetypal imagery (“combatting the evil 1%,” etc.). Yet, through our abysmal indoctrin… er, education system, they have missed the actual, truly heroic aspects of John Galt, and, truth be told, Robin Hood, as well.

Galt was a producer, whose innovations by themselves would benefit all of humanity, without the government taking even a single penny of his wealth. Yet, because government insisted on restricting his efforts via punitive taxes & regulations (Directive 10-289, anyone?), he went on strike. His strike deprived government and society of his talent AND treasure. The country went to hell & they *begged* him to come back & LEAD them. He refused, because they would not agree to his one simple term. (Read the book for more on that.)

Likewise, the story of Robin Hood has been contorted. Occupiers (and, frankly, most others) would probably tell you he “stole from the rich & gave to the poor.” That is patently false. In the legend, acting King John imposed hefty taxes & duties upon all of society, to expand his wealth & fund the crusade his brother was leading. The poor were, of course, hit very hard. When their money ran out, their property & crops were seized. Robin saw people starving, at the hands of their government, and set out to restore their rightful property. Essentially, it’s a moral tale about private property and actual justice, NOT redistribution and “social” justice.

In America today, we are nowhere near the circumstances in which Robin Hood found himself. We are, rather, MUCH closer to the dystopian collectivist landscape Ayn Rand envisioned (and how could she have imagined such a place, having emigrated from the grand Communist Utopia of Russia? *sarcasm*)
No, here in America today, the bottom 47% of wage-earners either pay no taxes, or get refunds above and beyond what they pay in. And that’s not counting social subsidies (i.e.: SNAP, WIC, TANIF, Section 8, Medicaid, minimum wage, etc.).

This being the case, then, it is patently absurd for occupiers to assume the mantle of “heroic warriors for the downtrodden.” If they truly were, they’d be occupying regulatory bureaucracies and calling for “the 99%” (or at least 47%) to put “skin in the game.”

But the current course of the occupy movement (strike aside) suggests much more a desire for destruction than a dystopian “going Galt.” But, with “the 99%” calling for even more regulation and punitive taxation on the producers, they are more likely to end up with an Atlas Shrugged scenario, as those producers, those Galts, reach their last straws, “go Galt,” and leave #ows literally high and dry.

What the occupiers don’t understand, because they don’t follow through to their “demands’ ” logical conclusion, is this: The “top 1%,” (like Galt, Mulligan, Wyatt, Halley, et al) can outrun the collapse of this system, because they don’t *depend* on it. Question is: can YOU? Occupiers?

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(This is a guest post from my friend, James Curtis. Please read carefully because, as little as we may like it, he’s right.)

An Open Letter to the “Tea Partiers” of Virginia’s Fifth District

Dear colleagues,

I have a piece of good news for you and some bits of bad news. The good news is that Tom Perriello’s days as our Congressman are numbered. The bad news is that Robert Hurt doesn’t need our votes to win in November.

Many of the various political and demographical factors that came together in 2008 to allow Perriello to oust longtime Congressman Virgil Goode will not be factors in 2010. Those factors included a suppression of Republican/ conservative voters who were unhappy with the nomination of John McCain and the realization that Obama was being projected to win the election, maybe even carrying Virginia in the process. The Obama nomination invigorated the District’s Democratic/ progressive voters, as well as independents attracted to the candidate’s promises for “change” and anxious to participate in the historical election of the republic’s first African-American president. There was also the speculation that some University of Virginia students fraudulently registered to vote in both their home districts and locally, or in whichever district their votes would be more “effective” in electing Obama.

Of course, the partisan Democrats and independent progressives of the 5th District will vote for Perriello in November. But, without the additional independent and transient voters, Perriello’s level of support should return to about 35-40%, as indicated by the vote totals of the 2002 – 2006 elections.

As demonstrated in the recent Republican primary, Robert Hurt does not need our votes to win. In fact, despite the efforts of so many within the Tea Party to nominate one of the other six candidates who in various ways were more in line with our principles of smaller government and fiscal responsibility (the candidates demonstrated varying levels of respect for individual rights), Hurt’s double digit margin of victory demonstrates that there are enough partisan Republicans in the district to easily secure the nomination for the party insider. The bad news for the Tea Party is that Hurt has confirmed that he does not need our votes. He simply needs to focus his message toward those partisan Republican and conservative independents to also win in November.

(Yes, despite the protests of many within the Tea Party, Hurt is a conservative, but that is a matter for a different discussion.) If this were a two way race, Hurt would win about 60% of the vote, again consistent with 2002 – 2006 results. To solidify victory, he will continue to pay lip service to the Tea Party principles, enough so to win a fair share of our votes, or to convince some of us that he has learned his lesson as far as voting for expansions in government.

Many of the Tea Party crowd are worried that the independent campaign of Jeff Clark will somehow split the small government (conservative, libertarian, independent) vote in a manner that Perriello’s 40% will be a large enough vote total to win. Historically, independent or third party can expect about 2 to 3 percent of the vote from independent voters of all political persuasions and protest votes from those who will vote for anyone who doesn’t have a “D” or an “R” next to his or her name. Extrapolating this data, Clark’s presence on the ballot would be expected to change a 60/40 race into a 58/39/3 race.

The impact that Tea Party voters will have in November will be in determining what Hurt’s, Clark’s and Perriello’s final percentages will be, because these are “extra” votes to be allocated among the candidates. Just like the district experienced a surge in Democrat-inclined voters in 2008, it will experience additional small government supporters this year. None of these additional supporters will improve Perriello’s position; they will simply add votes to either Hurt’s or Clark’s total. However, they will not create a defection of supporters from Hurt to Clark that would result in a Perriello victory.

So, the worst news for Tea Party supporters is that they have missed their chance to affect the 2010 5th District Congressional race. As unsavory as this will sound to Tea Partiers who wish to impact this year’s election, now that Hurt has secured the Republican nomination, this is his race to win or lose. If Tea Party supporters wish to have an impact in the 5th District, they will have to refocus their efforts on the next round of elections.

But keep in mind that the fight to restore the Republic will not be won or lost in November, and that many battles lay ahead for us who wish to return it to its Constitutional foundations. Whatever your assessment of Hurt’s impending election, do not lose sight of the larger objectives nor hope that we can be successful.

In Liberty,
James Curtis
Charlottesville, VA

(About the author:
James is a member of the Jefferson Area Tea Party, as well as the Treasurer of the Libertarian Party of Virginia and Jefferson Area Libertarians. He has spoken at Tea Party events hosted by the JATP and Lynchburg Tea Party. He is a two time graduate of the University of Virginia, with degrees in Government and Accounting, and owns a tax and consulting practice just outside of Charlottesville.)

Bradley here, with an additional note. First, I took the liberty of adding special emphasis to the last paragraph. Secondly, James’ assessment is largely correct, though I could see Jeff going as high as 10%, if enough people are willing to stand on principle.

I posted this here to allow a greater outlet for James’ words, and to help spread the knowledge that we can send a message to the GOP establishment without returning Perriello to DC. If nothing else, we have learned many valuable lessons from this primary process. This is information we should use wisely in the next go-round.

As for this election cycle, my path is set: in November, I will be voting for Jeff Clark, and I will move forward from there with a conscience that is absolutely clear.

What you choose to do is no one’s decision but your own. One bit of advice: use wisely your power of choice. And please, stay engaged in the battlefield of ideas. This process is long and tiring, I know, but the end goal of restoring our republic is well worth our continued sweat and exertion.

As always, thanks for reading.
For Liberty,
Bradley S. Rees

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Here is my second post for the Virginia Tenth Amendment Center, which is basically a follow-up to the post below.

Also, visit the “Sons Of Liberty Radio” page for a link to archived podcasts of my BlogTalkRadio shows, which have featured Josh Eboch (from the VA Tenth Center) and Michael Boldin (founder of The Tenth Amendment Center, based in Los Angeles, California).

Unnecessary Swamp-Dwelling

In Virginia’s Fifth District (where I live), as well as across the nation, people are beginning to ask the fundamental questions. What remains to be seen is this: whether enough sets of lips will give voice to them before it becomes too late.

In my last post, I compared our political landscape to a forest. However, a more apt analogy may be a swamp (appropriately enough, considering the original terrain of our nation’s capital).

The reason I say this is simple: We seem to have gotten bogged down in partisanship and stuck waist-deep in certain issues that, ultimately, bear little consequence in our current economic climate.

“Social” conservatives and “social justice” liberals will both strap on the hip-waders of morality to justify their ends, yet both equally miss the mark when trying to square their respective positions with the Founders’ vision of liberty and, moreover, Federalism.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to open the door for a debate on whether the Founders envisioned a moral society. Their own writings leave no wiggle room between door and jamb, on that score.

But, in the far right’s refusal to acknowledge the significance of the 9th Amendment, and the far left’s misguided interpretation of the 10th (due mostly to a blatant misreading of Article 1, Section 8), both tend to forget other important elements of our Founding documents.

More importantly, they misinterpret (or simply disregard) the frame of mind of those who wrote them. We know the Founders were intensely aware of the severe danger posed by a monarchy or similarly dictatorial style of governance.

What some of us too often neglect is that they had just as much, if not more, fear of a theocratic State. But, in reality, are they that dissimilar?

Theocratic rule in England was made that much more powerful by the complementary system of hereditary Monarchy. But, in the absence of that particular style of government, would a theocracy be any less brutal? Would it be any less a danger to the rights and liberty of the under-class?

The Founders knew, from both experience and intellectual honesty, that the answer to both preceding questions is a resounding “No!”

Again, it is clearly understood that the Founders were moral men, and many of them were deeply religious, holding their God, and the principles He inspired, as their moral code for dealing with their fellow man.

Indeed, Jefferson wrote into the Declaration and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions their commonly held belief that man’s natural rights are derived from God.

Yet, you will notice that the Bill of Rights is NOT a recitation of the Ten Commandments. In fact, many of the principal tenets of traditional Judeo-Christian faith are not even hinted at in any of our founding documents.

The Founders’ stipulation that we should strive to maintain a moral society can be summed up thusly:

That, as free men, we are endowed with certain rights which confer NO obligation on our fellow man, save one: that they refrain from violating them. And we likewise refrain from violating their rights, whether through force or fraud.

The former was the basis for Ayn Rand’s great anti-statist novel, Atlas Shrugged, and was the underpinning of her Objectivist philosophy.

Yet, it should be noted here, she was an avowed atheist. The concept of man’s rights being derived from our Creator did not hold any weight with her. She argued that, simply by virtue of being human, these rights belong to us.

The point is, we can find broad agreement on these simple points, across typical dividing lines of race, religion, and even political loyalty.

Why, then, must we sink into the swamp of arguing over moral issues which are typically the product of religious ideology?

The Founders would be ashamed and saddened to see their writings, and the system of governance they debated over, lost sleep to put into writing, and even bled for, being reduced to the heap of rubble it will surely become.

And all because we refused to rise from the mire of social issues and face our Republic’s true threat: the loss of liberty. This liberty is being taken away from all of us, from pro-life to pro-choice, from recreational drug user to ardent drug prohibitionist, from quiet heterosexual to flamboyant Gay Pride parade organizer.

And it is happening much more rapidly now than ever before.

It had been said, “It’s hard to remember you’re there to drain the swamp when you’re armpit deep in alligators.”

I would submit to you, dear reader, that the alligators are above the shoreline, gnawing away at this great Republic.

Can we commence with draining the Social Issues Swamp? I think you will find that, once we do, those who have been in the swamp with us, mud wrestling over these issues, will pick up shovels and join us in marching as one united force to beat back the alligators.

Once the Republic is secure, maybe we can get back to the Founders’ words, in the Federalist papers and Amendments 9 and 10, and find that we had no reason to be in that swamp in the first place.

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In early March, I was invited to join the Tenth Amendment Center as a blogger on their Virginia Chapter site. So far, I haven’t been very prolific there, but I’m hoping to devote more time to it, as I can.

I’ve decided to begin cross-posting here, and may soon undertake similar efforts at the 912 Project fan site.

Without further ado, then, here is the first of many posts for other sites:

By Way Of Introduction

In today’s political landscape, with its constantly-changing dynamics and rhetorically-charged issues, we sometimes narrowly avoid the oak tree right in front of us in our mad dash through the forest, staring only at its canopy. It’s so vast!,we exclaim to ourselves and to anyone within earshot.

Other times, we hurtle right into the broad trunk of that massive oak. Some shake it off and continue dashing around, again only seeing the forest and its canopy that seems precariously close to caving in on them. Perhaps they, like Chicken Little, never realize there even was a tree, instead believing perhaps a chunk of that vast canopy somehow fell down, knocking them flat.

But some of us, as we recover from the impact and pick ourselves up, brushing leaves and debris from our clothing, actually take a step back, stunned, and begin to see the individual trees.

I am neither placing blame on the latter, nor heaping accolades on the former. It’s just how we’re wired. Some can be more effective educating others in generalities, glossing over the finer points to make the expansive ones more accessible. Others tend to focus in on the details, treating each individual issue to its own modicum of respect and pondering its nuances, like a Rubik’s Cube, until a solution presents itself.

It is increasingly rare, these days, to find people who have a firm grasp on both of these techniques. But they are the ones who are most needed now.

The epic battle we are engaged in is not merely a political one. It goes far beyond that. Ayn Rand makes my point eloquently in this quote from her 1974 essay entitled “What Can One Do?”

– “A political battle is merely a skirmish fought with muskets; a philosophical battle is a nuclear war.” –

Make no mistake- the struggle we have joined is primarily a philosophical one. Yes, we need to understand the overall distinctions between these warring philosophies, and there are many sources for this information. But, more importantly (at least in my mind), is seeing the distinctions between the individual trees in this philosophical and political forest.

The latter is what I will be seeking to point out in subsequent posts here. I’m happy to join the Tenth Amendment Center, and you, faithful readers and activists. I hope you will remain active here, and elsewhere, and help others realize the true struggle we face.

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