A look ahead: 2017

Last year I did this in three parts, but to me that may be overkill this time around. Consider that 2017 is not an election year, so if anything we will not see much on that front until the latter stages of the year as the campaigns for 2018’s state elections ramp up. And because all but one of our local officials are first-term representatives in their respective offices, it’s likely they will wish to continue in office. Bear in mind, though, on the Senate side longtime House member Addie Eckardt will be 75 and Jim Mathias (who is in his second term as Senator after one-plus in the House) will be 67 by the time the next election comes around, so they are likely closer to the end of their lengthy political careers than to the beginning. And thanks to Wicomico County voters who passed the referendum this past November, 2017 will be the year we formally set up the elections which will net the county its first fully-elected Board of Education in late 2018.

Speaking of the local BOE, we still have an appointed board until that election and the two members whose terms expire this year are both Democrats who are term-limited. I suspect the local Democrats will try and send up names of people who will run for seats in 2018 to gain that incumbency advantage – as envisioned, though, these will be non-partisan elections. And the final say goes to the state Secretary of Appointments, who over the years hasn’t always been kind to those we preferred, either. Or, conversely, since the incumbents serve until their successors are appointed, we may see a long stalling technique, too. It will be interesting to see how that plays out, but I’ll bet those who are appointed will use that tenure as a springboard for eventual election.

Elsewhere in Wicomico County as 2016 comes to an end, it appears the city of Salisbury and Wicomico County are working out their issues rather well. The biggest sticking point remains fire service, and it’s relatively likely the city is going to see more of a reimbursement from the county when it comes to that – perhaps to the tune of up to $2 million a year. It’s possible there may be something to cut to make up for this, but as the county has increased its debt in the last few years to build several schools it leaves less room for spending cuts to make up the difference. If the city receives $2 million annually that would equate to about a 3 or 4 cent property tax increase for county residents. There’s also the chance that a tax differential or rebate may be on the table in order to reimburse city residents, as they pay the same tax rate as county residents. Wicomico is one of only three counties in the state that choose not to provide a tax differential to their municipalities.

But there is another factor to consider. Back in June the number of people working in Wicomico County set an all-time high of 52,010, eclipsing a mark that had stood for nearly a decade (July 2006.) That record lasted a month, as July came in at 53,668. While the number of jobs has finally reached where we were a decade ago, bear in mind the labor force is about 1,000 larger – so unemployment is in the 5.5% range rather than 4%. Even so, that extra number of people working – a number which year-over-year between 2015 and 2016 has fluctuated quite a bit but usually comes in at 1,000 or more additional workers in 2016 – means there’s more revenue to the county from income taxes so paying the city of Salisbury may not be such a heavy lift. The question for 2017 will be whether these economic conditions continue and whether Wicomico County will want to spend every “extra” dime on items which are unsustainable in rougher economic times.

That same question goes for the state, but the trend there has been for more spending. Democrats in the General Assembly added millions in mandated spending to the state budget and it’s a sure bet they will try again this year. Add to that the general belief that year 3 of a Maryland political cycle sees the most ambitious agenda put forth – it’s time for those incumbents to bring home the bacon and burnish their re-election chances the next year – and you can bet that paid sick leave will pass, Radical Green will have its day (perhaps with a fracking ban, which would devastate Western Maryland), and any Hogan veto will be promptly overridden. It’s certain that they will leave enough time in passing these controversial bills to do so. We’ve already seen battle lines drawn with the counter-proposal from Governor Hogan on paid sick leave and the social media-fueled drive to repeal the “Road Kill Bill” that Democrats passed over Governor Hogan’s veto in the spring of this year.

The wild card in state politics, though, comes from national politics. It’s not because we had the well-publicized answer to an extremely nosy press – if only they paid as much attention to some of Martin O’Malley’s foibles and scandals! – that Larry Hogan wasn’t going to support his (nominally at best) fellow Republican Donald Trump, but the idea that Donald Trump may actually do something to cut the size and scope of government. (Military contractors, particularly, have reason to worry.) And because Maryland’s economy is so dependent on the federal government, to a shocking and sickening degree, we know that if Trump begins to make cuts it will hurt Maryland the most. Given the typical bureaucrat CYA perspective, it explains perfectly why four of the five jurisdictions Trump did worst in – the only five which came in below his 35% statewide total – were the four counties closest to the District of Columbia (MoCo, PG, Charles, and Howard. Baltimore City was the fifth.) While I am entirely a skeptic on this, there seems to be the belief that Trump will take a meat cleaver to the budget and thousands of federal and contract workers will be cast aside because of it.

And in a situation where revenues are already coming up short of forecast, a recession in the state’s biggest jurisdictions, coupled with the mandated spending Democrats keep pushing through, will make it really, really difficult on Larry Hogan going into 2018. You will be able to judge who has the most ambition to be Governor by who carps the longest about these cuts.

While the Dow Jones stalled this week in an effort to breach the 20,000 mark by year’s end, the rise in the markets echoes consumer optimism – even as fourth quarter GDP forecasts turned a little bearish, consumers still feel a little better about the state of our economy. If we can get the 4% GDP growth Donald Trump promised we may see some of these fiscal crises take care of themselves.

Yet there was also a sentiment in 2016 that the world was going mad: consider all the terror attacks, the seemingly unusual number of and extended shock over high-profile celebrity deaths, and a general turning away from that which was considered moral and proper to that which fell under the realm of political correctness, wasn’t a “trigger” and didn’t violate the “safe spaces” of the Millennial “snowflakes.” (I can’t resist linking to this one I wrote for The Patriot Post.) At some point the pendulum swings back the other way, but in most cases that takes a life-changing event like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. I’d prefer a much softer transition but a transition nonetheless.

As I see it, the key word for 2017 will be leadership: if the current elected officials and new President have it and use it wisely to the benefit of our county, state, and nation “so help me God” things will be okay. If not, well, we’ve seen that movie for about eight or ten years already and we will continue to slouch toward Gomorrah.

Odds and ends number 78

Here I go again, producing those little dribs and drabs of information that I need a sentence to a couple paragraphs to discuss.

For example, I don’t need to give much more than an “attaboy” to Ted Cruz for continuing to stand against ethanol subsidies yet succeed in Iowa, as Leon Wolf pointed out recently at RedState. Such a stance may not make me a lot of friends among the corn farmers locally, but I’ll bet the chicken producers would love to see a decrease in the price for a bushel and I suspect once the Renewable Fuel Standard is pulled it will give them a break. Let’s hope Cruz (or some other GOP candidate) follows through on this common sense. After all, according to my friend Rick Manning at Americans for Limited Government, the deficit last year was $677 billion so putting ethanol subsidies on the chopping block would make fiscal sense as well.

As Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum points out, though, we have a large number of gutless wonders in our House of Representatives who don’t care that the latest omnibus was a budget-buster. Maybe they just need to read some advice from my Patriot Post cohort Mark Alexander, who reminded us of what our Founding Fathers said 240 years ago. We really do need a revival of the Spirit of ’76. (I’m old enough to remember the Bicentennial, by the way.) As Alexander writes about the current GOP crop:

Patriots, in this presidential election year, I invoke this timeless wisdom from George Washington’s farewell address (1796): “Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.” Indeed, there are among even the ranks of Republican presidential contenders some pretenders. Caveat Emptor! The future of Liberty hinges on the ability and willingness of grassroots Patriots to distinguish between the genuine article and the false prophets.

Yet while Ted Cruz seems to be one of the few who is standing up for conservative principles in Congress, as Erick Erickson adds at his new website, The Resurgent, the Establishment has decided to throw its lot in with Donald Trump to stop Cruz’s polling advances. Yes, politics makes strange bedfellows.

None may be stranger than those in the state of South Dakota where the drive for non-partisan elections I told you about a few weeks ago made the ballot. Local talk radio host Rick Knobe is spearheading the effort:

For too long, both political parties have been shouting over each other at the expense of the voters, and now have an opportunity to do something about it. Just look at the growing number of registered Independents, which now numbers over 100,000 in South Dakota. That number is growing here and across the country. When this measure passes, those 100,000 South Dakotans will have the opportunity to fully participate in the election process.

The state as a whole had 521,017 registered voters as of the 2014 elections so it appears about 20-25% are not affiliated. If it is adopted in this election, the state will move to a non-partisan primary for 2018. I suspect the two major parties will lose a significant amount of their support should this happen, so this is something to watch as it develops.

Immigration is one of the issues that has thoroughly disgusted a number of former Republicans who bolted the party when the elites adopted a pro-amnesty stance. Recently many Republicans (including the aforementioned Ted Cruz and our Congressman Andy Harris) supported a major expansion of H-1B visas despite a claim from the Center for Immigration Studies that found no evidence of a labor shortage in those occupations. One has to question how many semi-skilled workers are idle in this area due to the H-1B visa.

Finally, I’m going to circle back to Erick Erickson. I’ve been impressed with his new website, one which I can read without being overrun by annoying pop-up ads and false story breaks that only serve to increase page view count (in order to extort more money from would-be advertisers.) On Thursday he had a candid assessment of how his website was doing and so far he seems to be successful. Good news for those of us who value content over clickbait.

So ends another (hopefully) clickbait-free edition of odds and ends. Now my mailboxes are empty once again.

It’s all been done before – so why is Jenner such a big deal?

June 6, 2015 · Posted in Patriot Post, Personal stuff, Sports · Comments Off on It’s all been done before – so why is Jenner such a big deal? 

Not that I have a whole lot of choice based on all the media attention, but the story of Caitlyn Jenner rebranding herself as a woman after 65 years of being Bruce and winning the Olympic decathlon in 1976 seems to be worth writing about today.

Ironically, a simmering story underneath the headlines around the time of Jenner’s gold medal victory was the story of Renee Richards. Her name has been dimmed somewhat by the passage of time, but in the late 1970s she became a symbol of the struggle between the sexes as a former man who had the gender reassignment surgery and therapy, then competed on the women’s tennis circuit. So the world of celebrity has already been touched by this procedure, and I found it interesting that the premier athletic achievements in the lives of these two former men occurred around the same time. The Grantland story by Michael Weinreb also came well before the Jenner saga became public, and points out how others who chose to change their gender (as much as one can, anyway) were inspired to do so by Richards.

Yet a lot has changed in nearly forty years. Instead of derision and having opponents walk off the court in protect, Jenner is being embraced and rewarded for her “courage.” I suppose it’s simply the byproduct of making one’s sexuality and gender preference a public spectacle and milking it to enhance your athletic talents for another 15 minutes of fame – so you get a guy like Michael Sam, who was thought at best to be a fringe NFL prospect, becoming the most talked-about 7th round pick to ever be placed on a practice squad. (After being cut twice by NFL teams, now Sam is trying out for the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.) Without looking them up, can you tell me the names of any of the other 7th round picks from 2014?

Similarly, Jason Collins came out as gay at the tail end of a long NBA career which ended earlier this season. While his statistics weren’t Hall of Fame material, you would have thought he was the second coming of Michael Jordan when he came out. For all we know his “courage” may be enough to land him a place in the Basketball Hall of Fame where his career stats would leave him short.

Unfortunately, those breaking the preference barrier haven’t exactly been what Jackie Robinson was to major league baseball; instead, they have had career tracks more like Moses Fleetwood Walker, who actually integrated major league baseball in 1884. (A catcher, he played at the time for the Toledo Blue Stockings in their one and only season in the American Association, then a major league. So he’s a little more familiar to those of us from northwest Ohio.)

Jenner, though, has become a symbol of something. I’m just not sure if it’s courage, the milking of past fame into making a statement – after all, if he was a welder from Pittsburgh and not an Olympic athlete, no one would be putting his female alter ego on the cover of a magazine – or, simply a sign of our times.

One answer could be gleaned from this piece by Nate Jackson of the Patriot Post, as he looks at the Jenner story from a moral and religious perspective:

Leftists don’t care about Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner; they care about an agenda to remake our culture without good or bad, right or wrong, up or down – and most certainly without God. To them, Jenner is merely a tool who normalizes aberration. Leftists are tired of feeling guilty, so, instead of turning to their Creator, they glory in their brokenness. Dysfunction becomes virtue.

Meanwhile, the Left has duped more than half the American public into thinking homosexuals make up a far bigger part of the population than is true. Therefore, Americans are left to conclude as they checkout at the supermarket next to all those tabloids that Jenner is perfectly normal.

I would hope that most Americans don’t think Jenner is normal, because he’s not. Nor will I apologize for saying so. The vast, vast majority of people are pleased with their gender and have no intention of changing it, so why is the exception to the rule the one being admired?

Since he is my Patriot Post editor, perhaps I should give Nate the last word:

We shouldn’t worship Jenner. We should pray for him, for he needs his Creator’s healing redemption.

I agree.

A great change

September 9, 2013 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2014, Maryland Politics, Patriot Post, Personal stuff, Politics · Comments Off on A great change 

Some of you who have stuck with this website through thick and thin know I also moonlight on the side for a website called the Patriot Post. Each week my editor Nate sends me a story idea (or two or three) which I turn into one of the articles in the week’s Digest, which used to come out every Friday.

But one recent change now means the Digest comes out three times a week as it added elements formerly found in what were known as the Brief and the Chronicle, which came out Monday and Wednesday, respectively. So today’s edition was the Monday Digest.

The other change which was made was to their website, which now allows each individual article to be looked up rather than having to go through the whole thing to find my piece. (It’s not like I don’t know what I wrote, although at times it’s edited judiciously due to events which may have happened after I sent in my draft.) So it’s with pleasure I can now steer you to the piece I wrote for Friday’s Digest, but was bumped to today thanks to all that went on in Syria. (It wasn’t necessarily time sensitive.)

So for those who have asked what I do for that newsletter, on occasion I just might share with you some of my better posts. But I would also encourage you to read the rest of it because there’s 30 or so people like me who do the job of putting it all together, with no advertising and only the support of freewill donations which mainly go to pay their full time staff and keep their lights on. (All that is probably cheaper in Tennessee, where the Patriot Post is based.)

And because I tend to write on the same subject a number of times over a long period – Nate and I have sort of a running joke about how often I’ve written something about the Chevy Volt, for example – having the individual article links available will eventually make my job there easier, as I’m sure it will for the other writers as well. I know I’ll be taking advantage of it as I can.

And now for something completely different…

I’m rarely linked by Len Lazarick and the Maryland Reporter website, but I can’t help but think that some of the impetus behind this piece he wrote came from something I penned just the other day. Certainly I’m not crying plagiarism, I just thought the timing was pretty good as he had an opportunity to make a point along the same lines as mine. Great minds think alike?

But Len probably noticed as well that, having been to several events where Charles has spoken, I can testify that he has a compelling manner that plays well with an audience. David Craig is a nice guy but I almost see him as the Mitt Romney of the race – and we all know how Mitt fared once he got out of his primary.

There’s also some other questions turning in my mind about the top-ticket race, and over the next few days I’ll see how I can answer them. Be looking.

 

A statement of Christian support

July 30, 2012 · Posted in Business and industry, National politics, Patriot Post, Personal stuff, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on A statement of Christian support 

I saw this in my e-mail today and I’m now indirectly a part of it in two respects.

The Patriot Post has opened up a petition to show support for Chick-fil-A and over 6,000 have signed up. That’s all well and good, and I added my name to the list.

But the other interesting part is the “read more” afterward. Once I read the first sentence I said to myself, “that looks familiar.” Indeed, it was part of their Digest last week, and the article in question just so happens to be one of my contributions (although slightly edited from the original as the PP editor added the part about Louis Farrakhan and tweaked some wording here and there. He also changed the title, but that’s okay.)

It’s one of those jobs I do each week that doesn’t get noticed because I don’t get a byline there; however, that’s really not the point. I truly enjoy being part of a team of a couple dozen from around the country who work on that publication every week. But I thought you folks here might be interested to know that little tidbit and connection.

Now sign the petition and perhaps I’ll see you on Wednesday at Chick-fil-A.

Losing the war on poverty

July 1, 2012 · Posted in Business and industry, Campaign 2012, Delmarva items, Inside the Beltway, National politics, Patriot Post, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Losing the war on poverty 

Many of you know this, but some don’t: one of my tasks when I’m not working on this site is to contribute content to the Patriot Post. On Friday they ran a slightly edited version of something I wrote for them as a featured article. The purpose of today’s post is to expand on these remarks, which I rarely do for these assignments – maybe I should do so more often.

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Income Redistribution: Losing the War on Poverty

It costs us nearly $1 trillion a year between federal and state entities, but the vast redistribution of wealth that is government’s preferred solution for equalizing outcomes is doing nothing of the sort. Instead, it’s created two distinct but politically powerful groups: 1.) A permanent underclass comprising a vast group of indentured servants who pay little to nothing in taxes but who get just enough handed to them by the American sugar daddy to stave off rioting in the streets, and 2.) The government employees and contractors who hand out the largess.

Since the so-called “Great Society” was launched under President Lyndon Johnson, the poverty rate has fluctuated in a relatively narrow range between 10 and 15 percent. As a whole, Americans are far wealthier with more material goods than they were at the start of Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” but those at the lower end of the income scale are still deemed to be in need of assistance by those who believe they know best. According to a recent Cato Institute study, government spending on poverty programs now amounts to nearly $20,000 per person. This means that, on the average, a “poor” family of four benefited from almost $80,000 in government spending last year — certainly enough to qualify as a middle-class income if it were earned.

Of course, America’s poor aren’t living in a manner one generally envisions as indicative of a middle-class income. The various forms of welfare that federal and state governments distribute pass through many hands before finally reaching recipients. This creates a long list of those who like the programs and want to see them expanded. And since Barack Obama has turned many millions of Americans into government dependents, making any sort of meaningful cut will be a politically dicey prospect should Mitt Romney win this November.

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I try to keep these under 300 words or so given that I have to share space with many others who also lend their talents to this internet publication. But here I can write as many words as I wish.

What floored me was the vast waste cited in the Cato study. Yes, I realize it’s a libertarian-leaning organization and their method of coming up with this figure was simply adding up all the spending they considered “welfare” and dividing it by the number of people the government says live beneath the poverty line. So they probably fudged the figures to some extent, but I would hazard a guess that when all is added up it can be legitimately be claimed the federal and state governments still spend our median household income of roughly $50,000 per household on those who are poor. But they don’t receive $50,000 worth of benefits, do they?

There have always been people who live in poverty and squalor, although squalor as defined in our country might be a godsend to those living in the most wretched farflung corners of the world. This is why we have so many immigrants (legal and illegal) coming here, as America is still thought of as the land of opportunity. The question has become what opportunities are out there.

Yet those in the generation of our grandfathers who were considered poor were also ones who worked hard. Take as an example the Eastern Shore, which for generations has depended on two key sources of income: agriculture, including the growing and processing of chickens, and seafood, most generally crabs, oysters, and the like. A half-century ago most worked in those industries, with a few of the more affluent and industrious creating a merchant class to service the needs of these workers who needed to buy groceries, clothing, or other basic material goods. I’m guessing you didn’t have a whole lot of slackers and layabouts around here.

Over the last thirty years things have changed. Sure, the local economy still runs on the bounties of the land and the Bay, but now those who became affluent in the large cities come here to either spend their vacation time or to retire. So we have a third key industry many have become dependent on locally, but it’s perhaps the least reliable one because people need disposable income with which to enjoy their leisure. If they don’t have the money, we on the Shore go back to life circa 1962. The problem is that the work ethic which used to permeate the Shore (and most of the rest of America, for that matter) seems to have declined as people became accustomed to a modern lifestyle. It’s been aided by the welfare state.

We all know that if welfare went away tomorrow there would be rioting in the streets. But the question is whether the riots would be led by those who were suddenly left without their monthly checks and food stamps or by those government workers who unexpectedly find themselves without a job. Based on what we saw in Wisconsin my money (what little I have) is on the latter. I know charities would work hard to find a way to fill in the gaps for the truly poor if welfare disappeared, but it seems that, once established, government programs go on forever.

Maybe the problem with poverty is that we consider it a problem to be solved. The most charitable among us have always stopped to help those who cannot help themselves, but once the concept was created that government would step in and make it all better, the number who gave of themselves dwindled. It was now someone else’s mess to take care of, and the idea of poor but too proud to accept government-sponsored relief faded into obscurity. Instead, we now openly advertise for more food stamp recipients like they’re just another consumer commodity. We’ve gone from having to stand in line to get voucher coupons to spend at the store to having just another card to swipe because it reduces the “stigma” of being on the dole.

I believe we as a nation are approaching the crossroads. Either we cut back and restore ourselves to greatness or we follow in the footsteps of long-lost empires like Rome or ancient Greece. It pains me to say this, but in 2012 America it really is no more than bread and circuses. Sadly, it may not be up to us to change that but we have to at least try.

By the way, I have some ideas to address this. Watch this space and the monoblogue Facebook page (which you really should ‘like’) for more on that project.

Gingrich returns to school

April 2, 2012 · Posted in Patriot Post · Comments Off on Gingrich returns to school 

My latest commentary, this time on Patriot Post. I took my reporter’s hat and added more of my opinion…

At one time in his life Newt Gingrich was at home in the academic world, perhaps even moreso than he ever was politically. On Tuesday he selected the small town of Salisbury, Maryland and the campus that he claimed gave birth to the Contract With America to begin a new phase of his Presidential campaign.

Gone were the big banners, the line of welcoming politicians, and the press entourage which followed him from stop to stop when he was the leading anti-Romney in the 2012 Presidential race. Instead, if it weren’t for the small “Newt 2012” logo buried in a corner of the campus flier announcing “An Afternoon With Newt Gingrich” you may not have even known he was still in the race. He didn’t even charge the College Republicans $50 for a picture at the small gathering he held with them afterward.

(continued at Patriot Post…)

On the next American Revolution

Rarely do I completely give over my website to guest commentary, but this is too good to chop up and I don’t feel the need to add to it – this stands well all by itself. The op-ed comes from Mark Alexander of the Patriot Post.

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(PUBLISHER’S WARNING: The following essay may cause heartburn and knee-jerk reactions, especially in those who are predisposed to “give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety.” But as Benjamin Franklin concluded, they “deserve neither liberty nor safety.” For such feeble souls, Samuel Adams advised, “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!” For those who are not cast among that faint-hearted lot, please read on.)

I receive hundreds of messages every day from Patriots across the nation. For the last three years, one thematic question has emerged with ever-increasing frequency. To paraphrase that question: “What is the authority to rebel against the central government?”

That question is most often asked by those who have taken their oath of allegiance to our Constitution, particularly active duty, reserve and veteran military personnel. Typical is this note from a disabled combat Patriot this week: “Please clarify for me when my solemn oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign AND [his emphasis] domestic,’ kicks in.”

Such questions were once considered too radical and discordant for consideration in civil discourse. However, as Rule of Law enshrined in our Constitution has been all but completely usurped by the rule of men through the Left’s so-called living constitution, the frequency and tenor of questions about the future of Essential Liberty for our once-great Republic is propelling them into mainstream debate.

The unfortunate ascension of Barack Hussein Obama and his socialist cadres had a silver lining: It revitalized the spirit of American Patriotism in dozens of millions of our countrymen. The imminent threat to Liberty posed by Democratic Socialism is the catalyst driving this great awakening and it is spreading.

To the question of the authority to rebel against government, we turn to the Constitution’s guiding document, our Declaration of Independence. It clearly affirms the “unalienable rights” upon which our Constitution was instituted, and those rights supersede the authority of the Constitution itself as they are the inherent rights of man.

This authorizing language reads as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

So, is it time for another American Revolution?

The answer to that question depends upon the answer to a more fundamental question: Is it too late to restore authority of our Constitution? Moreover, will the current dire circumstances result in a sunset or sunrise on Liberty?

In my enthusiastic analysis, the degraded state of the union presents a great opportunity for restoration of Rule of Law, and this sunrise on Liberty is already in progress under the broad heading of the Tea Party movement. Further, having been in close proximity to revolutions on foreign soil, I am intimately aware that restoration (or revolution without shots fired) is a far more desirable path than the violent one — not that the latter must ever be excluded as an option.

But behind every sunrise is a sunset. As Ronald Reagan warned thirty years ago, when the “Reagan Revolution” temporarily restored our nation’s course toward Liberty, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”

Make no mistake; there are formidable obstacles to the restoration of Liberty. The most daunting of these impediments is complacency, the result of either a false sense of comfort, institutionalized ignorance or both. Nonetheless, I still believe that the ballot box is a viable alternative to the bullet box at this juncture. Every effort to work within what remains of our Constitution’s framework to restore its Rule of Law, as outlined in The Patriot Declaration must be exhausted.

If the 2012 election cycle does not provide sufficient momentum toward the goal of restored Liberty, there are substantial measures of civil disobedience that can ratchet up the pressure — measures which will find support among true conservatives in both the House and Senate.

Either way, we face a long, uphill battle. It has taken many years to degrade Rule of Law, and it will take many years to fully restore it.

As for timing, Obama has already dropped a debt bomb on our economy, the goal of which is to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.” The greatest systemic risk to Liberty that this act of economic violence poses is the destruction of free enterprise by way of taxation, regulation and insurmountable debt. U.S. debt has now surpassed 100 percent of our annual gross domestic product (economic output).

It should, of course, be the highest aspiration of every Patriot to restore our Constitution’s Rule of Law, a fundamental principle of which is theseparation of economy and state. But is there still time, and are we sufficiently resolute?

Leading the forces arrayed against us are the statist extremists, the “useful idiots” on the Left who now vilify as “terrorists” those seeking to restore Rule of Law.

In a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting this week hosted by Veep Joe Biden, Demo Rep. Mike Doyle said of the recent budget negotiations, “We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” Biden, to his everlasting shame, concurred: “They have acted like terrorists.”

Biden, Doyle, and the Kool-Aid-drinking legions of the Left are formidable. But history shows that Barack Obama’s model for prosperity, is a blueprint for economic collapse, a model that is antithetical to prosperity and ultimately at odds with Liberty.

Patriots, we have an obligation to secure Liberty for our posterity, and in the words of John Adams, “Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to James Madison dated January 30, 1787: “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. … An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”

Today, Tea Party “terrorists” should expect no such accommodation, as “honest republican governors” are few and far between.

That same year, Jefferson famously wrote more pointedly to John Adams’s son-in-law, William Smith, “What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants. … And what country can preserve its liberties, if the rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.”

Short of the bullet box, it is my fervent prayer that on 6 November 2012, an unprecedented army of American Patriots will use the ballot box to further alter the course of our nation toward Liberty and Rule of Law.

That notwithstanding, American Patriots remain well aware of both the authority for rebellion and more importantly the obligation to overcome tyranny, as enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. There may come a time to fight, and our Founders wisely extended to us the means for rebellion. We also fully understand the cost outlined in its closing: “For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

We do.

Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!

Mark Alexander
Publisher, The Patriot Post

How the Democrats try and disenfranchise voters

July 1, 2011 · Posted in Patriot Post · Comments Off on How the Democrats try and disenfranchise voters 

My latest commentary for the Patriot Post.

Here’s more proof the left isn’t interested in your opinion unless they give it to you.

A couple weeks back on another website I detailed how conservatives in Maryland could score a rare victory based on the response to an ill-advised bill passed by our General Assembly. Having turned in over 60,000 signatures by a first-post May 31 deadline, supporters of a drive to place a recently-passed bill on the ballot for referendum in November 2012 were pleased that over 47,000 of the required names were ruled valid, leaving only about 8,000 remaining to be collected by June 30. In all, backers were hoping 100,000 people would sign their petition.

Their success frightened supporters of the so-called Maryland DREAM Act so much they resorted to a multi-pronged attack on those who oppose the bill. Would-be petition signers were being harassed upon attempting to sign the document in a public place and handed ‘Think Before You Ink’ flyers containing misleading information. There’s even a website with sob stories about immigrant children who would be affected called One Maryland Defense, which calls the petition an “effort…to eliminate access to universities for talented Maryland students” by “a small minority of extremists.” It featured an attempt to entice people to remove their names from the petition.

(continued at the Patriot Post…)

Osama bin Laden dead: what’s next?

May 3, 2011 · Posted in Patriot Post · 3 Comments 

A slew of news reports late Sunday night confirmed Osama bin Laden has died. While original news reports stated bin Laden’s death occurred a few days ago, later remarks by President Obama detailed the operation as happening Sunday. Whichever version of events is true doesn’t truly matter since the end result is the same: America’s ‘Public Enemy Number One’ is no more among the living.

But my personal take as a political observer on how this will affect our nation’s immediate future is complex.

(continued at the Patriot Post…)

The lessons of Madison

March 4, 2011 · Posted in Patriot Post · Comments Off on The lessons of Madison 

Over the past few decades, a familiar mantra of those trying to expand government via the avenue of new programs and bureaucracies was the catchphrase, “it’s for the children.” Wisconsin unions may use that claim as well, but many little darlings and their parents were adversely affected by the labor strife in Madison when area school districts closed because teachers called in “sick.” Teachers played the role even to the point of receiving phony doctor’s excuses for stress-induced illnesses onsite.

But before we embark on a discussion of the lessons being taught by these Wisconsin events we need to review our own annals.

(continued at The Patriot Post…)

Madison: the shape of things to come

February 22, 2011 · Posted in Patriot Post · Comments Off on Madison: the shape of things to come 

I’ve written for The Patriot Post for a number of years, but they invited me recently to contribute to their commentary page.

Last May we saw violent political riots in Greece and last week a February of discontent began in Madison, Wisconsin. While the issues at the heart of the Wisconsin protest aren’t exactly identical to the austerity measures dictated to the Greek government as a condition of accepting a continent-wide financial bailout, they’re still all about spending money the government doesn’t have.

The Madison protest arose from a GOP bill which would both curtail the negotiable items in labor contracts and bring to heel the ability of public sector unions to continually collect dues by removing “closed shop” provisions for certain employees and mandating annual authorization elections — those provisions strike (no pun intended) at the heart of the Big Labor political machine. To stall the inevitable passage Democrats in the Wisconsin Senate took advantage of a rules loophole and left the state, leaving their Republican counterparts fuming but powerless to take action on the law. Considering these Democrats have been offered sanctuary by religious leaders in adjacent states, they could be gone awhile.

(continued at the Patriot Post…)

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