The US Ministry of Story Telling??

john-cornyn-reuters

 

Following the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Hitler established a Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda headed by Joseph Goebbels. The Ministry’s aim was to ensure that the Nazi message was successfully communicated through art, music, theater, films, books, radio, educational materials, and the press.

While nobody that I am aware of is making the case that the United States Government has a “Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda”, many people from both the political left and from the political right acknowledge that on average Hollywood leans decisively to the left. Progressives in music and entertainment routinely support a collectivist point of view. In fact, unless you are already a huge star, holding conservative points of view will get you fired. Furthermore, late last year Chucky Schumer and Lindsey Graham proposed their “Free Flow of Information Act” which recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. Looking at the title of the bill it looks great. Who couldn’t be for the “Free Flow of information” after all?

Of course, as with most things emanating from Washington D.C. one must be very careful about what is in the fine print. What elitist progressive political types like Chucky Shumer and Lindsey Graham, who co-authored the bill don’t want Americans to realize is that they are not really all that interested in the free flow in information. What they are keenly interested in is the ability to say who might be anointed to watch over them and report on their activity. It is, after all, really inconvenient to have real investigative reporting about the epic failures they call policy; or have their self-involved, corruption brought to light by heroes like Michelle Maulkin, or Dana Loesh.

michelle-malkin 

 

 

 

Senators Schumer and Graham’s bill, if approved will exempt anyone who is considered a “covered journalist” from subpoenas and other legal efforts to require that they expose their confidential sources. For anyone supporting freedom of press, protecting whistle blowers is a good thing, but sadly it is far outweighed by the idea that government is the entity that decides who is an “approved” journalist. How convenient is that? If government officials don’t want to have their corruption exposed by an aggressive investigative reporter all they have to do is designate or license who can be a journalist in the first place.

Gobels

After the February 1933 Reichstag Fire, Hitler eviscerated freedom of the press, requiring all news to be approved by Joseph Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Surprisingly, today’s mainstream press seem to have no issue with this bill, but my question for them or for any American for that matter who claims to support freedom is this. How is government having approval authority over who can be a journalist any different than actually having approval authority over a news story that journalist might write. Goebbels required that anyone involved in media sign loyalty oaths to the Nazi Party. If you didn’t care for these restrictions you could be imprisoned or executed.

While in today’s world the progressive movement is smart enough not to actually require loyalty oaths, do you notice how quickly the progressive thought police turn on anyone who dares to state an independent opinion. Juan Williams was a senior news analyst for NPR until he stepped outside of progressive orthodoxy in October of 2010 for his comments on Muslims. Regardless of consistently supporting progressive positions, the man was unceremoniously fired for not adhering to progressives fascist talking points. Similarly, just this week there is a controversy involving Juan Williams’ son, Raffi Williams. In this case, Raffi Williams, who is a conservative, was vilified because he dared to have a conservative point of view as a black man.   Similarly, Dr. Ben Carson was also excommunicated by progressives in February of 2013 for daring to politely and respectfully disagreeing with President Obama’s policies.

My point here is that it isn’t necessary to have a mustache twirling Snidely Whiplash type of character like Joseph Goebbels approving stories. All progressive elitists require is to set up a process that achieves the same result. Republican Senator, John Cornyn told Breitbart News “They want to pick and choose which journalists are covered. In other words, if you’re a blogger they might not cover you, but if you work for the New York Times they might. Given the changes in the way we get information and the way we consume news, that really smacks to me in essence of government licensing who’s an official ‘journalist’ for the purposes of a shield law and who’s not. If there is one thing I can glean from the First Amendment, it is that government should not be in the business of licensing the news media.”

Bloggers are a existential threat to progressive control over the narrative that the general public is presented. Progressives are far from stupid. The new media is quickly supplanting the old centralized model of network television news. If progressives wish to retain control over the conversation they must eliminate dissenters.

Additional Resources:

The Phoenix Republic, The Lone Star Gambit

Phoenix Banner 10.09.13

http://personalliberty.com/2014/03/28/bill-authorizing-government-to-define-legitimate-journalism-a-political-albatross-for-rinos-democrats/

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/03/26/Exclusive-Cornyn-Rips-Schumer-s-Media-Shield-Law

http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005202

 

 

Thy Neighbor’s Keeper

Justina Rally

(Photo credit: Keith Mason/Personhood USA)

The interesting thing about writing a blog is that it documents your thoughts, view of life and the world around you from a historical perspective.   In looking back over the past few months, it’s apparent that my outlook is pretty pessimistic.  The truth is there are stories every week about the innate goodness of people.  Americans are standing up for people they don’t even know all the time simply because it is the right thing to do.

Last week thousands of people got involved in the case of Justina Pelletier, a fifteen year-old girl who was essentially kidnapped by Boston’s Children’s hospital because doctors at Children’s disagreed with the doctors at Tufts Medical Center about the girl’s diagnosis.  Regardless that both hospitals are renowned medical institutions Boston’s Children’s Hospital violated the parents’ rights to make decisions for their child.  In an incestuous arrangement with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, custody of the girl was given to Children’s.  Only when thousands of Americans began calling state representatives and the hospital did the Children’s back away.  The world is a dangerous place, but when we stand together we can make miracles happen.

The primary point of writing these articles has been to relate current events to my novel.  Phoenix Republic is economic collapse story and thus it does have some dark moments.  It also has its share of hopeful elements, however.  While I wouldn’t try to make the case that I am Mary Sunshine, I really don’t think of myself as a pessimist either.  I think it’s important to talk about what current events might mean to every day Americans.  Yes, I am very concerned about Americans holding onto our freedom.  I lament that our form of government is being fundamentally transformed.  What was designed as a republic is rapidly morphing into something that resembles an Oligarchy, ruled by elitists, who are quite certain they know what is best for all of us.  Yes, I believe that the United States, as Republic of free men and women is in danger, but I also believe in Divine Providence.  I also believe that more Americans are waking up and standing up every day.  While the present disaster that is our current state of affairs in America is disconcerting and the country is in trouble, Americans are an amazing people.  If we can win enough hearts and minds to embrace freedom over collective coercion, we can once again reestablish America as a free country.

Flag4

This week I watched Frank Crapra’s  Meet John Doe.  Watching this wonderful old black and white film, made me realize how there is nothing new under the sun.  The movie is set in the Great Depression.   It is about an elitist progressive class working to corrupt a freedom movement that sprang up out of a newspaper stunt.  What’s wild is that I realized that I was really watching a current events movie.  While the times are dire, Americans, pulling together realize that they can make a difference, regardless of overwhelming odds.

We may be have two distinct cultures as I wrote about in A Tale of Two Americas, but even the approximately forty percent of progressive America still have our traditions in common with those of us who are inclined to be self-reliant and want to be free of government overreach.  The vast majority of us desire the same things.  We want an equitable country where everyone has a chance at living a good life.  Americans differ on how to achieve these goals, but at least the fundamental underpinnings of American life is something with which we can all agree.  My belief is that Americans are basically good, regardless of the superficial arguments made in Washington DC and in the media.  There may be progressives in the establishment political parties that wish to keep Americans at each other’s throats so that they can hold onto power, but I believe the truth will prevail in the end.  The whole reason for writing Phoenix Republic is to remind readers that each of us has it within us to achieve greatness.  Working together, even a small minority of committed men and women, determined to live free, can impact the hearts and minds of a nation.

The issue we run into in the United States is that we are all human, and we all have human weaknesses.   Progressives believe that citizens must be collectively forced to behave in a way that is beneficial to society while the freedom movement is about believing in individuals to make those decisions based on individual morals.  I often mention that the country is too broken in too many places to fix and that the social contract has been shattered.  While I believe this is true I also think that where there is life there is hope.  Over the past few months I have posted and pontificated at length about any number of gloomy news stories.   What I am thinking today is that while Phoenix Republicis about a dark economic future, but it is also about family and pulling together.  It is about standing on principle for what is right.  It is about faith and loving one’s neighbor.  To prevail over really bad outcomes, we must all find common ground and find ways to live and let live.  The good news is that there are stories every week about the innate goodness of people which show that there people doing what’s right for people they don’t even know.

Additional Resources

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/03/good-news-in-the-justina-pelletier-case/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/04/the-8-year-old-boy-who-did-something-incredible-for-a-soldier-now-wants-to-help-other-military-families/

Beware the Politics of Money

MYRA Graphic

Approximately a month ago my favorite economic website, www.zerohedge.com had a story about one of Russia’s major banks, ‘My Bank’ who made the decision to ban customers from withdrawing cash for one week.  Similarly, last month in Britain, HSBC implemented a policy restricting their customers from withdrawing their own money.  The policy, which was put into place with no notice to customers, required that customers provide the bank a sufficient reason to withdraw their own cash.  In other words, the bank would decide if your reason for attempting to withdraw your own money was sufficient.  In a first hand account reported by the BBC, Stephen Cotton recounted how he went to his bank, and HSBC branch to withdraw £7,000 from his instant access savings account.  The bank declined to fulfill his request to withdraw his own money.

“When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved.”

These stories struck a chord with me, not just because Phoenix  Republic is about an economic contagion spiraling into an all-out collapse, but because the frequency that these stories are appearing in the news cycle.  In the fictional world of my novel, these types of stories are exactly the sorts of occurrence that preceded a complete economic collapse in the west.

It seems that the credit markets are under some strain these days.  Even at the national level it isn’t just Greece having issues.  China is backing off on buying US treasuries.  In 2013, China dumped the second largest amount of its US currency ever, selling off $48 billion dollars of debt.  Japan is doing the same.  Some smaller countries are buying some of it for now, but how long that will continue is uncertain.

Today I see that bank runs are again in the news, this time in Thailand.  Thailand’s Government Savings Bank admitted that customers have withdrawn approximately one billion dollars in deposits.  My point is that the world is a really connected place, especially from a financial perspective.  Americans love to think that we are immune to the sort of financial ruin that have historically affected other nations, but do you really think that these are all isolated incidents?  Maybe they are, but all that I know is numerous news accounts related to bank runs and liquidity issues faced by individuals, companies and even by nations are in the news.  Just last month the American President talked about a brand new program, “myRA” in his State of the Union Address.  He claims that he is trying to help hard-working Americans with a secure way to invest their hard-earned income with the government for some so-call guaranteed return when they retire.

My question is do you seriously trust the same people that brought you Obama-Care and Social Security with your even more of your money?

I can’t tell you when, and I am no financial guru.  All I can offer for your consideration is what used to be known as common sense.  It is clear to anyone with the IQ of a toaster that America in general, and the US government in particular, have not created some vast new source of wealth, over the last few decades, but we have created vast amounts of debt… 17 trillion dollars worth of debt, with much, much more on the way.  For this reason the government must find ways to finance it’s spending in a world where absolutely nobody wants to take the risk.  China is no longer keen on new debt, Japan too is backing away, & the Fed, which holds like 4 trillion dollars of US debt, is finding it difficult to continue with financing US debt with fictional dollars created out of thin air.

What is a desperate credit card junkie to do?  The answer will inevitability be to take out a new credit card from anyone gullible enough to loan them the money.  If that doesn’t work they may have to just steal it by forcing people to loan them the money.

For those of you who read Phoenix  Republic, you’ve seen this sort of thing before.

Watch your wallets, friends. I think we may be beginning the ride of a lifetime.

Additional Resources:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-18/china-sells-second-largest-amount-us-treasurys-december-and-guess-who-comes-rescue

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-18/bank-runs-spread-thailand

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-18/we-are-government-and-we-are-here-offer-you-no-risk-guaranteed-return-investment-pro

 

The Freedom Quotient

NY Gov

Have you ever had one of those discussions with someone and come to realize halfway through the conversation that you are just not on the same planet with where they are coming from?  Perception is everything and any large group of people are just not going to agree.  We all see things our own way.  We value different things.  Being able to act on our beliefs is what is known as freedom.  Regarding politics in America we see this divergence during every election.

Briefly stated, approximately 40% of the vote typically goes to Republicans.  Approximately 40% typically goes to the Democrats, leaving 20% for the establishment parties to quibble over.  Regardless which of these two parties lose, the acrimony is palatable.  This gets expressed with statements like, “We just need to get along.”  We hear people say, “I don’t like all the arguing.”  Pundits tell us that one party or anther needs to court the so-called undecided.

Lets be honest, the truth is that there are two Americans with wildly divergent world views.  We want to think of ourselves as one nation; indivisible with freedom and justice for all, but this characterization is a fiction.  Yes, we all share the same history and culture in a general sense, but we haven’t been “one nation” in a very long time, but I digress.  I’ve written on the two American cultures before, but today I am more interested in talking about the underlying principles behind our two cultures.

What if the key to our politics is not whether one is conservative or liberal, but is about how they perceive topics in their daily lives?  While I do think there are selfish and even evil people out there, I also think that most of us want the best for people.  The rub comes in how we consume and process news about our world.  Our two American cultures differ greatly on how to achieve the most good for the most people.  In other words, who decides what is best, depends on trust and how one group or another sees the world.  Progressives assume that if you do not hold certain beliefs there is no discussion to be had.  In fairness, Fundamentalist Christians hold the same view differing only in what they judge to be appropriate.  In both cases, progressives in both parties are more than happy to use government power to force their view on everyone.  My point of view is that this is a fool’s errand.  The real answer to achieve the best good is not compromise or attempting to destroy one side or another, but to live and let live.  The founders knew this when they created system of Federalism.

As an example, a story on the Blaze yesterday talked about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stating that so-called “extreme conservatives” have no place living in New York.  What does that mean?  His speech noted that “extreme conservatives” are not who New Yorkers are.

Seriously?  There are a little over nineteen million people in the state of New York according to the census with approximately half of those in New York City.  Does he really expect me to believe that conservative New Yorkers somehow don’t belong there?  Just ten percent of that number is almost two million people.  According to the NYS Board of Elections the Republicans got just under 36% of the vote.  In other words approximately two and a half million New Yorkers voted for Mr. Romney.  Obviously, many of these people are not what Gov Cuomo would call “extreme conservatives”.  On the other hand, how many so-called “extreme conservatives” didn’t bother to vote in such a fascist environment?  If one were to multiply nineteen million by 36% they would find that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of six-point-eight million Americans in the state of New York who to one extent or another are relatively conservative.  If say half of that number are so-called “extreme conservatives” that would be like three and a half million Americans that Governor Cuomo says should leave the state.  Can you imagine that headline on the news?  Mass Exodus of Political Dissidents from New York State!

Progressive establishment politicians in both parties seem to be desperate to make hay out of the fact that there is a full-on battle going on in between Republicans who support limited constitutional government and have respect for the Bill of Rights and progressive Republicans who have an authoritarian point of view, who, like the Democrats embrace borrowing money to force Americans to live as they would have us live.  The truth is this argument is about power and who gets to control our lives and our money.

The Governor asks:  “Who are they? Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault-weapon, anti-gay?”  Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.”

He and people like him assume too much.  They assume that if a person holds one view that they disagree with they must hold all of the views they disagree with.  They assume that there is no valid argument that could possibly be made for any point other than theirs.  That is why progressives preach tolerance but mean that others are free to believe whatever they wish, as long as those beliefs coincide with the progressive point of view.  In other words, we are all free to agree with them or else.

As a lesbian who happens to believe it is immoral to murder children in the womb, and who believe it is my God given right to bear arms to defend my life and my freedom, I qualify for two out of three of his attributes of what an extreme conservative is.  No doubt, I am not welcome in the State of New York.

My take-away today is this.  The founders knew that the country would have divisions.  They designed a system designed around sovereign states who share power with a sovereign federal government.  If things today functioned as they were designed we would have a limited federal government.  It would only be responsible for the common defense, a robust transportation network, and a very few items that could be agreed to by everyone as being for the “common good.”

political model

All of the social welfare and regulatory laws should reside in the states.  If the United States functioned as it was designed, today we would have fifty choices of what level of progressive intervention by government with which we whished to live.  If one wanted a cradle to grave welfare state one could move to California or New York.  If one wanted individual responsibility one would likely live in Texas.  We could live and let live.  No need to compromise one’s basic principles and no need worry of being pushed into a conflict because one side or another can not tolerate their rights being violated.  The United States is a nation of over three-hundred-million people.  A nation split into two camps, each trying to force its will on the other will never result in anything but anger and distrust in the best of circumstances and an outright tragedy in the worst of circumstances.  My novel, Phoenix Republic depicts what a disaster like this might be like.  Lets pray we don’t find out.

Additional Resources:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/18/andrew-cuomo-if-extreme-conservatives-are-right-to-life-pro-assault-weapon-anti-gay-then-they-have-no-place-in-the-state-of-new-york/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntLYrc6bEGI

The Birth of a Police State

Photo Credit: George Roelofson

When nations are faced with the ramifications of catastrophic economic collapse, things can become dicey for citizens.  Let’s face it, life today is pretty hectic.  Typically, both parents in a family have to work full time to make ends meet, and that is assuming there are two parents and not only one.  In our routine day to day lives, we have kids and their school activities, social obligations, and of course family who require out attention.  It is easy to get lost in the day to day and not have the time or energy to take a step back to see the macro view of our lives.  It is easy to just accept the cliff-notes view that is handed to us by the mass-media.

Consider, if you will, a nation that has out-of-control spending and ever-increasing regulation.  This nation had suffered a financial collapse with ever-increasing unemployment, and as a result, it repeatedly attempted to use “shovel ready” public projects to get its citizens working again.  A recovery could not be achieved, so this nation’s leaders felt they had no choice but to begin printing more and more currency to artificially prop up the financial system.  As always occurs, this led to unprecedented levels of inflation.

This scenario above depicts a nation experiencing a catastrophic economic collapse.  Human beings being human beings responded by demanding security.  Leaders being leaders responded by seizing power and taking steps to control the situation.  Unfortunately the situation was uncontrollable.  As things became dire, this nation’s citizens were willing to grasp at any straw as long as someone would make their lives work again.  They were willing to accept almost any degradation.

The nation, vulnerable and financially bankrupt, was a fertile field for an opportunist to take advantage of.  This opportunist represented a party that was willing to make one segment of the population a scapegoat for the economic hardships that citizens were experiencing.  In effect, this leader blamed the rich.  As you might guess the strategy was fantastically successful.  The only problem was that the nation’s constitution guaranteed rights that were a problem for these parties’ plans.  The solution was to ignore those constitutional guarantees.

Picture from article by: Daniel Castillo By now you have likely guessed what nation I am referring to.  What is frightening is that when we see today’s news, how much of what happened then is taking place now.  I noticed on this week, on the first Friday of the New Year, a judge ruled that the majority of Americans were now subject to search and seizure of their electronic devices like laptops and iPhones.  That’s right.  If you live and work within 100 miles of the coast or a international border, this ruling says law enforcement can go through your belongings on a whim – no search warrant needed.  In similar fashion, earlier last week, Americas witnessed citizens lining up in Connecticut to register their weapons and ammunition.  This is another key step that earlier regime took.  I have noted other examples in earlier posts, but you get the point.  My thought is that it is our duty as American citizens to keep our eyes open and take note of the news items we see, not as an individual incident, but as a puzzle piece in a larger picture.  It is incumbent on each of us to resist the loss of freedom lest we find ourselves going down the same path that German citizens did in the 1930’s.  There is a threat out there from terrorism, but my question to you is this.  Are the government over-reaches and their ignoring our constitution really making us any safer?  I can only speak for myself, but I am much, much more afraid of unaccountable government thugs than I am of terrorists.  If nothing else, there are many more government thugs, who while ‘just following orders,’ who can ruin a person’s life than there are terrorists in America.

The reason I wrote Phoenix Republic was and is to get Americans to wake up to the big picture.  We all have things we believe in and we should all do what we can to win hearts and minds with regard to achieving the best for our country.  My point is that there is a bigger picture than left vs. right politics.  We do not all have to agree on individual policies but it is imperative that we all agree on defending freedom.

Additional Resources:

First hand accounts:

The first of these, a woman named Irma from Massachusetts talks about the comparison between today’s America and what she experienced in Germany.  This is very compelling and I highly recommend listening to it.  The second link is another woman who lived under the Nazis.  Her presentation is 46 minutes long.  It is instructive and compares Germany to the US today – with excerpts of current events juxtaposed with the historic events she is speaking to.

Irma Shares With Buck Sexton The Horror of Living Under Tyrannical Government 

Related news stories:

http://www.truthandaction.org/judge-reaffirms-constitution-free-zones-100-miles-inside-u-s-borders/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/31/looks-like-weimar-germany-the-viral-photo-out-of-connecticut-thats-giving-some-gun-owners-chills/

http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/classes/33d/projects/1920s/Econ20s.htm

Who decides is the question

In Phoenix Republic the novel explores responsibility and decision ownership.  A disaster befalls the United States and Western Europe, and the question of how to cope is thrust on to the stage.  My goal in writing Phoenix Republic was to encourage readers to think about the world we live in and what may be coming.  Communism cannot tolerate any other master other than an all-powerful state.  When you consume the news every day, where do you think decision ownership lies in the stories you are viewing?  Is it with the individual or some so-called expert or leader?  Are Americans free or are we to fall into line with what our masters dictate?

Throughout the 19th century Communist, or if you will, collectivist movements have arisen in all parts of the world.  The Soviet Union in 1917, The Chinese 1949, Cuba 1953, and any number of Socialist or Communist take overs in since then.  What this typically boils down to is a simple question of who should decide how best to manage affairs of a nation.  Socialists believe in a collectivist approach – that a nation’s assets should be shared equally amongst all citizens.  In contrast, Capitalists believe in the individual, thus each person makes decisions regarding how their personal assets should be managed.  You’re thinking, “No Kidding.” Right?  This is patently obvious, but yet news story after news story in today’s media cycle boil down to the question of who decides.  Today’s culture is replete the attitude that so-called experts should decide everything and that common citizens are just not qualified to make judgments.  We see these stories related to medical decisions, to home schooling, and to government.  How often do you hear someone you are speaking with take the position that our political leaders are justified in their various actions because they are somehow considered to be more informed than we are?  The point I am trying to make is the tendency to let other have ultimate responsibility for your live or for the lives of your children is lazy and dangerous to a freedom loving republic.  Our republic is designed for free men and women to actively take a part in governance.  When this responsibility is outsourced the outcomes are often terrible.

justina pelletierThere is a case going on right now where a hospital, Boston’s Children’s Hospital decided they knew better than the parents and the girl’s primary doctors at another prestigious hospital, Tufts University.  The physicians at Tufts diagnosed the girl as having mitochondrial disease.  Unbelievably, Children’s Hospital managed to convince a judge that they knew what was best for the child.  This judge proceeded to terminate the parental rights of the girl’s mother and father, giving her care to the Children’s Hospital.  Understand that this is not a case where parents are denying a child medical care for religious reasons.  This is a case where parents sought out qualified medical help.  In fact, not only did they seek assistance from one hospital, Tufts, but they took their daughter to Children’s for a second opinion.   Then after deciding the best care for their child was to stay with Tufts, an all-powerful state was able to override their parental prerogative and kidnap the child.  Today the young woman is imprisoned in a psych ward at Children’s, where she has lived in captivity and in constant pain from her condition for almost a year.  She has gotten a couple of notes out to her parents to ask for rescue, and the parents have been allowed heavily supervised visits of like an hour a week, but that is the only contact that is now being permitted.  Unbelievably, it isn’t just the parents that are being denied contact with this young woman.  In addition to the mom and dad, Children’s is also denying her the ability to see officials from her school, her friends, and even her doctors from Tufts University Medical Center.

In another current story a German family legally moved to the United States for the right to freely educate their kids in accordance with their religious beliefs.  They had to leave Germany because a progressive law, initiated by Adolph Hitler, is still in force there that requires that all children must be educated by the state.  There are no exceptions.  The family sought asylum here in the US and it was granted.  Now however, the Obama Administration has decided that this family should be expelled from the country because in their collective wisdom, religious persecution, (which this nation was founded on by people who wanted to escape exactly the same thing) is not sufficient for them to remain here.  The other aspect of the story is that parents are not deemed worthy to “homeschool” their kids because so-called experts with a degree and state approved credentials must be given that responsibility.  Watch the accompanying video and tell me that this family should be broken up so that the state can prove its Orwellian power.

I think that the truth behind politics today, or if you will, the root cause of America’s trouble is that in any totalitarian regime the state must be the supreme authority on everything.  It isn’t acceptable for a family or the individual, or even God to be allowed to trump the all-consuming power of the state.  In all forms, tyranny must be complete because even the slight deviation from state authority leads to another.

When Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union began trying to have a little capitalism to compete with the west, my partner and I looked at each other wide-eyed.  You see, we had learned in college just a few year before that tyranny must be complete to seize or remain in power.  By relaxing control so that the Soviet Union could compete with the West, people who had no freedom experienced a taste of it.  Collapse was inevitable.  In our case, people here, who are not accustomed to the boot of tyranny on their necks don’t recognize central authority for what it is and blindly allow it happen to avoid the responsibility of self-determination.

Additional Resources:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/06/glenn-beck-explodes-over-latest-developments-in-case-of-boston-hospital-holding-teen-against-parents-will/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/10/25/european-socialism-why-america-doesnt-want-it/

Tyranny’s Road

Nuclear Option

Last week the senate controlled by the Democrats took the unprecedented step of changing senate rules so that judicial appointments now only require fifty-one votes to be confirmed.  For the past two hundred and fifty years that threshold has been sixty votes.  Watching the news last week, I noticed political pundits went on extensively about the meaning and impact of this unprecedented step.  While the change may not seem earthshaking, the results in coming years will be profound.  Regardless of the consequences of this action, only pundits and true political wonks will care, I fear.  The true impact however takes place after it’s too late to do anything to stop it.

Before going into the ramifications that this naked power grab represents; I think that it is worthwhile to define what the rule change is and what is impacted.  First of all, the rule change only effects presidential appointments, excluding the Supreme Court of the United States.  In other words the filibuster is still in place with regard to other legislation and the Supreme Court must still follow the traditional path with regard to constitutional requirement that the senate provide its advice and consent.  For this reason, I have had a couple of people ask me what difference it really makes.  Doesn’t a president deserve the right to appoint the nominees of his choosing?  Didn’t the Republican Party under President George Bush threaten to do the exact same thing for exactly the same reason? Generally, all things being equal, I would say that a president does deserve his nominees and yes, the Republicans did threaten to do the same thing.

The problem I have with these two points is that all things are not in fact equal.  For one thing, today the United States has a seventeen-trillion dollar debt, civil liberties are being destroyed, the federal government is ignoring the US Constitution, and the true unemployment rate is over thirteen percent, with young black males suffering the worst with over twenty-eight percent unemployment.  For another, the Republicans threatened to change the rules, but anyone who is paying attention is aware that they didn’t change the rules, did they?  Mr. Bush was guilty of pushing unwanted government on Americans too, but the current occupant of the White House is doubled down on Mr. Bush’s federal government over-reaches on an unprecedented scale.

The party in power has the absolute right to do a lot of things while they rule.  This rule change could have been enacted at any time in our history, yet it wasn’t.  The United States Senate operated under the sixty vote filibuster rule through the Civil War, both world wars, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror.  I hardly think that any of these periods in American history were without controversy or disagreement regarding presidential appointments.  The problem as I see it today is that the world is approaching a nexus in history.  Although I believe that life’s pressures do cause history to repeat itself, we are not on a merry-go-round, we are in fact moving through time in a linear manner.  Key events do matter.

The problem with the Democrat Party taking this action now is that it unveils a clear strategy on their part to rule with no regard to the wishes of millions or American citizens.  This rule change will allow the President to change the makeup of the court, and or the ability to seat truly radical federal judges that will be in their positions for life.  Let me ask you something.  Is it a good idea or a bad idea to allow a president who has repeatedly expressed the willingness to go around congress with executive order the ability to stack the courts with appointees that may well support his extra-constitutional excesses?  The framers of the constitution specifically split power up amongst three branches and between the federal government and the states for a reason.  Absolute power corrupts, absolutely.

It seems to me that Rome went down a very similar path.  The Romans fought for freedom, established a republic, and became wildly successful.  Then, after a few generations of being the world’s only super-power, the culture became decadent.  Larger and larger numbers of Romans began to feel disenfranchised and the upper classes becoming lazy as the work ethic declined.  Eventually, it just didn’t mean that much to later generations to be a Roman citizen.  The moral decline in Rome is obvious.  We can see it represented in literature, and in public events such as took place in the Coliseum.  In a word, Roman lifestyles were more and more about instant gratification, gratuitous sex, and violence.  Any of this sound familiar?

Productivity declined causing the relative cost of government and the military to skyrocket.  Supporting the bloated cost of regulation and security became an ever increasing burden to the middle class, yet the entitlement culture in Rome demanded ever-increasing benefits, exacerbating Rome’s problems.  As it is today, some sectors of Roman society were under taxed while others faced confiscatory taxation.  It is today as it was then, all too easy to distract the masses by fomenting economic class warfare, pitting the rich against the poor.  Citizen’s allegiance to Rome diminished, and many supported the rise of a strong-man government over the individual responsibility inherent in a republic.

My point in this little jaunt through history is that when a culture declines it becomes very attractive for the ruling class to change the rules when events begin to become unmanageable.  Phoenix Republic is about western culture becoming unmanageable because it is simply too broken in too many places.  The culture in the twenty-first century United States is fragmented.  Millions of Americans feel that someone owes them something while millions more still cling desperately to the notions of individual, responsibility, and hard work.

By voting to change the filibuster rule with regard to appointments, the Democrats are poised to rubber-stamp judicial and senior administrative appointees with no consideration given to the minority party.  This move thus effectively silences the voices of millions of Americans who oppose Democrat’s progressive agenda of transforming this country.  In other words, I believe it’s credible to say that the United States is now transforming from a Republic into an Empire.  Every time the United States Constitution is disregarded for the sake of convenience or so-called safety, representative government is diminished.

Think about it.  How is an oligarchy of progressive leaders who dismiss the rights of citizens substantively different than the Roman Triumvirates that led to the end of that previous world super power?

Additional Resources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/06/07/the-unemployment-news-is-worse-for-many/

http://www.usu.edu/markdamen/1320Hist&Civ/chapters/08ROMFAL.htm

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XnwBMoPll8