September 2, 2014

Shining City

Posted on September 1, 2012 by in Opinion

This is my first writing for The Graph, so I thought I might start out with a bit of an introduction.

I was born in Manitoba, Canada (that’s north of North Dakota), where my parents had a small farm equipment manufacturing company. In 1975, the company building burned down as the result of an accident. Hot sparks and paint do not mix! After a brief stay in temporary quarters, my family and I moved to North Dakota in 1978. I remember that my father was very impressed with the business- friendly attitude of the American banker and city officials who helped us get a new business set up in our new town (during the malaise at the end of the Carter administration). Of course, the fun came to an end a few years later when my dad’s business could not survive the recession of ’80-81.

After high school (‘81) and college (‘87), I was a casual observer of the political scene without becoming very involved, as I had life to live. Since employment was impossible with a B.A. in Sociology, I reverted to the training of my youth and became a welder. Many jobs, a lovely wife, a child, and 25 years later, I noticed that my adopted country was not the “Land of the Free” and the “Home of the Brave” to which my family first came.

The Bush 43 administration gradually woke me up, the final call coming when the housing bubble burst and the economy went into its slide into recession, with TARP and corporate bailouts along the way. Then came a Presidential election and Rick Santelli’s rant in Chicago. I realized that “We The People” needed to shake things up in Washington if we wanted life to be any better for us and our kids. I heard about a local tax-day event that was being planned and decided to check it out. The organization for that event turned into the local Tea Party, which I joined and subsequently met Ben Froland, a key contributor to the beginning of the Fox Valley Initiative (FVI).

It was through this association that I realized I needed to do some studying so that I could converse better with people about what our country means and how to put it back on the course that our Founders began. I started my education of the Founding Documents with a seminar sponsored by FVI and put on by the National Center for Constitutional Studies and its president, Dr. Earl Taylor. The primary lesson I learned from the seminar is that both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution have all of the answers we need today, if only we could get more people to study them and recognize the original intent of the great men who wrote the documents. As a Catholic Christian, I have an appreciation for documents that are “inspired.” I believe the people who came up with our Founding Documents were inspired.

I believe that if “We The People,” and the politicians who we hire to represent us, will turn back to the ideas enshrined in the Founding Documents, the U.S. will quickly return to being the “shining city on the hill” spoken of so eloquently by President Reagan.

The first idea we need to get back to is the sanctity of life, the first of the “unalienable Rights” listed in the Declaration of Independence, obviously held in high esteem by the Founders. Without this primary idea, our country devolves into a culture of death where we have little regard for anyone that cannot speak for themselves or anyone we deem not worthy of consideration.

Another of the primary ideas we need to get back to is the protection of personal property. This starts with the products of individual labor and extends to defining a national border and the enforcement of this border. Without this simple concept, we don’t have an identity as a sovereign country. In order to be truly free we must have both a respect for property rights and national borders.

As do many of you, I believe that the Obama administration must be replaced in order to have any chance of saving this once-great country from continuing its slide into Socialism and into crushing debt from which there will be no return. Are Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan the answer? Gov. Romney was not my first (or second) choice and I would like to ask Rep. Ryan a few questions but Pres. Obama must be defeated! The challenge remains with “We The People” (as it always has) to get as many Originalists into positions of power as possible at all levels of government.

As important as our governmental leadership is, so too are our non-governmental institutions. These include our houses of worship, our schools and universities. Alexis de Tocqueville noted that “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.” He also said that “The Americans combine the notions of religion and liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive of one without the other.” In the Progressive era of our society we have too many of our population abandoning religion and, therefore, faith and morality. Conservatives need to take back the institutions that educate and form our children into moral and productive citizens.

I believe sites like TheGraph.com and the TEA Party are vehicles to turn the USA back to the ideas and ideals enshrined in our Founding Documents and the key to all of it is education. We must educate ourselves and others and identify/support people and institutions that can help return our country to the confines and freedoms codified in those two documents that started the American Experiment and transformed a fledgling group of colonies into the world’s most influential society in a mere 130-140 years.

Scott Walker Victorious in Wisconsin: The Takeaway

Posted on June 6, 2012 by in Opinion

Last night my Governor, Scott Walker, made history by becoming the first Governor in U.S. history to survive a recall election. Not only did he survive it, but he amassed even more votes than he did in the 2010 election. To do so in the state that is the birthplace of the progressive movement and hosts the “Fighting Bob Fest” is beyond impressive. Here are the takeaways:

Conservatives need to be fighters and fighters need to be sufficiently ruthless. “Sufficiently ruthless” is a term coined by Green Bay area talk show host Jerry Bader and it refers to having the will to do what is necessary. It doesn’t mean giving up your principles as the left does. Just do whatever you can legally and in good conscience to defeat the failed policies of Marxism/progressivism wherever you find them. Walker didn’t win because of position papers, he won because of the troops who went head to head with the unions and their minions.

The foundation for success hasn’t changed in over 200 years. Scott Walker reaffirmed this when he began his victory speech by thanking God and the Founders. With faith and wisdom like that, how could he loose?

Conservative politicians need to be aggressive. Walker didn’t wait to enact reforms, he immediately began implementing the changes necessary to return fiscal sanity to the state, and power to the taxpayers. But he didn’t stop there. Walker also signed bills protecting the unborn, providing lawful concealed carry, limiting unnecessary lawsuits, and establishing voter ID. Getting this work done early meant taxpayers started to realize the benefits and the left’s machine couldn’t keep enthusiasm up through the recall.

Push leftists to expose their true identities. When they finally reveal themselves it is not pretty and the average citizen will shy away from them. When feeling threatened, the left resorted to outrageous tactics such as interrupting Special Olympics ceremonies and blood drives dressed as zombies, occupying and trashing the Capitol building, fleeing to Illinois, shouting threats at fellow lawmakers, dumping drinks on politicians, and death threats.

The left is emotionally driven and dumb. They started the recall too soon, backed a loser in the primary, ran on nothing, and wasted millions of dollars. Nothing more than spoiled children having an unfocused temper tantrum. How conservatives ever let this minority group of codependent losers ever establish a power base baffles me. Be smart and be victorious.

The forces of collectivism are on the ropes here in Wisconsin and across the country. Let’s use this victory as a training tool and a springboard. Keep the heat on.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

The State of the GOP

Posted on March 29, 2012 by in Opinion

John Knowles’s classic novel, A Separate Peace, begins memorably:

I went back to the Devon School not long ago, and found it looking oddly newer than when I was a student there fifteen years before . . . as if a coat of varnish had been put over everything for better preservation.

I get precisely the opposite feel when I look at the Republican Party.

Republicans Return to Disarray

Less than two years after the Tea Party carried Republicans to historic gains in Congress and state housesTea Party 2009 around the country, the Grand Old Party looks much older than grand. Its skin is coarse and leathery. Pachyderm-ish.Or like the broken, bleeding hands of a North Dakota railroad worker in January. It’s as if a coat of Elmer’s Glue had been put over everything to blister and peel and crack like mud under the burning sun.

Across Missouri, people were driven away by heavy-handed party regulars. The disenchanted were mostly newcomers to politics.

Most infamous of these events was the St. Charles County debacle in which the county chairman ruled with an iron fist, inspiring a rebellion that ended with police riot squads clearing the premises and arresting two caucus-goers. Ready to lead, indeed.

In Illinois, a wealthy young man from a prominent family unleashed a tidal wave of lies—flat out, ridiculous, and cruel lies—against a decent and honest opponent.  Meanwhile, the Illinois GOP insiders threatened and cajoled anyone who dared support the young heir’s opponent. At a Lincoln Days dinner in Madison County, I heard a small business owner explain the sticker on his chest: “I’m not supporting him, but they’ll go after my business if I don’t wear this.”

Liberty my foot. The Illinois GOP is every bit as capable of totalitarian control as the Obama administration. It feels like the Republican Party is more interested in protecting the power and redistributive entitlements of its long-time insiders than in growing its base. The party fears new blood (except their properly schooled off-spring), the way closed country clubs of the 1970s feared blacks, Jews, and Catholics.

Where Does the Money Go?

Did I say “redistributive entitlements?”  Yes, I did. When it comes to government spending, the biggest difference between the Republicans and Democrats is to whom they redistribute our money. Democrats buy votes with tax dollars; Republicans buy donors.

Now, I admit, I’d rather live in a nation led by Republicans than one ruled by Democrats. Republicans tolerate more personal liberty and more economic growth. They are more open to learning and to experimenting with better methods than are Democrats. Republicans remain naturally skeptical of experts who’ve never accomplished anything in real life.

But only slightly.

Republicans do not tolerate real competition between businesses. They championed TARP as much the Democrats did, and TARP was the crown jewel of anti-competitive legislation. Nor do they welcome newcomers into the party—at least not newcomers who want an equal say in things.

I realize that people who’ve worked on Township committees for 20 years want to have more influence than some guy who accidentally wanders into his first caucus looking for a public toilet. But rigging the process to produce results that were predetermined by a small cadre of insiders doesn’t help Republicans win or grow the base—it helps launch third parties.

After the Tea Party dragged the GOP across the finish line in 2010, to borrow Mike Leahy’s line, the GOP wanted nothing more to do with us. They’ve quietly toiled to let us know our kind isn’t welcome.  We’re like Irish and Italian immigrants a century and a quarter ago. “We’re going to vote now, dear. Be a good little immigrant and take out the trash.”

If the Republicans don’t wake up and grow up quickly, come November they will find themselves the most exclusive club in America—on their way to joining the Whigs.

Who Held the Line?

The GOP in Missouri wasted the biggest influx of new blood into the political fight in 30 years. Now you understand why so many young people support Ron Paul.  The Democrats are destroying the country, but who has the stomach to work with Republicans?

In 2008 and 2009, Republicans across the country gave up. They let Al Franken steal a seat. They let Arlen Specter slip through their fingers. They embraced the idea of 40 years of Democratic Rule.  Heck, even Roy Blunt was touring the state hoping to stop Robin Carnahan from being the 60th Senator.  They had given up.

  • While the Republican Establishment cut deals with Democrats, The Tea Party stood in the gap and said “No more.”
  • While the Republican Establishment cowered behind city walls, we charged into the streets and parks and hearings and town halls declaring, “we created this government, not the other way around.”
  • While the Republican Establishment ducked its head and buried its wallet and worried about its political future, our flesh and blood held back and reversed the tide to historic victories across the country.

It was the Tea Party that held back Obamacare from fast track implementation in August of 2009.  They were ready to pass it, and we stepped up in the townhalls and said HELL NO!  We were telling them it was costly and unconstitutional long before the CBO and the Supreme Court got involved.  We were right then.  Do you remember?

It was the Tea Party that made a national mission out of Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts. And if the Supreme Court overturns ObamaCare, it will be because the Democrats rushed the bill through the Senate knowing Brown was the 41st vote for freedom.

It wasn’t just healthcare shoved down our throats.  The Republicans couldn’t stop the stimulus. They put up token resistance and then a bunch of them voted for the omnibus budget a few weeks later (allowing Claire McCaskill to vote against it because Kit Bond voted for it). They ducked the debt ceiling fight.  They refused to defund Obamacare or the czars.  They were given a huge majority in the House of Representatives – the power of the purse, and what have they have done with it?  The debt continues to grow as the Senate refuses to even consider a budget.

Now it’s March, 2012. In Missouri, the Tea Party candidates have been driven out and redistricted and co-opted.  What exactly is a Tea Partier supposed to fight for in Missouri?  Where’s our skin in the game?  Who can we stand behind?

The Republicans don’t appreciate what was done for them.  They will.  They will wake up this fall to empty phone banks, small events, and the full attention of a press eager to prove 2010 a historical anomaly.

Come October, the Occupy Crowd will hound them at local events, and the social media will be all leftwing, all the time.  The Republicans will have lost the narrative, and they will once again be playing defense.

And they’ll put a coat of varnish on the state capitol and talk about the ebb and flow of politics, as the debt tsunami approaches.  The Tea Party was willing to fight alongside Republicans.  We never signed up to fight for them.  The danger is not that Tea Party voters sit on their hands and let Obama stay into office.  It’s that across the nation, publicly funded groups like the unions and the new ACORN and Occupy and Color for Change are preparing for 2012.  The Republicans, in their arrogance, have decided to tell a million volunteers and donors to stay home.

As patriots with families and businesses, we have choices on how to use the limited time God has granted us.  We are forced to choose where to apply our time and attention.  Is that focus to be placed on working with candidates and fighting the mainstream media?  Or is it shoring up our homes, finances, families, and communities for whatever comes next?

Today’s Free Press

Posted on August 8, 2011 by in Opinion

As you are currently reading alternative media, you probably already recognize that the entertainment-obsessed behemoth regarded as “the press” is anything but the free press that was intended way back when its rights were codified in the U.S. Constitution.

Any objective analysis of today’s traditional media industry can only conclude that the protection granted to the press in the First Amendment has been utterly wasted on it.

Here we confront the modern American dilemma – our ill-advised defiance of the Constitution. Much of the nation seems perplexed as to why our society no longer seems to work quite right but considers the continual assault on our Constitution to be virtually inconsequential.

The bold declarations contained in the Bill of Rights are clear, concise and axiomatic. But, more importantly, they are intended to bind government and ensure the Constitution’s efficacy. Once the tenets of the Bill of Rights are ignored or become twisted to mean something other than what was intended, the Constitution quickly becomes unraveled and is bit by bit rendered meaningless.

Unfortunately, we appear to have forgotten that those first Ten Amendments were necessarily added to our Constitution to guarantee its ratification. In sum, without the Bill of Rights there would be no Constitution. You cannot have one without the other.

That our system of governance no longer harmoniously works should be of no surprise. Once the rights which were codified to protect free men are considered flippant and left to the whimsical interpretations of the day, why should we expect anything less than trouble?

The problem is that large swaths of the population are indifferent about the whole matter. To our collective detriment, many a contemporary citizen has come to believe that government exists to provide for him. Blinded to the reality that he could ever possibly need protection from his government, he has become dependent and subservient. In essence, the state is now his master, because he has relegated himself to life as a lowly creature intended to serve at its will.

Rather than acting as an agent of protection against an intrusive government, today’s mainstream media — or Big Media, as I call it — at best merely seeks to entertain us. At worst, it has become an unofficial agent of the state, acting almost exclusively on its behalf.

Whether or not big media intends to promote the central government is irrelevant, for the net effect exists regardless. The point is that it has defied the system as it was designed, begetting a serious problem.

Fortunately, even those who torment us cannot defy the natural order of things. Again we find the rules of cause and effect at work. Alternative media was born from man’s innate struggle to be free, his natural resistance to the authoritarian nature of the state. The current rise of a new press is nothing less than the attempt to re-establish a free press – an essential component of a free society.

This too is easily misconstrued by an unsuspecting public, for the phenomenon is miscast, politicized by the advocates of big government. Having willingly assumed a supporting role in advancing the concept of infinitely expanding government, Big Media has been a central player.

Today’s large media outlets in conjunction with government, academia, and various corporate interests constitute what Angelo Codevilla succinctly identified as “the Elite Ruling Class” in his prodigious essay on the subject.

This relatively minute class is adept at manipulating that plurality of Americans who have come to view the state as an entity that does “for them” rather than “to them”. Once enough citizens buy into the charade, a self-perpetuating momentum is created. Over time, society becomes conditioned to adopt whatever this ruling class chooses to foist upon it. Anything goes, from “efficient” light bulbs to TSA pat-downs.

Used as a tool to keep the whole sordid system propped up, one of Big Media’s primary roles is to simply parrot big government’s daily proclamations, aiding in creating the perception of authority and omnipotence.

Of course, they do much more than that — constantly distracting the populace with endless circuses, and obfuscating the importance of what is happening in the world around us by presenting entertainment as information and information as entertainment.

Along the way, the protestations voiced through alternative media sources are merely presented as just more political squabbling. Reduced to just part of the overall noise in an age of too much information, sound objections are easily lost among the incessant trivial chatter.

Today, the dynamics of the whole struggle have become significantly more fluid as technology and social media rapidly change the relationship between citizens and their governments. From the Tea Party in America to political unrest in places like Egypt, the dramatic results are evident throughout the world.

In large part, alternative media has helped fuel the Tea Party movement, America’s latest manifestation of man pushing back against the state. As exemplified by Andrew Brietbart’s ACORN expose, these sources serve as catalysts, ultimately helping to animate the enormous discontent long simmering within the citizenry.

For the Tea Party to continue to advance its demands of smaller government and constitutional adherence, it must learn to wield this new media as a sword, just as the elite ruling class has done with traditional media outlets.

To maximize effectiveness, the new breed of constitutional conservative activists, like-minded legislators, and alternative media sources must all work in concert. It will prove incumbent upon conservatives to walk the walk. They must understand whom and what their dollars ultimately support — and then spend accordingly.

It will not do to keep propping up traditional media sources, their advertisers, and corporate interests who do the bidding of the ruling class. Starving the beast will prove essential to defeating it.

Of course, the other side has the right to their opinion too. It’s just they need to finance the dissemination of those opinions exclusively on the backs of those unfortunate souls who buy into their poppycock.

All hail the free press!

Tea Party Victory… In Maryland?

Posted on June 6, 2011 by in Articles, Opinion

In this year’s General Assembly, Maryland lawmakers, much like their Washington, D.C. counterparts, chose again to ignore the voice of the voters and do what they thought would get them re-elected.  Many, many votes this year defied the will of “we the people”, but I’m speaking primarily of Maryland’s version of the DREAM Act.  The Act, passed in both chambers despite bipartisan dissent, and signed into law in a very public, campaign-style ceremony by Governor Martin O’Malley, would grant in-state tuition rates at Maryland public colleges and universities to students who are in America illegally, with very few guidelines or caveats.

The only surprising part of this news is that it took until now for Maryland to pass such a bill.  After all, Maryland is the most Democratic-leaning state in the Union. According to the latest Gallup poll, Maryland Democrats have a state-side 22 percent advantage over Republicans.  Both chambers of the state assembly have strong Democratic majorities, Maryland is represented by two of the bluest liberals in the U.S. Senate, and routinely sends a Democratic majority to the House.  But when this bill was tabled for debate, it was met with fierce, all be it small and short-funded, opposition.  The bill eventually passed, with only a few minor amendments.

No sooner was the final vote tallied, two conservative Delegates, Neil Parrott and Pat McDonough, were working tirelessly to have the law suspended and placed on the 2012 ballot as a referendum vote.  They set up a website, MDPetitions.com, to drive for online petitions. Several volunteers including myself and Delegate Justin Ready, took to the streets to collect signatures in support of the referendum.  And just as Maryland is known as a hot spot for liberals, the bluest state is equally dismissive of its rather small Tea Party influence.

However, on May 31, Delegate Parrott proudly announced that the petition drive had submitted over 60,000 signatures.  By state law, in order to keep the petition alive, 18,579 valid signatures were required by that date, with the balance of 55,736 signatures due by June 30.  With the Maryland Board of Elections charged with the task of verifying and validating the signatures, it is likely that some will be litigated out.

It is unclear as of yet how many of the submitted signatures will be accepted by the BoE, but a few things have become very clear.  Maryland’s Tea Party movement is a force to be reckoned with.  It is also obvious that despite her liberal tendencies, Maryland’s residents understand the rule of law; that illegal means against the law; and that they are tired of being taken to cleaners for the political gain of elected officials.  In fact, several hard-core liberals not only signed the petition, but also offered to help circulate it.

Meanwhile, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was busy complaining that Republicans and conservatives think that illegal immigration “should in fact be a crime.”  Governor O’Malley fought for this bill and signed it so that “new Americans” would have a fighting chance.  Perhaps Miss Schultz and Mister O’Malley should get out of their offices and spend some time with the good people of Maryland, liberals and conservatives alike, and find out the majority of Americans, including the newly vocal Maryland Tea Party movement, do in fact think that illegal immigration is a crime.

UPDATE

As of this week, the Maryland BoE has validated 47,354 signatures for the referendum petition.  That leaves just under 8,400 more valid signatures to effectively suspend the Maryland DREAM Act and let the citizens decide its fate next November.  Twenty-seven percent of the validated signatures, by the way, are the names of registered Democrats, and twelve per cent are independents.

Far be it from me to predict the future, but I see at least one liberal, over-spending, over-reaching bill being transported from the I.C.U. to its end-of-life bed.

Silent No More, Obamunism No More!

Posted on April 3, 2011 by in Opinion, Video

As most of you know, Obama is running for reelection.  Here at The Graph, it’s imperative we give you the cure to the Hope-And-Change-Fever.  So, consider this the first of many doses.
When Obama was not breaking in his new golf shoes, or signing another executive order intended to push his socialist agenda, he took a trip to Brazil.  While in Brazil, he gave a speech where he said, “Brazil went from a dictatorship to a thriving democracy,” and that it was a example to the world.
The only problem with that is, Brazil is run by the socialist Worker’s Party.
Feel free to use your imagination…

Cairo to Madison (to Rockford?): Egypt-style Revolution in the Midwest?

Posted on February 18, 2011 by in Articles

We pointed out previously that Wisconsin’s incoming Governor Scott Walker was facing a daunting task in fixing the state’s out of control spending. In addition to lowering taxes and courting new businesses, Walker introduced a budget adjustment bill targeting public union benefits. Highlights include asking union members to contribute 5.8% towards their pension, 12.6% towards their healthcare, and restricts collective bargaining to salary only. This approach helps shore up the budget shortfall while retaining all state workers and avoiding layoffs. The contributions also amount to roughly half of what the average private sector worker contributes.

This didn’t sit well with the public unions, particularly WEAC, the very powerful Wisconsin Education Association Council. Their Madison-area teachers orchestrated a “sick-out” on Wednesday with nearly 40% of them absent, forcing the closing of schools.  Amazingly many of these same teachers showed up at the capitol to protest while they were “sick.” (Can you imagine calling in to work sick and then showing up in front of your place of business to protest your employer?) The “sick-outs” have now extended to Milwaukee and other areas for Thursday and are expected to continue through Friday. This isn’t sitting well with parents, even those who support the teachers’ cause.

Governor Walker had anticipated that the unions’ response would be, let’s say, “vociferous.” He alerted the Wisconsin National Guard to be ready in case things got out of hand. Of course the unions seized on this as an opportunity to demonize both Walker and the National Guard as a dictator with jack-booted storm troopers.

As if blowing off work and abandoning kids wasn’t bad enough, some of the teachers who did show up forced their classes to attend the protests in support. Many of the students had no idea why they were even there.

Unsurprisingly, an angry group of unions and clueless students has also attracted Madison’s local chapter of socialists who are always looking for useful idiots to nudge in the “right” direction. They’re holding  an event next Wednesday titled “From Cairo to Madison” aimed at teaching people to organize against the Republic.

While union members may have congregated in the state capital of Madison to protest, many apparently neglected to vote in Tuesday’s primary election. In the race to replace the conservative Walker as county executive in very liberal Milwaukee County, it was another conservative, State Representative Jeff Stone, who garnered 44 percent of the votes in a 5-way race. He now faces liberal millionaire philanthropist Chris Abele who took in 25 percent of the vote in the general election. In the statewide primary for supreme court, sitting Justice David Prosser, another conservative, also coasted to a win and will square off against Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg.

In a showing of their true colors, the minority senate democrats fled the capital today in an effort to prevent senate quorum. That is, 20 members of the senate must be present to proceed with the proposal and the republicans number 19. The capital police and state troopers were sent to retrieve the AWOL senators but they had fled out of state to Rockford Illinois. It is ironic that a party that sprung a member from jail in an attempt to push through union legislation just last December would find themselves skirting the law to prevent passage of the same. Even more amusing was the fact that this cadre of fiduciary fugitives fled a bastion of liberalism only to be sent packing by Rockford’s Tea Party.

New Tone

As I write this, I am receiving text messages from a state representative that read: “All hell is breaking loose down here! Someone tried to storm the assembly chamber” followed by ” We have huge numbers of officers here helping. We have to be escorted everywhere.” And finally “In this room I am watching history being made. Not just Wisconsin history, this will ripple nationwide and could just change the course of our country.”

He has good reason to be cautious. Unlike the Tea Party movement that has been a model of civil discourse, there have been at least 9 arrests at Wisconsin’s capital. Signs clearly equate Walker to Hitler, Mussolini, and Mubarak and some read “Death to Tyrants.” (with the word ‘political’ scribbled above as an afterthought.) Imagine how the media would react if a Tea Party rally looked like this:

Not everyone came to support the unions though. This young man is dynamite!!!

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Governor Walker held a press conference at the end of Thursday to chastise the absent senators and ask them to return to the work the citizens of Wisconsin pay them to perform. He also reemphasized that he was holding firm to his original proposal and would not compromise. If Walker succeeds, he just may spark a grassfire that sweeps across other states strangled by public sector unions. Furthermore, with the unions spending copious amounts of resources defending themselves at the state capital, will they have anything left in the tank for 2012? Buckle up and stay tuned.

Can You Handle the Truth?

Posted on January 3, 2011 by in Opinion

Some will call me a RINO.  Some will call me a wet blanket.  Some will call me a hack.

All of these might just be correct.

I’m a writer and lawyer, and I’ve seen politics from both sides.  I’ve been part of the screaming masses demanding the politicians listen to us.  I’ve worked on and run campaigns, so I like to think I know a little bit about how things actually work.

I’m a libertarian-ish Republican who thinks the only real home for “little l” libertarians, conservatives, constitutionalists, etc. is the GOP.  Of course by “real home” I mean way for us like-minded folks to win elections.

My purpose here isn’t to blow smoke up your ass.  Nor is it to see how high I can drive up your blood pressure.

My purpose is to provide what I see as some much needed realism to the Tea Party movement.  I’m going to talk about the people and ideas we should or shouldn’t get behind.  I’m going to take our discussion from talking points to wonkily-delicious policy statements.

I think for the sake of our nation, the Tea Party movement needs to be not only successful, but sustained.  In order to make that happen, we’re going to have to make some real decisions about people and policy.  We’re also going to have to show that we can deliver voters to the polls and money to the coffers.

Can we do it?  We sure as hell can if we put our collective realist caps and big boy pants on.

Some may call me a pain in the ass.

But all of you can just call me Eddie.

Feel like sparring with Eddie?  Catch him on Twitter at twitter.com/ewillers or by email at [email protected]

A Case Against Compromise

Posted on December 2, 2010 by in Opinion

After Republicans convincingly regained control of the U.S. House, not surprisingly, it took all of a few days for the traditional powers that be to pull out their demands for “compromise”.

Theirs is an automatic assumption that conservatives, particularly those nasty Tea Party types, need to compromise with President Obama.  Same old drill, from the same old playbook.

We conservatives are to simply go along with the Democratic agenda, regardless of its merit, in the spirit of the government getting things done. No further explanation is required.

Conversely, as we know all too well, when it comes to Republican proposals or in this instance a grass-roots conservative revolution, there are no such calls for adversaries to get on board. This is the stuff of one-way streets.

Actually, when it comes to Democrats, it seems that doing something, anything at all, is the general idea. We are told that government must get things done, regardless of whether or not it’s a good idea, or even whether or not most Americans happen to agree with it. In the age of Obama, there’s been no need for any benchmarks at all. The motto is “just do it!”

At the risk of bursting anyone’s bubble, in response to the “Can’t we all just get along” crowd, let’s clear something up straight away, no, we cannot.

This concept of compromising for the mere sake of compromise is over-rated anyway. Some things are not to be bargained with, only defeated. When it comes to good versus evil, there is no middle ground. Compromise means evil will persist. The only solution is to utterly and completely defeat it.

We learned this lesson with the Adolf Hitler’s of the world. We learned it with the abomination of slavery. We are still battling it today with Communism, Islamic terrorists and countless other threats to our safety and morality.

The silly notion that compromise is good, as in always good, while parroted by the left is largely the domain of the political moderate. In truth, such a stance, or perhaps the lack thereof, is as much the path of least resistance as it is a principled determination.

Moderates somehow believe that the middle of any two opposing sides is always the sacred ground. Their goal seems to be to stay as far away as possible from any perimeters, what they view as the extremes.

The problem here is that the “extremes” have long been miscast by that pervasive elite ruling class, those who create what was once considered conventional wisdom. Note that it is only conservatives who are tagged with labels such as extremist or radical, resulting in “the center” being dragged considerably to the left.

We need not look any further than the recently completed election cycle, which featured the ascendancy of the very conservative-minded “Tea Party.” While conservative upstart Christine O’Donnell, for example, was routinely portrayed as extreme, Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer were never presented in such a manner.

The “moderate” animal appears to have a desperate desire to be liked by all, believing that neutrality is the most noble of causes. When it comes to many issues of a serious nature, certainly anything perceived as potentially divisive, they are content to stand on the periphery, often the most casual of observers.

In large part, it is this mushy middle that has delivered us to our present dilemma, for government’s natural momentum is to grow. Left largely undeterred and coupled with trendy authoritarian philosophies, the result over the last century has been an exponential expansion in government.

The real result of continuous so-called compromise in the battle between denizens of big government and small government has always been more government. In truth, there has never really been any compromise at all, government never shrinks. At the very best, its rate of growth both in size and intrusiveness is merely slowed for a short time.

As harmful as the desire to compromise (remain neutral) has been to our political apparatus, it has been equally destructive to our intertwining culture and socio-economic system, ultimately producing an epidemic of political correctness that has turned society on its head.

We have become conditioned to tolerate the intolerable. Our over-zealous need to “get along” has transformed us into a nation of enablers. Unleashing a continuous wave of dangerous trends, America has now become its own worst enemy, both at home and abroad.

Certainly, we have long enabled our politicians, and in turn, government. Our once great halls are constantly filled with a caliber of people who we view as unworthy of our respect. You know the drill, everyone hates Congress and then 95% of them get re-elected. Should it be any surprise that government has run-amok?

As for the predictable protests that our system of government is built upon the need to compromise, so it is. However, this precept is in the context of central government as it was designed, one of very limited authority. You can’t have the former having abandoned the latter.

Today’s increasingly divisive and fractious body politic is largely due to the federal government involving itself in an ever-growing list of issues it was never intended to deal with. If nothing else, the federal government has literally overwhelmed itself with the sheer volume of duties it has assumed.

Discarding its limited role in the lives of its citizens has made it increasingly difficult to achieve any true sense of compromise. Ignoring regional distinctions and the sovereign authority of states, defying the axiom that the best government is one closest to home, we have wreaked havoc with our ability to maintain a workable governing system.

Effectively, increasing calls for compromise should be viewed as a clear signal that Washington’s continual abandonment of constitutional principles is not working. They are dire warnings of a desperate need to de-centralize authority.

In truth, more “compromise” at the federal level is the last thing we need. It is time to send power home and unleash the 50 little experiments that were intended for us.

Updates to the “Current Buzz” Service at The Graph and Other News

Posted on November 21, 2010 by in Articles

photo by brian solis at the standard in west hollywood, ca

Some of you may not know that, in addition to being an outspoken political person, co-founder (along with about a dozen others on the first organizing call February 20 2009) of the modern Tea Party movement, foodie, musician, deuce thrower (as evidenced by my pic here) and entrepreneur, I’m also a software coding freak (when I can sneak in some time to do it) who loves the social web. After my tenure as CTO of Withoutabox, when we were acquired by Amazon in 2008, I became focused on how to merge the social, technical and political worlds. The Graph is the latest iteration for my movement in this direction.

In 2009, after we started that little Tea Party ruckus,  I created my own URL shortener, grf.me,  that I still use personally, and corporate  customers (that’s right, those little pet projects generate revenue) use for their companies’ business objectives in the social web. Then I created a Twitter news aggregator, the first of its kind, called Newds (because nothing should come between you and the news, not even clothes), that pulled data from Twitter’s hashtag streams and created a nice little daily/weekly/monthly summary of what was going on in each stream. The Newds application processed over 4.5 million tweets in the #tcot stream alone in the first 8 months of 2010! With 65% of those tweets containing links. It’s obvious that conservatives like to share news.

When I started The Graph last month, I decided to kill the Newds project and roll that functionality into The Graph. No worries. It also gave me an excuse to learn how to deploy apps on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Services Platform. Too nerdy? Anyway, you can now access this service by clicking the “Current Buzz” link in the menu. This weekend I’ve been busy updating the “Current Buzz” section. I’m still collecting the links from conservative social web streams then I group them by url so I can rank them by how many times they’ve been shared. But now, and here’s the cool part of new feature set, once the application gets all those links that it aggregates, it searches the web for additional stories that are related and lists them below the original url as “Related stories”. That way you have more stories to read if something really catches your eye. The best part of this service is that it constantly updates automatically.

Think of “Current Buzz” as a crowd-sourced, social, and more relevant “Drudge Report”. I contend that Current Buzz is more relevant than any other conservative news source because it’s your activity that generates this content – rather than some college intern at the Drudge Report slogging through newswire feeds to paste on their homepage. After all, who knows more about what sort of content you want to read than you? I’ll be making more enhancements to the Current Buzz feature over the coming weeks – consider this feature to be an Alpha.

What else? We’ve got new bloggers joining our team – Jeff just finished his first banking story at The Graph for y’all. We’ve got our first series of political audiobooks due in a couple weeks, we’ve got new video editors cranking out content, and we’ll soon be creating curriculum for homeschoolers. 2011 is gonna be a great year! Stay tuned.

I welcome your feedback, so get at me on Twitter. I’m @brooksbayne.