18 August 2008

A Good Form of Government is Totally Inadequate

Without a moral people, our government is little better than a monarchy. Without religion, morals will not be passed across generations. Read the following article for a great discussion on liberty: John Adams, Ron Paul, the Constitution and Liberty

08 April 2008

Plundering the People

"The war against illegal plunder has been fought since the beginning of the world. But how is... legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay ... If such a law is not abolished immediately it will spread, multiply and develop into a system."
-- Frederic Bastiat
(1801-1850) French economist, statesman, and author. He did most of his writing during the years just before -- and immediately following -- the French Revolution of February 1848
Source: "The Law" (1848)

04 April 2008

From a New Mexico Representative on writing to representatives

Writing Your Congressional Representatives

Your correspondence with your Representatives and Senators is important, and therefore should not be underestimated. Indeed, such correspondence is a responsibility, even an obligation you should assume when you elect a public official. After all, how can your elected members of Congress effectively represent you if you fail to inform them of your views? Many representatives and senators recognize that letters, emails, and faxes they receive from voters back home are among their best sources for learning and understanding the views of their constituents.

Writing effective letters to your elected representatives is not difficult. A well-worded and factually persuasive letter can cause an elected official to review or reevaluate his or her position on an issue. Such correspondence has been known to cause a change in position or vote. Communicating your support on an issue, also can reinforce and strengthen a representative's position and gives him or her visible evidence of constituent support.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow when you sit down to write:

Why Write?

  • To express your views on an issue and to help your elected representatives understand your position as a constituent.
  • To solicit his/her views and position on issues.
  • To seek a commitment on an issue.
  • To seek assistance and support as a constituent.
  • To seek information or ask questions.
  • To express appreciation for a job well done or for a particular vote.

Important Courtesies

  • Be friendly, politicians are human too.
  • Be polite.
  • Be reasonable, don't ask for the impossible.
  • Don't threaten, especially with your vote.
  • Don't demand a final or immediate commitment, legislation is a complicated process.
  • Be appreciative, say "thank you", especially when you agree with a vote or position.


  • Address your letter properly; the recipient's name and address should be on the letter and envelope.
  • Proper spellings of the names are located on this page.
  • Always write legibly or type if possible; it's preferred that you just use one side of your paper.
  • Make sure your full return address is written on the letter and on the envelope since envelops are often separated from their letter.
  • Sign your letter above your printed or typed name. It is often difficult to read people's signatures; this will ensure correct spelling of your name.
  • Keep a copy of your correspondence and any material that you include for your personal records.


  • Send a personal letter IN YOUR OWN WORDS. These are far more effective than letters from an obvious mass mailing campaign. Avoid any appearance of a form letter. Remember: it is your opinion that your representative is interested in.
  • State your reason for writing; be specific!
  • Express yourself clearly.
  • Be brief and to the point.
  • Discuss only one subject, don't confuse the issue.
  • Identify subject clearly; give name of legislation and bill number if known. (Remember that some 20,000 bills are introduced in Congress).


  • Be constructive, help seek a solution.
  • Share your expertise, if knowledgeable on a certain issue, describe your expertise.
  • Avoid becoming a "pen pal"; don't write merely for the sake of writing.
  • After stating your position, ask for his/her position on the legislation or issue.
  • Don't send carbon copies to your other elected representatives; each one deserves a personal letter.
  • Be patient; if you don't receive a response in a reasonable time, send a follow-up note and enclose a copy of your original letter.
  • If the response that you receive seems noncommittal or evasive, politely write back for clarification.

Timing of Your Correspondence

  • Timing is important; write when your views can have the greatest impact. If writing about a specific bill. Write while the bill is in committee: thus, there is still time for effective action.
  • When public hearings are anticipated and it seems appropriate, request that your elected representative testify in support of your position as a constituent.
  • Monday and Friday usually have the heaviest mail, so try to time receipt of your letter between Tuesday and Thursday.

Remember: Be Brief: Be Clear, and Be Courteous.

©2007 Pete V. Domenici · Privacy Statement

01 April 2008


"If, as it appears, the experiment that was called 'America' is at an end... then perhaps a fitting epitaph would be ... 'here lies America the greatest nation that might have been had it not been for the Edomite bankers who first stole their money, used their stolen money to buy their politicians and press and lastly deprived them of their constitutional freedom by the most evil device yet created --- The Federal Reserve Banking System.' "
-- G. D. McDaniel

Page design idea

Ronald, can you design a better header? Good draft, but the colors aren't the coolest. Also, maybe could you make the column that has the posts a little wider so longer posts don't look so long.

Not Yours to Give

Originally published in "The Life of Colonel David Crockett," by Edward Sylvester Ellis.

One day in the House of Representatives a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in its support. The speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:

"Mr. Speaker--I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has not the power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member on this floor knows it.

We have the right as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is a debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I ever heard that the government was in arrears to him.

"Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt, it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into a hack and drove over as fast as we could. In spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them. The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done.

"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up. When riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came up, I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but as I thought, rather coldly.

"I began: 'Well friend, I am one of those unfortunate beings called candidates and---

"Yes I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine, I shall not vote for you again."

"This was a sockdolger...I begged him tell me what was the matter.

"Well Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting in the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting you or wounding you.'

"I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest.

But an understanding of the constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the honest he is.'

" 'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake. Though I live in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by fire in Georgetown. Is that true?

"Well my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve its suffering women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing treasury, and I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just the same as I did.'

"It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means.

What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he.

If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give at all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. 'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity.'

"'Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this country as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have Thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life.'

"The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from necessity of giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'

"'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is a precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.'

"I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking and in that district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him:

"Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress about the powers of Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'

"He laughingly replied; 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than beating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.'

"If I don't, said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get up a gathering of people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.'

"No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. 'This Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday week. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.

"'Well I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name."

"'My name is Bunce.'

"'Not Horatio Bunce?'


"'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend.'

"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met him. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence, and for a heart brim-full and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame had extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him, before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote.

"At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with, and I found that it gave the people an interest and confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifested before.

"Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached his house, and, under ordinary circumstances, should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before."

"I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him - no, that is not the word - I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will tell you, sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue and, to my surprise, found about a thousand men there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted - at least, they all knew me.

"In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying:

"Fellow-citizens - I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only."

"I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying:

"And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that the most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error.

"It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but he is entitled to the credit for it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.'

"He came up to the stand and said:

"Fellow-citizens - it affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.'

"He went down, and there went up from that crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before.'

"I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.'

"Now, sir," concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. "There is one thing which I will call your attention, "you remember that I proposed to give a week's pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men - men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the great debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased--a debt which could not be paid by money--and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $20,000 when weighed against the honor of the nation. Yet not one of them responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."

29 March 2008

Welfare in these United States

There are a few things concerning welfare that have occurred to me. The most recent involves the idea of compensation.

Why do people live through the taxation of their neighbors? I haven't really thought of all the reasons that people use welfare, neither have I considered the legitimacy of the various cases, but, I do feel that generally, governmental welfare promotes a slothful unproductive lifestyle. There are many public services that need to be done. There are dirty highways, decaying parks, trashy slums, etc. It seems appropriate that if welfare is going to be issued under due circumstances, then a comparable compensation should be made though the organization of service teams, made up of welfare recipients, working to repay their fellow-citizens, on whose backs they're living.

Welfare must not be handled federally, but should be turned over to the states where, at the state level, delegations and arrangements can be made to handle welfare more prudently. Perhaps this will require the appointment of welfare officers that recipients must coordinate with to maintain their eligibility. These officers will ensure that recipients make compensatory efforts and that their reliance on welfare funds are temporary.

25 March 2008

Who will take the torch?

I was thinking about Ron Paul and the refreshing message of actually following the Constitution when it occurred to me, who will be the next Ron Paul? I do not pose the question, "will there be another Ron Paul?" because his message transcends political fads. So the question stands, who can take the torch and carry the message forward? Any ideas?

04 February 2008

Machiavelli and Ron Paul

In American politics, one's persona is arguably more vital to a candidate's success as is his/her ideological platform. This is evident in the 2008 Republican presidential race as John McCain stands as the experienced public servant and war veteran, Mitt Romney exemplifies the successful American businessman, and Mike Huckabee represents the religious hometown hero. Unlike the other candidates though, Ron Paul's message is much more persuasive than his quirky persona. In fact, his persona probably hurts him more than it helps. In the Discourses, Machiavelli provides insight into why Ron Paul's message transcends his persona and has the capacity to resonate long after he loses the Republican ticket.

If one believes fragments of truth can be extracted even from flawed arguments, gleaning elements of truth from the Discourses is perfectly acceptable. If one rejects this premise, he/she quickly eliminates almost all sources of reference. Truths therefore will be drawn out from the Discourses without the need to rectify the flaws the truths may be housed in.

In reference to “collective bodies”, Machiavelli astutely asserts that “those changes are healthy that bring them back to their founding principles” since they “all...must have some good in them at the start”(Wooton 87-88). The “good” as defined by Machiavelli may be a looser interpretation of the word than the “good” used by the ancients, but his point is still valid. Bringing “collective bodies” back to their founding principles of why they became a “collective bod[y]”, is a healthy change for that “collective bod[y]”. This principle of getting back to “founding principles” applies regardless of the moral goodness of the “collective bod[y]”.

The process of returning to the founding is necessary because “that original goodness becomes corrupted, and, unless something happens that brings them back to first principles, corruption inevitably destroys the organization”(Wooton 88). Machiavelli then goes on to explain how this returning to first principles can come about by an “external accident or through domestic wisdom”(Wooton 88). In recent times we have seen how the “external accident” of the events of September 11, 2001 brought America together, united by a common love for freedom. This unity however did not last long. One can see from this and other examples that the longest lasting change comes from “domestic wisdom” rather than “external accidents” because the former comes from within. Unfortunately, there have been few leaders elected with the “domestic wisdom” to bring us back to our founding since the days of Ronald Reagan.

While Ron Paul is no Ronald Reagan, he has ignited a grassroots movement based on “domestic wisdom”. His platform is one of strict Constitutionalism, bringing our actions as a country in harmony with what the Founding Fathers outlined in the Constitution. This premise guides his views on the economy, war, education, abortion, and so on. Consequently, some of his views, like returning to the gold standard, appear archaic. Yet, this principle of strictly obeying the Constitution has spread across America in an unprecedented fashion.

How could a quirky, old man whose ideas are viewed by many as extreme be so popular? Quite simply, it is because Ron Paul hardwired his platform into the American ideal of freedom. The supporters of Ron Paul are so committed because they fully believe they are fighting to restore the America the revolutionaries died to create. They feel a connection to the Founding Fathers, they are inspired by the founding principle of freedom, and they can't help but show it. In contrast to the top-down approach, described by Machiavelli, of restoring a “collective bod[y]” to its founding principles, the Ron Paul Revolution has come from the bottom-up.

Machiavelli's wisdom that “those changes are healthy that bring them back to their founding principles” succinctly explains the power and longevity of Ron Paul's message(Wooton 87). The founding principle of freedom is what brought America into being. Despite the archaic feel to some of Ron Paul's ideas, multitudes of people still support him because his message taps into the founding principle of freedom. It is evident that supporters of Ron Paul are more excited about freedom than they are about Ron Paul as a person. His persona does not need to be attractive because he has based his campaign on the attractive founding principles of America. This is exactly why long after Ron Paul loses the Republican ticket, other politicians will stand up and tap into that same wellspring of founding principles. Quite simply, there is power in aligning one's platform with the founding principles of the “collective bod[y]” of people.

As one can see, fragments of Machiavelli's Discourses can be extracted to help explain the campaign of 2008 Republican candidate Ron Paul. Machiavelli's prescription of returning to our founding principles has fueled Ron Paul's campaign and the idea is not likely to go away.

28 January 2008

The effects of cushioning

These thoughts are made as an observation or theory about human behavior. The Fed's role in regulating the money supply in order to cushion us from the natural bumps of the business cycle makes people less aware of the value of being prepared for economic downturn by saving, having food storage, and having personal food production capabilities (a small garden that could be expanded as needed). While removing the Fed wouldn't necessarily correct the problem, it would cause more people to become more secure and to avoid debt more carefully. But, people will generally favor material possessions now over financial security and preparedness.

The Federal Reserve and Government on Money

The Federal Reserve acts to cushion the business cycle by reigning in economic activity in times of boom through contractionary monetary policy and to boost it in times of downturn through expansionary monetary policy.

Furthermore, the government is currently planning a transfer of funds back to the American people. Taking a look at the money flow, most taxes are payed by the wealthiest Americans, (from the highest tax payers) whereas the "tax rebate" is being given exclusively to taxpayers making under $75,000/yr to act as a stimulus to the economy.

12 January 2008

What would Franklin say about universal health care?

At the root of our motive to work is a desire to survive and to feel secure. Universal health care will be a demotivator to work and an incentive to plan poorly for the future. When the government redistributes wealth, it gives society a false sense of security and lulls people away into a state of carelessness and non-productivity. Such programs rob the industrious and give undeserved, (and perhaps more importantly) unsustainable rewards to those who have not labored for them. There is a way to help the poor and unfortunate. That is through charity and free-will giving. Free-will interactions of that form elevate both the giver and the recipient. Governmental redistribution of wealth is too easily taken for granted by the recipient and yielded begrudgingly by the taxed. Neither group is lifted and both are given incentives to work less (the taxed because he is deprived of his reward and the recipient because he receives without work).