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Peter Ingemi hosts the radio program DaTechGuy on WCRN True Talk 830 AM in the Worcester/Boston area. On his program on April 30, 2011 I joined him for his round table for the second hour. The topics were:

  1. The vote by the Democratic Assembly in Massachusetts to curtail collective bargaining rights concerning health care. This would be news if done by Republicans, the fact that it was done by Democrats is astounding
  2. The National Labor Relations Board has told Boeing that they cannot open a factory in South Carolina but must return to Washington because the move was because of oppresive unions in Washington. And that’s a problem because….
  3. The Obama birth certificate. Is it over, yet?

(The audio is about 32 minutes)

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Cutting Back What Shouldn’t Be There in the First Place

by Bill O'Connell on January 6, 2011

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Let the games begin.  The Republicans now control the House of Representatives and have pledged to cut $100 billion from the budget in short order.  About half a beat later came the howls from the transportation lobby that they can’t possibly mean highway and mass-transit projects.  Why is this even a matter for debate?

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Express Train to Penury

by Bill O'Connell on January 3, 2011

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Ah, the romance of rail travel.  From Murder on the Orient Express to From Russia with Love to White Christmas to Some Like It Hot there is something alluring about a train.  But for all those warm feelings it’s time to recognize that we are in the 21st century and to leave trains to the movies. 

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The Progressive Assault on the Electoral College

by Bill O'Connell on December 10, 2010

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Comments submitted in response to a previous post, “The Progressive War on Federalism,” focused on the Electoral College and a movement called the National Popular Vote (http://www.nationalpopularvote.com) bill.  Rather than argue against my point it only seemed to reinforce it.  The objective of this movement, which before this commenter’s contribution I was unaware of, is to abolish, or should I say neuter, the Electoral College and replace it with the direct election of the president.  This movement looks to further weaken the states and move us away from federalism and toward a strong monolithic central government.  Here is my analysis.

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The Progressive War on Federalism

by Bill O'Connell on December 6, 2010

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I still find myself in awe of our Founding Fathers who created our form of government.  The competing ideas that they sifted through to come up with our Constitution and the safeguards in it is wondrous.  The designs upon it by the progressives is by equal measure disturbing.

  

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The Multicultural Fifth Column

by Bill O'Connell on November 10, 2009

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There was a time when people came to our shores to find a better life.  To escape persecution and poverty and to build a better life for their children was their goal.  They found Lady Liberty lifting her lamp beside the golden door.

What happened next was that people assimilated.  Their children went to school with other children and learned to read and speak English.  Their names may have sounded different but before long their voices didn’t.  Sure, New Englanders sounded different than those from Mississippi, but they sounded very much like their neighbors.  They became Americans.

I just finished reading Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen’s historical novel, To Try Men’s Souls, which is the story of the George Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776, and attacking Trenton.  Trenton was guarded by Hessian mercenaries, who were some of the most elite soldiers in Europe.  It was a mismatch beyond belief, but in a last ditch effort, their password that night was “Victory or Death,” and with the element of surprise, they prevailed.  In one passage it mentioned American soldiers of Dutch and German extraction shouting to the Hessians to surrender, in German.  They were probably closer to the Hessians in culture and blood than to their fellow Americans from Boston, but they considered themselves Americans and were willing to die for their country.

The Balkanization of America

Today, we are mired in multiculturalism.  I remember the story of an Hispanic man loudly protesting to his local school board regarding bilingual education to which he was opposed.  “You’re teaching my son to be a janitor!” he said, “I want him to learn in English, so that he can get a job with a future!” 

We should not lose track of our roots.  It is right to celebrate where we came from.  One of the great things about New York is the different neighborhoods and parades that teach and celebrate about where we came from, which is good.  But if carried to the point where we no longer assimilate; where we remain pockets of groups with their own identity and politics, we are in grave danger of ceasing to be America.

During World War II, what if people of German heritage refused to fight against Hitler or for that matter felt a greater allegiance to him than to America?  Some did.  They were tried for treason. What if they were protected instead?  What if their differences were looked at with admiration rather than suspicion?

Fort Hood

Commentators in the news are twisting themselves in knots trying to disassociate Major Nidal Hasan’s slaughter of 13 Americans from his jihadist proclivities, despite evidence of outright hostility toward America and contact with a radical imam.  It is politically incorrect, to speak of his religion.  The Army Chief of Staff raises concern about negatively impacting the military’s record of diversity, if we focus on anything but a lone gunman who snapped.

But what if there is a larger plot?  What if there is an effort on the behalf of some Muslims to purposely not assimilate, to infiltrate the military and become a fifth column within?  Multiculturalism makes it far easier for this to occur because if everyone looks different, no one stands out.  On the other hand, if everyone assimilates, those who speak, act, or plot against America become more obvious.  Again, imagine multiculturalism in the United States in 1943.  You might have whole communities that were German to the core, did not like non-Germans among them and quickly spread the alarm when a stranger approached.  How much easier would it have been for Hitler to build a network of saboteurs?

Kill Multiculturalism Before it Kills Us

We must reinvigorate the idea of assimilation.  Speak any language you want at home; dress any way you want; practice your faith as you please, but where government is involved, we should be treated equally. We should speak one common language for all official business.  If not, where do we draw the line?

In Minnesota in 2007 a public university coffee cart was banned from playing Christmas Carols, but public money was being used to install foot baths to accommodate Muslims before prayer.  After the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and now another terrorist attack at Fort Hood, we have to be able to tell the good Muslims from those out to kill us.  We must have true peace loving Muslims, become true Americans.  We have to engender that we are Americans first, like those early Americans of Dutch and German decent, and not have divided loyalties particularly where the “other loyalty” insists on killing us infidels.

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Liberty and Mobility

by Bill O'Connell on June 1, 2009

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Movin' Out

One of the great blessings bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers was federalism. Our federal form of government evolved from the Articles of Confederation, where states had primacy and the national government acted only with the consent of the states.  This proved to be too cumbersome.

In writing the Constitution, the Founders identified very specific roles and responsibilities for the national government and left everything else to the states or the people (see Tenth Amendment).  In doing so it gave the people the power of liberty through mobility.  If you didn’t like the way they did things in Massachusetts, you could move to Virginia.  If the people of Pennsylvania didn’t want a mass migration of people to Georgia, they needed to be careful regarding the laws that they passed so as not to alienate a large block of their constituents.

The War on Federalism

The statist, who loves government and believes government should control every aspect of our lives, hates federalism, because it weakens its control.  So they attack it through the courts.

Here is their standard battle plan.  Let’s the case of Gay Marriage.  Vermont’s legislature approves Gay Marriage.  Whether you are in favor of that or oppose that it shouldn’t affect you if you don’t live in Vermont.  If you are in favor and you live elsewhere, you can move to Vermont.  If you live there and are opposed you can either fight to overturn it in Vermont, or move elsewhere.  That’s the beauty of federalism.  If continued to its logical conclusion, some states would approve it and those in favor would migrate there, and those who are opposed would concentrate in states that would ensure that it would not be adopted in their state.  You could have a raging debate, but your liberty would be preserved through mobility.

However, the statists have a different view of things.  After the law is passed in Vermont by the legislature (as is proper), or made up out of thin air by the court in Massachusetts (judicial activism and improper), some couples who are married in these states move to another state.  By doing so, they should leave their state sanctioned rights behind.  However, what they will typically do when their Vermont sanctioned rights are not honored in, say, Tennessee they will rush to federal court and says their Constitutional rights are being violated.  A court stocked with judicial activists, will find some fig leaf of justification with words like emanations and penumbras, to make a new law of the land and with the stroke of a pen, the liberties of all Americans will be swept away based on the will of the people of Vermont.  You no longer can protect your liberty through mobility.  You cannot go anywhere to live in proximity to like minded people and live the life you believe in.  Mobility is no longer a tool to protect your liberty it is a weapon against you.  People can secure rights elsewhere and use mobility to come to your doorstep and use the courts to force their beliefs on you.

Fierce Fighting

I believe that is why the fighting over these issues become so fierce and acrimonious.  If something is allowed anywhere, it will soon be allowed everywhere, because of an activist judiciary.  Our rhetoric has become more strident, our politics is anything but bipartisan, all because everything is being elevated to the federal level.  States are becoming less and less important.  If you don’t believe it  ask people, who was responsible for the fiasco after hurricane Katrina?  If they say President Bush, ask them to name the mayor of New Orleans or the governor of Louisiana at the time. Bush and the federal government should have been the third line of defense, not the first.  The first should have been the city, then the state and then the federal government.

Back to Federalism

Show me where in the constitution it says the government should own General Motors and Chrysler.  Show me where it says that a tunnel, entirely in the city of Boston should be paid for by the taxpayers of Arizona.  Show me where in the constitution it says education is the responsibility not of local government but the federal government.  It doesn’t.  And until well roll back this juggernaut, our liberties will be crushed little by little, day by day.

This is why it is also important to guard against activist judges getting on the bench or being elevated to higher levels of the court. It is just these activist judges who are taking away your liberty to move away from those who don’t believe what you do and moving toward those you do agree with.  Take note of the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

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Is the Groundswell Starting?

by Bill O'Connell on February 20, 2009

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The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people — Amendment X, United States Constitution

“I’m Mad as Hell and I’m Not Going To Take It Any More”

That quote from the movie “Network” popped into my head as I read about a legislator in Oklahoma, calling for legislative support for the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.  It passed the state assembly unanimously.  So what does this mean?  The sponsor of the bill, State Senator Randy Brogdan, explains:

The “federal government has been putting the screws on (the states) a little tighter and tighter each year” along with unfunded mandates of varying sorts.

And each time this happens, Brogdon explained, “We lose a little bit of our freedom and liberty.”

The federal government has been growing enormously and taking on more and more things that used to be handled locally, such as education, and welfare.  Other programs have not changed as the economy has, for example, as the percentage of the population that farms has decreased dramatically has the Department of Agriculture shrunk accordingly?

You Must Obey!

The way the federal government works around this is by saying, okay, you don’t have to do what we tell you, but you will get no federal funding if you don’t.  It seems like a Catch-22, no?  Since the 16th Amendment, which authorized the income tax, the federal government can decide how much to tax incomes and there is little that the states can do about it.  They take money from your pocket under threat of imprisonment, and will give it back to you only if you comply with their rules.

How Do We Fix This One?

It may require a constitutional amendment to fix as the 16th Amendment says:

The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration. — 16th Amendment to the Constitution

I’ll leave the legal mechanics to those better qualified, but I would propose the following.  That the federal budget shall include a breakdown of projected revenues derived from income taxes, broken down by source: individual, corporate, etc.  A state should then be allowed to refuse mandates and programs from, say, the Department of Education, and withhold from the IRS that proportion of tax dollars destined for the Department of Education from that state.

Certain departments should be deemed mandatory, such as Defense, State, Treasure, to name a few as these departments serve all citizens.

The legislation under consideration in Oklahoma will have little effect if the federal government can suck up as much money as it wants to from the states, via their citizens and then just keep the money if the states refuse to participate in the programs.  How do you determine which programs should be subject to the states discretion?  No money should flow from a state, to Washington, and then back to the state.  That is just plain stupid and wasteful, or a distribution of wealth, none of which is a government function. Paying for roads and infrastructure that does not cross state lines should be funded locally.  It is ridiculous that the federal government pays 90% of the cost of a highway that lies entirely within a city.  Look at the scandalous “Big Dig” in Boston.  Billions of dollars spent and parts of it are falling down.  Why should any of this be paid for by the people of Kansas, Oklahoma, Alaska, New York, Florida, et al.?

But the real answer is following the 10th Amendment.  It clearly states that the role of the federal government is spelled out in the Constitution.  If it’s not in the Constitution then that responsibility is left to the states or the people.  Show me where in the Constitution it says that the federal government is responsible for education.  It’s not in there and that department should be shut down tomorrow.

It’s Time to Rein the Monster In

The anger in the country is growing.  Those who acted responsibly are being told they have to bail out the irresponsible.  They are being told by “Buck a Day Biden” that it is their patriotic duty to pay higher taxes to help out.  Meanwhile half a dozen Obama appointees haven’t paid the taxes they owe, let alone paying more.  I give Biden the “Buck a Day Biden” moniker because that is how much this millionaire gives to charity.  He doesn’t want to spend his own money on charity, he wants the government to take your money to fund government programs to do that.

If you don’t think the anger is growing take a look at this.  Rick Santelli

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