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Posts Tagged ‘Virginia’

Back on July 10th, Mark Levin announced his new book Liberty Amendments, to be released tomorrow August 13th, will discuss a way forward for the millions of U.S. that are fed up with the President and leaders of both parties. Back on July 20th I described why these Amendments are needed, and the method for bringing them to life, in my blog post called, The Liberty Amendments – My Take. I encourage everyone to come up with their own but mine are listed in the post, The Liberty Amendments – My First Five.

Some of the five amendments, posted July 20th, are commonly discussed, some are my tweaks of popular amendments and some are straight up originals – like the Voter Campaign Finance (VCF) amendment, which I described this way:

Limit campaign contributions to those who are registered voters that can vote for the candidate. For example, I live in VA 5th Congressional District – Robert Hurt’s my congressman. If he ran for House, under this Amendment, he could only receive campaign contributions from registered 5th district voters (easily checked against existing voter rolls) – no unions, corporations, out-of-district fat cats, PACs, etc. If you don’t have a legal right to vote in 5th district, you can’t influence the 5th District election.

I came up with this idea about 18 months ago when I began to see more and more evidence how representatives pay more attention to donors than voters and considered alternatives?  Whenever limits on campaign finance are mentioned – the popular reaction is “that would never pass constitutional muster”. As such, I decided I’d keep the idea to myself and use it for a senior thesis or in graduate school – I’m a college student. However, when I heard Mark Levin bring up the Liberty Amendments idea & remind us the “answers are in the Constitution itself”, I knew exactly what he meant – Article V (imagine vocalizing the words “light bulb” in your best Gru voice from Despicable Me). If only problem with VCF is the constitutional issue, then passing a constitutional amendment, instead of an Act, effectively makes the VCF constitutional.

What are the impacts of the VCF Amendment? Well, I’m not an attorney or a political pro, so I’ll stick to the common sense impacts and let the lawyers make tweaks to improve the idea. First of all, our entire political system is based upon the integrity of votes – that each vote should be counted equally and fairly. I simply extend that logic to a meta-view of the influence on legislation. It makes no sense to make sure that each of our votes are counted equally, at the ballot box, only to allow them to be diluted when lawmakers pass laws to please donors over voters. For example, if my 5th District Representative is carefully weighing the wishes of his donors vs. his voters – the votes of the voters have already been diluted. A representative should only be concerned with what their voters want and not anyone or anything else.

Simple, if you don’t have a legal right to vote in 5th district, you shouldn’t be able to influence the 5th District election

Now consider, for a moment, the practical impacts of an amendment like the VCF. For example, if my Representative, Robert Hurt, is thinking about supporting the Senate Gang of 8 Amnesty legislation, why should he care about the opinion of Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas billionaire who supports Senate Amnesty? If Hurt gives Adelson’s donations any weight at all, my vote as his constituent has been effectively diluted. Post-VCF, Hurt would only consider the wishes of his voters, not Adelson – that’s how it should be. That’s just one example. VCF also ends the influence of unions and other out of state influence. In Hurt’s recent election, unions ran ads against him yet there’s no significant union presence in our district – the unions don’t care about that – they just want to change who’s in DC for federal legislation that affects them.

One of the great injustices of the last hundred years of the progressive cancer, has been the steady erosion of the states and the expansion of federal power. A big reason that has occurred is the influence of special interest groups – that are either concentrated in Washington DC or have significant representation there on “K” street. Imagine if all those lobbyists lose their financial influence? The result is a transfer of power from the moneyed interests of “K” Street and Wall Street all the way back to Main Street. In fact, not even Main Street, per se, because even local businesses will not be able to contribute to politicians – they can’t vote. Neither can universities or PACs or NOW or the Sierra Club or anyone else that is not registered to vote in my district.

Here in Virginia, we vote for our Governor in off-election years, so this fall we will choose who will lead this great Commonwealth – at least for four years. It’s an epic, ugly battle between Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican and the current & outstanding Virginia A.G., and Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and the consummate DC insider who once left his baby-birthing wife to attend a campaign fundraiser. The August 8th headline of the Richmond Times Dispatch, says it all:

Out-of-state funds pouring into Virginia race for governor

Why? Why should people from outside the Commonwealth affect who our governor is? What do those donors expect in return? What if it’s different than what Virginians want – who wins? The Virginia Public Access Project tells us the gory details here, including the fact that McAuliffe raised $1.7 million just in the month of June, much of it from unions and the “DGA” of Democratic Governors Association – but who contributes to that group and if Mr. McAuliffe gets $2 million from the DGA – will he put their interest ahead of Virginia voters? Whatever doubts you might have about donor motivations, the people writing those big checks are very clear – Terry McAuliffe is expected to come through for them after the election.

As I’ve said, under VCF, those kinds of contributions and its effect on our policies would end. McAuliffe could attend the births of his children and politicians would be accountable to voters again – as it should be. Let me restate the simple logic of the VCF:

if you don’t have a legal right to vote in Virginia, you shouldn’t be able to influence the Virginia elections.

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On March 23, 1775, 235 years ago today, Patrick Henry addressed Virginia’s delegates at St John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia.  The audience included Thomas Jefferson & George Washington.  The delegates would be so inspired by Henry that the they rose to their feet and called out “To arms!  To arms!” – thereby authorizing Virginia troops to join the battle – critical for the Revolution.

Ten years before, on May 29, 1765, Jefferson heard Patrick Henry speak out against the Stamp Act.  Jefferson was studying law @ William & Mary and often stopped at the Virginia House of Burgesses to listen to the debate.  Later Jefferson would recall,

“that, as he listened to Henry speak, a flame was kindled in Jefferson’s soul – a flame of liberty and patriotism that would burn brighter and ever brighter until he himself would feel compelled to take up the banner of the great American cause – Jefferson would later refer to this as the most important day of his life.”  from Andrew Allison’s “The Real Thomas Jefferson”

So, Henry may not have gone on to become President but Americans should never forget the man or the speech below.  Although spoken 235 years ago, a quick re-read will remind us these principles are timeless and more relevant than ever.  I included the entire text below, rather than a link, because it’s human nature to assume you know what’s in this speech and move on – don’t!

Stop whatever you were about to do, read it for yourself and tell me you can’t see the parallels between the tyranny of King George then and the tyranny of Progressive Democrats today?

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

As one of the “millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty” otherwise known as the modern tea party movement, I will echo Henry’s call that “we must fight!”  It’s not yet necessary to risk death for liberty, but that day will come if we become disheartened or complacent.

 

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Recently
Look2theWest, the Audacity of Reason, passed 5,000 visitors. 

Not much compared to Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter or Christopher Hitchens but I’m grateful so many have visited my site and read my writing.

I’m an IT project manager who helps lead software development teams.  I had to take some time off from work recently and took up the habit of putting my thoughts down in writing and sharing them over the Web. 

I would be honored to someday make a living in the public policy area – writing, legislating or campaigning.  I’m too old (44) to join the U.S. Marines, like my Uncle who fought in Korea, so I will fight the War of Ideas in a suit instead of fatigues. 

I chose the name Look2theWest because:

“There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the west
and my spirit is crying for leaving”

It’s a lyric from Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven that captures the way the west has inspired millions to migrate here and billions to demand freedom and justice in their own lands. 

The Audacity of Reason is a nod to the excellent philosophy of Ayn Rand and an easy counter to Obama’s purposely ambiguous euphemism the “Audacity of Hope”.  

Many say the country’s on the wrong track but I find that many things about modern America are truly remarkable. 

One of them is the dramatic rise in home-grown blogging. Could our fathers and mothers, let alone our forefathers and mothers, have predicted that someday the average person can sit down at their desk, write down their thoughts and then share them with thousands of others in an instant?

I’ve never had to convince some liberal publisher that my conservative viewpoint would be popular.  I just put my writing out there and people decided for themselves if it was good or not. 

You did not have to rely on some elitist screener to determine – for you- what’s worth reading or not.

Likewise, I can go online, read what other Americans are thinking and even give them feedback.  Sometimes the feedback sparks a discussion between two strangers about important issues.  That’s remarkable to me, and fun.

Thanks again for your interest in Look2theWest, the Audacity of Reason.

 

 Dad 067 Dad Mom & Kate

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