UPDATE: Go With Hope—reports that Gabrielle Giffords is still alive, needs our prayers

Like all decent people, I am disgusted to hear the sad news out of Tucson, AZ: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot and killed along with four others today.  Twelve were shot altogether. The murderer was apprehended by heroic bystanders and is in custody.

Not sure of the young murderer’s motives.  I’m sure they weren’t worth killing or dying for.  Except to him. 

Please prayer for the souls of the faithful departed, the well-being of their families, the quick recovery of the wounded, and the delivery of justice.

UPDATE:  It gets worse.  A small child is among the dead. 

And hatemongers at Daily Kos wasted no time in blaming Sarah Palin according to blogger Joel Achenbach at WaPo.

UPDATE 2:  Rep. Giffords reportedly in surgery.  Our prayer are with her.

Leftists like Yglesias, Kos, and HuffPo continue to blame tea party, Breitbart, and Sarah Palin. Disgusting, sick, vile. Here’s an example from HuffPo:

Gabrielle Giffords Shot In The Head

Meanwhile, DailyKos has deleted a damning post from a leftist angry at Giffords for voting AGAINST Nancy Pelosi.  But Jim Treacher grabbed a screen shot before Kos could rewrite history.

 

UPDATE:  Arizona State Senator Lynda Lopez blames Tea Party for the shooting. If you’d like to talk to Sen. Lopez about it, here’s her contact information:

Linda Lopez
House of Representatives
1700 W. Washington, Room 321
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Fax Number: (602) 417-3029

Phone Number: (602) 926-4089 or 1-800-352-8404

Email: llopez@azleg.state.az.us

Momentum

momentum-script

Momentum is the mass and velocity of an object.

The object is the American ideology.

The impetus is the conservative grassroots.

The velocity is medium.

The direction is right.

The tactics and tools to keep the dominos falling to the right might change, but the energy and ideals don’t.  What brought you out to the tea parties, to the street parties, to the lit drops, and to the door knocking and phone banking parties must carry you forward in 2011 and 2012.

The dominos are falling to the right. 

Please consider a donation to the St. Louis Tea Party so we can broaden our base and build our movement in 2011.

Please ask 3 friends to subscribe to our daily newsletter.

The 112th

Four years after Nancy Pelosi swore to end deficit spending, a new Congress, elected by a grassroots surge, took office today.

Our work has just begun.

But we have the momentum.

Here’s how we need to deal with Congress:

1.  We let them know what’s important to us.

2.  We defend them—individually and collectively—when they do the right thing.

3.  We remind them of their purpose, promises, and limitations when they stray.

Of these, I believe the second point the most important.

We have asked this Congress to cut spending, to end programs, and to take away unjust privileges.  I think they’ll do just that.  Maybe they won’t move as quickly or as boldly as we’d like, but they’ll begin undoing what previous Congresses have done.

And people will scream.

The way big government types get and keep power is by taking money from some (including future generations) and bribing people.  That’s essentially what Obama’s beloved “redistributive justice” means: steal from strangers and give to—or buy—friends.

Those who’ve benefited from this theft ring will howl when Congress cuts off their funds. The new Republican House will be accused of starving children, killing the elderly, and sentencing the sick to death.

It’s our job—those of us who took to the streets in 2009—to stand by our representatives who try to stop this multi-generational theft.  It’s our job to praise, to promote, to support brave members of Congress who do brave things.

Thoughts?

3 Moves After the Tea Party*

It’s 2011.  The Tea Party movement is almost two years old

Two years after the Boston Tea party, the Revolutionary War was well underway. In April, 1775, British Lieutenant General Gage sent troops to Concord, Massachusetts, to seize a garrison held by revolutionaries.  It didn’t go so well for the Brits.

redcoats-at-old-north-bridge 

By 1776, the Continental Congress declared our independence from Great Britain citing human rights.  With words that echo through the centuries, we declared that human beings have certain rights, and:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Where does this new American Revolution go now? 

Last night, I celebrated the New Year as do most New Years: by myself, watching subdued, almost depressed events in Las Vegas and New York.  The moment gave me a chance to ruminate as midnight approached: what next?

Here’s a short list that came to mind:

1.  Let’s Have a Tea Party:  After reading the numerous news accounts about 2010 being the Year of the Tea Party, I realized that I may have underestimated the impact of the movement.  That’s easy to do, I think, where you’re in the middle of something.  It’s clear now, though, that the world sees this rebellion as something to advance, to to admire, or to fear.  That deserves a party.

2.  Let’s Paint the Future:  I say and write this a lot.  I will continue to say it and write until it gains some ascendency.   The Tea Party movement – or whatever we call its evolutionary posterity – needs to move from defense to offense.  Offense includes proposing substitutions for the present system.  For example, how do we wind down Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security to minimize or prevent disruptions to people’s lives?  How do we restructure the tax system to both pay off our national debt and to encourage economic growth? What will education look like after we eliminate the Department of Education? 

3.  Let’s Broaden Our Interests:  At some point in the recent past, philosophers stopped applying philosophy to the world and began looking at philosophy as an end in itself.  That’s when the world stopped taking philosophy seriously.  The philosophers had isolated themselves from real life.

If we narrowly study only the Constitution, US History, the Founders, etc., we will become very dull, except to the few others who study nothing but this narrow subject. The world will compartmentalize us away, as it has philosophy.

Conservatives need to use our understanding of the founding principles, not as ends in itself, but as a guideline to apply right reason to problems of the day. 

I mention this repeatedly, too,  because I sense many of us becoming insular in our studies. Erudition requires breadth of knowledge, especially in adjacent matters. Depth in some area is central, of course, but it’s not the end.  Once you’ve hit water, digging deeper won’t make the water cooler or clearer.


* I used the term After the Tea Party.  I don’t think the name “tea party” should or will go away.  But I think we need to broaden our thinking.  The tea party era must give way to the leadership era.  If we stop moving, we die. 

Ezra Klein and the Dead Constitution

Clearly a fan of understatement, Ezra Klein once ran a blog called “Not Geniuses.” Now, of course, he demonstrates his ignorance on MSNBC. 

Last week, Klein unwittingly advanced the cause of dead constitutions. He did a  better job than any proponent could.  He said:

The issue with the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago.

(William F. Buckley once described a statement like Klein’s as evoking of the sort of pity  one feels for the ignorance of animals.)

Getting past Klein’s ignorance and cognitive feebleness (some massive obstacles to circumvent), we see he’s dropped a gem of an argument in favor of dead constitutions. 

By “dead,” I mean that the meaning doesn’t change with the changing of the seasons.  Proponents of a “living Constitution,” such as Klein and his not-genius friends, believe that the Constitution has no meaning.  Rather, they wish the whims and fancies of the day to guide an oligarchy of judicial rulers to determine the definition of life and everything surrounding it. 

Wise men, like Jonah Goldberg understand that the founders intended, and reason demands, a dead Constitution

The case for dead constitutions is simple. They bind us to a set of rules for everybody. Recall the recent debate about the filibuster. The most powerful argument the Democrats could muster was that if you get rid of the traditional right of the minority in the Senate to bollix up the works, the Democrats will deny that right to Republicans the next time they’re in the majority (shudder)

Whether I write “Carthego delenda est” or “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam,” the meaning is identical today as it was when Cato the Elder said it 2000 years ago.  “Carthage must be destroyed.”  (For Klein’s edification, 2000 years is even more than “over 100 years.”)

We call Latin a “dead language,” not because it fails to convey life, but because its meaning is set in stone, chiseled in granite, as it were, with “U”s that like “V”s.   The advantage of a dead language is that the author’s intent remains understandable for all eternity.

If men like Ezra Klein find the Unites States Constitution confusing, it is not because the Constitution changed over the 223 years of its existence—but because Klein and his ilk refuse to understand the meaning of the words. 

(Actually, it’s more likely that Klein has determined the meaning of the words, found that meaning in direct opposition to his tyrannical goals, and decided that playing stupid (superbly) would best advance his collectivist goals.)

To say that we cannot determine the intent of those who ratified the Constitution is to say that all language is meaningless. That’s great mental masturbation for the Derrida’s of the world, but offers nothing to people live real lives.

According to Klein’s reasoning, whoever wrote the Christmas song Deck the Halls meant to imply that men in the 19th century at Christmas time dressed to imply homosexuality. Yes, that’s absurd—just as absurd as Klein’s belief that we cannot know what was intended by the statement “Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes.” 

Dead Constitutions, like dead languages, give us a fixed point upon which to navigate. Living Constitutions create massive confusion—the kind currently enveloping Ezra Klein’s feeble mind.

To the Constitution!  May it remain dead forever.

The Longest Year

The year that ends tonight didn’t begin a year a go tomorrow.  Nor does it have a number. 

I’m not sure when this year started or what to call it.  And, as surprising as it may sound, I don’t think I’ll miss it.

Call it the year of the tea party.  It lasted 22 months.

We accomplished only two things, really, in this massive human wave. 

1.  We reminded ourselves that we, the people, can still roar.

2.   We may have aborted the rebirth of international socialism.

Our work isn’t over, but at midnight we cross a threshold.  The Tea Party movement leaves childhood.  As an organization, we’re young adults. The world becomes less forgiving. 

Movements don’t think or decide. The folks who people them do.  If we try to continue the tactics and antics of this year, we’ll arrest our own development. 

If, however, we keep a narrow focus while maturing our methods and broadening our knowledge, we’ll continue to grow.

It’s been a long, very long, year.  But there’s ages left to go.

8 Things to Read in 2011

This week last year, I read The 5000 Year Leap.  Good book.  If you haven’t read it, do so. You might learn some interesting things. 

But don’t expect The 5000 Year Leap to change you.  Or history. It won’t. 

Now, if 70 percent of the US population read it, it might make a difference.  Or maybe not. I tend to doubt it, but that’s fodder for a different post.

When tea partiers read books like Glenn Beck’s Common Sense or The 5000 Year Leap, we’re not broadening ourselves—we’re narrowing ourselves. We’re also committing Confirmation Bias: the tendency to search for information that confirms our existing beliefs while ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

In a study, psychologists were exposed to a short set of symptoms and asked to give a preliminary diagnosis.  Then, they were shown another set of symptoms for the same patients and asked to re-evaluate.  All of the psychologists stuck with their original diagnoses—only they increased their certainty of that original diagnosis. 

In other words, they believed that the additional information confirmed their original diagnoses.

The problems:

1.  The original list of symptoms were far too vague for a psychologist to confidently diagnose.

2. The second list contained information intended to contradict the original diagnosis in many cases.

Still, the trained, licensed PhDs saw in the second diagnoses only the information that confirmed their original guesses. 

When conservatives know only the information that supports their view, they tend to look like idiots when confronted with information beyond that narrow scope.  (Trust me—I’ve been the idiot.)

To avoid that embarrassing and destructive situation, learn outside of US political history.  In fact, you probably could go on a US political history diet for one year and still know more about the subject than any 100 liberals combined. 

In 2011, read some things beyond Glenn Beck’s reading list.  Here’s eight ideas to get you started:

The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

Outliers: The Story of Success

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

While some of these books might touch on politics in places, they will introduce many to new ideas that are changing the world around us. 

The intention here is to broaden and build the movement, begin with ourselves.  If the idea of reading outside your comfort zone scares you, then you need to start today. 

Despots Use Money to Buy Power

humiliationPoliticians don’t seek money.  They seek power.  They use money to acquire power.  Once they have the power, money becomes irrelevant. 

Did you see how states behaved last summer? The “Race to the Top” is all you need to know about the relationship between government money, power, and degradation.

The Race to the Top education initiative dangled cash in front of states.  Most states, including Missouri, bit.  They competed against each other for the privilege of surrendering their sovereignty over education to a DoE overlord.

The fiasco reminded me of a submarine patrol.  We got underway a day early—before our Sea Store cigarettes arrived.  About half the crew smoked.  About ten percent brought their own brands, not available through Sea Stores at $3.00 a carton. 

Cigarettes became very valuable. Those with cigarettes sometimes degraded those who craved cigarettes.  I once saw my Chief Petty Officer perched on a chair barking like a dog for a Benson & Hedges 100. 

Secretaries of US Government departments like seeing the states beg and degrade themselves, too.  The states that demonstrated the most pathetic, degrading, obsequious groveling got the money.  Obama got their school districts.

Why Don’t We Do Something Else?

arguingYes, I read that.  And I saw that.  And somebody told me about that, too.

I see the ridiculous charges leveled by ignorant bigots against the Tea Party. I hear the slander on MSNBC and CNN.  I know that Ben Jealous and Nancy Pelosi live on lies about you and me the way vampires live on human blood.

I get it.

My immediate urge when I read or hear this nonsense is anger.  I want to sit down and tap out an angry, hurtful response.  And I did a lot of that for two years. 

Here’s what those conversations might look like to the 59 percent of voters who didn’t vote in 2010:

“Tea Partiers are racists!”

“No we’re not!”

“Yes you are.  and you’re divisive!”

“No we’re not.  You are!”

“No we’re not.  You are!”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. And you’re stupid.”

“I know you are, but what am I?”

Or we could do something else.

We could push an agenda of life, liberty, and (especially) the pursuit of happiness.

We could point out that we don’t hate the U.S. Government.  We just don’t trust the people who run it.  It doesn’t really matter who those people are. Temptation knows no rank.  We have given that government enough power and authority through legitimate means that sometimes people in government take even more power and authority through illegitimate means. 

And we could go further.  We could put forth positive ideas that improve people’s lives. For instance, we could replace the failed and corrupt Department of Education and the failed and corrupt school districts with small, community based schools that actually educate kids.

We could help struggling, unemployed people start their own businesses that will someday employ more people rather than borrowing money from China to pay our best people to sit idle.

Over the next year, we can develop specific policy proposals to make people freer, happier, and better off than they are now.  We can show the world how freedom and thrift and industriousness can solve the problems that vex America’s cities and towns. 

In the next year, we can commit to doing something else.  Instead of screaming back at the idiots and liars, we can pursue happiness for ourselves and our communities.  We can make federal programs obsolete.

To do this, though, we have to divert some of our energy and time away from arguing with the idiots. We have let the people see who’s lying and who’s telling the truth.

Christ said that they will know us by our love

Top 10 Stories of 2010

This is my opinion, and it’s not all about politics.  Nor are they necessarily in any particular order.  Save for one.  (You’ll see.)

That’s the top ten list.  But the top story is not here. 

The top story of 2010: Republicans gain more than 600 state legislature seats

Why is that important? Because those new legislatures give the GOP a conservative bench to dominate national and state policy for generations.