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Posts Tagged → rule

If you want freedom, you are going to have to fight for it

Nevada senator Harry Reid changed the US Senate rules last year, which may not sound like a big deal.  But those rules had been in place for about 215 years, a significant portion of America’s existence.

The former senate rules ensured that a slim majority of senators could not win important votes by a slim majority of votes.  Important votes like confirming federal judges, whose stamp on the nation’s character lasts for decades.  Some federal judge nominees are extremists, nakedly partisan political activists who only wear the black robes for effect, not because they are truly dignified and above the political fray.  The former rules prevented those extremists from being confirmed to the bench unless a super-majority of US senators agreed.

Harry Reid’s rule changes allowed his party to ramrod through a whole freak show of kooks, anti-American anarchists, and other assorted wing nuts.  These are not people dedicated to serving American citizens; these people are at war with the America we grew up with.  They think that Communism only failed because the Soviets didn’t implement it correctly, not that Marxism is a bad idea.

Last week I sat about ten feet away from where US Senator Pat Toomey was speaking at the Perry County Republican Committee Fall Dinner (kudos to county chairman Don McClure for getting Toomey to speak to us).  Sure, Toomey said a lot of good stuff.  But then he dropped a bombshell, even worse than his ill-fated anti-gun legislation last year: If the Republicans regain the US Senate in two weeks, they will return the Senate rules back to the old set.

Toomey said that this would be done to “prove” that Republicans are “better” than Democrats.

Well, what the hell, Patrick?  The liberals are playing to win, to win everything, to win all the power, to take over the entire nation, and the Republican party establishment is engaged in a game of checkers.

In Houston we got to see what Liberals-Gone-Wild really looks like, as the new mayor there served subpoenas on many of the pastors in the city, who had dared to exercise their First Amendment rights and oppose the mayor’s policies.  In other words, the only free speech under liberals is speech that they approve of, using the full force of government coercion to achieve their goal.  In other words, we are in a fight for survival, for the basic core of American democracy.  We have to win this fight, because if people like the Houston mayor win, if people like Barack Hussein Obama win, every citizen loses.

Here’s the thing that people like US Senator Pat Toomey just do not understand, that they will never understand: A gentlemanly duel with the liberals will not succeed.

Instead, a bar room brawl is what is needed, and frankly, it is what is desired by the disaffected grass roots activists who otherwise fuel the Republican party.

If you want to hold onto your freedoms, you’d better fight like hell to hold onto them, fight at least as hard as your opponent, if not harder.  That means letting the people who changed the US Senate rules learn to live with that change under Republican administration.  The Republicans should run the US Senate for at least one year, maybe two years, under Harry Reid’s new rules.

Any Republican senator who cannot support this stance is not really committed to winning back the America that the liberals have dramatically damaged over the past six years.  Republican senators who are only committed to the meaningless game of checkers, to the effete gentlemanly duel, what are they doing there?

Step aside, Patrick.  The rest of us are rolling up our sleeves and grabbing something solid and heavy to set this situation right.  That’s right, that heavy lifting is always left to the grass roots activists, isn’t it….

A win for the little guy

Government’s role is to serve the people.  America is a people with a government, not a government with a people.  The people – their needs, their interests, their rights – come first in all things.  Our Constitution prohibits government behavior that is arbitrary, capricious, abusive, or uncompensated taking of private property, among others.

Any American who loses sight of these limitations has fallen into the easy trap of promoting government over the people.  People in both main political parties fall into this trap, because both main parties have largely lost touch with the US Constitution (and the Pennsylvania Constitution) and its daily meaning for American citizens.

Last night the Pennsylvania state senate passed HB 1565, which amended through law a procedural environmental rule issued in the last days of the former Governor Ed Rendell administration, in 2010. The rule created 150-foot buffers along streams designated High Quality and Exceptional Value, and removed that buffer land from nearly all uses.  No compensation to the landowner was provided.  Allowing the landowner to claim a charitable donation for public benefit was not allowed.  Higher building density on the balance of the property was not allowed. The buffer land was simply taken by government fiat, by administrative dictate, totally at odds with the way American government is supposed to work.

And the appeal process afforded to landowners under the rule was onerous, extremely expensive, and lengthy.  It was not real due process, but rather a series of high hurdles designed to chase away landowners from their property rights.  Everything about this rule was designed to make the government’s job as easy as possible, and the private property owner’s rights and abilities as watered down as possible.

The 150-foot buffer rule represented the worst sort of government, because it did not serve the people, it quite simply took from the people.  The 150-foot buffer rule was blunt force trauma in the name of environmental quality, which can easily be achieved to the same level myriad other ways.  The rule was the easy way out, and it represented a throwback to the old days of the environmental movement and environmental quality management when big government, top-down, command-and-control dictates were standard fare for arresting environmental degradation.

That approach made sense when polluted American rivers were catching fire, nearly fifty years ago.  Today, a scalpel and set of screwdrivers can achieve the environmental goal much better, and fairly.  Supporters of the rule claimed that voting for HB 1565 was voting against environmental quality, which made no sense.  Environmental quality along HQ and EV stream corridors could have easily been achieved with a similar, but innately fairer, 150-foot buffer rule.  It saddens me that my fellow Americans could not see that simple fact, and instead sought to stay with a deeply flawed government process until the bitter end.

I know the people who both created and then championed the rule.  Some of them are friends and acquaintances of mine.  Their motives and intentions were good.  I won’t say that they are bad people.  Yes, they are mostly Democrats, but there were also plenty of Republicans involved in designing it and defending it, including former high level Republican government appointees.

Rather, this rule was a prime example of how simply out of touch many government decision makers have become with what American government is supposed to be, and it adds fuel to my own quest to help reintroduce the US and Pennsylvania constitutions back into policy discussions and government decision making so that we don’t have more HB 1565 moments in the future.

 

The end of 215 years of American tradition

Early in America’s youth, a rule in the US Senate was established that recognized minority rights.

By setting a higher threshold for confirming federal judges, US senators had a chance to seriously consider judicial candidates, who serve for life and can only be impeached for serious crimes.

Today, the US Senate majority changed that 215-year-old rule, no longer allowing filibusters for extreme candidates. Now, judges will be voted for confirmation by a simple majority.

When the other party had control of the senate, and the present majority engaged in filibusters, it was business as usual. Now, the majority wants absolute control. No forced debate.

Now what happens when this majority is in the minority? Will they whine, moan, and cry about not having the filibuster at hand to stop or slow down judicial nominees they strongly oppose? Probably. And the sense of irony will be ignored.

Their friends in the mainstream press will take their side, and it’s up to us citizen journalists to get the word out about how serious this is.

A political tradition lasting 215 years must have been worthy. Now we see a huge power grab by one party. What will you do about it?

Rule 15 Fight at Convention

Three Romney mailers arrived over past two months, asking me for money.
Sure, I said.
Then came the Rule 15 fight at the convention. Establishment wants us hard working conservatives to move the party ball forward, but then they strip away our influence.
Good luck, guys!