Tag Archives: who is to blame

Are We Letting Freedom Ring Or Does The Bell Toll For Freedom?

Bookmark and Share  As the American colonies revolted against the British Crown, its leaders locked themselves into a room in Philadelphia’s statehouse to discuss colonial independence.

u4fourthWith windows shuttered and seclusion secured so that the echoes of raucous debate would not be heard by unwanted ears, a sweltering heat began to brew due to a mix of both the excessive July temperatures and the passions for freedom that brought the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence together.

The fear of loud and contentious debate was unfounded for on this day as the issue of independence was debated it was soon discovered that it was more agreeable discussion than argued contention.

After taking note of the general agreement that existed in the room a Virginia delegate, Richard Henry Lee, rose to his feet and declared: “Why do we longer delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American Republic. Let her arise not to devastate and to conquer but to reestablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which desolates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace, and the persecuted repost. If we are not this day wanting in our duty, the names of the American Legislatures of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of all of those whose memory has been and ever will be dear to virtuous men and good citizens.”

And with that, prompted by taxation without representation and a yearning for self determination, the resolution to adopt the Declaration of Independence was introduced and an oppressed people gave birth to an idea bigger than self and a force unlike any other known to man . . . Freedom.

Two hundred thirty three years ago freedom was rare. It was a novel concept that many only dreamed of and few truly possessed. The few who did possess it took it away from others. The fortunate few, who had their own freedom, enriched their own lives by controlling the lives of others.

Two hundred thirty three years later some things are the same but many things are different.

Today there still exists the few who have their freedom but use it to their benefit by denying others their own. In America these few are those whom maintain their existence as members of the political class and perpetuate their economic lives and political careers by procuring deals with unions and special interests that garner them the financial resources to stay in power.

This political class undermines the very foundations of freedom that gave birth to their representative offices and places the collective individual voices of Americans into a hyperbaric chamber of unaddressed concerns and needs that are sealed off from the halls of Congress and the Oval Office.

No more are the concerns of the people given priority. No more are the every day lives of the non-political class the driving force behind the supposed representatives of freedom. In their stead are the desires of the political action committees which offer a bundle of money and legion of self interested volunteers that will aid in reelection efforts. In their place are the powerbrokers who will commit to keeping a member of the political class in power so long as that individual will use the cover of night to slip in a pork barrel measure that exempts them from a law, regulation or tax or funds them with a federal grant.

Two hundred thirty three years after tyranny was rejected and the cause of freedom gave a voice to the people, the voice of the people is drowned out by tyrannical trends. Today, the erosion of our freedom has brought us from a government created to spread independence to a government used to suppress liberty.

This turn from personal autonomy to government collectivism has been fueled by a corrosion of freedom and personal autonomy that has seeped into the everyday lives of the individual American voters whom choose to support the shifting of personal responsibilities to those who are suppose to represent them in the ruling political class .

Rather than creating a savings for ones own golden years, the ravages of time have lulled individuals into thinking that government will do that for them through the auspices of Social Security or some sort of federal assistance.

Rather than creating a better business model that makes ones business more profitable and their product more sellable, corporate interests have come to rely on government bailouts to prolong their bad example.

These are but a few examples of the eroding senses of autonomy and independence that we as a nation have adopted due to a degradation of freedoms value. As a nation our people have taken freedom so much for granted that, without realizing it, we are losing it.

This is a far cry from the men who gave rise to our independence on the Fourth of July in 1776.

In the face of brutal tyrannical forces these men risked personal wealth, land and even life in order to give birth to freedom . By declaring independence from the Crown, they were sure to face the British empires wrath. Yet despite all that they would knowingly sacrifice, they proudly presented their signatures to the King by signing the Declaration of Independence.

And they did so without trepidation but with a steely resolve and an undying respect for freedom that made them understand that, with freedom, all that they had to lose was worth losing because without freedom all that they had was not worth having.

This understanding by each of these men was so pervasive and so all encompassing that people like John Hancock signed his name to the Declaration of Independence in vividly large and bold strokes of defiance so that the King of England could see his signatures without glasses and increase the size of the bounty that he would undoubtedly place on his head for what the Crown would call an act of treason.

Upon his signing of the sacred document Benjamin Franklin remarked “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.”

Yet with a fully understood importance of freedom, the men in that hot, fly infested Philadelphia statehouse crafted a document that ended by saying “And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor”, and then, one by one, they signed it.

They all paid a dear price for it. Many lost their livelihoods and property, others lost family members and some, after years of torture lost their own lives.

Yet today, 233 years later, the greatest sacrifice we make for freedom, is occasionally inconveniencing ourselves by making a trip to a polling place and putting our signature in a voting registration book and casting a ballot.

And who do we cast that ballot for? We cast it for elected officials who place a tax on every aspect of our lives from our birth to our death and now even on the very air that we breathe in between the two. We cast that ballot for a President who apologizes for America’s defense of freedom and pushes for some of the most collectivist policies in our nations history.

Yes my friends, we have indeed taken freedom for granted. So much so that we find it acceptable when our elected officials legislate it away and so much so that many find it offensive when we try to preserve it. Our loss of respect for freedom and independence has led to a government that is so antithetical to the principles of freedom that I dare suggest that if the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were alive today, they would be locking themselves in another room and plotting a second revolution, a revolution of restoration. A revolution to restore America to its founding principles.

Years of a government geared more towards syndicalism than individuality and personal responsibility has procured a sustained reliance on government and that reliance has helped to strip away the individual liberty that created the very spirit of 1776.

This detrimental progression is not the blame of any one party or pe rson. Its blame is placed on Republicans who dedicate themselves to those in the political class who are willing to betray America’s economic future and individual Americans economic survival by supporting such things as the Cap-and-Trade environmental hoax conjured up by socialist inspired ideologies of collectivism which account for the greatest transfers of wealth ever known.

It is to be blamed on Democrats who believe that the defense of freedom should be left up to someone else other than America, the greatest source of freedom ever known.

It is to be blamed on Americans who take more from society than give back to society and who take more time to research the life of Michael Jackson than to review the voting record of their own congressman.

We are living in a time when people such as the non-partisan tea party protestors are belittled and deemed as potential terrorists by the very government whose policies they peacefully and legally oppose. This despite the fact that they simply possess the same revolutionary spirit of opposition to tyranny that the American revolutionaries possessed in 1776.

We are living in a time when all the energy expended, time devoted, blood shed and lives lost to preserve all that our nation gave birth to and created in the name of freedom are being overshadowed by the same type of policies that we declared our independence from in 1776.

All of these factors make me contemplate what this Fourth of July, 2009, marks. Does it mark the 233rd year of our independence? Or does it mark the rise of government suppression and the end of celebrating liberty?

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Assemblyman Richard Merkt recently proposed to slash the salaries of New Jersey lawmakers by 10%.However, the Assemblyman is a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination and the proposal could be viewed as an election gimmick. Then again, everything that any lawmaker does can be seen as a election gimmick.

In light of the recent pay raise of federal legislators, Merkt’s proposal is a noble one and worth looking at.

So his point is well taken. Times are tough and our representatives should be willing to make sacrifices and at least pretend to be empathetic to the people whose lives they affect.

Besides, lawmakers are partially responsible for any state’s economy including the one we are currently in here in Jersey so they should be more directly effected. I say they are partly responsibly because not everything is their fault. Nature, world events and human stupidity outside of Trenton politics, all play a part. But our lawmakers are elected to both steer us and our state economy in the right direction and to help our state better cope with the situations that we are dealt.

That being the case, it can easily be said that the current state legislature has not done a good job.

New Jersey has led the way in economic trouble over the past few years and under the direction of Governor Jon Corzine, the state legislature has been ill equipped at handling the situation. In fact, together the Democrat controlled state legislature and Democrat Governor have made matters worse.

Together they raised taxes, increased fees made it harder to do business in New Jersey and expanded opportunities for government corruption.

It could be said that Republicans bare no responsibility for this situation since they do not control any branch of state government. I can agree with that but it still doesn’t get Republicans off the hook.

Both parties have failed the people of New Jersey to one degree or another.

Democrats have failed to do anything right and Republicans have failed at convincing anyone that they could do better.

Given these circumstances, I have a more interesting proposal than Assemblyman Merkt’s.

How about we link state legislative and executive salaries to the economy and taxes of the state that they run.

Currently New Jersey State Assembly members and Senators make $49,000 a year.

I say let us reduce those salaries to a base of $41.000 a year and then use the following standard.

  1. For every percent or portion of a percentage that any given legislature raises income and property taxes, their salaries are decreased by 2%. For every percentage or degree of a percentage that they decrease income and property taxes their salaries can be raise by half of one percent.
  2. For every percent or portion of a percentage that they raise a sales or service tax, their salaries also decrease by that same percentage. Conversely, their salaries can be raised by half a percent for every full percent of a decrease in such taxes.
  3. For any new tax created, their salaries are reduced by 2% plus the equivalent percentage of that new tax.
  4. Every toll increase passed during any legislative session is matched by a reduction in legislative salaries that equal to the percentage of that increase.
  5. And finally, state legislative salaries are further reduced by the same number of percentage points that the state’s unemployment rate is whenever it exceeds 4%.

To make it fair. Newly elected legislators would not be held accountable for the taxes and economic situation that any previous legislative session, which they did not have a hand in, was responsible for, and so they would start with the base pay of 41K.

Of course, such measures would not prevent rich people like Governor Jon Corzine from raising fees and taxes, misappropriating funds and offering sweet heart deals to sweethearts like Carla Katz. After all, Corzine took a $400 million golden parachute from Wall Street and doesn’t even accept his salary for Governor but this system could help to make less well off lawmakers work a little harder to address our problems and to fight the wealthy Governor. Having their own pockets linked to what they pick out of ours could just help to make them finally work together for the benefit of themselves as well as us. Maybe such a pay scale system will help to really create a sense of bipartisanship?

Perhaps if the lawmakers of New Jersey had their financial well being directly linked to the state’s financial well being and our own financial opportunities, maybe tax increases and increased fees for everything from driving to landscaping and joining a gym will be viewed as a last resort. Like it should be.

Perhaps by immediately linking their decisions directly to their own incomes, they may better empathize with the financial impact that they bring to bare on those they are representing .

You could say that it is not fair to those who vote against penalizing taxes or policies that drive businesses away and raise the unemployment in the state. That might be so, but, those who simply voted against something are still culpable. They have more than a responsibility to vote against such measures. They have the responsibility of leadership and the responsibility of making their case and doing it so well that a preponderance of people in the state as well as the legislature are persuaded by their arguments. They must convince people why others are wrong and they are right. Failing to do so is a failure that they share in common with those who support regressive economic policies.

So Assemblyman Merkt’s proposed 10 % reduction in salary is nice.

It is certainly going in a direction far better than the 2.8% pay increase that Congress is willing to take, at of all times, now. But the gesture Merkt is making could be made more meaningful and be more enduring. By linking legislative salaries to their actions we are adding a new incentive to politics and a new level of innovation……..political merit pay. If you do a good job and keep a good economy going you get paid better.

Is this crazy?

Maybe it is. Maybe it is as far fetched as a State Senator taking money from a no show job given to him by a school funded with state money that the same State Senator helped procure with tax payer dollars that he helped get through the state legislature. Maybe this political merit pay scale sounds just as crazy as that same corrupt State Senator getting his state funded pension after ripping the state off and being convicted.

But just like former *Senator Wayne Bryant, it may sound crazy but it could be true if like Wayne Bryant, we just did it.


*Wayne Bryant pressured officials of University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey  to create a no-show job  that  allowed him to lobby himsef’ for taxpayer funds. Bryant also chaired the Senate Appropriations comittee which Funneled large sums of taxpayers dollare to UMDNJ.

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I was talking to a friend of mine’s little girl the other day.

I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and she replied, 

I want to be President!” 

Both of her parents are liberal Democrats and were standing there. So then I asked her, “If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?”

She replied, “I’d give houses to all the homeless people.” 

“Wow – what a worthy goal.” I told her, “You don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I’ll pay you $50. Then I’ll take you over to the grocery store where this homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward a new house.” 

Since she is only 6, she thought that over for a few seconds. While her Mom glared at me, she looked me straight in the eye and asked,

“Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?” 

And I said, “Welcome to the Republican Party.” 

Her folks still aren’t talking to me.

 Submitted by Dick, Williamsport, Md

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