Saturday, July 04, 2009

Radical Right Wing Extremist Manifesto

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — 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.

John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

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Friday, July 03, 2009

That Gibbons Fellow

As someone who has run for office, been defeated, and would like to seek office again at some point, I have great respect for Shelby County Attorney General Bill Gibbons' desire to run for Governor of Tennessee. At some point in everyone's political race, however, they have to face certain realities-they have to get real:

Memphis prosecutor Bill Gibbons reported Thursday raising about $415,000 for the 2010 governor's race, placing him well behind his three GOP rivals.

Gibbons, the Shelby County District Attorney General, will face an uphill battle against well-financed opponents. Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam's campaign announced Wednesday that he had raised about $3.8 million this year.

State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville announced the same day he had raised $1.3 million, and Congressman Zach Wamp of Chattanooga said he had raised about $1.2 million.

To be fair, everyone else in the field faces an uphill climb against all of that Haslam oil money and the big contributions coming in from people who (if the truth were known) probably believe that they had better contribute to Bill Haslam so that they are on his good side if he is elected. However, both Zach Wamp and Ron Ramsey-who had the disadvantage of being unable to raise money during the legislative session-are showing that if their support isn't wider than Bill Gibbons, it is certainly deeper. Ramsey's fundraising feat of raising $1.3 million in a month is nothing short of miraculous.

The reality that Gibbons has not been under the same restrictions as Ramsey, but could only muster $415,000 is a sign that his campaign is anemic. In Gibbons' case, this isn't just about money. A lot of people on the other side of the State do not know who Gibbons is, and sadly when some of them find out, they often do not care. "I'm the Shelby County District Attorney" isn't often a great selling point in Bristol, Kingsport, Johnson City, Maryville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Crossville, Murphreesboro, Franklin, or points in between. His message has been obscured by the question "Bill who" in many places. At least with Jim Kyle, people might get that he is a State Senator from Memphis, and that he currently serves as the Tennessee Senate's Democratic Leader.

Gibbons also must deal with the hard truth that the Republican Primary can be won without Shelby County, and that Republicans can carry the State without it in a General Election. If the Democrats were to lose Shelby County, however, it would likely be the political signal of a Republican landslide at the State level. As a Republican, I'd love to carry Shelby County and do it more consistently, but I also know it isn't necessary and that we can get the numbers we need to win somewhere else. That is the hard reality.

I hope that perhaps Gibbons will give running for Governor another try, perhaps after spending a few years in the General Assembly.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Legals Don't Need To Live In Fear

The Tennessean wants us to feel terribly sorry that illegal immigrants in Davidson County who break the law run the risk of being deported:

When the Martinez family drives the half-hour from home into Nashville, wife Deanna is behind the wheel every time.

It's not because of some standing debate between husband and wife about who is the better driver. It's because Deanna Martinez's husband is one of the estimated 130,000 to 170,000 illegal immigrants living in Tennessee.

He can't renew his driver's license since Tennessee tightened the documentation requirements a few years ago. And Davidson County is the only place in the state where the sheriff's office participates in a federal program in which a traffic stop can lead to deportation.

"Imagine sitting at the breakfast table one day and your husband saying, 'I'm going to be deported because I forgot to use my blinker when I changed lanes the other day.' That's just not a risk we like to take," Martinez said.

As much as one can empathize with the Martinez's situation, somebody apparently forgot to remind The Tennessean that Mr. Martinez already broke the law by entering this country illegally. When I was growing up, we were told that those who did no wrong-those who did not break the law-have nothing to fear from a relatively minor police stop.

Despite what the paper says, the reality that illegals in places where the local authorities have the ability to enforce immigration law are afraid to gather in one place, or are afraid even of being pulled over on a minor traffic violation, is proof that these restrictions, laws, and programs are working quite well indeed. These rules and laws are meant to restrict the movements of illegal aliens in the hopes that they will choose to return home and come back legally rather than live in the fear of being departed and then having to really start over.

Those who come here legally should be welcomed-and would not have this problem.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Did Curt Cobb Blaze the Path to 51?

Rep. Curt Cobb (D-Shelbyville) has resigned his seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives to take the position of Bedford County Clerk and Master:

State Rep. Curt Cobb has been named Bedford County Clerk and Master by 17th Judicial District Chancellor J.B. Cox and has resigned from his House seat.

Cobb said that a general election will be held to fill the seat. In cases where there is less than 12 months remaining in a term, the county commission from the previous member's home county makes an appointment, but if more than 12 months remains, a special election is held.

The election is likely to draw significant attention because of the close division in the House. Republicans in November gained a 50-49 advantage in the lower chamber.

Cobb had to know an appointment like this was in the offing, and considering his family history (his father was once the Chancellor for the district) it is likely that he knew about this for some time before the appointment was made. Cobb had to give his assent for the whole arrangement, and he also had to know what the political consequences could be.

Out of 23,340 votes cast for Cobb's seat in last November's election, Cobb was re-elected with a majority of 2,356. It was a surprisingly close victory over Republican Barbara Blanton, who is already rumored to be considering a run in the special election. The Democrats are hoping the candidacy of Cobb's brother Ty will keep the seat in the family and keep the Democratic Caucus from having its cornflakes urinated upon.

Because of family name alone, Ty Cobb has to be considered the favorite to win. One advantage the Republicans may have is that this will be a special election in an off-year-called in some parts of the world a "bi-election." That means that turnout will almost certainly be lower, so the Cobb majority will be more easily cut into when the election occurs. This is a real opportunity for a Republican gain which could make the majority more bona fide.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rockin' Robin

Former Tennessee Republican Chairman Robin Smith is preparing an announcement tour tomorrow and Thursday throughout the 3rd Congressional District:

Former state Republican Chairman Robin Smith has scheduled a two-day tour through the 11 counties of the 3rd Congressional District to kick off her campaign for the seat now held by Rep. Zach Wamp, who is running for Governor.

In a list of campaign stops distributed to media, Mark Winslow, who served as chief of state for the state Republican party, is designated as contact person for Smith. In an interview, Winslow said he left his party post last month and is "helping Robin out as she goes through the decision-making process."

How effective could Robin Smith be as a Congressional candidate? Smith was by far one of the best (if not the best) State Republican Chairman in the country during her tenure, and was by far the most politically effective Chairman that the Tennessee Republican Party has ever had. If Robin shows even half the zeal for a Congressional campaign as she showed for getting Republicans elected to the Tennessee General Assembly, she will win the seat in the 3rd District. If she should allow the race to consume her in the manner that she let the General Assembly control her political movements as party Chairman, she will be elected in a landslide.

It speaks much of her abilities that as soon as she departs as GOP Chair, the internal communications structure she built with Bill Hobbs devoted to Statewide victory fell to pieces under inferior leadership.

A Congresswoman Smith will likely have a voting record that makes her predecessor look like a rabid liberal (compared to Robin, Zach Wamp really does look liberal), and her election could signal the beginning of the end of the lock that the Howard Baker wing of the party has had on East Tennessee Congressional politics.

Sadly, I live in the First District so I won't be able to vote for Robin (and ironically enough, I think all of Jefferson County should be drawn back into the First District as it once was, since we don't have as much in common with Chattanooga), but I am more than willing to help her win.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

No Sunshine in Dandridge

On Friday I discussed some of the ups and downs of the proposed Norfolk Southern Inter-modal facility which the railroad wants to build in Jefferson County. Some of the controversy surrounding the proposal has to do with the fact that Norfolk Southern wants to build on undeveloped farmland when there is already developed "brownfields" which are going unused just over the county line in Knox County.

Of far greater concern, however, is the secrecy with which this project is being carried out. A number of people inside the county government of Jefferson County or somehow connected to it have signed confidentiality agreements not to let the things they've learned be known to the wider public yet. If this is a project that is going to be so good for Jefferson County business and employment development, why do our leaders need to keep the details so quiet, and why isn't the railroad willing to talk in detail?

I had occassion to speak with one member of the Jefferson County Industrial Development Board over the weekend, who said that they were none too thrilled because they had essentially been kept in the dark about the project. Further, one has to wonder just how much the railroaders have actually told Jefferson County Mayor Alan Palmieri. I strongly suspect that Palmieri has not been told everything that he would need to know, and if he has, by not making it public he is misleading the people of Jefferson County. It would be wise for Palmieri to actually listen to the voters, but also to let the voters know what he knows about the inter-modal project.

Palmieri will almost certainly face a serious primary challenge in May of 2010, and his failure to be forthright about the inter-modal will be a major issue in that campaign. If Alan Palmieri and the other officials who have kept their conversations with Norfolk Southern confidential do not spill the proverbial beans, it is highly possible that they could be found in violation of the Tennessee Open Records Act, the Open Meetings Act, or both. Palmieri is beginning to behave in a way which makes the neighboring government in Knox County look like a paragon of openness and accountability.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

All Creatures of Our God and King

This has always been one of my favorite hymns. It is especially stirring as an opening processional for Mass.


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