Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Friday, January 06, 2012

Taking Dictation from Ancient Roman History

There were three stages of ancient Rome:  The Roman Kingdom (753 BC – 509 BC), The Roman Republic (508 BC – 27 BC), and the Roman Empire (27 BC – AD 1453).  It was Caesar Augustus, not Julius Caesar, who declared Rome an official empire.  However, he was following in the footsteps of his adoptive uncle.  Although the role of dictator had been established centuries before, Augustus brought it to its current understanding, making a mockery of freedom and justice, which the Roman Republic had come to champion.

In the Roman Republic, the dictator (“one who dictates”), was an extraordinary magistrate (magistratus extraordinarius) with the absolute authority to perform tasks beyond the authority of the ordinary magistrate (magistratus ordinarius). The office of dictator was a legal innovation originally named Magister Populi (Master of the People), i.e. Master of the Citizen Army.
The Roman Senate passed a senatus consultum authorizing the consuls (lawyers) to nominate a dictator — the sole exception to the Roman legal principles of collegiality (multiple tenants in the same office) and responsibility (legal liability for official actions) — only one man was appointed, and, as the highest magistrate, he was not legally liable for official actions; 24 lictors (bodyguards carrying fasces) attended him.

Only a single dictator was allowed, because of the imperium magnum, the great, extraordinary power with which he could over-rule, depose from office, or execute other curule magistates (literally, seated magistrates), also possessed of imperium (power to command). The dictator was appointed to execute and effect Roman State business denominated rei gerundae causa (for the matter to be done), seditionis sedandae causa (for the putting down of rebellion), as in the case of Sulla, who, as dictator legibus faciendis e rei publicae constituendae causa (dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution), established the precedents that ended the Roman Republic.

On the establishment of the Roman Republic, the government of the state was entrusted to two consuls, that the citizens might be the better protected against the tyrannical exercise of the supreme power. But it was soon felt that circumstances might arise in which it was important for the safety of the state that the government should be vested in the hands of a single person, who should possess absolute power for a short time, and from whose decisions there should be no appeal to any other body.  Thus it came to pass that in 501 BC, nine years after the expulsion of the kings, the dictatorship was instituted.

By the original law respecting the appointment of a dictator (lex de dictatore creando) no one was eligible for this office, unless he had previously been consul.  There are, however, a few instances in which this law was not observed.  When considered necessary, the dictator was appointed by one of the consuls, probably without any witnesses, between midnight and morning.
This was often preceded by the Senate passing a senatus consultum to that effect.  The Senate seems to have usually mentioned in their decree the name of prospective dictator but the consul could disregard that advice as is evident from the cases in which the consuls appointed persons in opposition to the wishes of the Senate. In later times the Senate usually indicated that the consul nearest at hand should become dictator.

The nomination took place at Rome, as a general rule; and if the consuls were absent, one of them was recalled to the city, whenever it was practicable.  If this could not be done, a senatus consultum authorizing the appointment was sent to the consul, who thereupon made the nomination in the camp. Nevertheless, the rule was maintained that the nomination could not take place outside Italy.  Originally the dictator was reserved for a patrician. The first plebeian dictator was Gaius Marcius Rutilus, nominated in 356 BC by the plebeian consul Marcus Popillius Laenas.

It was generally accepted that the dictatorship would be limited to six months and no instances occur in which a person held this office for a longer time, save for the dictatorships of Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix and Gaius Julius Caesar.  On the contrary, though a dictator was appointed for six months, he often resigned his office immediately after he had dispatched the business for which he had been appointed.

As soon as the Dictator was appointed, he became the chief executive and supreme military of the Republic. The regular magistrates - with the exception of the Tribune of the Plebs - became subject to the higher imperium of the Dictator. They continued to discharge the duties of their various offices under the Dictator, but they were no longer independent officers and were obliged to obey his orders in every circumstance.  Failure to do so could result in the dictator forcing the magistrate out of office.

The superiority of the Dictator's power to that of the consuls consisted chiefly of greater independence from the Senate, more extensive power of punishment without a trial by the people, and complete immunity from being held accountable for his actions.  However, what gave the dictator such great control over Rome was his lack of a colleague to counter him. Unlike the Consuls, who were required to cooperate with the Senate, the Dictator could act on his own authority without the Senate, though the Dictator would usually act in unison with the Senate all the same.  There was no appeal from the sentence of the Dictator (unless the dictator changed his mind), and accordingly, the lictors bore the axes in the fasces before them even in the city, as a symbol of their absolute power over the lives of the citizens.

The Dictator's imperium granted him the powers to rule by decree and to change any Roman law as he saw fit, and these changes lasted as long as the Dictator remained in power.  He could introduce new laws into the Roman constitution which did not require ratification by any of the Roman assemblies, but were often put to a vote all the same.  An example would be Sulla's introduction of the dreaded proscription (execution of political enemies). Likewise, a dictator could act as a supreme judge, with no appeal for his decisions. These judicial powers made the Dictator the supreme authority in both military and civil affairs.

The relationship between the Dictator and the Tribunes of the Plebs is not entirely certain. The Tribune was the only magistrate to continue his independence of office during a dictatorship while the other magistrates served the dictator as officers.  However, there is no reason to believe that they had any control over a dictator, or could hamper his proceedings by their power to veto, as they could in the case of the Consuls. This is believed to be explained by the fact that the law that created the dictatorship was passed before the institution of the Tribune of the Plebs, and consequently made no mention of it.

Any magistrate owning imperium was not accountable for his actions as long as he continued to serve in an office that owned imperium. However, once a magistrate left office, he could face trial for his illegal deeds after the imperium had expired.  This was not the case with the Dictator. The Dictator was untouchable during his time in office, but was also not liable to be called to account for any of his official acts, illegal or otherwise, after his abdication of office.  The dictator's actions were treated as though they never occurred (at least legally).

It was in consequence of the unstoppable, untouchable imperium possessed by the dictatorship that we find it frequently compared with the power of a monarch, from which it only differed in being held for a limited time. There were, however, a few limits to the power of the dictator. The most important was that the period of his office was only six months. He had no power over the public treasury, but could only make use of the money which was granted to him by the senate. He was not allowed to leave Italy, since he might in that case easily become dangerous to the Republic, though the case of Atilius Calatinus in the first Punic War forms an exception to this rule.  He was not allowed to ride on horseback in Rome, without previously obtaining the permission of the people (a regulation adopted that he might not bear too great a resemblance to the kings).

The insignia of the Dictator were nearly the same as those of the kings in earlier times, and of the Consuls, subsequently. Instead however of having only 12 lictors, as was the case with the Consuls, he was preceded by twenty-four bearing the secures as well as the fasces. The Curule Chair and Toga Praetexta also belonged to the Dictator.

Dictators were only appointed so long as the Romans had to carry on wars in Italy. A solitary instance occurs in the First Punic War of the nomination of a dictator, Aulus Atilius Calatinus, for the purpose of carrying on war out of Italy.  This was never repeated, because it was feared that so great a power might become dangerous at a distance from Rome.  But after the Battle of Trasimene in 217 BC, when Rome itself was threatened by Hannibal, a dictator was again needed, and Fabius Maxiumus was appointed to the office.

In the next year, 216 BC, after the Battle of Cannae, Marcus Junius Pera was also nominated dictator, but this was the last time of the appointment of a dictator rei gerundae causa.  From 202 BC on, the dictatorship disappears altogether. It was replaced by the Senatus consultum ultimun, an emergency act of the Senate that authorized the two consuls to take whatever actions were needed to defend the Republic.  The best known dictatores rei gerundae causa were Cincinnatus and Fabius Maximus (during the Second Punic War).

In 82 BC, after a 120-year lapse, and the end of the civil war between the forces of Marius and Sulla, the latter was appointed by the Senate to an entirely new office, dictator legibus faciendis et rei publicae constituendae (“dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution”). This new office was functionally identical to the dictatorate rei gerundae causa except that it lacked any set time limit. Sulla held this office for about a year before he abdicated and retired from public life.

Gaius Julius Caesar subsequently resurrected the dictatorate rei gerundae causa in his first dictatorship, then modified it to a full year term. He was appointed dictator rei gerundae causa for a full year in 46 BC and then designated for nine consecutive one-year terms in that office thereafter, functionally becoming dictator for ten years. A year later, this pretense was discarded altogether and the Senate voted to make him Dictator perpetuo (usually rendered in English as “dictator for life,” but properly meaning “dictator in perpetuity”). Neither the magistrate who nominated Sulla, nor the time for which he was appointed, nor the extent or the exercise of his power was in accordance with the ancient laws and precedents, as was the case with the dictatorship of Caesar.

After Caesar's murder on the Ides of March, his consular colleague Mark Antony introduced the lex Antonia which abolished the dictatorship. The office was later offered to Augustus, who declined it, and opted instead for tribunician power and consular imperium without holding any magisterial office other than imperator and princeps Senatus — a politic arrangement which left him as functional dictator without having to hold the controversial title. This novel - though not unconstitutional - arrangement of offices and powers would in time evolve into the office of Roman Emperor. Thus, dictatorship, as defined by the republican institution, was not a feature of the principate or dominate.  The arrangement was not unconstitutional.  However, it left the Roman Senate basically a toothless legislature, a sham to mollify the Roman citizens, giving them the illusion of power they no longer had.

In 60 BC, Gaius Julius Caesar, Crassus and Pompey formed a political alliance that was to dominate Roman politics for several years. Their attempts to amass power through populist tactics were opposed by the conservative elite within the Roman Senate, among them Cato the Younger with the frequent support of Cicero. Caesar's conquest of Gaul (France), completed by 51 BC, extended Rome's territory to the English Channel and the Rhine. Caesar became the first Roman general to cross both when he built a bridge across the Rhine and conducted the first invasion of Britain. These achievements granted him unmatched military power and threatened to eclipse Pompey's standing. The balance of power was further upset by the Crassus’ death in 53 BC. Political realignments in Rome finally led to a standoff between Caesar and Pompey, the latter having taken up the cause of the Senate. Ordered by the Senate to stand trial in Rome for various charges, Caesar marched from Gaul to Italy with his legions, crossing the Rubicon in 49 BC. This sparked a civil war from which he emerged as the unrivaled leader of the Roman world.

Sulla's dictatorship came during a high point in the struggle between optimates and the populares.  The optimates were the traditionalist majority of the late Roman Republic. They wished to limit the power of the popular assemblies and the Tribunes of the Plebs, and to extend the power of the Senate, which was viewed as more dedicated to the interests of the aristocrats who held the reins of power). In particular, they were concerned with the rise of individual generals who, backed by the tribunate, the assemblies and their own soldiers, could shift power from the Senate and aristocracy.

The populares (Latin popularis [sing.] meaning “favoring the people") were aristocratic leaders in the late Roman Repulic who relied on the people’s assemblies and tribunate to acquire political power. While they opposed the optimates, they were also patricians or noble plebeians of senatorial rank.  The populares addressed the problems of the urban plebs, particularly subsidizing a grain dole, and in general favored limiting slavery, since slavery took jobs from poor free citizens. They also garnered political support by attempts to expand citizenship to communities outside Rome and Italy.  They succeeded, but ultimately their own “open border” policy led to the downfall of the Roman Empire.

Popularist politics reached a peak under the dictatorship of Julius Caesar, who relied on the support of the people in his rise to power.  After the creation of the Second Triumvirate (43 BC-33 BC), the populares ceased to function as a political movement.

The optimates sought to maintain the power of the oligarchy in the form of the Senate while the populares resorted in many cases to naked populism, culminating in Caesar’s dictatorship.  Sulla used his armies to march on Rome twice, and after the second he revived the office of dictator, which had not been used since the Second Punic over a century before. He used his powers to enact a series of reforms to the Roman constitution, meant to restore the balance of power between the Senate and the tribunes (a title shared by elected officials in the Roman Republic Tribunes had the power to convene the Plebeian Council and to act as its president, which also gave them the right to propose legislation before it. They were sacrosanct, in the sense that any assault on their person was prohibited. They had the power to veto actions taken by magistrates, and specifically to intervene legally on behalf of plebeians. The tribune could also summon the Senate and lay proposals before it. The tribune's power, however, was only in effect while he was within Rome. His ability to veto did not affect regional governors).

Sulla stunned the Roman World (and posterity) by resigning the dictatorship, restoring normal constitutional government, and after his second Consulship, retiring to private life.  Julius Caesar stunned the world by using his political influence to assume complete dictatorial powers, placating the mobs by allowing the Senate to remain in place while robbing it of any actual power, leaving the public all his private lands after his death, and ultimately meeting his fate at the feet of Pompey’s statue in Rome in March, 44 B.C.

How much farther does our country have to be convinced that Obama is not some simple-minded, well-intentioned bobblehead who's only trying to do his best for the country he loves, but an ambitious, arrogant man with very well-stated socialist inclinations who intends to literally destroy the American way of life?  When asked whether too many rules were written (40,000) as of Jan. 1st, 2012, he was reported to have replied, “Too many rules?  I don’t think we have enough rules.”  His wife, when a young student was corrected for addressing the First Lady as “Your Majesty”, said that she actually didn’t mind the title, “Your Majesty.”

We may take the latter comment as a mere jest, but the former is a serious sign that the American people are being played for fools.  History is repeating itself in the same insidious manner with Obama.  We didn't take the laurel leaves he figuratively placed upon his head as a candidate seriously enough, nor the literal Roman columns from which he proclaimed he would "transform America."  Some pundits take worried exception to comparing Obama to Mussolini.  How can that be helped when Obama himself strikes Mussolini-esque poses?  How much more of a warning do we need?

Read "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," Tacitus' History of Rome, Churchill's seven-volume "Second World War."  Seven volumes is excessive; you'll get the picture after the first 100 pages.   Read Churchill's account of how the well-meaning but clueless Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler personally, and every time, lost another chunk of Europe to the little corporal.  Chamberlain was 'charmed' by Adolf Hitler and his repeated, and broken, promises to restrain himself after just one more helping of European territory.

Finally, even Chamberlain had to admit he'd been duped.  But by then it was too late, and the world was enveloped in a global war.  Now Obama wants to downsize our troop size and weapons while China is building hers.  Obama comes from a long line of U.S. presidential dictators.  FDR used to call out to his secretary, Grace, to come in because he wanted to "dictate a law."

Sic semper tyrannus.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Unconstitutional Consumer Czar

Even though the Senate was in session and blocked Obama’s nomination of labor-friendly politicians, Democrats Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, and Republican Terry Flynn, the president declared “a recess” and appointed the three to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), in addition to appointing Richard Corday to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The appointments effectually put the Big Labor Bosses at the helm of the NLRB.  Obama owes them for his 2008 and some labor organizations such as the AFL-CIO, whose president,  Richard Trumka, is making noises about going “independent” (they’d support some other Liberal Democrat who will jump through their hoops).

The hoops Big Labor wants to see Obama jump through involve states like Indiana, which is planning to bring right-to-work legislation to a vote in the state legislature, possibly this week.  Big Labor are withholding their endorsement of Obama, may be looking to see if the president can pass the right-to-work test.   Indiana is a key battleground state.  Will Obama make any public statement about the legislation?  Will he look for the union label?

Late last month, when House Republicans proposed a federal pay freeze as part of a temporary deal to extend the payroll tax cuts, Democratic Senators strongly objected.  The White House public silence on this issue, its lack of objection, was deafening to the Democrats and the Big Labor Cronies.

Constitutional battles are ill-advised in an election year, and sitting presidents try to avoid engaging in them.  But Obama thinks he’s Don Quixote and the Constitution is the windmill at which he’s tilting.  He’s gone on record as saying he would throw out the Constitution, a subject he taught as a law professor at the University of Chicago.

The appointments will give Big Labor all the cards in labor dispute; management won’t stand a chance, further damaging our nation’s manufacturing capabilities and our economy.  They’ll undoubtedly be challenged in court since they broke with legal precedent, according to The Hill, as they were made while the Senate was holding regular pro forma sessions.  White House attorneys determined that the Senate’s brief sessions, held every few days, were a gimmick the president could ignore.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blasted the move as an “unprecedented power grab” and said he expects “the courts will find the appointment to be illegitimate.”
The gambit puts the bureau in “uncertain legal territory,” according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Without the appointments, the federal agency, which mediate labor disputes and oversees union elections, wouldn’t have had a quorum to issue rulings. With the recess appointments, the board will be able to influence the votes in the Indiana legislature on right-to-work laws.
President Obama also defied the Senate’s rejection of Dodd-Frank czar Richard Cordray, whom he nominated last summer, and recess-appointed Cordray.  Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of any candidate for the job of Consumer Czar until key reforms are made to the law and its enforcement arm, the CFPB.  According to Michelle Malkin, “changes include subjecting the CFPB to the Congressional appropriations process instead of the Federal Reserve; restoring independent judicial review; ensuring that it takes into account the impact of new rules on the safety and soundness of financial institutions; and creating a bipartisan oversight board instead of a single director to run the agency.”

The problem with a single director is that the minute they’re sworn in, the agency will transfer to the Fed for administrative purposes, and as a result, be given bureaucratic carte blanche.  The Fed’s authority of the CFPB is a chimera; thanks to Dodd-Frank, the job is election-proof – the czar has a protected tenure of five years.

Malkin notes that while Cordray masquerades as a consumer watchdog who’ll tilt at Wall Street windmills, Ohio voters booted him out of the state Attorney General’s office in the 2011 elections and he’s buddies with securities class-action lawyers.  She cites a Forbes Magazine article as reporting that Cordray has a history of “taking money from lawyers who profit from private litigation that often follows closely on the heels of government investigations.”  He engages in the same kind of activities that created the financial crisis.

His effectiveness as a consumer cop, policing the financial behavior of others, is dubious.  Malking notes that “local papers spotlighted shady campaign account-shifting involving nearly $800,000” and even liberal activists groups voiced their concerns.

These are the kind of shenanigans, power plays, fiat fiddling, and Constitution-bashing Obama promised us before the 2008 election.  No one can say he hasn’t delivered on his promises.  Moderates will say, “Well, he bagged Osama and he pounded the living daylights out of Afghanistan.”  Very true, (and Boss, you and I are both delighted with the outcome of the SEAL Six mission.  I’m willing to give him his due on that score.)  But all the Taliban-bashing has done is made it convenient for China to walk in and grab up all the rare mineral mines.  Crediting him with bagging a terrorist is like congratulating a bank robber for stopping a mass murderer and rewarding him by giving him all the money he stole from the safe.

If the unions get their way, there will only be two kinds of jobs:  salting french fries at Burger King or working for the government.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Race to the GOP

The results of the Iowa Caucusii are in, with Mitt Romney winning Iowa by eight votes.  The second runner-up was Rick Santorum, who sprang up from the dead, so to speak, to statistically tie with Romney.

Romney won 30,015 votes (13 delegates); Santorum earned 30,007 votes (12 delegates).  Coming in third was Ron Paul with 22 percent of the vote, at 26,219.  Romney’s camp declared that the victory was due to their strong campaign against Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, putting Santorum right where they want him.

We Conservative Tea Partiers couldn’t help wondering what happened to Santorum early on.  He pretty much hews to the Conservative/Tea Party line.  The only worry is his stance on illegal immigration.  According to the New Hampshire Tea Party’s Candidate Matrix, Santorum is opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants, but would only deport those who had committed, and were found guilty of, a crime.  Last time we checked, being in the United States without authorization is a crime.  That’s why they’re called “illegal” immigrants or aliens.

Columnist Ann Coulter was all in a fury about Santorum’s stance on illegal immigration and his lack of executive experience (as compared to Romney).  If Santorum could clear up the illegal immigrant matter and step over this way, he’d make a suitable candidate as far as his record is concerned.  Otherwise, he’s pro-America all the way.  He didn’t support TARP, the Stimulus, or Obamacare.

There seems to be a general conspiracy among the GOP candidates.  They’ve each taken a piece of the Socialist propaganda to dangle as a carrot in front of the so-called Independents or Moderates, in order to mollify them, who in their turn, want to mollify their Liberal friends.  Gingrich is in favor of Agenda 21.  Romney, in one of many examples, is opposed to states’ rights, stating that as Massachusetts’ governor he was required by federal law to provide health
care and education to illegal immigrants.

Ron Paul is an isolationist.  Bachmann is a true Conservative but has dropped out of the race, although we hope to hear from her in the future.  Perry is still suffering from his self-inflicted gunshot wound to the foot and would have found no favor with Conservatives given his position on illegal immigration.  And Huntsman is trailing far behind.

Santorum has been criticized as a poor speaker.  This from the same critics who praise Obama’s oratorical skills.  Our Toastmasters club wishes it had a dime for every time Obama has uttered the word “uh” or “duh”.   Let us hope that Santorum will not be so dainty as to avoid attacking Obama.  An attitude is in the air that holds that “Obama is just a nice guy who’s made a lot of mistakes.”  Obama demonstrated no such leniency towards his opponents, and scrupled not to attack former Pres. Bush, who wasn’t even a candidate, and blame him for every misdeed more creditable to the Democrats than to him.

These men are not running for class president.  They’re running for the office of President of the United States.  If they don’t have the fortitude to take to task a President who’s tripled our debt, signed 40,000 pieces of new legislation in one year alone, made a shambles of foreign policy, and bowed to every foreign potentate on the planet, how can we expect any of them to stand up to foreign potentates themselves, go head to head with union thugs, stem the tide of illegal immigration which will almost certainly change the nature of our federal republic for the worse, and hold the line on spending in Congress?

Only the Media wags its finger at the notion of a slugfest, and only when Conservatives (mind you, not Republicans, but Conservatives) are throwing the punches.  It’s time to take off the kid gloves here.  We’ve let the Liberals and their propagandist announcer, the Media, keep us in the corner long enough.

The time has come to come out fighting.

New Year's Resolutions for 2012

Here are some New Year’s Resolutions it would be nice to see some other folks keep:

The Media:  We will resolve to remember that we’re journalists not cheerleaders (you heard that pejorative first from yours-truly by the way).  We will resolve not to be a propaganda machine for the Socialist/Progressive/Liberal Democrat Party.

Illegal Immigrants:  We will look up the word “illegal” in the dictionary – as soon as we learn to habla Ingles – and understand why the Americanos are so furious.  Then we’ll study history and learn that our people wanted nothing to do with the lands north of the border, that our government couldn’t pay us to live there, and that the Texans voted to become members of the Estatos Unidos.

Greenies:  We will read Shakespeare’s As You Like It and learn about the real balance between Man and his environment.  Living like Fred Flintstone is about as inefficient as inefficiency gets - and it’s hard on the feet.

Independent Voters:  We will wake up and realize we’re being flim-flammed by the socialist progressives.  We will learn the difference between doing good and feeling good.  We will finally realize we’re adults not children, and that we don’t need the government to take care of us or anyone else.  We will read up on American history and realize what we’re throwing away.  We will listen to the Tea Party and not snicker arrogantly and then bury our heads in the sand.

Home Buyers:  We will realize that not everyone can or should own a house.  Houses come with many hidden expenses in addition to the mortgage.  If you can’t stand the heat, rent a kitchen instead of buying one.  We will also not gamble, especially with other people’s money, on adjustable rate mortgages.  No one is to blame for that mess except ourselves.  We knew exactly what we were doing and got what we deserved for trying to game the system.  The first step in the 12-step program is admitting you have a problem.

Big Government:  We resolve to go on a diet and stick to it.  As the great President Ronald Reagan said, we aren’t the answer to the problem; we are the problem.

Glenn Beck:  I resolve not to cry on my programs anymore.  I will only cry in private.  I will exercise restraint and suck up whatever I happen to be feeling at so I can deliver the information my listeners and viewers need to know.  Weeping is a waste of water.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Happy New Year, 2012!

Happy New Year, Tea Partiers!  Hope you enjoyed your holiday.  But now it’s back to work.  We’ve gone over the other side of the precipice now and we’re into 2012, a crucial election year that will decide whether America will remain a free, federated republic or transmogrify into a socialist welfare state.

Most people don’t have a problem with the socialist welfare state, you should realize, and we have our work cut out for us convincing how bad it really is.  They’re not going to hear from the Mainstream Media, who are simply the socialist propaganda machine.  They’re certainly not going to hear it from the Democrat side of the aisle, nor even from the GOP seats, who are so worried about the bunch in the middle that they’ll say and do anything to get elected.

What are the Tea Party’s resolutions going to be for this new and crucial year?  It ought to be obvious by now that staying inside and working the phones for candidates alone isn’t going to work.  Most tea parties chose to be good little lambs and we here in New Jersey found ourselves re-districted even further than we were.  Well, it worked out well where I live; I have a Conservative representative once again.  But parts of Morris and Bergen Counties were usurped.

The first New Year’s Resolution tea partiers have to make is to make yourselves known.  For those in colder climates, once the weather gets warm enough, you have to get back out on the street.  The OWS is trying to steal our thunder (stealing; doesn’t that figure?); well, we’ve got to take it back.  So that’s New Year’s Resolution No. 1:

1.       Rallies
2.      Letters to the editor

We all need to start writing regular letters to the editor.  That’s something I haven’t done heretofore, but am resolved to do this year.  Start out writing a letter to the editor once a week.  You might find you like it and start building up from there.

3.      Merchandising.

We need to start branding to help get our message out.  That’s what my company does.  That’s what the Morristown Tea Party does.  There are all sorts of merchandise you can hawk.  You don’t even have to put a price tag on them.  Have a donation can.  You can donate the proceeds to the military charity of your choice:  The VFW, the Wounded Warriors Project, the USO.  That way, it’s not “political.”  But make sure the merchandise says “Tea Party” on it, or has something to do with promoting conservative American values.  Find a willing merchant who will allow you sidewalk space and start talking the people up.  Smile, be friendly, and don’t be afraid.

4.      Flash mobs.

Organize flash mobs.  Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays are coming up.  Get a group together to sign “Happy Birthday” to Washington.  If you have a friend or family member who’s tall and strong as Washington was, dress ‘em up to make an appearance with you.

5.       Parades.

This was something the Tea Parties did well in 2010 and 2011.  Keep up the good work.  If I wasn’t already in a marching band, I’d join you.  Just remember to carry the American flag properly.

We’re not going to win this battle with polite silence.  We need to be politely noisy.  We need to illustrate the contrast between us and the OWSers.  The tea parties were three years ago and people have already forgotten.  All they do remember were the early, disorganized tea parties running around.  We’ve got to undo that first impression.  Now the only picture people have in their heads are these rotten OWSers and pusillanimous pundits sticking up for them.  “Well you know,” the pundits whine, “they do have a point.”  Never mind that they defecated on police cars, rioted, and set up tents for an encampment.  How anyone has any sympathy for these low-lifes is beyond me.

We had a point, three years ago.  We need to remind them.  We must make clear, with facts and figures, how much trouble our nation is in, thanks to entitlements, and yes, crooked financiers in bed with crooked politicians of both stripes.  Hold up signs for all to see showing them the U.S. Debt Clock, the worst points of Agenda 21, the voting records of the most liberal politicians.  People have their heads stuck in the sand.  They won’t look unless you get the facts in front of their faces.

My own mother pooh-poohed the Tea Party revolution until she happened to glance at an issue of Rush Limbaugh’s newsletter that we were saving for my nephew when he came home.  Tell Mom something, and she’ll brush it off.  When she read the facts about the financial crisis, she couldn’t believe her eyes, what she was reading.

“I hadn’t realized what was going on!” she cried, calling me up.  “These things that these politicians and bureaucrats have done, that are here in this Limbaugh Letter, are just terrible.  We can’t keep letting them get away with this!”

There’s another idea for the New Year, a belated Christmas present.  Send a friend or relative a gift copy of The Limbaugh Letter, The Blaze, or the National Review.  Reading is believing.

Make 2012 the year you not only make your voice heard, but you get your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers to join the chorus.