Saturday, February 12, 2011

Twenty Four Months And Counting!

I, like most of you, would rather have been going along with life as usual, but have found that to be extremely difficult for the last twenty-four months. I am a 51 year old small business owner, who loves God, my Family, my Country, and my Freedom. I have had to make a commitment, to either fight for our Freedom, or keep going and ignore the truth about what is happening in our country today, wondering can I make a difference.

January 2009, two years ago, I did decide to commit to step up, and dedicate my free time to make a difference. Well, as it has turned out, it took way more than my free time. I will also say, I would have it no other way.

This past two years I have been to Washington, DC on no less than on ten occasions for rallies, delivering petitions, visiting our representatives, the Swearing-In Ceremony on Jan. 5, 2011, and the first Senate Tea Party Caucus. I had not been to Washington D. C. five times in the last thirty years. As a common sense conservative, I consider myself a huge grassroots activist if you want to call me that. I used every chance I could, to be involved and be educated about the issues at hand. I have really felt like I was in a war, with many battles at hand. Winning them one by one, knowing another one was ahead to fight, all along making friends all across this great land.

Well, let me tell you, "WE THE PEOPLE" have made the difference. This war is not won on the back of one American, but on the backs of many. As most of you know, the sign I rallied with on many occasions in DC said “ Take the Hill, America, Take the Hill”. This was proven on Nov. 2, 2010 when all our efforts took back the House of Representatives in Washington, DC. Because I love America, and the Freedom it stands for, and I will not sit back and watch our country be mandated, and force onto the citizens changes that are in direct conflict with the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and The Declaration of Independence, our forefathers founded this country on.

August 15, 2010 began an endeavor that took me to 48 states in 77 days, rolling 15,600 miles to bring awareness to the destruction of our Constitution. I thank you America, for supporting the Constitution Ride Across America, and all that come out to "Rally Up" when I rode into your state capitol. With the final rally ending in DC on Oct. 30, 2010, I inked on the Constitution Resolution For America, signatures of legislators in 42 of the 48 state capitols I rallied with you in. The success of the ride happened because you to love America. The success of Nov. 2, 2010, was because, you, just like I, never gave up and believed that we could “Take the Hill”.

Daren Gardner
Constitution Ride Across America

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Through Change Comes Strength

By Daren Gardner

     First let me say Happy New Year to you all. I hope this day finds you well and with your spirits high for the future that is ahead of us.

     This week our nation ushered in what I certainly hope will be a true new beginning for us as American citizens. This week on January 5, 2011, in Washington, DC, the 112th Congress of these United States was sworn in to uphold and protect the Constitution for the United States of America. It was an honor for me to be in Washington on this day to see a couple of the new congressmen sworn into office. Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho and Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina.

     I had the opportunity to be able to attend some of the events of the day with the great citizens of the state of South Carolina. Rep. Jeff Duncan allowed me to be a part of this because just a few months earlier our paths crossed. You see now Congressman Duncan and Congressman Labrador, whom both were gracious to be a part of the Constitution Ride Across America 2010 and represent their respective states in the signing of the Constitution Resolution For America.

     My intent on this day was to personally deliver to these two gentlemen, their copy of the Constitution Resolution For America, just prior to them being sworn in. Although I did mail all the signers a copy, I just thought it would be a great reminder to these two gentlemen who went on after the rally in their respective states, to be elected to the US Congress that it is still about the US Constitution. It was with great honor that I was able to do this. The importance of this happening on this day, and being able to meet both of them in their office, and presenting them with their copy of the Constitution Resolution For America, would make an imprint in their minds, and allow them to remember their promise to the citizens.

     The task of ahead of them is a great one, and I was glad to see the reading of the Constitution to begin the 112th Congress of the United States. A lot of decisions have to be made. A lot of strength, confidence, and boldness have to take place if our nation is to rebound from the valley we currently find ourselves in.

     A lot of us are truly feeling the effects of being in this valley. I for one certainly am. As much as it was an honor to do the Constitution Ride Across America 2010, and the support that those of you gave to make it a reality, the realities of life are still present on the home front. I am finding myself in a place that I never thought at my age I would be at. I have been out there, being a part of waging the fight against the wrongs that have been oppressed upon the people of this nation, and felt encouraged to have so many stand beside me.

     I am now forced into having to make a decision of whether or not to close the business I have owned and operated for the last 8 years because of the effects of the economic woes that have gripped our nation. I am not the only one in our nation in this situation. We as citizens have had to change the way we have to run our lives. This change of habit has put some tough times on my family and I, and have now put us in a financial situation I never thought I would face. I totally understand why companies have to do what they do to survive the times, and I have cut myself to hang on as long as I could and try and ride it out. Well, it has finally caught up with me and is forcing me to make some very uncomfortable changes and decisions. I am now looking to find a way to provide for the simple needs of everyday life. I am basically an unemployed business owner who could not collect a dime, as a lot of you that have lost your jobs are able to do through unemployment benefits. This is one of the curses of being a small business owner, everything you invested in gone, and you have nowhere to go. I just happen to be one of the small business owners caught up in this economic downward spiral.  I know that many of you will face similar situtations as the year moves on.

     The one thing I am sure of is that the sun will rise tomorrow morning, and will set tomorrow evening. That my faith in God will never take me to something that he would not bring me through. It’s the same God that our founding fathers believed in when back on September 17, 1787; they inked the Constitution for the United States of America. Our nation has come through many tough times, and we will endure these as well. The sacrifice has been made before by many citizens in order to survive, and as we look into the future, more sacrifice is required. Times ahead will not be easy, but I am glad that through it all, I have a peace knowing that the future holds good days ahead if we are willing to focus on the truths that protect our nation. All of us, “We The People”, have a responsibility if this is to happen, and all of us need to remember this as we roll forward into this New Year. I know that in the end, “Through Change Comes Strength”.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

And The Beat Goes On!

Well, the hard work of the last 18 months has now shown its muscle. As citizens across the nation, who have turned out in force to show our government and its elected officials the time has come. The time has come for limited government, with less taxation, and less intrusion into the lives of Americans.

Citizens do not be fooled or lay back and expect change just because your vote has changed the bodies that sit in the seats of the legislative bodies. This is just the first chapter of many that will be written to bring our country, our states, and our localities back to with-in a common sense form of leadership. We must stay involved.

As I traveled across the nation on the Constitution Ride Across America part of the message was how we need to be involved in our local governing bodies. This is where you as a citizen will make the greatest difference and can be most effective. We need to put our time and energy into these monthly meetings. Not everyone can represent us in Congress, our State Legislative body, or even as a local representative in your local governing body. Everyone can participate in the process, attend these local meetings, and make your voice heard at the local public hearings. Every great structure requires a strong foundation, or it will surely tumble.

Will you be a part of the foundation?

Will you sacrifice to attend the meetings of your local governing bodies?

As I have done since May 2009, I will continue to sacrifice and be at these meetings. I will continue to share my opinion at the public hearings. I hope you will too. This is the best place to learn and understand the process. You can’t fix it if you do not know what it is you need to fix. So get out and begin to be a part of changing America. Everyone who lives here has a part to play. It’s time for you to start carrying your own drum as “the beat goes on”.

Daren Gardner

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Reforming the Entitled

In recent decades (yes, decades), much has been said about reforming the cumbersome entitlement programs that have ballooned since first inception. A few dabbles at reform have been relatively successful, but political posturing especially during election periods reveals a lack of honesty and will when it comes to REAL reform.

That being said, the entitlement reform that is the topic of this post is “political entitlement.” Performing a few hits on a search engine, I learned that the politicians, serial killers, and sociopaths share several similar traits. One of these shared traits is a “grand sense of entitlement.” I give you
Lisa Murkowski, Charlie Crist, and Charlie Rangel.

Not only do politicians in Washington feel they are entitled to keep the seats held by their respective states, but they also vote for themselves rather extravagant benefits at the expense of the taxpayer.

Though it’s oft told, it is not true that our elected officials are not participants in Social Security. Since the early 1980s they have been. As well, the 1980s brought reforms to the basic retirement options in which they can participate. What IS true and alarming is that after five years of service, a member of Congress will be entitled to a retirement check. Of course, rules apply based on age, years of service, and so on. In
final analysis though, “Congressional pension benefits are 2-3 times more generous than what a similarly-salaried executive could expect to receive upon retiring from the private sector.”

Many of you may remember (SHOULD remember!) the President stating that all Americans should have the healthcare insurance options that those in Washington have. Ahh, to be so fortunate.
They actually get:
• a choice of 10 healthcare plans that provide access to a national network of doctors, as well as several HMOs that serve each member's home state.
• special treatment at Washington's federal medical facilities
• access to their own pharmacy, doctors, nurses and medical technicians in an office conveniently located between the House and Senate chambers (for a few hundred dollars a month).

“In 2008, taxpayers spent about $15 billion to insure 8.5 million federal workers and their dependents. By contrast, 85% of private companies offering health coverage provide their employees one type of plan -- take it or leave it.”

Not only do we need to change the faces in DC, we need to change the employment laws on the books for these folks. We need to return the legislators to their home communities to continue to serve at the fire department, a church, or a PTA. Rather than spending a full career gathering power and perks at the expense of the American electorate, they should leave Washington to earn a salary and retirement pension that doesn't gouge the taxpayer.

Read more about Congressional Retirement Benefits

Julie Ranson is a college professor, wife, and mother who lives in Virginia.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Courting the First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (First Amendment of the Constitution for the United States.)

At a recent dinner celebrating Ramadan, the President made it abundantly clear to us that our nation’s religious freedoms grants any group the right to build on private land. Clarifying the next day, he didn’t mean to imply that he thought it is “right” or “wise” to build a community center containing a mosque close to Ground Zero in NYC. (If “walking back comments” becomes an Olympic event, Mr. Obama may be eligible for the American team!)

Most Americans are well aware of the religious freedom provisions in the First Amendment. Though, admittedly, some get confused about freedom of religious vs. freedom from religion. This is a religious nation, a pluralistic society in which we all try to live in religious harmony. It’s disappointing that there are people and groups that single out certain religious faiths (Christians and Jews come to mind) as less deserving of “tolerance." And of course, there’s the famous July 2010 story of the students banished from praying on the Supreme Court steps. We truly are living in strange times. But I digress.

The NY Mosque case highlights the current administration’s mixed messaging over the past 20 months about the freedoms protected by the First Amendment. The rights are not granted BY the government, they are protected FROM government infringement because they are natural rights, inalienable rights accorded to all of God’s creatures.

Consider Nancy Pelosi’s recent challenge that individuals opposing the NY Mosque should be investigated to learn how they are funded. What is wrong with individuals lawfully offering opinions and personal feelings regarding this proposed building? To have the government investigate you is an intimidating process, yet Speaker Pelosi feels comfortable to offer such a threat on camera! Strange times in an America that has always lauded the First Amendment, indeed. By the way, Pelosi may also make that Olympic “walking back” team as her spokesperson later said we should also investigate the funding of the Mosque.

Step in the way-back machine to 2009 and let me remind you of an Oval Office conversation with Republicans during which the President “called out” Rush Limbaugh, a private citizen. "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done." The problems continued in a CBS interview, Obama called both Limbaugh and Beck “troublesome” and the interviewer Harry Smith replied, “It’s beyond that.” (Good news here is that Smith didn't jump into Obama's lap during the interview) Yay, free press!! (It’s only “free” if you agree with this bunch as evidenced by the engineered attack against Fox News.) What is truly “troublesome” is the practice of the President and the likes of Nancy Pelosi concerning themselves publicly with the words of private citizens.

Julie Ranson is the mother of three who lives and teaches at a community college in Virginia.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Devilish Details

Much of original American law was derived from English common law. Today, it’s unlikely that the American body of law resembles English law. Two hundred–plus years of legislating (mischief-making, most of it) have changed the legal landscape of the United States.

Where do we find most of our American Law?
U.S. Constitution – I can carry a copy of the Constitution in my purse! The Constitution is available here in a single HTML page.
Legislation (or "statutory law") is law which has been enacted by a legislature or other governing body. (See above commentary about the size of the Constitution)
Administrative Law --administrative authority entails the power to issue rules and regulations based on statutes, grant licenses and permits to facilitate the conduct of government business. Code upon code regulates nearly every activity of American Life, dwarfing the size of the bill that started the ball rolling, including those 2000-page bills. (See above commentary about the size of the Constitution)

It is in Administrative Law that we get lost. In this body of law, agencies like the Department of Education (created in 1979) or the Department of Energy (created in 1977) make the rules and regulations that enact and enforce the statutes passed by Congress. Unelected bureaucrats ultimately implement legislation. Consider the enormous power these agencies have. As Presidents and their cabinet appointees come and go, agency bureaucrats work their “magic” day in and day out… so little accountability and so great a compensation package.

Did you know that when the Dept of Education was created, the U.S. graduate rate was under 75 percent? After 30 years existence, the E. D. succeeded in ensuring that the U.S. graduation rate remains under 75 percent. (Great job, guys and gals!) How much are we spending to get such paltry results? In the table here, you will see that the Obama’s 2011 Budget request for the E.D. increases from 2010 by $18.6 billion, a 31.4% increase!! Goodness gracious! WHY? (I’m doing a great job at work which is actually quantifiable, but I haven’t had a pay increase in 3 years! What gives?)

Look, it is in the administrative buildings where your tax money is spent with little oversight and no accountability. It’s time we start doing something about this…. Pay attention to the budgets of these mammoth agencies and elect representatives who will work to eliminate many of these behemoths. We don’t need them if they aren’t fulfilling their mission. The Devil is indeed in the details (and in these agencies).

Julie Ranson, wife and mother of three, lives and teaches in Virginia.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Where's the Trust?

It isn’t news that a majority of Americans distrust Washington. A Pew survey found this year that only 22% trusted Washington most of the time. "Only twice since the 1950s has public skepticism dipped this deeply — from 1992 to 1995 during which time it hit 17 percent, and 1978 to 1980, bottoming out at 25 percent. The nation was going through economic struggles during both of those periods." (Name those presidents, anyone?)

Recently, I was surprised to learn that my rather conservative English relatives were happy that Obama was elected President. I don’t know when they stopped liking Bush, or if they ever did. How is it that someone who speaks well gets a leg-up on the trust factor? Doesn’t anyone ever learn that clever, glib, clean and articulate (umm, sorry, channeling Biden there) absolutely do not convey anything related to trustworthiness? So, back to the English relatives and their opinion… it doesn’t matter at all what the general population of another country thinks of our president. It DOES matter whether foreign leaders believe they can trust our American “leadership” such that it is.

How can you tell someone is lying? (Insert “lips are moving” joke here). I checked it out through a handy-dandy web search and I suggest you try it! Anyway, I did find these two useful items:

Something Sounds Fishy2,400 page bills, protecting the New Black Panthers, singling out AZ’s immigration enforcement

Overly Defensive (usually shifts blame) - Blame GOP for lack of immigration progress,
blame stupid public for not understanding the healthcare bill, and a myriad of inherited crises.

Perhaps there are some folks in Washington who care about deficits, be they budget deficits or trust deficits. Here are a few recommendations for working on the latter: do what you say; never lie; tell the truth; be competent; operate with a strong moral ethic; be fair and don’t apply double standards.

Looks like some folks have some serious work to do……. just saying.

Julie Ranson, wife and mother of three, lives and teaches in Virginia.