Friday, December 31, 2010

A Message to Michael

New Years Eve, 2010

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

To say that we've had quite an eventful year would be an understatement, wouldn't it? Those of us in the tea party movement, and right here in the Staten Island Tea Party, have dipped our toes into the river of history and altered its course.

We never planned to do it - we scarcely knew what we getting into at all - but we heard the call of our country and responded. I feel good about that. America was tested, and if the results of the last election were any indication, we passed. But make no mistake (and I know you don't need me to remind you) we will face more tests in the future, and we will have to be well prepared for them.

Though we elected a terrific representative in Mike Grimm, and many others who espouse the tea party values of fiscal sanity, free markets and a Constitutionally-limited government, we need to remember that words are cheap, especially so during campaigns. Washington is a fearsome place; it oozes power, and power is a virus to which few are immune.

So here's a New Year's message to our new Congressman: We believe in you - don't be afraid to make the hard choices, because we've got you covered. The 13th Congressional District of New York sent Michael Grimm to Congress to be Michael Grimm, not, as you have said many times, just another vote in the go-along-to-get-along gang. All the "cover" you will ever need to justify your voting record is right here in the hearts and minds of your constituents - and if you fight for us, we will fight like hell for you.

I think you know that if you ever become more devoted to your leadership than you are to your consituents and your country, you will lose us. We didn't walk the district, ring bells, pass out literature and spend hours on the phone to elect a party - we did all that to elect a man; a man we will continue to believe in unless he gives us reason not to.

Make a difference, Michael, make a difference. We've got your back.

Yours in Liberty,

Frank Santarpia

Staten Island, NY

Happy New Year!

"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day." - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Trashing the Constitution

Ladies and gentlemen, this guest editorial was written by Paul B. Skousen for The Daily Caller. It is re-printed with his permission.

It is important that we document - and never forget - the way the 111th Congress has re-written the constitution, chiefly by ignoring it. This should serve as a serious reminder that we have much work to do, and that occasionally "compromise" is not a good thing...


At the close of the 111th Congress, America is deeply in the bog of Thomas Jefferson’s prophetic warning: “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.” Unfortunately, the broken chains of the Constitution have failed to contain the federal government.

By way of review, let’s take a stroll through the junkyard of constitutional violations that have been painted fresh by President Obama and the 111th Congress. Here’s my top-ten list, highly abbreviated for length.

#10. — 9/11 Responders Relief Fund: We love and honor those who put themselves in harm’s way for our security. However, giving the 9/11 first responders money after the fact violates the Constitution. Article 1.8 gives Congress the right to expend funds for all the purposes itemized, provided it is done for the general welfare, NOT for individuals or preferred groups. The states may reward heroes if they so choose.

#9. — Checks and Balances Failure: The Chairmanship of the UN Security Council: Where was Congress when President Obama became the chairman of the powerful UN Security Council in 2009? The normal monthly rotation for that chair goes to the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. because Article 1.9 of the Constitution forbids the president (and all other office-holders) from accepting any present, foreign office or title from a foreign country or a foreign potentate unless it is specifically authorized by Congress. The Founders wanted to prevent deal-making, corruption, and foreign influence from affecting America’s internal affairs.

#8. — Net Neutrality: The government is trying to stop Internet providers from blocking or slowing some web traffic and prevent providers from showing favoritism. The FCC thinks it should be able to regulate the Internet like it regulates utility companies. This violates the property rights of Internet providers and interferes in the market’s free choice of which services receive funding. Article 1.8 makes it clear that the FCC is not constitutionally authorized to pass laws, especially those disguised as regulations.

#7. – Czars: The moniker for appointees who report to no one but the president has taken on a new and eerie resemblance to the dusty Russian tsars of old. Article 2.2 grants the president leeway to appoint managers, but those managers may not have any regulatory, legislative or law-making powers — such powers are reserved to the legislative branch. Today’s “czars” have the power of cabinet members without having to go through a vetting process or the confirmation process prescribed for cabinet members. Czars are unelected and untouchable political decision-makers — in violation of Article 1.1.

#6. — Cap and Trade: The Clean Energy and Security Act mandates greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, 42 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and 84 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. By 2020, this tax will extract an estimated $160 billion from the economy, or an average $1,870 per family. Once again, had the chains of Article 1.8 not been broken, America would be spared such tomfoolery. Cap and trade masked in any disguise whatsoever cannot be justified as a general welfare activity.

#5. — Cash for Clunkers: The government offered $4,500 rebates to people turning in their clunkers for more fuel-efficient vehicles. When the first program quickly ran out of the $4 billion allotted to it, another $2 billion was added. Follow-up analysis showed the program did nothing to stimulate the economy and put many people into additional debt by encouraging them to purchase cars that they otherwise would not have bought during these hard economic times. The government has zero authority to selectively give individuals tax money for purchases of vehicles, according to Articles 1.2 and 1.8 — and common sense.

#4. — TARP Funding: The original 2008 act authorized $700 billion to bail out banks and other institutions. The government has no business rescuing private financial institutions from bad judgment and risky ventures. Article 1.8 excludes permission for Congress to grant financial aid or loans to private companies. Any use of Treasury funds must go toward the general welfare, not to specific groups.

#3. — Illegal Immigration: Arizona is being invaded. When that state passed SB 1070 to stem the flow of violent illegals into its sovereign territory, a derelict federal government turned around and sued. At issue was the Feds’ failure to control the border, so Arizona took it upon itself to do just that — to uphold existing federal immigration laws. It didn’t add new laws; it simply gave local authorities the power to enforce federal responsibilities. The federal government claims the right to manage immigration, but when it refuses to carry out that obligation, thereby jeopardizing the security of border states, it is derelict in its duties. Arizona should haul the federal government before the Supreme Court for malfeasance. Article 4.4 clearly states that the U.S. shall protect states from invasion — more than 400,000 illegal aliens (est.) in Arizona is, by definition, an invasion.

#2. — Economic Stimulus Bill: The $814 billion stimulus is the most backward-thinking proposition to come along since human sacrifice. Dumping borrowed money into an over-fed, bloated and out-of-control ogre doesn’t solve anything, it simply temporarily props up with blocks of melting ice cream a failed and failing government of extravagance. Not only does it illegally take money out of the economy that could be used to provide jobs, but it’s using borrowed money — with interest due.

And the worst violation of the Constitution over the past two years is …

#1. — Health Care Reform: Health care reform was the last lever needed to lift the lid off the pot of American gold and empty it out for socialism. It required all Americans to have health insurance whether they wanted it or not. Earlier this month, Federal Judge Henry E. Hudson said that the government has no power “to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market.”

The string of constitutional violations supporting the judge’s rejection is long and shocking:

For purposes of regulation, Congress invoked Article 1.8 and claimed insurance may be controlled because it falls under Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce. But insurance is not interstate commerce — you can’t buy insurance across state lines.

Language in the bill says the health care law may NOT be changed or amended by anyone once signed into law. This violates the role of Congress. Article 1.1 makes it clear that only Congress is authorized to make law, meaning it has every right to alter, amend and change the health care law. To restrict Congress is to change its constitutional duty. The 111th Congress must think it can change the Constitution without amending it — a violation of Article 5, which outlines the amendment process.

The health care bill also violates the 10th Amendment because it coerces states into complying with a new national program that reaches far into state jurisdiction.

So, what do you do when you’re navigating through a blizzard of political white-out where visibility is reduced to zero, the road is slick and slippery, and disaster is strewn about in all directions? You come to a complete stop — and put on the chains.

Paul B. Skousen is a former analyst for the CIA, an intelligence officer in the Reagan White House, and staffer for Senator Orrin Hatch.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Christmas Message

He who has not Christmas in his heart
will never find it under a tree. ~Roy L. Smith

December, 2010

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

For a few days let's put all thoughts of politics and world affairs aside, and simply appreciate the joy that a loving family and close friends can bring.

It's a time to reflect and take comfort in the knowledge that each of us has the unspoken love and support not only of those close to us, but of people of good will everywhere across this great land -- and of a loving and merciful God.

Let's celebrate not only Christmas and Hanukkah, but the greatest gift of all - the wondrous liberty with which we were endowed by our Creator. No power on earth can take it away, because that liberty exists in our hearts and minds and souls.

I tell you that we are a great nation because we are a free and loving people - and we will prevail because free men and women of good will always do.

All of us here at the Staten Island Tea Party would like to wish you and your family a joyous and blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Yours in Liberty,

Frank Santarpia

Staten Island, NY

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"A fine pleasant evening for your Indian caper..."

"Friends! Brethren! Countrymen!--That worst of plagues, the detested tea, shipped for this port by the East India Company, is now arrived in the harbor."

-Handbill posted 29 November, 1773 in Boston

My Dear Fellow Patriots;

I couldn't let the day pass without remarking on its import. On 16 December, 1773, a group of citizens in Boston sought clearance from the British Customs Commissioner to send three ships of the British East India Company back from whence they came.

The chief cargo on board these vessels was tea - but to the colonists, the commodity, though it was much in demand, was tainted with a small but unpalatable duty charged by the British crown. Though the duty was merely a token, to the colonists it represented Parliament's attempt to prove that it had, indeed, the right to tax the American colonies - though their subjects were afforded no representation.

The Commissioner turned down the request for clearance because the duty had not been paid.

The rest, as they say, is history - at least to every schoolchild of my generation. Two hundred men, dressed as Mohawk Indians and brandishing hatchets and pistols, marched to Griffin's Wharf where the ships Dartmouth, Eleanor and Beaver were at anchor. When they were done, all 342 chests of tea aboard the three ships were broken open and dumped into Boston harbor.

Thousands stood on shore in silence and watched as the Sons of Liberty made their emphatic statement. According to eyewitness accounts, when done they marched past the home of British Admiral Montague, who had been watching discreetly from a window.

Legend has it that he yelled as they passed, "Well boys, you have had a fine, pleasant evening for your Indian caper, haven't you? But mind, you have got to pay the fiddler yet!"

What the Admiral could not have known was that the debt owed to the fiddler would be paid by the British at a terrible cost of blood and treasure, and that the actions taken by those patriots on that "fine, pleasant evening" would prove to be the spark that lit the fuse of revolution.

Yours in Liberty,