Saturday, October 03, 2009

The 2000 Error Message has Afflicted SlantRight

Well SlantRight blogger has come to a cross roads. I keep receiving the dreaded error message that I have exceeded 2000 labels (i.e. tags).

It seems my options are to delete some of the 2000 labels, keep browsing Blogger Help for a solution, stop posting at SlantRight blogger or create a new SlantRight blogger.

I have decided to go with a combination of stop posting at SlantRight blogger and create a new SlantRight blogger.

So those few wise fellow bloggers following SlantRight blogger, mosey on over to SlantRight 2.0. Those that visit here you can also mosey on over. J

JRH 10/3/09

ACLU fires back to criminalize Christianity




Once in a while I am honored to post a plea from an organization asking for funds for an excellent cause. Here is one such cause.

The Liberty Council has successfully spanked the best funded Leftist legal organization in America – the ACLU. The Liberty Council is asking for donations because the ACLU is not used to losing cases that protects the rights of Christian Believers in America.

Here are the details from the Liberty Council on their victory and the urgent reason they need to re-stock their financial legal coffers to meet the counter-attack of the ACLU.

JRH 10/3/09
***************************
ACLU fires back to criminalize Christianity

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman
Email Sent: October 2, 2009 5:04:42 PM
Liberty Council

The ACLU has launched a potent counter-offensive against our victory in Santa Rosa County. Please see below. –Mat



John,

A few weeks ago, your support helped Liberty Counsel gain a
stunning victory against the ACLU in their effort to
criminalize the mealtime prayers of school officials in
Santa Rosa County, Florida.

With the help of many friends like you, we met the ACLU's
challenge head-on and won a resounding victory for Principal
Frank Lay, Athletic Director Robert Freeman, Administrative
Assistant Michele Winkler, their families and the God-fearing
people of their community.

Praise God for His faithfulness and His answer to so many prayers!

Apparently, we got under the ACLU's skin, because they have
launched a massive legal counterattack that threatens to further
silence Santa Rosa School District and similar systems all
across the Nation.

+ + How the ACLU has expanded its attack

Despite our victory on behalf of the school employees, the
outrageous ACLU-inspired court order still hangs over this
school system. In fact, the ACLU is actively soliciting
"informants" while continuing to intimidate employees and
students and confusing them about their God-given,
inalienable rights as Americans.

Even worse, the ACLU's team is trying to further manipulate
the legal process in their attempt to renew their attack. We knew the ACLU desperately wanted their way in this case when they assigned 6 (six!) of their seasoned attorneys to bludgeon this small school district in Florida's panhandle region.

That's why I'm writing to you today. Liberty Counsel has already raised a Constitutional challenge against the underlying "consent decree" that the ACLU is using to bully and intimidate this school system and, by extension, schools across the Nation.

A hearing has been set for later this year. I need your help or we face giving up precious ground to the ACLU.

+ + Why we are vulnerable to the ACLU's attack right now

As every military commander knows, forces are most exposed
and at risk immediately after taking new ground. That's because so much energy and so many resources must be expended to take any strategic position, and it takes time to "dig in."

That's why the first order of business immediately after a victory must always be to solidify one's position against a counterattack.

The same holds true in legal maneuverings, especially when one's adversary is the ACLU. As you know, the ACLU has virtually unlimited resources, along with a long-term strategy to destroy the rights of believers. That's why they redoubled their efforts in Santa Rosa County when they failed to make their outrageous criminal charges against our clients stick.

Which leaves me with a difficult challenge...

Liberty Counsel has already poured substantial resources into this fight to ensure the best possibility for victory on behalf of our clients. And we won the early battles! But now I must increase our efforts to prevent the ACLU from turning this into a devastating defeat for religious liberties that they can replicate in school districts across the nation.

John, would you prayerfully consider making a special gift right now to Liberty Counsel so we can fight the ACLU's oppressive anti-faith consent decree and continue other vital efforts? Go here:

http://www.libertyaction.org/r.asp?U=21870&CID=305&RID=22306845

Also, please continue to be in prayer for our team. We know we are "David" fighting the "Goliath" of the ACLU. And we know our "five smooth stones" can take down this giant. But like David, we dare not trust in our own wisdom or strength!

Thank you once again for partnering with us, and may God bless you.


Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman
Liberty Counsel

PS We recommend Psalm 20 as a prayer focus for this conflict... please continue to keep our staff in your prayers! As David the psalmist concluded long ago, God will "answer from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand." Again, thank you for your support!
___________________

Liberty Counsel, with offices in Florida, Virginia and Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of human life and the traditional family.

Liberty Counsel . PO Box 540774 . Orlando, FL 32854 .
800-671-1776

Friday, October 02, 2009

Conservatives Must Avoid Circular Firing Squads




Evidently I have had my head in the sand since my budget had to downsize my cable ability to watch the FOX News channel. (I almost cringe to watch the big three network news shows.) Evidently around September 20th or so some big dog Conservative pundits chased after a liberal bone tossed from the Mainstream Media (MSM) pertaining comments made by Glen Beck about Senator McCain’s run for President. Once the bone was out there the Conservative big dogs began some backbiting.

I actually became aware of this from an Our Country Deserves Better (OCBD)e-newsletter. It seems the Beck controversy has crept in other ways within the Tea Party Movement. Apparently there is some Tea Party Movement back biting and OCDB sent the e-newsletter to set their position about the back biting and to extol the Tea Party Movement with a call for unity.

JRH 10/2/09
************************
Conservatives Must Avoid Circular Firing Squads

Our Country Deserves Better E-Newsletter
10/02/2009 03:10:27 am


The past week has seen some intense behind-the-scenes discussions in various quarters of the conservative movement over a series of comments on cable TV news shows regarding Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and Joe Scarborough.

Scarborough, who has a morning news show on MSNBC, had put a call out for every potential Republican presidential candidate to denounce conservative radio and TV host, Glenn Beck.

Soon all sorts of pundits and commentators from Kathleen Parker to David Brooks were weighing in with their views about the matter, including sharing their thoughts on comments Beck had made in an interview with CBS's Katie Couric.

Amidst all the noise, we felt our heads begin to spin. And we also felt a case of déjà vu setting in. Hadn't we seen this taken from the media's playbook once before? Oh yes, we had and it was Katie Couric once again stirring up trouble for another prominent conservative, Gov. Sarah Palin - and watching with glee the conservative in-fighting that commenced thereafter.

The liberal media continues to enjoy their role in sparking a dust-up in the conservative community. Whether a deliberate effort to distract from the failings of Barack Obama and Congress (under Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), or just for the fun of attempting to injure the conservative movement, it doesn't matter the reason.

The point is the media got their wish. The left-wing media spin group, Media Matters, even produced a video showing all of the shots being fired in the conservative circular firing squad. You can watch it - HERE.

Normally we wouldn't even be giving attention to any of the misleading propaganda produced by Media Matters. But we wanted you to watch it so you can see how this game is played by the media and the Left. We want you to be aware of the fact that this is how they define and control the news cycle - again, especially when things aren't going so well for their political idols in the White House and Congress.

Like we said, the feeling was one of deja vu for us this week. Our minds took us back to early March when RNC Chairman Michael Steele made a series of denigrating comments about conservative radio talk giant, Rush Limbaugh.

The media tried to turn the back-and-forth exchange of comments into a giant firestorm of debate on the news shows. At that time we made the same plea to fellow conservatives as we are doing now - don't fall for the media's trap! Here's what we wrote on March 2, 2009 regarding that dust up:

The bottom line is this: Rush Limbaugh is right when he rallies conservatives to fight for their principles and oppose policies and ideologies that we believe are harmful to the nation and that go against the sacred trust of individual liberty and freedom.

The Republican Party is searching for its soul right now, when it should be easy for it to find its voice in opposing taxpayer bailouts, trillions of dollars in spending when our nation is already in debt, and opposing higher taxes.

That the Republican leadership are not doing this loudly, succinctly and uniformly is what has so many conservatives concerned.

Michael Steele and Eric Cantor have fallen for the Democrats' trap. They want to see Republicans fighting each other instead of their liberal agenda.


And if that wasn't enough, this week's infighting even extended into the tea party movement.

In the days leading up to the August 28th launch of the Tea Party Express (which the Our Country Deserves Better Committee organized in conjunction with several other conservative organizations and local tea party groups across the country), an aggressive activist in the tea party movement then attempted to convince local tea party groups not to cooperate with the Tea Party Express. This individual thought that he should decide what takes place in the tea party movement and did everything he could to defame the Tea Party Express.

Thankfully, he failed!

Nonetheless, he accused us of being shills for the GOP, which if you read our comments about the Michael Steele-Rush Limbaugh dust-up as printed above, you know is quite laughable. We're conservatives first, and will speak up for those who support these principles, and we will speak out against those who don't - even if they are Republicans.

During our launch event for the Tea Party Express this individual's wife kept harassing speakers and urging them to not even mention the Tea Party Express. Finally she went so far as to push and kick one of the rally organizers in an attempt to stop one of our tour's singers, Diana Nagy, from performing her beautiful song, "Where Freedom Flies" prompting the Capitol police to escort this tea party activist's wife away.

This is no way for people to work together to advance shared causes, friends. Kicking people to keep them from singing because your own ego resents attention being given to a patriotic singer? Telling people which tea party events they should and shouldn't go to?

Now that same individual is out again emailing people and telling them they shouldn't support the Tea Party Express - yet again, as he feels he should decide what happens within the tea party movement. His actions even got a liberal alternative newspaper to write up a blog entry that was headlined "Discord in the Tea Parties?" The report was written by a writer who has described the tea party movement as "fringe" and derided Fox News Channel's coverage of the tea party movement.

When this liberal reporter showed his ignorance of our efforts in the tea party movement we eagerly set the record straight - HERE.

The tea party movement is a grass roots movement of the people. There is no one leader. We certainly are not that leader. Instead, like you, we are just one part of this massive coalition and growing movement.

Infighting by conservative commentators or among tea party activsits (sic) is not helpful, friends. We simply must make sure that ego and ambition do not undermine our conservative movement.

The same self-determination, drive and ambition that is part of our free society, and that compels us to do the best we can to provide for our families, achieve success at the workplace, and personal gratification for excelling at our hobbies and interests, can sometimes also have a dark side: ego and jealousy. It's part of human nature, and it is understandable. But our conservative movement must not allow these feelings to be played like instruments by a waiting and willing media and left-wing political machine that is just itching to turn us all against one another.

It is for that reason that we've never told you about some of the behind-the-scenes drama in the leadup of the Tea Party Express, and why we won't print this hostile individual's name here now, either. We're not out looking to perpetuate the differences of opinions and hand ammunition to our ideological enemies. In fact, when one of our principal's at the Our Country Deserves Better Committee vented on his blog about this matter we even asked him to take down his post, which he promptly did. Not because it wasn't tempting to tell the truth of what happened, but because it wouldn't serve to help anyone but our political adversaries on the Left.

We here at the Our Country Deserves Better Committee have great appreciation for the contributions made to the conservative cause by a whole host of people, groups, leaders, spokespersons and radio talk hosts. We believe this conservative movement must have a place for voices like Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Michael Reagan, Lars Larson, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Praeger, and many others.

Each of these folks reaches people in their own ways - and they each serve a valuable role in helping to encourage the advancement of conservative thoughts and principles. We won't tell you who YOU should or shouldn't listen to, and we will always stand resolute against people like Katie Couric or the folks at Media Matters when they cook up their stunts to compel conservative figures to fight one another as a means to advance their own liberal cause.

We have a nation to fight for, friends. America faces the gravest threat from left-wing policies that she has in decades. This administration and Congress are attempting to reshape America into a very different country than our Founding Fathers envisioned.

They are pushing forward in an effort to enact a redistribution of wealth, socialistic economic policies, massive deficits and a giant growth of government power and influence. They want to control your health care, what kind of car you can drive, what kind of energy you can use to heat or cool your house, and on and on.

This fight will require a strong, united conservative opposition. We are proud to join you in this fight, and we are proud to work in tandem with dozens of other conservative organizations in this effort.

Let us all be dilligent to never fall for the media's trap and lose focus on what unites us, instead of what small differences we might have with one another at times - either be they based on tactics or personality.

Here's what we can accomplish when we work together - it's a Fox News report on the Tea Party Express, that was LIVE from our Flagstaff, AZ rally. Please take a moment to watch it [SlantRight Editor: I am unsure how long the link will last], as it is a testament to what we can do when we all work together, instead of against one another:

WATCH FOX NEWS REPORT ON TEA PARTY EXPRESS - HERE

Now, onwards to the fight ahead, good friends! We'll be posting updates over the coming week on the "Tea Party Express: Countdown to Judgment Day" at the Tea Party Express website: http://www.teapartyexpress.org/

You Call This 'Respect'?



If you are a normal American that believes the moral relativity of the Left (e.g. the Obama Administration: Gay Rights supporter but pro-DOMA), Secular Humanism and the Homosexual Agenda (including NAMBLA) will change the social structure of America then you need to call your Senator or Congressman pronto!

The (so-called) Respect of Marriage Act of 2009 will be coming to a vote in the House soon. This bill is typical Leftist obfuscation of words that has zero respect for marriage. HR 3567’s sole purpose is to undo the Defense of Marriage Act which is a Federalist concept of not forcing a State to accept same-sex laws of another State that by legislation (rare) or State judicial fiat (common) has allowed homosexuals to degenerate marriage by allowing homosexuals all the laws and privileges that follow matrimony.

The Respect of Marriage Act is Federalist in nature in that the central government is imposing its will on all people of all States in the Union. This is the kind of Federalism which is antithetic to the concept of Federalism as designed by the Founding Fathers. This is the kind of Federalism that is government despotism. The Constitution was designed to allow issues affecting a particular State’s citizens to be resolved by State sovereignty.

Kerry Jacoby writing in the American Thinker provides the eloquent precise reasons for calling your Senator or Congressman.

JRH 10/2/09 (Hat Tip: Tsumura’s Corner)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Obama Admits He Is A Muslim



I wonder what American Leftists would do if President Barack Hussein Obama went before Congress requiring a nationally televised broadcast and praised Christianity and its influence through out American history.

I can dream can't I?

Gay Rights and NAMBLA



John R. Houk
© October 1, 2009


When you hear of gay or homosexual rights or activists claiming there should be no discrimination against their hedonistic debauchery then think of about the four men busted recently for child pornography. These men were busted by the FBI for involvement in a pedophile ring. It has been insinuated NAMBLA which stands for North American Man/Boy Love Association was probably an influence on the four homosexual pedophile purveyors of child pornography.

NAMBLA is in the mainstream of the Gay Rights movement. Or at least NAMBLA makes that claim. The pedophile organization is not some fringe homosexual group outside the scope of mainstream homosexuality. This is a group that is actively lobbying for State and Federal laws to allow grown men to have sex with boys.

One of the early supporters of NAMBLA is considered such an honored activist in gay rights history his writings have been enshrined in the taxpayer supported Smithsonian Institute. That person is Frank Kameny.

NAMBLA officially does not condone forced sex (i.e. rape) with boys; however it does teach its pedophile network how to persuade impressionable aged boys into sex acts with the molesting pedophile. In my book preying on unsuspecting boys is still a heinous crime. It could change the future of the boy into a Chester the Molester or psychologically scar his conscience for the rest of his life.

Now I have to be honest that some homosexual activist organizations have condemned NAMBLA. The condemnation has been relatively recent as NAMBLA has been historically linked in an umbrella of homosexual rights groups. The impression I have received from homosexuals condemning NAMBLA is not because pedophilia is morally wrong, rather the impression I have is the condemnation was more out of a concern for hampering the mainstreaming of homosexuality into a heterosexual culture. If homosexuals are linked to child molestation even the Leftists may have a difficult time defending the homosexual agenda.

Here is an example of the reason homosexual rights organizations are attempting to sever a connection to NAMBLA:

The FBI today announced child-pornography charges against four men from Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, accusing them of operating a ring that distributed pornographic images and videos and referred to themselves by the name “Boy Lovers.”

Charged are Jose Carlos Garcia, 22, of Schererville, Ind.; Neal Maschke, 40, of West Chicago; Corey Stinefast, 27, of Kenosha, Wis.; and Mark McGill, 24, of Crest Hill.

According to the complaints, the FBI began investigating the men in June after arresting one in their group. That man admitted to “possession, receipt, distribution and manufacture of child pornography,” the complaint said. The man “also stated he had contacts with many other child pornography enthusiasts, some of whom were molesting children.”

The man became a cooperating witness and may still face federal child-exploitation charges himself, according to the complaints. (AFTAH)


The AFTAH version of this story begins by insinuating that because these pedophiles who called themselves the “Boy Lovers,” there must be at least a NAMBLA influence. Apparently “Boy Lovers” is common terminology among the NAMBLA activists.

This is sick demented stuff!

JRH 10/1/09 (Hat Tip: Solid Snake)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Are the Early Stages of a New American Revolution Arising?



John R. Houk
© September 30, 2009


The American Revolution found that 13 British colonies on the North American Continent agreed on at least one issue. Via the propertied elite the colonies had become weary of British management of North American colonial affairs. The American colonies felt themselves just as much as British citizens as those back in merry ol’ England. When the American colonialists began experiencing taxation and commerce management that benefitted Mother England and caused economic hardship in the colonies, resistance to British law crept from disgruntlement to outright rebellion by 1775.

By 1776 the British colonies in America declared themselves independent from British rule. American government from 1777 to 1788 was under the loose authority of the American Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation became the unanimous rule of law by March 1781 when Maryland became the 13th sovereign State to get on board with the new American government.

The new United States of America for all purposes were free of British control when Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington at Yorktown in 1781.

The Brits made USA sovereignty official ending the American Revolution in 1783 with the Treaty of Paris.

From 1781 to 1788 13 sovereign American States used the Articles of Confederation making the Continental Congress the Head of State. The loose unity of 13 States became an Inter-State problem with enforcing a national rule of law. Each State regarded each other as an independent entity with the Articles of Confederation as a symbol more than as an American government. Americans at this time would call themselves a citizen of their particular State before calling themselves an American.

The elite leaders of the Revolutionary War eventually banded together to institute an interesting experiment of combining a central government along side sovereign Statehood linking the USA to an enforceable rule of law. Thus the Constitutional Convention convened with delegates from most of the 13 States with General George Washington as its moderating President.

It was no easy task of a group of men from sovereign States discussing a means for a central federal government yet maintaining State sovereignty. After a lot of debate and compromises a Constitutional document was written with James Madison as the primary architect.

The Constitutional Convention merely presented a document for the sovereign States to ratify before it became the rule of law for the USA. The next step was selling the Constitution to the 13 States who more than likely would ratify or not according to the State legislature rather than a direct voting plebiscite.

The architect for the Constitution – James Madison – was joined by Alexander Hamilton and John Jay writing a series of essays to convince States to ratify the Constitution. These essays grouped together became known as the Federalist Papers. There were a group of people very much against the Constitution’s implication of removing some of each State’s sovereignty and against the implication of national taxation outside the loop of sovereign States. This group of men became known as the Anti-Federalists. It is less well known that there are some Anti-Federalists writings to counter the Federalist Papers.

By June 21, 1788 the U.S. Constitution became ratified as the new government and the law of the land when New Hampshire became the ninth State voting for ratification. Here is a list of the States which were hold-outs to ratification yet eventually followed through:

    • Virginia – June 25, 1788

    • New York – July 26 1788

    • North Carolina – November 21, 1789

    • Rhode Island – May 29, 1790


Hence began a national struggle of power sharing between the Federal government and each State of the Union of the USA. This struggle came to a head when several southern States did not want the Federal government to have its tentacles into their laws and lifestyle culture. Citing the principles of the Revolutionary War these States decided to secede from the Union of States in the USA governed by the U.S. Constitution. The secession began with South Carolina in December 1860 and culminated with Tennessee June 8, 1861. Eleven States in all seceded to form the Confederate States of America with the issue of States Rights in mind if not more so than the issue of anti-slavery sentiment of the Northern States.

    • South Carolina – December 20, 1860

    • Mississippi – January 9, 1861

    • Florida – January 10, 1861

    • Alabama – January 11, 1861

    • Georgia – January 19, 1861

    • Louisiana – January 26, 1861

    • Texas – February 1, 1861

    • Virginia – April 17, 1861

    • Arkansas - May 6, 1861

    • North Carolina – May 20, 1861

    • Tennessee – June 8, 1861


As a Yankee from Washington State I learned that the war was called the Civil War. It had other names depending on where you are from such as the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression.

The North won the war roughly with the surrender of Robert E. Lee to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Courthouse, VA. Although it was definitely unneeded formality Confederate President Jefferson Davis assembled his Cabinet (or what was left of it) for the last time on May 5, 1865 at Washington, GA. The Confederacy was dissolved and five days later the Union Army caught up with a fleeing Davis at Irwinville, GA.

In my humble opinion the Union victory began an incremental lack of capacity for American States to assert State sovereignty over law issues the U.S. Constitution reserved for State authority. The “federalism” of a constitutionally instituted federalist republic has slowly become the absolute hegemony of centralized national government over the federalist sovereignty of State government.

The erosion of State sovereignty has actually led to the popularization of secessionist movements in individual States. Most of the secessionist movements are slanted Right politically however some of the secessionist movements are slanted Left. The one commonality in the political spectrum is the distrust to the disgust of the operation of the national Federal government inserted into the lives and local cultures of various States in which secessionism has evolved to a more noticeable profile than mere fringe politics.

I found an interesting article about American secessionist movements. The article is fascinating because it is an illustration of the early American Colonialist dissatisfaction with British meddling in the Colonies’ well being via arrogance, taxation and regulation. As the American colonialists viewed British oversight from an ocean away as contemptible, so also in the present American secessionist movements are becoming dissatisfied with the meddling of the national Federal government in the social, cultural and economic lives of State citizens.

Take a gander at the article I found at the Jewish World Review for a little more definition of American secessionist movements.

JRH 9/30/09
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Secession movement moves well beyond Texas

By Anna M. Tinsley
Jewish World Review


http://www.jewishworldreview.com/ (MCT) AUSTIN, Texas — As head of the Texas Nationalist Movement, Daniel Miller of Nederland believes it's time for the Lone Star State to sever its bond with the United States and return to the days when Texas was an independent republic.

"Independence. In our lifetime," Miller's organization proclaims on its Web site.

When Texas Gov. Rick Perry suggested that some Texans might want to secede from the Union because they are fed up with the federal government, the remarks drew nationwide news coverage and became fodder for late-night comedians.

But to Texas separatists like Miller and Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Kilgore of Mansfield, secession is no laughing matter. Nor is it exclusive to the nation's second-largest state.

Fanned by angry contempt for Washington, secession movements have sprouted up in perhaps more than a dozen states in recent years. In Vermont, retired economics professor Thomas Naylor leads the Second Vermont Republic, a self-styled citizens network dedicated to extracting the sparsely populated New England state from "the American Empire."

And on the other side of the continent, Northwestern separatists envision a "Republic of Cascadia" carved out of Oregon, Washington and the Canadian province of British Columbia.

While most Americans dismiss the breakaway sentiments, sociologists and political experts say they are part of a larger anti-Washington wave that is rapidly spreading across the country.

More commonplace are states' rights movements to directly challenge federal laws, a citizen revolt that one scholar says is unparalleled in modern times. Among the actions in which states are thumbing their nose at Washington:

—Montana and Tennessee have enacted legislation declaring that firearms made and kept within those states are beyond the authority of the federal government. Similar versions of the law, known as the Firearms Freedom Act, have been introduced in at least four other states.

—Arizona lawmakers will let voters decide a proposed state constitutional amendment that would opt the state out of federal health care mandates under consideration in Congress. The amendment will be placed on the November 2010 ballot. Republican state Rep. Nancy Barto said five other states considered similar versions of the amendment this year and at least nine others are expected to do so next year.

—Nearly two dozen states have approved resolutions refusing to participate in the Real ID Act of 2005, which requires that driver's licenses and state ID cards conform to federal standards.

—A campaign called "Bring the Guard Home" is pushing legislation in 23 states that would empower governors to recall state National Guard units from Iraq on the premise that the federal law authorizing such deployments has expired. "It's gaining momentum, to say the least," said Jim Draeger, program manager for Peace Action Wisconsin. He said the initiative has a respectable chance of passing the Legislature in his state.

Rising public anger over the way Washington does business has produced a growing outcry for state sovereignty and strict adherence to the 10th Amendment, which says powers not specifically delegated to the federal government by the Constitution belong to the states.

Texas was an epicenter for this year's "tea party" protests, in which thousands of Americans displayed their contempt for rising taxes and federal intrusion.

Michael Boldin, founder of the Tenth Amendment Center in Los Angeles, a think tank that monitors states' rights activity, said defiance of federal policy is "unprecedented" and cuts across the philosophical spectrum, ranging from staunch conservatives to anti-war activists to civil libertarians. Legislatures in 37 states, he said, have introduced state sovereignty resolutions and at least seven have passed.

Perry, who faces a hard-fought Republican primary challenge from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, has made state sovereignty one of his signature themes. During the 2009 Legislature, he endorsed an unsuccessful resolution supporting the 10th Amendment, asserting that "our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state."

After a tea party rally in April, Perry told reporters that secession might be on the minds of some Texans disgusted with the federal government. He later stressed that he wasn't advocating secession, telling the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "America is a great country, and Texas wants to stay in that union and help our way out of" the nation's economic downturn.

But others are advocating secession.

In a poll of 1,209 respondents conducted by Zogby International last year, 22 percent said they believed that "any state or region" has the right to secede and become an independent republic, and 18 percent said they would support a secessionist movement in their state. Conversely, more than 70 percent expressed opposition to secession.

Kirk Sale of Mount Pleasant, S.C., formed the Middlebury Institute in 2004 for the study of "separatism, secession and self-determination." The institute conducted the Third North American Secessionist Convention in New Hampshire in 2008, drawing delegates from about two dozen secessionist organizations in the United States and Canada.

Secessionist organizations are operating at various levels of activity in Texas, Vermont, New Hampshire, Alaska and Hawaii. Breakaway sentiments and anger at Washington also run high within the Southern National Congress, a 14-state organization to "express Southern grievances and promote Southern interests."

Chairman Tom Moore, who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwest Virginia, says the group is "not explicitly a secessionist organization," although "most of our people probably do favor that option."

For many, the mention of secession brings to mind the most turbulent years in American history, when 13 Southern states broke away from the Union in 1860 and '61, plunging the country into a Civil War that claimed at least 618,000 lives but put an end to slavery. In contrast, modern-day secessionists stress that they advocate a peaceful departure and emphatically dismiss criticism that their organizations embrace racism and white supremacy.

"We maintain an open-door policy," said Miller, who began forming the Texas Nationalist Movement early in the decade from the remnants of an earlier Texas independence movement. "If you're about freedom — individual freedom — and liberty and Texas independence, we call you brother or sister."

Miller says the group includes Hispanics, African-Americans, women, lifelong Democrats and union members. "We don't argue race; we don't argue Democrat or Republican," he said. The movement also "predates Obama," he said, pointing out that his organization started well before the president took office in January.

Miller, 35, said his involvement comes from a deep-rooted civic responsibility that began when he would accompany his father, a union ironworker, on the picket line. When Miller was 18, he made an unsuccessful run for mayor of White Oak, a small community outside Longview in East Texas. His call for Texas independence, he said, stems from a belief that Washington's failures are dragging down the Lone Star State. Texas, which outpaces most other states in mineral wealth, agriculture, technology and other sectors, would be far better off as a separate country, he said.

"We currently have one of the strongest economies in the world," said Miller, a Web-based radio entrepreneur who lives in deep Southeast Texas. "We've got everything we need to be, not just a viable nation, but a thriving, prosperous nation, except for one thing — independence from the United States."

Kilgore, a telecommunications consultant in Mansfield, has made secession a high-profile theme of his Republican campaign for governor. Though overshadowed by the two dominant Republicans in the race — Perry and Hutchison — Kilgore believes his candidacy is stoking interest in secession, and vice versa. He said he gets at least a half-dozen calls and 15 e-mails each day on the issue, in addition to "all kinds of Facebook hits."

"A lot of people have given up on the federal government," Kilgore said.

If he becomes governor, he said, he would call a constitutional convention to create a nation of Texas, with voters asked to approve a constitutional amendment to cement the process. Texas emissaries would negotiate with Washington for separation, he said, predicting that the United States and Texas could "still be friends after we split."

From his home in Charlotte, Vt., Naylor said he also believes that his small New England state would fare much better outside what he derisively calls the "empire."

Vermont, which, like Texas, was a republic before achieving statehood, has a population of 625,000, is the nation's leading supplier of maple syrup and has a vibrant tourism industry. "We would not only survive, we would thrive," he said.

Naylor, who describes himself as "a professional troublemaker," grew up in Mississippi and taught economics at Duke University in North Carolina for 30 years.

During his years in the South, he said, he was "pretty much a vehement anti-secessionist" and refused to stand whenever Dixie was played. But, after moving to Vermont, he said, he began to rally against the "tyranny" of corporate America and the federal government, although he acknowledges the perceived "absurdity" of tiny Vermont rising up against the most powerful nation in the world.

"The empire has lost its moral authority. It's unsustainable, ungovernable and unfixable," he said. "We want out."

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Are the Early Stages of a New American Revolution Arising?
John R. Houk
© September 30, 2009
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Secession movement moves well beyond Texas
© 2009, Fort Worth Star-Telegram Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.