Friday, May 28, 2010

May Political Notes

Special Elections
Special elections for United States Representative are often seen as harbingers of political trends, but they often are the result of other factors like local politics or some fluke. The two special elections within the last week are examples.

In Hawaii, a Republican, Charles Djou, won for the first time in decades. The result does not necessarily indicate a trend, however. Instead of uniting behind one Democratic candidate in the non-partisan special election, two Democrats sought election, which caused the votes of Democratics to be split between them and allowed a Republican to be elected by winning a plurality.

Similarly, the Pennsylvania special election I reported on in an earlier post does not suggest either a trend or the lack of a trend. The simultaneous Democratic primary increased the Democratic turnout in the special election, as there were contested statewide races for U.S. Senate and Governor. Meanwhile, there was a simultaneous Republican primary for the nomination for the general election for the same House seat that pitted the previous nominee against the candidate selected by the party conferees for the special election, meaning that the Republican candidate for the special election, Tim Burns, was not only running against a Democrat for the special election, but also successfully fending off a serious challenge from a Republican for the nomination for the general election. Some conservatives were upset at the GOP leadership for choosing Burns over the previous nominee. Also, the Democrat ran as a conservative, expressing his opposition to some of U.S. President Barak Obama’s policies, such as his fellow Democratic President’s spending spree and federalization of health insurance. There will be a closely-watched rematch between Burns and the newly elected Democrat Representative.

Rand Paul is Not a Conservative
Rand Paul won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate for Kentucky. Although he campaigned as a conservative, like his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), he is not a conservative, but a libertarian/isolationist. Paul’s support for conservative ideas like limiting the size of government is sincere, as conservatives and libertarians hold some ideas in common, but he also holds a number of views anathema to conservatives.

Obama Follows Another Bush War on Terrorism Policy
The Obama Administration successfully argued in federal court to maintain President George W. Bush’s War on Terrorism policy of holding suspected terrorists prisoner at Bagram, Afghanistan. The court ruled that the detainees are not entitled to the writ of habeas corpus – a legal process that forces a government to justify the detainment in a hearing. The only distinction between Bagram and Guantanamo Bay apparently is that the former is recognized by the court as in the battlefield and the latter is not.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Proposed Textbooks Debunk a Liberal Myth of American Racism

The proposed Texas school text books would be the standard textbooks in all but a handful of states across the Union. There has been a rigorous debate between conservatives and liberals in regard to the content of these books.

As a historian, I have long been concerned about the accuracy of textbooks, which are known to contain factual errors and reflect (usually a liberal) bias, which I observed both as a student and later as a School Director. In fact, I notified the school district administrators of examples in my school district’s proposed new history textbook that I took the initiative to review, which inspired other members of the School Board to also review textbooks.

The school textbooks that I was required to read as a student misled students by presenting erroneous information in regard to the internment of German and Italians by the United States during World War II. The textbooks declared that only Japanese-Americans had been interned, which, in the liberal opinion of its authors, was proof of American “racism.” However, as the federal government has acknowledged, Germans, Italians, and immigrants of other Axis Powers were also interned – mostly aliens, including many permanent residents, but even some American citizens. In addition to those who were interned or whose movements were restricted (e.g. Italian-American fishermen along the West Coast), all German and Italian-American resident aliens were required to carry I.D. cards labeling them “enemy aliens,” were made to give up their short-wave radios, and all German-Americans and Italian-Americans, along with Japanese- Americans, were discouraged from speaking “the enemy’s language.” There were other serious abuses of civil liberties.

Moreover, even Japanese-American citizens were considered Japanese subjects by the Empire of Japan, which, unlike the United States under President Ulysses Grant, had not abolished the feudal doctrine, which holds that an immigrant renounces his citizenship by being naturalized by another state. Therefore, even though the U.S. recognized Japanese-Americans as American citizens, Japan did not, whereas neither Germany nor Italy made such claims in regard to German and Italian emigrants, respectively.

I was pleasantly surprised that the school textbook I reviewed for the Reading School District in Pennsylvania had corrected the error of denying the internment of German and Italians by stating that some of them had also been interned by the U.S. during World War II, despite the textbook's other problems. The proposed influential Texas school books will also correct this error, thereby debunking a liberal myth of American racism.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blog and Personal Notes; Cinfici's Reelection

My last post was my 200th. Thank you for visiting my blog, especially all of you loyal readers.

One personal note I did not mention in my analysis of the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary Election is that I was reelected as Republican Committeeman representing my precinct, Reading 17-7 on the Berks County Republican Committee (actually, my old precinct was combined with another one during my current term, meaning that I was actually elected to represent a new precinct that included my old one). I was first elected in 1992 and have been serving as Chairman of the Reading Republican City Committee the last six years. I have also been serving on the Executive Committee of the Berks GOP during nearly that entire time.

I have still been following up on issues from my service as Reading School Director, as well as advising current Board members, which is why I have held off on issuing a post I had drafted about my experiences, as promised. I am pleased to continue to be of service even as a private citizen.

I continue to enjoy blogging. Again, thank you for visiting. I appreciate the positive feedback I have been receiving privately. Please continue to give me suggestions for topics or to ask me good questions.

Commentary on the New Shield Reverse of the United States Lincoln Cent

The new reverse design for the United States Lincoln Cent is being minted to commemorate the bicentennial of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was born in 1809. His centennial was commemorated with the issuance of the Lincoln Cent in 1909, the 150th anniversary of his birth in 1950 by the Lincoln Memorial reverse replacing the original Wheat Ear reverse, and his bicentennial in 2009 with a series of four reverse designs depicting stages of Lincoln’s life. The new reverse is expected to continue at least until the 250th anniversary.

The new reverse of the Lincoln Cent features a shield with thirteen stripes, representing the Thirteen Original States (See the new design on the website of the U.S. Mint: under the Coins and Medals link). The shield is a symbol of the Union that has appeared on United States coinage since the earliest days of the Republic. Because of the thirteen stripes, the symbol evokes the original unity of the thirteen states under the Federal Union formed by the U.S. Constitution, instead of the Northern triumphalism associated with the Lincoln Memorial design that appeared from 1959-2008.

Together with the recent commemorative series for Dollar Coins and for the reverses of the Sacajawea Dollar Coin (now known as the “Native American” Dollar), Washington Quarter, and Jefferson Nickel (which also includes new obverse designs), the commemorative series for the Lincoln Cent leaves the Roosevelt Dime as the only remaining circulating coin that has remained mostly unchanged for decades. The Roosevelt Dime has changed little since it was first issued in 1946.

As I noted in my post, Commentary on Current U.S. Coins in April of 2009, U.S. coin designs used to be changed every generation, but have become more frozen in recent decades, especially since the inception of the practice eschewed by the Founding Fathers of portraying individuals on U.S. coins. Placing the images of individuals on coins politicizes coinage and makes coins more divisive than unitive. The practice has contributed to the stagnancy of coin designs, particularly on the obverses, because any replacement of one favored political figure with another is perceived as a slight to the one proposed to be replaced (e.g. proposals to replace Democratic Presidents Franklin Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy with President Ronald Reagan), although this concern did not stop the Congress from passing a bill signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson to replace Founding Father Benjamin Franklin with fellow Democrat Kennedy on the Half Dollar or President Jimmy Carter to replace Republican President Dwight Eisenhower with Susan B. Anthony on the Dollar Coin.

I again call for a return to the custom of placing images of the allegorical figure of Liberty on the obverses of American coins. The images of less divisive figures, such as those that are currently on U.S. Coins like Founding Fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson or other significant figures like Sacajawea, are not as objectionable as those of later politicians, even revered ones. However, if politicians are going to continue the practice of honoring their favorite political heroes on U.S. coinage, then at least more equal partisan treatment should be expected. At least the new Shield Reverse Lincoln Cent is a more appropriate symbol of unity, like the eagle, that has traditionally appeared on the reverses of American coins.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Analysis of the Pennsylvania Primary Elections

There were no surprises in the 2010 primary elections in Pennsylvania.

Attorney General Tom Corbett was easily nominated for Governor by the Republicans, as was Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley for Lieutenant Governor, whom I have known since our days as College Republicans. Both were endorsed by the Republican State Committee. Corbett has prosecuted both Democratic and Republican state legislators for public corruption and joined the class-action lawsuit against the federal mandate to purchase health insurance passed by the liberal Democratic Congress and signed by President Barak Obama.

Former United States Representative Pat Toomey won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. His strong challenge to then-Republican Arlen Specter forced the moderately liberal incumbent to switch back to the Democratic Party, which he had left in the 1960s to run for Philadelphia District Attorney as a Republican. Specter's opportunistic move did not pay off this time, as Democrats did not trust him and nominated a more staunchly liberal member of Congress, as I had privately predicted to other political observers. Toomey was well on his way to a remarkable total of over 600,000 votes by the time of this post.

There were no upsets in the various primaries for U.S. House in either party. Indeed, all of these results were as I had predicted. There was, however, also a simultaneous special election in Pennsylvania, in which the Democrats retained the seat of the late Jack Murtha with the help of the high Democratic turnout for the gubernatorial contest in Pennsylvania where Democrats outnumber Republicans by several hundred thousand voters. Republican Tim Burns lost the special election, but won the primary against the 2008 nominee, setting up a November rematch between him and the victorious Democrat in the conservative blue-collar district. As I noted last month in my Report on the 2010 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, the Keystone State will be a battleground for control of Congress.

At the state level, like the federal government, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania faces the daunting challenges of financial insolvency because of too much taxing, borrowing and spending, as well as a looming massive pension crisis on top of it. The state's high taxes, especially on businesses, are reducing its competitiveness, damaging its weak economy and increasing the exodus of its youth. In addition, Pennsylvania suffers from a climate of political corruption and is need of better transparency and political reform.

The main positive for Pennsylvania is its abundant energy resources, namely coal, oil and natural gas. Tax and spend liberal politicians see an opportunity for even more tax revenue from the huge natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale formation that has already brought in billions of dollars in economic activity to the Commonwealth, without which its tax revenues would have fallen even more. Conservative state legislative candidates would be wise to follow Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett's lead in resisting liberal Democratic Governor Ed Rendell proposal to kill the goose that laid the golden egg through a severance tax on natural gas.

Indeed, the Corbett/Cawley Republican ticket will campaign on a platform of cutting spending and avoiding tax increases, reforming the state's government and tapping the Commonwealth's natural resources while protecting its environment. The challenges Pennsylvania faces are nearly overwhelming, but common-sense conservative ideas have been proven before to work even under such circumstances.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Primary Elections in Pennsylvania and Other States

Significant primary elections will be conducted on Tuesday, May 18 in Pennsylvania and several other states across the Union.

At stake in the Keystone State are party nominations for the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, United States Senator and all of Pennsylvania's U.S. Representatives, as well as half of its State Senate seats and all of its seats in the House of Representatives. In addition, in some municipalities, such as my city of Reading, there are referenda on the ballot.

A number of closely-watched primaries for both major political parties are also being held for U.S. Senate in other states, among other contests.

These primary elections in Pennsylvania and other states, like many that are being held this year throughout the United States, are significant not only because of the importance of the offices for which the parties are nominating candidates, but also, in some cases, because of the contrasts in ideology. A number of incumbents are facing stiff challenges, while there are also many contests for the nomination for open seats. Moderately liberal Democrats are being challenged by far-left wing candidates while conservative Republicans are being challenged by more strongly conservative candidates or by libertarians/isolationists trying to capitalize on the conservative momentum by portraying themselves as conservative and everyone else as equally leftist.

These contested primary elections have generated much interest and enthusiasm and provided voters with the opportunities to chose between sharply-contrasted candidates. Electors this year will have little reason to complain about the lack of choices in the General Election, as the primaries are providing them an abundance of choice. Remember to vote!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Update on the European Debt Crisis

There has been an increased amount of discussion since my post last month, The Decline of the European Monetary Union, of either eliminating members from the European Monetary Union or abolishing the euro altogether. Financial experts are acknowledging the fundamental weakness of a single currency without a single monetary policy, a situation that has allowed states like Greece to overspend without the ability for such states to print more of their national currency in order to monetize their debt. Instead, Greece has sought a bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Union, the latter of which is funding partially by the United States, which has also overspent.

I fear that the European centralizers will conclude that the solution is to adopt a single monetary policy at the loss of sovereignty for the individual member states instead of abandoning altogether the single currency that was intended more for political than fiscal or economic reasons. In other words, they will conclude that the prescription for the problem produced by centralization is more centralization, just as in the United States centralizing liberals like President Barak Obama and the Democratic Congress have concluded that the solution to economic problems caused by government interference in the economy is more government interference.

The Euroscepticism of the British Conservatives has been vindicated. The British parliamentary elections have produced a coalition that is unlikely to give up pound sterling and bring the United Kingdom into the Eurozone, as a left-wing coalition would have. The British thus have retained the sovereign right to address their fiscal problems their own way, although the European debt crisis is affecting the world economy.

The difference between Greek and British fiscal policy is interesting. Both the Socialist Greek government and the new British coalition government will cut spending, but the former will also raise taxes while the latter will not and might even lower them. Raising taxes will reduces economic growth, which, paradoxically, lowers revenue to the government, while cutting them increases economic growth, which increases government revenue. The Greek debt crisis is more severe than that of the U.K. The Greeks must, therefore, make larger budget cuts than the British, but the difference in tax policy will demonstrate which strategy is better economically and, in turn, fiscally.

So far, the United States under President Obama and the liberal Democratic Congress has increased spending while mostly keeping taxes at current levels, but its decision to allow the tax cuts signed into law by President George W. Bush expire will effectively raise taxes, including on many small businesses, as well as the various tax increases enacted as part of the federalization of health insurance. The Obama Administration’s spending spree still has not produced as much of an economically stimulative effect as was intended, at the cost of undermining confidence in the ability of the United States to service its debt owed to its bondholders and in the American economy, as well as the long-term increased cost to the Treasury for the hundreds of billions of dollars in increased spending. Thus, the U.S. is following the model of the Greek Socialist instead of the British one.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Liberal Overreach of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution

Two issues have arisen recently in which liberals have cited the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution (Article VI) in order to attempt to justify their positions. In both cases, in regard to the federal mandate to purchase health insurance, which the liberals support, and state border control laws, which they oppose, they are misinterpreting the Supremacy Clause to the detriment of the rights of the States – the principle of limited government (federalism) reflected in the Constitution by its Framers.

The Supremacy Clause deems the Constitution and federal laws and treaties “the supreme Law of the Land.” But the federal law or treaty must be constitutional in the first place. The federal government of the United States has no power to mandate individuals to purchase health insurance. It only has the power to regulate interstate commerce under the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3), not intrastate commerce, which is the domain of the States. Because the federal mandate to purchase health insurance is thus unconstitutional, it cannot be the supreme law of the land.

Unlike intrastate commerce, border control is a federal responsibility, as Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 of the U.S. the Constitution gives the federal government responsibility for naturalization (immigration). However, border control is a broader issue than immigration. Temporary visitors, such as migrant workers, for example, are not immigrants. Thus, border control is also a state issue. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits the states from controlling their borders by regulating visitors, particularly from foreign states. Therefore, state laws regarding border control (regulating visitors, but not naturalization) are not unconstitutional, as long as they augment and do not contradict federal border control law.

In short, liberals are wrongly trying to use the Supremacy Clause to justify their rejection of federalism by portraying the Clause as granting the federal government authority to do whatever they want, despite the delicate balance the Framers of the Constitution established between federal and state rights for the preservation of liberty. The Supremacy Clause grants certain powers to the federal government – the powers enumerated in the Constitution that relate to the Union of States – and prohibits the states only a few powers, but that document reserves all other powers to the states that formed that Union, which was made even clearer by the adoption of the Tenth Amendment as the summation of the Bill of Rights: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Conservative Cameron is the new U.K. Prime Minister

David Cameron is the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the first Conservative British Premier in thirteen years. Queen Elizabeth II asked the Tory leader to form a government after Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the Labour Party resigned after failing to form a liberal coalition with the leftist Liberal Democrats. Labour had been in government since 1997.

A coalition was necessary because no party won a majority in Parliament for the first time since 1974. The opposition Conservatives and Liberal Democrats were successful in forming a coalition that will focus on areas of agreement: reducing the British budget deficit by cutting spending and not raising taxes, education reform and opposing a national identity card, despite their ideological differences on other issues, as I anticipated in my last post.

It remains unclear how the Liberal Democratic priority of election reform will be addressed, other than through a possible referendum for which the Tories would not campaign in favor, as the Liberal Democratic demand for proportional representation in Parliament would be politically detrimental to the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democratic leader, Nick Clegg, will become Deputy Prime Minister and his party will hold a number of seats in the Cabinet for the first time in several decades.

The coalition may prove unstable, but the successful negotiations that brought it about will eliminate the immediate uncertainty produced by the hung parliament that had reduced confidence in the British economy. New elections -- as early as six months from now -- are possible.

But by focusing on accomplishing a few goals, the unusual center-right/far left coalition may bring about the temporary stability the United Kingdom, Europe and the world need economically. Indeed, the rest of the world will be watching the U.K. to see whether the British are able to reduce their deficit without weakening their economy -- the standard by which the Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition will be judged, regardless of how long the union lasts or whatever other reforms it is able to achieve.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Conservatives Win the British Parliamentary Elections

The opposition Conservative Party won the British parliamentary elections by gaining the most seats in Parliament. The Conservatives captured 306 seats in Parliament out of 650, an increase of around 100 seats since the last election in the United Kingdom. The Tories also won a plurality of the popular vote.

The Conservative gains came mostly at the loss for the Labour Party of U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which has been in power since 1997, as well as the Liberal Democratic Party, which had been expected to gain seats because of the performance of their leader in the unprecedented debate of the party leaders. The center-left Labour was damaged by a parliamentary expense scandal and the global recession. The increased attention to the Liberal Democrats might have exposed British voters to the party’s far-left platform, which includes open immigration, eliminating the British nuclear weapon deterrent, ending the special relationship with the United States and joining the European Monetary Union, which would mean eliminating the British pound in favor of the euro.

The Conservatives fell short of a majority, which means that a coalition government will have to be formed, as often is necessary in many parliamentary democracies, although this election is the first since 1974 in which no party gained a majority in British parliament. The Liberal Democratic Party will be the kingmaker in forming a coalition government either with the Conservatives, or with Labour and smaller Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parties or others.

It was unclear which party leader the Queen would ask first to form a government under the unwritten British Constitution. Constitutionally, the party of the Prime Minister is given the first opportunity, but the Conservatives declared the elections results demonstrated that Labour had lost the confidence of the British people. After the Liberal Democratic leader stated that the Conservatives should be given the first opportunity, Brown concurred, standing ready to form a leftist coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats and the smaller parties if the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are unable to form a government.

A Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition would likely be viewed by investors as unstable and necessitate early elections later this year. One area for possible compromise between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats is election reform, although they disagree on their specific proposals.

The Conservatives, who last were in government from 1979-1997, have also pledged spending cuts to reduce the United Kingdom’s massive public debt, and tax cuts to spark economic growth. The centre-right Tories, led by David Cameron, are pro-American and support the War on Terrorism, including in Afghanistan, although they want a clearer strategy for that battlefield, and are opposed to surrendering British sovereignty by joining the European Monetary Union.

Although the United Kingdom Independence Party did not win any seats in Parliament, the leading Eurosceptic British party came in fourth place in the popular vote with over 900,000 votes, which represented over 3% of the total, a gain since the last election that is probably attributable to the debt crisis within the Eurozone.

If the Conservatives are able to form a coalition government led by Cameron, the election would mean that the United Kingdom would have joined all of the other major European states, namely France, Germany and Italy, in electing centre-right pro-American governments.

Liberalism, Not Conservatism, is to Blame for the Greek Debt Crisis

Liberals are blaming the previous conservative Greek government for phony accounting that masked the size of Greece’s public debt. Regardless of the truth of their allegation, Greece has amassed a massive debt not because of conservative policies, but because of the entrenched liberal spending of its government. Lavish welfare entitlements, including extremely generous pensions even for early retirees and a bloated public sector (including socialism) with extremely generous wages and benefits have brought statist Greece to the brink of default. Now a Socialist Greek government is imposing austerity measures, including spending cuts, as well as even higher taxes, in order for the European Monetary Union and the International Monetary fund to bail Greece out of debt, lest the rest of the Eurozone collapse.

Liberal governments increase public debt because of too much domestic spending, despite tax increases, which reduce economic growth and lower government revenue, even though they make massive cuts in defense and intelligence. As in the United States under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, European conservatives are unable to eliminate popular welfare entitlements and then get blamed by the left for the debt the liberal policies create.

The solution to overspending is not bigger government in the form of higher taxes, the socialization of more of the private sector, more regulation and more programs to help those harmed by liberal policies. The solution to too much domestic spending is to cut domestic spending by decreasing the size of government and cutting taxes to spark economic growth, which increases government revenue. In short, the solution for liberalism is not more liberalism, but conservatism.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Commentary on the Times Square Car Bomb

The Times Square car bomb was a terrorist attack because it targeted innocent civilians. In previous posts, I have defined terrorism as a violent targeting of innocent civilians in order to intimidate the populace into acquiescing to the terrorists’ political demands (See my post “Terrorism” vs. “Militancy” from June of 2009). This attempted car bombing meets the definition of a terrorist attack not because of the tactic, but because of the intent and the target. The Times Square car bomb was carried out by militant Muslims against innocent civilians in order to terrorize innocent Americans into giving into their political demands.

The Times Square car bomb was a failed bombing, unlike the Christmas Day airplane bombing, which detonated. However, like the Christmas Day attack, it was not a failed terrorist attack (See my post Christmas Day Terrorist Attack Was a Successful, Not a Failed Terrorist Attack from December of 2009), as it succeeded in disrupting transportation and commerce and, more importantly, in terrorizing Americans.

United States law enforcement was able to track down the terrorist through matching a telephone number the terrorist used to its database. His arrest happened because the United Arab Emirates airline notified U.S. authorities of a suspicious passenger. These law enforcement tools and procedures were initiated by President George W. Bush – some of its many anti-terror policies the Obama Administration is following.

Law enforcement responded to the car bomb because of tips from alert citizens. It is often civilians who thwart terrorist attacks, such as in the Christmas Day terrorist attack and the attempted shoe bombing of an airplane in 2002. When the Bush Administration urged Americans to report anything unusual to law enforcement in order to prevent terrorism, its critics, claiming to be concerned about civil rights, accused it of urging Americans to “spy on each other” and lamented a supposed “loss of liberties” because of the War on Terrorism. Thankfully, good citizens ignored such nonsense and fulfilled their moral and legal duty to report suspicious activity, which helped protect American liberty from terrorists.

The Times Square car bomb is the latest in a series of jihadist attacks in the United States by militant Muslims during the Obama Administration: the shooting at the Arkansas military recruiting center, the Ft. Hood Massacre, the Christmas Day bombing, as well as a number of foiled terrorist plots. These attacks demonstrate the resolve of a determined enemy. Militant Muslims are opting for softer targets than before, but with the same strategy of terrorizing Americans through spectacular and deadly attacks.

That the enemy has been unsuccessful in carrying out its last two attempted bombings suggests either the difficulty in penetrating American security with simpler weapons, in the case of the Christmas Day bombing, and a lack of adequate terrorist training in the case of the Times Square car bomb. However, little solace can be taken from these failures as militant Muslims are likely to continue to attempt terrorist attacks on Americans. Therefore, all Americans must remain vigilant and the U.S. must continue to use appropriate law enforcement tools to preserve American liberty.