Enter the Scary Thankful Writing Contest!


From now until November 30th, send us your best story (fiction or non-fiction) or essay discussing ONE of the following topics:

The SCARIEST thing government could do; or

The freedom you are most THANKFUL for.

 

Stories can be fiction or non-fiction and draw on the stylings of any genre.

Essays must be engaging, accessible to a general audience, and not rely on academic jargon.

 

ALL SUBMISSIONS:

1. Must be submitted with subject line “Scary Thankful Contest Submission – [Title]” as an attachment (PDF, RTF, DOC, or DOCX) to submissions [at] freedomforgepress [dot] com.
2. Must be AT LEAST 1,000 words.

3. Must NOT EXCEED 5,000 words.

4. Must be engaging and responsive to either the SCARY or THANKFUL prompt above.

5. Must be ORIGINAL and UNPUBLISHED elsewhere. (No reprints)
We will:

1. Evaluate the submissions and select one, both, or none of the category winner(s).  These winners will receive a $25 Amazon.com gift card or PayPal payment.
2. Category winner(s) MAY be offered a slot in our 2nd freedom-themed anthology, slated for release in 2014. Being the contest winner will not exclude you from the contracted payment terms offered to other anthology contributors (e.g., royalties).

3. We may arbitrarily recognize honorable mentions, or create some other ranking/placement scheme if there are a cornucopia of quality submissions.

4. If warranted, we MAY also offer a slot in our anthology to any submissions that were worthy of honorable mentions.

Winners will be contacted at the email address we receive the contest entry from. We will ask winners (and possibly honorable mentions) for a promotional photo or high quality “selfie”, short bio, and any web addresses you would like to plug for your writing endeavors. We’ll also release your first name, last initial, and your current location (city/state or province/country) on the announcement post.
Have fun!

Health Law Disproves Obama’s Rejection of “The Voices”

In May of this year at a commencement address, the president did his best to cast dispersions on his critics who say that government is too big and that tyranny lurks around the corner. The “voices” of criticism need to be rejected. Rejected because they have no validity. “Voices” warning of tyranny need to be rejected. Rejected because there is no truth to them of course. The “voices” aren’t even deserving of names–despite the fact that millions of people believe what the “voices” warn against. Because to give the “voices” an identity humanizes them and gives some sense of legitimacy to their concerns and their cause.


The Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) provides a confirmation of what the “voices” warn against: that tyranny may indeed be around the corner. That perhaps the “voices” should not be rejected but should be heeded

Tyranny is the exercise of power by a king, despot, or government that is either cruel, arbitrary, or both.  During the Affordable Care Act legislative debates in 2009, an amendment was added to the bill that requires members of Congress and their staff to purchase health insurance plans from the exchanges.

Various news reports confirmed that over the summer, the president personally involved himself in how the law should be applied to Congress. The decision he made, via the Office of Personnel Management, was that taxpayers would pay a subsidy for senators, congressman, and their staff members.

The president has been stating since the beginning of the healthcare debate and continues to say that his signature law lowered insurance premiums for people who will buy insurance on the healthcare exchanges. So if the president and many who support the healthcare law truly believe that the rates are on their way down (by as much as 3000% the president exclaimed in one speech), then why was it so important for taxpayers to provide a subsidy to elected officials? [Of course the premiums are not going down. The promised savings are turning out to actually be an increased cost.]

Why does Congress deserve special treatment? So much so that the president made the law say what he wanted it to say with regard to subsidies for Congress. If they really wanted to raid the public treasury to pay for their healthcare costs, all they need do is pass a law to that effect. The president meanwhile exercised power he doesn’t have, to alter a law he didn’t like. It wasn’t the only aspect of the law he took it upon himself to enact–he also granted a one year delay for large businesses to comply.

Republicans recently made the argument that this exemption should also be extended to small businesses and to individuals, and be enacted as a law instead of relying on a presidential whim. But the president and his party did not want to negotiate that point.

So in effect we have the president, arbitrarily altering provisions of his own law when politically advantageous to him and offering unequal treatment to different classes of citizens. And we have Congress not living under the laws that it passes. Where are the subsidies (again, written into the law by the president and his administration–not authorized by Congress) for people who share similar income levels as Congress and their staff? Why are elected officials deserving of subsidies when the people who actually pay taxes are not?

All of which leads us to what James Madison wrote in Federalist 57:

I will add…in the situation of the House of Representatives, restraining them from oppressive measures, that they can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny. If it be asked, what is to restrain the House of Representatives from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America — a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.

In the health care law, we have a law the congress did not have the constitutional authority to enact, a law the president had no authority to sign, and a law the supreme court had no authority to uphold as a tax.

It is up to the people to vote out those political actors who promote themselves above the constitution and the rule of law. It is up to us to insist that politicians and people in government live by the same laws that they require the rest of us to live by.

Voters must consider whether to elect politicians who will repeal the Affordable Care Act or not. But regardless of that decision, the only acceptable outcome is for Obamacare to be applied to all three branches of government. The president, all members of congress, the justices of the supreme court and their families should all get the same opportunity as the rest of us to log into the non-functioning healthcare.gov website and begin the tedious process of selecting an insurance provider or preparing to be guilty of not complying with the law and paying a fine. Without raiding taxpayer’s wallets for subsidies for themselves.

Contributor Spotlight: Tracy Doering

We have the pleasure of featuring “Montaku” in our anthology, Forging Freedom. The story appears in the section, Freedom Speculated: Fantasy, Whimsy, and Science Fiction.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a creative soul with OCD, which makes for a very interesting combination. I always have to be doing something creative, whether it’s writing, painting, crocheting, singing, or crafting. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Stories and poetry mostly. I won a few poetry contests in my youth. In high school and college I thrived on writing 10+ page papers. I live in Southern California where I write a nerdy blog called hotnerdgirl.com in my spare time.

Tell us about your story in Forging Freedom.

I’ve always been a huge fan of science fiction and I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from it over the years. I love stories about strong, independent women so it was only natural for the protagonist to be female. I also really identify with outsiders, people who are just beyond the bubble of what is considered “normal” (if there even is such a thing). So Maggie needed to be different and unique. Strong and vulnerable at the same time.

I come from a military background and can trace my family’s military pedigree back to several individuals who fought, and even died, in the Civil War. Andersonville, in particular, always held a deep fascination for me. I wrote a research paper on it, have read several books and even went to visit it with my Dad. I found out just a couple of years ago from my maternal grandfather that a member of our family was imprisoned and died there. I think we’re connected to the people in our pasts and they speak to us in mysterious ways. I think that Maggie is in the same situation with her ancestors. In some ways she’s trying to avenge them, in other ways she’s trying to honor them and be a stepping stone so that the Montaku who come after her will be better off than her generation is. It’s also a commentary on how history is a vicious cycle that, tragically, never stops repeating.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been a writer in some form my whole life but I don’t think I ever thought I could do it as a career. “Writer” seemed like one of those magical jobs like “actor” or “astronaut” that very few people can ever make a living at. I remember writing short stories very soon after I learned how to read and write. Even before that I was always making up stories in my head. We moved around a lot so I had to entertain myself and creating imaginary worlds was one of my great escapes. I have books full of teen angst poetry just waiting to be published posthumously. Some of it’s actually pretty good; it’s just too embarrassing to be published during my lifetime. I’ll probably eat those words someday.

What’s the strangest place you’ve ever been?

There’s a shield volcano on Maui called Haleakalā Crater. I spent a day walking all the way down it, then all the way back up. I barely made it back before the sun set. If it had set, I would have been stuck in complete darkness. The best way I can think to describe it is that it’s probably what Mars looks like. It’s red, orange, and brown as far as the eye can see. You’re walking in sand that is very fine powder in parts. My hiking boots will always have remnants of Haleakalā in them. I truly felt like I was experiencing a whole different planet. When I think of the Montaku homeworld, Haleakalā is what I picture.

What book or author has been most inspirational for you, and why?

I grew up reading Robert Service. He’s my Dad’s favorite poet and he had me memorize the beginning of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” when I was very small. He tests me every once in a while to make sure I still remember it. I’m 100% positive that I’ll remember it until the day I die. I did a couple of speech contests growing up. The 2nd time I performed “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and I won the whole thing. I love how Service tells stories that are both humorous and heartbreaking. The fact that he tells these amazing stories while rhyming leaves me awestruck every time. Every so often I meet someone who is just as passionate about Robert Service as I am and we have an instant connection. I once spent the better part of a wedding cocktail hour taking turns reciting his poetry with the father of the groom. Not many people my age know about Robert Service and that’s a shame.

If you were to be stranded on a desert island, what non-survival item would you bring along that you couldn’t live without?

Some kind of portable, solar-powered TV device stocked with every Star Trek episode and film. If I have that, I’m set.

Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

About 10 years ago I started writing a fantasy book that I’ve been working on in bits and pieces ever since. I go in waves where I’ll write 5 chapters in 3 days and then nothing for a year. It’s a planned trilogy. If I didn’t have to work a day job I probably would have finished it 8 years ago..Finally, where can we find you? (blogs, website, facebook, twitter, etc.)

I can be found at:

Website: www.hotnerdgirl.com
Facebook: facebook.com/hotnerdgirl
Twitter: @hot_nerd_girl
Pinterest: pinterest.com/hotnerdgirl/

Forging Freedom was published September 17 on Constitution Day. The book features fiction and non-fiction stories from authors around the world.

Written by veterans, entrepreneurs, citizens, and writers from all walks of life, the book contains fictional tales of freedoms lost and won, essays on the current state of freedom throughout the world, and stories of freedoms imagined in a distant future or whimsical world. 

“The contributors of Forging Freedom come from all walks of life, but are bound by their burning passion for liberty,” Michelle Malkin, author, blogger, and small business owner, “Read this book. Share these stories with your children. Keep the flame burning!”

Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward called the anthology, “A fun, fast, and fascinating read for anyone who loves liberty.”

Forging Freedom is available on Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), BarnesandNoble.com, and from the Freedom Forge Press publisher direct store.


 

Government Shutdown Illustrates Media Bias

BY HOLLY BATCHELDER

 

 

 

 

 


Act I
Partial Government Shutdown

The tone on television and in the newspapers is very familiar. During the weeks leading up the Sequester, we were constantly told how our lives would be negatively impacted. The media reinforced these scare tactics then and are doing it now. From the countdown clocks on television screens, to the dramatic playback of Washingtons talking points, one might very well believe that the apocalypse is upon usagain.

After more than a week of the scary partial federal government shutdown, most people are finding that their lives have not really been impacted. The fact that roughly 83 percent of the federal government remains open is typically glossed over, buried or not mentioned at all. Funding priorities are also rarely challenged. Youd be hard-pressed to find a major headline that sheds light on the fact that the Presidents preferred golf course remains open along with Congress gym and cafeteria, while on-base grocery stores are closed, senior citizens are being evicted from their privately-owned homes on federal land and park rangers are being told to inflict the maximum consequences on trespassers.

Just as the media put no pressure on the necessity of petty cuts such as White House tours to the public after the Sequester, there is no pressure to understand why the administration is wasting resources to close open-air memorials at what is most likely a greater expense than to keep them open. Or why an immigration rally on the National Mall was allowed to continue while veterans were initially told to keep out of the WWII memorial.

Reported examples of the pain inflicted on the American people as a result of the partial government shutdown are chosen based on what fits the blame Republicans narrative. Most news outlets focus on what House Republicans arent doing rather than giving anything other than a passing mention to what they are doing. For example, lack of funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the cancer treatment they provide children was a hot topic until Republicans approved a measure to fund the program. When Harry Reid rejected that and lambasted a CNN reporter for bringing it up, other reporters quickly backed off the issue.

Most reporters from major news organizations also have yet to ask why President Obama and the Democrats wont give up congressional subsidies for the Affordable Care Act, compromise on the Medical Device Tax, or give individuals the same delay that has been granted to big business new points of contention and negotiation for Republicans regarding healthcare.

Act II The Debt Ceiling

Mainstream media is shifting their focus to the doom and gloom of the October 17 debt ceiling deadline, failing to point out that the federal government takes in more than $2 trillion in tax revenue every year (CBO), which covers interest payments on the national debt along with other vital government functions and responsibilities such as social security. No one with a public microphone stops to analyze whether we would be in this situation at all if the federal government hadnt operated without a budget for four years.

Media personalities largely focus on the Democrats talking point that the White House and Senate wont negotiate on what is the congressional responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. Reporters dont challenge this narrative with the question of congressional responsibility to also rein in growing federal expenditure in an effort to minimize the long-term consequences of continual deficit spending. They echo the demand for a clean spending bill while ignoring (as they have largely done since 2009) the complexities and exceptions throughout the more than 9,000 pages of the Affordable Care Act.

Major news outlets are passing on the opportunity to bring up a broader conversation on the growing reach of the federal government that multiple administrations are responsible for. With power and posturing for the 2014 elections at stake, reporters are missing the point that the economic well being of our country should not be so dependent on federal government. While there are valid points to the lefts arguments regarding blame for the partial government shutdown, Americans will not see the other side of the story unless they listen carefully and actively seek it out.

Holly Batchelder is Colorado native currently residing in Denver. She received her B.S. in Business and B.A. in Journalism from Colorado State University and has particular interest in observing media coverage and how news outlets shape the national debate on various issues. Holly is a marketing communications professional and enjoys freelance work in a variety of industries. Writing samples and sporadic blog entries can be found at www.hollybatchelder.com.

Photo Credit: “Liberal Media Bias” by TK.

Shutdown Shows Why Independence Matters

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” -George Washington 

Government is often the best and most effective argument against itself.

If we as citizens learn one thing from the present government shutdown, it should be this: that the government ought to do less and remove its burdensome presence from the private sector’s ability to more efficiently serve peoples’ wants and needs.

In the current shutdown, we saw an administration act, with arbitrary and sadistic intent, to inflict pain on the American people in a way never considered by previous administrations. The pain was necessary to show the people the great harm that would befall them if they did not adopt the administration’s preferred way of thinking.

The administration would have us believe that the Affordable Care Act should be left intact. That it should maintain big business exemptions not offered to small businesses or individuals–not even part of the original law–only recently unilaterally added to it by the Executive branch, which we note does NOT have legislative authority.  That the ACA should extend a subsidy for Members of Congress, also specifically not permitted by the original text of the law and unilaterally enacted by the President‘s administration.

Republicans disagree with the administration on special treatment for the government and exemptions not available for individuals. Democrats support these special treatments and exemptions. Republicans control the House of Representatives. Democrats control the Senate. And there you have the mechanics behind the current government shutdown.

Enter the stories reported since the shut down began: paying government employees to erect barricades from open-air memorials (including the World War II and Vietnam Memorials, granite wall with a sidewalk); closing unmanned scenic pull offs, shutting down the Amber Alert website (not the system) but not the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” website; closing grocery stores on military bases but not the president’s favorite golf course at Andrews Air Force Base; attempting to force privately funded parks to close.

And moving from malicious annoyance to outright thuggish behavior: forcing homeowners at Lake Meade to leave their homes, forcibly closing private businesses that operate on leased property, and threatening to arrest Catholic priests who (volunteering on their own time) defy administration orders to enter a military base in order to celebrate mass with Catholic soldiers.

And to top it all off, the federal government “shutdown” represents only 17 percent of the government–leading us to think that the government can’t even close itself down effectively. But if it can cause this much havoc by only closing less than one-fifth of itself down, what greater damage will it do when it controls more healthcare operations?

Would a future government shutdown lead to people on a cancer screening wait list not being approved to see a doctor, get a test, or enter a treatment study? Think it’s not possible? It’s already happening. The government also has injected itself into approving US exports of liquefied natural gas–holding up exports during the shut down as projects requiring review by Department of Energy bureaucrats sit on empty desks.

As the federal government claims more and more power for itself, it creates dependency. Dependency in turn grants more power to those in government over those who are dependent. Control becomes a lasting side effect. If there’s a more insidious way to destroy one’s freedom, it would be difficult to beat this one.

What if people became dependent on government (via a single payer healthcare system as some political statists advocate)? Do they become dependent pawns of the political party in power? What if people depended on the government for energy? Food? Shelter? Transportation? All aspects of life become levers of control by which a political scoundrel can hold your life and freedom hostage in order to ensure acquiescence and compliance with his agenda.

Americans must reconnect with our past. Our birthright of rugged individualism and a pioneer spirit are not completely gone–even if they are alien to many products of a progressive education system. If people demand that their federal government stay out of their lives, return lands to the states, and allow problems to be solved at state and local levels, then we can let political elites in Washington DC play whatever games they would like, for however long they care to play them. Instead, we have our own lives to run and our own future to shape. And a federal government diminished to its core functions of providing a national defense, foreign affairs, and the only absolutely necessary intrusion on the private economy would not play such a central role.

Contributor Spotlight: A. J. Kirby

We have the pleasure of featuring “Multiple Choice” in our anthology, Forging Freedom. The story appears in the section, Imagining Freedom: Fictional Tales of Freedoms Lost, Sought, and Won.

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, my name’s Andrew Kirby, and I’m a storyteller. I write fiction under the name AJ Kirby, and have had numerous short stories published across the web, and in print, and I’m also the author of five novels, including the Amazon best-selling ‘Bully’, and the Guardian prize short-listed ‘Paint this town Red’. I also write a great deal of non-fiction, including political commentary, sports-writing, and book reviewing (I review for the New York Journal of Books and The Short Review). I’m in my thirties and I live in Leeds, which is in the north east of the UK, though I’m originally from the north west, and I was named one of the best 20 authors under 40 writing in Leeds this year.

Tell us about your story in Forging Freedom.

My story is ‘Multiple Choice’. It is a tale which explores how our freedoms are often curtailed and restricted by the choices we make, or are forced to make, or in many cases are made by others – or by our upbringing, our economic status, our families – when we are still very young. It is a story of how privilege is inherited and how expectations are lowered for those who aren’t privileged. The story takes place in a school, on exam day, and our two protagonists are faced with a multiple choice question which will define the rest of their lives, for good or ill.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?

Apart from a brief dalliance with music in my late teens – I wanted to be a rock n’ roll star then, however was too lazy to learn to play guitar so was instead lead singer of a band named ‘Magnetic Fishpond’ – I’ve always lived a life full of stories, and I think I’ve wanted to be a writer since as far back as I can remember. Even with that brief musical interlude, I was still keen on doing something creative. I wrote the lyrics to our tunes then.

I’ve always loved stories, and have a vivid imagination. I won a writing competition when I was ten years old and the prize was a years’ free pass to our local swimming pool – still probably the best prize I’ve ever won – and I think this gave me a real boost. It helped provide me with the conviction I could achieve things with my words.

Studying English Literature at university nearly knocked that desire out of me though. I’d always loved being creative, however that course taught me how to pull apart, how to deconstruct language and stories, and I kinda slipped away from writing for a few years after I graduated: I think I was scared of what others could do to my words, how they could topple the towers I’d so lovingly constructed. But then I decided to stop being so precious. Stephen King defines a writer as someone who writes, and someone who finishes what they write. That is all. So I decided to pick up my pen anew, because I felt I had stories to tell, and characters to give voice to. Without the creative outlet of writing, I’m not sure how happy I’d be, and I think creativity in general is not given the respect it deserves in society at large: that’s sort of what I’m aiming at in my story in the collection, ‘Multiple Choice’.

What’s the strangest place you’ve ever been?

I absolutely love travel and broadening my horizons, and I’ve visited many places which have pushed me completely out of my comfort zone, however if I had to pick one – just one – strange place, it would have to say Tunisia. We visited the desert where they filmed the Tatooine scenes in Star Wars, and I thought it was the most barren, most desolate, most otherworldly space I’d ever seen. People left their mark on the landscape in only very small ways, and when you trod on the sand, your footprint would soon disappear, blown away by the Sahel winds. Quite humbling really. It really felt as though you were on another planet, as though underneath all that sand, that grit, there might be a Statue of Liberty… if I’m not mixing my film metaphors too much…

Tell us about your writing routine or space.

My writing space is the attic bedroom in our house. Though this may change as I have a funny feeling my son – due soon – will want the room as his nursery. Once he arrives, I’ll probably snatch the time and space to write wherever I can find it, and I imagine my writing will change too. I’d like to tell new stories which he could enjoy… At the moment, I write quite cynical, dark stuff. You never know, his birth might inspire me to a new, wholly positive world view.

If you were to be stranded on a desert island, what non-survival item would you bring along that you couldn’t live without?

I’d like to have said a generic e-book reader. Devices such as that have probably allowed people like me a ‘cheat’ on questions such as this now… My Kindle has about 200 books on it and I’ve not read half of them yet… But when I think about it, what would power the damned thing? So no, that’s out. Instead I’d probably opt for some kind of writing implement in order that I could tell my own stories. At least I’d have no distractions, and I’d likely actually complete something I’m working on…

Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

Yes. I am always working on new projects. Probably too many. I have a pile of books on my bedside table waiting for review (though I am not accepting any more review submissions – my partner and I have our first child on the way – a massive project in itself! – and I want to devote as much time as possible to him). I have about four novels I’m a chapter or two into and need to decide which to press on with. And I’m also plugging away at some new short fiction. Finally, I’m reaching the conclusion of my second full-length sports book. This has been commissioned by a publisher and I’m working to a deadline, so it takes priority. I hope to have it published by Christmas this year.

Finally, where can we find you? (blogs, website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Here are my salient links:

Author website – www.andykirbythewriter.20m.com
Goodreads Author Page – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3029490.A_J_Kirby
Author WordPress Blog – http://paintthistownred.wordpress.com
Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.co.uk/A.-J.-Kirby/e/B0046CG746/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
New York Journal of Books Reviewer Page – http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/reviewer/j-kirby

Forging Freedom was published September 17 on Constitution Day. The book features fiction and non-fiction stories from authors around the world.

Written by veterans, entrepreneurs, citizens, and writers from all walks of life, the book contains fictional tales of freedoms lost and won, essays on the current state of freedom throughout the world, and stories of freedoms imagined in a distant future or whimsical world. 

“The contributors of Forging Freedom come from all walks of life, but are bound by their burning passion for liberty,” Michelle Malkin, author, blogger, and small business owner, “Read this book. Share these stories with your children. Keep the flame burning!”

Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward called the anthology, “A fun, fast, and fascinating read for anyone who loves liberty.”

Forging Freedom is available on Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), BarnesandNoble.com, and from the Freedom Forge Press publisher direct store.

Contributor Spotlight: John T. Hill

We have the pleasure of featuring “A Problem We Can Fix” in our anthology, Forging Freedom. The story appears in the section, Ancestors & Inspirations: Essays, Accounts, and Creative Nonfiction.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m a college student and political activist at George Mason University.  I’ve been active and interested in politics since 7th grade when I had fun debates with my liberal history teacher.

I currently host a political talk show, “Take it to the Hill”, on WGMU. I hope to transform the GMU student body into a more politically active and aware group of people, while also spreading the ideas of individual rights, freedom, and liberty to my fellow students.

Tell us about your story in Forging Freedom.

My story in Forging Freedom has a really simple, but extremely important message.  I wrote about how I organized a food drive at a local grocery store and with just a little preparation, we had great success.  I didn’t write the story for accolades or a pat on the back, I wanted to inspire others to do the same.  We don’t have to wait for the government to help members of our community in need, we can do it on our own!  The first step in eliminating our wasteful welfare system needs to be helping each other, whether it be finding a job or finding food, neighbors helping neighbors is the solution that produces results.  Of course there are already charities out there that do great work in helping others, but I hope to inspire others to get involved in their community on a deeper level.  WE the people are the answer, not a government-run welfare system.  Helping each other through community is an important step in preserving liberty.

What’s the strangest place you’ve ever been?

A college campus! There are so many different people from so many different backgrounds, it’s really quite remarkable. The culture is really unusual, it’s hard to explain.  Most days I love it here, but some days I wonder what I’m even doing here.  I just put my trust in God and do my best to follow his path for my life. I really believe he has a purpose for me being on campus here at George Mason University.

If you were to be stranded on a desert island, what non-survival item would you bring along that you couldn’t live without?

I love this kind of question! I’m going to exclude the Bible from my answer, because I count that as a survival item!  Probably a laptop with some sort of capability to connect to the internet! I’ve got to read the news, check Twitter, write blog posts, etc!  I’d certainly get great stats if people knew I was blogging from a desert island that I found myself stranded on, haha!

What book or author has been most inspirational for you, and why?

The Bible. It’s basically a playbook for life. It gives me the motivation, inspiration, and direct I need for every day of my life.

Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

YES! I’m actively working on “Take it to the Hill”, my talk show on WGMU. It’s really fun being able to debate politics with one of my best friends on the radio! Our goal is to reach all of the GMU campus and then keep expanding from there! It’ll hopefully be a never ending project! Please check out our page on Facebook: Facebook.com/TakeItToTheHill .  I’m also working on a book….the same book I’ve been working on since last year, so don’t expect that to come out anytime soon!

What question do you wish we had asked? 

I wish you would have asked me what my dream job is!  I have two answers: 1. If working FOR someone, I’d love to be a talk show host and writer for TheBlaze!  They have a fantastic organization down there in Texas and I’d love to be a part of that awesome media movement. 2. If working for myself/running my own organization, I’d love to still host my talk show for fun, but at the same time run a charity organization that focuses on getting homeless people jobs and homes. I’d love to have a group that teaches folks skills and then helps them find a job, but also takes care of them during that process.  We’d get them out of the welfare system and into the American job market!

Finally, where can we find you? (blogs, website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Blog: www.JTHmishmash.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JTHmishmash
Twitter: @JTHmishmash
Email: JTHmishmash@gmail.com

Forging Freedom was published September 17 on Constitution Day. The book features fiction and non-fiction stories from authors around the world.

Written by veterans, entrepreneurs, citizens, and writers from all walks of life, the book contains fictional tales of freedoms lost and won, essays on the current state of freedom throughout the world, and stories of freedoms imagined in a distant future or whimsical world. 

“The contributors of Forging Freedom come from all walks of life, but are bound by their burning passion for liberty,” Michelle Malkin, author, blogger, and small business owner, “Read this book. Share these stories with your children. Keep the flame burning!”

Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward called the anthology, “A fun, fast, and fascinating read for anyone who loves liberty.”

Forging Freedom is available on Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), BarnesandNoble.com, and from the Freedom Forge Press publisher direct store.

“That Government of the People, by the People, for the People, Shall Not Perish from the Earth”

Seven and a half score (150) years ago, Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address, commemorating the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War.

He closed his speech by saying:

“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Fast forward from 1863 to 2013 and consider a Fox News Poll released yesterday 10/3. The last question of the poll is disheartening: “In the United States, the people are supposed to be in charge of the government. What do you think is happening today?”  Eighty-eight percent of those polled said “the government is in charge of the people.” Eight percent said the people are in charge of the government.

Set aside any passions you may have for the new healthcare law or the government shutdown for a moment and consider where “We the People” currently stand in our relationship with our federal government:

-It openly admits, in glaring contrast to the guarantees of the Fourth Amendment of Constitution, to a domestic spying program, with surveillance of American citizens’ web-browsing, email, and telephone calls.

-It has mortgaged the future of young Americans, amassing $17 TRILLION in debt and another $126 TRILLION in promises made to current tax payers with no realistic ability to pay them.

-It has hoarded an arsenal of billions of rounds of ammunition–more than would be needed for 24 Iraq Wars, and refuses to provide a justification for the purpose for such purchases. (With one purchasing official advocating a race war and still on paid leave…)

-It has, via the Internal Revenue Service, engaged in active harassment, tax audits, and discrimination against persons and organizations who do not agree with the current administration’s political views and policies.

-It has engaged in armed raids on private property, using heavily armed tactical agents at civilian agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

-it has enacted a complex, confiscatory, and redistributive scheme of federal taxation, spanning nearly 74,000 pages, ensuring that even honest, law-abiding citizens are guilty of some unintended offense.

-It has denied farmers operating on federally managed lands their proper allocation of water because of rabid adherence to an arbitrary environmental policy.

-It has engaged in surveillance of journalists, with a keen interest in those who do not support the current administration’s politics.

The list could go on and on and on. And as the details of the anti-constitutional Affordable Care Act become known, the government is going to assert more control than ever before over the supply and demand of medical services. To make matters worse, enforcement of the ACA will be overseen by the same agency that has a documented history of bias against the current administration’s political opponents.

All this begs the original question from the poll: Should the government be in charge of its citizens, or should the citizens be in charge of the government? Are Americans citizens, or are they subjects ruled by their betters from a dysfunctional and corrupt capital?

Reading the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, we know that the United States federal government was established for one purpose:

(Declaration of Independence): We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

(US Constitution): We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It is time to remind government of their purpose. By calling, tweeting, “Facebooking”, and writing to your elected officials at all levels, by holding them accountable with your votes, and by speaking out against government injustice, we the people must retake our birthright of freedom and ensure that it is the government who works for us, and not we who work for them.

John Quincy Adams once remarked, “Posterity: you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” And so we must. We must make good use of our freedom. We must do our part now to ensure “that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

Giving Some Love Back to Our Audience

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