Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Never Ending Threat of Terror

This week's Christmas Day attack on America serves as a timely reminder that we must continue to be vigilant against terrorists and those who despise America.

When America established a written Constitution to govern our affairs, we became a beacon of hope and liberty to the world - a beacon for the rule of law, based on the consent of the governed.

Those who desire to rule in another way - by divine right, dictatorship, or theological nightmare - shudder at the thought of America's adherence to the rule of law, the Social Compact, and unalienable rights.  They can not succeed in the war of ideas, so they try to light themselves on fire and take down hundreds of innocent civilians in the process.

This threat is never ending.  America will always be targeted by those who hate liberty and freedom.  This is the cost of freedom.

As long as we stay true to our First Principles, America will persevere and continue to light the beacon of liberty for the world.  And it is our duty, as Americans, to make sure that we stay that way.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Keeping The American Spirit Alive - One Student at a Time

In an effort to renew the American spirit, my daughter and I have started Patriot Week.  Here is an article from the Oakland Legal News reporting on one of the outgrowths of that project:

The Oakland County Legal News

Patriot Week essay winners shadow judge at Circuit Court

Eric Dunbar and Katreina Ostrander, two sophomore students at Rochester Adams High School, were named winners in their school's essay contest held in conjunction with the week-long Patriot Week celebration in Oakland County.
The essay contest offered to U.S. History classes at Rochester Adams gave students an opportunity to express their views on a quote selected by the school for the contest from James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States, which states: "In a government founded on the sovereignty of all the people, the education of youth is an object of the first importance." The essay winners accurately interpreted the quote and discussed its true meaning. Furthermore, they explained it from a personal perspective, giving an older quote modern relevance.
This year's first ever Patriot Week, held September 11 - 17, was a grassroots effort created by Oakland Circuit Judge Michael Warren and daughter Leah, and recognized by the Michigan State Senate, to honor America, its First Principles, key historical figures, documents and symbols of its history.
Tracye Bello, social studies teacher and organizer of the Rochester Adams High School event, commented: "Patriot Week provided a series of memorable experiences that allowed students to appreciate the modern significance and relevance of historical documents."
As winners, Eric and Katreina were guests of honor at the Oakland County Circuit Court on Thursday, Dec. 3, where they had an opportunity to job shadow Judge Warren. Their job shadowing experience allowed the students to walk with Warren through his work day and witness court procedures and processes in actual situations.
"I am thrilled to have these two young stars spend a day with me learning about the justice system," Warren stated. "During Patriot Week, they learned about the rule of law, unalienable rights, and the importance of limited government. I fully expect that this experience will give them a greater appreciation for the importance of these founding First Principles and how they influence justice today."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day of Infamy

As termed by FDR, December 7 is the anniversary of "day of infamy" when the Japanese sneak attack on our naval base at Pearl Harbor plunged our country into war with imperial Japan.  Soon thereafter, Hitler made a vast miscalculation and declared war on the United States in support of his Axis ally.  America was attacked in 1941, by 1945 we had defeated (along with our allies, primarily Great Britain and the USSR) both imperial Japan and Nazi Germany.

December 7 to what some have dubbed the "Greatest Generation" was our September 11.  Thousands of Americans died in each cowardly attack.  They were defining moments - turning points - for our nation.   December 7 eventually led to our nation leading the free world during World War II and the Cold War.

If we mean not to denigrate that legacy, we need to continue the struggle for freedom today - here and at home.

We would do well to remember what happe

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Importance of First Principles

Alexander Hamilton wrote that "In disquisitions of every kind there are certain primary truths, or first principles, upon which all subsequent reasoning must depend."  Unfortunately, our cultural and political class have seem to forgotten this important maxim.  Our First Principles are enumerated in the 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, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

The First Principles of the rule of law, equality, unalienable rights, the Social Compact, limited government, and the right to abolish or alter an unjust government are the bedrock of our country.  Today, however, they are scarcely noticed in the raging political debates today.  When they are mentioned, they seem to be an afterthought.  From health care to the bailouts to the fiscal crisis to Afghanistan, hardly anyone starts with what should come first - the First Principles.  And we are a poorer nation for it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


As he did for so much of America, President George Washington set the precedent by proclaiming a day of Thanksgiving in 1789.  I can do nothing to add to it:

General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America 

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affisn THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the
service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wife, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The True Meaning of Patriotism

"Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." --American author Mark Twain (1835-1910)

This is the true meaning, at least in America.  Patriots love their country, and Patriots in America love their country not only because it is their homeland, but because America stands for the best in the world.  

We were the first nation to be founded on a set of First Principles, as articulated in the Declaration of Independence.  They include the rule of law, unalienable rights, equality, the Social Compact, limited government, and the right of the people to alter or abolish an oppressive government.  We are really the only one that fully stands for those principles today.

Sometimes patriots feel compelled to support their government because they feel a need to support the country.  When the government is acting to further the First Principles (or at least in conformity with them), such a sentiment is a noble one.  However, if the government is violating those First Principles, then a Patriot's first duty is to oppose the government - just as Twain remarked. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No! For the Sake of Liberty

Mohandas Gandhi  stated that "A 'No' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble."  Indeed, in the effort to get along and not make waves, there is much too much "yes" when a firm "no" would be appropriate.

During the American Revolution, our Founding Fathers, led by the likes of Patrick Henry, declared "give me liberty or give me death."  And they meant it. The Founders put their fortunes, lives, and sacred honor at risk when they declared independence in the name of liberty.  They said "no" to British oppression - and fought against it.

We are the heirs of their great experiment - and we have the great responsibility to keep it alive.  Sometimes that means saying and doing things that cause trouble, displease, and are uncomfortable.  So be it.  

Sometimes that means standing against the crowd or the current of history and simply saying "No."  Some politicians today seem more concerned about their reputation as consensus builders than doing what is right.  We cannot afford to cater such whims any longer.  Sometimes we just have to say "No!"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans, We Salute You!

In the hustle and bustle of our day, we usually take for granted those things that keep us alive and free.  The Declaration of Independence explains that we have the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but it takes raw, brute force to deter and protect us from our enemies to ensure that we can exercise those rights.

The Founding Fathers were deeply concerned about national security.  If you actually review the list of powers the Constitution grants the Congress (i.e., those enumerated powers to which the federal government is limited), several address the ability to raise and support an army and navy, to organize and use the militia, and other means to ensure the safety of the people against enemies - foreign and domestic.

Over the years, millions of servicemen and women have sacrificed so that we can all remain free.  According to, over the course of our history, over 43 million brave men and women have served our country during war.  We have suffered over 653,000 deaths in battle, and over 1.4 million nonmortal wounds.  We currently have nearly 18 million living war veterans.  As of 2006, there were over 3500 deaths and 21,000 nonmortal wounds suffered in the War on Terror.

As we move forward with the raging debate over Afghanistan, we need to keep in mind the primacy of national security and the sacrifices we continue to ask our brethren.

Thank you for keeping us free!

Monday, November 9, 2009

And The Wall Came Tumbling Down

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of The Berlin Wall.  Erected upon the order of the East German leader Walter Ulbrecht in 1961, The Wall was long a symbol of the Cold War confrontation between America and the now defunct Soviet Empire.  For those of us who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, the Cold War defined our lives - we never knew when we went to sleep if nuclear might break-out before we woke up.

The Wall, however, also represented the stark contrast between freedom and slavery; liberty and totalitarianism; self-determination and oppression.  Its fall also revealed that history need not always inexorably move toward greater government and tyranny - that, indeed, the spirit of liberty could conquer the ghosts of oppression.  Its fall should remain an inspiration to all freedom loving people across the world (including here at home) that fighting for liberty against impossible odds is well worth the effort.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Real Halloween Scare: The Federal Deficit

According to the Associated Press, the federal government estimates our federal budget deficit at $1.42 tril­lion. As the AP states, "It’s more than the total national debt for the first 200 years of the Re­public, more than the entire economy of India, almost as much as Canada’s, and more than $4,700 for every man, woman and child in the United States. It’s . . . more than three times the most red ink ever amassed in a single year." 

This, of course, is only one year's red ink.  We have a federal debt (i.e., accumulated over the years) of trillions of dollars.  History has shown that nations with out-of-control debts and deficits are subject to hyperinflation, overtaxation, or fiscal breakdowns.  Governments desperate for revenue and debt reduction overstep their constitutional boundaries and imperil the unalienable rights of citizens.  We must tread carefully, or our economic - and political - demise will only become inevitable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The True Meaning of Freedom

The Good Book says, "Be free, yet without using freedom as a pretext for evil, but as slaves of God." 1 Peter 2:16.

This very old fashioned understanding of the true meaning of freedom was deeply ingrained in the Founding Fathers. As explained in the Declaration of Independence, they strongly believed that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That God given freedom, however, was not given to men and women to simply do whatever they felt like doing – that is licentiousness. To the contrary, the Founders believed that men and women must exercise their freedoms carefully, with appropriate restraint, and for the common welfare.

Today, too many seem to have lost sight that being free to do something doesn’t mean that you must do it. We have too often blurred the distinction between legality and morality. Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should – or that it is defensible to do so. Prudence, frugality, honesty, integrity, honor – these timeless virtues need to be embraced to prove our worth of the freedom we possess.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chavez: Freedom of Speech Must Be Limited

Venezuela's Attorney General Luisa Ortega recently announced that "Freedom of expression must be limited" in his country.  In support of new legislation to clamp down on opposition media, Ortega explained that newspapers, radio stations, and television stations could be targeted because they have attempted to "cause panic" and "disturb social peace."  President Hugo Chavez apparently supports the legislation.

The freedoms of press, speech, and assembly are all protected by the First Amendment in America.  We have done so because we understand robust debate is essential to ensuring good governance.  Indeed, we understand that such freedoms are unalienable rights that are beyond the realm of government regulation.  The message has obviously not reached everyone.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Vital Importance of Education

Noah Webster, the great contributor to American education and the lexicon, explained why education is so important to Americans:

"It is an object of vast magnitude that systems of education should be adopted and pursued which may not only diffuse a knowledge of the sciences but may implant in the minds of the American youth the principles of virtue and of liberty and inspire them with just and liberal ideas of government and with an inviolable attachment to their own country." --Noah Webster, On Education of Youth in America, 1790.

We ignore this advice at great peril. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thinking the Unthinkable? Absolutely Necessary!

"We must learn to welcome and not fear the voices of dissent. We must dare to think about 'unthinkable things' because when things become unthinkable, thinking stops and action becomes mindless."Senator J. William Fulbright (AK)

Too often when we address issues of the day, we become entrenched and unable to think of solutions outside of what has become the dominant orthodoxy.  When this happens, we stiffle innovation, suffocate flexibility, and undermine creativity.  A people who are more concerned about "getting along" as opposed to getting it right will undoubtedly lapse into lethargy and a slow but sure demise.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What Happened to Limited Government?


Two hundred twenty-two years ago, the members of the Constitutional Convention signed the federal Constitution and under­took an unparalleled revolution in the forms of government. As the heirs of this grand experi­ment, we too often ignore the work they accom­plished at our peril.

During the past year, our nation has been transfixed by crisis, government and populism: Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, pirates, banking, mort­gages, economic stimulus, health care, energy, auto companies, tea parties and town halls. The tyranny of the urgent is suffocating the eternal.

Our government rests upon the proposition that a well-informed citizenry and political lead­ers will guard the Constitution.

The rule of law, equality, unalienable rights, the social compact, limited government and revolution are the superstructure on which the Constitution and our country are formed.

The idea of limited government has been all but ignored. As the Declaration of Independence declares, the purpose of government is to secure the unalienable rights of individuals. After all, “it is,” Thomas Jefferson explained, “to secure our just rights that we resort to government at all ...”

Although government is necessary, it is to be strictly limited to its proper constitutional pur­poses.

The alternative — unlimited government— allows the government to control every aspect of our lives. The experiments with unlimited govern­ment ran amok in the 20th century — leading to Nazi Germany’s Holocaust, Mao’s starvations in China, the Soviet Union’s totalitarian liquidations and the Khmer Rouge’s genocide in Cambodia.

America chose a different path. The Constitu­tion constrains the federal government to a few key areas, such as war and foreign affairs, in­terstate and international commerce, patents and copyrights, and money and weights.

Federalism provides that the states are su­preme in their own sphere of influence — which is everything not specifically granted to the federal government. The states are supposed to jealously guard their authority, which helps check the pow­er of the federal government.

Yet, with a few notable exceptions, we barely hear a whisper about limited government and federalism in policy debates. That members of Congress and others are too busy to read the bills upon which they vote is bad enough, but that no one bothers to ask whether the proposals to dra­matically expand the federal government and spend trillions of dollars conforms within our system of limited government is alarming.

Reasonable people may disagree about the application of the first principles to policy issues.

However, to brush off our first principles during these tumultuous times only courts disaster.

Michael Warren is an Oakland County Circuit Court judge, a former member of the State Board of Education and a co-founder of Patriot Week. E-mail:

Patriot Week

Michael Warren and daughter Leah Warren wanted to promote a better understanding and appreciation of America’s history and civics, so this year they started a weeklong focus (Sept. 11 through today) for schools and other public and private institutions on the nation’s first principles, key historical figures, founding docu­ments and symbols. Each celebration is tied into the state’s social studies grade-level content expectations. One school district, several schools, the University of Michigan and Cooley Law School are participating.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hats Off to the Suffragists and Gender Equality

Patriot Week yesterday honored the First Principle of gender equality, suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, the 1848 Seneca Falls Statement, the 19th Amendment (granting women suffrage), and the Suffragist Flag.

When America declared independence and explained that “all men are created equal,” we left out better half of our people. Not only were women prohibited from voting, they had nearly no legal rights. However, suffragists and women rights’ activists drew upon the principles of equality, unalienable rights, and the Social Compact to point out that unless women were enfranchised and granted equal civil and political rights, that the idea of equality would be mockery.

After decades of struggle, the 19th Amendment was adopted on August 26, 1920. Although the struggle for gender equality has not yet ended, there have been tremendous strides across the economic, political, and cultural arenas.

Unfortunately, the struggle for gender equality has hardly begun in other areas of the world – such as Saudi Arabia and Sudan (where a women was recently imprisoned for wearing pants, and others are lashed for the same offense). Hopefully America’s beacon of light will enlighten the darker realms of the world.

For more on our First Principles and Patriot Week, visit  and

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patriot Week Continues - the Social Compact and Washington

Yesterday Patriot Week recognized the invaluable contribution of George Washington in American history. Declared the “greatest man of the age” by his nemesis, King George III, today Washington is mostly honored for his role as military commander of the American forces in the Revolutionary War and for being our first President.

However, he also presided over the Constitutional Convention, which was just as an important to our future. His mere presence gave the Convention much needed legitimacy, and his support of the Convention’s work was critical to its ratification. Washington’s role was vital to establishing a true Social Compact between the people and the government – in which for the first time in history a free people determined the outline of their government and established a written Constitution that would bind the government and the people.

Accordingly, Patriot Week also celebrated the act by which Congress forwarded the Constitution to the states for ratification, as well as the current American flag (which signifies the continuation of the Social Compact.

For more, visit

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Inaugural Patriot Week

This weeks mark the inaugural celebration of Patriot Week.  Anchored by the key dates of September 11 and September 17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution - dubbed Constitution Day), the week celebrates what makes America great.  Each day is dedicated to a founding First Principle (revolution, the rule of law, equality, the social compact, unalienable rights and limited government), certain historical documents embodying those First Principles), founding fathers and other major historical figures that have helped America live up to those First Principles, and certain historical flags that are representative of those principles. 

Over 20 participants, including elementary, middle, and high schools, goverment agencies (the Michigan State Senate, Oakland County Circuit Court, Oakland County Commissioners, Bloomfield Township), colleges and universities (Cooley Law School, Oakland University, the University of Michigan), and others are participating.

To learn more, visit

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Do Not Let History Pass You By

In these most unsettling of times, there is a temptation to sit back and let the course of history pass us by. But then you will regret it. The bard of all time, Mr. Shakespeare, presented us how bitter it might be in his famous St. Crispin’s Day speech in Henry V:

"We few, we happy few,
We band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother . . .
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day."

Don't let history pass you by, and regret you did not join the battles engaged today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Boris Yeltsin and the Spirit of Liberty

Photo source:

On August 20, 1991 Boris Yeltsin stood on the turret of a tank and made history.  In June of that year, he had been elected as the Russia's president in the first free election in Russian history. 

When the old guard of the totalitarian and communist Soviet Union realized that they were losing their grip on power, they reacted by trying to suffocate the nascent democratic government in Russia.  Yeltsin would have none of it, climbed on the tank, and made a booming speech in defense of liberty.  The old guard cracked, and soon would the Soviet Union.

Thankfully Americans are not facing down tanks in the streets.  But that does not mean we can't learn from Yeltsin.  We need to be vigilant too. For far too long Americans have been complacent about the need to defend their liberties and to be engaged in the political process.  Although we may not need to climb a tank, we ought to step up to defend our freedom - we will have no one to blame but ourselves it slips from our grasp.

For more on the importance of defending our liberty, visit

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Protests are American - Despite What Pelosi Thinks

The Associated Press reported today that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland have complained about Americans loudly protesting at town meetings organized by congressmen during their summer recess. In particular, they have asserted that the protestors are "simply un-American."

Putting aside the substance of the health care debate, perhaps the Speaker and the Majority Leader ought to refresh themselves on the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states that "Congress shall pass no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . or the right to peacefully assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Just in case they become upset about this post, they should also note that the First Amendment also prohibits abridgment of the freedom of press.

In any event, the Founding Fathers would likely be appalled by the notion that vigorous protests - yes, even those that are rude, obnoxious, and interfere with the orchestrated plans of government officials - is "un-American." Founding Fathers Samuel Adams, John Adams, Joseph Warren, and others of the Boston resistance did much more than disrupt a meeting or two.

Indeed, the Founders fought against British encroachments of the unalienable rights of the people, and explained in the Declaration of Independence that resistance to oppression was not only a right, but a duty, of Americans.

For more on our Founding First Principles and unalienable rights, see

Saturday, July 25, 2009

North Korea Murders Distributor of Bible

According to Fox News, North Korea executed a woman, in public, because she distributed a Bible. According to the news report, North Korea officially recognizes religious freedom, but the cold hard reality is that it as totalitarian dictatorship that crushes any potential opposition - including simply practicing one's religion.

America, on the other hand, is dedicated to protecting the unalienable rights of individuals. James Madison, the drafter of the Bill of Rights, put religious liberty first in the First Amendment, reflecting his belief (which was shared by Thomas Jefferson and many other Founding Fathers) that religious liberty was the most important of our unalienable rights.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day!

July 14 marks the anniversary of the assault on the great French prison, the Bastille, in 1789. Most historians and French officials consider this day to be the beginning of the French Revolution. Roughly equivalent to our battles at Concord and Lexington (remember, the "shot heard around the world"), the simmering tensions in France boiled over into violence.

In France, "Bastille Day" has officially become the equivalent of Independence Day in America. On the French "July 4th" (ironically on July 14), the French celebrate the birth of liberty, equality, and fraternity. However, what began so hopefully eventually devolved into dictatorship, political purges, massacres, the Terror, and the guillotine. All too soon, Napoleon would be crowned emperor.

Although the American Revolution was also blemished with violence and abhorrent behavior, it never approached the tragedy of the French Revolution. To the contrary, armed with the First Principles of the rule of law, unalienable rights, the Social Compact, equality, and limited government, our Founders fought off attempts to create a dictatorship or engage in deadly political purges or massacres.

The French, on the other hand, eviscerated all of the First Principles by destroying the law, violating unalienable rights (especially of free speech, free press, and the free exercise of religion), rendering asunder the Social Compact, creating class warfare, and establishing totalitarian government.

The contrasts between America and France could not be more vivid. Thank God for America.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Historic Fort Wayne

I visited historic Fort Wayne this weekend to witness a Civil War battle re-enactment. A hidden gem on the riverfront of the fair City of Detroit, it is a Civil War era "star fort" that has undergone very slow but significant renovations over the last few years. The re-enactment was excellent. But more important, it created a profound impression of the grave sacrifices that our country experienced in winning freedom for all.

Also very fitting was a memorial service at the Fort that recognized the sacrifices of all of our sacred dead, and those who are still fighting for freedom overseas. God Bless them and God Bless America.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

American History and First Principles Quiz

Check out this American history and First Principles Quiz I originally wrote for the Detroit Free Press (printed last Sunday):

Happy birthday, America! So what was all that hoopla 233 years ago about anyway?

Sharpen your No. 2 pencil and take this quiz focusing on the early history and founding principles of our country.

1. The Declaration of Independence declares that the purpose of government is to: A. Secure the unalienable rights of men, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. B. To ensure a minimum standard of living. C. Promote the general welfare. D. Take from each according to his ability and give according to his need.

2. Among the most important of the long train of abuses suffered by the colonists that sparked the American Revolution was: A. The imposition of higher tea taxes. B. That a king was in charge of the British Empire. C. Taxation without representation, sup­pression of the right to a jury trial and the dissolution of colonial legislatures. D. The prohibition of American colonists’ attempts to settle Florida.

3. The Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, and its requirement that search warrants be specific, were primarily motivated by: A. The great Boston justice scandal of 1765. B. The Boston Tea Party. C. The criminal investigation following the Boston Massacre. D. England’s extensive use of “general writs of assistance” that allowed open-ended searches with no probable cause.

4. Prior to the outbreak of Revolutionary War fighting, John Adams wrote that the worst of all of England’s oppressive actions against the colonies was: A. The suppression to the right to jury trial. B. Taxation without representation. C. The Boston Massacre. D. High taxes.

5. The Declaration of Independence did not address slavery because: A. Its main writer, Thomas Jefferson, sup­ported slavery. B. Benjamin Franklin supported slavery. C. The 2nd Continental Congress stripped out Jefferson’s condemnation of slavery at the insistence of two southern states. D. The cotton gin had made slavery too lucrative to abolish.

6. Reflecting his belief that this right was the most important, James Madison listed the protection of this liberty first in the First Amendment: A. Due process of law. B. The right to bear arms. C. Free speech. D. The free exercise of religion.

7. The Declaration of Independence declares that men: A. Are given their rights by government. B. Should balance their rights with obliga­tions to their fellow man. C. Have nothing to lose except their chains. D. Are endowed by their Creator with cer­tain unalienable rights.

8. Ben Franklin did not: A. Write the Bill of Rights. B. Act as a diplomat and sign both the Declaration of Independence and the Con­stitution. C. Invent the Franklin Stove, the lightning rod and bifocals. D. Establish the University of Pennsylvania, public libraries and abolitionist societies.

9. The Tea Act and tea tax that provoked the Boston Tea Party: A. Decreased the actual cost of tea, but was opposed because it was taxation with­out representation. B. Increased the actual cost of tea, and was opposed because of its economic burden. C. Increased the actual cost of tea, but was opposed primarily because it was taxation without representation. D. Was widely supported in the colonies as a way to pay their fair share for national defense.

10. Patrick Henry crystallized the perspec­tive of the American revolutionaries when he declared: A. America’s mission was “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” B. “I have not yet begun to fight!” C. “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” D. “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

ANSWERS 1. A.; 2. C.; 3. D.; 4. A.; 5. C.; 6. D.; 7. D.; 8. A.; 9. A.; 10. D. HOW’ D YOU DO? 9-10 correct: Strike up the Sousa — you’re an American expert. 6-8 correct: Wave that flag with vigor. 5 or less correct: Hmm. Were you asleep during Ameri­can History 101? THE QUIZ AUTHOR This quiz was contributed by Oak­land County Circuit Judge Michael War­ren, author of “Amer­ica’s Survival Guide, How to Stop Ameri­ca’s Impending Sui­cide by Reclaiming Our First Principles and History.” The book is avail­able at www .Americas Survival or

Sunday, July 5, 2009

America - the Idea

F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the unique nature of "America":

"France was a land. England was a people. But America having about it still that quality of the idea, was harder to utter - it was the graves at Shiloh, and the tired, drawn, nervous faces of its great men, and the country boys dying in the Argonne for a phrase that was empty before their bodies withered. It was a willingness of the heart."

Let us remember that spirit, and fight with all the willingness of the heart that our forefathers and mothers have; keep their sacrifices near and dear; and honor them all by ensuring America remains a beacon of liberty in a dark world.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day

Nothing is more fitting than simply reading the Declaration of Independence (for the entire Declaration hit the link below):

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world. . . .

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levey war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

For the entire Declaration, view:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Independence Day - Renew the Spirit

As we approach this Independence Day, it is easy for most to lapse into comfortable celebration involving hamburgers, hotdogs, coleslaw, and fireworks. Of course, there is nothing wrong with such celebrations, but it in essence devalues the true meaning and purpose of the holiday.

The Spirit of ’76 has nearly disappeared. On July 3, 1776, just one day after independence was approved (but one day prior to the formal adoption of the Declaration of Independence), John Adams presciently understood that the anniversary of Independence Day would be marked by “pomp and parade, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forever more.” What is missing today was Adams’ conjoined expectation that “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized. . . .” We have the hamburgers and parades, but any solemnization is trite.

Likewise, most of other civic holidays have become empty gestures and excuses for an extra day off for barbeques or shopping.

The lack of solemnization is deadly – we need to renew our faith in our freedoms and liberty. Without an appropriate understanding of our founding First Principles and history, our freedom is likely to be lost.

To combat this effort, I have initiated a “Patriots Week”, beginning on September 11 and ending on September 17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution), in which schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and organizations are encouraged to celebrate our founding First Principles, history, and historical figures. See or the “notes” to my Facebook page.

This Independence Day, take a few moments to celebrate the true meaning of the day. Even such small gestures as reading the Declaration of Independence with your children, examining the Bill of Rights, watching a patriotic movie, or considering the importance of the Founding Fathers are vital to preserving our freedom. God Bless America.

For more on our founding First Principles and history, visit

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Michigan Schools Superintendent Calls for Dramatic Increases In Student Standards

In a bold declaration in a Michigan Department of Education News Release (poasted May 4, 2009), State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael Flanagan explained that national and state standards need to be increased dramatically:

"We are testing basic skills here, not what students need to compete at a global level," Flanagan said. "If schools only have low or moderate numbers of students being proficient at the basic skills level, what does that say about those schools and the chances for those students to succeed?"

Flanagan noted that even though Michigan's curriculum standards are among the best and most rigorous in the nation, its state tests are scored at a scale below international standards. He expects those test scoring scales will be increased to reflect the level of proficiency Michigan students need to compete at global levels. Independent studies have concluded that Michigan test scores rate at the national average among all states, while globally, the United States rates lower than many other nations.

"Being an academically average state in an academically below-average nation doesn't offer much hope for the future," Flanagan said. "We need to raise expectations for our schools and our students, and reimagine how we educate all of our children to extraordinary levels so Michigan can lead with brain power as we did in manufacturing."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tianamen Square - Not Forgotten

Today marks the anniversary of the crushing of the peaceful student led movement seeking reform of China's corrupt communist led government. For weeks, up to a million Chinese protesters - from all walks of life - joined together in Tianamen Square to demand reform. In China, in which the authoritarian government has almost always been the norm, such a mass protest was unheard of. Tianamen Square is a huge area in the capital city of Beijing dedicated to celebrating the Chinese Communist Party. The protests following the death of Hu Yaobang, a government official who championed internal reform. The protesters even created a replica of the Statute of Liberty. After internal debates about how to address the situation, the regime decided to quash the gathering, and ordered the Chinese Army to use force to crush it. Likely thousands died on the square, and the protest movement was suppressed with a wave of arrests.

Those who died should be remembered today. They are the symbols of freedom, and an inspiration for us even decades later. They died only because they wanted what we take for granted in America - our First Principles of the rule of law, equality, the Social Compact, unalienable rights, and a limited government.

Although today the Chinese government considers them traitors, someday the corrupt regime of China will fall, and the heroes of Tianamen Square will take their rightful place in Chinese history.

For more on the importance First Principles and why they are worth fighting for, visit

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Need for Principles and Virtue

Samuel Adams wrote that "A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose
their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first
external or internal invader."

Today, Adams' warning is particularly important. We have done an exceedingly poor job in remembering our First Principles, and "virtue" appeared to gone out of fashion long ago. Do we really think we can survive as a free people if we are unprincipled and without virtue? That appears to be a fools' hope.

For more on our founding First Principles and history, check out

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day - Time to Renew the Spirit of America

As we approach Memorial Day, it should be a time for something more than an excuse for a three day weekend and "once in a lifetime" carpet sales. Of course, we all benefit from a break from the hustle and bustle of our lives, but it is also a time to reflect on the sacrifices that our sacred dead have made.

We are the beneficiaries of hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. On Monday, let us remember them, and let us renew our commitment to ensuring that that their sacrifices were not in vain. We need to deepen and renew the Spirit of America by defending our way of life, our Constitution, and our freedoms and liberties. We can do so by relearning our Founding First Principles and history, and ensuring that those power do the same.

For more on our founding First Principles and history, visit: for more on holidays and holiday reform, visit

Friday, May 15, 2009

Time to Renew the Spirit of '76

On May 15, 1776, the Virginia Legislature passed instructions to its delegates to the 2nd Continental Congress to propose to Congress that it declare the colonies “free and independent states.” The resolutions reached Congress on May 27. Barely a month later, on July 2, the Congress approved independence, and on July 4, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Where is that Spirit of ’76 today? Our forefathers placed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor at risk to rebel against an oppressive British Empire. Today, more people are interested in reality tv, the dysfunctional lives of celebrities, and sports than our freedom.

We are fools to think that we can continue to be a free people without a vigorous defense of our founding First Principles of the rule of law, unalienable rights, equality, the Social Compact, and limited government. America, follow the example of our Virginian Founding Fathers and act, before it is too late.

For more on our founding First Principles and history, visit:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Tribute to PaPa – A Man of Character

Today mark’s my grandfather’s birthday, may he rest in peace. I can’t but help to moved by the life he lived. Honest, hardworking, joyful, religious, and patriotic – he was a true man of character. A 100% blue collar worker, he labored his entire life so that his family could live the American Dream. And he succeeded. Among his family are successful business executives, accountants, lawyers, nurses, and public officials.

100% Sicilian, he joined the US Army as a teenager and fought in the European theater – including in the Battle of the Bulge. His unit was all but wiped out, but he survived to come home and build a wonderful, loving home for his wife and family. We grandchildren are truly blessed by PaPa’s legacy.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, he was among the “iron men, they fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it has followed that the degree of posterity that we now enjoy has come to us.” His generation – what many dub the greatest generation – made huge sacrifices so that we might enjoy the blessings of liberty. It is incumbent upon us, therefore, to live up to that great responsibility so that our children and grandchildren can continue the legacy.

Let us pray we are up to the challenge.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day v Law Day

Today is May Day v Law Day. Many communist regimes used to celebrate "workers" rights on May Day. They also referred to May 1 as International Workers Day. The bottom line is that these regimes oppressed the unalienable rights of their people under the guise of elevating workers' rights, and even celebrated such oppression with a national holiday.

The American Bar Association (ABA) responded with "Law Day" - which celebrates the First Principle of the Rule of Law on May 1. Today across the nation, lmany awyers worked to celebrate and respect the Rule of Law through various service projects and other activities. I'm with the ABA 100% on this one!

For more on the importance of the Rule of Law, check out

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alas, Detroit

With today's announcement of a bankruptcy filing by Chrysler Corporation, America's once mighty industrial giants have revealed their weakness. In light of the recent economic crash, federal bailouts, and skyrocketing spending and job losses, this is no surprise. However, what made it unique was the President's announcement of the bankruptcy - which came on the heels of his demand that the CEO of GM resign. Whether right or wrong (hey, I'm from Detroit - I am all for saving the Big 3), what has been missing from the equation are our First Principles. How does this all square with (1) the rule of law, (2) equality, (3) unalienable rights, (4) the Social Compact, and (5) limited government. The answer may be out there, but no one is asking the question. If the question is not asked, how can we expect that our nation's founding principles will be followed?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Emancipation Day

April 16 marks the anniversary of Emancipation Day. This is the day on which Abraham Lincoln signed a bill that emancipated about 3100 slaves in the District of Columbia. The First Principle of equality was finally beginning to be recognized. This came months before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation - which freed slaves in all states in a state rebellion.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


April 15 is a day that lives in infamy in America. Every year millions of manhours are spent calculating taxes and wading through complicated tax regulations and forms. Every year the Congress tinkers with the tax code, adding to its complexities and mammoth size. In America, the rule of law is supposed to govern - but it is undermined because the tax code is so complicated, and so large, and its compliance costs are so high, that most citizens are befuddled by what exactly is taxed, at what rate, for how long. Tax evasion (legal and illegal) is rampant. A healthy state of affairs would be furthered if those in Washington, DC and across state capitals began to look at the First Principles of the rule of law, equality, and limited government when reforming the tax code.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Striking at the Pirates - Protecting the Rule of Law and Unalienable Rights

The US Navy's liberation of US Captain Richard Phillips is a victory not only against piracy, but also for the rule of law and unalienable rights. Watching ABC's This Week this morning, one could rightfully have wondered whether a large portion of America's pundits cared much about either. Thankfully, the President and the US Navy stood up against the ravages of piracy and acted decisively to save Captain Phillips by killing 3 of the 4 pirates, and capturing the fourth.

Apparently over 60 pirate attacks on non-USA targets have already occurred this year. To continue to allow the pirates to run roughshod would simply give victory to lawlessness. By taking the pirates out, the rule of law and the protection of unalienable rights have triumphed.

The pirates operating around the Horn of Africa continue to hold over 200 hostages from several non-USA countries. The question becomes, will the rest of the world act follow America's lead and act decisively to protect the rule of law and unalienable rights?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

China - The Communists Reject Reform

Although China has made huge strides economically and socially, politically it steadfastly refusing to reform. Wu Bangguo, Chairman of China's Parliament, and China's second-ranking Communist Party official, recently issued a statement claiming that China would never accept a multiparty system. The statement also rejected any reform that would embrace separation of powers, a bi-cameral legislature, or an independent judicary.

Over 1.3 billion Chinese continue to live under the thumb of the Communist Party. Having visited China, I can personally attest that they are a wonderful people, full of life and huge potential. They are warm and generous. Unfortunately, their government refuses to acknowlege what we take for granted in our First Principles. The rule of law, unalienable rights, and limited government are rejected. The Social Compact and equality, while given lip service, is also ignored. The rights of the people remain secondary to the control of the government.

If China really wants to enter the world community, it is time for serious reforms that embrace the First Principles.

For more, see

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Ides of March

Today is the Ides of March (the 15th of March), made most famous by the assassination of Julius Casear by a group of Roman Senators. The leaders of the cabal, most notably Brutus, claimed that they struck Caesar down to stop him from becoming an all powerful emperor. In the end, their plot was spoiled because the civil war that erupted after Caeser's assassination was ended by the victory of a faction led by Augustus Caesar (the nephew of Julius) - who promptly became emperor. The age old Roman Republic died, and world would never be the same.

Monday, March 9, 2009

"We the People" Bear Responsiblity as Well

Cicero, in explaining where blamed lay in Rome, stated:

"Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and gave him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the 'new wonderful society' which shall now be Rome's, interpreted to mean 'more money, more ease, more security, more living fatly at the expense of the industrious.' Julius was always an ambitious villian, but he is only one man."

Indeed, despite all the gnashing of teeth to the contrary, America remains a republic. As such, we the people bear the responsiblity for our current state of affairs. Haven't we done our own share of dancing and rejoicing, courting the dangers we face today?

We can save our freedoms and liberties - as well as our society - if we expend the energy and time to do so. If not, we can only blame ourselves.

For more, check out

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Tax Code Amok?

President Obama's difficulty in placing key cabinet officials and others in his administration because of tax problems continue. Although many have taken the opportunity to embarass the President over this issue, it presents a unique opportunity to address a much bigger issue - the incredibly large and complex tax code.

Put simply, no one can read the entire tax code. It is constantly extremely complex, mammoth, and nearly always changing. This state of affairs simply undermines the fundamental First Principles of America by making it nearly impossible for our citizens - including the political elite - to comply with the law. It also subverts our unalienable rights to due process - which assumes, among other things, proper notice of the law. Let's face it, if Obama's cabinet nominees can't figure out the law, how can 300 million other Americans.

The time has come to reexamine the tax code and bring it in line with our founding First Principles

For more, visit

Sunday, March 1, 2009

In Books lies the soul of man

Carlyle wrote:

"In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time: the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and the material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream. . . . All that Mankind has done, thought, gained or been; it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of Books."

Today we seem to have forgotten that problems we face today present but a new cast on old problems. We act as if this recession were done outside the sweep of history, or that we cannot possibly glean wisdom about today's wars from yesterday's historians. Are we really so bright, so brilliant, so ingenious, that we need not consult with the wisdom of the ages? Yes, the old fashioned musty things - books - can be our salvation - if only we would crack open the pages.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Judge named to instructions committee

Of The Oakland Press

Oakland Circuit Judge Michael Warren has been appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court Committee on Model Civil Jury Instructions.

Comprising judges and attorneys, the committee makes sure that jury instructions for civil trials are clear and fair. It has the authority to amend or repeal instructions and adopt new instructions.

Warren was appointed for the 2009-2011 term. Committee members serve three-year terms and can be re-appointed for another two years.

The committee meets quarterly.

Warren was appointed to the 6th Circuit Court in Oakland County in December 2002 and then elected in 2004 and 2006. He is a former member of the Michigan State Board of Education and led the pilot program for the circuit court’s e-filing — electronic filing — project.

Warren is an author. His latest book is “America’s Survival Guide, How to Stop America’s Impending Suicide by Reclaiming Our First Principles and History.”

Contact staff writer Ann Zaniewski at (248) 745-4628 or

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Just What Does $789 Billion Buy You?

Congress has just passed the $789 Billion Dollar Stimulus Package. I've read several newspaper accounts and listened to the radio to figure out just what this buys you. The breakdown of what Congress approved is elusive to say the least. For example, General Motors apparently recieved a tax break, but sources variously report the size of the break from $3 billion, $7 billion, to $10 billion. A range of $7 billion is a bit difficult to fathom - especially since it relates to ensuring that GM need not pay a huge tax bill based on, yes you guessed it, GM's loans from the federal government a few weeks ago. I certainly don't begrudge my hometown company from recieving the tax break or the loans, but you would hope Congress would understand the fiscal ramifications of its actions.

Putting the merits of the spending bill aside, the troubling aspect is that no Congressmen apparently had the time (let alone the inclination) to read the final bill; and there was hardly a whisper of whether the package in any manner conforms with our Founding First Principles - such as limited government and equality. Those two First Principles clearly are tested by the stimulus package, but no one seemed to notice.

For more on why should be concerned about the application of our First Principles any government spending, visit:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy 200th Birthday President Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born 200 years ago today. When he was born, slavery was common and racism rampant. Through his bold, cunning, and ingenious leadership, the Civil War was transformed from a war to preserve the Union to one to liberate the slaves. His legacy has left a strong imprint on America. The Homestead Act, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, victory in the Civil War, Reconstruction - and ultimately the civil rights struggles - are all tied to his vision. He embraced the First Principle of equality, and made America to begin to live up to its promise.

Click on the title of this post to read the Gettysburg Address - likely the most influential - and eloquent - speech in American history.

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln.

For more on Lincoln and his legacy, visit

Saturday, February 7, 2009

America's Survival Guide Products Available!!

For those of you devotees who can't get enough of America's Survival Guide, through a partnership with the publisher, products proudly displaying America's Survival Guide can be purchased through Cafe Press. The products range the gamut: shirts, hoodies, bibs, clocks, mugs, pet clothes, and even beer steins! Take a minute and look, and hopefully you will find something that catches your eye!

Click on the title of this posting, or under the favorite websites, or copy and paste the following website:

For more on America's Survival Guide, see

Thursday, February 5, 2009


During these times of financial crisis, some voices of sanity are arising above the din and buzz. Believe it or not, one of them is coming from one of the world's largest financial institutions - ING. Click on the website above to review their Declaration of Financial Independence, which includes several principles on how to SAVE (gasp) money over the long-term. Among these principles are such time honored maxims as "We will spend less than we earn" and "We will take care of our money."

The Founders, of course, believed in fiscal responsiblity and created the foundation on which our prosperity still rests. Perhaps it is time to reembrace Bejamine Franklin's thriftiness and take responsiblity for our own fiscal order.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

GOP Chairman Renews American Dream

The Grand Old Party (GOP) renewed its faith in the American Dream today when it voted to elect Michael Steele as the Chairman of the Party. Steele, the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, is the first African American to lead the GOP. It is refreshing to see that the party of Abraham Lincoln - the Great Emancipator - renew our faith in the American Dream.

Steele commented: "We're going to say to friend and foe alike: We want you to be a part of us, we want you to with be with us, and for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over,"

To say that Steele faces huge obstacles to his success is a dramatic understatement; but he appears to have the qualifications and character to become a very successful chairman. In light of Washington, D.C.'s dominance by Democrats, a strong loyal opposition is, of course, necessary for good governance. Congrats!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


According to the U.S. NATIONAL DEBT CLOCK, "The Outstanding Public Debt as of 24 Jan 2009 at 10:28:21 PM GMT is: $10,625,470,122,772.17". They continue:

"The estimated population of the United States is 305,521,304
so each citizen's share of this debt is $34,778.16.

The National Debt has continued to increase an average of
$3.34 billion per day since September 28, 2007!"

Wow! Most people are focused on the deficit - which is the amount of money the federal government spends more than it takes in for any given year. But the debt is the all the money outstanding throughout the years. This silent crisis can definitely paralyze our financial situation over time. The interest on the debt is consuming a larger and larger portion of our federal expenditures - squeezing out other areas of the budget - like infrastructure, military, science, etc.

For more information, visit

And don't forget to check out

Monday, January 19, 2009

A principle for today and tomorrow

(Originally printed in the Detroit Free Press)

If one had fictionalized the confluence of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday today with the inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow, no one would believe it.

Yet America has a long history of remarkable auspicious days. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4 -- 50 years to the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Battle of Gettysburg was won on July 3.

As we celebrate the King holiday today, we should focus on King's pivotal role in moving the country toward the dream of racial equality.

The Declaration of Independence declares as a self-evident truth the First Principle: "all men are created equal." Of course, at the time of the Declaration, that self-evident truth was honored in the breach more than in reality. Jefferson and other founders owned slaves; indentured servants were common; women were disenfranchised.

However, the principle of equality was so powerful that over the course of time it assaulted and eventually tore down the bulwarks of inequality. Even before the nation's birth, many founders railed against the hypocrisy of slavery. Abolitionists continued this tradition.

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln reaffirmed this principle in the Gettysburg Address when he said the nation was "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Armed with this First Principle, Lincoln and the Union Army eventually liberated the slaves. Yet the promise of equality was quashed with the Tilden-Hayes presidential election of 1876 and the abandonment of Reconstruction thereafter.

Not until King, along with many other courageous leaders and foot soldiers, was America forced to fully confront racism.

King's efforts were deeply rooted in the principle of equality. Writing from a jail cell in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963, he predicted African Americans "will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom."

He explained: "One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage."

Inspired by this understanding and the struggles of the civil rights movement, Congress passed a series of laws, and America has moved -- all too slowly -- to embrace the full ramifications of equality. Obama's inauguration will be its most vivid embodiment.

Our work, however, is not done. Our schools, museums, politicians and the media should reflect on King's achievements and pay homage to his role in making America accountable to the First Principle. To fulfill his legacy, all Americans need to be versed in the First Principle of equality and continue King's demand that it be unequivocally applied.
For more on American history and our First Principles, visit:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Resurrecting the Language

For far too long, our culture has done its best to convert our conversations and literature into generic, bland, and 6th grade reading levels. Add to that the internet's penchant for abbreviations and half-words and phrases, and the English language is taking a horrible beating.

Widely believed to be the broadest and most diverse language, the modern speaker and writer have done English a grievous injustice. But help is on the way. The "Word Warriors" at Wayne State University have posted a number of words they suggest should be revived in the lexicon. The website also allows readers to make their own suggestions. Currently listed just under "a" are acrid (bitter, stingy); asinine (utterly stupid); antithetical (opposite); apodicitic (incontestable); and many more. On the website also features penultimate (one of my favorites, meaning second to last).

When we diminish our language, we diminish our culture and uniqueness. Great Job Wayne State! (By the way, did my mention my wife and I are alumni?)

Check out the website at:

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Enduring Values Will Help Us Persevere

America can't seem to catch a break. Just when the Iraq War was settling down, Afghanistan started to deteriorate. Our economy is crumbling; the domestic automakers barely escaped totally collapse, and the financial sector is in shambles. Political corruption is running wild. Our stature in the world has been stained.
However, we have gone through much worse times. Civil War, World Wars, epidemics, and the Great Depression just to name a few. And America has always come through each crisis and eventually recovered strongly.
We have done so by adhering to the enduring values. Hard work. Honesty. Integrity. Love. A belief in God. Patriotism.
In our recoveries, we have held fast to our founding First Principles: the rule of law, unalienable rights, equality, the Social Compact, and limited government.
We can make it through the current turmoil, if (and only IF) we return to the enduring values. If we do so, we can preserve. Our fate, as always, rests with the American people and whether they recommit themselves to the principles and values that have made us great. Time will tell. Let’s hope we do the right thing. The alternative is too awful to imagine.

For more about the enduring values and the First Principles, visit

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Look and Content

Thanks to the great folks at google, I have refreshed the blog to add several new features and a new look. Note the added video clip on the right hand of the page, the beginnings of a Great Books list as well as favorite websites. Please post comments on what you think should be added to the lists.

Also, you can subscribe to the blog (also on the rightside of the blog) as well and recieve new posts (a most convenient feature). Please spread the word and enjoy!