current events

Art for Liberty: In Defense of Human Rights

*Detail photo of the painting I am currently working on for my donation to the 2015 Family Outdoor Expo*

ProgressDetail1

**The images below are my donations to the 2014 event**

Stand Up

Stand Up and Be Counted Among the Just

12 x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, 2014

 

Moral Outrage

 

A Moral Outrage

12 x 12″, acrylic on wood panel, 2014

A cultural approach to Human Rights issues

I am an artist. Until now, I have worked predominantly on patriotic and political themes. Some of you know me from Liberatchik, others from MachinePolitick; perhaps from both. You may be familiar with my monthly artist reviews of work by pro-American artists, or my occasional blog post about culture and propaganda. I will always work on these themes because I love my country deeply and hope to use my art to inspire love  and respect for our Republic.

More recently, though, I have felt compelled to start using my art to help people who cannot help themselves; who live under truly oppressive and subhuman circumstances. With all the talk of slavery in the public forum lately, comparably has been said about the human trafficking industry. This must change.

I understand the power of art to move men’s minds and impassion their hearts. I hope you understand this as well. I understand that we, as individuals, have a moral responsibility to help those in need on a personal level. I hope you understand this as well. There is already a strong current of resistance building, of abolitionists, to fight the atrocities of human trafficking. You probably have an organization in your area. There are certainly national and global groups you could join or support. Please consider doing so.

I understand that art has the ability to capture the imagination. One of the most affective ways to do this is to develop iconography. Make a visible connection that elicits an emotional connection to the viewer.
The issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery is so horrendous, that most people choose not to understand the magnitude of this international industry. It is more convenient to speak of slavery in terms of something that happened long ago, or is at least an issue in some third-world country, than to admit that it happens right here at home. When you admit that it is real, widespread, and local, you realize that there is a market for such an attrocity; and that is very unsettling, indeed.
It is easy to shut down a web link or turn off a newscast, but once you have seen a piece of art depicting the atrocity, it lives on in your mind indefinitely.

This is not a call for gruesome and graphic works of art. I do not approve of shock art for any purpose. It is a call for advancing understanding of the issue and offering support to the victims and organizations trying to help them piece their lives back together.

In my own limited work, I have attempted to convey the horror of the situation while simultaneously highlighting and upholding the very real solutions available. I have tried to humanize the victims and inspire an understanding of the solutions. Most importantly, I am appealing to you, the viewer, to get involved.

***Images of the work in progress for this painting can be found on the page for my booth at a local shop, Libertas Americana***

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#TakeBackOurCulture
#IgnoreTheEstablishment
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Frances Byrd is the National Director of  Liberatchik.com and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and FreedomWorks. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com and LibertasAmericana. She has written for the Big Dawg Music Radio Blog and Breitbart’s Big Hollywood. 

 

Contact: frances@machinepolitick.com

Folk to Fine Art is on it’s Way!

Libertas Americana

It’s that time of year again! The annual Folk to Fine Arts Festival in Commerce, Georgia is coming up the first weekend in March. I will be returning as a vendor with the work I have been creating under the name Libertas Americana.
In addition, I will have work by several regional artists and a few members of Liberatchik. This is a great opportunity for me to discuss art and culture with members of my community while introducing them to fine art by conservatives and libertarians from across the country.

If you have been following me for a while, you know I am new to the Folk Art scene. It’s a big deal, and I am becoming more open-minded about the genre than I once was. I have even started to work in a more simplified style in order to appeal to the existing market. Check out my Libertas Americana and Americana/Patriotica links for examples.

 

Here is my review of last year’s festival. Please consider making time in your schedule to come out and see what we have to offer. The venue alone is worth the drive. Additional events are also being organized outside the venue to generate interest in our community.

2015 Press Release

Two years ago, my family and I had a dream of moving to the country and getting a farm. Well, we didn’t get the farm, but we did move to the country; and this is how it happened.

We have been driving up to Commerce for fifteen years now, to attend family reunions. The small-town charm has always appealed to us, so when we heard about the Folk to Fine Arts Festival in the midst of house hunting, we made a trip up to check it out. As an artist, I was hoping to see what the art community looked like. 
Driving into Commerce is a little like going back in time, and it is that slower pace that has always made us enjoy our visits. 
When you pull off the interstate there’s a beautiful, rusty, old water tower across from a quaint country church. A little further on, the railroad track begins to parallel the main road which opens up into a traditional Main Street with shops on either side. Most of the architecture is original and has that unmistakable aura of a small community and historic charm.

The Civic Center, which hosts the festival, is in an old denim factory that has undergone minimum renovations and retains much of it’s original charm – and it is a sight to be seen. The festival has grown by leaps and bounds each of it’s 4 years, and, with over 70 regional artists it has a little bit of everything for everyone.
My experience at the festival itself was quite different than I had expected. I am used to the Atlanta art scene, so the friendly atmosphere and vibrant personalities of the artists was unexpected. The majority of people here are just nice. They want to know about you and where you come from. If you pass muster, they want to know what makes you tick. Suddenly, you’re a part of the ‘community family’ and folks are helping you out. Many of the vendors know one another from the festival circuit and they come in shouting hellos and sharing stories. There’s a sense of belonging and community spirit here. This atmosphere also extends beyond the festival into the community of Commerce itself. 

Upon entering, I found myself surrounded by brightly painted gourds(chickens of course, that I wanted to buy up and take home), eclectic jewelry, face jugs, story quilts, metal art and a wide variety of folk and fine art paintings. I suddenly felt a sense of belonging I had never felt in the Atlanta art community. Perhaps, as my husband often says, I need more whimsy – and I found it at the annual Folk to Fine Art Festival in Commerce, Georgia.

Festival Details

Friday, March 6th Meet the Artists Reception
6-9pm $15 includes complimentary drink tickets and weekend re-admission to the festival

Saturday, March 7th Festival is Open
10am – 5pm $7 admission; Children 10 & under are free

Sunday, March 8th Festival is Open
10am – 4pm $7 admission; Children 10 & under are free

Libertarian themes abound in The Winter Soldier

I finally made it out to the theater over the Easter weekend to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I was suitably surprised and impressed by it’s predecessor, and the related Avengers films, to make an exception to my general distaste for viewing most things Hollywood. Add to that, my general enthusiasm for all things super-hero and the fact that I have a pre-teen aged son, and it was practically inevitable that I would carve some time out of my schedule to give it a go.

 

Happily, The Winter Soldier eschews the sappy patriotism one might expect from a film centered around a character from the Greatest Generation. Overall, it’s a good action film, and nothing else need be said. But, being a political artist myself, I tend to view art and entertainment through a lens of my own perspective – as do most when scrutinizing art, whether they like to admit it or not. For those of you who simply enjoy your films at face value, and couldn’t care less about the deeper meaning(or my take on it), here is where you would likely move on to the next review. However, having read several reviews that clearly took the opposing stand, I feel quite justified in a little deconstructionism, if you will. Feel free to jump into the comments with your own perspective, as I plan to watch the movie at least one more time before laying my opinions to rest.

 

Captain America’s character becomes a bit more complex in The Winter Soldier than it was in The First Avenger, though it stays true to character. A dichotomy develops as we get to know Romanov’s character better. Nick Fury is dead, then not dead; trusted, then suspect. The obvious bad guys are the politicians, mercenaries and pirates scattered throughout the movie. The less obvious villains occupy all sides of the struggle, swimming in a grey area of philosophy and morality, or lack thereof – perpetrated in the interest of the ‘greater good’. The fate of several million people hinges on the success of an impossible mission involving Captain America, Romanov and The Falcon. The heavy, staccato beat of the music punctuates the more intense action scenes, creating an appropriately tense mood.

 

Libertarian themes abound throughout the movie, though some would prefer to call them fundamentalist paranoia. The Winter Soldier is a victim of the machinations of a power-hungry elite, bent on the establishment of a New World Order, who will use any means necessary to achieve their ends. People become statistics; their lives subject to elimination if their actions or thoughts are deemed inappropriate by the powers that be. Both sides of the conventional power structures are culpable. It is no surprise, of course, with Joss Wedon playing a part in the revival of the Marvel/Avengers genre. Geeks like me have long been fans of Firefly, his cult classic depicting space cowboys as the underdogs to an oppressive Alliance.

 

Of course, the plot, like life and war, is not black and white. It is subtle, yet complex, and the messaging does not beat you over the head. In fact, many viewers might ask, what the heck am I talking about. They just enjoyed the film. And that is as it should be. That is, in fact, much to its credit.

 

Captain America is the quintessential conflicted soldier. He fights for his nation because he believes in her values and principles, but he has come to realize that the people giving the orders can’t always be trusted – even when you like them, or think you should. He has given up everything in service to his nation, only to realize that the lines have blurred and his mission is no longer clear – at least as it is presented by his superiors. Much of the underlying struggle centers around his efforts to understand how different this new century he was thrust into is from his own, and why he was brought here to fight a war he doesn’t know enough about to understand which side he should be on.

 

The Winter Soldier, on the other hand, is purely a tool – emblazoned with a bold red star on the mechanical arm which becomes, as the movie progresses, a symbol of his degradation by the elite who control him. I can’t help being reminded of a similar tool in the person of Che Guevara, but I digress. Unfortunately, The Winter Soldier also turns out to be Captain America’s childhood friend and combat partner, Bucky – long thought dead, but cruelly resurrected by the enemy as an assassin and catalyst for the implementation of their totalitarian utopia.

 

We are left, not unexpectedly, with questions unanswered and the promise of a sequel at the end. I am happily looking forward to the next episode in the story of Captain America and The Winter Soldier.

 

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes. Her articles have also been published at Big Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

Alinsky, Social Justice and a Cultural Revolution

#TheRevolutionaryHaloOfSocialJustice
The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice

 

… to the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom – Lucifer.” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

Alinsky’s dedication at the beginning of Rules for Radicals is telling of his personal morality and ultimate goals. Those who blindly follow the current purveyors of his philosophy, within our government, higher learning institutions and social organizations, would do well to examine his/their true motives and the consequences of following in the footsteps of a man who would pay homage to the ideological embodiment of evil.

 

Developing Iconography

 

There is no need to put words in Alinsky’s mouth or take his ideas out of context. There is no need to spin his philosophy like some two-bit mainstream journalist. Alinsky’s words speak clearly for him and his intent in all their wretched meaning. For this reason, several of his quotes were utilized in the under-painting for The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice.

This painting is part of an ongoing series based upon stylized American Crow iconography I am developing. Though the series started out as an illustration of the OWS movement, it quickly grew to encompass progressive thought in general as well as the societal and individual consequences of its implementation.

 

(Social)Justice is an allegorical portrait of Saul Alinsky, one of the most influential progressives in American history. In Rules for Radicals, he laid the groundwork and strategy for an all encompassing transformation of American thought and culture across institutional, economic and social boundaries. This painting attempts to capture the essence of those ideas.

 

The Progressive Tactic of Fomenting Despair

 

Early in the book, Alinsky quotes Dostoyevsky: “… Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and chance the future…”

 

Do you see a connection between these ideas and the current events sweeping America today? This quote by Dostoyevsky, as used by Alinsky, points to an agenda that encourages people to disregard the historic failures and precedents of statist ideology and its implementations across the globe. It encourages one to turn a blind eye to the deliberate destruction and loss of life at the hands of an elitist few. It then calls for a blind faith in the motives and power of that elite few rather than in individual responsibility and participatory self-governance.

 

The Common Good

 

The price of democracy is the ongoing pursuit of the common good by all of the people”.

 

With this quote, we start to see how the progressive movement started to change the people’s knowledge of America as a representational republic, to a belief in America as a democracy. This is based on an agenda of steering the populace toward support of mob rule, which devolves into tyranny and a dependence on the state for structure and support. The old saw goes: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people begin to take it as truth”. Like the raucous caw of a crow, the populist mantra silences the voice of reason.

What is the goal of this redefinition of terms and intentional deception? First, it is anti-individual and purposefully vague in order to allow the elitist controlling class to redefine terms of duty and sacrifice as being for the common good. It softens the populace to the idea of redistribution of goods and services based on impact toward the common good. And, the very vagueness of the idea, gives those in control the ability to change course and redefine these very terms as needed.

 

People will rally behind the ideas of freedom and justice, even when they are denied these institutions themselves. The challenge and the power come in presenting an agenda in a way that appeals to the emotions first; to make people feel disenfranchised, victimized and entitled to compensation. Once this is achieved, it is a small step to organize them into an activist mob disinterested in the moral implications of their actions.

In fact, Alinsky goes so far as to consider moral concerns a bourgeois affectation; impracticable in the real world. His approach builds on Hobbes’ belief that men are essentially savages in a brutish world. But, rather than merely suggest that a leviathan state is the only method with which to control the vagaries of barbarism, he encourages his followers to take advantage of their collective barbarity at the expense of society.

Quotes in the Painting

I have incorporated some pop culture references and direct quotes from Rules for Radicals in the under-painting. Upon closer examination, the more relevant portions show through, inviting the viewer to step up and examine the painting closely. Of course, the crow stands alone as a piece of art, so it is not particularly relevant for you to know what it means. What it does is engage you directly as a means to open dialogue on the subject portrayed in the painting. The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice is intended to inspire a closer examination of Mr. Alinsky’s model for social destruction and reformation. I leave you, for now, with some quotes from the under-painting.

“Some men can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, The Dark Knight 2008

“…if one lacks the luxury of a choice and is possessed of only one means, then the ethical question will never arise…” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

“To me, ethics is doing what is best for the most”. – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes.Her articles have also been published at Big Hollywood. Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

 

Editorial Cartoonist Portrays Ted Cruz as a Clown

Using Art to Push an Agenda 101

While clipping news articles for some upcoming mixed media projects, I came across this cartoon:

CruzClown

You and I may find it absurd; but we are not the target audience.

This cartoon is from the Athens Banner Herald in Georgia (hometown to the University of Georgia). As one might guess, Athens is your average college town; primarily liberal in mindset. Athens is also closely surrounded by a smattering of small suburbs and low-income areas before reverting to its rural/agrarian heritage, where people think of Athens in terms of football and ag programs – and little else.

Ironically, it is know-it-all college kids on their high horses of progressive indoctrination who will be among those most surprised, and directly effected, by the gargantuan health care law’s implementation. The average estimate projects that young Americans will see a 260% increase in premiums under the ACA, even though those same young Americans voted for democrats and a president, in part, to push this law through on the rest of us.

To be fair, some of the low-income voters and farmers in the area may have thought the bill a good idea as well, before it was passed so they could see what was in it. Perhaps they were under the impression that some evil rich guy would be paying for their healthcare henceforth and all their worries would come to an end. What a nasty surprise all of these unintended consequences must be for them.

So, why then, do we have a local paper bothering to print a cartoon ridiculing Cruz for his opposition to the ACA? If the Herald is preaching to the choir, what’s the point?

The point is, many in the choir have changed their tune, and their song has become discordant. Some people, who were perfectly happy to ignore the consequences for the rest of us as long as they thought they would be exempt, have woken up. Unfortunately for them, they have awakened to the reality of government mandated healthcare.

 

Rules for Radicals, or Those Merely Pretending to Be

 

So, amidst all of the policy debates and emotional bickering, what is the significance of one cartoon? We must defer to the wisdom(evil) of Saul Alinsky for understanding on these points.

 

First, it is designed to ridicule a Senator for doing his job: defending the constitution, as well as, the rights and concerns of his constituents. As I have explained in several previous articles, progressives use derision and character assassination to destroy the credibility of their opposition. True or not, fair or not, this tactic works. Once you consider a Senator a clown, are you really going to listen to anything he has to say?

 

For Progressives, and some GOP establishment cronies, it is enough to call Cruz a clown and consider the discussion over. That’s fine if you’re exempt from the law you passed in the first place; but what about the rest of us? For those of us who are not receiving exemptions or subsidies, the ACA is a question of constitutionality and economic impact… whatever the Supreme Court may say to the contrary. (For a more lengthy explanation of these points, I refer you to the Federalist Papers and Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments).

 

Secondly, this cartoon is a perfect example of how progressives use culture, however insignificant, to push their agendas. You may pass a mere cartoon off as inconsequential if you even notice it at all. You may not consider it art and wonder the point I am making.

A cartoon may not be fine art, but it does have cultural significance – even more so based on its ability to reach a broader range of viewers through mass publication. Is it likely to change the minds of people like me who support Cruz? No. But it may plant a seed of doubt in the minds of people on the fence about the law. It will certainly bolster the resolve of the law’s supporters, justifying their subsequent reactions to and treatment of those in opposition.

 

Did you notice the Freudian slip and the irony contained within this cartoon? Uncle Sam is ill, but his cure won’t come from big government intrusion in the lives of its citizens. Besides, he’s old. It’s likely he’s not eligible for anything beyond end of life counseling and painkillers – while there’s still funding for such things.

 

Where’s the Conservative Alternative?

While some members of congress and the conservative media are taking a stand, where is the conservative art community on this issue? You wouldn’t know outside of Ramirez’s and Branco’scartoons because very few are giving a cultural approach a second thought on our side. Nobody with any mass influence, anyway. (That’s a subject for a future article of some length.)

Once again, our side is turning its back on one of the most influential and readily available means to effect policy debate in America. The results for our future are both disastrous and predictable.

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes. Her articles have also been published at Big Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice

 

**This article is a lead in to the piece I am currently writing. I finished the painting about a month ago, but as always, I am dreadfully behind on promoting myself. Here is a collection of thoughts as I was writing the piece. I will post the completed article soon.**

Rules for Radicals…

This painting is a conceptual portrait of Saul Alinsky’s political philosophy as described in Rules for Radicals. It is a glimpse into the motivations and strategies of one of the masterminds of the modern progressive movement. Those of you who are not yet familiar with the back story on my American Crow Series can learn more here.

 The American Crow…

Like other paintings in the series, it is a conceptual portrait of the subject as they are; drawing parallels to the less savory nature of the crow. In this series, I am developing iconography to represent the progressive movement, their goals, and their tactics. Their means to an end are often unpleasant and go so far as to infringe on the human rights and civil liberties of the very people they are purporting to help. Consider this a revelation, through cultural means, of the true intent of the progressive movement.

As noted, this particular piece focuses on the teachings of Saul Alinsky. I have incorporated some pop culture references and direct quotes from Rules for Radicals in the under-painting. Upon close examination, the more relevant portions show through, inviting the viewer to step up and examine the painting more closely. Of course, the crow stands alone as a piece of art, so it is not particularly relevant for you to know what it means.

Quotes…

I leave you, for now, with the quotes from the under-painting. The Revolutionary Halo of (Social)Justice will appear in my next article as accompaniment to a closer examination of Mr. Alinsky’s model for social destruction and reformation.

 “Some men can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, The Dark Knight 2008

 “…if one lacks the luxury of a choice and is possessed of only one means, then the ethical question will never arise…” – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 “To me, ethics is doing what is best for the most”. – Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals 1971

 

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes. Her articles have also been published at Big Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

The Liberty Amendments, A Summary

LibertyAmendments

 

 

 

 

Rather than inject personal opinion or support for the proposals outlined in Mr. Levin’s book, I offer a summary of its contents in the hope that you will read it and come to your own conclusions. I hope, very much, that you will then be compelled to take some form of action, for to do nothing at this point in our history, would be sheer folly.

Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments, a Review

An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Congress

…quotes Madison, from Federalist #48, “An elective despotism was not the government we fought for… but [one] in which the powers be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.

In its original formation, the US congress was split into two very distinct houses, which were intended as checks on one another as well as on the executive branch. Today, congress works together to maintain power rather than fulfilling their duties as representatives of the American people and do little or nothing to obstruct the machinations of an over-reaching executive.

The Senate, originally elected by the state legislatures, was intended to prevent the federal government encroaching on the rights of the states. The House of Representatives, conversely, was meant to directly represent the rights and concerns of the people. Neither was intended to be a lifelong appointment, with relatively high pay and benefits or exemptions above those available to the people they represented. Their offices were intended, rather, as a civic duty to their nation and their fellow man.

The negative impact of our modern, insider culture, is most apparent in the many and convoluted ways in which the congress shuts out all but the most persistent and popular of new-comers to the Capitol. To be fair, and this is discussed in the book as well, this culture is rampant at the state and local levels as well. The incumbents, regardless of party affiliation, work together to keep challengers to their virtual thrones at bay. Term limits would return the power of self-governance to the people by limiting the power of politicians and the incentive to focus on their own gains at the expense of their constituency.

The consent of the governed is the hallmark of a constitutional government.

 

An Amendment to Restore the Senate

As discussed briefly in the previous section, it is imperative that we repeal the 17th Amendment which allows for the popular election of senators. After generations of progressive efforts to re-define the governmental and societal structure of America, it has become commonplace for the people to refer to our nation as a democracy. In short, democracy is mob rule, and is in no way better than a dictatorship. Our government was set up with checks and balances in an effort to curtail all forms of tyranny, including that of the many over the few. The Reign of Terror is an historical example of the ‘unintended’ outcome of democratic governance that Americans would do well to investigate more closely.

Critics of a republican form of government will disingenuously equate it’s nature to the current manifestation of the Republican party, knowing full well that the term means something else entirely. The terms republic, republican, democracy, and democratic, as used here have vastly different meanings that are no longer common knowledge.

In addition to restoring the Senate to its intended status as a representative of the individual state governments, Levin’s proposed amendment allows the state legislatures to remove a senator by two thirds vote if they fail to uphold their duties as a representative of that state. This allows for a more direct balance of power between the state and federal governments and provides an additional curtail to the power and encroachment of the federal government.

 

An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for the Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override

This chapter sets forth the argument for establishing term limits on the Supreme Court. It also allows, in a similar way, for the over-ruling by congress of Supreme Court rulings that deviate into activism and judicial revisionism rather than adherence to the rule of law.

Because the Supreme Court has repeatedly shown an inclination toward societal restructuring and constitutional relativism, this amendment is among the most important proposed in the book. It allows for congress and the state legislatures to maintain checks and balances on the Court, thus curtailing future abuses of power.

The proposal of term limits for the Court, likewise puts checks on the accumulation of power and ability of the justices to legislate through judicial fiat. By indicating the inability of the President to veto a judicial override by the states and/or congress, this amendment eliminates the unhealthy relationship that has developed between the Judicial and Executive branches of our government.

 

Two Amendments to Limit Federal Spending and Taxing

This chapter is relatively straightforward and requires little explanation. It offers additional restrictions on the power of the federal government as well as solutions to the ills created by the current system of redistribution and subsidy that create the over-grown power structure in DC.

In short, this amendment demands that the federal government set a budget and live within its means. Rather than granting the government the power to declare a single industry too big to fail or to create incentives to favoritism, it scales back the system of lobbying for congressional favor.

Limiting the government’s ability to tax is a crucial step in this process. Whether one agrees with Mr. Levin’s proposal to cap income tax or prefers a national sales tax, it cannot be argued that nothing should be done in this regard. Conversely, the populist rhetoric of soaking the rich has been proven historically as false and detrimental to society as a whole – however much the progressive establishment may disagree.

Finally, rescheduling the deadline for filing income taxes to correspond with federal elections is a good solution to the myopic nature of the American voter. It is less likely that the antics of our celebrity culture or political distractions promoted by the media would obscure from the people who is directly responsible for their personal tax burden if elections directly followed the filing of taxes.

 

An Amendment to Limit the Federal Bureaucracy

This chapter sets limits on the establishment and longevity of federal departments and appointments, regulations, economic impact of said regulations and length of time allowed for actions setting such limits. It reminds us that the separation of powers doctrine contained with in the Constitution, not only sets limits on the power entrusted in each branch of the government, but also prevents any of those branches from delegating their powers to one another or to agencies or departments not elected directly by the people. This is particularly important in light of the modern expansion of cabinet appointments, government agencies and executive orders issued at the expense of the people without any method of recourse; including, but not limited to the passage of laws that members of government and select groups are themselves exempted from. This degradation of our Constitution illustrates …the necessity and urgency of restoring constitutional republicanism and preserving the civil society from the governing authoritarianism of a federal Leviathan…

 

An Amendment to Promote Free Enterprise

This Amendment clarifies the original intent behind the Commerce Clause, which has been repeatedly abused by the Legislative and Judicial branches of the government. In addition, it sets clear boundaries for its use and returns the majority of power to the states for defining commerce and regulating any issues that may arise on this subject.

With the Commerce Clause, more than any other, we have seen the greatest erosion of the Constitution through judicial activism and legislative abuses. In short, our own government has made a concerted effort to rewrite the Constitution for their own gain; thus proving the need for the Constitution, Bill of Rights and separation of powers outlined in our nation’s founding.

When the government can go so far as to penalize people for not spending money, under the guise of protecting the common good, we are well down the road to socialism. In other words, the nation has entered into an age of post-constitutional soft tyranny. In closing the chapter, Mr. Levin provides us this quote from Milton Friedman: “Freedom in economic arrangements is itself a component of freedom broadly understood, so economic freedom is an end in itself… Economic freedom is also an indispensable means toward the achievement of political freedom.”

 

An Amendment to Protect Private Property

This amendment more clearly defines individual property rights and sets clear restrictions on government infringement on those rights. In addition, it defines just compensation in the event that clearly defined public need necessitates transfer of property from an individual to the government. The chapter goes on to define the social compact of a civil society and warn against the evils of redistribution of wealth from one citizen to another by dictate or by direct seizure of property by the government.

 

An Amendment to Grant the States Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution

This amendment returns state sovereignty to the forefront of our governing process and allows for the states to roll back and prevent further expansion of the federal government. It defends the individual’s rights, allows for the maintenance of a stable and just form of government that protects the rights of all of its citizens, thus preserving society as a whole.

 

An Amendment to Grant the States Authority to Check Congress

This amendment allows the states to reign in the Congress’ power to grant favors and punish through regulation. In addition, it gives the states the power to end the habit of Congress to legislate social justice, punishing or rewarding certain groups at whim and against the wishes of the American people.

Through clearly defined procedure, this amendment sets forth rules for true transparency in government by establishing open posting of bills for public review in advance of congressional voting to establish new laws. No changes to the bill would be allowed between the time of posting and the final vote, increasing accountability and honesty in our legislative branch. In addition, this amendment sets forth guidelines for state overrule of laws, federal statutes and executive orders with clearly defined procedures and limitations on state, as well as federal power.

 

An Amendment to Protect the Vote

Simply put, this amendment requires proof of citizenship to vote. In addition, it makes provisions for those unable to afford the cost of acquiring the required documentation and puts strict limits on early voting procedures. These measures do nothing more or less than take measures to insure the sanctity and validity of every vote cast.

There is no point wasting time debating the probable success or failure of the measures defined in the Liberty Amendments. One cannot accomplish a task if one does not start it. There is no point bemoaning the likely difficulty of the task – we are past that. If we seek to restore our nation to its founding principles as a constitutional republic we must stop complaining and offer solutions. As Mr. Levin so succinctly illustrates in the naming of his final chapter, now is The Time for Action.

This review may be criticized as lacking any meaningful criticism or in-depth examination of the book – so be it. I did not write to tout my own historical knowledge or inject my personal opinion on the author’s personal motivations; as some critics may do. I wrote to highlight the importance of the call to action which it contains and the solutions offered to restore our republic. My review is so heavily footnoted, because this book speaks well enough of itself, in its succinctness and historic notation of the ills of the progressive usurpation of American law and governance.

In a world of media enamored of its own self-importance, it is time to focus on the real issues that affect our lives. It is time to offer solutions, not platitudes and petulant complaints. It is time to take action.

*All direct quotes from the book are indicated by italics*

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com, and a contributing writer at Western Free Press and BlogBytes. Her articles have also been published atBig Hollywood . Mrs. Byrd’s conceptual art and writing can be viewed at MachinePolitick.

 

 

Getting Ready for CPAC 2013

This article was written for BlogBytes.

CPACFront2

CPACBack

A week from now, I should be meeting up with Lisa Mei for this year’s CPAC! The list of speakers and bloggers is more promising this year than it has been in the past, but I continue to be disappointed by their lack of interest in cultural matters. I will reserve judgment on that point for now and let you know what I think from the event.

propagandaCPAC

These packets include my small Hand of Liberty prints, a copy of the Creative Conservative Action Tools, Liberatchik stickers (The Liberty Symbol), plus business cards, buttons and CDs from some of our artists and the beautiful promo cards my friend Christina made for us.

Liberatchik Packets

In addition to the marketing materials, I am making propaganda leaflets to distribute. The image below is the concept drawing (in progress) for “He is Watching” graphics. More images in this series can be seen here.

He is Watching

I have already started distributing these around the Atlanta area and will be leaving them along the way from GA to DC. If you would like to print and distribute some in your area, drop me an email for the file: frances@machinepolitick.com.

Burgundy

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com and a contributing writer at the Big Dawg Music Radio Blog, BlogBytes. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com

 

Is The American Dream a Farce? by Mark Taylor

MT_AmerDream_Cov_sm

For Immediate Release:


New Book Questions “Is the American Dream a Farce?”

Savannah, GA – September 26, 2012

Cover illustration provided by Frances Byrd.


Concerned about the negative impact of our nation’s $16 trillion national debt, runaway government spending and governmental overreach into our private lives, eighteen-year-old Mark Taylor has written a book called Is the American Dream a Farce? published by 5th Corner Publishing. Frances Byrd’s painting “The Hand of Liberty” is featured on the book’s cover.


When asked what motivated him to spend his summer writing a political activism book, Taylor replied: “My book exposes the farce of big government. The skyrocketing $16 trillion national debt will certainly affect my generation. In fact, the detrimental effects of our government’s policies can already be seen in high college tuition rates and dismal youth employment statistics. The time has come for the next generation of Americans to voice our concerns and require elected officials to enact common sense solutions to the economic challenges facing America.”


Taylor continued: “What we need is a back-to-the-future approach—meaning solutions to our nation’s problems can be found by studying the Founding Era. We can learn a lot from the Founding Fathers’ accomplishments. The Founders certainly did not get everything right, but they provided us with an extraordinary plan for constitutionally-limited government, free-market economics, and strong national defense, which allowed Americans to enjoy more freedom and prosperity than any nation in the history of the world. We can maintain American exceptionalism; we just need to follow our owner’s manual for freedom—the United States Constitution. I believe Young Americans of the 21st century will either go down in history as the generation who sat back and idly watched the American dream dissolve, or as the initiators of change who took action and saved our republic from ruin. Young Americans are not just the future; we are the now. It will take all of our efforts to save the American dream.”


Taylor is no stranger to grassroots activism. In 2010, Taylor was selected as one of 72 youth nationwide to attend Young America’s Foundation High School Leadership Conference in Santa Barbara, California where he learned about the political and economic philosophies of President Ronald Reagan. Taylor is a graduate of Leadership Institute’s Youth Leadership School and a TeenPact alumni. Taylor completed a Constitutional Law course at Patrick Henry College in the summer of 2011. Currently, he is a student at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia.


Is the American Dream a Farce? by Mark Taylor is available in electronic and print formats from major online booksellers. To contact Mark Taylor, email savefarce@gmail.com. Visit his website at: www.savefarce.com or check out his author page at: www.amazon.com/author/markt

Mark Taylor, author
Mark Taylor, author

This book is available on Amazon in print and for Kindle.

Mark Taylor is a young activist concerned about the future of America. His first book discussing American politics is now available on Amazon.

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wraith
The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath  is the second painting in my series on the Occupy Wall Street movement. In the blog post, American Crow #1, I gave a little background on the movement as accompaniment to the first painting in this series. After many hours of reading articles and statements on the OWS web pages and related MSM articles, one thing stands out among the cacophony of demands – the idea that the world owes them something simply because they demand it be given them. This is the embodiment of the entitlement culture we have allowed to take hold in our nation. While politicians and elitists are most to blame for this development, we must also take responsibility for our own complacency. It is time to take a stand before our future is picked clean by these scavengers and rogues.

In this second painting from the series, I chose to draw an analogy to the Grapes of Wrath, by Steinbeck, to illustrate the natural outcome of irresponsible behavior and refusal to demand accountability of those who have created a system that preys on ignorance and envy. There is a lesson here for us in the way that history tends to repeat itself when people allow themselves to forget the past.The Great Depression was not an unavoidable tragedy and the government did not lift us up from the brink despair. Because this is not an historical essay I will leave it to the reader to educate themselves on the subject of the Great Depression and return to the topics of culture and propaganda more relevant to the art being discussed.

Like the Joad family in the novel, the OWS movement has set off for better opportunity and the fleeting promise of an easier life. In many cases, they are people who have become disillusioned by circumstances beyond their own control. The similarities quickly fall away however, in all but the reality that awaits them – that the government, it’s minions and those who have established themselves in the pecking order are in control and the needs of the people are not their ultimate goal. I would wager the OWS movement’s realization of their position as pawns is a long time, if ever, in coming. It is not by accident that they view themselves as victims.

About the Painting

The Grapes of Wrath

acrylic, tempera, oil, and glitter on gessoed wood panel

21.5″ wide x 32″ high x 3″ deep

completed September 2012

$750

This painting is currently on display at the Helen Arts and Heritage Center. Please contact frances@machinepolitick.com for purchasing inquiries.

The Grapes of Wrath is the second painting in an ongoing series on the Occupy Wall Street movement. As discussed in previous articles, the crow is being developed as a symbol of envy, ignorance and thinly veiled violence in pursuit of an entitlement culture devoid of accountability and personal responsibility. The crow and the movement are scavengers on the droppings of the elites and harbingers of a future where our culture has been destroyed and replaced by dependence upon a corrupt establishment.

As the gluttonous dancing crow celebrates his ravages upon the grapes of his neighbors’ labor in the foreground of the painting, the world burns in the background. The flames are not evident yet, but the ruddy glow has discolored the storm-clouds that are building on the horizon. And, like the crow, the OWS movement is focused only on the short-term and immediate gratification of consuming something that they have not built with their own efforts.

Working sketch for The Grapes of Wraith from my first Occupy Wall Street art journal
Working sketch for The Grapes of Wraith from my first Occupy Wall Street art journal

Frances Byrd is the National Director of Liberatchik.com. She is also a conservative political artist and blogger. Her art can be viewed at MachinePolitick.com.

Burbank resident puts 9/11 remembrance on full front yard display

Congrats to my friend Jimmy and his recent write-up in his local paper!

The front yard display commemorating the 9/11 attacks at Jimmy Arone's house.The front yard display commemorating the 9/11 attacks at Jimmy Arone’s house. (Raul Roa/Staff photographer / September 11, 2012)

September 11, 2012 | 4:22 p.m.

Jimmy Arone knelt on his front lawn and placed his hand on a wooden plaque he created listing the names of the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the September 11 attacks.

“Every person there has a story, has someone that loved them,” he said, as he kissed his hand while fighting back tears.

In addition to the plaque, Arone created a 5-by-10-foot collage of a black-and-white photo of the twin towers, a banner that reads, “Never forget,” and an American flag. He installed the piece on the front window of his Clark Avenue home Sept. 1, and planned to dismantle on Wednesday.

The 59-year-old Boston native created the piece last year for the 10-year anniversary of the attacks. While the front of his home is an unconventional spot for a piece of art, the actor said he hoped to connect with passersby.

“It’s a nice way to connect with strangers aside from watering my flowers,” Arone said. “We kind of get isolated, stuck in our houses, stuck with our mobile devices — it’s nice to connect when we can.”

As time continues to pass, Arone wants to forever commemorate those whose lives were lost.

“It’s forever in our bones, in our being,” he said. “We can’t ever get away from these stories of men and women who just got up to go to work one day, and lives were forever changed.”

Arone plans to donate the piece to a museum or gallery.

“It definitely will not be destroyed,” he said.

— Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and Twitter: @atchek

Upcoming Events @ the Helen Arts Center

HAHC ARTivities

Summer 2012

ART-Y PARTY:

WHAT: HAHC’S Art-y Party!

WHEN: Tuesday, July 24 at 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Helen Arts & Heritage Center

SPEAKER: “Sights & Sounds of Summer” Featured Painter Mary Ellen Rand

POTLUCK THEME: Keeping It Cool

GALLERY:

“Sights and Sounds of Summer” opening reception is at 5:00 p.m. Thursday, July 17. Intake is 12:00 noon until 4:00 p.m. Sunday and Monday, July 15/16. Featured artists potter Nannette Johnson and painter      Mary Ellen Rand.

The current exhibit is “Summer Sublime” featuring the work of painter Annette Rougeou and potter Susan Holmes. Gallery hours are Thursday thru Sunday, noon until 4:00 p.m.

SECOND TUESDAY HISTORY EVENT:

No History Event will be held in July. On August 14 at 5:30 p.m. HAHC welcomes Emory Jones, author of “Distant Voices,” for a program about the Nacoochee Indian Mound. Tuesday, September 11 co-authors David Greear and Chris Brooks will introduce Images of America “HELEN” a new book that traces Helen’s history from earliest days to the present. Program begins at 5:30 p.m.

ART & STORY DAY CAMP:

Our first day camp was a huge success with our young artists, who held a show-and-tell reception on the last day of camp. Many thanks to our fine teachers for their time and talent: Hilton Hill, Gayle Murdock, Paula Ash, Anna Wilkins; Marlene Eubanks, Annette Garmon, Donna Redfeather, Rudy Potesta and Theresa Rice.

CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

To register or for more information, call 706-878-3933 or come by 25 Chattahoochee Strasse in Helen.

Class: Watercolor

Instructor: Becky Threlkeld

Date: Tuesdays Ongoing; Time: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Class fee: The class is ongoing at $35 per session, paid at the beginning of each class.

Materials: Not included. A basic supply list may be obtained at the Helen Arts & Heritage Center.

Each class session is a stand-alone lesson so students may attend week by week without worrying about make-ups or missed classes. The focus of Becky’s classes is to relax and have fun while learning painting techniques with a non-academic approach. Each class will begin with a demo or mini-lesson. These“warm-ups” will cover blending color, how to paint trees, flowers, rocks, sky, clouds, landscapes, and texture, as well as some non-traditional techniques. After the demo, we will move on to hands-on help with your individual paintings. For beginning, intermediate or advanced students.

Class: Pottery On and Off the Wheel

Instructor: Hilton Hill

Date: July 12 – August 16; Time: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Cost: $150.00 plus $25.00 materials fee

Pottery class participants will have an opportunity to learn how to create hand-built pieces using pinch, coil and slab construction techniques and/or thrown pieces on the potter’s wheel. Demonstrations and examples will help the students to produce a variety of both functional pieces and decorative ones. After firing the clay pieces, the students will also learn a variety of glazing methods for finishing the clay. We welcome beginners, along with anyone who has had previous clay experience.

Artists Open Studio: Thursdays 12 noon till 4:00 p.m. Ongoing. Bring your materials and brown bag lunch to work on whatever you choose. Stay for the whole time or drop in as you like. No fee but donations are appreciated.

Workshop: Pen & Ink in Unique Forms

Instructor: Midgie Humphreys

Date: Monday, July 16 thru Friday, July 20, 2012

Time: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Cost: $50.00 per student, plus $5.00 for shared materials

The workshop focus will be on pen & ink, with a few surprises along the way. Students will explore a variety of different uses of pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic inks and drawing forms in abstract and realism.

Schedule

  • 1stday – Zentangles (in a new way)
  • 2ndday – Abstract in ink with watercolor enhancements
  • 3rdday – Pen & ink (realism)
  • 4thday – Watercolor with pen & ink
  • 5thday – choose your subject (one-on-one help)

Come at 1:00 p.m. on Monday and bring something for the table and we will share lunch together. Class starts at 1:30 sharp.

Class: Art Mondays with Midgie Humphreys

Date: Ongoing. First session Monday, July 23

Time: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Cost: $20.00

Call Midgie Humphreys at 706-219-4597 or e-mail midgie@windstream.net

Do you have an urge to take up art? Or try a new medium? Join instructor Midgie Humphreys as she shares techniques and ideas in a variety of media. Each Monday session will be a stand alone lesson with a different theme. Midgie has experience working with all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. She will work with you to develop your talent.

Workshop: Glass Fusing — Dichroic Pendant

Instructor: Janine Shelby

Date: Saturday and Sunday, July 28 & 29*

Time: Saturday 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Sunday noon – 2:00 p.m.

Cost: $40.00 includes materials

Talented glass fusing artist Janine Shelby will offer another HAHC glass workshop, this time teaching jewelry making, using dichroic glass. Dichroic glass has a particular transmitted color and a completely different reflected color that changes depending on the angle. Class limited to 15.

*Rescheduled from July 21/22

Workshop: Three Day Artists Intensive

Instructor: Gayle Murdock

Date: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 16,

17 & 18; Time: 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Donation: $45 for one day or $120 for total workshop

Noted artist and facilitator Gayle Murdock will offer a hands-on art concentration from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday thru Saturday, August 16, 17 & 18 at the Helen Arts and HeritageCenter. The course, designed to give participants both personal and artistic growth, is open to artists of all levels, tailored to the individual artist’s skill, ability and interests. “Bring your idea file of inspiration,” says Ms. Murdock, who has taught several classes and workshops for HAHC. “Media used will include acrylic, watercolor, oils and mixed media. Projects will range from studio drawing, still life, en plein air (outdoor) painting, abstract art and others.” Guest artists Paula Ash and Sue Williams will each offer a special demonstration during the workshop. Attendees will supply their own paints and other materials, including at least six grounds (surfaces) to paint on, several medium-sized and some small-sized, with at least one large canvas or board. No fee will be charged, but donations are requested.

~ ~ ~

Helen Arts and Heritage Center

P.O. Box 390
25 Chattahoochee St.
Helen, GA 30545 On the web www.helenarts.org
E-mail: info@helenarts.org
Phone: 706-878-3933