Another Link in the Chain?

Last week in New Jersey there was a bit of an uproar over an urban assault training session. Residents were woken by the sound of gunshots, helicopters, and bomb blasts. Needless to say they were pretty upset and flooded 911 with calls, only to later find out that it was a scheduled military drill.

The exercise wasn’t the first of it’s kind in the last several months. There was the very public event in Tampa recently, that involved foreign soldiers and a simulated hostage situation. In that case it was during the day and all the school children got to watch and cheer. A couple of weeks before that, however, there was a nighttime urban assault training at an abandoned Miami hotel, which not all of the neighbors were informed about. As in New Jersey, people were pretty upset. Your average American isn’t really used to being woken in the night to the sounds of heavy artillery.

These urban drills have been happening in many cities, as a matter of fact, though you may not have heard of them all. Recently they have been conducted in Chicago and Los Angeles as well as the three locations already mentioned above. This activity has some people concerned about what is going on and why.

This isn’t a new type of training, as it turns out.

Details

Political Support for Energy’s Loan Guarantees

Several weeks ago, 127 House Republicans joined 155 Democrats to defeat an amendment introduced by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) that would have shut down the Department of Energy’s Title 17 loan guarantee program. That’s the program that gave birth to Solyndra, which has come to symbolize the failure of the Obama administration’s crony capitalist policies.

Why would members of Congress, and Republicans in particular, continue to support this federal boondoggle incubator? A new paper from Cato adjunct scholar Veronique de Rugy that looks at the Energy loan guarantees explains:

One reason is it serves three powerful constituencies: lawmakers, bankers, and the companies that receive the subsidized loans. Politicians are able to use loan programs to reward interest groups while hiding the costs. Congress can approve billions of dollars in loan guarantees with little or no impact to the appropriations or deficit because they are almost entirely off-budget. Moreover, unlike the Solyndra case, most failures take years to occur, allowing politicians to collect the rewards of granting a loan to a special interest while skirting political blame years later when or if the project defaults. It’s like buying a house on credit without having a trace of the transaction on your credit report.

Veronique notes that most of the money for the loan guarantees issued under section 1705 of Title 17 have gone to large and established companies:

Details

Arizona Takes One on the Chin

The enthusiasm by which the Supreme Court eviscerated Arizona’s immigration law (known as S.B. 1070) yesterday should surprise few observers. Pittsburgh Pirates fans would noisily protest if the umpire arrived sporting a Phillies jersey. That the self-appointed referee between the National Government and the States is on the National Government’s team is not unconnected with the lopsided scorecard.

The legal arguments that carried the 5-3 decision in Arizona v. United States are worth understanding, since all are based upon the “Supremacy Clause” (Art. VI, cl. 2) of the Constitution. As typical, the Supremacy Clause is selectively quoted:

The Supremacy Clause provides a clear rule that federal law “shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” 567 U. S. ____ (2012)

But Justice Kennedy omits the first bit: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States…” (italics added). Stated another way, if a conflict exists between a federal law made pursuant to an enumerated power and a State law, the federal law wins. This differs drastically from what I call the Pelosi Rule, which is the tyrannically crazy idea that if Congress votes for it, the law is constitutional, end of story. 

Details

Our Children’s Entitlement Slavery

Seems every time I turn around, I see the meme describing some sort of entitlement Ponzi scheme that some victims’ group or another wants to retain access to. The oft-repeated mantra goes something like, “Don’t tell me I have to give up my entitlements, I paid cash for them.”  Or.. “They have been purchased by years of payroll deductions.”  The meme, no doubt, makes absolute sense to most people who hear such arguments, after all, it seems the height of injustice when -after a lifetime of contributions to a welfare program, someone would simply discontinue the program just as it was about to pay dividends for the elderly who are dependent upon the proceeds of these fraudulent ponzi schemes! (Which, btw, are about to implode… leaving the dependants of such entitlements starving and destitute).   Surely it is the height of a contractual right – that the people who have diligently paid into these programs should be paid back!

This, of course, ignores the actual facts of the case.  The proceeds of those payroll deductions have never actually been ‘saved’ or ‘invested’ to pay the claims that would come due in the first place!  No-one who is on the hook to pay the claims back has even received any benefit from them, whatsoever!  Rather, they were used to pay for undeclared wars, to fund domestic graft (buying votes), campaign contributions, the funding of unconstitutional foreign aid – and worse yet….. to prosecute an unconstitutional Federal War on Drugs..  In many cases, it was used to pay off the people who retired before!  It has been understood by politicians for decades that our entitlement spending was/is doomed to bankruptcy, yet they still continue to promise that not only will you get back every penny you’ve paid into the system (which was designed for the mortality of Americans dying at the age of 62 on average, and is currently bankrupt), but a mandated return on top of that! (The burden of which is to be passed on to our children) who have absolutely no hope of ever being reimbursed for such lavish spending…  The beneficiaries who’ve collected the plunder in the past, having been given promises by the New Deal Ponzi schemers of some sort of magic government money machine  voted in the politicians (who were knowingly stealing your future retirement money) largely on the promises of getting  a share of the “loot!”

Details

Government is Already Too Involved in Healthcare

by Ron Paul

This week the Supreme Court is expected to issue its long-awaited decision regarding the constitutionality of the “Obamacare” law. I recently discussed absurd legal arguments by Obamacare advocates that Congress can compel the purchase of health insurance, and the dismal record of federal courts applying so-called “judicial review” in protecting liberty. It is obvious that Obamacare’s legal apologists either are wholly ignorant of constitutional principles, or wholly lawless in their blatant disregard for those principles.

Likewise, supporters of Obamacare are willfully ignorant of basic economics. The fundamental problem with health care costs in America is that the doctor-patient relationship has been profoundly altered by third party interference. Third parties, either government agencies themselves or nominally private insurance companies virtually forced upon us by government policies, have not only destroyed doctor-patient confidentiality. They also inescapably drive up costs because basic market disciplines– supply and demand, price sensitivity, and profit signals– are destroyed.

Obamacare, via its insurance mandate, is more of the same misdiagnosis.

Details

Review of Nullification: The Rightful Remedy Documentary

“The peace president bombs countries around the world, the drug war rages on, the patriot act exists, the Fed prints and prints and prints. Bailouts, mandates, and regulations – they never seem to end. When Government doesn’t follow the rules given to it, what do you do about it? Well, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison both warned us that if the Federal Government ever became the sole, exclusive arbiter in the extent of it’s own powers – that power would always grow. Jefferson wrote, ‘A Nullification of the act is the rightful remedy whenever the Federal Gov. violates the constitution.’” – Michael Boldin, Executive Director, TAC

If Nullification is the rightful remedy against Big Government gone wild, then certainly Nullification: The Rightful Remedy Documentary is just what the doctor ordered for ignorance and false information. Written and Directed by Jason Rink (Foundation for a Free Society), the DVD comes in at 72 minutes (1 hour and 12 minutes), and is absolutely stuffed to the brim with a diverse range of issues and personalities involved in the Tenth Amendment / Nullification movement. But not only that, it’s like taking the excitement and energy of a full-blown Nullify Now! Event, and putting it into a package your living room can handle!

With the DVD package design prominently featuring Thomas Jefferson on the front, and a diverse crowd of “Tenthers” on the back, the professional appearance of this documentary will surely entice a friend or community leader into checking it out. Additionally, the audio and video quality of the production itself is very good, with the likes of Jordan Page and his song Message of Freedom serving as a perfect fit for this crucial discussion.  

And while the DVD is best intended for being viewed in it’s entirety – specifically for those who may know little about the Tenth Amendment and Nullification issues – it has a chapter feature for classroom settings, or for emphasizing certain sections to a viewing audience.

Details

Conflicts in our Federal System Protect Individual Liberty

To argue that federal court cases stand for absolute, unchanging rules ignores the US S CT’s own rulings and advocates originalist doctrines–a doctrine most, if not all, liberals or progressives reject.

This unchanging-rule view implies that the parameters of Congress’ power cannot change based upon the law’s letter, despite the fact that the circumstances which gave rise to that letter have changed or no longer exist; thereby leaving the people to suffer under a law that no longer serves their needs. Most people, including the courts, have rejected this approach to constitutional rules.

As the US S CT stated in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, rules of Constitutional law are not absolutely fixed; they are analyzed based upon a host of circumstances, social and otherwise. This constitutional view is a discipline in both inductive and deductive reasoning, among other interpretative tools.

Where the facts in a specific case reveal a need to change a rule, the Courts will find the rule’s outer limits and begin shaping new rules. US S CT Justice Benjamin Cardozo stated the same in his book, The Nature of the Judicial Process.

To admit that the constitution is living admits that Congress’ power is subject to social and changing conditions, especially when the grant of power under review is vague and not subject to absolute certainty; such as, “shall have the power to regulate commerce among the States”.

This is what I argue in my Amicus Brief to the 9th Circuit recently (http://montanalibertyforum.com/mlf/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2012-6-2-Amicus-Brief-Final-MT-Caregivers-v-US-12-35110.pdf). The Appellant’s main brief argues the same: http://montanalibertyforum.com/mlf/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/2012-6-5-Appellant-Brief-MT-Caregivers-v-US-12-351101.pdf.

Details

Arizona Immigration Ruling: Direct Assault on State Sovereignty

by KrisAnne Hall, www.KrisAnneHall.com

Never has a ruling by the Supreme Court been more aptly titled as an “Opinion,” because that is exactly what Justice Kennedy and his cohorts have delivered in Arizona v. United States.  It is nothing more than an open display of judicial activism.  The majority opinion is not a legal explanation on the Constitutionality of Arizona’s laws, but is an ideological dissertation on this current administration’s view of immigration. 

Not only is this ruling devoid of any appeal to the Constitution, it is very dangerous.  It is an aberration of fundamental Constitutional principles and a brazen assault on state sovereignty!  Chiefly, Kennedy takes the Supremacy clause of the Constitution, which declares that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and translates that principle into the supremacy of the Federal government over the states. There couldn’t be anything more contrary to our founders’ intent.   Let me repeat: this opinion is a monumental assault on the sovereignty of the states.

Article I section 8 clause 4 of the Constitution states that Congress has the power [t]o establish an uniform rule of naturalization.  The purpose of the federal government in the case of immigration, as Justice Kennedy appropriately acknowledges is “to be a single voice of the nation for foreign relations.” 

This external focus is in line with James Madison’s directive that:   “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace negotiation, and foreign commerce…”

Indeed, we must have a single rule of law regarding immigration, else foreign nations will never know what to expect from state to state.  However, this is where Kennedy’s constitutional understanding ends.  He continually remarks throughout this opinion, that the states are not only not allowed, but not capable of enforcing the laws that the federal government codifies.  What is his authority for this opinion?  Not the Constitution itself and certainly not the founders.

Details