No Child left Behind (NCLB), the signature legislation of the George W. Bush Administration is now up for re-authorization. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions overseeing this review, said recently that he wanted to “put the responsibility back with states and local school districts” to…Details
The fear with respect to our latest “government shutdown” is amazing. The hysteria peddlers using this terminology, and the media that purposely play to it, must know these two words emit such an extreme emotional response. It appears designed to frighten the least informed either for or against the other political party, thus the terminology and subsequent blame game.
So what does a government shut down look like? Do the president and vice president resign now that the government ends? No, they stay on the job and receive full pay as before. Does Congress fly out of Washington D. C. the following day and cease to draw their pay, and the Supreme Court cease to deliberate on constitutional questions? Does the army come home and cease to protect us? NO! No, No! Do states, counties, and cities no longer function? No again, they have their own tax base and cops, prisons, and teachers remain in place. Will I still get my mail? Yes. The U.S. Postal Service functions as an independent business unit. Will I still get Social Security benefits? Yes! And food stamps? Yes. And unemployment compensation? Yes. And veterans’ benefits? Yes, at least until late October. And will there still be a functioning federal school lunch program? Yes, at least through October. (66 questions and answers about the government shutdown, by Gregory Korte, USA Today Oct. 1, 2013)
If this is so then why the hysteria? My point exactly!! Because these two words, “government shutdown,” and the possibility of missed food stamps send the largely uninformed into frenzy, they finally awake from their stupor. They largely know nothing, although they should, of the wrangling of government to protect them from themselves and oppose any proposed government diet that might reduce their daily feed. They worshipfully listen to the party and political leaders that are least likely to disturb this base, like defunding Obamacare.Details
In early summer, California Governor Jerry Brown and state corrections chief Jeffrey Beard were in great danger of being held in contempt by three federal judges for willful defiance of a court order requiring the administration to meet a Dec. 31 deadline for reducing the prison population in California. Brown had previously asked the federal government to back off on federal mandated prison requirements, “We can handle our own prisons,” he said.
Can he constitutionally say no to the federal government?
Yes, and he should.
Besides the obvious, that Californians do not want their convicts returned to society too easily, voiding the acts of juries and judges after they spent thousands of hours deciding what is just with respect to their crimes and their danger to society, federal enforcement of such is unconstitutional. The Constitution gives the federal government only 17 grants of power, listed in Article I, Section 8, and managing federal prisons is not one of them. Nor has that power been added to the Constitution by way of amendment. In fact, the Constitution names only four crimes that Congress has the power to penalize: counterfeiting (Article I, Section 8, Clause 6), piracy on the high seas, offenses against the law of nations (Art. I, Sec. 8, Cla. 10), and treason (Art. III, Sec. 3, Cla. 2). Outside these four crime areas there can be no federal law or crime without a new amendment. All other areas are entirely under state jurisdiction as per Amendment 10.
If the governor wished to follow the Constitution as designed, he could designate one or more facilities as being federal, move all prisoners that had committed crimes in the above four areas to that facility and be fully compliant with federal law. With respect to the other prisoners, he might notify the federal government again that “We can handle our own prisons” and that the federal government has exceeded its Constitution jurisdiction. This is a state function per the Tenth Amendment. He should publicize his constitutional arguments with his sister states and, if possible, enlist similar action on their parts. Some of us would love to assist a Democratic governor in leading the charge back to the Constitution.Details
The Constitution is exceptionally clear on the origin of all taxes. “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” not the Senate (Article I, Sec. 7). When is the House going to protect its powers from the Senate’s intrusive attempts to steal its power? Recently the Senate passed the “Marketplace Fairness Act” by a vote of 69-27, an Internet sales tax, giving states the authority to require on-line retailers, with no physical presence in those states, to collect sales taxes. Americans will pay more taxes with this bill than without. It is a bill for raising revenue and it did not originate in the House as mandated by the Constitution.
To put the Senate in its constitutional place the House should never take this bill up. Instead, if they feel such legislation is needful, they should originate their own bill after which invite the Senate to take a new bill through the committee process and to the floor once again. I might also suggest not doing so for a year or two just to make the message stronger. “You are infringing on our constitutional jurisdiction.” If the Senate will not do so, the House should consider the bill non-existent. Under no circumstances should they accept this bill as appropriate action on the part of their sister law-making body. Retailers, on the other hand, should refuse to pay this tax and challenge it in the courts on the constitutional grounds cited above.Details
Presently, at least 17 states have chosen not to setup insurance exchanges with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Law, commonly cited as Obamacare, primarily because they fear that doing so would bankrupt their state and they remain convinced that it is a serious intrusion on their constitutional jurisdiction—even freedom. Some were among the 26 states that suede the Federal Government for exceeding its constitutional authority. They may not know that they have one constitutional check left to exercise if they but have the will.
Those who spend any time with the Constitution know that the federal government is limited to a list of specific areas wherein Congress can legislate (Art. I, Sec. 8) and if a wanted power is not on that list, or not added thereto by way of an amendment to the Constitution, they are prohibited from legislating therein. All other powers not provided in that document are left to the states and to the people as per Amendment 10 of the Bill of Rights. Checks and balances were created in an effort to keep the federal government from creating its own authority and taking over everything. The Founding Fathers saw going off the list and doing something not authorized as tyranny.
Senators were especially charged to protect state sovereignty, the list, and the 10th Amendment, but Progressives in the early 20th Century weakened that protection by ratifying the 17th Amendment, which favored a popular vote for this office rather than, as it was before, having Senators selected by state legislatures who were purposely far more state sovereignty centered. State power was thereafter left unprotected and measures clearly of state jurisdiction and unlisted, such as healthcare, got through the badly damaged shield and became law.Details
On October 6, an unmanned drone flew deep into Israeli territory before it was shot down. The drone, now thought to have been sent by Lebanon, who acquired it from Iran, raises awareness of the sanctity of a nation’s airspace. As the violation of airspace has traditionally been seen as an act of war, Israel sent warplanes over Lebanon the next day. This brings to light how calloused and disrespectful of the air space of other countries we have been where we indiscriminately kill our enemies on their soil.
Drones are now our favored weapon of choice and we unleash them on suspected “terrorists,” without the permission of sovereign countries, throughout the Middle East. Moreover, we assume unto ourselves the right of surveillance of all potential adversaries on their soil. We get away with this because we are the “town bully.” Such would be acts of war if done on stronger countries. According to the Washington Post we have “secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force cockpits in the Southwest and clandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents” (Under Obama, an Emerging Global Apparatus for drone killing, by Greg Miller, Dec. 27, 2011).
The paper reported, “Senior Democrats barely blink at the idea that a president from their party has assembled such a highly efficient machine for the targeted killing of suspected terrorists.” What is worse, “officially, they are not allowed to discuss” this most secretive activity although it is not denied.
President Barack Obama can argue that he did not invent this sophisticated “killing machine.” George W. Bush was the first to use it but he limited its use to Pakistan “where 44 strikes over five years had left about 400 people dead.” This is true, but Obama has amplified its use by at least four times the number of strikes and death and proliferated the death to several additional countries in northern Africa and the Middle East and the above numbers are conservative, the paper revealed.Details
I used to believe that if you read and viewed news sources widely enough, which I do, you would have all the information to be properly informed. I depended upon this assumption. I defended and trusted this assumption. I teach Current Events every semester and find so much under-reported. Most of the “real news” is seemingly not headlined. One such is the attempt this summer by the United Nations to disarm all Americans.
The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) has been a dream of internationalist and globalists for several years. In their 2006 meeting some 153 countries favored the Treaty, 24, including the United States, did not. Traditionally, until now, the United States has been the leading “hold out” primarily because it would effectively nullify the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights—your right to defend yourself with a firearm.
Ironically, proponents knowingly and falsely use Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution to destroy the part of the Constitution referenced above. If they could outlaw international firearms trade throughout the world it would have to be embraced in the United States as well. “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, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” By outlawing firearms by treaty the U.N Treaty provision would be the supreme law of the land they conspired.Details
Given our constant drift from a Republic to a Democracy, it might be well to review what historical philosophies most favored the latter form of government. The Founding Fathers and the Communists were total opposites on the word Democracy, one distained; the other loved. Guess which one hated and which one loved?
First, those who favored Democracy: the most blunt was Karl Marx, the father of communism. He wrote, “Democracy is the road to socialism.” Vladimir Lenin, the one activating the communist philosophy into a government in Russia, agreed. In his 1905 work, Two Tactics of Social Democracy, he saw Democracy as a strategy leading to his desired socialist revolution. “Social-Democracy, however, wants, on the contrary, to develop the class struggle of the proletariat to the point where the latter will take the leading part in the popular Russian revolution, i.e., will lead this revolution to the democratic-dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry.”
In a letter to Inessa Armand in 1916, he added, “We Social-Democrats always stand for democracy, not ‘in the name of capitalism,’ but in the name of clearing the path for our movement, which clearing is impossible without the development of capitalism.” Class conflict and the philosophy “share the wealth” were, and remain, central to the empowerment of communism.
Next, those who abhorred Democracy: as far as we can tell the list included all the Founding Fathers. Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1759, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” Years later, when Franklin exited the Constitutional Convention, a woman inquired of him, “What form of government have you left us?” the brilliant Franklin answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” The phrase expressed some doubt as to whether man could understand the value of a Republic enough to protect it from a Democracy.Details
Opponents of the Electoral College seek to alter a process that has worked for well over two hundred years. Unable to get two-thirds of the states to consider altering this part of the Constitution as required, some seek an end run around it instead. They say that the Electoral College is not democratic enough. They call their plan the National Popular Vote Plan. In it participating states would allocate their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, rather than the winner of the popular vote in their state.
There exists no language in the Constitution authorizing a popular vote for the executive branch of government. Such came about in 1824 after the Electoral College denied the presidency to Andrew Jackson, the most popular man in America due to his success in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. His supporters, believing the denial to be an injustice, created a straw vote so that the people could participate in the election although this vote had no power.
Over time the media empowered it by treating it as the “legitimate” vote for the president belittling the College process as unfair and undemocratic. Seldom do they remind us that it works because we are not a democracy, but a Republic, and that none of the branches of government are democratic; most especially the Senate and Supreme Court. Andrew Jackson had to wait until he could convince the seasoned citizen voters of the Electoral College that he was not too emotional for the office. He did so four years later in 1828. Moreover, today the media seldom cover the real election for the president in December such is their disdain for it.Details
President Barack Obama will assume control of U.S. communications should he feel that national security and/or emergency preparedness issues are present as per his executive order of July 6, 2012. There was no consultation with Congress whose constitutional right is to make all law (Art. I, Sec. I). Although not defined, control of all communication presumably meant everything including the Internet as per Section 5 of the Order, although not specifically named. All such was placed under the authority of the White House. (See WhiteHouse.gov July 6, 2012).
Congress had wrestled with the “need” for Internet and cyberspace control for several years even attempting to control the Internet in 2009, but the bills they had originated met with such enormous opposition by the people that the subject was, moved to the back burner. The people clearly did not want government having, what they termed, a “kill switch” on the Internet even during time of national security. Enter the President and his executive order entitled, “Assignment of National Security and Emergency Preparedness Telecommunications Functions.” The Order sounds innocent enough, everybody wants “national security” and “emergency preparedness” but neither phrase is defined. Left undefined it remains the discretion of the office of president alone, whether republican or democrat, to decide what it means. After all, what isn’t “national security?”
Taking law-making power from Congress to influence private communication industries is constitutionally questionable as is the Executive Order itself. It began with the usual statement of authority. “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America.” Presidential authority would be found in Article II, Sections 2 and 3, or in an amendment to the Constitution enacted thereafter. In this case there is none.Details