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Archive for June, 2015

Does theConstitution No Longer Matter?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The following is a superb, albeit disheartening and disturbing essay about the dramatic disregard for the Constitution, the rise of the omnipotent executive government, and the resultant change in our national culture:

America’s post-Constitutional Culture

By William Smith Published June 26, 2015 FoxNews.com

Conservatives seem stunned that the U.S. Supreme Court ignored the plain language of the ObamaCare statute and upheld the legality of the premium subsidies that will flow indefinitely as the nation’s newest entitlement. Their surprise is similar to the shock they express every time the GOP congressional leadership passes a pork-laden spending resolution that lasts through the end of the fiscal year, essentially denying budget hawks the opportunity to trim federal spending.

This march of federal spending is an entirely predictable outcome. As foreseen by Tocqueville in 1835, America has developed a post-constitutional culture in which citizens are transformed from independent citizens into weak dependents, fully reliant upon the dispensations and “protections” of government. The Supreme Court and the Congress are now largely infirm, fatally weakened by the growth of an Executive branch that provides ever-expanding dispensations and “protections.” The entitlement state has killed the separation of powers.

The fundamental goal of the Constitution’s authors was to ensure liberty; by separating the different powers of government they barred one branch of government from having all the tools to dominate the body politic. As James Madison wrote in Federalist #47: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands…may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” Over the last 100 years, with the growth in the federal government, the Executive branch has accumulated powers so vast that Madison’s admonition has been reduced to an interesting historical artifact.

Justice Roberts’ opinion in King v. Burwell confirms Tocqueville’s prediction. He writes that the Court must uphold the statute because, to do otherwise, “would destabilize the individual insurance market”. In other words, federal benefits must flow no matter what the law actually says. In a feat of verbal gymnastics that would make a German philosopher blush, Roberts explains over many paragraphs that the language of the law is “ambiguous” when it is actually quite plain and simple. For the Court’s majority, it appears, protecting the flow of premium subsidies is what really matters, not the law. Roberts’ opinion claimed fidelity to the congressional statute when, in fact, he was simply protecting the political reputation of the Court by avoiding an assault on the entitlement culture.

The Roberts’ opinion is Tocqueville’s nightmare: the citizens of democracy will voluntarily give up their liberty, even to the point of ignoring constitutional prerogatives, in return for care from an all-powerful government.

The Roberts’ opinion is Tocqueville’s nightmare: the citizens of democracy will voluntarily give up their liberty, even to the point of ignoring constitutional prerogatives, in return for care from an all-powerful government.

And, there is now no area of American life in which the federal government does not claim the role of caretaker. It exists to make college education “affordable to all”, to dispense subsidized healthcare, to provide housing and mortgages, to furnish food and, yes, even cell phones. It secures access to “free” birth control for young women, and “protects” children against obesity by dictating the menu for school lunches.

This beneficence is not limited to the welfare state or the protection of lower-income people. Corporate lobbyists swarm Washington to access government largesse. Huge industry sectors – insurance, pharmaceuticals, transportation, construction, defense – are government dependents. As Goldman Sachs will tell you, the federal government’s beneficent interventions can put much money into the pockets of the wealthy. Telecommunications lobbyists help the government in directing the airwaves and Hollywood-backed environmental groups urge the government to increase dramatically the regulations of our food, water and air.

Eerily prescient, Tocqueville characterized the future of American government: “Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications, and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild.”

Because the Executive has emerged as the “immense and tutelary power”, the era of constitutional government has largely ended. The immensity of the Executive has transformed the Congress and the Judiciary into political irrelevancies who, despite their rhetoric, act primarily to grease the skids of the Executive’s so-called beneficent dispensations, protections and regulations.

Consider the role of Congress in a post-constitutional era. To the authors of the Constitution, the Legislative branch was potentially the most powerful and the most dangerous branch because of its close proximity to the populace. For this reason, certain precautions were taken to make the legislative branch less potent, such as creating a bi-cameral legislature, granting veto power to the president, and establishing judicial review.

In the post-constitutional order, however, the Legislative branch is largely powerless in the face of an Executive that is the fountainhead of popular gratifications. Even legislative leaders with large majorities are unable to utilize their overwhelming power of the purse to fight off the Executive. The Executive branch now stonewalls congressional investigations with impunity and blatantly ignores congressional statutes. In the face of breathtaking encroachments by the Executive, both Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell have publicly eschewed a “government shutdown.” They know the post-constitutional culture will not tolerate turning off the spigot of governmental largesse; they have surrendered their most powerful tool because they fear the new entitlement culture. Members of Congress want, above all, to win their next election.

Over the last century, Congress has abdicated the major powers it was given in Article I of the Constitution. The Federal Reserve coins money and manages the economy, not the Congress. Trade agreements with foreign nations are done by the Executive on a “fast track” with little input from Congress. The Constitution directs the Congress to “raise and support armies” and yet military base closure decisions are made by unelected commissions. The Congress is happy to let the President decide questions of war and peace; we have gone to war in Iraq again without a new resolution by Congress. And, of course, Article I provides Congress with the authority to “establish a uniform rule of naturalization”, i.e. to regulate immigration – res ipsa loquitor.

Congress is now the weakest branch. More importantly, Congress has intentionally enfeebled itself to get in on the game of spreading government largesse and protection. The deepest desire of the post-constitutional congressman is not to decide the great and important questions facing our nation such as war and peace, but rather to hold hearings on the menu for school lunches, to add new benefits under Medicare, or to issue yet another press release about a newly-funded bridge for the district. (My congressman recently communicated with me concerning household preparation for a storm, urging me to stock up with water, etc.) Congress, in short, is no longer a serious branch of government that grapples with the serious responsibilities it was given under the Constitution.

This is a now a cultural challenge, no longer one that our political or constitutional systems can address. The political unpopularity of government shutdowns should indicate to conservatives that our national culture is now firmly post-constitutional. Members of Congress and GOP presidential aspirants can hold hearings and press conferences, can appear on Fox News, and can criticize the Executive but what they cannot do — what they will not do – is weaken the Executive’s role as the nation’s great benefactor.

Conservatives have “won” the Congress and lost the culture. The archetypical American of the 18th and 19th century– independent, self-sufficient, resourceful — is fading into history as a representative American is now more likely to be a bailed-out investment banker or the recipient of an “Obama phone”. Congressional leaders are therefore not obtuse in avoiding government shutdowns.

Now, consider the post-constitutional Judiciary. The latest ObamaCare decision cements the role of the Supreme Court as the Executive’s lap dog in the protection of government power, the plain text of the law notwithstanding.

Under our original constitutional system, the Judiciary would have seen its role as checking the excesses of an imperialist Congress or Executive.

Yet, the first time Chief Justice John Roberts faced the possibility that the Supreme Court would block the dispensation of healthcare benefits under the Affordable Care Act, he knew the culture would not tolerate a Court that placed constitutional principle in the way of government beneficence. Therefore, Roberts twisted himself into a constitutional pretzel in order to accede to the tutelary power of the Executive.

Now, despite the clear intent of the law — that premium subsidies should operate like Medicaid with state buy-in – the Court again has chosen to protect the federal entitlement state and shirk the separation of powers. Even the FDR-era Supreme Court was cognizant of their constitutional responsibilities when they moved to block the growth of the Executive; like the Congress, the Roberts Court seems to see its primary role as the dispensation of entitlements and other benefits.

In this light, the Tea Party’s platform of returning to the “principles of the Founding” are poignant, but impossible. Truly returning to the principles of the Founding would require the dismantling of the entitlement state. The idea that the American “people” would support this dismantlement, in all its particularities, is a political fantasy. Leaders of both political parties have been adding entitlements, not dismantling them. The entire superstructure of the American political order is now built upon the benefit-dispensing and regulatory power of the federal government and no successful politician has seriously challenged this fact since the New Deal. Even President Reagan could create only a pause, not a reversal, of this trend; President George W. Bush, the last Republican president, accelerated the trend dramatically.

President Obama, on the other hand, knows quite well that we live in a post-constitutional culture. His entire political program is agnostic about what he would view as constitutional niceties. The Congress may huff and puff, make threats and bluster, but they are powerless in the face of the mega-state that is now the Executive branch. Without fear, the president can ignore congressional laws, laugh at their investigations, and launch political attacks on the Supreme Court as they deliberate. He knew, as Republicans voters did not, that the 2014 elections would change nothing and, over the long run, the Supreme Court will largely genuflect before the “tutelary power” of the Executive. Justice Roberts conceded, at the end of his opinion, when facing laws such as ObamaCare, the role of the Court is “more confined.” Mercy.

Tocqueville warned that American liberty would be threatened not by swashbuckling dictators and coup d’etats, but through the “soft” tyranny of a government that takes upon the role of national nanny, protecting the child-citizens from every potential adversity. With this latest Supreme Court decision, it is clear that we now reside firmly in the post-constitutional culture that Tocqueville predicted. Our constitutional republic is now passing over the horizon, what will replace it is yet to be seen.

William Smith served in the administration of President George H.W. Bush and as a Republican leadership aide in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in political philosophy at the Catholic University of America.

The Ugly Trifecta

Friday, June 26th, 2015

In its rescue of ObamaCare, its federalization of gay marriage, and its upholding of “disparate impact” on federal housing law ––– the Supreme Court of the United States has managed a trifecta of rulings that seriously affect, in every way, the face of the United States as we know it and has produced a sea change that many in our nation looks at in outrage.

Justice Roberts Rescues ObamaCare Again

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

This day, June 25, 2015 will live as the moment that conservatism was knifed in the back, spat on, and tossed into a shallow grave by the Supreme Court because of Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy. Roberts wrote that “by the states” did not mean “by the states.” No, no it meant “by the federal government and the Imperial Obama administration.”

Certainly, ObamaCare should, as Justice Scalia said sarcastically, be changed to “ScotusCare” (Supreme Court of the United States).

What’s this all about? The Supreme Court had, in the case of King vs Burwell, the power to go a long way into scuttling ObamaCare.Today, in a 6 – 3 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the federal government’s right to provide subsidies in states that did not set up their own exchanges, despite the clear language of the law.

Under Section 1311 of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), the federal government is only permitted to provide subsidies to individuals who purchase health insurance from “an exchange established by the states.” However, the IRS has been acting in defiance of the law, providing subsidies and imposing taxes that were never authorized by Congress in states that did not establish their own exchanges. As Justice Scalia stated during oral arguments, the law “means what it says.” In a drastic disregard of original intent and espousal of judicial activism, six Justices seem to disagree.

So: Apparently the law does not mean what it says. Rather, the law means what six liberal, activist Supreme Court justices say what it says.

Our great country is being torn apart and degraded and brought down by extreme left wingers in our federal government ––– the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and even the Congress. God help us, especially our children and our children’s children! What can we do as individuals? Will the Republican party strike back with a blow against this tyranny? Or will it, as the last hope, once more failed to respond?

The Pope’s Encyclical on Climate Change

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

This week, the Pope issued an Encyclical concerned with climate change, its effect on the world’s people, especially the poor, and asking that the “rich” nations, meaning the USA, Canada, Australia, and all of Europe take Draconian measures to reduce the use of fossil fuels. This has resulted in serious world-wide discussions –– pro and con. The following is a major portion of a response to the encyclical by Richard A.Viguerie, an American conservative Roman Catholic pioneer of political direct mail and writer on politics. He is the current chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. :

“….the logical conclusion of the Pope’s message is that he endorses a political solution to climate change that could only be accomplished by remaking the world order and empowering a transnational authority, such as the U.N., to impose this New World Order on reluctant sovereign nations, such as the United States.

“What’s more, “Laudato Si” lends the weight of the Papacy’s authority to the idea of manmade global warming at a time when more and more evidence has come forth that global warming, if it exists, is a natural phenomenon.

“The Pope’s message ignores the real scientific debate – and potential scientific fraud – in the study of the climate and puts his authority behind some very specific science which the Pope, as intelligent as he may be, has no more ability to evaluate than does any layman.

“Time and again the “science” purporting to support the notion that global warming is entirely manmade has been shown to be flawed at best, manipulated to obtain a politically motivated result or outright fraud.

“For example, just two weeks ago it was revealed that when their data showed a 15-year hiatus in the global warming trend, “scientists” at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration simply “adjusted” the hiatus in warming out of the temperature record – the politically motivated result desired by the Obama White House.

“Moreover, by joining his New Age inspired embrace of the idea of manmade global warming with harsh criticism of technology, the Pope undermined one of the principle means by which climate change – if it is manmade – might be addressed, that being advances in technology to reduce or eliminate the purported causes, such as “greenhouse” gas emissions.

“To me this encyclical is most troubling because it comes at a time when Catholics, indeed Christians of all denominations, are facing persecution in China and in virtually every Muslim majority country, and a host of moral and spiritual challenges – but Pope Francis has yet to raise these to the level that they merit an encyclical.

“This is in stark contrast to his predecessor, Pope John Paul II whose encyclical “Evangelium Vitae” (The Gospel of Life) challenged the modern age’s culture of death and laid out an overarching moral case for Catholics and Christians to oppose abortion, euthanasia and capital punishment – sins that occur every day and that could be affected now and today through the moral force of the Gospel message of life.

“A year ago, I had the opportunity to play the part of Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) in James Reston’s play “Galileo’s Torch.” Bellarmine and Pope Francis have many things in common; at a time when many Church leaders lived in splendor, Bellarmine, like Pope Francis, lived a simple and ascetic life, practicing self-sacrifice and poverty.

“Bellarmine, one of the preeminent theologians of his day, spent much of his career effectively refuting the Protestant arguments against Catholicism by using logic to calmly and fairly address them – thus bringing many back to the Catholic Church.

“But outside the seminary classroom Bellarmine is little remembered for that work. He is now remembered largely for his part in the Church’s response to what was then called “the Copernican controversy.” In contradiction of the science, Church leaders held that Copernicus’ observations that the Earth and planets revolved around the Sun clashed with the Scriptures and it was Bellarmine who administered the controversial admonition to Galileo not to hold or defend the Copernican theory.

“The existence of manmade global warming is not indisputable, it is, like the idea that the Sun revolves around the Earth, merely the conventional wisdom of the day that may be proven or disproven by further scientific inquiry. And if it exists, its effects – if it has any that men can manipulate – are far off in the future.

“That there is a gap between rich and poor, and that it has profound moral implications, is indisputable. But by confounding the moral question of how to raise-up the poor and how to act as good stewards of Creation with the scientific judgement that manmade global warming exists, and the political judgement that “small is beautiful,” the Pope appears to embrace lower standards of living and a New World Order to impose it upon all as the solution.

“That is a solution that individuals will reject and politicians and governments will never choose to implement, thus putting the Church at odds with the welfare of the majority of the very people the Pope claims to wish to help.

“This backward-looking encyclical undercut the Church’s moral authority by substituting theological disputation for scientific inquiry – and the Pope’s language in the encyclical accepting the theory that there is global warming, and that it is manmade, makes much the same error that the Church made in admonishing Galileo not to hold or defend the Copernican theory.

“Pope Francis, by ignoring the great moral and spiritual challenges of the here-and-now, and “embracing the theory of manmade global warming as fact, has diluted his authority at a time when Christians are savagely persecuted, Church teaching on marriage and the family are under constant assault and a secular culture of death is at war with the Church’s Gospel of Life.

“The world cries out for the Pope’s leadership on fundamental moral questions where the Church is challenged every day, and this encyclical, which implicitly demands the creation of a socialist New World Order and substitutes New Age language for the verities of the Gospel, is a misguided distraction from those questions.”

An interesting Speech

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

An e-mail containing the speech below was sent to me by my good friend, Dan Garshman. Altho’ I consider Vladimir Putin a repugnant, dangerous dictator, what he says here makes perfect sense. What do you think?

No wonder he was selected by Forbes as the most powerful person in the world.
This is one time our elected leaders should pay attention to the advice of Vladimir Putin.

I would suggest that not only our leaders but every citizen of USA should pay attention to this advice. How scary is that?

It is a sad day when a Communist Leader makes more sense than our LEADERS here in the U.S.A. but here it is!

Vladimir Putin’s speech – SHORTEST SPEECH EVER.

On August 04, 2013, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, addressed the Duma, (Russian Parliament), and gave a speech about the tensions with minorities in Russia:

“In Russia, live like Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, it should speak Russian, and should respect the Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law, and live the life of Muslim’s then we advise them to go to those places where that’s the state law.

“Russia does not need Muslim minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell ‘discrimination’. We will not tolerate disrespect of our Russian culture. We better learn from the suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation.

“The Muslims are taking over those countries and they will not take over Russia.
The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of Sharia Law and Muslims.

“When this honorable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the Russian national interest first, observing that the Muslims Minorities Are Not Russians.”

The politicians in the Duma gave Putin a five minute standing ovation.


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