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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Constitution Day – One Day Late

"We have duties, for the discharge of which we are accountable to our Creator and benefactor, which no human power can cancel. What those duties are, is determinable by right reason, which may be, and is called, a well informed conscience. What this conscience dictates as our duty, is so; and that power which assumes a control over it, is an usurper; for no power can be pleaded to justify the control, as any consent in this case is void." — Theophilus Parsons, The Essex Result, 1778

The United States Constitution has endured for more than two centuries. Even now, this single, guiding document remains the greatest statement of liberty ever written and a powerful beacon to all who strive for liberty.

On September 17th in 1787 The Constitution of the United States of America was signed by 38 of 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Supporters of the document waged a hard-won battle to win ratification by the necessary nine out of 13 U.S. states.

The Articles of Confederation, ratified several months before the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, provided for a loose confederation of U.S. states, which were sovereign in most of their affairs. On paper, Congress — the central authority — had the power to govern foreign affairs, conduct war, and regulate currency, but in practice these powers were sharply limited because Congress was given no authority to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops. By 1786, it was apparent that the Union would soon break up if the Articles of Confederation were not amended or replaced. Five states met in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the issue, and all the states were invited to send delegates to a new constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia.

On May 25, 1787, delegates representing every state except Rhode Island convened at Philadelphia's Pennsylvania State House for the Constitutional Convention. The building, which is now known as Independence Hall, had earlier seen the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Articles of Confederation. The assembly immediately discarded the idea of amending the Articles of Confederation and set about drawing up a new scheme of government. Revolutionary War hero George Washington, a delegate from Virginia, was elected convention president.

During an intensive debate, the delegates, due to Madison’s influence, devised a brilliant federal organization characterized by an intricate system of checks and balances. The convention was divided over the issue of state representation in Congress, as more-populated states sought proportional legislation, and smaller states wanted equal representation. The problem was resolved by the Connecticut Compromise, which proposed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation of the states in the upper house (Senate).

On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was signed. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states. Beginning on December 7, five states--Delaware,Photo of the Constitution of the United States of America. A feather quill is included in the photo.The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America and is the oldest codified written national constitution still in force. It was completed on September 17, 1787. Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut--ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. In June, Virginia ratified the Constitution, followed by New York in July.

It should be noted here that this ratification process was spurred by the publication of 85 essays on the purpose and value of the new constitution authored by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, writing under the pseudo name of Publius, known as the Federalist Papers. These papers spell out the thinking, intent, and reasons for the new constitution and a republican form of federal government.

On September 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution — the Bill of Rights — and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments were ratified in 1791. In November 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Rhode Island, which opposed federal control of currency and was critical of compromise on the issue of slavery, resisted ratifying the Constitution until the U.S. government threatened to sever commercial relations with the state. On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island voted by two votes to ratify the document, and the last of the original 13 colonies joined the United States. Today, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in operation in the world.

Over the past 226 years since the signing of the Constitution it has been amended 27 times (including the first 10 known as the Bill of Rights). Some of these amendments such as the 13th and 14th were needed to complete our dedication to the Declaration of Independence “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..”

On the other hand amendments such as the 16th and 17th are in direct contradiction to the wishes of our Founders. These amendments created a progressive direct income tax — something our Founders did not want — and the election of Senators by direct popular vote reducing the power of the state legislatures and therefore the power of the states. It was this manner of the states sending senators to the upper house of the congress that was needed to obtain ratification of the Constitution in the first place as the states were not willing to abdicate their authority to a strong and powerful central government. An example of this abdication can be seen in the case were the state legislature, governor, attorney general, and people of the Commonwealth of Virginia were opposed to the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) yet there two senators (both Democrats) voted for its passage. This was indirect contradiction to the will of the people of the state — something the Founders did not want.

For the past 100 years since the rise of the progressive movement at the turn of the twentieth century the Constitution has been slowly and steadily degraded. All three branches of the federal government have been overstepping the bounds imposed by the Constitution. The executive branch has gained more power than the Congress and the Supreme Court has made unconstitutional decisions based on politics and not on the intent of the Founders. Congress has passed laws in direct contradiction to their powers enumerated in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. Today we are living under a tyranny of the federal government that had the original 13 states known would occur they would have ratified the Constitution.

What we need today is a third American Revolution, a revolution not with guns as was the first one (the original revolt against the British and the progressive revolution of the twentieth century), but a revolution using the Constitution itself and the state legislatures as our weapons the main weapon being Article V that states that amendments can be added either through Congress or the States:

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.”

Our Founders drafted this article for two reasons. One was to allow a rational amendment process using Congress as the initiating body and the second was to allow the states to curtail a tyrannical congress.

Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic is the revolutionary blueprint millions of Americans have been waiting for. In his book Levin leads the charge for restoring constitutional republicanism and preserving the civil society from the growing authoritarianism of a federal Leviathan.

Levin’s research into the Constitution, the debates of the 1787 Constitutional Convention as well as those of the state ratification conventions are beyond thorough. As is his sharp eye for the extensive writings of Founders famous — James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason — and lesser known: Virginia’s Edmund Randolph, Pennsylvania’s Gouverneur Morris and James Wilson along with Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts and others. Levin has plunged into the contemporaneous thoughts and writings of all the Founders to document precisely what reasoning lay behind the creation of the nation’s founding document.

Writes Levin in his opening chapter of the nation’s current state of affairs:

“Social engineering and central planning are imposed without end, since the governing masterminds, drunk with their own conceit and pomposity, have wild imaginations and infinite ideas for reshaping society and molding man’s nature in search of the ever elusive utopian paradise.”

How did a country so carefully crafted as a constitutional republic by thoughtful men who had experienced tyranny up close and personal ever get to the point where the federal administrative state runs wild, Supreme Court justices, the president and the Congress disdain the Constitution they are all sworn to uphold and the nation, in Levin’s words, “is teetering on financial ruin due to the unconscionable profligate spending, borrowing, taxing and money printing by the federal government”? How does America wake up every day to find its government exercising unlimited power over the private economic behavior of every American? How is it possible that a federal government designed to operate from a defined “enumeration of grants of specific power” is now:

“…the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider, and pension guarantor….with aggrandized police powers…(that) for example…regulates most things in your bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen, as well as the mortgage you hold on your house. It designs your automobile and dictates the kind of fuel it uses. It regulates your baby’s toys, crib, and stroller; plans your children’s school curriculum and lunch menu; and administers their student loans in college. At your place of employment the federal government oversees everything from the racial, gender, and age diversity of the workforce to the hours, wages, and benefits paid.”

In effect, over a century after the original American Revolution of 1776, followed by the writing and adoption of the Constitution after exhaustive debate in both Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention and in the various states that then had to vote up or down on ratification — a Second American Revolution took place. A revolution that wasn’t termed as such, that was for the most part non-violent and in fact presented itself as just ordinary-politics-of-the-day. A “reform” that would, Americans of the day were assured, modernize the nation. This Second American Revolution — the Progressive Movement — burst onto the American scene in the 1880s. Progressives directly opposed the underlying principles of America. Where the Founders believed man was an individual — as Levin says a “unique, spiritual being with a soul and a conscience free to discover his own potential and pursue his own legitimate interests, temper by a moral order that has its foundation in faith.” the Progressives believed something else altogether.

Progressives believed man was not born free, that freedom was not a gift from God but a gift dispensed from the hand of the state. Freedom was redefined as the quest for utopia — or as Levin has termed it, Ameritopia. And in the endless quest for that utopia the social re-engineering of America, the Second American Revolution — the effective nullification of the Constitution — began.

Scornful of the Founders’ belief in limited government, progressives rammed through constitutional amendments that restructured the original design of the American government. Next up was the construction of an administrative state, and Levin quotes Alexis de Tocqueville — who was eerily prescient about what was to come in America long after his death in 1859. America, said the famous French philosopher, could be at risk of being consumed by a system that:

“…covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

This is exactly the effect of the Statist or Progressive movement, taking a century to lead the nation into what Levin calls a “post-constitutional soft tyranny” through an endless series of “inventions and schemes hatched and promoted openly by their philosophers, experts, and academics, and the coercive application of their designs on the citizenry by a delusional elite.”

Levin writes:

“…I propose that we, the people, take a closer look at the Constitution for our preservation. The Constitution itself provides the means for restoring self-government and averting societal catastrophe (or, in the case of societal collapse, resurrecting the civil society) in Article V.”

And there it is. The Constitutional way-out of the Statist nightmare — or, as Levin calls it the “Achilles’ heel” of Statism. Article V of the United States Constitution. Levin reprints the relevant portion of Article V with his italics for emphasis:

“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress….”

Levin notes a very important point. Article V does not provide for a constitutional convention. It provides for a process of proposing amendments. Article V:

“…provides for two methods of amending the Constitution. The first method, where two-thirds of Congress passes a proposed amendment and then forwards it to the state legislatures for possible ratification by three-fourths of the states, has occurred on twenty-seven occasions. The second method, involving the direct application of two-thirds of the state legislatures for a Convention proposing Amendments, which would thereafter also require a three-fourths ratification vote by the states, has been tried in the past but without success. Today it sits dormant.”

Which is to say, a new Constitutional Convention, and the subsequent ratification process would begin the long overdue process of shifting the tyrannical power out of the hands of the federal Leviathan and handing it back to the states. The states that created the federal government — a much different federal government — in the first place.

As Levin writes:

I was originally skeptical of amending the Constitution by the state convention process. I fretted it could turn into a runaway caucus. As an ardent defender of the Constitution who reveres the brilliance of the Framers, I assumed this would play disastrously into the hands of the Statists. However, today I am a confident and enthusiastic advocate for the process. The text of Article V makes clear that there is a serious check in place. Whether the product of Congress or a convention, a proposed amendment has no effect at all unless “ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof…” This should extinguish anxiety that the state convention process should hijack the Constitution.”

Thus Levin in The Liberty Amendments lays out in clear, concise language eleven proposed amendments to the Constitution. They are:

  1. An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Members of Congress
  2. An Amendment to Restore the Senate
  3. An Amendment to Establish Term Limits for Supreme Court Justices and Super-Majority Legislative Override
  4. Two Amendments to Limit Federal Spending and Taxing
  5. An Amendment to Limit the Federal Bureaucracy
  6. An Amendment to Promote Free Enterprise
  7. An Amendment to Protect Private Property
  8. An Amendment to Grant the States the Authority to Directly Amend the Constitution
  9. An Amendment to Grant the States the Authority to Check Congress
  10. An Amendment to Protect the Vote

Here are my favorites (actually I like all of them but I find these to be of the highest importance):

An Amendment to Restore the Senate

SECTION 1: The Seventeenth Amendment is hereby repealed. All Senators shall be chosen by their state legislatures as prescribed by Article 1.

This amendment may well be, as Levin notes, considered to be “the most controversial and politically difficult to institute.” A rare Levin understatement. But repealing the 17th Amendment, which provides for the popular election of U.S. Senators, would decidedly begin to right the balance in the American governmental ship of state.

The 17th Amendment was sold to Americans by Progressives as, in Levin’s words, “a cleansing and transforming expansion of popular democracy” when in fact it has turned out to be “an object lesson in the malignancy of the Progressive mind-set and its destructive impact on the way we practice self-government in a twenty-first century, post-constitutional nation.”

The United States Senate, as its name indicates, was designed to represent — the states. For 124 years it did so, producing along the way some of the nation’s greatest legislators including Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun, Kentucky’s Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Charles Sumner of Massachusetts. But as Levin points out, the idea in the early 1900’s was that since electing members of the House of Representatives by direct popular vote was working as designed — why not do this with senators?

The obvious answer brushed aside in the day was that the Framers had a reason for making the lower House chosen by popular vote and the Senate by state legislatures. Our Funders wanted both individuals and state governments to have “direct input in the national government” — the states that had, of course, created the federal government in the first place. To prevent, in the words of George Mason, the possibility that “the national Legislature will swallow up the Legislatures of the States.” The Founders wanted a direct flow of power from the institutions of state government into the process of making federal law.

The 17th Amendment decidedly undid this bedrock principle — and all too predictably the federal government did in fact “fill whatever areas of governance and even society it chooses.”

In point of fact, United States Senators today are not representative of the interests of their state governments — which are elected directly by the people (see the example of Virginia I show above). Instead they are beholden to, as Levin accurately notes, “Washington lobbyists, campaign funders, national political consultants, and other national advocacy organizations.” Or in other words: goodbye Boston, Albany, Harrisburg, Springfield, Lincoln, Little Rock, Atlanta, Austin, Sacramento, Carson City, Juneau and Jackson — hello K Street. And who, exactly, elected K Street lobbyists? No one, of course.

The fact of the matter is that the responsibility of the states in the national government as envisioned by the Founders has been stripped away, taking power once reserved specifically for states and turning it over to, as Levin notes, Washington’s “governing masterminds and their disciples.” Indeed, there is considerable irony in the furious anger from President Obama and liberals over the recent defeat of gun control legislation by the U.S. Senate. Who did they blame for the defeat? That’s right — the NRA. Not an elected state government. They blamed a lobby.

The repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment effectively created K Street and the modern “lobbyist/consultant industrial complex” America has come to know and hate today. To repeal the Seventeenth Amendment would effectively become an attack on that thoroughly “bipartisan” and distinctly well-heeled complex. Most assuredly, as Levin indicates, launching a battle royal between Washington elites and the rest of America.

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

SECTION 1: No person may serve as Chief Justice or Associate Justice of the Supreme Court for more than a combined total of twelve years.


SECTION 4: Upon three-fifths vote of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Congress may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.

SECTION 5: The Congressional override under Section 4 is not subject to a Presidential veto and shall not be the subject of litigation or review in any Federal or State court.

SECTION 6: Upon three-fifths vote of the several state legislatures, the States may override a majority opinion rendered by the Supreme Court.

There’s more in this amendment, but these sections listed above — designed to rein in what many perceive as an out-of-control federal judiciary will alone doubtless cause an uproar only marginally less vivid than the battle to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment.

Levin notes the concerns various Founders and others had with the idea of the federal judiciary (to use a modern phrase) “going rogue.” He cites the prescient writings of New York Judge Robert Yates, an articulate opponent of the Constitution. As supporters of the Constitution rallied around The Federalist Papers, Yates (writing under the pseudo-name of Brutus) and others writing under pen names authored The Anti-Federalist Papers. In Anti-Federalist 80 (Essay no. 11) Yates warned:

”Much has been said and written upon the subject of this new system on both sides, but I have not met with any writer who has discussed the judicial powers with any degree of accuracy. And yet it is obvious, that we can gain but very imperfect ideas of the manner in which this government will work, or the effect it will have in changing the internal police and mode of distributing justice at present subsisting in the respective states, without a thorough investigation of the powers of the judiciary and of the manner in which they will operate. This government is a complete system, not only for making, but for executing laws. And the courts of law, which will be constituted by it, are not only to decide upon the constitution and the laws made in pursuance of it, but by officers subordinate to them to execute all their decisions. The real effect of this system of government, will therefore be brought home to the feelings of the people, through the medium of the judicial power. It is, moreover, of great importance, to examine with care the nature and extent of the judicial power, because those who are to be vested with it, are to be placed in a situation altogether unprecedented in a free country. They are to be rendered totally independent, both of the people and the legislature, both with respect to their offices and salaries. No errors they may commit can be corrected by any power above them, if any such power there be, nor can they be removed from office for making ever so many erroneous adjudications.”

And so it has turned out. Yates died in 1801, two years before Chief Justice John Marshall famously wrote in 1803’s Marbury v. Madison:

The judicial power of the United States is extended to all cases arising under the constitution.

Levin notes importantly that Abraham Lincoln took the occasion of his first inaugural address in 1861 to speak out in favor of limits to judicial power. Lincoln went on at length that he did not “forget the position assumed by some that national questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court” But as a staunch opponent of the Court’s fateful 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford — in which Democrats led by Andrew Jackson appointee and slave-owner Chief Justice Roger Taney attempted to write slavery into the Constitution — Lincoln believed the Court had arranged affairs so that “the people will have ceased to be their own rulers.”

Contrast this with that exemplar of the Progressive movement and a liberal hero to this day — the Democrats’ Woodrow Wilson. Wilson the Progressive — and staunch segregationist — “endorsed flat-out judicial tyranny” says Levin. Wilson believed “the federal judiciary was to behave as a perpetual constitutional convention,” rewriting the Constitution at will and “nearly always promoting the centralization and concentration of power in the federal government.” Indeed, things are now so far off track with the federal judiciary that the liberal Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has urged the Court to “look beyond one’s shores” to international law when writing and justifying Court rulings. The Constitution? What’s that?

Levin writes that by “claiming authority not specifically granted by the Constitution, abuses of power would certainly follow, as they have.”

The notion that, for example, Roe v. Wade might have been overturned by three-fifths of the state legislatures had Levin’s amendment been in place in January of 1973 will doubtless cause a frenzy on the left. On the other hand, there is no doubt the Left would love for this particular Liberty Amendment to be in place right now — so they could try and repeal Citizens United.

Giving the Congress and the States veto power over Supreme Court decisions will surely roil the waters political.

We won’t run through all the other amendments in detail here. It’s safe to say that each in their own fashion will arouse considerable controversy.

Limiting taxation to 15% of income? Abolishing the death tax and prohibiting a value-added (VAT) tax? A failure by the Congress and the President to adopt and sign a budget no later than the first Monday in May mandates “an automatic, across-the-board, 5 percent reduction in expenditures” from the previous year’s budget? Individually reauthorizing “all federal departments and agencies….individually in stand-alone reauthorization bills every three years by a majority vote of the House…and the Senate” — or said departments and agencies automatically expire? Finally reining in the much abused Commerce Clause? Securing “the fundamental right to own and maintain property” from government regulatory takings by forcing the government to “compensate fully” any financial loss over $10,000?

Boy will this cause a loud howl from the progressives who have their way with we the people for so long.

While the Liberty Amendments are the heart of Levin’s book, it is critical to go back to the reason for this book — and the undoubted reaction to his proposals that is surely about to rain down on the book and its supporters, not to mention the author himself. Writes Levin in his Epilogue, appropriately titled The Time for Action:

“No doubt, in a twist of logic, the state convention process and The Liberty Amendments will be assaulted by the governing masterminds and their disciples as an extreme departure from the status quo and, therefore, heretical, as they resist ferociously all efforts to diminish their power and position. Paradoxically, it is they who distort the Constitutions’ text and trespass its purpose by actively pursuing its nullification and abandonment. History demonstrates that republics collapse when demagogues present themselves as their guardians to entice the people and cloak their true intentions…..Indeed, the closer the approach to constitutional restoration, should that day arrive, a torrent of fuming and malevolent rage will, predictably, let loose, alleging perfidy by the true reformers.”

The Liberty Amendments — all eleven of them — are a serious work of restoration and reform. They are ironically the very embodiment of that current liberal favorite: “Hope and Change” — turned back on the entire progressive concept of government. There is in fact no reason whatsoever that Americans must accept what Levin calls the “obtuse and defeatist notion of moderation that accepts the disposition of inevitable societal self-destruction without recourse to an available escape. Its irrationality is self-evident.”

It is all too apparent after a hundred-years plus of the Progressive “Second American Revolution” that the revolution is not only failed but dangerous. Exceptionally dangerous. Dangerous to everything from the larger financial underpinnings of America to the individual lives of Americans who must daily face this, that or the other onslaught from their own government.

The plethora of scandals from recent years — tellingly in both the Obama and Bush administrations —speaks to the fundamental recognition that the problem is the inevitable out-of-control nature of a massive, intrusive federal government apparatus. From the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused financial crisis of 2008 to recent headlines about the IRS, FEC, DEA, SEC, EPA, State Department, Food Stamps and more, all in a very real sense are nothing but the latest confirmation of just how massive and irrational the federal government has become. Indeed, the defense of President Obama by liberal allies in the IRS scandal is that surely one cannot expect the President to have any idea about what’s going on in his own government because the government is in fact so huge.

All the way back in 1964 in that famous speech A Time for Choosing (found here) that introduced Ronald Reagan to America as a political figure, Reagan saw all this coming. Said the future president in those famous closing lines:

“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us that we justified our brief moments here. We did all that could be done.”

The challenge Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments now poses to millions of Americans is exactly Reagan’s challenge.

Will we preserve the last best hope of man on earth?

Will, in Levin’s words, “we the people restore the splendor of the American Republic”?

Ronald Reagan’s A Time for Choosing has now become Mark Levin’s The Time for Action.

And Mark Levin has provided the blueprint.

I urge you to obtain a copy of Levin’s book and read it through. He not only presents the problem and offers the solution with one of his liberty amendments he does a fantastic job of giving the historical context and thinking (through the writing and speeches) of our Founders when they drafted and ratified the Constitution. Levine’s book should be read by anyone concerned about the direction of our Republic.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Do We Really Have Moral Authority to Attack Syria?

“The Army (considering the irritable state it is in, its suffering and composition) is a dangerous instrument to play with.” — George Washington, letter to Alexander Hamilton — 1783

On August 20, 2012 President Obama warned against chemical weapons' use in Syria, declaring it a "red line." On Dec. 3, 2012, Obama repeated his warning to Assad, saying "The use of chemical weapons is totally unacceptable. And if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable."

Last April, Britain, France, and Israel concluded that chemical weapons had been used in Syria. On June 13, the Obama administration finally concurred that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against civilians.

But nothing happened after that — except a conclusion by the Syrian regime that it can continue to use such weapons with impunity. Indeed, United Nations Middle East envoy Robert Serry claimed in July that the United Nations had received 13 reports of alleged chemical weapons use in Syria. On August 21, Assad gassed to death 1,429 civilians.

What principle was violated upon the 14th use of chemical weapons but not on the first thirteen uses? Obama's reactions to violations of his "red line" have been spineless and incoherent: apparently chemical weapons use is fine if fewer than 1,429 civilians are killed. But if the death count is dispositive, those totals are met every week with Assad's use of conventional weapons. And if chemical weapons use matters because it violates some international moral norm, as Obama recently argued, then his response comes 13 violations (and the related deaths) too late.

Obama will no doubt get Congressional approval for the enforcement of his "red line." Such backtracking resembles his attempt last April to condition any U.S. response on a thorough investigation that confirmed Syria's chemical weapons attack to the satisfaction of the international community (in yet another reversal Obama later said that the U.S. was justified in acting unilaterally). If Assad's 14th chemical weapons attack had killed 30,000 people, would Obama still need Congressional approval for military action? How many Syrians have to die before Obama acquires the necessary conviction to lead?


Obama's symbolic "punitive strike," will change nothing on the ground. Assad will emerge unscathed, declare that even the mighty U.S. can't stop him, and continue massacring his citizens, perhaps even with chemical weapons again, knowing how tepid the U.S. response will be. At best, Obama is trying with reluctant half-measures to confront adversaries — Syria, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah — fully committed to victory. Such tentative actions achieve nothing and jeopardize U.S. interests by drawing the U.S. and its allies into a dangerous conflict on the enemy's terms.

Over the last few weeks as the crisis in Syria has come to a head, I’ve found myself in nonstop arguments about what, if anything, to do. I saw dead kids, knew we had bombs, and was fine with dropping bombs on the heads of the people that killed the kids. However, I knew that was probably not a very well thought out position given the complexities of the middle east and that most of what goes on over there sails right over my head.

What I did know, was that throwing my hands up in the air at that momentsyria-refugeejpg-d3383b3de9a5b1d3 was unacceptable to me. From where I stood, we should be trying to figure out if there’s anything we could do before declaring something “none of our business” and walking away. I’d heard too often about the genocides in Darfur and Rwanda and been told so many times through the movies & documentaries about those tragedies that we can “never again” allow that to happen. I believed we would be the height of hypocrites to now ignore a potential genocide as it unfolds before our eyes.

To be clear, I don’t believe we should invade or bomb Syria, yet. I say “yet” because I can’t know what risks the future may reveal, but as of now, I believe that we would end up making things worse for the very children upon whose deaths I found myself outraged. What I eventually had to accept was that this meant more children would die and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.

The problem with Syria is that both sides of the conflict are our enemies and by stopping one, you by default help the other. This means that the only appropriate military action would be to invade, kill both sides of the conflict, install a government, rewrite their constitution, and occupy their country for several decades with permanent bases in the long run. Whether or not this would save more lives is debatable. What’s not debatable is that the people of the United States are far too war-fatigued to even consider such an option. Also, we no longer have T.E. Lawrence to take the lead.

So, clearly I don’t have all the answers about what if anything to do, but I do feel confident that an immediate military response is not a good idea. As Brady Cremeens put it at Conservative Intel last week, “There’s a stark difference between a justifiable war and a wise war, and it’s not an easy line to toe.”

As bankrupt as elected Republican leadership is in Washington vis-à-vis domestic policy, they are completely clueless as it relates to foreign policy. While America continues to become an economic and moral wasteland under this regime, Obama is attempting to spend American treasure helping one nefarious side of an Islamic civil war in Syria — one which involves Iran-allied supporters of Hezbollah (Assad regime) vs. predominantly Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels.

Astoundingly, most GOP leaders are either siding with Obama or are totally insouciant to this reckless fomenting of an Islamic insurrection. Instead of fighting ObamaCare, they are allowing Obama to distract from the upheaval at home by focusing on this inane escapade in Syria.

Most media figures discuss the current foreign policy debate in broad platitudes pitting so-called neo-conservatives vs. libertarians, hawks vs. doves, or interventionists vs. isolationists. But these labels are non-sequiturs to the reality of the current debate. Most mainstream conservatives are not Ron Paul libertarians who don’t support any war on terror. Quite the contrary, they support a robust intervention to repel Islamic terrorism when it threatens our interests. But in the case of Libya, Syria, and Egypt, we are actually intervening on behalf of our enemies.

Granted, Syria is more complicated than the other two examples. Bashar Assad is a sworn enemy of the United States, the closest ally of Iran, and a prolific exporter of terror. In a perfect world, it would be great to overthrow him and stick it to Iran (and their Russian allies). But the reality is that the strongest elements of the insurgency are saturated with Al-Qaeda affiliated extremists, backed by Pan-Islamist Turkish President Recep Erdogen, much like the insurgencies in other countries. Why place American money and weapons in the hands of people who will be just as adversarial to our interests as the current regime?

This is not a matter of opposing intervention for the sake of isolationism; it is a matter of not supporting intervention that is either superfluous or deleterious to our national interests. A “hawkish” stance towards Assad is a dovish stance towards Al-Qaeda. As Sarah Palin noted, in a battle with Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah on one side and Al-Qaeda and Turkey on the other, let Allah sort it out.

This should be a slam dunk opportunity for GOP leaders to oppose a wrongheaded and unpopular intervention, while shifting the focus back to the ObamaCare civil war at home. Yet, House leaders are either ambivalent or downright supportive of Obama’s planned strike on behalf of Al-Qaeda. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell put out his signature mealy-mouthed parsing of words, declining to take a stand on any contentious issue.

“Today the President advised me that he will seek an authorization for the use of force from the Congress prior to initiating any combat operations against Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons. The President’s role as commander-in-chief is always strengthened when he enjoys the expressed support of the Congress.”

So much for the clout and power of being “GOP Leader:”

What are the president’s objectives and how will an attack achieve those objectives? What are his options?

It’s understandable that we want to “do something.” Those pictures of linen-wrapped children, dead from inhaling chemical weapons, are horrifying. But there is only one thing worse than doing nothing – that is doing something that makes things even worse. And whatever we do, our first and foremost goal should be what is best for America.

So what are the president’s options? Here are five:

Option One: Regime Change. We could launch major attacks and destroy Assad’s war making ability, presumably in conjunction with allies and Syrian rebels, so Assad ends up like Libya’s Qaddafi. Ironically, Bush administration NeoCons and Obama Interventionists have finally found common cause — both want to topple Assad. Even President Obama himself said two years ago that Assad "must go."

But, if the last ten years have taught us anything, it should be that toppling dictators doesn’t necessarily lead to something better.

We toppled dictators in Iraq, Libya, and Egypt, and were assured there was a pro-democracy, Western leaning-cadre ready to step in and assume the reins of power. Iraq led to ten years of bloody war, Libya led to Benghazi and Egypt to a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship.

With Syria, we already know that the rebel groups likely to prevail are Al Qaeda affiliates. As bad as Assad is, an Al Qaeda-led Syria would be even worse for America.

It's a cardinal rule of foreign policy that if two of your enemies are trying to destroy each other, don't step in and try to stop them. If we try to unseat Assad, it's doubtful his Iranian and Russian allies would stand silently by. At a minimum, Iran would redouble its efforts to develop nuclear weapons as soon as possible.

Option Two: Limited Attack. We could launch a limited attack to destroy the helicopters and planes that delivered the chemical weapons. According to press reports, the administration is leaning in this direction.

It would give Assad a symbolic public spanking, but the civil war would continue, with both sides more or less where they are today.

It would make good on Obama’s “red line” threat and serve to “punish Assad,” as Secretary Kerry pledged.

The administration is also hoping it would deter Assad, but there is no guarantee he wouldn't use chemical weapons again, since the caches would remain untouched. It’s just as likely that Assad could decide to double down and use chemical weapons again, thus leaving Obama in the uncomfortable position of having to escalate U.S. involvement.

It’s possible the president would be faced with the one thing he wants to avoid and the American people deplore — getting involved in another civil war in the Middle East.

Option Three: Arm the Rebels. We could openly arm and train the Syrian rebels to do the job for us. The question is, which rebels?

This may have been a viable option two years ago, but today even those in favor of arming the rebels admit that the strongest among the many rebel groups are linked to Al Qaeda. As dangerous as Assad possessing chemical weapons might be, Al Qaeda having them would be even worse — Al Qaeda has long sought to get its hands on weapons of mass destruction to use against Americans.

If we arm the good rebels, it would be in hopes they could defeat both the Al Qaeda rebels and the Assad government.

At best, that would put us in the middle of a three-way civil war: we support our rebels, while the Arab oil states support their rebels, and Iran and Russia support the Assad government.

At worst, the Al Qaeda rebels seize our weapons, and use them first against Assad and then against us?

Sound farfetched? That’s what happened in Benghazi.

Option Four: Destroy the Chemical Weapons. According to some military experts, we have non-conventional "agent defeat" weapons designed specifically to neutralize chemical weapons without dispersing toxins into the atmosphere.

One type first punctures chemical weapons containers and then smothers the toxins with neutralizing agents before they can be dispersed.

Other military experts claim these exotic weapons are too experimental, or wouldn’t work, or work only if we first destroyed Syria’s air defenses. They claim if we want to destroy Assad’s chemical weapons, we would need special operations forces, in other words, boots on the ground – an option nobody wants. In either case, we could end up doing the very thing we’re trying to avoid: killing innocent civilians.

Option Five: Delay, Then Do Something Symbolic. President Obama was elected in part because of his opposition to the Iraq war, and criticism that President Bush’s casus belli, Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, never existed.

Every day the evidence seems to mount that the Assad government did use chemical weapons to kill hundreds of innocent women and children. But the evidence is not incontrovertible, and may never be.

Obama could decide to wait for more proof. As long as chemical weapons are not used again, the public clamor to ‘do something’ would abate. The president could then satisfy his “red line” threat by lobbing a few cruise missiles on insignificant targets and call it a day.

But the message would be clear: America’s threats mean nothing. Assad and every other would-be murderous dictator would conclude the international community was unwilling to stop those willing to use weapons of mass destruction. Syria would see no consequence to using use chemical weapons again, and Iran would read it as a green light for their nuclear weapons program.

We are now left with no good choices. Thanks to President Obama’s “red line” threat last year, and his demand that “Assad must go” two years ago, he has put the U.S. between a rock and a hard place. Every parent knows you don’t make threats unless you’re willing to carry them out, since your bluff will always be called. So it should be a caution to all leaders – words don’t deter, only deeds so.

None of these options are risk free, all of them have potential consequences that would hurt Americans near term and long.

The best of the bad lot is to find a way to destroy the chemical weapons caches so they can’t be used against us or our allies, without getting pulled into another conflict. We could then leave the Syrian civil war to the Syrians.

Syria sounds eerily like Iraq, and Libya, and Egypt. The same civil strife could be repeated in Lebanon, Jordan, Bahrain, and maybe even Saudi Arabia in the future.

Syria is the harbinger of a decade, if not a generation, of Middle East conflict as radical Sunni groups square off against radical Shiites. We have to find a way to get off the Middle East merry-go-round of death and destruction that Arab oil has chained us to.

Fifty years ago President Kennedy committed America to landing a man on the moon within a decade. President Obama should similarly commit America to becoming energy self-sufficient and free of Arab oil by the end of his presidency.

He should approve the Keystone Pipeline immediately, and unshackle our oilreporter_henneberg_082913 and natural gas companies so they can develop America’s domestic energy sources. Not only will it give the American economy a much-needed boost, it will allow America to declare its independence from the internecine wars which have plagued the Middle East since Cain slew Abel.

If not, America will find itself, time and time again, caught in the middle of the same kind of ethno-sectarian civil wars that have ensnared us for the last 20 years. Despite spending trillions of dollars and spilling the blood of thousands of Americans, we remain in servitude to Arab oil.

Our only interest in Syria is ensuring that as many Islamists on both sides are killed and keep each other busy so they can’t affect our national interests or threaten Israel. As long as the war is contained to Syria, a stalemate is the best outcome for our purposes so that neither Russia, Iran, Al-Qaeda or other Islamists claim an outright victory. Sadly, in a world of seven billion, there are innocent people killed on a daily basis due to civil wars. But we lack the resources or strategic plan to help those people in Syria without gratuitously tipping the scales to one of our arch enemies.

Some conservatives are concerned about demonstrating an image of weakness to our enemies by not following through with the ‘red line’ threat. Undoubtedly, they are correct about Obama’s self-contradictory policy in a wrongheaded intervention. But it is still a wrongheaded intervention, and the fact that he made the threat to begin with should not engender a need to fix that bad policy with another bad policy decision.

Barack Obama’s presidency has been, mostly, a presidency of words. As he had no actions or experience to point to, he ran on words and talked about how important those words are and how they had meaning. Once elected, and after several years of observing his tenure, his dependence on words over action became the hallmark of his presidency. We mocked his use of teleprompters. We made videos using his own words to show his hypocrisy. And as the world became increasingly aware that we had elected “President Words” our enemies became bolder and enjoyed more freedom to defy international norms. This is, in many ways, how we got here. It was President Obama’s “red line” comments that cornered America into considering action in Syria. For all of our dismissiveness, words may very well have brought us to the brink of World War 3.

During President Bush’s presidency, Compassionate Conservatism was the answer to this problem. It was a dud. It was a dud for the simple reason that it was a lie. It combined liberal actions with conservative words and only grew government. Empathetic Conservatism must find its way into our consciousness. If we don’t learn how to speak to people in a way that is optimistic and helps people see a brighter future while never abandoning our principles or compromising our beliefs, we are destined to continue losing.

Words matter.

Our freedom and way of life should take priority over bailing out a beleaguered group of Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Qaeda fighters. It’s time Republicans realize that and let Allah sort out Syria and the rest of the Muslim world.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Would Obama’s Grandfather Look Like Delbert Belton

"A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts." — James Madison

I have been extremely upset at the abject cowardice and hypocrisy of Barack Obama for ignoring the senseless thrill killing of Australian exchange student Christopher Lane after suffering multiple rhetorical compound fractures in attempting to create racial animus over the justified killing of thuglet Trayvon Martin. (When questioned about this, the White House spokesjuvenile, Josh Earnest, gave his trademarked stunned mullet stare and said he wasn’t familiar with the case.)

This was even a more disturbing response considering this senseless killing had been all over the news for several days and even the Prime Minister of Australia had commented on Lane’s brutal murder by three black tugs in Oklahoma. If nothing else Obama owes Australia a few words of condolence. But, you see he can’t because the killers look like his would-be sons.

Obama had another chance to redeem himself — but again he has remained silent. While it is understandable that he would be unable to empathize with a young white man gunned down while minding his own business, another case has emerged that he could have commented on.

Last Wednesday night 88 year old Battle of Okinawa veteran, Delbert Belton, was sitting in front of the Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge in Spokane, WA. Around 8pm he was approached by two black teenagers, now identified as 16 year old Demetrius Glenn and 16 year old Kenan Adams Kinard, who proceeded to beat him to death.

As we have been told so many times, Barack Obama’s maternal grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was also an elderly white guy and World War II veteran. And he alleges in his multi-volume serial memoir that he has fond memories of Dunham. Obama could not find a microphone someplace to talk about how similar Belton was to his grandfather since he can’t find it in him to be “familiar” with the Lane murder after inciting mob violence towards a man who defended himself from a beating much like that Belton received.

"Ayeee I knocked out 5 woods since Zimmerman court!" young James Edwards tweeteddemetrius-glenn-delbert-belton-kenan-adams-kinard on July 15 in the wake of George Zimmerman's acquittal for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Edwards's tweets surfaced after he and two of his homies were charged with killing Australian baseball player Chris Lane in Duncan, Oklahoma, last Friday.

For the record, "woods" is short for peckerwoods, a derogatory term for white people. If Edwards, who is black, knocked out five woods as claimed, he would hardly be unique. As Colin Flaherty chillingly documents in his frequently updated book, White Girl Bleed A Lot, the "knock-out game" has become something of a recreational outlet for bored black youths.

This "game" is just one form of black-on-nonblack assaults. Although hard to quantify, they seem to have intensified after the media put a racial spin on the Martin shooting eighteen months ago. Occasionally, the attackers have made the link explicit, claiming they were "doing it for Trayvon," revenge being a more honorable motive than boredom.

Two weeks after the Martin story surfaced, President Obama had the chance to defuse tensions. "Obviously this is a tragedy," said Obama solemnly in response to a planted question. After some empty bromides about everyone pulling together and the like, the president cut to the chase: "But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon — If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon."

By this time, the White House had access to all the information the Sanford Police Department did. The courageous step for Obama would have been to defend the Sanford Police Department and to demand an end to the media lynching of George Zimmerman. As an African American, he had more latitude to do this than a white politician would have. Instead, he chose to identify fully with the black "victim."

If Obama's son would have looked like Trayvon, he would have also looked like James Edwards and Chancey Luna, both charged with first-degree murder in Lane's death. Although south central Oklahoma would seem to be a long way from south central LA, the national media have created a dysfunctional culture accessible to all disaffected youths everywhere, even the occasional white kid like getaway driver Michael Jones.

Was it a thrill kill or part of a gang initiation? That would be the bushwhacking of Chris Lane, an Aussie college kid and baseball star. Lane was gunned down running along a country road near Duncan, Oklahoma.

Does it matter what motivated Allen Luna and James Francis Edwards, Jr., Chris Lane's accused killers, and Michael Dewayne Jones, an accessory, to off a young man with a promising future who was just going about the routine of his life on a summer's day?

In one sense it doesn't matter. Whether those three gangsta-infatuated creeps were thrill killing or murdering an innocent to be "made" (as the mob is fond of saying) as Crips just points to the rot — the nihilism — that has debauched subsets of American society. Terming this nihilism a cancer is cliché. Cancer isn't communicable, as best I know.

What the nation suffers is leprosy — a scary cultural and societal decay that is only more advanced in many black and Hispanic urban communities. It's present, too, in a growing number of white underclass communities (here and in Europe). For too long, that leprosy has been spreading to the broader culture with all its attendant sickness.

We have the progressives to thank for the contagion. In fact, let's thank the left forAustralian Player Random Slaying Luna, Edwards, and Jones right now. Over the decades, the left's compassionate government policies have done to the black underclass what earlier Americans did to the Indians: made them dependents on Uncle Sam. Indians were welfareized and quarantined on reservations.

The nation's hoods and increasingly, barrios are modern-day reservations, where independence, initiative, self-worth, and self-respect have been stripped from residents. Where family, community, and church have been debased in favor of the government handout machine and minority leaders who pimp their own people for gain. And a white liberal political establishment that profits handsomely from subjugated minorities.

But human nature being what it is — possessing deep needs for independence, self-sufficiency, and self-value — means underclass blacks and Hispanics seek out perverse ways of expressing those needs. Gangs are replacements for families; they lend identity, security, and worth. They're enterprises where the ambitious, with talent and moxy, seek to better themselves — albeit through violence and crime.

There's also the anti-traditionalism, anti-establishmentism, and permissiveness that grew out of the left and the left's spawn, the 60s youth movement. This ethos of break the rules and do as you feel hasn't liberated the nation's underclasses; it's robbed them of anchoring principles and certitudes. In smashing compasses, progressives have served only to cut adrift millions of Americans, launching them on a sea where everything's made up as one goes and right and wrong are matters of perception and opinion.

The 60s ethos hasn't done much for the middle and upper classes, either — at least, among those segments that subscribe to it. Relativism and juvenile self-obsession and indulgence only hasten the rot.

Gangs and violence in underclass communities have been around long before Ellis Island, you say? True, indeed. But the Irish, Italians, and Jews, for example, didn't stay in the shanties and tenements. There was something called "upward mobility," which these ethnic groups aspired to. Poor immigrants and their families cycled through the nation's Hell's Kitchens and into the mainstream, adapting happily to the norms, values, and virtues that comprised traditional America.

Today, blacks and other underclass Americans are victims of generational poverty and welfare dependency. They're trapped not by lack of potential, but lack of social structures that instill virtues and channel their energies into constructive pursuits. Even government schools are nearly useless. The important social structures are family, neighborhood, and church; all were once the sinews binding poor communities together and giving poor kids the chance for better lives.

Does any sensible American really like rap or gangsta rap? Music full of anger, hate for authority — the police, in particular — and denigration of women. Full of talk of law breaking and killing. Full of idiotic preening and braggadocio about being unschooled and unmotivated toward conventional success. Does anyone think that wearing pants down around one's buttocks, tattooing one's body, and piercing one's nose, ears, tongue, nipples, and whatever else is indicative of anything other than the atavistic? Affectations that have seeped into the middle and upper classes.

Other than being a name on street signs and a day off in January, does Martin Luther King, Jr., matter much to urban black kids anymore? King who dressed in suits and spoke impeccable English? Who led a nonviolent civil rights movement and preached integration and unity among the races, not hate and division? Who wanted mainstreaming and conventional success for blacks?

Or Jackie Robinson, the subject of a recent movie, 42. One might dare say that Jackie Robinson is a stronger role model for nonblack kids than he is for poor black kids nowadays (if they even know who Robinson was and what he achieved).

The murder of Chris Lane makes apparent the advance of violent black urban culture into the hinterlands. Apparent — not recent, and it's been further facilitated by the internet and social media.

The accused murderers and their accomplice were "wannabe" Crips, according to James Johnson, a black man, who reported that the three teens were hiding out in a car at -- of all places — Duncan's Immanuel Baptist Church. Johnson says that the trio had threatened his teenage son on Facebook and feared his boy was next to be shot. Johnson says that Luna, Edwards, and Lane had attempted to recruit his son, but Johnson had shielded him from the teens. The trio, if Johnson is correct, had a "join or die" ultimatum for his son.

Said Johnson in a Melbourne (Australia) Herald Sun report:

"I've been living here all my life and we never had this, but in the past few years gangs from Lawton have been coming here," Johnson said of the Crips.”

Again per the Herald Sun, Johnson furnished this background about the accused killers:

Johnson's son also attends Duncan High School, where suspect Luna and Edwards Jr. were students. He said he knew both boys, and described them as "troublemakers" and "bullies" who had "no parental supervision."

Given the social media depicting the trio making gang-like gestures and one handling a rifle, these teens were infatuated by gang culture and gang violence. But Luna, Edwards, and Jones could have been more than taken with the Crips; they might have been initiating themselves into the gang.

The Crips and other street gangs often require an act of violence -- up to and including murder — to initiate as a gangsta, or as the Crips say, become a "cuzz."

Robert Walker, a retired state and federal law enforcement officer and gang expert, runs the website "Gangs or Us," a gang identification resource.

Of the Crips and Bloods, Walker writes:

“In the early 1980's, members of both gangs surfaced outside Los Angeles and the rest of California, primarily to sell cocaine. Investigative reports in 1991 placed Crips or Bloods in 32 States and 113 cities. However, these migrations are not orchestrated by any sort of national leadership. Instead, criminal acts often are committed or directed by individual leaders (who change frequently), rather than as the result of some hierarchical or collective decision making process.

The Crips is a loose association of some 200 gangs, many of which are at war with one another, and none of whom recognizes or exerts any kind of central authority. Individual gangs are equally marginal in their organization. Most are loosely knit coalitions of small, autonomous cliques.”

The Crips seem like Al Qaida precursors, with an emphasis on autonomy and independent action. The Crips, Bloods, and other gangs are opportunists, whose members have sought out communities (markets, if you will) where they can startup or dominate the drug trade.

That the Crips and gang culture enticed three Duncan juveniles and inspired them to commit a random act of murder is notable only because of the place and the victim. For Duncan citizens, Chris Lane's murder was novel and shocking. In inner-cities — hoods — across the land, senseless gang murders and mayhem are sorry ways of life.

What passes for “leadership” in the modern “civil-rights” community has frequently compared the shooting of Trayvon Martin to the brutal murder of black teenager Emmett Till in the 1950s. One of the people who did this is billionaire Oprah Winfrey, fresh from nearly destroying the life of an innocent Swiss shop clerk by falsely accusing her of racism. Asked about Winfrey’s comparison on MSNBC Friday morning, Emmett Till’s cousin Simeon Wright replied:

“The comparison to me is similar; there are a lot of parallels between Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin. Number one: Trayvon was killed by a white boy that got out of his truck armed to the teeth — chased him down, did kill him. And then the jury did the same thing they did in 1955 with Emmett Till: they came back with a non-guilty vote. That broke my heart. That tells me that things have not changed as much as people would like to say they have changed. I asked my wife this morning if she had ever been consulted on one of these polls. I’ve never been asked about one of these polls.”

Every single thing Simeon Wright said about George Zimmerman is a lie. He’s not white, he’s not a “boy,” he wasn’t “armed to the teeth,” and he didn’t chase Trayvon Martin down. Zimmerman killed Martin in self-defense, quite unlike the heartless murderers of Emmett Till. Of course, the MSNBC anchor, Craig Melvin, challenged not a word of this ludicrous slander.

This is about more than the production of Trayvon mythology, which proceeds at a furious pace, moving the manufactured false narrative further and further away from the facts introduced during Zimmerman’s trial. Oprah Winfrey’s cooked-up anecdote about racist Swiss clerks refusing to show her an expensive handbag, because they assumed a black woman could not afford such luxuries, was not about Winfrey deciding to annihilate a random store employee for kicks. I doubt Winfrey gave the clerk a second thought. She clearly never imagined that her version of events would be challenged. She was just trying to throw out a quick talk-show-ready anecdote about how racism persists around the world, even in nations renowned for their peaceful tolerance, never mind squalid, hateful America.

The point of all this is to manufacture despair. The polls Simeon Wright disparaged, by claiming he and his wife have never been consulted for one, are polls about the improving state of race relations in the United States. He’s saying those polls are full of baloney, because there’s still racism everywhere. And he doesn’t mean the kind of racism that led a couple of teenage black gang-banger wanabes to shoot Australian college student Chris Lane in the back while he was out jogging. Wright means institutionalized white racism, a fog of hatred and disdain that hasn’t cleared much since 1965.

The most obvious difference between the Left/media response to the Lane murder, and the Trayvon Martin shooting, is that mighty efforts were made to portray George Zimmerman as the agent of a cruel and racist system, not merely a trigger-happy racist himself. He became a piñata for gun-control activists. Loud and repeated warnings were issued that a legion of heavily armed, bloodthirsty homeowners and neighborhood-watch volunteers lurked from coast to coast, waiting to prey upon any young black man who wandered into their suburban kill zones.

The aftermath of the Zimmerman trial has been a concerted nationwide effort to attack Stand Your Ground laws, which had nothing to do with the shooting of Trayvon Martin but they’re supposedly a totem of the evil system that keeps minorities down. The group that camped out in Florida’s capitol for a month, demanding a special legislative session to erase the state’s Stand Your Ground law, called itself the “Dream Defenders.” The implication is that the dreams of innocent young people are under attack because of SYG laws, which is absolute rubbish but quite consistent with the sustained atmosphere of despair hanging over America.

The racial grievance industry isn’t the only smokestack pumping into that atmosphere. Despair suffuses every aspect of our political culture. Those who would rule us as our permanent protectors want us to believe ourselves surrounded by unbeatable villains. Take one step onto the frozen tundra of the free market, and you’ll be torn apart by corporate wolves. You’ll need tax-raising politicians to help you get even with the rich bastards who stole your rightful prosperity. (Excepting millionaire politicians, entertainers, and athletes, of course. They earn their fortunes!)

ObamaCare is a broken-down wreck, and if any private corporation had been responsible for it, you’d be told to view it as a swindle whose perpetrators belong in jail but instead, the people who want to shut it down are depicted as callous brutes who enjoy watching poor people get sick. You’ll die without government insurance subsidies, you’ll starve without food stamps, you’ll go broke without a government-managed financial system, the Earth will be destroyed without government-enforced environmental orthodoxy, and if politicians weren’t insisting on higher pay plus mandated benefits, you’d be enslaved by evil corporate overlords.

The most powerful President since FDR, a man whose assumed powers would be labeled despotic by the Founding Fathers, excuses his failures by claiming he’s just a victim of these shadowy racist villains, too. He’s not responsible for anything that’s happened since 2009, no matter how many times he seizes new executive powers. The dead-parrot economy and moribund job market he’s delivered are the best you have a right to expect; it would be even worse, if President Obama hadn’t done whatever he did with all those trillions you’re supposed to forget he spent. If the government borrows or spends a dollar less, America will collapse into a pile of dust. If the dull, selfish people of the United States reclaim an inch of the ground they have lost to the State, mere anarchy will be loosed upon the world. Despair, helplessness, doom.

We are actively encouraged to see ourselves as children. Grown men are frequently referred to as “boys,” and officially treated as such by ObamaCare. Teenagers sigh that they have nothing meaningful to do, and nothing is expected of them. They’re treated the way earlier generations would regard children half their age. Prolonged adolescence is another form of despair. People who are held responsible for nothing see little reason to make extraordinary effort. Responsibility is a core component of dignity, liberty, and achievement. If people are not accountable for their failures, who cares about their successes?

All of this is alien to human nature. It is enforced upon us by a vast political system armed with gigantic resources. In our hearts, we know we’re not supposed to rely on other people’s money for food and shelter. We know we’re meant to compete and cooperate with our fellows, not regard ourselves as hapless victims of their perpetual disdain. Economist Walter Williams, who is a person of color, recently observed that competitive sports teams don’t accept the low standards and excuses for failure found throughout the educational system, and black people do just fine on those teams. When much is expected, much is accomplished and the soul of every young person, black or white, boy or girl, yearns to hear the call to excellence.

Perhaps one reason kids love sports is that big games are played on lofty peaks that ride high above the fog of despair. After years of trudging through dumbed-down courses, lowered standards, and assurances that the deck is forever stacked against them, they long to step onto a brightly-lit field of honor and show what they can really do, win some victories, earn some applause. It’s not just about earning big bucks as a star athlete or entertainer, although the money is nice too. It’s the dream of commanding respect, standing tall, exceeding expectations, and taking your well-deserved seat in a great brotherhood of equals.

But who respects hapless children who believe they can never win? If you accept the right of the State to use compulsive force to correct inequality of outcome, you believe the targets of that force are your enemies, they deserve to suffer, and you could never beat them on your own. You can’t beat any of the Left’s boogeymen on your own. Your perpetual fear and despair are the source of their power.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Have the Inmates Finally Taken Over the Asylum?

"Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom." —John Adams

When the President Obama’s Pentagon declared the mass shootings at Fort Hood by Army Major Nidal Hasan as “workplace violence” I thought that political correctness by the left had gone too far. Even when he shouted “Allāhu Akbar” as he emptied his 9mm magazines on unarmed soldiers and civilians. This refusal by the Pentagon to recognize this as an act of terrorism caused the survivors of this attack to lose all benefits owed them by the military. It was and still is a gross miscarriage of justice for the victims.

If you thought that was bad we now have Air Force claiming in their training manuals that our Founding Fathers were extremists. According to the Air Force George Washington would not be welcome in the modern U.S. military. Neither would Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin, according to Department of Defense training documents that depict the Founding Fathers as extremists and conservative organizations as “hate groups.”

“This document deserves a careful examination by military leadership,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton told Fox News. “Congress needs to conduct better oversight and figure out what the heck is going on in our military.”

Included in the 133-pages of lesson plans is a student guide entitled “Extremism.”

The DOD warns students to be aware “that many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights and how to make the world a better place.”

Under a section titled “Extremist Ideologies,” the document states, “In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.

According to a report in the Daily Caller:

“Besides a brief reference to 9/11 and another to the Sudanese civil war, the guide makes no mention of Islamic extremism.

The guide also repeatedly tells readers to use the Southern Poverty Law Center as a resource in identifying hate groups. The SPLC has previously come under fire for its leftist bias and tendency to identify conservative organizations such as the American Family Association as hate groups.

In August 2012, an attempted terrorist attack occurred at the Family Research Council, another conservative organization the SPLC has branded a hate group. FRC president Tony Perkins said the SPLC’s designation prompted the attack, stating the gunman “was given a license to shoot by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

In a statement, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton slammed the Department of Defense documents for what he described as their bias against conservatives.

“The Obama administration has a nasty habit of equating basic conservative values with terrorism. And now, in a document full of claptrap, its Defense Department suggests that the Founding Fathers, and many conservative Americans, would not be welcome in today’s military,” said Fitton. ”And it is striking that some the language in this new document echoes the IRS targeting language of conservative and Tea Party investigations. After reviewing this document, one can’t help but worry for the future and morale of our nation’s armed forces.”

The training guide warned that participation in groups that are regarded as extremist organizations is “incompatible with military service and is, therefore prohibited.”

“It’s craziness,” Fitton said. “It’s political correctness run amok.”

The training documents also focus on those who cherish individual liberty.

“Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publically espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights and how to make the world a better place.”

The document relied heavily on information obtained from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leftwing organization that has a history of labeling conservative Christian organizations like the Family Research Council as “hate groups.”

This policy is beyond political correctness it is an obscene attack on our Founders, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Our Founders were not extremists they were classical liberals in the sense of John Locke and Montesquieu. The believed in liberty, private property, and individual rights. They authored a document that became a road map for the greatest form of self-governance that was known to man and still is.

Was Thomas Jefferson an extremist when he authored the Declaration of Independence? Were James Madison and George Mason extremists when they authored the Bill of Rights? Were James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay extremists when they wrote the Federalist Papers in support of the ratification of the Constitution? Was George Washington an extremist when he acted as the president of the Constitutional Convention? These were men of honor, vision and a dedication to a republican form of self-government something we are drifting away from every day the progressive masterminds hold power. I doubt that the authors of this inane teaching document have ever read even one of the Federalist Papers.

When a cadet is enrolled in one of the military academies they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution — not to worship Barack Obama. This is just one more example of the inmates taking control of the Washington asylum.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Transformation of the American Republic

“Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.” — Article II, Section 9 of the Communist Manifesto

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont were sent by the French government to study the American prison system. In his later letters Tocqueville indicates that he and Beaumont used their official business as a pretext to study American society instead. They arrived in New York City in May of that year and spent nine months traveling the United States, studying the prisons, and collecting information on American society, including its religious, political, and economic character. These studies became the basis of his 1840 book “Democracy in America.” In that book he wrote about the growing power of a central 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. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Thus it every day renders the exercise of the free agency of man less useful and less frequent; it circumscribes the will within a narrower range and gradually robs a man of all the uses of himself. The principle of equality has prepared men for these things; it has predisposed men to endure them and often to look on them as benefits.

After having thus successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” ― Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.

How prophetic Mr. de Tocqueville was.

Tocqueville believed that the Puritans established the principle of sovereignty of the people in the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut. The American Revolution then popularized this principle, followed by the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which developed institutions to manage popular will. While Tocqueville speaks highly of the America's Constitution, he believes that the mores or "habits of mind" of the American people play a more prominent role in the protection of freedom. Those mores being:

  • Township democracy
  • Mores, Laws, and Circumstances
  • Tyranny of the Majority (Federalist No. 10)
  • Religion and beliefs
  • The Family
  • Individualism
  • Associations
  • Self-Interest Rightly Understood
  • Materialism

This is a far cry from the writings of Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto, published a mere 8 years after Democracy in America.

Mark Levine writes if his latest book The Liberty Amendments:

What was to be a relatively innocuous federal government, operating from a defined enumeration of specific grants of power, has become an ever-present and unaccountable force. It is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, contractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care provider, and pension guarantor. Moreover, with aggrandized police powers, what it does not control directly it bans or mandates by regulation. For example, the federal government regulates most things in your bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen, as well as the mortgage you hold on your house. It designs your automobile and dictates the kind of fuel it uses. It regulates your baby’s toys, crib, and stroller; plans your children’s school curriculum and lunch menu; and administers their student loans in college. At your place of employment, the federal government oversees everything from the racial, gender, and age diversity of the workforce to the hours, wages, and benefits paid. Indeed, the question is not what the federal government, the question is not what the federal government regulates, but what it does not. And it makes you wonder—how can a people incapable of selecting their own light bulbs and toilets possess enough competence to vote for their own rulers and fill out complicated tax returns?”

The illimitable regulatory activity, with which the federal government torments, harasses, and coerces the individual’s private and economic behavior, is the progeny of a colossal federal edifice with inexhaustible energy for societal manipulation and change. In order to satisfy its gluttonous appetite for programmatic schemes, the federal government not only hurriedly digests the Treasury’s annual revenue, funded with confiscatory taxes on a diminishing number of productive citizens, but desserts on the wealth not yet created by generations not yet born with unconstrained indebtedness. And what havoc has this wrought.

The federal government consumes nearly 25 percent of all goods and services produced each year by the American people. Yearly deficits routinely exceed $1 trillion dollars. The federal government has incurred a fiscal operating debt of more than $17 trillion, far exceeding the total value of the annual economic wealth created by the American people, which is expected to reach about $26 trillion in a decade. It has accumulated unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs exceeding $90 trillion, which is growing at $4.6–6.9 trillion a year. There is not enough money on the planet to make good on the federal government’s financial obligations. Hence, the Federal Reserve Board has swung into action with multiple versions of “quantitative easing,” which is nothing more than the federal government monetizing its own debt — or buying its own debt—with a combination of borrowing, issuing itself credit, and printing money amounting to trillions of dollars. Of course, this has the eventual effect of devaluing the currency, fueling significant inflation or deflation, and destabilizing the economy at some future point.

But like the laws of physics, there is no escaping the laws of economics. As these fiscal and monetary malpractices escalate, for there is no end in sight, the federal government will turn increasingly reckless and demanding, taking an even harder line against the individual’s accumulation of wealth and retention of private property. For example, when the federal income tax was instituted one hundred years ago, the top individual income tax rate was 7 percent. Today the top rate is about 40 percent with proposals to push it to nearly 50 percent. There is also serious talk from the governing elite about instituting a national value-added tax (VAT) on top of existing federal taxes, which is a form of sales tax, and divesting citizens of their 401(k) private pension plans. Even the rapaciousness of these policies will not be enough to fend off the severe and widespread misery unleashed from years of profligacy. Smaller nations such as Cyprus, Spain, and Greece provide a window into the future, as their borrowing has reached its limit. Moreover, unable to print money, their day of reckoning is either looming or arrived. Therefore, bank accounts, other investments, and wealth generally are subject to governmental impoundment, sequester, and theft. The individual’s liberty, inextricably linked to his private property, is submerged in the quicksand of a government that is aggregating authority and imploding simultaneously.

What, then, is the answer? Again, Tocqueville offers guidance. Looking back at the Constitutional Convention some fifty years afterward, he observed that

“It is new in history of society to see a great people turn a calm and scrutinizing eye upon itself when apprised by the legislature that the wheels of its government are stopped, to see it carefully examine the extent of the evil, and patiently wait two whole years until a remedy is discovered, to which it voluntarily submitted without its costing a tear or a drop of blood from mankind.”

It is asking too much of today’s governing masterminds and their fanatical adherents to reform the product of their own fatuity — that is, the continuing disassembly of the American Republic.

“During the ratification period, the Federalists repeatedly assured the Anti-Federalists and other skeptics of the proposed federal government’s limits. For example, Madison argued in Federalist 14,

“In the first place it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.”

In Federalist 45 he insisted:

“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.”

In Federalist 46, Madison asserted that:

“The powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and consequential annihilation of the State governments, must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them.”

Madison’s declarations were not unique among the Constitution’s proponents but rather were commonplace. And without these assurances — and the additional pledge that the First Congress would offer amendments to the Constitution further ensuring that individual and state sovereignty would be safeguarded against the new federal government (what became the Bill of Rights, including the Ninth and Tenth Amendments) — the Constitution would not have been ratified. Thus, the Constitution, drafted by delegates who were sent by the states to Philadelphia in 1787 and ratified subsequently by delegates in the state conventions, preserved the decisive role of the states in the American Republic.”

It requires emphasis that the states established the American Republic and, through the Constitution, retained for themselves significant authority to ensure the republic’s durability. This is not to say that the states are perfect governing institutions. Many are no more respectful of unalienable rights than is the federal government. But the issue is how best to preserve the civil society in a world of imperfect people and institutions. The answer, the Framers concluded, is to diversify authority with a combination of governing checks, balances, and divisions, intended to prevent the concentration of unbridled power in the hands of a relative few imperfect people.”

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the U.S., was, until Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama came along, considered as the worst president in U.S. history. But Jimmy Carter, to his credit, in 1976, did say, "I am not going to use the federal government's authority deliberately to circumvent the natural inclination of people to live in ethnic homogeneous neighborhoods. I think it is good to maintain the homogeneity of neighborhoods if they've been established that way." So chalk one up for Carter.

Too bad (for us) that Obama can't (or won't) say the same. Obama, through Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is pushing "Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing," (AFFH) a program to "allow the feds to track diversity in America's neighborhoods and then push policies to change those it deems discriminatory."

Guess who gets to decide if discrimination is present. Why, HUD, naturally. This is the definition of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The AFFH  (FR-5173) states:

“Through this rule, HUD proposes to provide HUD program participants with more effective means to affirmatively further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act, which is Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. The Fair Housing Act not only prohibits discrimination but, in conjunction with other statutes, directs HUD's program participants to take steps proactively to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities for all. As acknowledged by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and many stakeholders, advocates, and program participants, the current practice of affirmatively furthering fair housing carried out by HUD grantees, which involves an analysis of impediments to fair housing choice and a certification that the grantee will affirmatively further fair housing, has not been as effective as had been envisioned.

This rule accordingly proposes to refine existing requirements with a fair housing assessment and planning process that will better aid HUD program participants fulfill this statutory obligation and address specific comments the GAO raised. To facilitate this new approach, HUD will provide states, local governments, insular areas, and public housing agencies (PHAs), as well as the communities they serve, with data on patterns of integration and segregation; racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty; access to education, employment, low-poverty, transportation, and environmental health, among other critical assets; disproportionate housing needs based on the classes protected under the Fair Housing Act; data on individuals with disabilities and families with children; and discrimination. From these data, program participants will evaluate their present environment to assess fair housing issues, identify the primary determinants that account for those issues, and set forth fair housing priorities and goals.

The benefit of this approach is that these priorities and goals will then better inform program participant's strategies and actions by improving the integration of the assessment of fair housing through enhanced coordination with current planning exercises. This proposed rule further commits HUD to greater engagement and better guidance for program participants in fulfilling their obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. With this new clarity through guidance, a template for the assessment, and a HUD-review process, program participants should achieve more meaningful outcomes that affirmatively further fair housing.”

This is will be the final act of Obama’s desire to transform the American Republic into the Communist dream of his father. As stated in Article II, Section 9 of the Communist Manifesto:

“The combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.”

This would blend all neighborhoods into the communal society Barack Obama and his henchmen on the left desire. Of course certain neighborhoods would get a pass. They would be the neighborhoods where the elite reside. After all socialism is for the people not for the socialist — the elite are made of finer clay.

The AFFH program will require HUD to try to remedy what it considers segregation and discrimination in neighborhoods through data collection and the use of a massive database.  Data from this so-called "discrimination database" will be used with transportation and infrastructure planning, housing financing policies, and zoning laws to alleviate what HUD deems as discrimination and segregation.  Just what America needs: another government database.  Can anyone say "NSA"?

According to HUD, AFFH will "provide HUD program participants with more effective means to affirmatively further the purposes and policies of the Fair Housing Act, which is Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968," which "directs HUD's program participants to take steps proactively to overcome historic patterns of segregation, promote fair housing choice, and foster inclusive communities for all." Just like Marx proposed.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan introduced this plan in July at the NAACP convention. Donovan said:

“Unfortunately, in too many of our hardest hit communities, no matter how hard a child or her parents work, the life chances of that child, even her lifespan, are determined by the zip code she grows up in. This is simply wrong.” (See my blog entitled Another Infringement From The Administrative State.)

HUD and Donovan are reverting to the old and well-worn Progressive/Democrat/Liberal playbook of comparing apples with oranges in an effort to get their way, to try to gather data that will support their position so HUD (and Obama) can act as it desires, to impose his will upon us.

HUD blames poverty on zip codes, something that studies have not supported, rather than other socio-economic factors that studies have shown to contribute to poverty. For example, Dr. David Hilfiker, in his book Poverty in Urban America: Its Causes and Cures, says: "Causes of poverty are always multiple, interrelated, and mutually reinforcing. It is the combined, intertwined effect of these various factors that is so intractable." Hilfiker lists several causes:

  • Racial Discrimination: "the history of discrimination helped to create the ghetto environment."
  • Segregation: "Continuing, imposed, severe segregation of African Americans from the rest of society is the single most important cause of urban black poverty"
  • Education: "Because elementary and secondary schools are primarily funded through local taxes, cities with large numbers of poor people have fewer resources per child and are therefore less able to fund decent education" (emphasis in the original).
  • Health Care: "Poor people, therefore, cannot afford to purchase insurance on their own, so they remain uncovered, spending significant percentages of their income on doctor or emergency room visits, especially if they have young children."
  • Criminal Justice System: "Since ex-cons find it much harder to get jobs, the impact of the criminal justice system on poverty is doubly harsh."

Whether you agree with Hilfiker or not is not at issue here. The fact is, Hilfiker's list does not include zip codes. For HUD, it's all about the acquisition of power and for Obama it’s the transformation of the Republic and the elimination of private property.

Hilfiker concludes by stating, "As long as ghettos exist, most of the people who live there will be poor." Gosh, I didn't realize that ghetto-creating segregation was imposed on anyone. Did I miss something here? I thought that imposing segregation was unlawful. I guess that AFFH, by imposing HUD's will, will be able to eliminate ghettos one zip code at a time. Imposing segregation: bad; imposing AFFH: good. Or so HUD thinks. Consistency is not one of HUD's strengths.

Of the AFFH program, Edward Pinto, of the American Enterprise Institute, said:

“This is just the latest of a series of attempts by HUD to social engineer the American people. It started with public housing and urban renewal, which failed spectacularly back in the 50's and 60's. They tried it again in the 90's when they wanted to transform house finance, do away with down payments, and the result was millions of foreclosures and financial collapse.”

For HUD, history and past performance doesn't count. As Thomas Sowell stated:

“It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.”

And from Rob Astorino, of the Westchester County Executive (the head of the executive branch of the Westchester County NY government), we get this perspective:

“What they [Donovan and HUD] are trying to do is to say discrimination and zoning is the same thing. They are not. Discrimination won't be tolerated. I won't tolerate it. Zoning though, protects what can and can't be built in a neighborhood.”

As Marilyn Assenheim writing in the Patriot Update states:

“The Imperial President has seized another chunk of our freedom…again. Loss of freedom begins with baby steps. Perhaps when one’s high-water usage toilet is confiscated in favor of “water saving” models that must be flushed three times to do the same job as one flush from the original. Then, suddenly, we find that government mandated healthcare is now the law of the land. Involvement is mandatory and is being governed through the yet-to-be-fettered IRS. Failure to participate results in escalating fines which become usurious, rapidly. Now, here comes the regime’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. If you think where and how you live is exclusively up to you, think again.

The Lyin’ King (Barack Obama) will not be satisfied until every man, woman and child in the nation has had their freedom squashed under his rapacious thumb. HUD has taken community organizing nationwide and no one is immune. Call AFFH what it is; it is: The Lyin’ King’s recreation of America. The steps aren’t tiny anymore.”

We are losing our freedoms one step at a time. AFFH is just the latest manifestation of that loss.

On a tangential note, where do Carter and Obama rank as presidents? Interestingly, in a poll conducted by Siena College (2010), and published by US News and World Report, two hundred thirty eight presidential scholars ranked Barack Obama as 15th. But the poll's validity can be questioned, as the scholars ranked Obama as 6th in imagination, 7th in communication ability, 8th in intelligence, and 10th in ability to compromise. I guess that the "presidential scholars" were hand-picked by Siena College for their ability to ignore what Obama is currently doing and provide the rankings it sought. I certainly would recommend passing on Siena College for a college education. By the way, the poll ranked Carter 32nd.