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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Tyranny of our Ever Expanding Government

“Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known and less fixed?” — James Madison, Federalist No. 62 — 1788

When writing about the tyranny of a mutable government and the legislature passing long and complicated laws of which no one could comprehend and obey James Madison raises the very forceful point. He stated that citizens will find it very difficult to obey the law if it is constantly changing (“mutable government”), either by growing enormously in size to be beyond the grasp ordinary people, or by being incoherent, or being repealed or revised before they are promulgated.

Today we have the situation where massive and complicated laws, like ObamaCare (over 3,000 pages) are passed without having been read or debated by the legislators themselves, let alone discussed in the press and by the people. When this sad state has been reached, the law itself, as Madison eloquently says, “poisons the blessings of liberty.” James Madison stated in Federalist No. 62:

“To trace the mischievous effects of a mutable government would fill a volume. I will hint a few only, each of which will be perceived to be a source of innumerable others.

In the first place, it forfeits the respect and confidence of otherJames_Madison nations, and all the advantages connected with national character. An individual who is observed to be inconstant to his plans, or perhaps to carry on his affairs without any plan at all, is marked at once by all prudent people, as a speedy victim to his own unsteadiness and folly. His more friendly neighbors may pity him, but all will decline to connect their fortunes with his: and not a few will seize the opportunity of making their fortunes out of his. One nation is to another, what one individual is to another; with this melancholy distinction perhaps, that the former, with fewer of the benevolent emotions than the latter, are under fewer restraints also from taking undue advantage of the indiscretions of each other. Every nation, consequently, whose affairs betray a want of wisdom and stability, may calculate on every loss which can be sustained from the more systematic policy of its wiser neighbors. But the best instruction on this subject is unhappily conveyed to America by the example of her own situation. She finds that she is held in no respect by her friends; that she is the derision of her enemies; and that she is a prey to every nation which has an interest in speculating on her fluctuating councils and embarrassed affairs.

The internal effects of a mutable policy are still more calamitous. It poisons the blessing of liberty itself. It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?

Another effect of public instability is the unreasonable advantage it gives to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed few over the industrious and uniformed mass of the people. Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any way affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens. This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the FEW, not for the MANY.

In another point of view, great injury results from an unstable government. The want of confidence in the public councils damps every useful undertaking, the success and profit of which may depend on a continuance of existing arrangements. What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not but that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed? What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government? In a word, no great improvement or laudable enterprise can go forward which requires the auspices of a steady system of national policy.

But the most deplorable effect of all is that diminution of attachment and reverence which steals into the hearts of the people, towards a political system which betrays so many marks of infirmity, and disappoints so many of their flattering hopes. No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.”

In Federalist Paper 10, probably the most important of the Federalist Papers, James Madison, writing as Publius, addresses the Tyranny of the Majority trough Factions.

“Complaints are everywhere heard from our most considerate and virtuous citizens, equally the friends of public and private faith and of public and personal liberty, that our governments are too unstable, that the public good is disregarded in the conflicts of rival parties, and that measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority. However anxiously we may wish that these complaints had no foundation, the evidence of known facts will not permit us to deny that they are in some degree true.”

As I have stated in previous blogs in 2007, Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules, including 61 major regulations.” In this context, it is irrelevant who resides in the White House or holds the House speaker’s gavel. America is not a nation of laws, but of rules. Only a renewed cultural will to true reform, coupled with political leadership, can correct that.

Today we are experiences the worst of our Founder’s fears. An unfettered executive branch coupled with a legislative branch that is so encumbered with factions that it no longer serves the will of the people. This combination of ills has formed a fourth branch of government — the administrative state.

I have written numerous times about the history and tyrannical effects of the administrative state and how it is slowly destroying the republic our Founders envisioned. The latest egregious example is the Senate passed 1,200 page immigration bill that contains so much pork a pig farmer would have problems weighing it. It contains cars for immigrants to placate Senator Barry Sanders of New Hampshire and subsidies for the Alaskan fishing industry. It states that the counterfeiting of no more than three U.S. passports is not a crime. While allowing for the hiring of 20,000 additional border patrol agents and building a fence along the entire border it gives the Department of Homeland Security the power to cancel the fence construction at any time at their discretion.

Today a landmark Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act has set up a stand-off between Republican-led states and the Obama administration over controversial voting laws that until now had been stalled.

The 5-4 ruling on Tuesday addressed a 1960s-era provision that largely singled out states and districts in the South — those with a history of discrimination — and required them to seek federal permission to change their voting laws.

The court ruled that the formula determining which states are affected was unconstitutional.

In doing so, the court potentially opened the door for certain states to proceed with voter ID laws and other efforts that to date had been held up because of the Voting Rights Act. Prominent among those are voter identification laws in Alabama and Mississippi.

Yet Attorney General Eric Holder has claimed that he does not agree with theWas7541345 ruling and will continue to do all he can to force states to abide by his edicts

Attorney General Eric Holder warned states against going too far. He said the Justice Department would not hesitate to take "swift" action against states looking to "take advantage" of the ruling.

He, like President Obama, said he was "deeply disappointed" in the decision, saying discriminatory practices live on and need to be addressed.

"These problems have not been consigned to history," Holder said.

Holder and Obama urged Congress to create a new formula.

"Today's decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent," Obama said.

To read more on this decision click here.

In another example of the power of the administrative state today Obama declared his war on coal even though throughout the 2012 election campaigned he denied such a war on coal or guns.

So much for the denials. An administration that throughout its 2012 election campaign denied it was waging a War on Coal has now come out and publicly declared its intention to shut down coal-fired power plants – putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and sending electricity prices skyrocketing.

This is not what the American people voted for.

Responding to a White House petition to end the War on Coal, the administration said: “The President has made clear that he understands that coal has played a critical role in our country’s energy portfolio for decades and will continue to be an important source of energy in the future.”

Sycophantic liberal media outlets (like The Nation and the Associated Press) went further, repeatedly claiming that the War on Coal was a myth. The Obama campaign even ran a TV ad in Ohio claiming that Mitt Romney would be bad for coal – and trotted out former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland to deny there was a war on coal and echo the attacks on Romney.

Yet today Obama political consultant David Plouffe took to Twitter to bang his chest: “Today's climate announcement underscores that elections matter greatly” – as if Obama had campaigned on shutting down coal plants instead of on denying his intention to do so.

Such denials are no longer necessary. Today a top Obama global warming adviser told The New York Times the denials were just election-year politics. Daniel Schrag said: “Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.

And Obama delivered. It’s right there on page 19 of his Climate Action Plan: “Going forward, we will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production.”

Indeed, Obama made clear in his speech that he intends to impose regulations on existing coal plants that can only be met through carbon capture and storage (technology that doesn’t exist on a commercial scale), switching to natural gas, or shutting down completely.

Coal still produces 37 percent of U.S. electricity. A Heritage Foundation analysis found that implementing Obama’s proposed regulation on existing coal plants would destroy more than 500,000 jobs, slash the income of a typical family of four more than $1,400 a year, and increase electricity prices at least 20 percent. Price spikes could be much higher in states that depend heavily on coal-fired power plants, especially in the Midwest. President Obama once famously explained that he intended to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”

Obama intends to fight his War on Coal by issuing a PresidentialAP401450731793 Memorandum to the EPA to issue regulations under the 1970 Clean Air Act. This is despite the fact that the law’s principal author, Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, famously said: “This is not what was intended by the Congress and by those of us who wrote the Clean Air Act. We are beginning to look at a wonderfully complex world, which has the potential for shutting down or slowing down virtually all industry and all economic activity and growth.”

And there is zero global warming benefit to go with all the economic costs, because even if all United States greenhouse gas emissions were shut down to zero tomorrow, the rest of the world would keep on puffing. Paul Knappenberger recently calculated, based on standard assumptions, that getting to zero emissions in the U.S. immediately would only reduce global average temperatures an imperceptible 0.08 degrees Celsius by 2050. Moreover, the rest of the world would replace all U.S. emissions within seven years.

So it’s all pain and no gain — by legally dubious means — to accomplish the opposite of what Obama promised on the campaign trail. Congress should take exception to being circumvented and step in to stop Obama’s (now-declared) War on Coal.

Once again it is plain to see that complex laws passed by a willing legislature leave the door open for the executive branch to do just about anything it wants under the color of law. This is truly a feature of the administrative state where the masterminds call the shots and self-government is a thing of the past. So much for the Republic Mr. Franklin.

On the other hand 62 Tea Party representatives dealt a blow to the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives when they gather enough support to defeat an overblown Farm Bill on June 20th.

The GOP leadership suffered a stunning defeat as 62 Republicans voted against the 5-year farm bill (H.R. 1947), which locks in the record baseline of food stamp spending and creates multiple new agriculture subsidy programs. A handful of them voted against it because it cut too much spending, and others like Bill Shuster voted no because they are facing potential primary challenges (Shuster voted for the 2008 bill). But this is a strong showing, as it is a dynamic none of us would have ever predicted several years ago.

Some Republicans are complaining that because of the conservative revolt we will now continue on the status quo with direct farm subsidies. But they fail to understand that the new price support programs and shallow loss coverage that were created by this bill would have been more expensive and represent worse market distortions than direct subsidies. It’s better to reauthorize the status quo than to pass a long-term bill that creates even more problems and precludes real reforms for another 5 years.

Other Republicans complain that now we will face the so-called milk cliff. Pursuant to a silly 1949 act of Congress, every time we fail to renew expiring farm programs, the government must begin imposing Soviet-style price controls on milk by decreasing supplies through massive purchases of milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products. Under permanent law, the USDA would begin purchasing dairy products at a rate of $38.54 per hundredweight; more than double the current price ($18 per hundredweight). This market manipulation could double the price of milk, dairy products, and everything else up the food chain.

clip_image001But instead of avoiding the deleterious effects of the Agriculture Act of 1949 by growing government, why don’t we just repeal the damn law?

In a sane world, both houses of Congress would convene and repeal this inane and outdated law within a few minutes by unanimous consent. That way we could debate a long-term farm bill without having the sword of the 1949 law brandished over our necks and forcing Congress to rush through bad legislation.

However, Congress is not sane, and they have no plans to repeal the law. In fact, Paul Broun introduced an amendment to do just that, but all the Democrats and more than half of Republicans voted it down.

The latest ephemeral trend in Washington is to create a contrived crisis for the purpose of growing government, increasing spending, or raising taxes. The new “milk cliff” is just the latest in the bag of tricks held by the permanent statist class.

Moving forward, we must split up the farm bill into two components; food stamps and agriculture programs. Food stamps must be devolved to the states and most agricultural subsidies need to be means-tested and charted on a gradual course towards elimination. And most of all, the dairy supply control system must be repealed once and for all in a standalone piece of legislation.

That would represent responsible conservative reform that is becoming of a GOP-controlled House. Working harder to buy off Democrats with more spending increases is not the way forward. If Kevin McCarthy and Eric Cantor desire to grow government with Democrat support, maybe they should run for the Pelosi whip team.

The American people elected a Republican House to provide a bold contrast to the Obama-Pelosi agenda, not to work behind the scenes to help grow government with their support.

You can read more about the defeat of the trillion dollar food stamp and farm bill by clicking here.

One of the things all tyrannical regimes such as the administrative state does is to compile a list of enemies. These enemies are defined as those who do not agree with their policies and could pose a threat to their agenda.

The vast majority of the annual shooting homicides are committed by inner-city and minority youths below the age of 30. Handguns are involved in 80% of all murders. Rifles and shotguns account for less than 10% of homicides.

No matter; the National Rifle Association is now blamed for generic gun violence, especially the mass shootings at schools, even though usually no one knows of any proposed gun law — barring outright confiscation of previously purchased firearms, bullets, and clips — that would have prevented the shooters at Sandy Hook and Columbine. Gun merchants are blamed by the president while in Mexico for selling lethal semi-automatic weapons to drug cartels. But so far, the only identifiable purveyor of illegal weaponry is the president’s own attorney general, whose subordinates in the Fast and Furious operation sold hundreds of guns illegally to Mexican drug lords.

Suggestions to encourage greater incarceration of the mentally unstable, to jawbone Hollywood about its profitable (and gratuitous) gun violence, to regulate extremely violent — and extremely well-selling — video games usually fall on deaf liberal ears. In short, the stereotyped camouflaged, weekend gun enthusiast is not the problem that leads to Columbine, or the nearly 532 murders last year in Chicago. But because we can’t or won’t address the causes of the latter, we go after the former. He is not the unhinged sort that shoots a Gabby Giffords or innocents in an Aurora, Colorado, theater; but somehow is the supposed red-neck yokel that a journalist like ABC’s Brian Ross assumes does.

If the Department of Homeland Security, as is rumored, really did wish to stockpile hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition, then why did it begin such repository buying right in the middle of a hysterical national debate about limiting access to various rifles and semi-automatic weapons? Was it not to create a climate of fear and panic buying that has emptied America’s shelves of the most popular types of ammunition? If the homicide rate in Philadelphia and Chicago is any indication, murderers still have plenty of access to bullets. Those who want to target practice or shoot a varmint on their property do not.

The CIA and FBI knew of the suspicious activity of the Boston bombers, of Major Hasan, and of Anwar al-Awlaki. And they did nothing to preempt their violence. The FBI is said to be carefully avoiding monitoring mosques, although all of the above terrorists were known by many fellow Muslim worshipers to be either disturbed or extremist or both. In contrast, the NSA monitors, we are told, nearly everyone’s communications rather than focusing on Middle Eastern male Muslims, even though Middle Eastern male Muslims have been involved in the vast majority of post-9/11 terrorist plots. The NSA is the electronic version of the TSA, which feels it is noble and liberal to stop an octogenarian in a wheel chair for special frisking as proper compensation for every focused look at a West Bank resident or Pakistani visitor on his way into the United States.

The words “Tea Party” and “patriot” in a non-profit’s name would more likely earn a negative appraisal from the IRS than would “Islam” or “Muslim.” One wonders how Lois Lerner’s IRS division would treat a hypothetical “Sarah Palin Foundation” versus “The Dr. Zawahiri Charity.”

The IRS is not worried at all about 47% of the nation who pay no federal income taxes. The vast majority of those whom it focuses on are instead the 10% who pay over 70% of all taxes. These are the would-be proverbial “fat cats” who did not build their own businesses. They are reluctant to spread their wealth. They certainly did not know either when to stop making money or when the age of profit altogether had passed. Sometime around 2009 success was deemed failure, and failure success — at least if we collate the president fat-cat rhetoric with the vast expansion in the disability, food-stamp, and unemployment-insurance rolls.

Note that the IRS is not interested in leaking to Democrat senators or former administration official rumors about George Soros’s income or the details of the tax returns of Warren Buffett, Steven Spielberg, or Bill Gates. Instead, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate bragged that he knew (falsely as it turned out) that Mitt Romney paid no income taxes. And former high administration official Austan Goolsbee claimed (also falsely as it turned out) that he too knew that the Koch brothers were shorting the IRS.

Note that only liberal groups like ProPublica leak information about the confidential donor lists of conservative activists, apparently given their familiar arrangement with the IRS. So far IRS chiefs are not looking at prominent Democrat politicians for tax violations, although for a time — cf. Tim Geithner, Tom Daschle, Hilda Solis — that might have been a fruitful profile for inquiry. (One encouraging side note: if you are a suspect white, mature, well-off, conservative, heterosexual, Christian male, you can still obtain exemption from federal suspicion by loudly announcing that you also are enthralled by Barack Obama.)

We know who was not an administration suspect in the killing of four Americans in Benghazi — hard-core, al Qaeda-related Islamic terrorists. Instead a supposedly right-wing unhinged video-maker was the object of vitriol from the secretary of state, the UN ambassador, and the president of the United States. He currently sits in jail. The known perpetrators of the murders walk free. In contrast, Lisa Jackson, the former EPA director, just got a fat inside job from Apple, despite creating not just a fictitious name (e.g., “Richard Windsor”) to avoid scrutiny when she communicated official business, but also an entirely made-up alter ego: “Richard Windsor” became an ideal employee lauded by the unethical EPA for his supposedly “ethical behavior.”

We also know who in the media is not a target. Not the CBS or ABC News presidents who have siblings working in the White House. Not ABC’s Good Morning America, given that one of its stalwarts is married to Press Secretary Jay Carney. Instead, there are two sorts of suspicious reporters that are considered hostile to the administration and worthy of having their communications monitored. One group are those journalists who leak information that the administration wished to preempt and leak first or who refuse to only leak favorable classified information — the bin Laden trove, the cyber war against Iran, the drone targeting protocol — that makes the president look as if he were a competent commander in chief.

The other target, of course, is Fox News, whose staff, in a variety of ways and on a number of occasions, the Obama administration has previously attacked as in some way illegitimate.

Again, who fits these profiles that our current, vastly expanding big government does not like? If you are an operator of a coal plant that creates needed energy at a profit, then beware that the EPA is after you. If you are a shady insider who wants tens of millions of government dollars to subsidize a money-losing wind and solar plant, you hit the jackpot. Ditto the suspect people who build guitars, loan money to Chrysler, or wish to locate a jet airliner plant in South Carolina. Profits create suspicion; failures earn subsidies.

Then there are the clingers, whom the president long ago blasted as religious zealots and gun-toting xenophobes. These are the sorts whom the attorney general calls “cowards” (not “my people”) — the “enemies” whom the president advises Latino activists to “punish” at the polls, the sorts that the president apologizes for abroad as guilty of sundry sorts of past class, race, and gender oppression.

In contrast, who is not so worried about government surveillance or audit? The New Black Panthers who turned up at a polling station in Philadelphia to intimidate voters; the “farmers” who, according to the New York Times, filed bogus claims to cash in on the government’s ill-advised and poorly administered Pigford settlement; the Secret Service agents who routinely visited prostitutes while on duty protecting high government officials abroad; and the assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who used her office to enhance her private consulting business.

Americans wonder whom would the immigration services more likely wish to deport: the German Romeike family that was “guilty” of homeschooling their children; Obama’s aunt Zeituni, who lied about her immigration status to illegally obtain state and federal subsidies; or Onyango Obama, who likewise is here illegally (for 21 years) and was recently charged with ramming a police car while driving intoxicated? Is the U.S. so short of DUI offenders and frauds that we must deport homeschoolers to make room for them?

There is currently a climate of fear growing throughout the United States. Millions of Americans are terrified of the IRS, the Department of Justice, the EPA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and even perhaps the FBI, CIA, and State Department.


These government agencies have never been bigger, more powerful, and more ideologically driven. Citizens fear them for understandable reasons: those who do nothing wrong, whether in filing tax forms or trying to buy a rifle, are considered suspect and deserving to be the target of either federal scrutiny or presidential slurs. But those who do a great deal of wrong, either by illegally entering the country, disrupting polling, trafficking in weapons in Mexico, eavesdropping on American citizens, pulling tax information for partisan purposes, subverting a government agency, or lying to the public about government activity, seem exempt from punishment — and, more chillingly, sense that they are so exempt.

Ask who now is sitting in prison — a shyster video-maker who had nothing to do with the deaths of four Americans, or their five known terrorist killers lounging about in North Africa? Apparently, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, like EPA director Lisa Jackson, was guilty of creating a fake persona. Like Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, he had a lien on her business. Like former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, he had some unpaid taxes. Like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, he had been visited by government investigators. Like Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, he lied to federal authorities — although they were not quite as high as those in the U.S. Congress. And unlike all of the above, he was therefore jailed.

Of all the legacies of Barack Obama, the most pernicious will be the creation of a rogue government that has cut off and terrified half the population — and for no other reason than that they seem to represent things that Mr. Obama simply does not seem to understand.

The truth is that governments are always like pitchers trying to pitch out of a jam with all the bases loaded. We the people want a little free stuff. The ruling class wants to seize and hold political power. Promising free stuff is how you get elected. This what James Madison knew when he authored Federalist No. 10.

Usually, those vote-buying promises result in policies that damage the economy. President Obama has been worse than most. The result is that politicians and their officials are always involved in trying to Band-Aid over the distortions and the wounds they have inflicted on the economy and our freedoms in their crude bid for power.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The G.I. Bill

“Wars are not paid for in wartime, the bill comes later.” — Benjamin Franklin

On this day in 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill, an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services — known as G.I.s — for their efforts in World War II.

As the last of its sweeping New Deal reforms, Roosevelt's administration created the G.I. Bill — officially the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 — hoping to avoid a relapse into the Great Depression after the war ended. FDR particularly wanted to prevent a repeat of the Bonus March of 1932, when 20,000 unemployed veterans and their families flocked in protest to Washington. The American Legion, a veteran's organization, successfully fought for many of the provisions included in the bill, which gave returning servicemen access to unemployment compensation, low-interest home and business loans, and — most importantly — funding for education.

The G.I. Bill provided a comprehensive benefits package that included up to four years of education or training, federally guaranteed home, business, or farm loans with no down payment, and unemployment compensation that set aside a weekly unemployment allowance of $20 for 52 weeks. Those eligible had to have been in active duty for at least 90 days, even if they were not in combat, and couldn't have been dishonorably discharged. The Veterans Administration was responsible for implementing these key components of the bill.

While for most Americans higher education and home ownership were unattainable dreams before WWII, the G.I. Bill allowed millions of veterans to take part, and by 1947 they made up 49 percent of college admissions. By 1956, nearly 7.8 million of the 16 million WWII veterans had taken part in an education or training program and the VA had guaranteed 5.9 million home loans. It represented a huge contribution to the welfare of veterans and their families and to U.S. economic growth.

While it was a controversial bill, many agreed that they did not want to seewwii2 a repeat of what happened after WWI. At that time, the Great Depression made it extremely difficult for veterans to assimilate into civilian society. Many were only compensated with a $60 allowance and a train ticket home. While they were supposed to get bonuses from the Bonus Act, they found out that they wouldn't see this money for 20 years and began protesting. The G.I. Bill was initially stalled due to disagreement in the Senate and House over the unemployment provision, as some believed this would make veterans lazy. However, after it was eventually passed, less than 20 percent of the funds set aside for unemployment benefits were actually used.

The education benefits didn't last long, and after the Veterans Adjustment Act of 1952 the government no longer paid tuition directly to colleges and universities, affecting veterans from the Korean War and the Vietnam War. While the 'Montgomery G.I. Bill' was introduced in 1984 to revamp the original and provide more money for education, it couldn't keep up with the rising cost of tuition in higher education and it was decided that a '21st Century G.I .bill' was needed.

By giving veterans money for tuition, living expenses, books, supplies and equipment, the G.I. Bill effectively transformed higher education in America. Before the war, college had been an option for only 10-15 percent of young Americans, and university campuses had become known as a haven for the most privileged classes. By 1947, in contrast, vets made up half of the nation's college enrollment; three years later, nearly 500,000 Americans graduated from college, compared with 160,000 in 1939.

As educational institutions opened their doors to this diverse new group of students, overcrowded classrooms and residences prompted widespread improvement and expansion of university facilities and teaching staffs. An array of new vocational courses were developed across the country, including advanced training in education, agriculture, commerce, mining and fishing — skills that had previously been taught only informally.

The G.I. Bill became one of the major forces that drove an economic expansion in America that lasted 30 years after World War II. Only 20 percent of the money set aside for unemployment compensation under the bill was given out, as most veterans found jobs or pursued higher education. Low interest home loans enabled millions of American families to move out of urban centers and buy or build homes outside the city, changing the face of the suburbs.

During my high school years in the early 1950s I had two teachers who were products of the G.I. Bill. One a biology teacher and the other taught mathematics, specifically geometry. Both were good no nonsense teachers that had no problems controlling the class. The biology teacher walked with a very severe limp due to wounds he received during the war. This was a small price for the government to pay for a person who gave his physical well-being for the rest of his life in service of his country.

The one thing that affected many WWII vets was PTSD. Not much was known of this trauma induced disorder in the 1950s and 1960s. This is no doubt the reason so many of these WWII vets returning home had problems with relationships and alcohol.

While I don’t favor federal dollars being paid to individuals for things such as food stamps and welfare as I can find no warrant in the Constitution for the federal government to do so. However, I do believe that when the federal government snatches a young man out of civilian life, dresses him in a uniform and sends him of to risk his life for the policies of the government then the government has some obligation to give back to that person. If Article I, Section of the Constitution allows Congress to spend money on:

  • To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
  • To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
  • To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
  • To provide and maintain a navy;
  • To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
  • To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Then I believe the authority is here to take care of the veterans who have3823743 sacrificed so much to carry out the stated foreign policy goals of the United States. This is what we have a Veterans Administration and V.A. Hospitals that are supposed to care for returning vets be they suffering from physical or mental wounds. So by giving these vets a chance to better themselves through higher education is a small price to pay for their service.

Over 50 years, the impact of the G.I. Bill was enormous, with 20 million veterans and dependents using the education benefits and 14 million home loans guaranteed, for a total federal investment of $67 billion. Among the millions of Americans who have taken advantage of the bill are former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, former Vice President Al Gore and entertainers Johnny Cash, Ed McMahon, Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Obama Fails in Berlin

“There are many people in the world who really don't understand-or say they don't-what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin!” — John F. Kennedy, Berlin, June 26, 1963.

Barack Obama returned to Berlin on Wednesday, almost five years to the day from when he delivered his famous "Victory Column" speech that cemented his reputation as an international rock star. Unfortunately, his reception this time was a lot different.

An estimated 200,000 people turned out in July 2008 to see then Candidate Obama deliver an address in front of one of Germany's most notable landmarks. He took a lot of criticism from Germans for his choice of location and from his U.S. political opponents who weren't happy about seeing an American presidential hopeful being adored by tens of thousands of foreigners. The Berlin event was larger than any of his U.S. campaign stops, though some critics even disputed the crowd figures. (Republicans in the heat of a campaign, obviously found other flaws with the speech.)

Fast forward to 2013, and many are now saying that Obama's reputation is "tarnished," by his recent snooping scandals, his extensions of the war on terror, and the hard luck realities of failing to deliver on all your promises. (Even ones you didn't really make.) He's "demystified" and "no longer a superstar" in German eyes. Now he's just another world leader on a state visit, and whatever problems people have with U.S. policy are on his shoulders.

And instead of opening up the speech to the whole city, Obama spoke in front only about 5,000-6,000 spectators, all of them invited guests.

The White House pool report revealed that only 6,000 will be in attendance for Obama's Berlin speech on Wednesday:

“The stage for the president's speech is set up on the East side of the Brandenburg Gate,AP401450731793 in the old East Berlin. The sun is pounding down and there are around 6,000 invited guests according to German authorities. There are bleachers set up either side of the square, with a big two story riser facing the stage which has a row of bullet proof glass and 12 U.S., German and EU flags and the grand backdrop of the Gate. There is a large standing crowd between the bleachers.”

The actual crowd count at the Brandenburg Gate speech was 4,500.

His speech on Wednesday (you can click here for a detailed comparison vs. the 2008 speech) called for a reduction in global nuclear weapons (through more negotiations with Russia) and defended the idea of Western intervention in Syria. Hammering on the theme of "peace with justice," he also discussed closing Guantanamo Bay and taking action on climate change, calling it the "global flood of our time." (Much more on that here.) But it was notably different in tone than 2008's more sweeping view of the world, which was a speech more fitting for a candidate.

Nonetheless, directly out of the Brandenburg gate, the president commenced with injecting race and gender into the conversation when he said "Angela and I don't exactly look like previous German and American leaders." Obama then informed the audience, consigned by invitation to stand in the blistering heat listening to his blather, that Michelle, Malia, and Sasha, rather than endure his grueling speech, chose instead to experience the "beauty and the history of Berlin" (at American taxpayers' expense).

But probably the most amazing aspect of Obama's Berlin speech was his typical lack of self-awareness when making assertions that conflict with everything he does. For instance, although President Obama is actively persecuting the "unoriginated birthright of man," he quoted German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who said "freedom is the 'unoriginated birthright of man, and it belongs to him by force of his humanity.'"

Obama even posed questions Americans ask about him:

“Will we live free or in chains? Under governments that uphold our universal rights, or regimes that suppress them? In open societies that respect the sanctity of the individual and our free will, or in closed societies that suffocate the soul?”

In Berlin, Obama attempted to one-up Ronald Reagan's "Peace through Strength" strategy by stealing John F. Kennedy's "Peace with Justice" mantra and scheduled the revision to take place at Brandenburg Gate, where his social justice spiel paled in comparison to authentic Reagan strength.

The president's references were pitiful attempts to support the liberal dream of a daisy-holding, Kumbaya-singing utopia that the human condition prevents.

Ignoring nations stoking the nuclear flames, President "Ich bin ein Dumbkopf" cited JFK's famous 1963 "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech when suggesting that Germans "lift their eyes beyond the dangers of today to the day of peace with justice." Caught up in the rapture of the moment, Obama apparently missed the contradiction in mentioning Kennedy's assassination five months after he promoted "peace with justice."

Speaking of contradictions, Mr. Obama shared that Kennedy's words are "timeless becauseObama - speech they call upon us to care more about things than just our own self-comfort." This from a president who's about to embark on a $100 million African vacation, toting along a wife whose "self-comfort" demands recently included bunking in a $3,300-a-night Princess Grace suite in Ireland.

President Obama has been facing increasing scrutiny both at home and abroad as scandal after scandal rocks the administration. From Ireland the president went to Germany to talk about the dangers of global number of nuclear weapons, climate change and his views on social justice.

After encouraging youthful unemployed Germans to relinquish self-comfort, citizen of the world Obama shifted to "For we are not only citizens of America or Germany — we are also citizens of the world. And our fates and fortunes are linked like never before." That is, unless linking "fates and fortunes" means sharing a $3,300-a-night hotel room with Michelle Obama.

Never mentioning pressure cookers, hijacked airplanes, banana hammock bombers, or wild-eyed Muslims gunning down American soldiers, and after riding around in an armored limo and building a mysterious underground bunker beneath the White House, Obama proclaimed, "We may no longer live in fear of global annihilation, but so long as nuclear weapons exist, we are not truly safe."

President Obama also seemed to imply that food stamps and unemployment checks may be the answer to the threat of worldwide terrorism, which he claimed results from the "agony of an empty stomach or the anguish of unemployment."

Then, after dissing Catholic education in Ireland, Obama dredged up sins that penitent nations have already remediated when he unnecessarily brought up intolerance and abuses "based on race, or religion, gender or sexual orientation."

Obama then advanced a concept that he doesn't apply to Christians or American conservatives, which is that "When we stand up for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters and treat their love and their rights equally under the law, we defend our own liberty as well."

That's when the "Peace with justice" rant began. Obama cited free enterprise and freedom, neither of which he's a huge fan of. From there, he segued into environmentalism, closing Guantanamo, ending the Afghan war, controlling the drones he has surveilling U.S. airspace, undermining the Constitution and calling it "balancing the pursuit of security with the protection of privacy," and meeting moral obligations that have nothing to do with morality.

Funny, Obama proves he's vulnerable to nuclear self-destruction whenever the Teleprompter is unavailable. Yet, he imagines peace can only be realized through sending a message to America's enemies that in a nuclear-aggressive environment the most powerful nation in the world is voluntarily reducing the number of its nuclear warheads.

Not to worry though; Barack quoted James Madison and then claimed that he too is moving "beyond a mindset of perpetual war." The president cited a 2016 'secure nuclear materials' summit, which despite the growing threat of international terrorism, Obama believes is a "step" toward "creating a world of peace with justice."

The problem is that the guy who said "Threats to freedom don't merely come from the outside. They can emerge from within" is the one threatening America's freedom, and the perpetual warfare he speaks of is not America's doing.

Appearing on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports on Wednesday, NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd came up with a long list of excuses for President Obama'sgatetodd poor speech performance in Berlin: "I want to give you a little context here there was an attempt to shrink the crowd size. Maybe they would have gotten 25, 30, 40,000 people. President Obama feeds off a crowd very well."

Todd then grasped at other reasons for the lackluster event: ".you had that very distracting glass and you could just see that the President himself wasn't feeding off of the crowd. And I think look, part of it, it was hot. Those folks were out there for two and a half hours it can sap your energy a little bit. And I just wonder if that added a little bit to this."

Barack Obama ended with a Martin Luther King Jr. quote crescendo:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

In the end, so too does "loss of freedom in America threaten freedom everywhere." That loss is precisely why, both in Germany and here at home, free people must grasp the potentially harmful impact the 'peace-loving' guy riding around in a million dollar armored vehicle and standing behind eight inches of bulletproof glass seeks to impose on the Western world.

Obama’s War on the Catholic Church

“It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe.” — James Madison, A Memorial and Remonstrance — 1785

With the Obama administration’s forcing the Catholic Church to pay for birth control and the morning after pill for employees last year you might have thought this was the last straw. When the bishops and the clergy fought back and Kathleen Sebelius, the director of HHS, did not rescind on the decision you might have thought Obama would scale back his war on the Catholic Church. But this is not the case.

While in Ireland this week he dropped a bombshell that has gone pretty much ignored by the mainstream media when he said religious schools encourage division. Barack Obama actually made this claim at a speech in Belfast on Monday, but it seems to be gaining traction overnight. His claim, aimed at both Catholic and Protestant “schools and buildings,” came in prepared remarks rather than an extemporaneous response to a question. The Scottish Catholic Observer quotes the argument accurately:

“The US President has made an alarming call for an end to Catholic education in Northern Ireland in spite of the fact that Archbishop Gerhard Müller told Scots that Catholic education was ‘a critical component of the Church.’

President Barack Obama (above), repeated the oft disproved claim that Catholic education increases division in front of an audience of 2000 young people, including many Catholics, at Belfast’s Waterfront hall when he arrived in the country this morning.

“If towns remain divided—if Catholics have their schools and buildings and Protestants have theirs, if we can’t see ourselves in one another and fear or resentment are allowed to harden—that too encourages division and discourages cooperation,” the US president said.

The US politician made the unfounded claim despite a top Vatican official spelling out the undeniable good done by Catholic education in a speech in Glasgow on Saturday and in his homily at Mass on Friday.”

I’ll quote the passage from Obama’s speech in its full context:

“We need you to get this right. And what’s more, you set an example for those who seek a peace of their own. Because beyond these shores, right now, in scattered corners of the world, there are people living in the grip of conflict -- ethnic conflict, religious conflict, tribal conflicts -- and they know something better is out there. And they’re groping to find a way to discover how to move beyond the heavy hand of history, to put aside the violence. They’re studying what you’re doing. And they’re wondering, perhaps if Northern Ireland can achieve peace, we can, too. You’re their blueprint to follow. You’re their proof of what is possible -- because hope is contagious. They’re watching to see what you do next.

Now, some of that is up to your leaders. As someone who knowsOBAMA-WIRETAPS/VERIZON firsthand how politics can encourage division and discourage cooperation, I admire the Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Assembly all the more for making power-sharing work. That’s not easy to do. It requires compromise, and it requires absorbing some pain from your own side. I applaud them for taking responsibility for law enforcement and for justice, and I commend their effort to “Building a United Community” — important next steps along your transformational journey.

Because issues like segregated schools and housing, lack of jobs and opportunity — symbols of history that are a source of pride for some and pain for others — these are not tangential to peace; they’re essential to it. If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs — if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.

Ultimately, peace is just not about politics. It’s about attitudes; about a sense of empathy; about breaking down the divisions that we create for ourselves in our own minds and our own hearts that don’t exist in any objective reality, but that we carry with us generation after generation.”

Does that make the context any better? Not really. He’s speaking in terms of Northern Ireland, but pretty explicitly calling for that to be a model for the rest of the world. His argument makes two very large assumptions, which is that the conflict in Northern Ireland was about religion, and that parochial schools make people inclined to violence. The first is a gross oversimplification; the conflict in recent times was political, dealing with ethnic conflict and sovereignty issues, with religion used more for tribal identification than a core of the conflict.

The second is just absurd. Catholics and Protestants have thousands of schools in the US, and we don’t have warfare in the streets in the US between the sects. The issue wasn’t the schools, or the belief systems of Catholics and Protestants that such schools teach. However, this makes a handy mechanism to call for the displacement of private education and religious instruction from education, with nothing left except state-controlled schools that indoctrinate children into whatever norms the governing/ruling class deem acceptable.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a foreign visit to an Islamic nation where he told people on his arrival that they shouldn’t have madrasas. Can you?

Did he say when visiting Israel, say “You Jews shouldn’t have synagogue schools and you Muslims shouldn’t have mosque schools.” I can’t remember. Did he?

If Obama wants to talk about religions causing division, hate, and war I suggest he take a look at his beloved Islam where Shia’s and Sunnis have been killing Christians, Jews, and themselves since the seventh century.

Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, told an audience in Scotland that Catholic education provided a rare place where ‘intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment would come together’ while giving the prestigious Cardinal Winning Lecture on Saturday to officially launch the St Andrews Foundation for Catholic teacher education at Glasgow University. During Mass at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Glasgow, on Friday night he said that ‘the Catholic school is vitally important a critical component of the Church,’ adding that Catholic education provides young people with a wonderful opportunity to ‘grow up with Jesus.’

Obama is now insisting on enforcing an ObamaCare regulation that would force Catholic individuals, business owners and institutions to provide health care plans that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. The Catholic bishops of the United States have unanimously declared this regulation an "unjust and illegal mandate" that violates the constitutionally guaranteed right to free exercise of religion.

Dozens of Catholic business owners and institutions are now suing the Obama administration over this regulation. The University of Notre Dame and Catholic University of America are among those who have filed suit. A number of Protestant business owners and institutions have also sued the administration over this regulation because it forces them to provide abortion-inducing drugs and IUDs in contradiction to their moral and religious beliefs.

The Catholic Church and Catholic religious orders run schools in the United States and elsewhere that are designed not only to teach children reading, writing, arithmetic, history and other academic subjects, but also to teach them the theology and moral views of the faith, and to train their characters in keeping with those moral views.

As a product of a Catholic school education through the 8th grade I can say that it taught me much more than the reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, history, and civics. It also taught me morals, love of God and family, and living by the Ten Commandments — something we direly need in our schools today.

In a fit of ignorance I enrolled my three children in government schools in the early 1970s. By the time my youngest reached fifth grade all were enrolled in Catholic school where they graduated high school from. All received a fine college preparatory education allowing them to continue on to college with no problems.

Millions of children have matriculated through their K-12 education in Catholic and Christian schools. Not only has this been good for the kids it has saved the taxpayers billions in school costs if all of those children had been enrolled in our failing public school system. Just think of all of those teachers union pensions we would be on the hook for.

Obama never fails to enlist children in his secularist crusades, whether at home or abroad. Last week he trotted out two nine-year-old girls to introduce him at a White House event celebrating “LGBT Pride Month.”

“We could not be prouder of Zea and Luna for the introduction,” he said. “Zea and Luna are here with their moms, and also I think with Grandma and Grandpa — correct? And so feel free to congratulate them afterwards for their outstanding introduction.”

Zea and Luna proved useful to Obama not only as props for LGBT rights but also as mouthpieces for his gun-control agenda: “When Zea and Luna wrote me last December, they told me they would have voted for me if they could have — thanks, guys. They also laid out quite an agenda. I hope Congress is listening to them. But I want them and all of you to know that I’m not giving up the fight to keep our kids safe from gun violence.”

It just so happens that Zea and Luna also support additional funding for Arne Duncan’s Department of Education. According to Obama, Duncan has lots of innovative ideas on how to jumpstart America’s sluggish schools and137158680738 needs more money to enact them. Chicagoans may remember one of them: his thwarted plan to start a “gay high school” in the Windy City that he hoped to call “Social Justice Solidarity High School.”

This week Obama took his Brave New World propaganda to the youth of Northern Ireland. He has visions of a secularist utopia for them too. With uniformed school children arrayed behind him, he in effect called for the elimination of religious education in Northern Ireland:

“If towns remain divided — if Catholics have their schools and buildings, and Protestants have theirs — if we can’t see ourselves in one another, if fear or resentment are allowed to harden, that encourages division. It discourages cooperation.”

Obama’s presumption knows no bounds. The Northern Irish, already enjoying a “chic” culture, as he put it, are evidently capable of his level of enlightenment, provided that they listen to their youth. Apparently referencing his own claimed evolution on gay marriage — recall that he credited his daughters with stimulating his moral imagination by bringing over to the house the adopted children of homosexual couples — he urged Northern Irish youth to keep liberalizing their elders:

“Politicians oftentimes follow rather than lead. And so, especially young people helped to push and to prod and to protest, and to make common cause with those who did not look like them. And that transformed America — so that Malia and Sasha’s generation, they have different attitudes about differences and race than mine and certainly different from the generation before that. And each successive generation creates a new space for peace and tolerance and justice and fairness. And while we have work to do in many ways, we have surely become more tolerant and more just, more accepting, more willing to see our diversity in America not as something to fear, but as something to welcome because it’s a source of our national strength.”

If the point wasn’t clear enough, Obama said that he hoped that one day they could “fall in love with whomever” they want.

Gay marriage, abortion on demand, free contraceptives, Plan B at the local drug store, an all-pervasive secular culture — this is the glorious future Obama implied for the Northern Irish. But he sternly warned the teens that the choice is theirs: “Whether you let your kids play with kids who attend a different church — that’s your decision.”

For Obama, “peace” and secularism are always one and the same, and if you don’t choose the latter you are a violent bigot. The arrogant Brave New World babble he dumped on these children is impossible to comprehend apart from that assumption. Never mind that plenty of blood, flowing from “chic” addresses like those of his friends at Planned Parenthood, gushes in secularist countries too.

Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, once remarked, “In order for Israel to be counted among the nations of the world, it has to have its own burglars and prostitutes.” In Northern Ireland’s case, pace Obama, it can’t be considered civilized until it has fewer religious schools and more abortionists.

However, Obama’s arrogance did not go unnoticed by the Irish. Far-left Irish politician Clare Daly, formerly a leader in the country’s Socialist Party, is being called “disgraceful” by her compatriots after lashing out against President Obama in the wake of his visit to Ireland for the G-8 Summit.

A member of Parliament of Dublin North, Daly mocked the Obama family for repeatedly referring to Ireland as “home” before ripping into the U.S. president’s foreign policy.

“It’s hard to know which is worse,” she added, “the outpourings of the Obamas themselves, or the sycophantic fawning over them by sections of the media and political establishment.”

She called Obama the “hypocrite of the century” for telling Irish youths the United States supports those who choose peace, while providing arms to Syrian rebels and increasing drone strikes by 200 percent.

“The reality is, by any serious examination, this man is a war criminal,” Daly declared. “He has just announced his decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition, including the jihadists, fueling the destabilization of that region, and continuing to undermine secularism and knock-back conditions for women.”

She proceeded to excoriate the country’s Prime Minister Edna Kenny, for making Ireland “a nation of pimps, prostituting ourselves for a pat on the head” and a “lapdog of U.S. imperialism.”

We cannot hear him liken Catholic and Protestant schools to racial segregation in America without a sense of alarm. Clearly, President Obama dismisses religious freedom as a basis for parents' choosing different schools for their own children.

Mr. Obama's own grandparents exercised their choice in sending him to Honolulu's prestigious Punahou Academy. This pricey ($20,000/year) prep school was founded by Congregationalist missionaries. With roots in the faith-based community, it hardly qualifies as a segregation academy. Similarly, the president and Mrs. Obama have chosen Washington, D.C.'s very posh Sidwell Friends School for their daughters. They have every right to do so, but no one would credit this Quaker-founded school as part of a segregation system.

Mr. Obama has been zealous in trying to block other parents' exercise of education choice. His administration has been eager to shut down Washington, D.C.'s Opportunity Scholarships. This program permits low-income parents of area students to choose a private or parochial school for their kids. Most of these scholarships go to minority students and many of them choose Catholic schools where a majority of their classmates are non-Catholic.

It is a shocking thing for the President of the United States to show such open hostility to faith-based schooling. As their motto goes, these are "schools you can believe in." And the record of religious schools in America is a great one.

We need to view Mr. Obama's comments in the context of his other policies. His administration is pushing for ever more pre-K programs nationwide. Despite the documented failure of Head Start, he wants to enlist more very young children in school programs that will replace church-based child care and care in the home.

This is what secularists have wanted in our country, too: All children under the guise of the all-powerful state. This has always been a goal of Marxists.

We should not be surprised that President Obama, who attended Marxist scholar’s conferences in New York City when he was a student at Columbia University in 1983, is so openly hostile to schools you can believe in.

The fact is that in Northern Ireland, the religious schools have been leaders in reconciling historic antagonisms. And this is true in America, too. Here, for example, Evangelicals, Lutherans, Orthodox Christians, and Orthodox Jews have joined with Catholics in resisting the menacing HHS Mandate. That mandate is the gravest threat to religious freedom in this country since 1786.

Mr. Obama should reread his Constitutional Law texts. There, he would find the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court in 1925, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters. The KKK had pushed through an Oregon referendum that outlawed private and religious schools.

Unconstitutional, said the high Court:

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments of this Union rest excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only.”

President Obama continues his relentless drive to "fundamentally transform America." He does not appreciate the historic fact that religious freedom was the foundation for civil liberty in our country. Washington, Jefferson, and Madison all believed this. So did Protestants, Catholics, and Jews of the Founding Era. Respect for the convictions of others does not breed hostility. It is the beginning of civility.

The Pierce Court decision concluded with this ringing affirmation of parental rights and religious freedom:

“The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations. Those "obligations" included then, and continue to include, our obligations to our Creator.”

President Obama continued his War on Christianity Monday and the broadcast networks continued to ignore it. Obama used a town hall meeting for youth in Belfast to show his contempt for religious education. The president criticized separate religious schools for promoting “division.”

The story drew attention in conservative media outlets and was linked on the Drudge Report. But no major network news show covered the event in the two days that followed. ABC, CBS and NBC all skipped the story, even though it made the rounds in conservative media especially on Wednesday.

Some of the news Wednesday night wasn’t particularly compelling. ABC “World News with Diane Sawyer” took two minutes to devote to “flash mobs for hire.” NBC “Nightly News” found 36 seconds to devote to the decline of the Houston Astrodome, the “cathedral of sports once known as the eighth wonder of the world.”

The Obama administration has angered people of faith on several issues from gay marriage and abortion to birth control mandates and hiding a cross when Obama was speaking at Georgetown. This time, his attack was directed at Catholic and Protestant education.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Happy 225th Anniversary

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” — Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, 1787

225 years ago on this date in 1788 New Hampshire became the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the organic law of the land.

By 1786, defects in the post-Revolutionary War Articles of Confederation were apparent, such as the lack of central authority over foreign and domestic commerce. Congress endorsed a plan to draft a new constitution, and on May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention convened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. On September 17, 1787, after three months of debate moderated by convention president George Washington, the new U.S. Constitution, which created a strong federal government with an intricate system of checks and balances, was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention. 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, 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.

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.

Under America's first governing document, the Articles of Confederation, the national government was weak and states operated like independent countries. At the 1787 convention, delegates devised a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches--executive, legislative and judicial--along with a system of checks and balances to ensure no single branch would have too much power. The Bill of Rights — 10 amendments guaranteeing basic individual protections such as freedom of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, and the rights of the states — became part of the Constitution in 1791. To date, there have been a total of 27 constitutional amendments.

America's first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, was ratified in 1781, a time when the nation was a loose confederation of states, each operating like independent countries. The national government was comprised of a single legislature, the Congress of the Confederation; there was no president or judicial branch. The Articles of Confederation gave Congress the power to govern foreign affairs, conduct war and regulate currency; however, in reality these powers were sharply limited because Congress had no authority to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops.

Soon after America won its independence from Great Britain with its 1783 victory in the American Revolution, it became increasingly evident that the young republic needed a stronger central government in order to remain stable. In 1786, Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), a lawyer and politician from New York, called for a constitutional convention to discuss the matter. The Confederation Congress, which in February 1787 endorsed the idea, invited all 13 states to send delegates to a meeting in Philadelphia.

On May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia atScene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_States the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence had been adopted 11 years earlier. There were 55 delegates in attendance, representing all 13 states except Rhode Island, which refused to send representatives because it did not want a powerful central government interfering in its economic business. George Washington, who'd become a national hero after leading the Continental Army to victory during the American Revolution, was selected as president of the convention by unanimous vote.

The delegates (who also became known as the "Framers" of the Constitution) were a well-educated group that included merchants, farmers, bankers and lawyers. Many had served in the Continental Army, colonial legislatures or the Continental Congress (known as the Congress of the Confederation as of 1781). In terms of religious affiliation, most were Protestants. Eight delegates were signers of the Declaration of Independence, while six had signed the Articles of Confederation

At age 81, Pennsylvania's Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) was the oldest delegate, while the majority of the delegates were in their 30s and 40s. Political leaders not in attendance at the convention included Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and John Adams (1735-1826), who were serving as U.S. ambassadors in Europe. John Jay (1745-1829), Samuel Adams (1722-1803) and John Hancock (1737-93) were also absent from the convention. Virginia's Patrick Henry (1736-99) was chosen to be a delegate but refused to attend the convention because he didn't want to give the central government more power, fearing it would endanger the rights of states and individuals.

Reporters and other visitors were barred from the convention sessions, which were held in secret to avoid outside pressures. However, Virginia's James Madison (1751-1836) kept a detailed account of what transpired behind closed doors. (In 1837, Madison's widow Dolly sold some of his papers, including his notes from the convention debates, to the federal government for $30,000.)

The delegates had been tasked by Congress with amending the Articles of Confederation; however, they soon began deliberating proposals for an entirely new form of government. After intensive debate, which continued throughout the summer of 1787 and at times threatened to derail the proceedings, they developed a plan that established three branches of national government — executive, legislative and judicial. A system of checks and balances was put into place so that no single branch would have too much authority. The specific powers and responsibilities of each branch were also laid out.

Among the more contentious issues was the question of state representation in the national legislature. Delegates from larger states wanted population to determine how many representatives a state could send to Congress, while small states called for equal representation. The issue was resolved by the Connecticut Compromise, which proposed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation of the states in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation in the upper house (Senate).

Another controversial topic was slavery. Although some northern states had already started to outlaw the practice and the Continental Congress had passed the Northwest Ordinance forbidding slavery in the Northwest Territory, they went along with the southern states' insistence that slavery was an issue for individual states to decide and should be kept out of the Constitution. Many northern delegates believed that without agreeing to this, the South wouldn't join the Union. For the purposes of taxation and determining how many representatives a state could send to Congress, it was decided that slaves would be counted as three-fifths of a person. Additionally, it was agreed that Congress wouldn't be allowed to prohibit the slave trade before 1808, and states were required to return fugitive slaves to their owners.

By September 1787, the convention's five-member Committee of StylePhoto 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. (Hamilton, Madison, William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut, Gouverneur Morris of New York, Rufus King of Massachusetts) had drafted the final text of the Constitution, which consisted of some 4,200 words. On September 17, George Washington was the first to sign the document. Of the 55 delegates, a total of 39 signed; some had already left Philadelphia, and three — George Mason (1725-92) and Edmund Randolph (1753-1813) of Virginia, and Elbridge Gerry (1744-1813) of Massachusetts — refused to approve the document. In order for the Constitution to become law, it then had to be ratified by nine of the 13 states.

James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, with assistance from John Jay, wrote a series of essays to persuade people to ratify the Constitution. The 85 essays, known collectively as "The Federalist" (or "The Federalist Papers"), detailed how the new government would work, and were published under the pseudonym Publius (Latin for "public") in newspapers across the states starting in the fall of 1787. (People who supported the Constitution became known as Federalists, while those opposed it because they thought it gave too much power to the national government were called Anti-Federalists.)

Beginning on December 7, 1787, five states — Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut — ratified the Constitution 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. George Washington was inaugurated as America's first president on April 30, 1789. In June of that same year, Virginia ratified the Constitution, and New York followed in July. On February 2, 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court held its first session, marking the date when the government was fully operative.

Rhode Island, the last holdout of the original 13 states, finally ratified the Constitution on May 29, 1790.

In 1789, Madison, then a member of the newly established U.S. House of Representatives, introduced 19 amendments to the Constitution. On September 25, 1789, Congress adopted 12 of the amendments and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, were ratified and became part of the Constitution on December 10, 1791. The Bill of Rights guarantees individuals certain basic protections as citizens, including freedom of speech, religion and the press; the right to bear and keep arms; the right to peaceably assemble; protection from unreasonable search and seizure; and the right to a speedy, public trial by an impartial jury, and powers not specifically (enumerated) to the federal government would be reverted (delegated) to the people and the states by the 9th and 10th amendments.. For his contributions to the drafting of the Constitution, as well as its ratification, Madison became known as "Father of the Constitution.”

To date, there have been thousands of proposed amendments to the Constitution. However, only 17 amendments have been ratified in addition to the Bill of Rights because the process isn't easy — after a proposed amendment makes it through Congress, it must be ratified by three-fourths of the states. The most recent amendment to the Constitution, Article XXVII, which deals with congressional pay raises, was proposed in 1789 and ratified in 1992.

In the 225 years since the Constitution was created, America has stretched across an entire continent and its population and economy have expanded more than the document's framers likely ever could have envisioned. Through all the changes, the Constitution has endured and adapted.

The framers knew it wasn't a perfect document. However, as Benjamin Franklin said on the closing day of the convention in 1787:

"I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such, because I think a central government is necessary for us. I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain may be able to make a better Constitution."

About a year ago, Taymour Karim, 31-year-old doctor in Syria was abducted and tortured for his protest against the government in Damascus.

His captors beat him so hard that they knocked out two of his teeth and broke three of his ribs, yet he refused to give up the names of his friends.

Despite his efforts, his computer had already told the men beating him everything they wanted to know.

“They knew everything about me,” he told Bloomberg. “The people I talked to, the plans, the dates, the stories of other people, every movement, every word I said through Skype. They even knew the password of my Skype account... my computer was arrested before me.”

To many Americans, Karim’s tragedy seems like an awful story of abuse in far off country, but this week, we learned that the United States government isn’t much different.

The NSA now has access to records of every call made on Verizon cell phones in America, and is separately authorized by the Patriot Act to conduct wiretaps.

We recently learned that the NSA is pulling our personal information, photos, and emails from the servers of popular websites like Google, Facebook, and YouTube, and that they’re tracking our credit card purchases as well.

While we don’t yet know what the Obama administration plans to do with the details of who we’re calling, how long we’re speaking to them, and where we’re calling from, that’s beside the point.

The real issue at stake is the growing chasm between the powers we granted to government in our Constitution, and the powers government has seized to create an administrate state that governs by rules and not our organic laws.

Law professor Jonathan Turley writes in the Washington Post of the administrative state, which he calls “the fourth branch of government.” He notes that, “in 2007, Congress enacted 138 public laws, while federal agencies finalized 2,926 rules, including 61 major regulations.” In this context, it is irrelevant who resides in the White House or holds the House speaker’s gavel. America is not a nation of laws, but of rules. Only a renewed cultural will to true reform, coupled with political leadership, can correct that.

As James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 51:

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Madison warned us of the masterminds and administrators when he wrote in Federalist No. 10:

“From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

Civil liberties were at the core of the American founding, and the recognition of these liberties in our Constitution and Bill of Rights is supposed to separate us from the totalitarian dictatorships of the world. But these liberties are quickly eroding, and all Americans, regardless of their political leanings, should be deeply concerned about the gross abuses of power we’ve seen from both Democrat and Republican administrations in the past 100 years of progressivism.

Even politicians as different in their views as Vice President Al Gore and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz agree: the government has infringed too far on our personal lives and liberties, and it’s time to take a stand.

A thousand paper cuts can be as deadly as a single gunshot, and our civil liberties are bleeding out from the sheer volume of direct attacks by the Obama administration. Whether it’s the IRS auditing grandmothers who have worked with the Tea Party, or the EPA targeting conservative groups, or the Justice Department harassing reporters, or even HHS extorting funds from health insurance providers, every day we learn about a different department violating our rights.

What’s scariest of all is that each of these scandals continued for months or even years before they came to light.

It’s fair to wonder exactly how many other federal agencies are abusing power, targeting the administration’s foes, and invading our privacy under the cover of darkness. In fact, at this point, all areas of government deserve a healthy degree of suspicion.

In the era of the paternalistic surveillance state — where government gives itself permission to invade your privacy because it think it knows what is “best” for you — blind indifference is possibly the most dangerous threat to our freedoms.

Conservatives were roundly mocked for suggesting that ObamaCare authorized death panels, but after HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke to Congress about choosing “when someone lives and someone dies,” it’s entirely reasonable to question whether placing so much power in a bureaucrat’s hands is such a wise idea.

We need to start viewing an attack by the government on one set of Americans as an attack on all Americans. When the IRS audits Tea Party organizations, or judges authorize the NSA to spy on all Verizon customers, we are all victims. The government could just as easily have chosen one of us to harass.

And with no end in sight to the rise of the powerful federal agencies, particularly with ObamaCare giving the bureaucracy even further control over health care decisions, there’s no reason to believe government will decide on its own to start upholding our civil liberties.

Upholding the Constitution is not a partisan issue, but rather an American issue, and if we don’t start standing up for our rights, there’s going to be no one left when the surveillance state comes for us.

Mark Levin in his 2012 bestseller “Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America”, wrote:

“In Liberty and Tyranny, I described the nature of individual liberty and the civil society in a constitutional republic, including the essential principles of America’s societal and political order. I also discussed the growing tyranny of government — statism, as I broadly labeled it — which threatens our liberty, the character of our country, and our way of life. At the time I warned that if we do not come to grips with the significance of this transformation, we will be devoured by it.

The symptoms of the tyranny that threatens liberty and republicanism have been acknowledged throughout time, including by iconic Americans. For example, Supreme Court associate justice Joseph Story, among America’s most prominent legal thinkers, explained in 1829, “governments are not always overthrown by direct and open assaults. They are not always battered down by the arms of conquerors, or the successful daring of usurpers. There is often concealed the dry rot, which eats into the vitals, when all is fair and stately on the outside. And to republics this has been the most common fatal disease. The continual drippings of corruption may wear away the solid rock…”

During the three years since the publication of Liberty and Tyranny, and despite growing alarm by an increasingly alert segment of the public, too many of our fellow citizens remain oblivious to the perilousness of their surroundings, not realizing or accepting the precariousness of their liberty and the civil society in the face of the federal government’s dramatic, albeit predictable, engorgement of power, This is the grave reality of our day.”

Levin was prophetic.

Levin noted in Ameritopia that the architects of what he correctly calls a “post-Constitutional America” are “too numerous to list” He focuses on President Woodrow Wilson, the progressive hero of the early twentieth century who was himself a liberal academic as professor and author before becoming president of Princeton. Levin notes of Wilson, who used his presidency to vastly increase the power of the federal government, that he “proved the insight of Madison’s fear — that is, without the Constitution’s limits on the federal government’s authority, an election could empower a temporary majority or faction to fundamentally alter the governmental structure in ways that threaten the individual’s liberty and rights.”

Other nations have attempted to emulate our Declaration of Independence, Revolution, and Constitution and failed. Most notably were the French Revolution (1789-1799) and the Russian Revolution of 1917-18. Both the French and Russian Revolutions began in the streets and escalated into a bloody civil war between the classes. Both issued declarations of rights based on what the government would give the people. Both failed because they did not recognize that rights were unalienable and emanated from God, not from government. Neither recognized that it was the role of government to protect those rights from the infringements of government not to define and modify those rights.

President Obama said in an interview prior to his election in 2008 that the Constitution was a document of “negative rights.” He said the Constitution did not go far enough in enumerating rights the people should have. In a sense he was right. Yes the Constitution does define the powers the federal government has — specifically in Article I, Section. But Obama neglected to mention that those powers not so enumerated belong to the people — not the government.

Our Founding Fathers did not trust big government. One of the main reasons that the Constitution was developed as it was and one of the main reasons the States agreed to confer authority on this new federal government while retaining most of their authority was to promote and secure liberty, private property rights, trade, commerce, a stable law, a transparent law, equal justice under the law and yes to secure the nation from foreign threats. But then they made certain that not only would they divide power within the federal government, not only would they enumerate powers, specific powers to certain branches of the federal government they would make it clear that the people under the Ninth Amendment, and the states under the Tenth Amendment, that their sovereignty would be preserved and all the other amendments in the Bill of Rights are intended to insure that the individual is protected. Otherwise the Constitution would not have been ratified by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by the Commonwealth of Virginia by the State of New York. Three of the big states that objected most and were concerned most about the centralization of power in the federal government. This is our history.