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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Odious Copenhagen Deception

Published 12/23/09, CITY News
Smugly impervious to scientific reasoning and appeals for open scientific debate, an international cabal of histrionic socialist ideologues, authoritarians, politicians and academicians in league with a greedy rabble of financial opportunists and sell-outs in the science community continue to shamelessly assert that menacing man-made global warming is a done deal, that there is a “scientific consensus” on that score, and that the growing number of respected scientific critics are but terribly misguided "crackpots", "Neanderthals", and heretical “flat earthers”.

Absent unassailable scientific data to support their claims of cataclysmic global warming, and with mounting objective evidence of fraudulent manipulation of that data, in archetypal Leftist fashion the elitist global warming gang has resorted to the usual mindless torrent of tedious ad hominems to both intimidate scientific critics and to altogether shut down scientific debate. How very reassuring.

Predictably, capricious Leftist ideology is again trumping commonsense, rationality and responsible stewardship. And, once again, “we the people”, meticulously disdained by our patrician overseers here and abroad, are expected to compliantly pick up the lavish and painful cost of their spectacular folly.

Thus, their cynical goal remains the same: the fundamental transformation of the Western World into a wonderland of mediocrity, enforced equality and diminished standards of living--but, of course, with these illustrious intellectual giants in charge of every facet of our worthless plebeian lives.

In a nutshell, isn't this precisely what it's really all about? When will this madness stop?

Positively mind-boggling!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Understanding Liberals

I knew that casting flip-flops and profanities at the endless parade of sneering and unctuous liberal talking heads and spinmeisters on TV simply had to stop. I realized I had to take control of my reactions to them or run the risk of either ruining a perfectly good TV set or subjecting myself to a costly regimen of antidepressants.

Long annoyed and distressed by liberal hypocrisy, mendacity, arrogance, recklessly muddled thinking, and, for me, their barely concealed contempt for the proverbial unwashed masses for whom they profess empathy and solidarity, I decided to at least somewhat mitigate my irritation by better understanding what liberals were REALLY all about. By better understanding why they behave as they do, I figured I’d be better able to more objectively deal with them and to moderate my reactions to them. Regaining my composure and keeping my blood pressure in check were my goals.

By attempting to psychologically define the stereotypical liberal I felt I would no longer be unduly stressed by their grossly sophomoric view of reality, intolerable smugness, reckless irresponsibility, their authoritarian proclivities, childish rants and scurrilous ad hominems. Thus, this quest for answers ensued.

Much to my surprise and relief, a respectable amount of thoughtful research on this very question has been compiled by many fine writers, historians and psychologists, many names of whom I have simply forgotten. But, among them are luminaries like Eric Hoffer, whom I had always considered the working man’s philosopher and whose brilliant and penetrating books about mass movements and ideologies I so thoroughly enjoyed both in my high school and college years.

I also relied on the insights of Dr. Lyle Rossiter, author of “The Liberal Mind”, Eric Alan Beltt, writer for Frontiers of Freedom, John Ray, contributor to Front Page Magazine and my most illuminating resource, as well as a number of other thoughtful writers, professionals and thinkers to gain a better understanding of this thing called "liberal".

First, a brief definition of liberalism:

“Classical Liberalism” generally refers to the liberalism which existed before the 20th century which emphasizes rational self-interest, limited republican government, individual moral and social responsibility, equal opportunity, free markets and the inherent rights of individuals to pursue life, liberty and property. (Think America’s founders.)

Classical Liberalism shouldn’t be confused with modern “welfare liberalism” which de-emphasizes the individual by advocating the predominant role of the state via collective class and group action.

Classic liberals espouse the concept of “negative rights” meaning an individual’s freedom from the coercive actions of government and other people. Conversely, modern liberals adhere to the concept of “positive rights”, meaning that individuals have the right to be provided benefits and services from government and others.

Very importantly, modern liberals are more inclined to violate the rules of natural law and of human nature by attempting to impose behavioral/attitudinal norms and intellectual standards by way of paternalistic state-directed collectivism. So, in a real sense, classical liberalism more closely resembles conservatism and libertarianism while modern liberalism embodies socialist and collectivist principles.

That said, Alan Beltt posits in one of his essays that “liberalism isn’t a political ideology; it’s a psychology – the psychology of self-satisfaction to be precise.” This fundamental assertion is worth remembering as we move forward.

According to Beltt, a liberal ideologue’s thinking is driven by an aversion to being ostracized and by a corresponding desire “to feel intelligent, moral, noble, or unique, as well as a desire for peer acceptance and reverence”, but Belt cautions that this characterization of a liberal ideologue is quite apart from the non-activist self-identified liberal who may, from time to time, agree with liberal ideologues owing to parochial self-interest or simply ignorance, e.g. an otherwise politically conservative member of a teacher’s union.

Belt states that the liberal ideologues' common bond is “their straight-forward simplicity” which shuns “real solutions to real problems.” (Like the gov’t takeover of healthcare to expand healthcare services and reduce costs without affecting the quality of healthcare.)

Further, he reasons that the causes for which a liberal fights is “relevant only insofar as different causes stroke different needs [like] moral superiority, intellectual superiority, group acceptance, aversion to emotional trauma, etc.” (Wow! Sounds eerily akin to an adolescent’s emotional and psychological profile, huh?)

Beltt goes on to assert that because liberals are so concerned about their egos that they tend to gravitate to academia, news and entertainment, and the legal professions; that since “liberals want to be society’s elite and powerful” being a part of an elite social circle is extremely important to them; that because they want to feel good about themselves they’re wholly dependent upon how others feel about them. Thus, what better way to earn others’ respect and awe than by being a successful academician, entertainer or lawyer, etc (Therefore, cannot it be safely said that emotional immaturity and a child-like need for peer acceptance are dominant liberal indicators?)

To feel a sense of superiority, liberals unquestionably regard the poor, the uneducated, southerners, conservatives, religious people, and minorities as inferior. (Remember Obama’s “clinging to their guns and religion” screed?) By feeding the poor and downtrodden, liberals seek expressions of gratitude and praise, and, in turn, an affirmation of their superiority, which is, of course, their overarching goal. Wow! It's finally coming together.

Liberals also continually regard international acceptance and popularity as a must. (Does Obama’s “apology tour” come to mind?) Why? Because one can’t feel morally and intellectually superior if others don’t look up to you. To the liberal, then, personal affirmation, personal consequences and avoiding unpopularity invariably take precedence over national security. This fits nicely with the modern liberal’s opposition to “unilateral action” since negative consequences of such actions would fall squarely upon them rendering them morally accountable to their international elitist peers.

Conversely, any negative consequences of “multilateralism” can be shared with their liberal allies around the world. (Thus, their unstinting support of the UN and other international/globalist organizations.) So, in short, it’s really all about ego. (Thus, it seems that some of us simply never outgrow our adolescent insecurities.)

Beltt nicely illustrates the egotism of liberals by describing the manner in which they argue and debate. As he succinctly observes, “to conservatives, debate is about issues…but to liberals it is about them.” (Ah! Now I get it. Like debating with a self-centered teenager.)

In a debate, the liberal “either wants to prove his superiority or the other person’s inferiority, or both”, and rather than lose the debate, the liberal invariably relies on ad hominems, wild-eyed claims of bigotry, and evasion—the psychological defense mechanisms of the insecure and the narcissist.

Obviously, this can be very infuriating to the unwary classical liberal, conservative or libertarian who seeks substantive dialogue and fact based solutions. For liberals, however, the purpose of politics is to stoke their egos, and political power is the ultimate affirmation of that superiority. So, in a very real sense, political power is the means to personal gratification. (Thus, it’s likely distressingly true that genuinely selfless service is very much an alien motivator for most liberals, but, I’m sure, for some other politicians of different political stripes as well.)

Gee! I’m feeling better already. Knowledge really is power. So, in effect, what I (and you) have been dealing with are neurotic me-first kids in adult bodies. Nothing more, nothing less.

Finally, Beltt suggests that liberals tend to be “intellectually lazy”. Their fixation with “shades of gray” and moral relativism is stereotypically liberal which inevitably leads to ethereal and feel-good answers that merely “sound right” (like affirmative action, gun control, socialized healthcare, anti-war movements, aversion to tax cuts) but which are, if more carefully weighed, simply illogical or intellectually indefensible. Relying upon rational thought clearly means abandoning their pursuit of vainglorious personal affirmation, a frightening risk the liberal would surely avoid like the plague. And since deeply delving into an opponent’s argument could factually disprove a liberal’s position and thus diminish his sense of intellectual superiority, such an intellectual exercise would, of course, be routinely avoided. (And since “it is much easier [for a liberal] to just assume someone has different values than it is to try to understand why they believe what they believe,” I have to wonder if a typical liberal would as objectively examine the conservative mind as non-liberals have examined the liberal mind. Very doubtful, as this would require some uncomfortable level of self-examination and self-discovery as well. Oops. Can’t have that.)

Moving on, John Ray posits that “Rightists [as opposed to Leftists] have no need either for change or its opposite and may oppose change if they see it as destructive or favor change if they see it as constructive.” To liberals, however, their motive for changing society is to “draw attention to themselves…as being wise, innovative, caring, etc.”

In a somewhat less tempered manner, Mr. Ray discusses a variety of liberal positions which, for him, illustrate the liberal phenomenon:

1. Human Nature: Leftists reject the immutability of human nature and heredity. To the liberal, virtually all human behavior can be molded and shaped, and acquired characteristics can be genetically passed on. (Among other things, this might well explain their attachment to high-minded “restorative justice”, social engineering and their single-minded attempt to dominate public education.)

2. The Church: Leftists are generally antagonistic toward ecclesiastical authorities which “enforce conventional morality” for the purpose of ensuring societal and familial order. Having infiltrated many churches, secular Leftists hope to further erode Christian power and influence while expanding their own. (For example, the accommodation of same-sex marriage on the part of some churches today is illustrative of this infiltration.) Leftists generally favor abortion, contraception, those more primitive religions which are less threatening, oppose religious schooling and financial support for parochial schools. To Ray, Liberals attempt “to exploit Judeo-Christian teachings of love and compassion [in order to] promote the usual Leftist goals of enforced equality.”

3. Anti-Racist Hypocrisy: liberals camouflage their own anti-Semitism and racism by viciously and unrelentingly attacking others who disagree with them for harboring those feelings. (Classic Psych 101 “transference”.) Marx, Hitler and Stalin, among other Leftists, were notoriously anti-Semitic and racist and always justified their actions in the name of “the people”. It’s worth noting that all the mass murders of the 20th century were perpetrated by Leftists and “virulent racism” can and does, in fact, exist on the Left. Spiro Agnew described Leftists as “limousine liberals” who seldom opt to actually live in neighborhoods with a sizeable number of minority residents. Also to Ray, the profusion of documentaries about Hitler in the liberal dominated media and the relative paucity of documentaries about Stalin attest to the Left’s barely disguised “obsession” with Nazism. This is not to say that modern liberals are Nazis, only that they are cut from the same psychological cloth.

4. Racism: liberals “tend to characterize as racist almost anyone who is honest about his or her perfectly normal feelings of group identity.” Why? To earn personal acclaim for their compassion and adherence to “equality” and, of course, to weaken intergroup cohesiveness. (Race-baiting is a means to divide and conquer.) With respect to Americans and capitalism, Ray sees an uncomfortable commonality of disenchantment among liberals, Muslim fanatics, and “Green” extremists. He also examines the Left’s hypocritical level of intensity when it comes to strongly condemning European or Western “atrocities” (like the “infamous” Abu Graib, Guantanamo, America’s treatment of illegal aliens) while seldom excoriating Pol Pot’s “killing fields”, Stalin’s “gulag”, Japan’s raping and pillaging of China, Kim Il Sung’s death camps, and a whole host of “mini-holocausts” perpetrated in Africa and other developing areas of the world.)

5. Equality & Moral Equivalence: “In the name of bringing about equality, Leftists get an excuse to tear down the whole of existing structure of society—something that they need to do to give themselves any chance of fulfilling their dream of taking over all power for themselves. It is the fact that they are not in charge of everything that the leftist most of all wants to change.” (The so-called “dumbing down” of America’s educational system and the accent on promoting self-esteem over healthy competition and achievement is an excellent example of liberalism’s enforced equality. Exempted, of course, are the liberal elites themselves who foist defective public education standards on the general public while dispatching their children to private schools. You’ll notice that school vouchers are robustly opposed by the left.) This pursuit of “equality” invariably leads to their advocacy of redistribution of income, progressive taxation, inheritance and death taxes, generous foreign aid, feminism, gay rights, and socialized medicine. Further, Leftists express their amoral belief in “moral equivalence” by, for example, asserting the moral equivalence--or equivalent blameworthiness or praiseworthiness--of Islamic terrorists and Christian fundamentalists. Mr. Ray describes their amorality as “the mark of a psychopath--the moral imbecile” which simply can’t tell the difference between right and wrong and, therefore, cannot be held accountable for any brutality and unpleasantness which might result from such simplistic and coldhearted shallowness. (Sounds eerily akin to the way our justice system views underaged criminals, huh? So, it shouldn’t surprise us that KSM and his terrorist buddies are being accorded due-process protections and trial by a civilian court in NYC.)

6. Political Correctness: leftists attempt to change our views of other groups by arbitrarily altering the words we use to describe them, e.g. undocumented immigrant vs illegal alien, but also by ensuring the inability of airport security to more carefully examine those who are more likely than other racial groups to pose a terrorist threat, and by willfully ignoring the militant Islamism and anti-Americanism of the infamous Maj. Hassan all in the name of empty-headed “diversity”, etc. So, while they talk a good game about breaking down barriers, providing a “big tent” and encouraging an open discussion of racial and cultural differences, the Leftist’s real game is to quash honest dialogue, knowledge and debate in order to divide and dominate.

7. The Leftist Appeal: “liberals are attracted to absurd offers of something for nothing; their sense of equality is motivated more by their goal of bringing those in power down than to raising everyone up. As for the elitist power structure itself, its real goal is to be more equal than others.” A good example of this is the Communist Party in the USSR to whose members special privileges, goods and services were accorded to the exclusion of other Soviet citizens.

8. Guilt v Compassion: expressions or demonstrations of liberal compassion are dictated by “a desire for self-righteousness, praise, power and excitement” and not by any genuine sense of guilt. Selfishly motivated, the typical liberal expects government—not themselves--to finance liberal expressions of compassion. Thus, their overarching goal is power and influence, not the betterment of mankind.

9. Religion: now more than ever, Mr. Ray clearly believes that Leftism has in many ways evolved into a secular religion. In universities, “Marxism is often treated as a theology” whose every wisdom is so carefully examined by professorial keepers of the faith. Through this brainwashing, the goal of liberals is to eclipse the power and influence of the church. Generally, liberals want churches to serve their agenda so that liberalism’s political domination can be more readily achieved. Like in spiritual based religions, Leftists too need to believe in things which sound good even if they cannot be proven.

10. Other Causes of Liberalism: especially to impressionable youth seeking peer acceptance, “heroic” advocacy of human rights and the needs of the downtrodden is “cool”; the fraudulent appeal of easy or simple solutions to complex problems and the need for instant self-gratification; the need for acceptance by non-conformists, misfits, pacifists, social pariahs, idealists, malcontents, fanatics, the ambitious, the bored and “the weird”. (Eric Hoffer figured this out long ago.)

11. Leftists in Academe: since the humanities and social science schools of US colleges and universities are “monopolized” by liberals, these schools “are intolerant of diversity, opposed to free speech, and discriminatory in their hiring practices.” (In others words, conservatives need not apply.) However, Mr. Ray reassuringly notes that given that most intelligent graduates go into the business world (real world) rather than the teaching field (theoretical world), and that there are now many alternative sources of information (broadcasting) currently dominating the American scene, liberalism’s impact on most graduates is, fortunately, fleeting. (But, keep your eye on the FCC which, in the hands of Progressives, will always attempt to curtail or altogether eliminate divergent viewpoints on the airwaves.)

12. Egotism: thinking well of oneself is, in general, healthy; however, excessive self-satisfaction or self-esteem is abnormal and can lead to criminal behavior, a misplaced entitlement mentality, an irrational sense of superiority, elitism, a cavalier attitude toward others, a simplistic and unrealistic understanding of the forces at play in our lives, a neurotic need for constant affirmation, maladaptive denial of inconvenient or dispiriting truths and realities, and other psychopathological problems. Egotism afflicts the liberal mind.

Mr. Ray soberly concludes one of his recent papers on liberalism by cautioning that though liberals deceive us by their noisy advocacy of democratic principles, “Leftism IS intrinsically authoritarian and power-loving and will always therefore tend in the direction of government domination” and will succeed only if not impeded by other forces and influences. And given the opportunity which comes from political power, Leftists, true to form, will quickly expand their power by fashioning oppressive bureaucracies to facilitate their socialist and collectivist goals. (And, yes, folks, that expansion is already taking place at breakneck speed. Do the Dept. of Education, EPA and other suffocating regulatory bodies come to mind?) He also imputes that to Leftists constitutional constraints are but inconvenient hurdles to be either circumvented or overwhelmed. (Strict Constitutional constructionists and originalists they surely aren't.)

“Giving any power to Leftists is a most dangerous thing to do,” Ray warns, “and working to prevent that happening is a matter of no small importance.”

Finally, when recently speaking with two professional acquaintances, one a Volunteer Coordinator and the other a military retiree, I was at once mystified and distressed by what clearly appeared to be their unwavering view that since most Americans had already irretrievably morphed into permissive and dependent automatons that there was really nothing more that could done, or, indeed, should be done to resist America’s socialist transformation. In fact, any commitment to action on their part to restore and defend American exceptionalism seemed to be altogether absent or, at best, tentative. I couldn’t help but think that these otherwise regular folks, had simply given up hope and resigned themselves to quietly and willingly succumb to the new Progressive order, much like the sleeping human victims of the alien pods in “Invaders from Space” were transformed.

Thus, while their words seemed to express their disappointment over the country’s direction, they seemed strangely resigned to a fate over which they felt they could not—or worse—did not want to exercise any meaningful level of control. I remained bewildered by their almost unyielding resistance to remedy the situation by their own political engagement and activism. Very disturbing, indeed. I can only hope and pray that these folks are not typical of most Americans, for if they are America is surely doomed. And I guess this is why I’m a stalwart Conservative, aka Classical Liberal: I want to protect my individual rights and liberties from an overreaching authority no matter what form that authority may take. And as a grassroots activist, I am completely unwilling to resign myself to a socialist or statist fate.

Finally, what this research has taught me is that yielding to, compromising with or in any way accommodating modern Liberalism merely to achieve some semblance of transitory peace is foolhardy, suicidal and simply not a rational option. Tough love, pushing back deliberately and firmly, refusing to back off, and not simply emotionally reacting to their adolescent and self-destructive behavior is the tried and true course to follow. Thus, it appears that patriots and parents really do have much in common.

So let’s roll, America! And don't for a moment allow them to get the best of us, or, more importantly, our Republic

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Does Second Amendment Confer Right to Bear Arms?

Intuitively, I had always believed that the 2nd Amendment protected my inherent right to keep and bear arms for my own personal safety; that this right was derived from “natural law” irrespective of any right to same which may have been specifically granted or denied by either the United States or any of the States.

Further, I had always believed that since the federal government was not specifically granted the right to restrict my right to self protection, that, in accordance with the enumerated powers of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, the federal government did not have the right to in any way deny my right to self protection; that, similarly, since the right to self protection is an inherently natural right that no State could abridge or otherwise deny that right as well.

In light of the recent District of Columbia v Heller (2008) decision in which SCOTUS struck down DC’s handgun ban as well as its ban on loaded, operable firearms for DC residents’ self-defense and the McDonald v City of Chicago case which protected the right to keep and bear arms from infringement by local governments, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to explore the meaning of the 2nd Amendment for myself.

Briefly, this is what the Heller decision said: “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home” and “that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.” However, SCOTUS tempered its decision by allowing for “prohibitions against possession of weapons by felons or the mentally ill” or “carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings”. In short, the Court ruled that the Amendment’s prefatory clause, i.e. “a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state”, serves to clarify the operative clause, i.e. “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”,but does not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause.

The first thing I discovered is that quite apart from the supercilious and intrusive world of social engineers who continually advocate a wholesale ban on privately owned guns without any allusion to constitutional justification, over the years there really has been a serious and honest difference of opinion among respected constitutional scholars as to the precise meaning of the 2nd Amendment, a difference which the Heller and McDonald decisions finally resolved for every American. While Heller has affirmatively addressed the 2nd Amendment right of citizens to keep and bear arms who reside within federal territories, the McDonald ruling  extened that right to the local and state levels.

But, first, let’s very briefly highlight some authoritative, albeit contradictory, case law on this subject before proceeding further:

1. Barron v Baltimore (1833): held that the Bill of Rights applies directly to the federal government—not to state governments. In effect, the court ruled that states could infringe on the Bill of Rights since the Bill of Rights restrained only the federal government. (Don’t ask. I didn’t delve deeply into the reasoning behind this decision.)

2. Nunn v State of Georgia (1846): held that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” and that “the right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed or broken in upon in the smallest degree.”

3. Cockrum v State of Texas (1859): ruled that “the right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or state, is absolute. He does not derive it from the state government. It is one of the ‘high powers’ delegated directly to the citizen, and ‘is excepted out of the general powers of government.’ A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.” (Clearly, at some variance with Barron v Baltimore.)

4. 14th Amendment (1868): to address the possible oppression of freed slaves following the civil war and to ensure that former slaves, among other citizens, were able to Keep and Bear Arms for that purpose, Congress passed this amendment which provides that states may not “abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States” or “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” (If you can’t get there one way, try another route.)

5. The Slaughter-House Cases (1873): held that only those “privileges and immunities” that “owe their existence” to the US Constitution were protected; thus, the Bill of Rights didn’t apply to the states because the Bill of Rights protected basic human rights which existed before the ratification of the Constitution.

6. United States v Cruikshank (1876): clarified that the Right to Keep and Bear Arms existed before the Constitution but that the 2nd Amendment, indeed the 1st Amendment, were not protected from infringement by the states or by private individuals. (Here the court ignored the 14th Amendment and parroted Barron v Baltimore.)

7. Presser v Illinois (1886) and Miller v Texas (1894): held that the 2nd Amendment didn’t directly protect against infringement by the states.

8. People v Zerillo (Michigan, 1922): Ruled that “the provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff.”

9. Gitlow v New York (1925): ruled that the 14th Amendment prohibited states from violating some of the rights of citizens without “due process” but stopped short of “incorporating” all of the Bill of Rights at once.

10. Since Gitlow, and only on a case by case basis, courts have held that on the strength of the 14th Amendment’s “Due Process Clause”, the Bill of Rights is protected against state infringement. In effect, the Bill of Rights has been “incorporated” into the Due Process Clause vide the generally accepted Theory of Substantive Due Process. (Note: today, the 2nd Amendment is one of the last rights in the Bill of Rights to be incorporated.)

11. District of Columbia v Heller (2008): the court ruled that the Cruikshank decision failed to properly weigh 14th Amendment protections and that “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right.”

So, though most states protect the individual right to keep and bear arms, the McDonald v City of Chicago ensured that the full force of the 2nd Amendment extended to all localities as well. Particularly in those states where there are no state constitutional safeguards, plaintiffs are especially concerned. Without 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, gun owners are at the mercy of state legislators, social engineering lobbyists and the like.

But, what’s behind the McDonald challenge? In short, the Illinois state constitution states that “Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” By failing to “incorporate” 14th Amendment inquiry as was required by Heller, in June 2009 the 7th Court of Appeals reaffirmed Illinois’ power to ban handguns by relying solely—and erroneously—on the Cruikshank decision of 1876, thereby ignoring nearly all other pertinent case law as well.

By contrast, earlier, in April 2009, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit (Nordyke v King) in California concluded that since “the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition,” that this right is, therefore, “incorporated” into the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause and applies to the states.” This decision was on hold awaiting a SCOTUS decision on the McDonald v City of Chicago case. Thus, we had two appellate courts and two divergent views in the same year. The earlier decision relied upon the 14th Amendment as required by Heller and the panel opinion relied upon Cruikshank which had been overruled by Heller. (How mortal jurists be?)

So, owing to the contradictory case law subsequent to the US Constitution’s adoption in 1787, I opted to simplify my inquiry by examining what our framers had to say about all this. Being the real experts, their correspondence and debates carry considerably more weight for me than do contemporary interpretations from either the left or the right.

First, the 2nd Amendment states that “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Like all things constitutional, context is absolutely everything, and both logic and a studious level of caution dictate that the expressed intent of the framers should always take precedence over what might be faulty subsequent interpretation. And rather than weighing and examining a dizzying array of contradictory interpretations, I have found solace by relying upon an “originalist” approach to better capture the meaning of the framers in this regard. It just seems eminently more sensible and the least painful path to follow.

Bearing in mind Thomas Jefferson’s admonishment that “on every question of construction let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed”, any conclusions as to the framers’ intent and, thus, the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, will be left to the objectivity and integrity of the reader.

From what I have read, the intended purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to guarantee the right of the people to keep and bear arms as a check on the standing army and any foreign armies. To wit, Noah Webster and Tench Coxe, the latter an ally and correspondent of James Madison, admonished that “before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.” Similarly, George Mason warned that “the colonies’ recent experience with Britain”, in which King George’s goal had been “to disarm the people…was the best way to enslave them.”

Further, it appears that the overarching purpose of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the Constitution, was to better ensure private rights by specifically proscribing federal violations of those rights. Thus, in short, “well regulated militia” did not at all mean Congressional regulation of that militia or, by extension, the regulation of the people’s right to keep and bear arms. Also, the text of the Amendment expressly confirms that the right to keep and bear arms is retained “by the people”, and not the states. Important to note too is that whenever the word “regulate” appears within the Constitution’s text, the Constitution specifies who is to do the regulating and what is being regulated. However, in the 2nd Amendment the term “well regulated” describes a militia—not an army reserve or national guard--but does not define who or what regulates it. Thus, from what I could understand, the framers intended that the people comprise an essentially unorganized militia which may, of necessity, be organized and well regulated, but by the people themselves.

This view is confirmed by Alexander Hamilton (Federalist, No. 29): “…but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…” Thus, it also appears to have been clearly intended by the framers that law-abiding armed citizens could collectively organize and train and that doing so would not necessarily pose a threat to their fellow citizens, but would, in fact, help “to ensure domestic tranquility” and “provide for the common defence”.

But, rather than further wading through a plethora of interesting, albeit esoteric, and often contradictory opinions let’s take a brief look at some notable quotes of the framers themselves to better understand their meaning and intent with respect to the 2nd Amendment. It’s just more edifying—for me anyway:

1. “No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms…” Thomas Jefferson
2. “The people have the right to bear arms for the defense of themselves and the state…” Pennsylvania Declaration of 1776
3. “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed—unlike citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust people with arms.” James Madison, Federalist Paper #46
4. “Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion…in private self defense.” John Adams, 1787
5. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…” James Madison, 1789
6. “…the ultimate authority…resides in the people alone.” James Madison
7. “Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” Tench Coxe, 1788
8. “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms.” Richard Henry Lee, 1788
9. “The Constitution shall never be construed…to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping and bearing arms.” Samuel Adams, 1788
10. “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them.” Richard Henry Lee, 1788
11. “The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” Alexander Hamilton
12. “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance?” Thomas Jefferson
13. “The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” Thomas Jefferson
14. “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence…To ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable…The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference…When firearms go, all goes. We need them every hour.” George Washington

While there are also many luminaries, like Einstein, Machiavelli, Ayn Rand, Blackstone, et. al, who celebrate the individual right to keep and bear arms, there are notable detractors as well:

1. “Gun registration is not enough; the most effective way of fighting crime in the United States is to outlaw the possession of any type of firearm by the civilian population.” Janet Reno. Atty General, 1991
2. “Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed.” Sara Brady, Chairman, Handgun Control, 1994
3. “…Our ultimate goal—total control of all guns—is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered, and the final problem is to make possession of all handguns, and all handgun ammunition totally illegal.” Nelson Shields, Handgun Control
4. “What good does it do to ban some guns. All guns should be banned.” Sen. Howard Metzanbaum, 1994
5. “Citizens! Turn in your weapons.” (English translation of Soviet Union poster 1919.)

FYI: Current US Code defines militia like this: “The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age. The classes of the militia are (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard, and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members in the militia who are not members of the National Guard.” Title 10, Section 311(a) of the United States Code.

And, finally, no discussion of the 2nd Amendment can be properly wrapped up without this incisive quote from Thomas Jefferson: “False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary of trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evil, except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such nature…Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man…”

So, there you have it. Shouldn't the Framers’ understanding of the 2nd Amendment be rendered more authoritative than the stream of conspicuously contradictory legal opinions which followed over the years? The age-old controversy. As said, for me the Framers’ clearly stated opinions as to their meaning and intent necessarily hold sway.

Currently under serious assault by Progressives at both the federal and state levels, the inviolabilty of the 2nd Amendment hangs in the balance. Pushback is widespread, and already there are hundreds of Sheriffs who refuse to obey these unconstitutional infringements on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Many States have taken action to nullify federal gun contol laws. Stay tuned. This could get very messy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Constitution in Crisis: Retaking Congress Our Only Peaceful Recourse?

Though I’ve covered this subject in previous posts, the issue is sufficiently troubling to warrant further discussion.

Despite Rep. Shadegg’s desperate introduction of HR 450 (Enumerated Powers Act) which, if passed, would require that each law cite specific Constitutional authority prior to passage, Congress continues to cavalierly and dismissively give short shrift to the Constitution. In fact, utterly ignoring the Constitution has become epidemic and, for the most part, institutionalized in Washington.

Illustrating this disturbing truth is the fact that not one healthcare bill being considered by Congress contains a single reference to the Constitution. At least I haven’t found any such cite. In fact, for government healthcare advocates and apologists, not even the “commerce clause” or the signature misguided allusion to “general welfare” to justify such draconian federal overreaching appears in any of the healthcare bills.

Further illustrating the Democrats’ scorn for the Constitution, when a reporter recently had the temerity to ask if the bills were constitutional, the vile “San Fran Nan”, aka the new Queen of Mean, contemptibly shot back “Are you serious? Are you serious?” One might ask if her disdain was directed at the questioner, or at the Constitution itself. To my way of thinking, it was clearly both.

Then there is this infamous quote attributed to Sen. Jay Rockefeller: “I don’t really give a hoot about states’ rights or federal rights. I care about results.” And it is precisely those results about which we should all be fearful. I could go on, but my real point here is that unless politicians on both sides of the aisle fully live up to their oath of office, our country is going down the tubes, and fast.

The “individual mandate”, the centerpiece of the Dems’ healthcare overhaul, immediately jumps out as the fundamental and overarching challenge to the Constitution. Everything in the Senate and House bills flow from the imposition of the “individual mandate”. And any American who fails to participate would be punished with heavy fines and from 1-5 years of imprisonment! This gross Constitutional violation should leave us all breathlessly incredulous and, yes, acutely upset.

Clearly, the polarization, division, tumult and fear the Progressive legislative blitzkrieg in Congress has perpetrated over the past nine months is fast reaching a climax, a breaking point, for the American people. Something has to give, and, in the end, I don’t think it’s going to be the people and the states who will yield to this federal coercion.

To wit, anticipating passage of an unconstitutional healthcare package, already 11 states (AZ, FL, IN, MN, ND, NM, MI, OH, PA,WV, WY) have filed or pre-filed state constitutional amendments which would empower individual choice in matters of healthcare and coverage. Reportedly, the legislation also renders it unconstitutional to penalize anyone who chooses to purchase healthcare or healthcare insurance outside government-run programs. Seven other states (AK, GA, LA, MS, MO, NH, UT) have announced their intention to follow suit.

Also, asserting that the Progressive healthcare legislation violates six Constitutional amendments including free speech and protections against illegal search and seizure, Constitutional attorneys around the country are gearing up to challenge the legislation before the U.S. Supreme Court. Specifically troubling these constitutional attorneys are the following items: 1) compelling senior citizens to discuss end-of-life matters infringes upon the 1st Amendment; 2) allowing the seizure of money and records without due process violates the 4th and 5th Amendments; 3) imposing mandatory health insurance violates the 9th and 10th Amendments; 4) discriminating between residents of different states and against those who are not union members violates the 14th Amendment; and 5) imposing a national insurance plan, a form of social engineering thus not a legitimate revenue-raising purpose of taxation, violates the 16th Amendment. A dizzying number of legitimate Constitutional grounds for challenge.

In stark contrast, the currently moribund GOP counter-proposal abridges no individual freedoms or violates separation of powers or any amendments. Among other helpful provisions in the GOP proposal: 1) medical liability reform by capping non-economic damages at $250,000; 2) aggressive fraud reduction; 3) tax credits to help individuals buy private insurance; 3) allowing families and individuals to purchase insurance across state lines; 4) allowing children thru the age of 25 to remain on their parents’ insurance plan; 5) strengthening health savings and flexible spending accounts; 6) creating a high-risk pool for those with pre-existing conditions; 7) bonuses to states for reducing the number of uninsured; 8) establishment of rules for governing association health plans for businesses; 9) allowing Medicaid eligible persons to use the value of their benefits to purchase private insurance. Without any Constitutional violations, this proposal is clearly a responsible first step to achieving common sense reform which will reduce costs while ensuring accessibility to affordable quality helathcare—without adding to the deficit and at a tenth of the cost being proposed under the Progressive-Socialist plan.

Without question, the Democrats have clearly demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt that they cannot be trusted to uphold their oath to defend the Constitution or to protect those liberties enshrined in our Constitution. For them, it’s a no holds barred battle to achieve Obama’s goal of “fundamentally transforming the United States of America” as rapidly as possible while they still have their hands on all the levers of power.

So, what recourse do we have to remedy this transformational federal overreaching? As indicated in a previous post, moral suasion (which is clearly not working at all), nullification (which is already underway), widespread civil disobedience (which is now much more than a remote possibility if we are willing to stick together), more “Tea Party” marches on Washington (which, to date, have been essentially ignored), secession (which I hope can be avoided), open rebellion (again, not at all outside the realm of possibility anymore), or Article V constitutional convention (which, on balance, could be a perilously self-defeating course to take with so many Progressives infecting the system), or something less dramatic, like repealing the law after the 2010 elections? And while we're at it, let us, at long last, pass HR 450 as well!

For the repeal solution to be viable, it seems to me that a resurgent GOP more rigidly grounded in conservative and America-First principles—a worthy aspiration which the GOP machine may not yet be up to at this juncture--must handily win both chambers of Congress in November. Then, this new and uncompromisingly American majority, who may actually represent “we the people” for a change, must be philosophically and politically committed to immediately REPEALING in tota the Progressive healthcare behemoth before it is fully implemented in 2013-2014. This new American majority can then pass a more common sense and thoroughly CONSTITUTIONAL reform package which the President, always the calculating community organizer and quintessential politician, might very well be reluctant to veto.

To restore sanity in Washington, we all need to roll up our sleeves and do all we can to replace party-first hacks and socialist elitists with "citizen representatives". And this time, no compromising on principle. "We the People" either take our country back, or by our inaction or silence be complicit in writing the Republic's epitaph.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Progressive Healthcare Awakens Heartland Americans: The Battle Must Be Joined

Deliberately preventing her congressional minions from returning to their districts where they would be exposed to the wrath of their constituencies, Commissar Pelosi, being a shoo-in for re-election in her leftist San Francisco coven, thus having nothing to lose herself, last Saturday forced a vote on HR 3962, the so-called “Affordable Health Care for America Act”. (The title can't get more laughably Orwellian than that. Wow!)

However, despite strong-arm tactics, pledges of porky pay-offs behind closed doors, and the President’s labeling dissenters as “extremists” at the Cannon Office Building on Saturday, the Progressive HR 3962 monstrosity passed with but two votes to spare—220 to 215. This squeaker can’t give Democratic Congressmen seeking re-election in 2010 much solace at all. But, it should give patriots some well-grounded hope.

Without expounding on the already well-known deleterious effects of this bill's implementation on healthcare itself, let's very briefly recap the actual costs of this Progressive chicanery: front loaded with $700 billion in taxes and back loaded with spending, the true cost of the bill thru 2019 will be $1.5 trillion. That includes the est. $217 billion "doc fix". However, since spending will not begin in earnest until 2014, the actual cost from 2014 - 2023, the first full ten years of the program's implementation, will be a staggering $2.6 trillion! Currently shackled by a 10.2% unemployment rate and trying to come to terms with various economic predictions of hyperinflation and a possibly ruinous devaluation of the dollar within the next three years, one no longer needs to wonder whether or not the purpose of ObamaCare, PelosiCare or ReidCare is an honest and sober attempt to reform healthcare OR, what it really is, a naked, shameless and irresponsible grab for political power.

Ever the optimist, I predict that the painful Progressive tyranny of the past several years will ultimately lead to the undoing of an increasingly arrogant and alarmingly out of touch Democratic Party. Like the GOP, only if the Democratic Party moves back to the center or center-right by advocating America-first values and agendas can the Democratic Party ever hope to recover Americans’ trust and respect again.

But before we get there, the battle for sanity and the restoration of Constitutional governance in Washington is not yet over. And most of us know that it will continue to be an uphill struggle requiring dedication and determination. Awakened to the transformational disaster befalling them, Tea Partiers and other grassroots Americans everywhere are rising up in increasing numbers and with growing vigor to push back the Progressive tide.

Restive and disillusioned, the states are enacting nullification laws, the first since pre-Civil War days, legislatures are passing resolutions challenging federal overreaching in the areas of healthcare, gun rights, etc. Deepest of blue New Jersey went Republican. Even the GOP, by and large a gaggle of insipid me-first compromisers, are now realizing that accommodating an alien Progressive ideology is no longer in their political self-interest. And it most certainly is not in the nation's interest.

Yes, the rubber has finally hit the road, and the battle is joined. Truly a historical watershed of immense proportions which I hope our children are able to read about in their history books. And though the Democratic elite know they're in trouble, they are nonetheless ruthlessly and, yes, fanatically pushing their socialist agenda at a blitzkrieg pace while they still enjoy their fleeting grasp on the reins of power. Unquestionably, their hubris and disdain have genuinely scared heretofore complacent Americans into unprecedented action--and not the submission they had hoped for. Nothing like fear to spark political activism and to get the adrenaline flowing. For this reason, I am, indeed, very hopeful that we can turn the tide and that Progressive tyranny will be checked. Failure cannot be an option.

Finally, instead of the hoard of self-serving career political hacks currently tainting the once venerable halls of Congress, and in keeping with our Founders' plan, my dream is to see a resurgence of genuinely common sense “citizen representatives” who will properly serve us all in the People's House. And it's up to us grassroots types to try to make that happen. Before my rendezvous with eternity, I sincerely hope I see the beacon of freedom and liberty shining brightly over America once again.

To quote Thomas Jefferson, "That government is strongest of which every man feels himself a part," and I, like many of you, dearly want to feel a part of my government once again. And while "timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty", the energetic and committed folks I know want anything but the tranquillity of submission.

It's up to us now, folks. No one else can do it for us.

("The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive." Thomas Jefferson)

("When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." Thomas Jefferson)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Another Jihadist Turns on His Country

Going all the way back to the Trade Center bombing in the early 90’s, the recent killing of two soldiers in Little Rock by a Muslim, the indictment and imprisonment of a Muslim chaplain for espionage, and now Major Hasan’s killing of 13 soldiers and the wounding of 31 others at Fort Hood--to name but a few seditious and murderous “incidents” of fifth column activities over the years--haven’t self-loathing Americans had their fill of coddling, willfully ignoring and excusing Muslim extremism here and abroad? When does this insanity--this crap--end??

How many more Americans must be killed or maimed, how many more intelligence infiltrations must be tolerated, how many more domestic terrorist acts must be suffered before common sense trumps political correctness? Like most Americans, I’m tired of so many supercilious nincompoops on the left allowing themselves to be pawns of arrogant elitism which sees Americans as the enemy and not the Muslim extremists who would decapitate our apostate children if they had but the chance.

Alas, screaming Allahu Akbar, lunatic Major Nidal Hasan--of all things a psychiatrist in the United States Army--is nothing more nor less than a criminally misguided domestic terrorist. His Muslim compatriots who share his views, which, I fear, clearly and obviously characterize many of them, deserve condemnation and the full weight of the law.

Are my feelings hatefully anti-Muslim? Of course not. But, they are shaped by a vigorous survivalist and objectively anti-terrorist predisposition. Is Hasan’s crime a simple case of PTSD battle stress? Give me a break! What battle stress? He was never deployed! Or are his deliberate and murderous actions at Fort Hood symptomatic of a hateful and criminal ideology which should be eradicated? The sane reader can easily cut through the elitist obfuscation and arrive at the truth.

After I heard the news last night, I emailed a Lt. Col. friend of mine at the Pentagon with the following: “What's your take on the Ft. Hood disaster? Seems to me if you know a soldier, in this case an officer, is 1) Muslim, 2) openly disparaging of America's efforts and supportive of jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq, 3) complains about being harassed by peers and retains an attorney to protect himself from his anti-American rants, and 4) has a "poor" Officer Efficiency Report evaluation, then why was he not more carefully monitored and, yes, properly restrained? Doesn't require a rocket scientist to understand that political correctness in and out of the military is killing our troops--and in our own country. What do you think?"

Though I haven't received a reply as yet, I suspect I already know his answer. Afterall, he's a battle-tested common sense American who loves his country, values his Christian beliefs, and is, therefore, an enemy of terrorists and their elitist enablers.

The point is we cannot prevent Hasan-like disasters until we are all willing to summarily jettison the rose-colored glasses and return to the world of reality.

And where are the convincingly loud and indignant cries of anger and condemnation from the American Muslim community? But, again, why do I even bother asking?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Nullification Redux: Resisting Progressive Tyranny

Recently, a friend and I were lamenting the steady dissolution of our Constitution. It seemed to us that the further our politicians have strayed from the spirit, meaning and intent of the Constitution, the more enervated, disunited and dispirited our nation and its people have become.

Discussing how best to reverse the decline and to restore Constitutional governance, we briefly alluded to the discredited doctrine of nullification about which neither of us knew very much at all. So, I decided to briefly revisit the subject to see what I could learn. In a nutshell, this is it. I hope it will be of some interest to you.

The Constitution’s 10th Amendment unambiguously provides that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Over the years, the federal government’s loose and expansive interpretation of the Constitution has steadily led to federal encroachment on state powers and individual rights at a pace and breadth not clearly foreseen by the Founders, leaving this country and its people more divided and polarized than since immediately prior to the "Civil War".

Awakened to Obama's threat of "fundamentally transforming America", and much to the consternation of the Progressives currently dominating the national political scene, many states and many grassroots Americans are now vigorously pushing back and asserting their Constitutional rights of sovereignty and individual liberty. We can only hope it's not too late.

Since Obama's election, Congress has unleashed a transformational legislative blitzkrieg surpassing that of the New Deal which boldly challenges both state sovereignty and individual freedoms as never before. The resulting uneasiness in the country manifestly belies the hollowness of Obama’s hope-and-change and no-blue-or-red-states-but-American sloganeering. To wit, with Obama’s election and the Progressive takeover in DC, not only have gun sales skyrocketed, but, quite unexpectedly, state nullification laws intended to restrain further federal usurpations have ballooned. Clearly, the folks and the states wherein they reside are justifiably wary.

Since 1865 and until now, nullification was viewed as a moribund curiosity which, while having often impacted our country in the past, had essentially become an eccentricity, a nullity in the post-Civil War era. But, as I soon discovered, nullification has returned with a vengeance.

In the Fourth Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, nullification, aka interposition, is defined as “the doctrine that a state, in the exercise of its sovereignty, may reject a mandate of the federal government deemed to be unconstitutional or to exceed the powers delegated to the federal government. The doctrine denies constitutional obligations of states to respect Supreme Court decisions with which they do not agree.” Indeed, the American Revolution, grounded in Magna Carta principles, was a successful act of nullification coupled with forcible resistance. On the other hand, the American Civil War, aka “War of Northern Aggression” or “Lincoln’s War”, was a notable and costly failure for the nullification doctrine.

Essentially, the nullification doctrine is predicated on the theory that sovereign states comprise the union, and as architects of the compact which formed that union, hold final authority regarding the limits of federal power. Conversely, the “national sovereignty”, aka “nationalist”, theory argues that the Supremacy Clause in Article VI of the Constitution absolutely guarantees federal government supremacy over the states in every way.

However, the “compact” theory persuasively asserts that the Supremacy Clause expressly states that the Constitution “and all laws made pursuant to it” are supreme--NOT the federal government or any laws it may legislate. Further and very importantly, “compact” adherents argue that federal powers are not inherent, but, as demonstrated by Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, were delegated by the states to the federal government at the union's inception. In effect, the compact between the states and the federal government provides that the states surrender specific powers to the federal government but maintain those powers not specifically delegated. (In Federalists 32 & 33, Alexander Hamilton espoused the compact theory, as did Thomas Jefferson. On the other hand, I discovered that James Madison, though clearly wedded to the compact theory in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolution of 1798, seems to have, over time, become conflicted and often inexplicably contradictory on this point.)

In any event, once again the “compact theory” is being advanced. Intended to publicly challenge federal usurpation of state sovereignty, this year many state legislatures have passed state sovereignty resolutions. These “shots across the bow”, so to speak, do not have the force of law, but do serve notice to the federal government to “cease and desist any and all activities” outside the scope of its Article 1, Section 8 delegated powers. In effect, these resolutions put the feds on notice that federal encroachment, aka “acts of usurpation” as expressed in Amendments 9 and 10, will not be routinely submitted to as in the past.

Already this year, Tenth Amendment Resolutions have been passed and signed by the Governors in Alaska and Tennessee, and have passed one or both legislative chambers in Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, N. Carolina, N. Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, S. Carolina, S. Dakota, and Virginia. So, it's not just a southern thing, not by a long shot.

In the following states, at least one legislative chamber has, so far, passed legislation asserting that federal regulation of firearms produced, sold and used within the state is beyond the “commerce clause” authority of Congress: Alaska, Montana, and Tennessee. In several other states, similar legislation has been introduced. (Note: to avoid a needless clash, Montana has also opted to test its sovereignty in this regard by submitting its jurisdictional contention to judicial review.) If one can achieve one's goals peacefully, then why not?

Asserting that the imposition of national health care plans is unconstitutional, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, N. Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, W. Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida have introduced legislation to effectively nullify any such federal plan.

Of special interest too is that while the Montana State House also unanimously condemned the REAL ID Act as an improper use of federal legislative power, what was particularly significant is that the bill condemning the Act stipulated that “the legislature of the state of Montana hereby nullifies the REAL ID Act of 2005, as it would apply in this state,” thus underscoring the seriousness of its resistance.

To blunt the takeover of state sovereignty, these particular states are pushing back hard, openly and seriously. The weighty question is whether or not this sudden and widespread state resistance can persuade the feds to back off, or whether this clash over the inviolability of the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine might eventually lead to conflict.

So, though some of us may have thought that Appomattox settled the question of nullification, it is now abundantly clear that it did not. In fact, the principle of nullification, aka “interposition”, is deeply entrenched in the history of the United States.

In 1793, Georgia successfully nullified the Supreme Court’s ruling in Chisholm v Georgia that an individual could sue a state in federal court without the State’s permission. Most states agreed and the 11th Amendment was soon passed which prohibited such suits. This demonstrated the fact that even if both houses of Congress refused to initiate an amendment process that two-thirds of the states could peacefully compel Congress to call a Constitutional Convention to remedy federal breaches of the Constitution.

Some may recall that in 1798 the legislatures of Virginia and Kentucky, in protest of the Alien and Sedition Acts, resolved that if the federal government presumed to possess the sole authority to determine the extent of its powers, that its power would eventually be unbridled and could, therefore, lead to tyranny. In effect, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolution (co-authored by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson) opined that states not only possessed the right, but were “duty bound” to nullify unconstitutional federal laws.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote, “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”

Hard hit by the Embargo of 1807-1809, and in opposition to the finding in United States v The William in 1808 which ruled the embargo constitutional, the Massachusetts assembly effectively overruled that court by asserting that any state could refuse “assistance, aid or cooperation” when any federal act is unconstitutional. The Connecticut assembly went further by directing that all state officials actively withhold “any official aid or co-operation in the execution of the act.” The embargo quickly unraveled.

The Connecticut General Assembly declared: “Resolved, that to preserve the Union, and support the Constitution of the United States, it becomes the duty of the…states, in such a crisis…vigilantly to watch over, and vigorously to maintain, the powers not delegated to the United States, but reserved to the States respectively, or to the people; and that a due regard to this duty, will not permit this Assembly to assist, or concur in giving effect to the aforesaid unconstitutional act, passed, to enforce the embargo.” In effect, the Assembly was asserting a State’s right to “interpose” their protection between the federal government and the rights and liberties of the people.

In 1812, during America’s war with England, the federal government called up the state militias “to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions.” Massachusetts, and then Connecticut, nullified the call-up on the grounds that “as this power is not [specifically] delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, it is reserved to the states, respectively; and from the nature of the power, it must be exercised by those with whom the states have respectively entrusted the chief command of the militia, [that being the Governors of those respective states].” Convinced that the federal government’s real ambition was to annex Canada and not merely to defend the union, the Assemblies asserted that unless those states were threatened “by an actual invasion of any portion of [their] territory” that the Commander-in-Chief had no right to call upon the state militias to carry out offensive wars.”

In 1813, a more debilitating embargo was imposed. Flooded with grievances, eventually the Massachusetts General Court asserted that “a power to regulate commerce is abused when employed to destroy it.” The assertion went on to reject the notion that “the free, sovereign and independent State of Massachusetts [should be] reduced to a mere municipal corporation, without power to protect its people, and to defend them from oppression, from whatever quarter it comes.” Again the state affirmed its Constitutional right to “interpose” itself between the oppressor and the people.

Then there was the famous Nullification Crisis of 1832 when S. Carolina undertook to nullify a federal tariff law and a subsequent bill authorizing the use of force against a state. Upshot: a compromise tariff was adopted to avert war. Thus, nullification did have the intended effect.

In 1850, several morally enraged northern states resisted federal attempts to enforce the capture and return of runaway slaves. And although the Constitution at the time did contain a clause to justify enforcement, these states argued that since the Constitution did not specify a clearly defined enforcement mechanism that their compliance would be withheld in those states.

Though there are several other examples of successful nullification initiatives, the point is that the right to nullify and even peacefully secede appear to be valid constitutional remedies to overweening or intrusive federal authority. And, of course, short of nullification, some states have simply ignored federal mandates, e.g. seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws, Daylight Savings Time (AZ and Hawaii), & participation in No Child Left Behind (Utah).

Worth noting too are the following points which I dredged up: Of the original 13 states, Virginia, Rhode Island and New York conditioned their ratification of the Constitution on the understanding that they explicitly retained the right to secede and the Constitutional Convention never challenged that right. Also, following the Civil War, and only under duress, the state Constitutions of six of the former Confederate states expressly prohibited their right to secede, though one should bear in mind that there is nothing to prevent those states from amending their constitutions and incorporating secession rights. Worthy of note too is the fact that the Constitution does not expressly forbid a state from leaving the union. Thus, it would seem that, short of open rebellion, nullification (interposition) and peaceful secession still appear to be defensible ways of ensuring that federal power, both congressional and judicial, cannot supersede state sovereignty, the guaranteed rights of the people or the sanctity of the Constitution itself.

The Founders clearly understood and espoused the belief that political leaders are best held accountable to the people when government is local; that decentralization leads to a healthier level of state competition and policy experimentation, thus limiting the scope of damages which can accrue when central planning and experimentation is uniformly imposed throughout the country, the rationale being that it is better that a policy experiment fail in one state than in the entire union--the "laboratory of experimentation" concept.

While some today believe that only the serious threat of secession can effectively roll back the suffocating federal usurpation which has already taken place, those state legislatures named above are hoping that a serious “shot across the bow” will check federal power and avert more serious confrontation. Still others have advanced the idea that the nation has become too large to effectively accommodate the Constitutional plan of governance envisioned by the Founders and that, therefore, the nation needs to peacefully break up into smaller administrative units of states, each administrative region acting as an integral part of a confederated republic where the people-to-representative ratio in each region would be more manageable and credible.

Of special concern to many is the increasing power of the Supreme Court to not only re-interpret the Constitution, but to render what many view as unconstitutional and politicized decisions. So how do the states and people restrain judicial overreaching as well? Robert Hawes in his “Nullification Revisited” explained that while the decisions of Chief Justice John Marshall served to implant the heretofore unshakeable notion that the Supreme Court is and ought to be the final arbiter in all Constitutional matters, Alexander Hamilton remarked in Federalist 81 that the Constitution does not empower “the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution, or give them any greater latitude in this respect than may be claimed by the courts of every state.” He concluded by stating that “the Constitution ought to be the standard of construction for the laws, and that wherever there is an evident opposition, the laws ought to give place to the Constitution.” In effect, Hamilton envisioned the tyranny of a national judicial authority defining its own interpretive powers and “giving it the ability to re-invent itself and evolve beyond its authorized scope.” And for me and many other Americans, the courts have, indeed, become dangerously politicized and, therefore, unreliable stewards of the Constitution. Thus, “compact” adherents would suggest that nullification, secession or a Constitutional Convention are the only legal means of protecting the Constitution and all the rights which flow from it.

As the Tenth Amendment Center noted in a “talking points” post, “We agree with historian Kevin Gutzman, who has said that those who would give us a ‘living Constitution’ are actually giving us a dead one, since such a thing is completely unable to protect us against the encroachments of government power.” Truer words....

Finally, when torn between abiding by the Constitution and protecting one’s rights under the Constitution or submissively accommodating federal overreaching and politicized interpretations of the Constitution, what reasonable remedies are left for a state and the people residing therein? Moral suasion, nullification, peaceful secession, violent secession, civil disobedience, convening a Constitutional Convention to redress Constitutional grievances, or simply ignoring unconstitutional federal mandates. For me, whatever works best to preserve the Constitution and to safeguard life, liberty and property is the right solution.

Food for thought in these perilous times.

(“Ultimately, whether or not a state is allowed to secede is neither a legal question nor a constitutional question, but rather a matter of political will. How strong is the will of the people in the departing state to be free and independent of the control of the world’s only superpower? How far will the US Government be prepared to go in imposing its will on a breakaway republic? Only time will tell.” Thomas Naylor, “The Constitutionality of Secession”)
(“We have given you a Republic, if you can keep it.” Benjamin Franklin.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Blue Dogs to the Rescue?

Since the so-called “Blue Dogs” will determine whether or not Obamacare will pass, I thought shedding some light on the Blue Dog Coalition would be instructive.

Descendents of the now defunct Southern Democrats, aka Boll Weevils and Dixiecrats of old, the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition membership currently numbers 52 moderate-to-conservative Democrats whose ideology pretty much mirrors that of the more conservative wing of the Democratic Party during the Truman and Kennedy years.

Fiscally conservative and relatively divergent on social issues, and often attacked from the left as Democrats-in-Name-Only, Coalition members generally tend to strongly support gun rights, warrantless wiretapping, pro-life, immigration control, business, and welfare spending limitations. However, on trade, labor unions and protectionism there are widely varying policy positions.

Principally financed by the health care industry ($1.2 million in 2009-2010 election cycle), Blue Dogs are most certainly pivotal in the current healthcare hullabaloo on the Hill. The truth is that the legislative success or failure of Obamacare probably falls squarely on Blue Dog shoulders. How each of them ultimately votes, of course, is anyone’s guess.

If it’s any comfort to the right, the Heritage Foundation quotes the official Blue Dog health care policy as follows: “The Blue Dog Coalition strongly supports health care reform that lowers costs for families and small businesses, increases choice and competition, and allows individuals to keep their doctor. We are concerned, however, about a Medicare-like public option and its ability to achieve all of the benefits put forth by its proponents. How a public option is constructed and allowed to compete are critically important to ensuring families have the ability to keep their current health coverage and continue to see the doctor of their choice.”

Clearly, the Coalition’s relatively conservative healthcare approach is considerably at odds with the New Democrats and the Progressive Coalition whose leaders are wasting little time courting, cajoling and, yes, buying them off with deficit dollars. So, for those on the right who oppose Obamacare, take heart. There may yet be hope for healthcare sanity.

FYI, only Rep. Acuri (NY-24) is a member of the Coalition.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Update: Legal Challenges to Obama Eligibility Continue

Despite lengthy Deptartment of Justice pleas to dismiss the Barnett v Obama case earlier this month, US Federal District Court Judge David Carter decided to “take the matter under submission.” Talk about blowing the wind out of Obama’s sails.

Succintly countering the Obama legal team’s argument that no court has the jurisdiction to rule on Obama’s eligibility to serve as President, heretofore the dominating argument in all other cases challenging Obama’s eligibility, and that the only way to remove Obama is impeachment or to trigger the 25th Amendment, United States Justice Foundation attorney Gary Kreeps sagely and persuasively asserted that both the impeachment statutes and the 25th Amendment assumed a “sitting President”, but that if Obama is ineligible to serve as President, then “he could not be, and never was, a sitting President”, thus rendering those removal remedies inapplicable and clearly leaving jurisdiction to the courts. Lucidity and logic don’t get much better than that, and Judge Carter is listening.

Though technical issues of jurisdiction and standing have plagued eligibility cases in the past, for the first time, a case challenging Obama's eligibility may actually have a chance of a hearing on the merits of the suit itself. And during the hearing on October 5th, Judge Carter actually advised plaintiffs that "if I rule against you on standing, I would suggest ways to address that issue in the future", to me an amazingly constructive and encouraging comment from the bench.

If DOJ’s dismissal motion is overcome, discovery pleadings would follow seeking Obama’s birth certificate, college records, passport files, adoption papers and Selective Service files, etc. all in an effort to determine his eligibility once and for all. And if, in the coming days, plaintiffs can, in fact, defeat the DOJ motion to dismiss, Judge Carter has already set a January 26, 2010 trial date.

Another case well worth monitoring is Kerchner et al v Obama & Congress which is being brilliantly pled by attorney Mario Apuzzo. Too much to get into right now, but I will try to keep you posted of significant developments.

Why the serious and lingering doubts about Obama’s constitutional eligibility? In short, per Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, to be eligible to be President/Commander-in-Chief, Obama must be a “natural born citizen” within the context, meaning and intent of the Presidential Clause--not a “native born US Citizen”, not a “US Citizen”, not a “US National”, not a "Naturalized Citizen". (Take note, Bobby Jindal.) Demonstrably, Obama was born a British subject (dual citizenship), and, demonstrably, his father was not a US Citizen nor even an immigrant (Non-Immigrant Student Visa). Thus, by definition, Obama is NOT a “natural born citizen”. Pretty straightforward stuff, I'd say. But, the hot legal potato sizzles and only unencumbered and equitable judicial review can properly resolve this momentous Constititional issue for the country.

Keep your fingers crossed for a judicial breakthrough and timely adjudication.

Progressives, aka Democratic Socialists: the Enemy Within

Ever wonder just who’s behind the curtains pulling the levers of power in D.C.? Me too. So, I did a little checking and this, in a nutshell, is what I’ve come up with.

Too often we differentiate our so-called representatives as either Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. But, that clearly misses the mark entirely. Afterall, there are liberal Republicans (RINOs) and conservative Democrats (Blue Dogs) proposing and voting for or against legislation affecting our lives. Then there are the self-described “moderates” on both sides of the aisle who represent…well...themselves and their political careers, not unlike the majority of their colleagues in congress as well.

But, political party labels aside, who are really the movers and shakers among them who effectively dominate the legislative agenda and, in turn, “we the people”?

The Progressives! To my way of thinking, Democrats in name only (DINOs), a party unto themselves and their own uniquely alien ideological agenda, are a power unto themselves.

Founded in 1991 by Reps Dellums (D-CA), Lane (D-IL), DeFazio (D-OR), Waters (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT, the latter now a Senator and the only openly Socialist serving in Congress), and publicly feigning Democratic Party allegiance, the 82 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, aka DINOs, at one time openly espoused Socialism and publicly advocated the agenda of the Democratic Socialists of America.

No longer affirming their affiliation with or loyalty to the DSA, the caucus roster was scrubbed from the DSA website circa 2000. In their “Elections Statement 2000”, the DSA website noted that “DSA recognizes that some insurgent politicians representing labor, environmentalists, gays and lesbians, and communities of color may choose to run under Democratic auspices…” Love the term “insurgent”. It’s so…counter-revolutionary. So… frappe. And, hey, why expose your true ideology to public scrutiny, huh?

Unquestionably, the once venerable Democratic Party, of which I was once a proud member, has demonstrably moved very far left. For all practical purposes, its mainstream is now dominated by those whom the Dems themselves had once derisively labeled “fringe” and “extreme”.

The Progressive Caucus is comprised of well-positioned power brokers in DC whose essentially uncontested rule continues to influence the course of our republic. In shameless pursuit of socialist/collectivist goals, their legislative agenda is relentlessly aimed at effectively transforming the meaning and relevance of the Constitution itself. In short, folks, the Progressive Caucus is a clear and present danger to all Americans of every political stripe who value the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

In the Caucus statement of purpose, check for yourself some of the code words which reveal their real political ideology and purpose:

“The Progressive Caucus is organized around the principles of social and economic justice...which represent the interests of all people, not just the wealthy and powerful.

…Our people-based agenda extends from job creation to job training, to economic conversion, to single payer healthcare reform, to environmental reform and to women’s rights.

Now that the cold war is over, this nation’s budget and overall priorities must reflect that reality. We support further cuts in outdated and unnecessary military spending, a more progressive tax system in which wealthy taxpayers and corporations contribute their fair share, and a substantial increase in social programs for low and middle-income American families."

To accomplish their collectivist goals, their legislative initiatives are invariably aimed at media control (to achieve “fairness”, of course); controlled education (to shape a collective viewpoint); the watering down of free speech (to eliminate a free flow of opinions and to shut down debate); disarmament (to eliminate the possibility of armed revolt); legalization of same-sex marriage; living wage laws; increasing welfare spending (to buy votes and quell political resistance); and global governance. And this is but a smattering of the insanely sophomoric, elitist and dangerous ambitions of the Caucus and of both their minions and unwitting enablers on both sides of the aisle.

In 2005, the Caucus drafted its “Progressive Promise” document (I call it their “manifesto”) advocating, among other things, socialized medicine, radical environmentalism, redistribution of wealth, higher taxes, reductions in the government’s intelligence gathering capabilities, debt relief for poor countries, and, of course, the precipitous withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The rationale for pursuing these socialist aims? “To re-build US alliances, restore international respect for American power and influence, and to reaffirm our nation’s constructive engagement in the United Nations and other multilateral organizations.” Sound eerily like Obama’s globalist and socialist pitch, huh? You betcha’ it does.

Just so you know who the enemy within really is, as of 10/11/2009, the following members of Congress were declared members of the congressional Progressive Caucus. “Former member” Nancy Pelosi is not a declared member. Also not included are Sen. Brown (D-FL), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who, by virtue of their now being Senators, are no longer members of the House Progressive Caucus:

Neil Abercrombie (D-HI)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Bob Brady (D-PA) Chairman, House Administration Committee
Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Andre Carson (C-IN)
Donna Christensen (Virgin Islands)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
William “Lacy” Clay (D-MO)
Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
Steve Cohen (D-TN)
John Conyers (D-MI) Chairman, House Judiciary Committee
Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
Danny Davis (D-IL)
Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Rosa DeLauro
Donna Edwards (D-MD)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Sam Farr (D-CA)
Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Bob Filner (D-CA)
Barney Frank (D-MA) Chairman, House Financial Services Committee
Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
Alan Grayson (D-FL)
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) Co-Chair of Caucus
Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)
John Hall (D-NY)
Phil Hare (D-IL)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Mazie Horono (D-HI)
Michael Honda (D-CA)
Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Hank Johnson (D-GA)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI)
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Dave Loebsack (D-IA)
Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman, Congressional Black Caucus
John Lewis (D-GA)
Ben Lujan (D_NM)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Eric Massa (D-NY)
Jim McDermott (D-WA)
James P. McGovern (D-MA)
George Miller (D-CA) Chairman, House Education & Labor Committee
Glenn Moore (D-WI)
Jim Moran (D-VA)
Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Eleanor Holmes Norton (District of Columbia)
John Oliver (D-MA)
Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
Donald Payne (D-NJ)
Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE (left caucus when elected
Minority Leader. Sure.)
Chellie Pingree (D-ME)
Jared Polis (D-CO)
Charles Rangel (D-NY) Chairman, House Ways and Means Committee
Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA)
Bobby Rush (D-IL)
Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Jose Serrano (D-NY)
Louise Slaughter (D-NY) Chairwoman, House Rules Committee
Pete Stark (D-CA)
Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Chairman, House Homeland Security Committee
John Tierney (D-MA)
Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) Chairwoman, House Small Business Committee
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Diane Watson (D-CA)
Mel Watt (D-NC)
Henry Waxman (D-CA) Chairman, House Energy & Commerce Committee
Peter Welch (D-VT)
Robert Wexler (D-FL)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) Co-Chair Caucus

Supporting the efforts of the Progressive Caucus are such charming liberal organizations as the Institute for Policy Studies,, ACLU, Peace Action, Americans for Democratic Action, Progressive Democrats of America, NAACP, League of United Latin American Citizens, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, National Council of La Raza, Hip Hop Caucus, etc. Don’t these names just positively ooze of patriotism and traditional American values? Just gives me goose bumps all over.

So, watch out, folks. These guys are in charge of 11 of twenty standing congressional committees. And they’re playing for keeps. Our opinions are absolutely irrelevant. And the list above doesn't even include a number of Senators, some of whom while not members, are most certainly cut from the same neo-Marxist cloth. You can name them faster than I can type them.

As Norman Thomas, Socialist Party of America, observed circa 1925, "The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation without knowing what happened."

LET'S NOT LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT. When the time comes, I urge you to volunteer to knock on doors to deny office to any Progressive politician. If they appear on the membership list of the Democratic Socialists of America, they DON'T belong in a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Commentary Snippets #3

As the Progressive elites hatch a compromise Senate healthcare "reform" bill behind closed doors, here are a few items to ponder: 1) contrary to White House assurances, Obamacare WILL fund abortions. In fact, each time the Republicans introduced an amendment to specifically prohibit federal funds for abortion in all five congressional healthcare bills, they were soundly defeated by the Democratic majority; 2) CBO’s estimate that Obamacare will reduce deficits by $81 billion over the next ten years does not take into account that while taxes and fees will begin in 2010, Obamacare itself will not be implemented until 2013. So, we can count on HUGE deficits after 2019. Yes, my friends, our Progressive overseers genuinely believe “we the people” are, in fact, insufferably stupid; 3) “employer mandates” will cost the economy up to $50 billion/year, and up to 9 million low-wage and part-time employees will lose their employer-based health insurance; 4) with a public option, millions of Americans who are satisfied with their current coverage will be forced out of their private health insurance plans and into the public option; 5) though the “individual mandate” provision in these bills is manifestly unconstitutional and will, therefore, likely be challenged in court, that won’t stop the Progressives. With Obamacare, individuals must either enroll or face onerous penalties of up to $1900; 6) Obamacare will mean the massive and costly expansion of the Medicaid program which will exacerbate state fiscal woes; 7) to reduce the deficit, all reform proposals will require billions in Medicare cuts which, if enacted, would adversely affect medical services to millions of seniors; but since no one really believes that such draconian Medicare cuts will happen, that illusory $81 billion in “savings” by 2019 will quickly balloon into a $300-$400 billion deficit; 8) the Price Waterhouse Coopers audit shows that Obamacare will drive up premiums ( vs making coverage more affordable) above what those costs would be without the reform: by 2016, the cost of coverage for the typical family will rise by $6,000 under current law and by $9,000 if Obamacare is adopted; 9) to placate generous trial lawyers, tort reform, which could save billions each year by reducing the need for defensive medicine, will not be part of any final Democratic bill; 10) reportedly, the White House is prepared to approve an increase in payments for doctors in return for their support for Obamacare, an estimated $250 billion cost not yet factored into the liberals’ rosey 10-year forecast; 11) despite the economic and healthcare carnage wrought by Obamacare, 25 million people would still be uninsured!

Again, folks, this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with improving healthcare quality or reducing healthcare costs for Americans. It’s ALL about the expansion of government power over our lives. To bring down healthcare costs without jeopardizing the quality of care, no intelligent person on the Hill can honestly believe that throwing the baby out with the bath water is the solution to our healthcare problems. So, there must be an ulterior motive. The short of it is that the Progressives well understand Lenin’s assertion that providing universal healthcare is a surefire stepping stone to socialist domination. (See previous healthcare posts where more sensible and market-based approaches to reforming healthcare are discussed.)

If the Obama-run Census Bureau has its way, and there's every reason to believe that it will, Fox News could be barred from airing bureau ads aimed at instructing and encouraging public participation in the census. On its website, the bureau asserts that media with “controversial talk” formats will be denied ad deals. No matter. Given the White House’s open war with Fox News, I’m sure a commercially fluorishing Fox isn’t banking on any ad money anyway.

Despite Obama’s gift of $900 million for Palestinian “humanitarian aid”, meaning Swiss bank accounts, Fatah remains extremely upset with Obama for failing to more aggressively push Israel to abandon its settlements on the West Bank. Tch, tch, tch. Poor misunderstood, victimized Fatah. As far as I’m concerned, let this shamelessly unrepentant terrorist horde which so callously celebrated the death of 3000 innocents on 9/11 eat…..cake.

The much maligned “birthers” may yet be vindicated--and none too soon for these United States of America. Seems one Judge Carter may actually allow Barnett v Obama to go forward, this despite the feverish Obama legal team’s attempts to block any such attempt. Stay tuned.

While the recent District of Columbia v. Heller case upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms in federally administered areas, it did not settle the question of Second Amendment rights for individuals in areas outside direct federal jurisdiction. Thus, this winter the Supreme Court will hear the McDonald v City of Chicago case which will decide whether Second Amendment rights are protected from state and municipal government encroachments as well. While it seems academic that one’s right to bear arms for self-defense is constitutionally unassailable, nevertheless Chicago’s handgun ban has remained in effect for the last 27 years, effectively denying law-abiding citizens from possessing firearms to defend themselves, their families, and their homes. The suit was brought by four Chicago residents, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Illinois State Rifle Association. Obviously, Americans shouldn’t have to choose between violating unconstitutional gun ban laws or protecting themselves and their loved ones. (Lest we forget where Obama's heart is in all this, in 2004 State Senator Obama voted against Illinois Senate Bill 2165 which would have allowed citizens the right to possess and to protect themselves with handguns. In short, this administration remains viscerally opposed to protecting individual Second Amendment rights.)

The Heritage Foundation calculates that cap-and-trade, if passed, will result in 1.9 million fewer jobs in 2012, $9.4 TRILLION lost in economic growth by 2030 and nearly a 90% increase in energy costs for all Americans by 2030. Yes, incredibly, the Progressives are still pushing very, very hard for cap-and-trade. What better way to weaken our economy and to advance their Marxist agenda for America. Remain vigilant, folks. Forewarned is forearmed. Be prepared to push back aggressively.

Money speaks louder than words. Currently, Iran is China’s biggest trading partner and supplies 14% of China’s oil imports! Awash in foreign currency estimated at $2 trillion, and with a burgeoning need for Iranian oil to fuel it’s red-hot economic growth, China plans to increase its investments in Iran by $120 billion over the next several years. Combining those stats with the fact that America is relying on Beijing to help fund Obama’s $9 trillion deficit over the next ten years, is it really any wonder why meaningful economic sanctions against Iran have been impossible? But, fear not. My bet is that Israel, free of Chinese economic pressures, will soon pull the plug on Iranian nuclear development. Like my T-shirt proclaims, “Don’t Worry America. Israel is Behind You”. And thank God for that!

The redoubtable Mark Steyn warns that one of every eight workers in New York State—or 1.2 million—is a unionized government employee, and thus a reliable vote for the Democrats, the Party of Big Government. He aptly describes this public sector growth as a debilitating “matastasization” which is fast becoming an “existential threat to democracy”. No kidding, huh? Whatever happened to the lofty principle of “public service”? And to add insult to injury, these so-called “public servants” are also unionized! We’re quickly approaching a crossroads, folks: either we meekly adopt a Socialist Republic of America or we return to the small government free enterprise sytem that built this country. And while fending off the Progressive onslaught, I hope we’ve learned that there can be no worthwhile compromise with Progressives, Statists, Marxists and Socialists.