Sunday, June 28, 2015

What Happens When You Don't Read the Job Description

This week there were two major rulings by the Supreme Court that gained national attention.  Those of upholding the subsidies for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the nationalization of homosexual marriage as a constitutional right.  In the former, the majority opinion purports that the wishes of the legislature should be conferred despite the clear language of the law to the contrary, and in the latter, the Court had no authority to rule on gay marriage – or for that matter heterosexual marriage – as it is not a constitutional issue.  Apparently none of the justices in the majority read their job description this week.

These Court decisions cast aside any notion of the Constitution and are a culmination of offenses going back to FDR. In most prior cases that have breached the Constitution, there has been some venire of legal reasoning, however, what we have now is a complete disregard for the Constitution without a shade of a reputable legal argument. In fact, in the explanation of the majority opinion on the ACA, Chief Justice Roberts casts away the notion of adjudication, for politics, by saying “in every case we must respect the role of the legislature, and take care not to undo what it has done.”

This puts the Supreme Court in league with the legislative body, which is exactly against the fundamental principle of the Constitution: the separation of power.  So now if one political party takes control of the executive and legislative branch, they will find an accepting judiciary to rule as they please.

We discussed this very deterioration of the rule of law in our book, Vigilance The Price of Liberty, with the warning from the Anti-federalists:

In Federalist No. 81, Alexander Hamilton quoted the Anti-federalist objection that a Supreme Court would have “The power of construing laws according to the SPIRIT of the Constitution, will enable that court to mould them into whatever shape it may think proper especially as its decisions will not be in any manner subject to the revisions or correction of the legislative body...the errors and usurpations of the Supreme Court of the United States will be uncontrollable and remediless.” Hamilton countered this objection by responding, “There is not a syllable in the plan [Constitution] under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution.” Hamilton viewed the Supreme Court simply as a referee to determine an outcome and not an interpretative body that would or could refashion laws as it saw fit…

However, Anti-federalists were correct in their fears. They saw the Supreme Court as supreme, even over Congress, and able to make laws of its own. . . in Anti-federalist No. 82: “This [Supreme] court is to have power to determine in law and equity... is exalted above all other power in the government, subject to no control,” and . . . continued, “They [the Supreme Court] will be able to extend the limits of the general government. Gradually, and by insensible degrees, and to accommodate themselves to the temper of the people.”

Fast forward from 1788 to some 225 years later to the Supreme Court decisions of June 25, 2015 and we find the Anti-federalists prophetically right!

The Supreme Court has the most serious responsibility to be the guardian of the Constitution, and with it, our liberty and prosperity.  When justices abandon their duty as a judicial body for that of politics, they become an enemy of the people.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Re-Take Liberty

The problems that our country face may seem expansive in nature and daunting in resolution, but this is no reason for this generation of Americans to stick our heads in the sand.  We, as a generation, as a nation, need to set aside the partisan poison of modern day politics and come together as our founding fathers did at the Constitutional Convention to create the best government possible.

The common goal for us should be to retake the liberty we have lost through a government of incessant expansion that is consuming the wealth of the nation.

Let us “Secure the Blessings of Liberty” by being vigilant and demanding a well-managed government.  We may have differences of opinion – and that is good.  In fact, disagreement conducted in honest debate will give way to better solutions.

This is a call to action for my generation: read the Constitution, know what freedom means, debate honestly and resolve justly.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Fairness: A Matter of Perspective

Fairness is a virtue of Americans, but also a tool of deception of politicians.  In the context of political correctness, fairness has been twisted and morphed into an idea that shames success.  Equal opportunity is no longer “fair”, it is equal outcome that has become its basis.  The playing field may be fair, but because some succeed more so than others, somehow this has become unfair.

Why is the CEO shamed for making more money than the mailroom boy?  Both are doing different jobs, and therefore will receive different pay.  But we are told the CEO’s pay is excessive; so politicians purport that the CEO should be taxed more.  No one thinks of the “rich” man who must give 55% of his income to the government.  But notice, he is a minor partner in his own earnings.  How is this fair?  For all the debasing of the rich, the top 10% of taxpayers pay about 70% of total federal income taxes.

But taxation is a form of slavery at worst and indentured servitude at best, as government coercively takes from a person’s work.  As such, taxation must be done ever so sparingly and with the highest regard to the result of the intended purpose.  However, government treats taxpayer money as trash and, according to its own auditor the GAO, over $100 billion per year is spent in “inappropriate” payments – and this does not include duplication and waste.

Equality of opportunity should be the limit of good government, while equality of outcome is the achievement of tyranny.  Many people see the tax code as “unfair”, giving the rich tax breaks and leaving the middle and lower classes out to dry.  But note, that the poor get paid for not paying taxes and the 40% of taxpayers that form the “middle class” pay some 30% of total federal income tax.

So when Americans say that they want a “fair” tax code, what does that really mean?  We propose that it should mean a tax code that takes the same percent from all.   That percentage should be a minority of one’s total earnings and only to be used for the operations of the government within its constitutional limits and with the greatest trust to the efficiency and effectiveness of the spending.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The 6th Amendment

Regarding the investigative story on The Kelly File with Megyn Kelly this week of the Amherst College male student who was expelled for an alleged rape, I question the process that denied the accused all protections afforded by the 6th Amendment to the Constitution that states: 
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

A proceeding was conducted on the criminal matter of rape by the administration of Amherst College wherein the process was held in private and the accused was denied a public trial by an impartial jury, denied the opportunity to face his accuser, denied a process for calling witness in his favor, and denied the advice of counsel.  Amherst says it followed federal requirements.  But how can federal rules be in contravention to the Constitution?

Now the legal reasoning Amherst may have to skirt the Constitution is that the matter was not a criminal proceeding prosecuted by the government, but a private body where the punishment is expulsion and not imprisonment.  But the College claims its process is under the direction of the federal government so, in essence, the government circumvents the Constitution by commandeering private resources for political policy.  Further, if the crime was rape – a serious charge – why was this apparently not prosecuted by authorities?

I know not the guilt or innocence of the accused or accuser.  The point is the rules issued by the federal government are a grievous breech of civil rights that date back to the Magna Carta of 1215 and that are the essence of justice in a democracy and without which our republic cannot survive.  If established and constitutionally protected criminal justice can be relegated to back rooms to inflict retribution to favored political outcomes, then how is this any different than King John’s persecutions that led to the Magna Carta, or King George’s Intolerable Acts that led to the Revolutionary War?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Wrong Words

Finding the right words to use to make a point or create a story is often a challenge.  A student trying to argue a position in an essay, a writer giving color to a story or just someone writing a blog; words are the tools of communication.  But now, as a society, we are faced with a vocabulary that has become limited in the words and phrases we may use to describe certain people, places and situations.  What is more, we are not updated on this ever shortening list until we make an “offense” that can be followed by punishment and a required apology for our mistake.  Maybe the government should consider adding a program on offensive language.  They could send out a weekly newsletter informing the country of the words that have been deemed no longer allowed for use.

Controlling vocabulary not only bleaches the color of stories, conversation and humor, but it stifles productive discussion.  These discussions are not limited to politics, but it is worth mentioning the difficulty in addressing an issue that you may not be allowed to call by name. More importantly, in the context of political speech, freedom to speak, no matter how offensive, is the most essential element for liberty.

I entered no contract, did not sign my name on a dotted line, to turn-over my ability to say what I want, when I want.  To relinquish my constitutionally protected right of speech.  So how is it that I am now part of some “social contract” to not offend anyone using the words that I may or may not be aware have become politically taboo?

Further, I do not wish to partake in the societal or governmental control of the words I choose.  It is one thing to be considerate of others feelings and situations when speaking, it is another thing entirely to threaten reprisal for using the “wrong” words that lead to some perceived offense.

I do not seek to offend anyone through reasoned thought and debate, but if I do, it is only because the listener hears it as an offense and threat to his views or goals.  And for this, I am not sorry.

Let the open and unrestricted flow of words for art, science and politics be expressed freely!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

We Are All Students

Political beliefs mean nothing if they are not challenged.  If you have not cultivated enough facts to render a reasoned judgment, nor listened to others point of views, then you have not achieved a well-rounded perspective.  How it is that one’s personal belief is the absolute correct one? James Madison commented that as long as men remain fallible there will be a difference of opinion.

Political debates often run into differing points of view where neither party in the conversation is willing to listen to the other.  The result can then manifest in name calling and a general elevation of voice volumes.  This helps no one, solves nothing, and creates more problems. Most of us have something to say of value, something to teach, but we fail to see that quality in others.  Whether or not we agree with the perspectives of others is beside the point.

If all of us thought ourselves students rather than teachers, maybe our free flow of ideas could give way to innovation.  The best solutions are reached through debate of differing points of view – not from one mind or point of view.

In continuance with the theme of having reasoned dialogue to give way to solutions, let us all become students once again.  Everyone has something to learn.  It would behoove us to listen to others, whether we agree or disagree, so that we may come to a more informed conclusion.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Lesser of Two Evils is Still Evil

When people talk about who they vote for they often lament their choice as the lesser of two evils. If the politicians we elect hold the coercive power of government, should we not demand better?  Should not our choices be between the greater of two goods?

Our founders noted that politics appeals to the two greatest sins of man: avarice and ambition – love of money and love of power.  This certainly encapsulates the poison of modern politics. So how do we encourage better politicians versus the career politician?  How do we appeal to individuals who have been successful in America? Not the career politician who, far too often, cares not about the good of the nation but rather the self-interest of re-election.

Arrogance and ideology are an anathema to good governance and doing the public good.  The good politician is there to serve – not to be served.  The good politician has been successful to achieve the American dream outside of government, while the career politician seeks to make his fortune from government.  The good politician understands that good politics is constitutional and filled with compromise.  And the good voter realizes that no politician can be expected to represent 100% of their views – we should accept a candidate that we agree with 50% of the time.

The Constitution itself is the greatest political achievement and required great compromise.  James Madison and George Washington were deeply opposed to giving the smaller states equal suffrage in the new government, but they also realized that compromise on this belief was necessary for the good of forming the nation.  They were willing to come away with the best government they could achieve rather than walk away with an ideology.  However, today, politicians feign concern and walk away from compromise.  They ignore the founding documents and are driven by selfish beliefs that re-election is the goal of government.

So the question is how do we attract better people to seek office?  It starts by demanding better.  For example, the reaction to the crowded field of Republican presidential candidates should be to send them back and ask for better.  Same with the Democrats.  These are all politicians who will pander to a base and are amply captured by the observation Benjamin Franklin made that if one wants to become a doctor one studies medicine, and if one wants to become a lawyer then one studies law, but if one wants to be a politician one need only study his own self-interest.

Let us reject the politician who wants to care for us, as we can do that ourselves.  Reject the politician who wants to fight for us, as it is not a fight we are looking for.  Reject the politician who declares he will work hard for us, as we do that already.  Let us ask for the individual who has proved successful in life and realizes that life comes with many faults.  Let us embrace the person who will speak candidly – and we will know because he will offend us 50% of the time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

It's Just a Conversation

Too often political conversations become shouting matches.  This is not conducive to cultivate new ideas and solve problems; it does, however, provide entertainment for partisans when called political debate. Fifty five delegates sat in a room during the course of a hot Philadelphia summer and were able to have honest debate and a beautiful intellectual exchange of ideas that resulted in the Constitution.  How have we fallen so far from a united idea of Liberty and prosperity that encouraged involvement in politics, to a public that is largely disenchanted and disaffected with politics?

Part of the answer is the educational system that does not focus on the history of our nation, nor its political and economic structure.  This creates ignorance which will continue if the public does not become vigilant and demand a well-managed government.

But government cannot implement a drive toward vigilance more than they can implement moral behavior in society; these changes must find their origins in the household.  We must educate ourselves by reading the Constitution and becoming aware of current events from multiple news sources to get the full picture.  Once the household is engaged, this movement can then be brought into our educational systems to teach the youth about the country they will eventually be in charge of.

We must become vigilant or face the very real possibility of losing our Liberty in the next generation by the hands of the people entrusted to govern.  We must become vigilant to demand better and secure the blessings of Liberty.