Monthly Archives: August 2008

Let the Games Begin!

The Democratic/Socialist Convention ended with a whimper, not a bang.  In spite of the estimated 84,000 screaming, flag waving, hopefuls filling the bleachers, Obama’s speech offered nothing new.  In fact, if you missed the speech, just get out your history book and reread the speech given by any “progressive” candidate since Teddy Roosevelt and you will have the gist of the speech given by Barack Thursday night.

The bullet points are all the same:  The environment, health care, education, the economy, jobs, etc., etc.  The complaints are all the same: Big corporations exploiting the workers, the rich holding down the poor, the worst economy in history; on and on, it goes.  Remember the clichés of the last two election cycles, “The worst economy since the great depression”, or the bumper sticker slogan that defeated George H.W. Bush in ‘92: “it’s the economy stupid”.

The pitch is always the same.  The problems are always the same.  The promises are always the same.  The results are always the same—zero.  The suckers never catch on.  For those not given to watching political speeches as a matter of course, the speeches given by Hillary, Bill, Barack, and even Biden were generally uplifting and somewhat promising.

Almost forty million people watched the speech by Obama.  Those who tuned in for the first time and had not yet grown tired of the same old rhetoric were, no doubt, impressed.  We can expect to see the “convention bounce” show up in the polls over the next few days.  At the time I am writing this, the tracking polls have Obama at 49% and McCain at 41%.  That poll was taken before Obama’s speech and does not reflect the bounce directly affected by his speech.  When those polls come in, the spread could increase to ten or eleven points.

The euphoria left in the hearts of the socialists/democrats from the week long celebration was short lived however, when John McCain engineered one of the biggest “flip-flops” in political history on Friday morning.  In less than five minutes he flip-flopped the momentum from the Democrats to the Republicans.  I am talking of course, about his selection of a Vice Presidential running mate.  In one inspired decision, he won back many of the conservative voters who had been less than enthusiastic about his candidacy, and picked up the votes of many disenchanted democratic women voters at the same time.

Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska appears to have all the characteristics conservatives have been demanding for years.  She is a solid conservative with few ties to Washington.  Best of all she is a Jeffersonian Republican not a Rockefeller Republican.  To put it another way, Palin is a Republican republican not a republican Republican.  She places the republican philosophy before the Republican Party.  She is the first Presidential candidate in my lifetime I have been able to make that observation about.

For those who have a tendency to confuse republican philosophy with Republican policy, I should perhaps point out the difference.  Republican philosophy is based on a few principles that make up the historical  bedrock of the form of government adopted by the early patriots and enshrined in the Constitution.  Paramount among those principles are, a small national government with limited powers, state sovereignty, rule of law and zero tolerance for corruption.  She not only talks about those principles but has demonstrated them in her public life as well.

Republican policy is whatever is deemed best for the Party.  If, at the same time, it also benefits the country that’s good but if not, oh well, it’s winning that counts.  Fortunately for the nation, the Republican policies and the needs of the country are in sync often enough that they are always preferable to Democrat policies.  As Mayor, Sarah Palin chose what was best for her city.  As Governor, she always chose what was best for her state, often at the expense of the party.  As Vice President, we can expect her to encourage President McCain in the same direction.

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Democrats Nominate Most Hard-Core Socialist in Seventy-Six Years

On Wednesday, the Democratic Party officially nominated its second hard-core socialist candidate for President in history.   The hope is that he will be able to finish the work began by Franklin D. Roosevelt some seventy-five years ago.  Like Roosevelt, Obama supporters bristle at the label of “socialist”.  This in spite of the fact that the policies he has outlined during his primary campaign have been virtually 100% socialistic.

While America has never had a declared socialist as President, two have stood out for their socialist policies: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson.  Roosevelt put socialism on a firm footing in American politics, with the “New Deal”, after steam rolling the Supreme Court. Later, Johnson ratcheted it up a few notches with his so-called “Great Society” programs.

Roosevelt was hampered somewhat in his efforts by the strong feelings of patriotism and nationalism prevalent in the American people as a result of the World War Two effort.  Much of that patriotic and nationalist spirit has been dissipated over the years by the rise of liberalism.  Like the proverbial bullfrog in a pan of water, most Americans have failed to notice the advances of socialism pushing aside liberalism and taking over the Democratic Party during the past few decades.

Even more important is the fact that a large number of the “baby-boomer” and later generations have embraced socialist programs with open arms.  Today the country seems to be somewhat evenly divided between those who still believe in the American ideals on which the nation was founded and those who believe in utopian collectivism.

The contest in November will be divided among those who believe in the Marxist philosophy of government, those who believe in Jeffersonian republicanism, and those who know little or nothing about either.  To a large extent, the future of America will be in the hands of uninformed voters.  Hopefully enough of these will still have the historical characteristics of the average American who values individualism, liberty, and self-reliance, to reject the lures of socialism and vote in favor of liberty.

If, by the grace of God, we are able to postpone a complete socialist takeover of government by electing John McCain and hopefully, a Republican Congress, we are by no means, out of the woods.  The reaction of the socialist/democrats to the loss of congressional power in 1994 followed by the loss of the White House in 2000, gives us some idea of what the next eight years will be like in American politics if John McCain wins the Presidency in 2008.

At best, we will have four or eight years to rebuild the conservative movement, before Hillary Clinton makes another bid for the White House.  Short of a government reformation, returning to the concept of a Constitutional Republic based on the rule of law and inalienable rights, the best we can hope for is a delay in an eventual takeover by socialism.


Obama’s Nigerian Connection

One of the fringe benefits of being a Democratic candidate for public office is that you can do almost anything without serious scrutiny by the popular press. That is certainly true of the candidacy of Barack Obama. With the exception of the Chicago Tribune, Obama’s hometown paper, the national press has ignored most of the negative disclosures concerning Barack. The scandals involving his associations with Rezko, Ayers, Wright, Pfleger, et al, have mostly been uncovered by writers on the Internet or talk radio.

Another potential problem for Obama was disclosed by the BBC and picked-up by Newsmax.com this week. According to the BBC, an organization called “Africans for Obama” raised $840,000 for Obama at an August 11, fundraiser in Lagos, Nigeria. Representatives of both Africans for Obama and the Obama campaign have denied that any money collected was going to the Obama campaign.

Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, head of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and Chairwoman of Africans for Obama, told a BBC reporter, “We never said we were going to donate money for the campaign. We paid for the hall and the entertainers and the surplus we said would be spent on advertisements aimed at persuading Nigerians to tell their relatives in America to register to vote.”

The Obama campaign wrote a letter to a Nigerian newspaper, “The Punch“, denying any connection with the event. “We want to make it clear that the event and this organization are in no way associated with Obama for America or the Democratic National Committee should this organization seek to place additional advertisements in your paper,” the letter said.

Of course, candidates have little control over their enthusiastic supporters, and occasionally some over zealous fan oversteps the bounds of legality in an attempt to help their candidate. In these cases, the illicit funds are usually returned when they are discovered and reported in the media.

There is nothing particularly unusual about foreign money finding its way into Presidential campaign coffers. You probably remember the problems Bill Clinton had with donations from Chinese citizens. Usually in these cases, the donors end up sitting in a jail cell while the politicians go their merry way with little negative consequences to their campaigns other than having to return the money. At least, good taste requires them to announce their intentions to return it.

Such has been the fate of several Clinton fund-raisers as well as Obama’s leading fund-raiser, Tony Rezko, who is currently awaiting sentencing on sixteen felony counts. Both the Obama campaign and Mrs. Okereki-Onyiuke were unequivocal in their denial of any unethical or illegal conduct. That should put an end to the matter. —Except for one little detail.

The Obama website, pa.barackobama.com, dedicated an entire page to an announcement of the fund-raising event, complete with an invitation to pledge. The title of the announcement was “Nigerians for Obama”, and contained this statement.

“We are gathering up to 4,000 people together for a fund raising to support OBAMA 08. The funds raised will be sent to the OBAMA campaign office as our own way of showing support for OBAMA since we are not eligible to vote as we are Nigerians based in Nigeria and not in America.”

The location for the event was given as:

“TRANSCORP HILTON HOTEL, ABUJA, NIGERIA (Abuja, VA)
ABUJA, NIGERIA,
Abuja, VA 22003”

If, as Obama, and Mrs. Okereke-Onyiuke claim, there was never any intention to send the money collected to the Obama campaign, then we must conclude, at least, that they were conspirators in a fraud perpetrated on donors who were led to believe the funds would be contributed to the Obama campaign.

Just as difficult to believe is that almost a million dollars would be raised and spent in Nigeria just to get Nigerian citizens to call or write their family members living in American and encourage them to vote. A more likely scenario would be exactly what was promised in the announcement on Obama’s website.

Contributions to Obama campaigns have always proven to be a good investment for many organizations. Tony Rezko was responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars to Obama’s Illinois campaigns. In return Obama managed to direct some fourteen million dollars in state grants to various Rezko projects. Just a coincidence, of course. The same thing occurred with grants to Father Pfleger’s church and projects sponsored by Pastor Wright’s church.

In Obama’s proposed program to eliminate world poverty, he has promised to earmark billions to fight poverty in Africa. I am sure that prospect has nothing to do with the fund-raising by “Africans for Obama”, but you have to admit it does look suspicious.

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America’s Moral Failure

A lot of food for thought came out of the Saddleback Church forum last Saturday night. Abortion, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, marriage, world hunger, and many other subjects of importance in choosing a President came up, either directly or indirectly. One of the most important aspects of the forum was the opportunity to compare the maturity, judgment, and life experiences of the two candidates.

Obama’s hesitancy as he groped for politically correct answers to the questions was certainly revealing when compared with the crisp, concise answers by McCain. In spite of Obama’s less than sterling performance, there will probably be little change in his poll numbers. The core Obama supporter is not interested in ethical or moral questions. Their only concern is his ideology and pliability.

Obama supporters come from two groups, socialists and “habitual” democrats. Their numbers are more or less constant at between thirty and forty percent of the voting population. Add to that another ten to fifteen percent who pay little attention to politics; those who get their information in “snippets” picked up from three minute news broadcast on music radio, entertainment TV, and while looking for the sports pages in the newspaper, and it’s still possible for Obama to succeed in November.

One question that caught my attention was when Pastor Rick Warren asked, “What would be the greatest moral failure of your life, and what would be the greatest moral failure for America?” Obama referred back to his youthful indulgence in alcohol and drugs. McCain mentioned the failure of his first marriage.

As to America’s greatest moral failure, both candidates gave a similar response having to do with a failure to address social issues in the world. To me the greatest moral failure of American has been the government’s failure to keep faith with the American People. Most if not all national problems can be traced back to this one basic failure.

Our form of government was “sold” to the American people based on certain promises made by the political leaders of the day.

  • The powers of the central government would be limited to those specified in the Constitution.(Article One, Section Eight and Federalist 41)
  • The Sovereignty of the individual states would not be supplanted by the central government. (Amendment 10)
  • The judicial system would be the “weakest” of the three branches of government and judges who were unfaithful to the Constitution would be subject to impeachment. (Federalist 78, 79)

These and many other promises were made to the people of the thirteen original states in order to persuade them to accept and ratify the Constitution. The three most famous “salesmen” for the Constitution were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, authors of the Federalist Papers. For the first hundred years or so most political leaders took their oath of office seriously and attempted to uphold the Constitution.

Since then it has been fashionable for political leaders who wish to exercise powers not sanctioned by the Constitution to use the “three-step” method of interpretation used by many religious people to interpret the Bible.

  • Step One: Look for permission to do what you want in the meaning of the text itself.
  • Step Two: If unsuccessful, read “between the lines” looking for a principle that will support your position.
  • Step Three: If still unsuccessful, look for a hidden meaning, i.e. what the writer really meant by what he said.

Using these interpretative techniques, the “meaning” of our founding documents has evolved to the point they bear little resemblance to the originals. The natural “right to life” has been changed to a “right to prevent life”. The right to “keep (own) and bear (carry) arms” has been limited to those who acquire special permission from the government. “Freedom of religion” has been changed to “freedom from religion”. The power of Congress to regulate the buying and selling of goods (commerce) between the states has been expanded to permit Congress to regulate all parts of the economy.

These broken promises by the government and the American people’s toleration of elected officials who make a mockery of their oath of office are the primary reasons we find ourselves faced with most of the problems we are wrestling with now. Our failing education system, the exorbitant cost of primary health care, the energy crisis, and the declining economy can all be traced to the government’s failure to keep faith with the people.

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Do Your Patriotic Duty–Pray for a Do-Nothing Congress

It seems everywhere you turn someone is demanding the government do something to lower the price of gasoline and solve our “energy crisis”. Before joining the chorus we need to stop and apply some good old fashioned “horse sense” to the problem.

We do not have an energy crisis. We have a business crisis. Simply put, the problem is that oil companies are not able to supply enough oil to meet the demands of world markets. A seeming related problem is that the climate of the earth is warming. Both of these problems, the real and the imagined, require clear thinking on the part of the American people before we allow the government to do irreparable damage to our economy, the Constitution and our way of life.

The first question that must be answered is why the oil companies are not able to keep up with the demand for their products. It is not because there is a shortage of raw product. There are trillions of barrels of oil beneath the surface of the earth just waiting to be discovered and processed. It is not due to lack of capital. The oil companies are among the best financed companies on earth. It is not due to lack of labor. So long as there are millions of unemployed persons worldwide seeking a livelihood it cannot be claimed there is a shortage of labor.

The only reason there is a shortage of oil is because it is 100% under the control of the most inefficient mechanism ever devised by man, government. 95 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves are owned by a government. The remaining five percent, located in free-market countries, are heavily regulated by those governments and, in most cases, located under land or water owned or controlled by government.

When Congress returns to Washington, September 3, it will be under heavy pressure from the American public to “do something”. Most Americans have no idea what they want Congress to do other than make gasoline cheaper. The price of gasoline is an end result not a process. In order for the price to come down, oil companies have to produce enough product to meet the demand at a price consumers and businesses can afford.

Our problems are not due to government inaction. They are due to too much government action in the past. What we need is less involvement by government not more. Demanding that government do something without specifying what that something is, is like turning your teen age daughter loose at the mall with your credit card and permission to buy whatever she wants.

If we can’t drill our way out of the problem, we certainly cannot legislate our way our. Given a choice between the two, drilling is certainly more productive than legislating. Most of the solutions offered by our political leaders are nothing more than flights of fantasy though up during periods of daydreaming about what they would do if they were king. Only a small percentage of them are practical enough to ever be implemented. Those that may be implemented promise to do more harm than good.

The solutions offered by either party involve a major overhaul of our economy, our lifestyles and our relationship to government. Democrat plans would add trillions of dollars to the cost of government and give it almost total control of the major decisions we make in our lives, such as the type of car we drive, the type of home we live in and where that home is located. In Obama’s energy plan, for example, he promises to “build livable and sustainable communities”.

These communities would be designed to facilitate the use of alternative means of transportations, including bicycling and walking. He would have controls over building design to insure energy efficiency. He would also have controls on appliance manufacturing to insure our refrigerators, toasters, light bulbs, etc. were energy efficient.

To bring about these utopian communities he proposes billions of dollars of taxpayer money be directed to manufacturers, building supply firms and contractors for insulation, windows, heating plants, and other energy saving devices. One of his proposals is to “make a commitment to weatherize one million low-income homes” each year for the next ten years. Included in the plan is “upgrading a home’s furnace, sealing leaky ducts, fixing windows and adding insulation“.

Both parties have plans to force Americans to use less oil and more alternative energies. No doubt we would be better off if we did so. However, man is a stubborn creature and engaging in that human activity identified by Jefferson as “the pursuit of happiness” is an activity we prefer to engage in in our own way and at our own pace. Wind power and solar power has been around for decades. The reason it is not used more by the public is because it does not meet their needs for convenience and reliability.

The same thing can be said for energy efficient cars; remember the Yugo. Some readers may even be old enough to remember the Willys. Then there was the Isetta, a two passenger vehicle very similar to the “plug-ins” being made today except the Isetta had only one door. That door opened in front. If you parked at the curb and another car parked in front of you, you couldn’t get back into your car until the other car moved.

The point is there is nothing new in the proposals offered by government. Everything has already been tried and rejected by the consumer. Some will return in an improved form, and eventually will be accepted, when the public is ready, not when the government is ready. If we have learned anything from history, it is that when government attempts to manipulate the American consumer, the unintended consequences are always more negative than the problems government is attempting to solve.

There is no way the government could force the changes in American’s lifestyle they want without Herculean controls over almost every aspect of our lives. I can not believe a majority of the American people are ready to turn over to government the amount of control over their lives that would be required.

The most serious danger facing us in our current dilemma is an over reaction by government. Whenever government attempts to make major “forced” changes in one part of the economy the ripple effect has consequences for all its other parts as well. The ripple effect of plans currently being discussed would be a tsunami. For example, according to DOT figures Americans drove 12.5 billion fewer miles in June, 2008 than in June, 2007. That may mean a penny less per gallon when we fill up our gas tanks, but it plays havoc on the profits and jobs of those who depend on a motoring public for their livelihood.

The effects of mandated use of ethanol on our food supply and prices is another example, and there are many more. If left to its own devices, the market will eventually reach equilibrium between the various forms of energy available today. That is the way of nature and of markets. Government tinkering with either can only have disastrous effects in our lives.

That’s why the most fervent prayer by every American ought to be, “please give us a do-nothing Congress. Above all, please, do not allow them to saddle the American people with a ‘comprehensive’ energy plan.”

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Democrat’s Shell Game on Energy

In a little over three weeks, Congress is scheduled to return from their five-week summer vacation. At the top of their agenda will be the oil crisis. Under the current political climate, it will be difficult for Congress to adjourn before Election Day without taking some type of action supposedly designed to relieve the pressure on oil prices. It is becoming clear that the strategy of the Democratic Party is to do as little as possible to increase domestic energy supplies in order to maintain the high price of gasoline.

The congressional ban on expanded drilling in the outer continental shelf, ANWR and other locations in the U.S. expires September 30. Since its implementation in 1981, the ban has been renewed each year as a part of an appropriations bill. Thus far, the democratic dominated Congress has not passed a single appropriations bill for the 2009 fiscal year that begins October 1. They will either have to pass a continuing resolution before they adjourn the 110th Congress or shut down the government for lack of funds.

As the debate nears the deadline, it is beginning to appear that Nancy Pelosi and the socialist/democrats in Congress are intending to “sandbag” the Republicans in order to continue the ban while appearing to the American People to be working on their behalf. Both Obama and Pelosi have signaled a willingness to back away from their adamant opposition to drilling. Both have indicated they would be in favor of permitting more drilling as a part of an overall energy plan.

Meanwhile a group of Republican Congressmen has been staging a protest in the Capitol demanding that Congress cut its vacation short and deal with the crisis. Several Republicans have even expressed a willingness to allow the government to be shut down unless Democrats give in and allow more drilling. What appears to be an advantage for the Republicans, especially with conservatives, has the potential to backfire in favor of the socialist/democrats.

The developing strategy of the Democrats —maybe it has been their strategy all along — seems to be to present a “compromise” bill to congress that allows for a minor expansion of drilling in the OCS off four Southeastern States while continuing the ban otherwise. The Senate already has a similar bill offered by the “Gang of 10” before Congress adjourned at the end of July.

In exchange for the slight lessening of restrictions on drilling, the compromise bill would include a tax on the oil companies’ “windfall profits” and a repeal of tax breaks they are currently getting. There will also be a major hit on the taxpayers for more subsidies to finance alternatives fuels and research into green technology.

Should the Republicans refuse the compromise offered, Pelosi would allow time to run out and shut down the government. The shutdown would then be spun to make it appear to voters that it occurred because of the Republicans unwillingness to work with the Democrats in order to bring down gas prices. This would take place mere weeks before the voters go to the polls. With the assistance of the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party, the national media, this could easily turn out to be victory for Democrats.

By the time the American people realized what had actually happened the election would be over, Democrats would be firmly in charge, our energy crisis would still be with us, and there would be nothing we could do about it.

It is obvious that the motivation Pelosi and the Democrats have in opposing drilling for more oil, even in the face of rising prices and a slowing economy, is more than a mere concern for the environment. The primary motivation is a desire to gain control over the American economy. A major stride in this direction has already been taken in response to the mortgage crisis and collapse of some of the major banking institutions.

A takeover of America’s energy supply would be a major victory for the socialist movement. At least two Democratic legislators have already signaled their intentions in that direction. Congressman Hinchey of New York has said the government should own all of our oil refineries and not the oil companies. Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California has also indicated a desire to take over the oil companies.

Nancy Pelosi may have also have a personal financial motive for keeping the price of gasoline as high as possible, in addition to her socialist idealism. Fox News and Michelle Malkin has reveled that Pelosi has a major investment in T. Boon Pickens’ energy business. In her 2007 financial statement Pelosi listed a $250,000 profit from Pickens’ company. She stands to gain financially in any subsidies voted by Congress to Pickens’ energy projects. The state of California is also considering a ballot initiative (No. 10) to “invest” billions in one of Boon’s natural gas projects.

Instead of demanding a vote on expanded drilling, Republicans should be demanding an investigation of Pelosi’s finances. The ideal outcome for the economy and the American people is to simply allow the drilling ban to expire without any action by Congress. That is unlikely so long as the MSM continues to run interference for the Democratic Party and the socialist movement.

The Republican’s high profile protest over the last two weeks may be good for rallying the base, but it makes it more difficult to avoid voting for any compromise bill offered by Democrats since a vote is exactly what they have been demanding with their protest.

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Obama’s Global Poverty Program

Obama has promised to double our foreign aid budget to $50 billion, if he is elected President in November. A part of that increase is Senate Bill S.2433, the Global Poverty Act of 2007, a bill sponsored by Obama that proposes to cut global poverty in half by the year 2050. The bill has been reported out of committee and placed on the Senate calendar awaiting action by the full Senate.

In arguing for or against the bill on its merits, a substantial argument could be made to support either side. There is a much more fundamental question to be argued however, than simply whether the aim of the bill is worthwhile, whether it is in our national interest, whether it will contribute to global stability, or what the price tag will be in increased spending. The basic question that should be asked on this and all other bills that come before Congress is whether it complies with the Constitution.

Before the Ink had dried on the Constitution, anti-constitutionalists began devising ways to circumvent its restrictions on the powers of government. During the first hundred years of our republic, their efforts met with limited success. During the twentieth century, however, anti-constitutional thinking gained momentum and by the beginning of the twenty-first, the U.S. Constitution has become little more than an interesting historical relic from the past.

Today, its most frequent use is to supply a line for the swearing in ceremony of public officials, “I do solemnly swear…to the best of my ability, [to] preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” While every public official takes this oath, from the local cop on the beat to the President of the United States, for most it has little or no affect on the way they carry out their duties once in office.

At the same time, it is the document most often referenced by those wishing to gain some personal privilege from government. “I have a constitutional right to… (Fill in the blank)”. You have probably heard this assertion hundreds of times during your lifetime, but how many times have you ever heard someone actually quote the Constitution, Article and Section to back up their claim? Probably few, if any. That’s because very few people, including our elected officials know what the Constitution truly says.

Barack Obama, in spite of the fact that he taught constitutional law for over a decade in one of the premier universities in America, is merely another of those politicians who either do not understand the constitution or are counting on the constitutional ignorance of the citizenry in order to implement their agenda. The Global Poverty Act is an ideal legislative example to illustrate this point. No matter how you interpret or misinterpret the Constitution, this Act is clearly unconstitutional.

The two most popular ruses for circumventing the clear meaning of the Constitution and nullifying the restrictions it places on government are the “living document” canard and a clever use of the phrase “general welfare” coupled with the so-called “elastic clause” found in Article 1, Section 8.

Of all the devices used by constitutional heretics to deny the limits placed on congressional power by the Constitution, none is more disingenuous or more easily proven false than the idea that the Constitution is a “living document” that evolves and changes as the needs and desires of the nation changes over time.

The pervasiveness of this heretical doctrine among our political leaders was indicated by Al Gore during his 2000 bid for the presidency. In describing the type of judges he would appoint to the Supreme Court, he stated; “I would look for justices of the Supreme Court who understand that our Constitution is a living and breathing document, that it was intended by our founders to be interpreted in the light of the constantly evolving experience of the American people.”

Barack Obama has expressed a similar view of the Constitution on numerous occasions, both in his campaign rhetoric and in his prior work as legislator, lawyer and university lecturer.

The founders did foresee the probability that the Constitution as written, would not always meet the needs of a thriving, advancing society that was constantly changing as new discoveries were made and new circumstances arose in domestic and international affairs. At the same time, they recognized the dangers in trusting the Constitution to the fickle whims of popular opinion or the ambitious machinations of politicians.

To protect the Constitution from the vagaries of politics and the shifting sentiments of the populace, they constructed an elaborate, yet flexible, process for making the changes needed. It was their intention that the Constitution not be interpreted to meet the evolving needs of the nation, but rather, that it be amended to meet those needs. Otherwise, Article 5 which lays out the procedures for amending the Constitution has no meaning or purpose.

The mere existence of Article 5 is the strongest possible argument against the concept of a living constitution. If the Constitution could be changed simply by a legislative act or the ruling of a federal court there would be no reason for Article 5 and its inclusion in the Constitution would be little more than a mockery of the principles of constitutional government.

The longest standing heresy concerning the Constitution is the application of the term “general welfare” to refer to a separate power in addition to those listed. It was first introduced by Alexander Hamilton founder of the Federalist Party and applied in a minor degree by John Adams, our second President, and the Marshall Court appointed by him. That the term would be misused by government to assume powers not delegated to it by the Constitution was anticipated by the anti-federalists before the Constitution was ratified and became a major issue of contention between the anti-federalists and the federalists that threatened to stand in the way of ratification.

The term itself appears twice in the Constitution, once in the preamble and once in the first clause of Article 1, Section 8. In the preamble, which reads,

“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”;

It is obvious that promoting the general welfare was just one of the goals in establishing a new government. The means of achieving these goals was to be the Constitution which followed.

Promoting the general welfare is the end and the Constitution is the means. To attribute a deeper meaning to this phrase other than the obvious is a violation of the rules of structure in writing. The term is used in a similar manner in Article 1 as one of the purposes for empowering Congress to levy and collect taxes.

Section 8 of Article 1 is a single complex sentence consisting of one independent clause and eighteen dependent clauses. The sentence contains eighteen semicolons and one period. In this instance punctuation is important because James Madison used it in Federalist Number 41 to argue against the use of the term “general welfare” as an additional power delegated to the Congress, and to ridicule those who feared otherwise.

“…It has been urged and echoed, that the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare. No stronger proof could be given of the distress under which these writers labor for objections, than their stooping to such a misconstruction.”

“Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms ‘to raise money for the general welfare.’ ”

”But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.”

“But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter….”

Thomas Jefferson writing on the same subject in a letter to Albert Gallatin, June 16, 1817 wrote,

“You will have learned that an act for internal improvement, after passing both Houses, was negatived by the President. The act was founded, avowedly, on the principle that the phrase in the constitution which authorizes Congress “to lay taxes, to pay the debts and provide for the general welfare,” was an extension of the powers specifically enumerated to whatever would promote the general welfare; and this, you know, was the federal[ist] doctrine. Whereas, our tenet ever was, and, indeed, it is almost the only landmark which now divides the federalists from the republicans, that Congress had not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but were restrained to those specifically enumerated; and that, as it was never meant they should provide for that welfare but by the exercise of the enumerated powers, so it could not have been meant they should raise money for purposes which the enumeration did not place under their action; consequently, that the specification of powers is a limitation of the purposes for which they may raise money…”

The “Global Poverty Act” fails to pass Constitutional muster on at least two grounds. Even if the term “general welfare” alluded to an additional congressional power, the act would still be unconstitutional. The clause reads, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes … [to]… provide for the general welfare of the United States”. The Global Poverty Act is designed to provide for the general welfare of all other nations of the world except the United States.

Furthermore, the practice of making direct grants to other nations from taxpayer money (foreign aid) is not among the enumerated powers listed in the Constitution and is therefore unconstitutional in all cases.

It is high time we decided, as a nation, whether we wish to continue as a constitutional republic or adopt a different form of government. We can express our preference in the coming election by voting for or against the candidacy of Barack Obama.

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