Monthly Archives: November 2010

Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation – 1789

No political correctness here. The First paragraph expresses the Founder’s attitude toward separation of Church and State.

Have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

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Health Care: The Canary in the Coalmine

By Jerry McDaniel

America is perhaps one of the only places on earth where ordinary citizens have the power to substantially change the policies of government without armed revolution; that is, IF we act before Obama and his minions become so entrenched that he can completely override the Constitution and rule by Executive Order as many of his advisers are already encouraging him to do.

During the next two years, Republicans will attempt to dismantle much of the Obama agenda, particularly, the recently passed health care bill. At present, there are a number of plans for doing so. Some twenty states have filed a lawsuit challenging the Constitutionality of the individual mandate. Other states have indicated they will not attempt to enforce parts of the legislation requiring major outlay of funds by the states. Several Republican members of Congress have half-heartedly promised to introduce bills to repeal the health care legislation, while expressing the belief that outright repeal will not be possible.

Any efforts short of total repeal will constitute a major victory for progressivism and another giant step toward the eventual abandonment of the Constitution. It is not necessary that we accept the health care bill as written in order to give the federal government ultimate control over our lives and almost one third of our economy.  It is only necessary that we accept the premise that the federal government has the power to regulate the nation’s health care system.

Money is always the key. Currently, most health care for persons under sixty-five is paid for through private or employer paid insurance. Private health care insurance companies are now regulated by the individual states. Once the power to regulate has been shifted from the states to the federal government, as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires, the federal government will be able to regulate insurance companies out of business by requiring coverage that private companies cannot meet and remain solvent. As private insurance companies abandon the marketplace, the only alternative is single-payer insurance through the federal government.

As is now true with Medicare, once the government becomes the only source of health care funding, it can then determine through its payment schedules the medical treatment and procedures individual patients will be eligible to receive. Federal government involvement in the health care field through Medicare and Medicaid for the past fifty years or so has already pushed the cost of medical treatment far beyond the financial ability of the average person, by increasing the demand.

Alaska and Minnesota so far, have refused to apply for ACA grants to set up insurance exchanges in their states. However, as a recent article in TIME points out, there is a provision in the legislation that permits the federal government to step in and take over when states refuse to cooperate. If that isn’t bad enough, what will trigger the Fed’s take over has not been defined yet. That is left for the Health and Human Service’s rule-making authority to determine. The ACA is a lose-lose proposition for the American people. Accepting any part of the bill requires that we first accept the federal government’s power to regulate health care and health care insurance in America.

A centerpiece of the Republican plan is to allow for the purchase of health care across state lines. On the surface that sounds good, however, once that becomes law then the insurance companies can be regulated by the feds with little resistance under the interstate commerce clause in the Constitution. Either way the result is the same. Health care has become the canary in the coalmine. If we are unable to effect a total repeal of ACA, we can wave goodbye to the Constitutional Republic our ancestors and we have enjoyed for the past two-hundred plus years.

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE CONSTITUTION GIVING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THE POWER TO REGULATE THE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY AS IT NOW STANDS. DO NOT ALLOW IT TO ASSUME THAT POWER.

Earmarks: An Efficient and Economical Form of Corruption

By Jerry McDaniel

Congress is scheduled to return to Washington on Monday for its 2010 “lame duck” session. It is shaping up to be one of the most watched sessions in recent memory as everyone will be waiting to see whether Congress “got the message” sent by the voters on November 2. Next to the health care bill and tax increases, the practice of earmarks is likely to be one of the more contentious items on the agenda.

Earmarks have for decades been the safest, most economical and efficient form of the political art of corruption practiced in Washington. Democrats and Republicans alike will attempt to defend earmarks based on the relative low costs when compared with the overall budget. That is a good argument if we ignore the purpose of earmarks and do not measure it against the “gold standard” for Congressional actions, the Constitution.

Earmarks are the most efficient way for incumbents to “buy” the votes of their constituents without running afoul of election laws. One of the anomalies of American politics is the contradiction between the low approval level of Congress and the percentage of incumbents returned to Congress in election after election. Voters have been conditioned to judge their elected officials on their ability to “bring home the bacon”. When talking to voters, one of the most frequently given reasons why they like their own Congressman or Senator while disliking Congress as a whole is the perception they have of what their representatives have done for the state or community. That perception is primarily based on earmarks slipped into appropriation bills.

Next to the practice of allowing lobbyists to craft specifications for items purchased by the federal government that favor their own production capabilities at the expense of their competitors, earmarks are one of best methods for acquiring large campaign contributions. Contractors that supply the goods and services paid for by earmarks are always the primary beneficiaries of government largess. Earmarks for projects that utilize union labor give the politicians the most “bang for the buck”. In return, unions provide millions of man-hours to their political benefactors at election time for “get out the vote” drives, in addition to the millions in direct and indirect campaign contributions.

Last but not least, earmarks provide an efficient method for wealth redistribution among states and communities as elected officials compete for their slice of the pie. Doing away with earmarks would upset a system painstakingly built up over the years by the political parties for protecting the jobs of their incumbents. That may mean that politicians, in order to continue to enjoy salaries and perks unmatched anywhere in the world, would have to resort to actually keeping their oath of office and being faithful to their constituents and the Constitution.

The Founder’s Lockbox

By Jerry McDaniel

Unlike the fictitious Social Security lockbox, the Constitution contains a lockbox for the federal government. That box is the list of enumerated powers found in Article One of the Constitution, and the lock is the Tenth Amendment in the Bill of Rights. In Houdini like fashion, the government has escaped from the box over the past century, using the Seventeenth Amendment to open the lock. Our task in the twenty first century is to stuff it back into its box and reclose the lock.

Bracketed between the first and nineteenth clauses of Article I, Section 8, is a comprehensive list of all the powers delegated to the federal government; or to put it another way, a list of those things the federal government is charged with managing on behalf of the American People; namely, those that cannot be adequately managed by the states or individual citizens. This is the “lockbox” intended by the Founders to contain the federal government.  Clause One introduces the enumerated powers and describes the taxing powers of the government and Clause Nineteen describes the conditions all laws passed by Congress must meet. Clause One reads,

“The Congress shall have 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; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”

This clause list three purposes for which Congress is allowed to lay and collect taxes, debt, defense, and welfare. The two key words are “common” and “general”. Under common defense, the Feds are allowed to tax us for the collective defense of all the states and territories making up the United States. It does not authorize taxing in order to provide block grants for law enforcement activities within individual states,  to protect individual citizens against insults and unkind treatment by other citizens, our own unwise decisions, or to protect us from the proselytizing efforts of various religious groups.

Neither does it authorize Congress to tax us for the defense of other nations, unless the defense of that nation is directly related to our own national security. Border security, anti-drug smuggling and human trafficking, etc. are legitimate functions of the federal government because they are for the “common defense” of all the states. International defense against terrorism is also a Constitutional power that falls under this clause because international terrorist organizations have declared war on America.

The same principle applies to “general” welfare. As Thomas Jefferson pointed out in his report to George Washington concerning the chartering of a National Bank, Congress does not have the power to tax for any purpose that might be thought to promote the welfare of citizens but only for the general welfare of the nation as a whole and extending only to those enumerated powers listed in the Constitution. Taxing one group of citizens in order to provide for the welfare of another group of citizens is not countenanced by the Constitution. Most of the “earmarks” that are used by Congress members to “buy votes” only improve the welfare of a limited number of citizens therefore are unconstitutional. The famous “bridge to nowhere” would have benefited only a small number of the citizens in Alaska, for example.

The phrases “common defense” and “general welfare” also make up the litmus test for the laws authorized by clause nineteen, which reads,

“[Congress shall have the power…]To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

The key words here are “necessary”, “proper” and “foregoing”. Keep in mind that clause eight is a single, compound sentence made up of nineteen clauses, separated, as James Madison pointed out, by “nothing stronger than a semicolon”. The word “foregoing” refers only to the enumerated powers listed in clauses two through eighteen, all of which fall under the headings of common defense or general welfare. Thomas Jefferson pointed out that the word “necessary” applies only to those laws without which an enumerated power could not be carried into execution. This is the first test as to whether a law is constitutional or not. Necessary does not have the same meaning as “facilitate” or “make more convenient“.

The second test of constitutionality under this section is, is it proper? Does the law fulfill the purpose set forth in the introductory clause of providing for the common defense or the general welfare of the nation? If it does not it is not “proper” for the purpose and is therefore, unconstitutional.

Someone has said, “the power to tax is the power to enslave” however, repealing the Sixteenth Amendment or reforming our tax code is a useless exercise until we first return the federal government to its constitutional lockbox. Regardless of the form it takes, the American people have to be taxed eventually in order to pay for government spending since the only income it has is what it is able to squeeze out of the taxpayer. The only way to establish and sustain lower taxes is to limit government spending to those things included in the enumerated powers section of the Constitution. That is our challenge for the twenty-first century.

New Guards For Our Liberty

By Jerry McDaniel

“…When a long train of abuses and usurpations [by government], pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
~ Declaration of Independence

In this quote from the Declaration of Independence, it is interesting to note that Thomas Jefferson did not use the word “if” but “when”. The founding fathers were well versed in world history, government philosophy and the laws of nature that govern the affairs of man. One of the inviolable laws of nature is that all governments devised by man eventually end in despotism. (See video) America has survived longer than most free nations, primarily because it was established as a republic and not a democracy. Democracies seldom last for more than a few generations before they are destroyed from within. James Madison expressed the dangers of a democracy in Federalist No. 10,

“Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

The Founders did not delude themselves into believing they had established a plan of government that would last forever. Perhaps Benjamin Franklin was speaking the mind of the whole assembly when he said on the last day of the Philadelphia Convention,

“In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.”

The former colonies had thrown off the yoke of English despotism and were seeking to provide “new guards” for their future security. The guards they provided are found in the Constitution. That same Constitution is still the best and only security for the liberties we have enjoyed since it was first implemented in1789. In the recent election America stepped back from the brink of disaster when millions of patriots went to the polls and set a new course for our future. Ideally it will not be a “new” course but a return to the course established by the founders over two hundred years ago.

In many ways, the November 2, 2010 elections are like the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. Just as those battles marked the beginning of the first revolution, November 2 marked the beginning of a new revolution, hopefully with similar results but without the bloodshed. It will not be easy to get our country back on the road laid out by the Founders. It will take many years, perhaps generations to once again bring the government back within the boundaries established for it by the Constitution without major societal upheavals. Nevertheless, that is what we must do if we are to survive as a free nation.

Hopefully we have learned the lessons of the past two years of the Obama administration and what can happen when citizens become complacent and fail to hold their officials accountable when they refuse to abide by their oaths of office. Washington is not going to relinquish its power willingly. There will be unbelievable pressure on the American people to compromise with the forces of socialism “for the good of the country”. Conservative patriots will be demonized and labeled as extremist, radicals, obstructionists, idealists, impractical and a host of other epithets in an attempt to undermine our efforts.

If we are to succeed in preserving our liberties for future generation we must not compromise on violations of our principles or the Constitution. We must start immediately with an attitude of zero tolerance for any new legislation or policy not justified by the Constitution. This requires that each of us become familiar with and understand the Constitution and our founding principles. At the very least, we must understand those parts of the Constitution dealing with government powers, taxation, legislative limits, and the limits imposed by the Constitution on the three branches of government. There are innumerable resources on the internet for learning about the Constitution. It is our responsibility to avail ourselves of these resources and pass on what we learn to others. A free society cannot exist unless its citizens value freedom above all else and understand what is required in order to stay free.

NO COMPROMISE WITH TYRANNY!

By Jerry McDaniel

Tuesday was a good day for America as it took its first small steps back to sanity. Nationwide, the Republican Party, thanks to the patriot movement, had a good day, taking control of the House of Representatives, and increasing its seats in the Senate. At the same time Republicans increased the number of Republican Governors and their membership in state legislatures. The final numbers are not in yet, but it looks as if the Republicans will gain close to sixty-five seats in the House of Representatives, the largest gain since 1932. They will not have a majority in the Senate, but they will have enough to filibuster any attempts on the part of the Democrats to push through toxic legislation designed to further wreck our economy and destroy our liberty.

A side benefit of Republican gains is that the House Democrats who weathered the storm this time and the Senate Democrats who will be up for reelection in 2012 and 2014 will not be as willing to go over the cliff for their party as they have been in past years. Party discipline will be much easier to maintain for the Republicans and much harder for the Democrats.

However, we need to keep in mind that the results of Tuesday’s election only represent the first faltering steps along the long road to take back our government. We still have a nation held tightly in the grip of two political parties designed to get and hold power, not to serve the best interests of the American people. The Republican Party may have gained control of the House, and its power in the Senate may be on a near par with the Democrats, but the State Parties and the national Republican establishment have failed the people miserably in major ways over the past two election cycle.

In their attempts to gain a strategic advantage they manipulate the primary system to reward faithfulness to the party rather than faithfulness to the office and the people it serves. When candidates are chosen with the welfare of the party in mind and not the welfare of the nation it is seldom that we get the best candidate. The Republican Party’s failure in this election is particularly evident in Delaware, Alaska, Nevada, Illinois, California, and Washington State.

In each of these states, the Republican establishment is attempting to blame the grassroots demand for reform and constitutional government for its own shortcomings. In each state, with the possible exception of Illinois, the people made their choices known in the primaries. Had the Republican Party thrown their support wholeheartedly behind the people’s candidate in each race they would have in all likelihood, regained the Senate and increased their numbers in the House even more. Instead, they disparaged the people’s candidate and undermined them at every opportunity. And now they have the audacity to blame the “Tea Party Movement” when the truth is that without the “Tea Party Movement” they probably would not have performed as well as they did.

In Delaware they did everything they could to destroy Christine O’Donnell, In Alaska they allowed their losing candidate to maintain her committee assignments and gave tacit approval to her write in campaign. They likewise refused to support fully the people’s candidates in California and Nevada, questioning the candidates’ ability to win and their qualifications for the office they sought. In Illinois, they scheduled a primary in February. Seeking to help party incumbents, they shortened the primary season and forced a vote before voters had the opportunity to get to know the most conservative candidates, who for the most part, did not have widespread name recognition. The result is that voters in the November election were left to try and determine which party offered the lesser evil. Now Illinois has a Senator who does not have the confidence of a major part of the electorate and will probably side with the opposition on major issues.

We are also beginning to hear calls from some Republican leaders in Congress for bipartisanship. We are told we have to work with the President and the Democrats if we wish to get anything done. It is quite possible that the best thing for the country would be total gridlock in Congress until we have had time to sort things out and determine the right course of action in the future.  We are also reminded that politics is the “art of compromise”. The implication is that we should overlook the fact that in order to compromise on any proposal, we first have to accept the underlying premise on which it is based.

We cannot compromise on a tax hike, for example, until we first accept the premise that a tax increase is necessary and affordable, and that one can be designed that will not damage the economy and further erode our standard of living. We cannot compromise on health care without first accepting the premise that it is the federal government’s responsibility to provide health care for its people. We cannot accept increased energy taxes to curb climate change until we first accept the premise that energy use is a primary cause of climate change.

We could go on with a long list of premises underlying the Obama agenda, but it should be obvious that all the premises of progressivism (American socialism) have been proven repeatedly to be false. If we are to save our republic and the liberty it affords, the unspoken and spoken motto of the new Congress must be, NO COMPROMISE on the part of Republicans. At the first sign of compromise, we have to make it clear to our representatives that if they follow through on any that compromises our liberty and further weakens our Constitution, they will be challenged in the 2012 primaries and that we will work diligently to defeat them at the polls.