Wed 31 Mar 2010
In a previous post I railed against the meaning of the word “Welfare” in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution being interpreted to suit the socialist aims of the Democrats and progressives over time. I was particularly annoyed how this word has been abused over time to mean almost anything — at least anything that means higher taxes, more government control or more social programs and entitlements. I made this assertion with the full knowledge that in addition to the magic word that there is also the often legislatively abused “Commerce” clause in Section 8 as well. Yes, you heard it right, we not only have a magic word but also a “squishy” clause in our Constitution.
The original intent of the commerce clause has been twisted by modern Congresses more than a pretzel and its meaning divined to be just about any activity, product, service or object touched by mankind. It seems that commerce is in the eye of the beholder — and for those who wield almost unchecked legislative power, it apparently means a heck of a lot. In fact, the same Ouija board and tea leaves that are routinely used to interpret the word “Welfare” in Article I, Section 8 are used to come up with tortured definitions for “Commerce” as well.
Now, as was the case for welfare, the original intent of the founders in regards to commerce was far more benign and less rights-threatening than the socially metastasizing form that has been used for about the last 100 years of mostly “progressive” thinking. The original intent of the commerce clause was one that treated it as the right of the people…but an activity that could be taxed to provide for the national defense. And, the national defense was required to allow for unimpeded domestic and foreign commerce. In essence, it was a self-satisfying feedback loop mechanism. If the United States desired free commerce at home and abroad, it needed to protect that ability. And the Congress was provided the constitutional means, via taxation, for insuring that unfettered commerce. In essence, the Founders saw the commerce clause through the eyes of citizen merchants who needed the full-force protection of a federal government in order to conduct their business.
However, although it had almost strictly mercantile beginnings, this “modest little power” of the Congress (as defined by Albert S. Abel) has been used to obtain, over time, far-reaching powers for the government. Not the least of which (in large part) is the imposition of the recent health care “reform” legislation on the American public. But any usage beyond that of the Founders is a proverbial thumb on the scale in their favor by subsequent Congresses. The fact that gross perversions of the original intent were allowed to stand indicates that over time an increasing number of jurists came to agree with the activist approach to this clause by progressive legislators. And obviously this agreement of interpretation included members of the Supreme Court. But the legislative and judicial activism that believes that the Constitution is a living and breathing document that must evolve with the times heavily discounts the capitalistic and humanistic aspects of the original intent of the commerce clause.
There was a time when the Supreme court considered the commerce clause “dormant,” meaning that it had little bearing on anything beyond prohibiting individual states from interfering with interstate commerce. Any other treatments of commerce were the purview of the individual states. This view pretty much followed the original intent of the Founders. But since Roosevelt and the New Deal, all bets are off regarding a humble and benign interpretation of the commerce clause. We are now left with and must endure future (probably well-intentioned) laws based on the loosest conformance to this clause. In many cases these laws face court challenges and possible repeal. But don’t bet on it as precedence trumps original intent nowadays.
Our brave new nanny-state national order depends on the most generous implementation of the commerce clause vis-a-vis federal powers. With the exception of the favorable (from a federal point of view) interpretation of that pesky word welfare, the commerce clause is the only place left of the Congress to assume the life-altering power and for it to implement over time the labyrinthine structure that is today’s federal government. The remainder of the powers are far too defined and not subject to the will-of-the-whim interpretations that follow welfare and commerce. For example, if you consider almost any federal department in existence, you will find a razor-thin constitutional rationale for its existence. In essence, they exist because “that’s just the way it is.”
In the past I would have mused that ‘God need help us’ if we are forced to act a certain way or buy something as a result of the legislative implementation of the commerce clause. But as of March 20th, 2010, that day has come and gone. Hopefully, the assumed court challenges to the health “legislation” are successful…and that ushers in a new era of dormant commerce clause thinking. However, I’m not optimistic as it is human nature to give an inch and take a mile. And the progressive factions of our government cannot implement their fundamental or “transformative” changes to our society if it were not for their sneaky thumb on the scales of interpretation.
So, rather than living in a society where the Constitution is considered for its original, immutable intent, we must live with a constant tinkering with our rights and liberties using the flimsiest of excuses. Only until we smarten up and elect representative lawmakers who value a strict interpretation of the Constitution according to its original intent will we enjoy the broadest set of rights and liberties as insured by the the document.
Otherwise, my friends, we have undoubtedly crossed the Rubicon of ‘make it up as you go along’ governance, and I fear that the bridge for the way back has burned. Our road back from legislative bondage may be a long one indeed — if at all possible.
Sun 28 Mar 2010
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, Health Care
, The EconomyComments Off
The political scene has taken another turn for the worse as a result of the über-partisanship revolving around passage of the health care “reform” legislation. Claims and counter claims are flying about from the left and the right regarding threats and violence from the “other side” in the hours before and the days after passage of this bill. However, no entity can make hay out of their claims like the Democrats and their party. Let’s just look at the spectacle for a moment and take account of the alleged carnage to date: the alleged use of bitter invective including the so-called “n-word” by protesters at the Capitol; an alleged incident where a black legislator was spat upon; a coffin left on the lawn of a Democrat rep.; windows were broken in the local office of another Democrat rep.; death threats were made to by phone to several reps. of both parties; a Republican rep.’s discovered a bullet hole in the window of his local office; and other incidents of less than acceptable deportment and decorum vis-a-vis elected officials.
I think all of these incidents reside at the intersection of reality and hyperbole. I also think that the Democrats, using their strongest politically ally in the mainstream media, have performed a bit of political alchemy on the events of earlier this week — changing the controversy of the unpopular partisan healthcare vote to ersatz-sympathy for the alleged “attacks.” See, there is quite a bit of political apprehension and guilt on the left-leaning side of the aisle. The Democrats folks knew that they, proverbially-speaking, tweaked an angry dragon’s tail with their passage of Obamacare. But they did so in order to bolster their Ideologue-In-Chief and his socialist “transformative change” agenda. So they desperately needed political cover (and since not a single Republican voted for the monstrosity they can’t take cover behind them because of that), and fast! How better to obtain this cover, and fire up their base (because we all have poor short-term political memories in the face of righteous indignations affecting “our guy” or gal) than by playing presto-chango with their vote and the alleged “violent” repercussions? How can you despise someone and their actions if they’re the hapless “victim?”
Couple theses specious and increasingly debunked claims with the fact that the alleged perpetrators of these affronts are the Tea Party protesters, then you have the basic ingredients of a spittle laden rage and tirade by the likes of Comrade Keith Olbermann et. al. that even a heaping dose of mother’s little helper can’t curtail. And so the entire width and breadth of the government controlled media are now actively involved in the debasement and derision, if not outright ridicule, of the Tea Partiers (almost as though they received specific instructions by FAX as to what to say and how to say it!) This action by the MSM would be laughable except for the fact that the Tea party folks are from all political stripes — certainly the lion’s share are right-leaning ideologically– and I know several moderate Democrats who have joined the movement out of buyer’s remorse for their 2008 vote folly. So the swiftness with which the MSM painted the alleged “violence” as right wing and associated with the TP protesters is shameful and deceptive.
But really, isn’t that their job? Aren’t the entire MSM, probably with the exceptions of FOX News, the WSJ and the indies on the internet, in the bag for the current Democrat powers-that-be and their liberal base? So why would it be unexpected or raise a single eyebrow that the MSM is off trying to do everything they can to discredit the TP crowd in the eyes of the perhaps dozens of readers and viewers that they have?
The plain truth is it isn’t unexpected. In fact, it’s entirely expected! The fact of the matter is is that if you’re persistent enough and can tolerate enough liberal dreck and pablum, you will see a pattern emerge where all the newsreaders (no, they’re not journalists!) seem to have an eerily similar story to tell. So eerily similar, in fact, that one has to wonder if it wasn’t drafted in a windowless communications office in a certain Washington landmark and FAXed to the corpus of useful media idiots for them to recite.
This is NOTHING new…it’s just the new order of American politics. American politics Democrat style. Part of the de-evolution of our society into a modern day orgy of blood sport, ad hominem attacks and ridicule. And if you add in the new administration’s Chicago political roots, you’re left with a bare-knuckled, winner-take-all implementation of the previous.
So, fasten your seatbelts for the political ride we’re about to have between now and November. By the time that the Democrat spin machine is done, we won’t know right from left or up from down. But you can bet your grandma that we WILL know one thing — that the Republicans are the problem, they are the party of NO, they are egging-on violence, they don’t have any answers, they are the party of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and they are closely aligned with the Tea Partiers. You can also be darned sure that their claims are righteous and true.
The FAXes say so…
Thu 25 Mar 2010
There is one dangerous word in our Constitution that the courts and Congress have used (and continue to use) to legislate us into serfdom and to simultaneously spend us into oblivion, while providing us with all those special entitlement goodies.
My friends, that word is “Welfare.”
You can find this most dangerous word in Article I, Section 8, in the definition of the “Powers of Congress.”
One stinking word…so much trouble!!
The trouble comes because this word was (and unfortunately, because of “precedent” still is) interpreted in a very generous way by a progressive, socially and fiscally liberal judiciary when it came to past legislation passed by the Congress. Because when the Constitution was written, the word “Welfare” was a common use synonym of “Well being” and “Security.” It was never intended by the Founders as a hook for future Congresses to have carte blanche, unlimited powers to legislate and to spend. But our enlightened Constitutional scholars over time have interpreted this word to mean it’s literal modern definition — “Aid to Others” and “Assistance.” And, let’s be frank here, any other damn thing that the Congress wants to do.
[You can thank the historical, generous interpretation of this word for the recent consideration and passage of Obamacare, and all other social programs that are straining our finances to the breaking point.]
But even with the most general and generous interpretation of the word Welfare, a conundrum still exists if we claim that we are a nation that observes the Constitution. See, there is a modifier phrase to this word that was placed by the Founders — “Welfare of the United States.” Not the welfare of the citizens…not the welfare of the poor…not the welfare of individuals. Why was the phrase “Welfare of the United States” included in the Constitution? Because the primary duty of the Congress as intended by the Founders is the safety, security and defense of our nation. A nation comprised of separate states: The United States, united by the protective federal government for safety and security.
And this conundrum is further complicated by the fact that the word “Welfare” is contained in the preamble of Section 8, and in the time of the Founders, the preamble was not the meat of the topic, rather it was a light, appetizing summary. So, the Founders never intended that the “Welfare of the United States” to be a specific duty…but rather as the summary of the duties to follow. In other words, if the Congress performed all the duties following, they would be good stewards of the welfare of the United States.
I don’t fault the Founders for this misinterpretation. I bet in their wildest dreams they never imagined that the meaning a single word with fixed common usage in their era could be twisted in the future to mean so much else. How were they to know that paternalism and politics would replace patriotism in future generations of the Congress?
But now we’re saddled with this perversion of the original intent. We’re left with a political establishment that has interpreted the Constitution to THEIR advantage…and now they control US through the interpretation of this single word. And the funny thing is that we’ve let them routinely do it…because we’ve entrusted them to be the arbiters of the Constitution and the protectors of our rights. And again, let’s be frank, we’ve enjoyed the goodies and scraps that they’ve thrown our way.
So, how’s that folly worked out for us so far??
Because of our lack of vigilance and our soft spines, we’ve ended up with the likes of Obama, Reid and Pelosi. I can’t say we don’t deserve them, as we failed to heed the advice of orator and abolitionist Wendell Phillips when he cautioned us that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty…“. And honestly, we have been less than vigilant as individuals when it comes to protecting our Constitutional rights.
This situation must change if our nation is to survive as a viable national entity. Please, read the Constitution…understand what the Congress can and cannot do by the Founder’s intent. And in the future, PLEASE, for God’s sake, select your representatives based on their fealty to the original intent of the Founders, rather than some bastardized, interpreted version.
We must not accept business as usual in Washington, DC. We may be forced into acceptance now, given the make up of this Congress — they don’t care about our opinions or our rights — and they certainly don’t have any allegiance at all to the Constitution. By their own admission, they make up the rules as they go. This circumstance won’t last forever!
But we have been taken for granted and abused by politicians of all political stripes for long enough. It’s time to assert our primacy — our Constitutional authority as the most important part of our nation. We can put all of this political nonsense behind us if we try, and if we get more involved. It’s dirty work and a lot of heavy lifting, but the result will be a country that we can be proud to leave to our children and heirs.
The choice is ours…let’s not allow the corrupt interpretation of a single word force us into perpetual servitude and cause us to be debtors to an out of control and increasingly powerful federal government.
It’s OUR government, and it’s high time that WE took it back.
Section 8 — Powers of Congress
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
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.
Section 9 — Limits on Congress
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.)
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.
Wed 24 Mar 2010
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, PoliticsComments Off
The Constitution was written to provide the means for the citizenry to achieve and maintain primacy over their government. The Founders intended this document to be a guarantor that we Americans never need experience the caprice and the tyranny of a monarch, and that furthermore that we are not accountable to any man for our freedoms and liberties, but to a higher and divine power. This document is genius for what it says and how it says it. The simplicity and brevity of the document in defining a citizen-centric government and society is breathtaking, and reveals the truly inspired thinking of the Founders. I firmly believe these men provided us a means, a template if you will, for a nation that could stand forever if only we would exercise moderation, self-control, humility, honor and courage in its continued administration. In other words, we would be a prosperous and successful nation if we followed the Constitution in its strictest sense, and not utilize it as a tool of personal or political aggrandizement.
But unfortunately, little-by-little over the generations until and including now, we have collectively used the magnificent intent of the Constitution as a means of amassing political power, wealth and influence. And all of this has occurred without the consent of the American people. Sure, we individuals have had a hand in the corruption and the defilement of the Founder’s intent of the Constitution…but those that are responsible are astute students of human nature. They have used a document that counts on the better angels of our human nature to to aid and abet its warped implementation throughout our history. How has this been done? It’s quite simple…with a humble stick and a tasty carrot!
Yes, we have been led to a state of what I would term original intent Constitutional demise by “leaders” and representatives who knew that there was enough elbow room in the document to allow for gross perversions of the power and authority of the federal government…if they were clever enough to give the citizenry something back in return. The perverse interpretation of the Constitution and the subsequent creation of super- and extra-Constitutional responsibilities and activities are, in fact, the ultimate quid pro quo between a lazy citizenry and an ever-increasing in greed political establishment. And by lazy, I don’t mean in an industrious or initiative sense…rather I mean as individuals who (for the most part) have lost their individual zeal to insure that their Constitution and its original intent has been uncorrupted and unassailed.
But isn’t that why we elect representatives? Don’t we entrust our Constitutional rights and the fidelity of the implementation of the intent of this document to our elected politicians?
Only a fool would entrust their most precious possessions, their Constitutional rights and liberties to another…giving them essentially carte blanche free-rein to do whatever they wish to “govern” us. But trust me my friends, fools we have been! We have been lured to sleep for many decades now with the promise of something in return for our votes…in many cases, something for nothing. We have been led to a measurable decline in our Constitutional responsibilities and personal vigilance thereof through a clever manipulation and cultivation of the worst parts of our human nature — greed, sloth and laziness. This manipulation has been at times subtle and at times as obvious as a two-by-four to the head. But I also tell you that we have been craftily and slyly operant-conditioned to come to expect a different and unintended (by our Founders) relationship between the individual and the government. A relationship that is not explicitly enunciated or implied in the actual verbiage of the Constitution. A relationship that could (and unfortunately does) exist thorough a persistent and subtle treachery over the ages that sought (and still seeks today) to pervert our perceptions of the original intent of the Constitution and how the document relates to our daily lives.
Folks, I’m sorry to say we’ve been gamed.
We have been manipulated by a political class that has had less than noble aims after they have been elected to public office. Hmmmm…let’s see, corrupt and power hungry politicians…I’m shocked…shocked I tell you! The foibles and failings of mere mortals, regardless of their station in life should never shock or surprise us. But the consistent drumbeat perversion of our Constitution by those would would otherwise ignore or replace it should put each freeborn man and woman American citizen on high alert. Need we be constantly reminded that the Constitution is our only insurance policy in existence for our God-given freedoms and liberties. This document codifies our relationship with each other as a society and our relationship to our government. If we allow ourselves to be lulled into complacency, or to bit-by-bit cede our rights and liberties to an ever-increasing-in-size government, then we will end up with the tyranny of subjugation that our Founders had fought to break the bonds of — only our master will not be a sole monarch like King George, but a multi-headed monster of our own creation.
And trust me, this monster does exist today. Although it is a somewhat peaceful and benevolent relationship that currently exists between us and it, the monster we have created is coiling around us, slowly constricting our rights and liberties. And this beast is remorselessly insinuating itself between us individuals and the Constitution. Whereas we as individuals are the intended gatekeepers and light-bearers of the Constitutional essence, we have been inured over time to allow the beast that is government to be the final arbiter of what are our rights, and sadly what are not. And we are told what the role and the duties of the federal government are, regardless of what the Constitution explicitly says that they are…and more importantly what WE think that they should be.
My fellow Americans, we are losing control of our lives and our government: If we haven’t lost control already. It almost seems that individual Americans are becoming a vestigial appendage in the administration of our supposed constitutional Republic. We are valuable to the political class and the government for our vote and for our special interest support of programs and schemes that fall short of the original intent of the Constitution. But these programs and schemes exist to codify and consolidate more control and more power: The control necessary to accumulate more political power and the power to force compliance rather than to ask for it.
We have ceded our power as individuals to political parties and power structures. We are witnessing, face on, the perversion of the governance and the governing process by competing political parties whose sole purpose in their existence is the accumulation of power and control. We have seen the replacement of Constitutional fealty and respect with a damnable and contemptible food-fight to use the power of legislative representation as a means to an end.
we’ve ended up with political party structures and parliamentary processes that have no mention in the Constitution…but rather serve as vehicles for the accumulation of control and power in the name of the American people. Control and power that they then lord over the American people to achieve the goals of an ideology, hidden agenda, or more simply for personal self-aggrandizement.
But we all know this. The blood and spectacle that is American politics occurs for the most part in plain view for all Americans, even the world, to see. And unfortunately what is seen happens through our own fault! In the end, we are to blame. We have chosen to become disengaged as a society (except at election time when it’s time to select the candidate who will give us the biggest bang for our buck. Because, it’s all about the money and the goodies now!) from our personal Constitutional responsibilities. Until, of course, when our rights have been trampled or perhaps infringed upon in an offending manner. Then, and it seems only then, do we rise and complain and let our voices be heard. But our ruling class knows that we are for the most part a pushover, and not likely to complain too long or have that long a memory or attention span. They understand that for some reason that the Constitution is not that important to the average work-a-day American, and that frankly most Americans don’t even know the contents of this noble document and how it ultimately relates to them. I might be wrong — I don’t think so as perception is reality — but most politicians seem to capitalize on the Constitutional ignorance and the passivity of the average American. I guess they feel that if the Constitution is outta sight and outta mind then that’s beneficial for them and their plans.
But this is part of the gaming process! Why have a majority electorate that is educated on the nuances of the Constitution vis-a-vis their citizenship? Why would politicians who have higher ambitions and ideological goals that may not entirely mesh with their electorate want to encourage more legislative engagement by those they would otherwise “rule?” The sad, simple truth is that it doesn’t matter to them! And I can somewhat sympathize with their viewpoint. If a person is willing to forgo their personal relationship with the Constitution, and essentially becomes a ward of the state, then so be it. I know that in this relationship, I cannot be my brother’s or sister’s keeper. I can only raise alarms and encourage folks to look out for their interests. So in our not-so-perfect world how can I expect a politician who has loyalties to a political party, personal ideology, political supporters and financial backers to worry if any particular citizen is the watchdog of their rights and liberties?
So, the next time you see legislation being considered and then enacted that chafes at your sensibilities, get involved. Better still, read the Constitution and then become politically active. Examine the platforms of wannabe candidates for office and make sure that you support an individual whose ideology, beyond “bringing home the bacon,” meshes with your sensibilities and expectations. Governance and politics at a personal level is not a hands free proposition. And it certainly requires clean up after you’ve become involved! Some folks just don’t have the stomach to get involved. But I tell you as certain as death and taxes are realities, each person MUST overcome their distaste or fear and GET INVOLVED. Even if we don’t agree with each other’s ideology or political proclivities, it is better to have a nation of 300 million students of Constitutional rights than it is to have a nation filled with government-individual co-dependent ninnies!
Education and involvement are the only safe bets to insure that we can never be gamed when it comes to our governance. Involvement and activism means that WE control the behaviors of our elected representatives, and not vice versa. Our engagement as Constitutionally-aware citizens makes it abundantly clear that we expect certain behaviors from our elected representative, and that we will not tolerate others. And if we are successful in our endeavors, maybe, just maybe, we can see the grip of ideological politics become loosened and we can help to weaken the beast that now has us in it’s constricting coils.
But it’s our choice. We can remain “comfortably numb” in our present situation and accept the political and governmental affronts to our rights and liberties, or we can awaken like a slumbering giant and regain control and put the power back where it rightfully belongs. Put it back in the hands and lives, and in the voting booths of the American people.
We individuals have the power to slay that all-encompassing beast if we chose to exercise it. We can chose become active, Constitutionally-aware and educated citizens or we can forevermore live with the consequences. Again, it’s our choice.
Tue 23 Mar 2010
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, Health Care
, PoliticsComments Off
Except when it isn’t.
This sausage allegory is what we’ve all been told about the unsavory nature of turning the crank and outputting legislation in the ever-increasingly corrupt halls of Congress. But the “process,” if you can call it that, that was used to pass the Obamacare alleged “health care reform” was decidedly un-sausage-like. In fact, it was more excretory in nature. Let me explain.
When I was a kid, I had this model of the human body, “The Visible Man”, that was a clear acrylic shell that held the various internal organs and bones which comprise the human body. Yesterday, during a quite moment of introspection I thought about that model when I was thinking about the passage of the health care bill. See, I think that the journey that the legislation took was from the stomach to the sphincter. The Democrats took every single idea to peevishly punish insurance companies and free-market businesses with regards to their relationship to the insured, their employees and health-care and swallowed them whole as competing 2,000 page purposefully-Byzantine documents full of goodies for legislators whose key support was desired.
After it passed the various committees in each chamber of the Congress, it then entered the legislative small intestine for debate and scrutiny. It was here that the cancerous enactment process came into full view, as if I had taken a knife to the guts of “Mr. Visible” to reveal every polyp, lesion and impaction in the alimentary organs. During the initial digestion, things didn’t look good for the legislation. Like a python whose eyes were too big for his digestive tract, the bill just couldn’t pass through the intestine without serious pushing and political wheeling-and-dealing. The reason it couldn’t pass was the revulsion of the American public to this scheme once they learned its contents: The contents of which were revealed by concerned Republicans for the public to see. As it stood (and stands) there is little digestible matter for the public at large to like about this scheme (and scam.)
In November, when Scott Brown from Massachusetts was elected to the Senate (in the seat vacated due to the death of Ted Kennedy) it looked as though the legislation suffered from a full-on intestinal blockage, and would never leave the small intestine. See, the newly-minted Sen. Brown made it possible for Republicans to filibuster and perhaps kill this legislation and create a fatal blockage.
Political chicanery and hypocritical parliamentary tactics were employed to dislodge the blockage and allow for the complete digestion of this legislation. And this is what was done using an obscure technique called ‘Reconciliation,” a process normally used for the budgeting process to absorb clerical and minor revisions to bills. But reconciliation was never intended or in the past used to move along a bill the size, scope and cost of the “reform” legislation. So, reconciliation guaranteed that the “reform” legislation made its way into the colon.
In the colon is where the real fecal processes occurred. Deals were cut and arms were twisted…Ms. Pelosi proved a formidable capo di tutti capi in doing her job as First Dominatrix of the House. Certainly there are underworld figures and lesser third world strongmen who could learn volumes from the legislative techniques employed by Ms. Pelosi to advance this legislation. But here we have it, the process of alternate intimidation and goody-giving that took place in the colon made it possible for the legislative bolus to wend its way to the sphincter, and emerge as the substance that it truly is. And we all know what eventually emerges from the sphincter — a truly noxious and repellent substance to be sure.
So, today, the sphincter opened, the “stuff” of the corrupt and contemptible legislative digestion fell out and an anxious, socialist hand signed it into law. He and the crazed, hyper-partisan Democrats jubilantly declared the event “historic” and “a victory”, and they planted their flag of conquest squarely into the chest of the American citizen. They don’t have to pay for this nonsense…WE do. So, we all must live, forevermore, with the consequences. It won’t affect me or those of my generation as much as it will the children (and their children) of others. I will be saddened because the America of my youth and my father’s generation will have been marred by the graffiti of socialism. And I will have lived through a time (that I never dreamed possible) when my Constitutional rights have been eroded right before my eyes, albeit in a death by 1,000 cuts manner. However, our children and their heirs will be saddled with a financial burden and a loss of liberties that will make them lead smaller and less productive lives than past generations of Americans, and a guarantee of a lesser standing for them in this highly competitive world.
Obama and the his ideological soul mate Democrats might see this as a victory and as an historic moment, but all I know is that the rest of us are going to have to clean up the mess that’s left and live with the stink. They might have thought this was good digestion, but we all know what we’ve been left with…
Mon 22 Mar 2010
I have updated the Liberty Clock to reflect the latest insult to our freedoms and liberties as contained in the Obamacare legislation passed by the House of Representatives Sunday night:
Because of the contents of this legislation and he manner in which the corrupt and contemptible House of Representatives chose to pass it I have taken the liberty (no pun intended) to add a sec0nd hand, which is set to one-half (0.5) second to midnight.
Yes, I think we’re THAT close to national social Armageddon.
In fact, I’m so convinced that the United States of America has been set on a road from which we cannot recover that I’m pulling out the panic button from times past as well:
You see yesterday our elected representatives, by a vote of 219-212, put themselves into the “rights” creation business. They stuck a proverbial finger into God’s eye…and usurped the authority to create rights that is only reserved to God. And they used a process that was not only highly flawed and corrupt, but indisputably unconstitutional. The very people sworn to uphold the Constitution blatantly ignored the spirit, intent and wording of our nation’s guiding document. In fact, they took every opportunity to stretch and disfigure their constitutional observance in the passage of this far-reaching bill.
So what are we left with? We’re left with a health care system that will be mandated and dictated by bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, DC. And as a bonus, as if we’ve needed one, the government will also take over the college student loan program. In the final analysis and for all time following, we will be left with the basic structure/rationale for additional socialistic programs and laws.
We’ll also be left with an even larger and more oppressive debt, regardless of the blue sky/rose colored glasses analyses by the CBO. I’ve heard several politicians, including my own US representative, state that the passage of Obamacare was an historic undertaking by the Congress — right up there with Social Security and Medicare. Hyperbole aside, these dunderheads might want to be more careful in their choice of comparisons. Social Security is presently in a debt hole, also known as “unfunded liability”, of $14.2 trillion and Medicare is in debt to the tune of $74.9 trillion. (And if we add the prescription drug “benefit” debt of $18.8 trillion into the mix, we get a debt trifecta of $107.9 trillion.)
Clearly, when these programs were contemplated and the legislation passed, the proponents never dreamed that they would put such a weight of debt on our country — on our children. But with time they did, growing as entitlement programs inevitably do because it is political suicide to say “NO” to an entitlement. So, what makes us think that a similar escalation won’t occur with this new health care “reform” scheme? The simple answer is of course it will! What is realistically a $1.75 trillion plan for the next 10 years will end up costing many times more than this if we use the other entitlements as templates. If I had to guess, I would estimate that the unfunded liability for this bloated health care entitlement will top $150 trillion in a mere 25 years.
Such are the unintended consequences of the myopic political decisions of ideologues and the adoption of new “rights” given to an ever-increasing in size population, whose demographics are constantly changing. This is a game changing occurrence except the game is changed by forcing America, due to crushing national debt, to sit on the sidelines and lose it’s competitive advantage in the world economy. We won’t suffer, but all generations hence will come to curse the date March 21, 2010. Because they will pay dearly for medical care that might generously be described as third world in quality and delivery.
The Democrats may celebrate their hollow “victory” from yesterday, but I am firmly convinced that today, somewhere, the Founders weep.
Wed 17 Mar 2010
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, PoliticsComments Off
Our representatives in the Democrat party in Congress are acting pretty poorly lately. In fact their actions are quite despotic, if we accept the present usage of the word. So let’s go to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary for today’s vocabulary word:
Main Entry: des·pot
Pronunciation: \?des-p?t, -?pät\
Etymology: Middle French despote,
from Greek despot?s
master, lord, autocrat, from des-
(akin to domos
house) + -pot?s
(akin to posis
husband); akin to Sanskrit dampati
lord of the house
1 a : a Byzantine emperor or prince b : a bishop or patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church c : an Italian hereditary prince or military leader during the Renaissance
2 a : a ruler with absolute power and authority b : a person exercising power tyrannically
Let’s stick with definitions 2a and 2b for the time being. The majority Democrats are ruling the Congress with absolute power and authority, riding roughshod over their Republican counterparts. In their activities, they are also exercising tyrannical power and authority, making up the rules as they go along and ignoring those rules that don’t suit their ambitions.
We can also refer to Wikipedia.com for some further thoughts to bolster our word of the day:
The term now implies tyrannical rule. Despotism can mean tyranny (dominance through threat of punishment and violence), or absolutism; or dictatorship (a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator, not restricted by a constitution, laws or opposition, etc.).
The Wikipedia definition adds another facet missing from that in the dictionary: the “not restricted constitution, laws or opposition” part. I think we can safely say that to the present crop of Democrats, crazy with fever trying to pass the misshapen Health care “reform”, are unfettered by the US Constitution, existing laws and the opposition. All three of these entities are vestigial organs and secondary to their single-minded, inexorable push towards their socialistic goal. The majority Dems only give the Constitution a Monty Python-esque “wink, wink — nudge, nudge” deference and respect.
Remember, these are the same group of individuals who want an up or down vote if they think the bill will pass the House of Representatives (because they lack a filibuster-proof margin in the Senate)…or “deem” it passed if they think it won’t pass in the House via an actual roll call vote (to save the individual members the indignity of going on the record.) This is having their cake and eating it too in a legislative sense…all the while letting the rest of us plebes eat a different kind of cake, whilst they dine on fancier fare.
Have we come so far in the advance of our Republic that we have tacitly allowed our leaders to act for even a moment as despots? Have “we the people” become so inured to business as usual in the Congress that we will forgive any procedural transgression, regardless of it’s insult to our Constitution? Have we become so locked into parties and the primacy of an ideological group, regardless of which ideological pole it exists at, that we allow party speakers, majority leaders and whips to make up the rules as they see fit and ignore the will of the people?
With all the very suspect things that have gone on in OUR Congress over the past year, I believe that we have.
Shame on us. God help our kids. God bless and protect the USA!
Tue 16 Mar 2010
Posted by Tony Marini under Famous and Infamous
, PoliticsComments Off
The Democrat majority in the Congress hasn’t distinguished themselves as statesmen and women as a result of their shameful legislative antics over the past year. In fact, they have brought great shame upon OUR government institutions, and done irreparable harm to the public’s trust in these institutions.
We Americans don’t have a lot of patience in matters such as this. We expect honest, open representation. We don’t expect legislative or parliamentary trickery/chicanery, and we bristle when we perceive that we are being ignored or taken advantage of.
Well, from single-minded tactics used to pass the Porkulis to the hocus pocus performed on the Cap-and-Trade legislation, with its attendant weekend and back room deals and the last minute insertion of previously unseen amendments, to the absolutely disgusting performance surrounding the health care “reform” legislation, Americans have been shown utter contempt and disrespect by their supposed elected representatives.
And I use the word “representatives” as a mere placeholder, because the utter cowardice and duplicity of these highly flawed individuals does not merit them the title representative. More likely, they deserve the title oligarch or tsar — as they seemingly rain down ukase or diktat from their insular star chambers without much regard for the proletariat. “So what if the serfs don’t like what’s going on? The only thing that they’re good for is their vote, and that’s about all. The country would be a great place without them!”
Well, we’ve been taken advantage of and for granted for a long, long time. The shenanigans (I can’t think of a more civilized word) used by the majority Democrats has turned a serious, deliberative legislative body into the Theater of the Absurd. And the tragedy is that we are finding out first hand that, as Barack Obama succinctly observed, that “elections have consequences.” And we are powerless to change the new status quo until the next election. Until then we need to comfort ourselves with being run roughshod over by our “betters.”
I firmly believe that the only consequence of this Democrat Congress and the Obama presidency is that our precious time is being wasted. And unfortunately for us, our time is being wasted twice over. First we have to suffer through the day-to-day absurdities and inanities of this President and this Congress in a contemptuous waste of our time. And ten to add insult to injury, our time is further wasted in the form of our money being spent like it was water. Yes my friends, time is money — how many of us don’t toil in our jobs for an hourly rate? And where is all this nonsense taking us? Further and further into debt and further and further indebted to an ever-increasing in size and power federal government. Either way, we are ceding the future of our children from freeborn citizens with unfettered Constitutional rights to a government who grants and controls the rights of its citizens.
Whether you believe this or not, this is what is happening…and it’s happening right before our eyes. Many of our (perhaps well-meaning) fellow citizens have allowed a blind fealty and loyalty to these craven Democrats to sweep away our rights and liberties with their self-serving and shameful actions.
But their governance and leadership has been a joke and a shame. They have shamed us all to our cores. They have revealed their contempt for the average American citizen. Few of these parasites belong in (what should be) public service. All of them deserve to be “retired” this coming November.They do not deserve our support or our votes: Rather they deserve our scorn. It’s unfortunate that they cannot be jailed for their transgressions.
So let’s not forget that they have shamed themselves. More importantly they have shamed us and our country. The less we have to think about them, the better.
Just go away. You’ve shamed us. Goodbye.
Tue 16 Mar 2010
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, NationalComments Off
I was listening closely to one of the almost ubiquitous census commercials on the radio this weekend, and something that the announcer said both piqued my interest and angered me at the same time. The comment was something like “Remember, an accurate census insures that your area gets all the government resources that it is entitled to.”
I thought that the purpose of the census was to count the citizens in a particular legislative area (that was probably Gerrymandered by Democrats sometime in the past!) to make sure that each citizen has adequate Congressional representation based on the requirements in the Constitution. In fact, the only mentions of the Census (or Enumeration as the Founders described it) in the Constitution are found in Article I, Section 2:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons [Modified by Amendment XIV]. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
And in Article 1, Section 8:
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
Now, perhaps I’m a bit of a dullard when it comes to Constitutional interpretation…and maybe I don’t have the necessary decoder ring or cheat sheet to read between the lines and see the hidden intent that was never placed in the document. But I don’t see any mention that the census is a “swagfest” and a reason to divvy up the “entitled” largess in the public coffers. So why would a key selling point of accurately filling out and returning the census form be that it would mean that my legislative district would get more goodies from my alleged act of good citizenship?
In fact, I’m a bit perturbed that rather than being a straight “enumeration” as was intended in the Constitution that the census is now a vehicle for the federal government to mine other personal and demographic data from US citizens. I’m of the impression that along with being a time inconvenience to citizens that the current census runs counter to the original constitutional intent.
Another issue that gives me heartburn regarding the census is the implication that we should accurately count the illegal aliens in my district because our share of the aforementioned goodies would increase in proportion to their number. My question is “Why?” Why should the presence of immigration criminals have any effect on the amount of federal funding available to my district? Or, more importantly, why would their presence effect congressional representation? I understand that illegals eat up a lot of services with their presence, and they pay relatively little into the system. But doesn’t the fact that the prospective rewarding of a district based on its illegal population run counter to our immigration laws as well as common sense?
I sure think it does!
Remember, be a good boy or girl scout and fill out your census form when it arrives. A wealth of data regarding YOU will be provided to the government, and a veritable treasure chest of goodies awaits YOU in return from the federal government.
No wonder we have a 14+ trillion dollar deficit!
Thu 11 Mar 2010
Posted by Tony Marini under General
, PoliticsComments Off
The United States has become a nation of labels. Our personal identity is determined by whether we are male or female, black, white or another color (race), gay or straight, Christian, Jew or some other religion, and so on. We are conveniently pigeonholed into ever-so-granular characterizations to identify us in the broad spectrum of human beings that comprise modern American society.
Well, I’d like to be a groundbreaker when it comes to politics. Although I am a staunch conservative and a Republican by party, I feel the need to declare that I am a ‘Constitutionalist.’
I am a Constitutionalist!
Well, what does this mean? My explanation is simple. Just as we need a rigid, unvarying set of rules to play a child’s board game (lest juvenile chaos ensue!), we also need a rigid foundation for our society and nation, lest anarchy ensue. And that foundation is the Constitution. Not the Constitution that has been interpreted by either self-serving or well-meaning courts…or ignored by interest-driven legislators. No, I’m a 1776 Constitutionalist — observing the original intent of our Founders in an unadulterated, uninterpreted Constitution.
I believe that the Constitution is NOT a living, breathing document intended to “grow” with the social mores and beliefs of society at large. The Constitution is not a fad. It is not document to be squeezed and prodded, or interpreted via penumbras and precedents by progressive judicial activists trying to read via tea leaves or Ouija board the will of the 18th century Founders pertaining to modern and wholly unforeseen issues.
I also believe that the Constitution does not grant the government the authority to grant or curtail rights. Only God may do that. I also believe that the Constitution is not a recipe for an ever-increasing-in-size government. In fact, the Constitution has a very narrow definition of government — to provide for our mutual defense and to provide for an unimpeded interstate commerce. Couple those duties with a duty to insure that the Constitutional rights of all citizens are protected, and you have the entire scope of purpose for our government.
I cannot abide the profligate spending and un- or anti-Constitutional activities that are being observed by our ‘representatives’ and our government during the course of their operation. We have lost our linkage to the bedrock that is the Constitution, and we now operate on very shaky ground. It seems that as time goes by that our legislators and judiciary put less and less stock in the actual words and meaning of the Constitution. Rather, they seem to make things up as they go along…seemingly without any constitutional basis. Judicial decisions are now made in relation to established case law, putting greater emphasis and gravity on legal precedence rather than strict Constitutional adherence. We are living in a time of great change and less reliance on the Constitution as our guiding light.
And as a result we live in a time of great uncertainty and even greater jeopardy to our personal, Constitutional rights and liberties.
We freeborn Americans cannot allow this to happen to us and more importantly to our children. We must stand up and firmly guard and defend our Constitution and our constitutional rights. After all, we generously allow our elected representatives and our government administer the implementation of the Constitution. If they are doing so in a manner that infringes or abridges OUR rights and liberties, then we must speak up and act accordingly — with our voices and with our votes.
So, in the future, if I am to be classified and categorized by my fellow Americans, I prefer the appelation “Constitutionalist.”
I am a Constitutionalist!
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