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Examining settled and unsettling questions.

Archive for January 2011

The Constitution Reviving?

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The Tea Movement played a significant role in turning the country’s attention on the main document of our freedom: the US Constitution.  Since the beginning of our nation’s history there have been leaders who wanted to strengthen the power of central government at the expense of the rights promised to individual citizens and States by the Constitution.    The struggle continues.  I recommend reading Thomas DiLorenzo’s Hamilton’s Curse on this subject.

But the good news is that the Constitution still has its defenders:

The Constitutional Moment
Wall Street Journal  

Feb. 1, 2011

Judge Vinson introduces ObamaCare to Madison and Marshall.

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Federal Judge Roger Vinson opens his decision declaring ObamaCare unconstitutional with that citation from Federalist No. 51, written by James Madison in 1788. His exhaustive and erudite opinion is an important moment for American liberty, and yesterday may well stand as the moment the political branches were obliged to return to the government of limited and enumerated powers that the framers envisioned.

As Judge Vinson took pains to emphasize, the case is not really about health care at all, or the wisdom—we would argue the destructiveness—of the newest entitlement. Rather, the Florida case goes to the core of the architecture of the American system, and whether there are any remaining limits on federal control. Judge Vinson’s 78-page ruling in favor of 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business, among others, is by far the best legal vindication to date of Constitutional principles that form the outer boundaries of federal power.

At the heart of the states’ lawsuit is the individual mandate, which requires everyone to purchase health insurance or be penalized for not doing so. “Never before has Congress required that everyone buy a product from a private company (essentially for life) just for being alive and residing in the United States,” Judge Vinson writes.

Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration justified this coercion under the Commerce Clause, so it is fitting that Judge Vinson conducts a deep investigation into its history and intent, including Madison’s notes at the Constitutional Convention and the jurisprudence of the first Chief Justice, John Marshall. The original purpose of the Commerce Clause was to eliminate the interstate trade barriers that prevailed under the Articles of Confederation—among the major national problems that gave rise to the Constitution.

The courts affirmed this limited and narrow understanding until the New Deal, when Congress began to regulate harum-scarum and the Supreme Court inflated the clause into a general license for anything a majority happened to favor.

In a major 1942 case, Wickard v. Filburn, the Court held that even growing wheat for personal use was an activity with a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, thus justifying federal restrictions on the use of agricultural land meant to prop up commodity prices. It wasn’t until the William Rehnquist Court, a half-century later, that the Justices began to recover some of the original limits, notably in the Lopez (1995) and Morrison (2000) cases.

Yet even in its most elastic interpretations, the Commerce Clause applied only to “clear and inarguable activity,” Judge Vinson writes, the emphasis his. It never applied to inactivity like not buying health insurance, which has “no impact whatsoever” on interstate commerce. He argues that breaching this frontier converts the clause into a general police power of the kind that the Constitution reserves to the states. As the High Court put it in Lopez, obliterating this distinction would “create a completely centralized government.”

The Administration contends that not purchasing insurance—inactivity—is really activity, because everyone will eventually need medical care and their costs will be transferred to the insured. But Judge Vinson dissects that as a “radical departure” from the Constitution and U.S. case law. It is “not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted,” he writes. “Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.”

He notes that no one can opt out of eating any more than they can from the medical system, so return to the Wickard example of wheat: “Congress could more directly raise too-low wheat prices merely by increasing demand through mandating that every adult purchase and consume wheat bread daily, rationalized on the grounds that because everyone must participate in the market for food, non-consumers of wheat bread adversely affect prices in the wheat market.”

Unlike Judge Henry Hudson in Virginia, who also found ObamaCare to be unconstitutional, Judge Vinson addresses the Administration’s fallback argument that the Constitution’s Necessary and Proper Clause justifies the law even if the Commerce Clause doesn’t. He writes that this clause “is not an independent source of federal power” and “would vitiate the enumerated powers principle.” In other words, the clause can’t justify inherently unconstitutional actions.

Judge Vinson also went beyond the Virginia case in striking down the entire ObamaCare statute—paradoxically, an act of judicial modesty. Democrats intentionally left out a “severability” clause if one part of the bill was struck down, and the Administration repeatedly argued that the individual mandate was “essential” to the bill’s goals and mechanisms and compared it to “a finely crafted watch.” Judge Vinson writes that picking and choosing among thousands of sections would be “tantamount to rewriting a statute in an attempt to salvage it.”

***
We take a measure of vindication in the decision—David Rivkin and Lee Casey, the lawyers who argued the Florida case, first suggested in these pages that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. Judge Vinson’s learned opinion has put down a Constitutional argument that will reverberate all the way to the Supreme Court.

Written by polemicscat

January 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm

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Failure To Enforce Immigration Laws

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Fri, January 28, 2011 10:21:37 AM

Forget Obama trying to get cozy with Republicans following the rejection of his policies in the November elections.  He has done irreparable harm to the nation in a number of ways that should not be forgiven.   One of those “god-damn-America” policies is in the field illegal immigration.

The failure of Obama to enforce immigration laws and his interference aimed at preventing Arizona from enforcing those laws amounts to treason.  The evidence for that assertion appears in the article below from Jihad Watch posted by Robert Spenser.

Jihad Watch
Iranian book celebrating jihad-martyrdom suicide bombers found in Arizona desert

Underscoring yet again that border control is a national security issue, obscured as it is by spurious charges of "racism." "Iranian Book Celebrating Suicide Bombers Found in Arizona Desert," by William La Jeunesse for FoxNews.com, January 27 (thanks to Anne Crockett):


EXCLUSIVE: A book celebrating suicide bombers has been found in the Arizona desert just north of the U.S.- Mexican border, authorities tell Fox News.

The book, "In Memory of Our Martyrs," was spotted Tuesday by a U.S. Border Patrol agent out of the Casa Grande substation who was patrolling a route known for smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs.
Published in Iran, it consists of short biographies of Islamic suicide bombers and other Islamic militants who died carrying out attacks.

According to internal U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents, "The book also includes letters from suicide attackers to their families, as well as some of their last wills and testaments." Each biographical page contains "the terrorist’s name, date of death, and how they died."…

Statements from U.S. officials, including FBI director Robert Mueller, have raised serious concerns in recent years over "OTMs" — or illegal immigrants other than Mexicans — who have crossed the southwest border at alarming rates.

Mueller testified before the House Appropriations Committee in March 2005 that "there are individuals from countries with known Al Qaeda connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic."

Just last year, the Department of Homeland Security had in custody thousands of detainees from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. U.S. Border Patrol statistics indicate that there were 108,025 OTMs detained in 2006, compared to 165,178 in 2005 and 44,614 in 2004.

Authorities would not release a picture of the book to Fox News, or reveal how long they believe it was lying in the desert. Immigration officials have previously discovered items along the U.S.-Mexico border from Middle Eastern origin, including Iranian currency in Zapata, Texas, and a jacket found in Jim Hogg County, Texas, that was covered in patches including an Arabic military badge that illustrates an airplane flying into a tower.

Written by polemicscat

January 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

What People Need to Know about the Tea Party Movement

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The Tea Party movement is NOT a political party. Rather, it is a grassroots movement of millions of like-minded Americans from all backgrounds, political parties, and ethnic groups who share similar core principles.  These advocates of better government  come from a dozen or so loosely affiliated groups whose members identify with Tea Party objectives.   These people are not looking to form a third political party.  By their own inclination they support candidates of any party who believe in those core principles and who will sincerely take the oath of office to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

Those in the Tea Party movement support the original US Constitution as the founders intended it: a document that establishes a federal government with limited and enumerated powers and that  leaves other non-enumerated powers to the States and to the people themselves.  They believe that the Constitution preserves personal liberty and encourages personal responsibility and a free-market economy.

The only way to depart legally from the provisions of the existing Constitution is through the process of amendment, a process the founders wisely included in the document.  So the argument that the passage of time makes the document outdated is false. Tea Party principles transcend arguments for or against any particular legislative or policy initiative.  Honest disagreements on proposed laws and policies can always be expected, and, because the founders knew that, they provided a framework of government in which differences of opinion can be openly discussed and reconciled in a civil fashion.

All this is unsettling to the politician who would rather campaign on a party label than to discuss an issue on its merits. In the last few weeks I have heard politicians complaining that too much is being made of the Constitution.  Perhaps they prefer not to be bound by its provisions. The oath required of office holders is simply to support that Constitution and laws not inconsistent with it.  That oath is required of members of any political party.

It is likely that those who wish  to circumvent the Constitution know that they cannot make a persuasive argument to the people for its amendment.  Such a politician is usually one of the elite who pretends to know better than the people what they want and need and who is unwilling to allow the people to express themselves on the matter. Tea Partiers believe that such a politician should be quickly voted out of office.

The people who fear or oppose the Tea Party movement either don’t know what it is, or they are entrenched advocates of a huge federal government with the power to ignore the Constitution and the power to control citizens’ lives in ways not permitted by the Constitution.  Politicians who want to evade the responsibilities of the oath of office try to smear the reputation of the Tea Party movement because, in truth, it is their enemy.

Written by polemicscat

January 17, 2011 at 3:34 pm

The level of hate generated against Palin by the left

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The level of hate generated against Palin by the left is unprecedented.

It started in 2008.

YouTube Video Calling for Palin’s Death

Friday, 14 Jan 2011 10:22 AM

By Jim Meyers

A four-minute video montage of “hate tweets” on YouTube directed at Sarah Palin and calling for her death is creating outrage on the Internet. The video was posted on Tuesday, before President Barack Obama’s Wednesday address calling for unity in the wake of the Tucson shooting rampage, which killed six and injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others.

The montage is set to Alice Cooper’s song “School’s Out.”

Among the tweets:

“Why couldn’t Sarah Palin get shot instead?”

“I hope Sarah Palin dies an ugly death and takes her moronic hate with her.”

“Can somebody please shoot Sarah Palin?”

“I hope Sarah Palin gets cancer and dies in the next two years.”

“Sarah Palin should be shot for her encouragement of fanaticism against Democrats.”

“Join us in praying to God that Sarah Palin contracts cancer and dies.”

“Sarah Palin is the single most dangerous threat to the future of the human race. Somebody bloody shoot her.”

According to Fox News, “attempts to reach some of the Twitter users who posted the messages were unsuccessful.”

Twitter’s terms of service advise that “we may not monitor or control the content posted via the services and we cannot take responsibility for such content.”

One of the many posters responding to the video stated: “Such hate and yet the left feels totally justified in putting the blame on others for one idiot’s action.”

Examiner.com observed: “Will this get condemned over at the DemocraticUnderground, or ThinkProgress? Maybe.

“Will they make as big a stink as they do about Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, and call on YouTube to pull the video and perhaps implore Twitter to pull the Twitter accounts? Unlikely they make that much noise, but it would be nice if they did.”

© Newsmax.

Written by polemicscat

January 15, 2011 at 9:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Jane Fonda is Blaming Palin for Tucson Shooting

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Fonda’s blaming Palin for the shooting in Arizona this week  is quite a stretch.   Far more convincing is the case that Jane Fonda herself is responsible for the deaths of many Americans.

In an article by Ted Sampley in the October-December 1996 Issue of the
U.S. Veteran Dispatch, we learn the extent of Jane Fonda’s guilt:  

The vets said “no apology will ever erase the pictures of Jane Fonda in giggly bliss, laughing and clapping her hands, as she mounted the gunner’s seat of a communist Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun.” Bui Tin, a former high ranking Vietnam Communist Party official and North Vietnamese Army colonel who served on the North Vietnamese Army general staff during the war, became disillusioned with communism after the war and went into exile in Paris and the United States. He testified in 1991 before the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs about his knowledge of U.S. prisoners of war.

Bui Tin said in a recent interview by Minnesota human rights activist Stephen Young, that Fonda’s highly published support of the North Vietnamese gave them “confidence” to continue to fight and “hold on in the face of the battlefield reverses.”

When Fonda appeared at a press conference in Hanoi wearing a red Vietnamese dress and declared she was “ashamed of American actions” in the war and that she would struggle along with the communists, “we were elated,” Bui Tin said.

He said the American antiwar movement was “essential” to the North Vietnamese strategy for victory. “I’d say a lot of American boys lost their lives because of the encouragement she gave the North Vietnamese,” said a former rifle platoon leader from Texas.

Written by polemicscat

January 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized