Supreme Court Checks and Balances

Everyone is of course talking about the Supreme Court. Who will Obama nominate? Does the Senate have the responsibility or duty to confirm the nominee?

Here’s what the Constitution says: “The President . . . shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law. . .” (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2).

So it’s a three step process. First, the President nominates. Second, the Senate gives “advice and consent”. Third, if the Senate actually “consents”, the President appoints. (In fact, the President has the ability to change his mind about the nominee, even if the Senate has already confirmed, as long as the President has not already taken the third step of appointing the nominee.)

It is clear that the Senate is not simply to “rubber stamp” the nominee. If that were the case, it would be wholly unnecessary to include them in the process. (Note that the House of Representatives is excluded from the process.) Furthermore, if the Senate is expected to do MORE than rubber stamp the nominee, that necessarily includes the ability to REJECT the nominee. Otherwise, the only other option would be to consent, which would bring us back to “rubber stamp”.

Imagine the result if the Senate could NOT reject a nominee, or was not even part of the process. You would lose the entire system of checks and balances, as the President would have the sole power to appoint whomever he/she chooses to both the Supreme Court, as well as the lower federal courts. The founders never intended that, as you can imagine.

The Constitution remains the most important document ever written, outside of the Bible. Even in this most critical political process of appointing a Supreme Court justice, our founders had the incredible foresight to implement sufficient checks and balances.

I’m hoping the current Senate will take their obligations seriously. I have my doubts, as most of the Republicans in the Senate are weak. But I remain hopeful nonetheless.

The Exception Swallows the Rule

Jeb Bush should step aside. After watching the third Republican Presidential Debate on CNBC last night, this has become clear to me.

Jeb Bush pauses at his podium during a commercial break at the 2016 U.S. Republican presidential candidates debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colo. on Wednesday. (c) RICK WILKING / Reuters

There was a time when our politicians recognized that the Constitution was a document providing only “limited powers” to the federal government, reserving everything else to the states and to the people (hence the name of our site). In other words, federal laws and regulations were the exception. In order to regulate anything, the government had to demonstrate its authority to do so, and to show that its proposed regulations were directed specifically at the activity needing regulation.

The EXCEPTION was regulation. The RULE was freedom. This was how the Constitution was designed. But in the last few decades, our federal government has turned that on its head. Now, regulation is the rule and freedom is the extremely rare exception.

If you followed the debate at all, you know that the major news coming out of last night’s debacle was the ridiculous questioning put forth by the CNBC moderators. They were “rude” (Chris Christie’s words), they tried to get the candidates engaged in a “cage fight” (as pointed out by Ted Cruz) and they were flat out wrong on several of their statements (as aptly revealed by Marco Rubio).

But there was an interesting exchange with Jeb Bush that suggests he is not a viable candidate for President. His response to a ridiculous question perfectly illustrates that he does not understand the concept of “limited powers”. He was asked a question about fantasy football (or more generally, “Daily Fantasy Sports”). While he started his response with humor, the last part of his answer was striking. Here’s the exchange:

“QUINTANILLA: Governor Bush, daily fantasy sports has become a phenomenon in this country, will award billions of dollars in prize money this year. But to play you have to assess your odds, put money at risk, wait for an outcome that’s out of your control. Isn’t that the definition of gambling, and should the Federal Government treat it as such?

BUSH: Well, first of all, I’m 7 and 0 in my fantasy league.

QUINTANILLA: I had a feeling you were going to brag about that.

BUSH: Gronkowski is still going strong. I have Ryan Tannehill, Marco, as my quarterback, he was 18 for 19 last week. So I’m doing great. But we’re not gambling.

And I think this has become something that needs to be looked at in terms of regulation. Effectively it is day trading without any regulation at all. And when you have insider information, which apparently has been the case, where people use that information and use big data to try to take advantage of it, there has to be some regulation.

If they can’t regulate themselves, then the NFL needs to look at just, you know, moving away from them a little bit. And there should be some regulation. I have no clue whether the federal government is the proper place, my instinct is to say, hell no, just about everything about the federal government.”

Looking past the personal anecdote and humor, Mr. Bush stated that he thinks we need to look at regulations. Notice that there is no discussion at all regarding what right the federal government would have to regulate in the first place, no mention of any specific section of the Constitution from which such authority is derived, or any argument at all about it. His only reference in that regard is that he has “no clue whether the federal government” should do so, and claims that his “instinct is to say, hell no…”

If that is really your instinct, Mr. Bush, then you would have STARTED with that! But you didn’t. Instead, you began by stating that there “should be some regulation” and that we should look at doing so.

I would suggest that Mr. Bush’s answer to the question, as ridiculous as the question was, came from that viewpoint. He thinks that if there’s a problem, the government should regulate it. I think that’s his “instinct”, and that certainly was the focus of his answer. It’s almost as if while he was answering the question and calling for regulation, someone in his earpiece (if he had one) reminded him that he is “supposed to” answer the question otherwise, and so he reversed course and awkwardly claimed that his “instinct” is to say “hell no”.

Mr. Bush, it is clear that your “instinct” is to call for more regulation. In doing so, you will continue the policy of the exceptions swallowing the rule. Please step aside, sir. We do not need you in the Oval Office.

Would the Real Santa Claus Please Stand Up?

As a child, I absolutely loved Christmas. While we didn’t have much money, I still enjoyed the sights and sounds, the Christmas lights, the Christmas trees, the snow, and everything that went along with it. In fact, it’s still one of my favorite times of the year.

But of course, the best part of it was always the idea of Santa Claus. Like most kids, I would dream of getting lots of toys, games, and everything else children anticipate. And it’s certainly understandable – this mythical person that I wouldn’t see would just appear in my house after midnight and leave all sorts of “free” gifts for me. Who wouldn’t like that, right?

Now as a parent of four children, my perspective on Santa Claus has changed. I understand that there’s nothing really “free”. Even Santa’s gifts come with a price, and it’s a price that my wife and I have to pay. A couple of our children are still young enough that they don’t realize that. But for most of us, as we grow into adults, we come to understand how it works.

As I was watching the Democratic debate on Tuesday night, however, I came to the stark belief that the five candidates on stage, even though they are all obviously adults, still believe in the mythical idea that Santa is real. Consider these statements, which I quote from the New York Times transcript:

Bernie Sanders: “And in my view what we need to do is… make every public college and university in this country tuition free.”

Hillary Clinton: “My plan would enable anyone to go to a public college or university tuition free.”

And this free tuition was not just limited to American citizens, which on its own would be ridiculous. Several of them would make it available even to so-called “undocumented immigrants” (I call them illegals, but perhaps that’s just parsing words…). Anderson Cooper asked Hillary directly if she would include the “undocumented”:

COOPER: So, on the record, you believe that undocumented immigrants should get instate college tuition.

CLINTON: If their states agree, then we want more states to do the same thing.

So to Hillary, as long as a state agreed to pay for all illegal immigrants, she thinks it’s great!

When asked specifically about expanding Obamacare to the “undocumented”, Hillary stated: “Well, first of all, I want to make sure every child gets health care. That’s why I helped to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and I want to support states that are expanding health care and including undocumented children and others. You can find more information about this topic on green gold from”

When Senator Jim Webb was asked, here’s what he said:

LOPEZ: Senator Webb, do you support the undocumented immigrants getting Obamacare?

WEBB: I wouldn’t have a problem with that.

If it weren’t so scary, it would actually be comical. And the frightening thing is that so many voters will once again be caught up in this notion that these things are actually free.

We all know that in reality, somebody is paying for these “free” programs. While Sanders wants to tax Wall Street, and the others all want to continue raising taxes on the wealthy, the truth is that all of us who are working hard for our families will be paying for these things. The five on stage won’t have to pay anything. It’s always easy to start new programs when you’re paying for them with someone else’s money.

When it comes to my children and the Christmas season, I don’t have any problem playing the Santa. I just don’t want to see it in my President. There’s a time for fantasy and a time for reality.

Here’s the transcript if you want some entertaining reading:

Democratic Debate

Republicans No More

My Friends, the time has come to start calling things for what they are and stop pretending that there aren’t those who would deceive us with the labels they use. To start remembering their actions and stop forgiving their mistakes. To start naming names and pointing fingers.

Today, the Republican-lead House voted to do something so contrary to the Republican Platform that they need to be called out and removed from the Rolls of the Republican Party, never to be considered trustworthy of the conservative ideals that the Platform espouses. Today, 28 people formerly called Republicans voted for unrestricted borrowing by the federal government for the next 13 months – no strings attached. This clearly goes against stated goals of the party platform, which states,

“The massive federal government is structurally and financially broken. For decades it has been pushed beyond its core functions, increasing spending to unsustainable levels. Elected officials have overpromised and overspent, and now the bills are due. Unless we take dramatic action now, young Americans and their children will inherit an unprecedented legacy of enormous and unsustainable debt, with the interest alone consuming an ever-increasing portion of the country’s wealth. The specter of national bankruptcy that now hangs over much of Europe is a warning to us as well. Over the last three and a half years, while cutting the defense budget, the current Administration has added an additional $5.3 trillion to the national debt-now approximately $16 trillion, the largest amount in U.S. history. In fiscal year 2011, spending reached $3.6 trillion, nearly a quarter of our gross domestic product. Adjusted for inflation, that’s more than three times its peak level in World War II, and almost half of every dollar spent was borrowed money. Three programs-Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security- account for over 40 percent of total spending. While these levels of spending and debt are already harming job creation and growth, projections of future spending growth are nothing short of catastrophic, both economically and socially. And those dire projections do not include the fiscal nightmare of Obamacare, with over $1 trillion in new taxes, multiple mandates, and a crushing price tag.” –2012 Republican Platform

It is truly unconscionable to lift the debt ceiling, if this platform is what you actually believe. If spending is out of control, then STOP IT!. There IS a way to stop out of control spending in its tracks. There IS a way to put your money where your mouth is; to walk the walk; to stand up for what you believe and save the country from a catastrophic future predicted by your party’s platform… it’s called “STOP BORROWING MONEY”.

Raising the debt ceiling in the face of out-of-control spending and crippling debt is perhaps the single most irresponsible action that could be taken. Therefore, it is time to stop calling these people Republicans. No more. If indeed they ever truly were Republicans in the first place, they certainly aren’t now. These are the names of those who should be stricken from the party and I personally will from this point forward refer to them as many things – but NEVER again as Republicans.

John Boehner, R-Ohio.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy,R-Calif.
Chief Deputy Whip Pete Roskam, R-Ill.
Ken Calvert, R-Calif.
Dave Camp, R-Mich.
Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.
Richard Hanna, R-N.Y.
Doc Hastings, R-Wash.
Darrell Issa, R-Calif.
Devin Nunes, R-Calif.
Hal Rogers, R-Ky.
Dave Reichert, R-Wash.
Chris Collins, R-N.Y.
Howard Coble, R-N.C.
Charlie Dent, R-Pa.
Mike Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.
Pete King, R-N.Y.
Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J.
Buck McKeon, R-Calif.
Patrick Meehan, R-Pa.
Gary Miller, R-Calif.
Ed Royce, R-Calif.
John Runyan, R-N.J.
John Shimkus, R-Ill.
Chris Smith, R-N.J.
David Valadao, R-Calif.
Frank Wolf, R-Va.

Republicans No More


By Jonathan Senn


Why Obama Lost First Debate

When my wife and I found out we were going to have our first child (we now have four), we did what many couples in that situation do. We started to read books about raising children. (Okay, mostly my wife read them and told me what they said…) It’s natural to do that. No new parent wants to go into it without any information.

However, until you have a child, you don’t have a clue! You can read all the research available, write all kinds of papers about it, and ask everybody you know for advice. But all parents know that research without experience is very limited. Until you’ve started raising a child, you really don’t know anything about it.

During the presidential campaign of 2008, many of us were saying that then Senator Obama didn’t have the experience to be President. He had never run a business. He had spent his entire (short) adult life being either a law school professor, a “community organizer” or a politician. The position of professor is the closest to real world experience, but the life of a professor is basically sheltered. Even as a professor, he had never published any legal scholarly material, which is what law school professors are supposed to do. So the argument was that he had never really done anything to give him any experience. Fortunately for him, he was running against an opponent who had spent most of his adult life (after his more-than-honorable service in the military) in political life. Again, not exactly a role that lends itself to gaining real world experience.

Fast forward to the current campaign. The argument about lack of experience is still a strong one. President Obama’s dilemma this time around, however, is that he’s running against an opponent who has spent most of his adult life IN the real world, running businesses (some successful and some not). While he may be wealthy now, there’s a reason for that, and it’s called success. He’s been a major risk-taker, and he has reaped the benefits of many of those risks. There was a time in our country’s history when such success was admired, appreciated, and imitated. In today’s political climate, such success is ridiculed, hated, taxed into oblivion, and otherwise scorned.

After Obama’s terrible performance at the first debate, the excuses were numerous. It was his anniversary. Romney cheated (with a handkerchief). Romney was too aggressive. The moderator was terrible. Romney lied. Or my personal favorite – the altitude affected Obama. (Thanks, Mr. Gore for that nugget.)

But one of the primary excuses given is that Obama didn’t have enough prep time. That’s where I think we may be onto something. Some Democrats and people in Obama’s inner circle have been saying he just didn’t have the time to put into preparing, because he was busy being President. I think they’re partially right.

Obama didn’t have the proper prep time, but not because he’s currently the President. It’s because he failed to prepare his entire adult life for this. Romney has been out in the world learning about business, seeing how things operate, running the Olympics, being Governor of a state, saving numerous corporations, worrying about employee payrolls, and otherwise being engaged in the private sector. THAT was his prep time. When he was asked questions about the economy, he could answer them, not because he spent a few days in Denver in advance of the debate, but because he spent a few decades working in the economic world.

You see, experience DOES matter. Ask any parent. Books are one thing. Life is another. I’m not sure that more debate prep can help Obama in advance of debates two and three, because you can’t cram life experience into a few days.

Backward Thinking

We’ve all been through difficult financial times. Loss of a job, extra unexpected expenses, increased cost of living. We’ve been there. Some of us had to dip into our savings. Others asked family or friends to help. Perhaps we sold some things we didn’t really need, took a part time job, or cut down on unnecessary expenses. We did what we had to do to survive and improve our situation. Nothing unusual about that.

The government, however, carried out a poll asking what people do when money is tight. The results?

•Savings 44%
•Family 21%
•Credit cards/loans 20%
•Government assistance 15%

Now, when I see those numbers, I can’t help but think that 65% are relying on savings and family, which is a good thing. Only 15% are relying on government assistance. So I start wondering if there are ways to get that 15% number to go even further down.

But that’s not how the government sees it. Instead, they would prefer that more people rely on them! They say: “Given that only 15 percent of you turn to government assistance in tough times, we want to make sure you know about benefits that could help you.” In other words, we want more people to know how to rely on us!

As I’ve stated many times, the government is not some entity that produces a product or service for which willing consumers are happy to pay. The government doesn’t generate its own income. It gets its money from you and me. So why would we want more and more people to rely on it?

Our personal freedoms decrease in direct proportion to the increase in our level of dependency on government. Wanting more people to rely on government is nothing more than backward thinking!

The Offer That Wasn’t

Imagine this:  for absolutely no reason at all, I start demanding that you pay me $1,000.00.  You don’t owe me a penny, much less a thousand bucks.  I didn’t loan you anything, sell you something, or provide you any service.  Yet, I start to demand the money anyway.

What would you do?  You’d probably tell me to go jump in a lake, or worse.  You’d wonder if I was crazy.  If I keep demanding it, you’d try to get away from me.  Whatever your reaction, the last thing you’d do is give me a thousand dollars!

After some time passes, and you continue to refuse my demands, I finally tell you that if you’ll just pay me $500.00, I’ll forget the whole thing and leave you alone.  How do you react?  My guess is you’d still tell me to leave you alone, as you don’t owe me anything!  There would be no reason for you to give me that money, even though my demand has been cut in half.  If you don’t owe me any money, you don’t owe me any money, regardless of how much I’m demanding or how much lower my demands get.

This is exactly what Obama and his minions have been trying to do to Mitt Romney and his tax returns.  They started out by demanding that he release 10 years of returns.  Was their demand based on any actual legal requirements?  Of course not.  They just wanted to harass him into releasing them.

When he refused, they used the well-known tactic of accusing without evidence just to pressure him into proving them wrong.  They claimed that he was likely a felon and hadn’t paid anything for the last 10 years.  Any proof of that?  Seriously?  They don’t need proof.  If the baseless accusation is serious enough, that’s all they care about.  They demanded that Romney release the returns to prove them wrong.

Romney didn’t bite.  I haven’t agreed with everything Romney has done in his campaign, and he wasn’t my first choice among the Republican candidates, but I’ve been impressed with his response on this.  He finally told Harry Reid to either put up or shut up.  Predictably, Reid has done neither.

So the Democrats decreased their demands.  They “offered” that if Romney would just release 5 years of returns, they’d let the whole thing go.  When they issued that statement, I was very curious as to how Romney would respond.  To his credit, he once again told them to forget it.  Remember, he doesn’t owe them a single thing.  So it doesn’t matter that they “generously” decreased their demand to 5 years.  He didn’t owe them 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years.

Of course, tons of voters have gotten caught up in the nonsense, and have also demanded the release of the tax returns.  They don’t know why he’s required to release them, they just know they want to see them.

So is this a requirement?  Nope.  According to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics (an oxymoron if ever there was one), a presidential candidate must file Office of Government Ethics Form 278 (OGE Form 278), which is a very detailed financial report.  You can find the requirements here.

Nowhere is a tax return listed as a requirement. The OGE form appears to contain more detail than a tax return would. But regardless of any of that, it is clear that a presidential candidate is NOT required to release his tax returns. If it were, Obama and Harry Reid would have pointed to the specific legal requirement and demanded that Romney fulfill such requirement. Because they can’t do that, they have to resort to accusations and hope that the voters go along with it. Unfortunately, many of their supporters just march right in line without giving it a second thought.

Just as you would refuse to pay me $500.00 when you don’t owe me anything, Romney has refused to release 5 years of tax returns when he isn’t required to release any. I think he’s doing the right thing.

2016: Obama’s America

I encourage all of you, especially my Democrat friends, to see the movie, 2016: Obama’s America, which is now showing. It’s by the producer of Schindler’s List, and is written by Dinesh D’Souza. It’s about Obama’s upbringing, and provides great detail on who he is and his political philosophy. This should frighten all of us as we consider who to vote for in November. If you’re on the fence, please go see it. If you support Obama, please go see it. If you support Romney, please go see it. I’m convinced that he’s not even really a Democrat.

Obama and Medvedev

The movie demonstrates that Obama is really an anti-colonialist, and he believes that America is the worst colonial empire existing today. This explains his apology tour. This explains his associations with “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and others of like mind who are unapologetic in their bashing of America. This explains his blocking of drilling for oil in America while at the same time giving billions to South American and Middle Eastern countries to drill there. This explains his refusal to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. This explains his comments to Russian leaders that after he wins the election, he’ll have more “flexibility”. This explains his efforts to get as much of the American economy as possible under government control. This explains his lack of support for Israel, the only beacon of freedom in the Middle East. This explains his ongoing efforts to reduce our nuclear arsenal to levels that would be below many other countries, such as China. This explains his directive to NASA to change its focus from continued exploration to finding a way to connect with Muslims. This explains his own staff’s comments prior to his inauguration that they’d be ready to RULE from day 1.

At every possible opportunity, when faced with the choice between strengthening America and apologizing for her, he has chosen the latter, and weakened our country in the process. Throughout the small part of his life that is actually documented, he surrounded himself with people who filled his mind with the philosophy that America is evil and must not continue to be a superpower. He chose to marry someone who has never even been proud of her country (her own words) until it elected Obama president.

I don’t even think he’s truly a Democrat. As distasteful as I found President Clinton, and as distasteful as I find many in the current leadership within the Democrat party (Reid, Pelosi, Biden and the like), I believe that those people still love this country, even though I disagree with them politically.

With Obama, it’s different. I believe he found that his philosophy shared more in common with the Democrats than Republicans, so that’s where he can be most effective. But this doesn’t make him a Democrat. I think even most Democrats who love their country would be scared to know what he’s really doing. If that makes me a conspiracy theorist, then so be it. Go see the movie.

My impression of him is that he will take whatever position he needs to take on an issue that weakens the country. This goes beyond Obamacare (which weakens our freedom to choose and personal responsibility and strengthens governmental control) and goes beyond his tax policies (wherein he has consistently called for punishing success, which weakens individual ability and desire to success and produce and strengthens the government’s ability to take from us). His position on those issues is symptomatic of his approach that America needs to be brought down to the level of other countries, as opposed to trying to help other countries find the same levels of success that we’ve had here.

Barack and his father

At the end of the day, Obama favors government over individualism. The perfect example is his swipe at small business owners – “You didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen!” When challenged, he and his surrogates claimed that he was talking about building the roads and bridges. Okay, let’s assume that’s true. Who paid for the roads and bridges? Government? NO. Let’s remember that “government” isn’t some entity that generates its own capital by making and selling a product or providing some service that people were willing to pay for. If it were, it would be a for-profit corporation.

But it’s not. The only money the government has, it got from you and me, the people. And a lot of the people are small business owners. Some of them even own BIG businesses, which are even more hated by this administration. So even if he was only talking about building roads and bridges, who really built those? The people!

Obama has spent a great deal of time trying to convince us that we should appreciate the government more. I would suggest that it’s time for him and for his administration to appreciate the people more! Remember, America is great because of the individualism we have. Our personal freedom and responsibility. It’s not great because of governmental control. The entire purpose of the Constitution was to ensure that the government did NOT take control. The Constitution makes clear that the government answers to the people, not the other way around.

Obama has no understanding of that, because he doesn’t share the American experience. 2016: Obama’s America reminds us of that.

It’s time for us to remind Obama of that. Please go see the movie.

Where are the Bravehearts?

I recently was up late at night channel surfing before I turned in for the night.  When I came across “Braveheart”, an old favorite of mine, I was hooked and stayed up to watch the entire movie.  This Mel Gibson classic solidified its place in my “Top Ten Movies of All Time” list.  What an amazing movie!

However, if I may quote another of my favorite movies, “There was something there that wasn’t there before.”  Namely, a profound glimpse of what is happening in America’s political landscape today.  I would like to briefly mention some of the more striking comparisons that I noticed.

robert-the-bruce21. The Scottish Nobles.  In the movie Braveheart, the Scottish nobility are an interesting lot.  Before we can truly understand them we must remember where their power came from.  In medieval times, the monarchy held all the power, possessed all the wealth and owned all the property.  If you were not the king, you owned nothing – not even the fruits of your labor.  Taxes were meant to give everything to the king except that which was necessary for basic living.  Thus there was no middle class or upper class, just the lower – or common – class.  The king, however, could not just tax people and expect them not to revolt.  He needed strong leaders that he could trust to be loyal and subjugate the common class in the name of the king.  This loyal ruling class were the Nobility, and the king paid them richly in lands and titles.  Lands, or property, gave them areas of the countryside that could be harvested for profit.  Titles conveyed authority over vast areas of the king’s land to rule and oversee as a consolidation of power.  I know this is a rather simplistic view of the times, but the point is that power came from the king to the people, in particular to the Nobles.

From time to time, the Scottish people and lesser nobles would get so fed up with the absurd demands of their English oppressors that they would gather their forces and march to war – led, of course, by the nobles.  When the moment of battle came, the nobles, dressed in their finest military garb and flying banners to inspire their armies, would ride to the middle of the field and meet with the representatives of the king.  Promptly, without much argument at all, they would be promised more titles and lands if they would march their armies from the field of battle and return to their homes.  Nothing changed, except the nobles got richer and the people got poorer.  At some level though, the people were able to tell themselves that they marched to battle and “showed the English” that they really meant business this time.

In America, we would like to think there is no comparison to these Scottish Nobles – and indeed there SHOULD NOT be.  Sadly, the comparison comes to mind too easily to be ignored.  Politicians from both sides of the isle constantly tell the people that they will fight for the principles and issues for which they were elected.  Time and again, however, they are promptly bought off with promises of pork and power.  When I think of specific examples when this has been very apparent, two recent events come to my mind.  Most recently, the “fight” for the Debt Ceiling.  For many conservatives, this was an absurd line that could not be crossed.  Not “Should Not be crossed”.  “Could Not be crossed”.  There was no clearer “battle line” that could be drawn.  And our politicians proudly took up the call to arms.  They inspired us with their banners and speeches.  You remember.

john_boehner1Who are we kidding?  We’re not kidding anybody.  I just think it’s time to put the brakes on all of it.  Let’s get really serious about cutting spending, and the way we start is by saying no to increasing the debt limit.” –John Boehner, Dec 16, 2009

Now this money comes from our kids and grandkids who, this year, are going to get stuck with 43 cents out of every dollar the federal government spends; the debt’s going to be laid on them. The American people are shouting at the top of their lungs, ‘Stop, and stop now!’” –John Boehner, Jun 15, 2010

Our nobles, leading us to battle.  We rallied and called and protested.  And when the battlefield was set and the nobles met in the middle, what happened?  You remember.

john_boehner2I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the President of the United States.  I stuck my neck out a mile.  And I put revenues on the table, in order to try to come to an agreement to avert us being where we are.” 
“So for the sake of our economy, for the sake of our future, I’m going to ask each of you – as representatives of the people of the United States – to support this bill, to support this process, and end this crisis now.” –John Boehner, Jul 29, 2011

Compromise.  Betrayal.  Failure.  What so many had fought for, had hoped for, just sold away for undisclosed deals made in the back halls of the Capital.  And who pays for it?  The people.  And, painfully, our children.  How could we let this one moment of true import where conviction mattered the most slip from our grasp as if the fate and future of this our precious nation didn’t hang on its outcome?  It might as well have been Robert the Bruce and the other Scottish Nobles that led us to war. 

robert-the-bruceWe will embrace this rebellion. Support it from our lands in the north. I will gain English favor by condemning it, and ordering it opposed from our lands in the south. Sit down. Stay a while.

Another perfect example of this happened in the 108th and 109th Congress.  From 2003 thru 2006, for the first time in modern history, the Republican party controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency.  What an opportunity to reverse decades upon decades of fiscal liberals and having to compromise!  Now the fiscal conservatives were in charge and the people would finally see the principles they had fought for become reality in the Federal Government.  You remember.

Compromise.  Betrayal.  Failure.  The deficits of the 108th and 109th Congress and the Bush Administration GREW!  The size of the Federal government GREW!  Entitlement spending GREW!  Once again our leaders rode the wave of the people’s discontent to power only to betray the principles of those who put them there.  And once again our children were burdened with the cost of their insatiable ambitions.

We must remember that in America, unlike medieval Scotland, power comes from the people to the government!  We must elect leaders that will carry our cause into battle without compromise!  Compromise has been the bane of sanity in the Western world, especially since the end of World War II.  Historians can argue over why that has occurred, but we must reverse it.  There are some principles that must never be compromised.  Sanctity of Life.  Build strong families.  Live within our means.  Self reliance.  Nation of Laws.  Protect our borders, language, and culture.  Individual Liberty.  The list goes on.  These are things which only maintain their integrity when they are whole.  Water them down just a little and they fade away.

braveheart-5-241x3002. Braveheart.  In the movie, William Wallace was a man who had lost everything as a child and was raised in another country by his uncle.  When he returned to Scotland, he wanted only to marry his childhood sweetheart, farm the land, and live in peace.  He quickly found that a life of peace could only come through the defeat of the tyranny that had gripped his nation.  Edward Longshanks was intent on the continued subjugation of the Scottish people in order to further solidify his own rule, so he paid off his English nobles by allowing them absurd authority over the personal lives of the Scots (see prima noctes).  The people were fed up and were on the verge of rebellion, but lacked leadership that was willing to champion their cause to the end.  Enter Braveheart.  Wallace possessed one quality that the Scottish Nobles did not have.  He was not just frustrated or upset.  He was, in his words, “well beyond rage”.  In his mind, the world was so upside down that there could be no talk of compromise until it was upright once again.  The people followed him because he embodied their feelings exactly, whether they totally understood it or not.  Wallace clearly saw what was needed to remedy the situation and was willing to see it through to the end.  All the while, he did not let the end justify the means – rather, he lived by a code of honor that he expected from those who followed him.  Wallace also possessed one insight that the nobles did not share.  Power – true power with meaning and longevity – comes from the people not the king or the government.

You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshank’s table that you’ve missed your God given right to something better. There is a difference between us. You  think the people of this country exist to provide you with possession. I think your possession exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.

Where are our Bravehearts today?  I’m not talking about warriors who paint their faces to discourage their foe.  I’m talking about political leaders who do not compromise their (our) principles when the battle for those principles is imminent.  Political leaders who clearly see the line between sanity and ruin.  Political leaders who are determined to follow a personal code of honor as they right the wrongs wrought by corruption.  Where are our political leaders who are guided by their principles and not their pockets?

3. Freedom.  The same battle cry yelled by William Wallace is the same cry we shout today.  Freedom!  But Freedom means nothing if we forget what we are yearning to be free from.  Tyranny.  Oppression.  Corrupt Government.  Taxation without Representation.  Religious Persecution.  These were problems that the founders of this nation were all too familiar with.  So in order to protect their infant nation from falling back under the control of these evil practices, they wrote two documents for the very purpose of protecting our future Freedom – the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  And to this end, these documents LIMITED THE POWERS of the Federal government and “reserved to the states and to the people” all powers not expressly granted.  This is the very bastion of our Freedom!  Without it, there is nothing to stop the eventual return of those evil practices that we yearn for Freedom From.

So, if you haven’t watched Braveheart in a while, I encourage you to spend a few late nights searching for it on the ol’ tube.  Perhaps I’m just seeing similarities that aren’t really there.  Or perhaps there is more to this movie than kilts and claymores.  What do you think?

braveheart sce capture 7

Court Rules "Obamacare" Unconstitutional

supreme_court_buildingFinally, a court that gets it! Many of us have been screaming about Obamacare since the time it was being debated in Congress. We’ve recognized it as an unconstitutional power grab by the federal government. We’ve understood it as the first time in history that the federal government has issued such a far reaching mandate that the American citizen purchase a product that he or she may not want or need.

Now the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals based in Atlanta has agreed. In a strongly worded opinion found here, the Court ruled that the individual mandate is not an authorized act of Congress under the Constitution’s Commerce clause. In other words, Congress went beyond its 10th Amendment enumerated powers in forcing Americans to purchase something against their will.

In part, the Court stated: “The individual mandate exceeds Congress’s enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional. This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives.”

Some in support of Obamacare have argued that it is no different from requirements to buy auto insurance. On the contrary, auto insurance is not comparable. We are not REQUIRED to purchase auto insurance. In fact, we are not even required to purchase a car! If we don’t drive, gavel-360x225there is no need to get auto insurance. So in that sense, we have a choice to make. With Obamacare, there is no “choice”. We either purchase the insurance (“every month for [our] entire life”) or we pay the penalties.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals recognized Obamacare for what it is – an unconstitutional attempt by Congress and the administration to force all Americans to purchase a product some do not want or need. Hopefully, the court’s logic will prevail in the end. This fight is far from over.