Posts Tagged ‘congress’

The beginning of the end – Part II

Three Supreme Court rulings changed our lives, making our Constitution near irrelevant. One gave the Supreme Court unlimited, unchecked power; the other two gave Congress unlimited power.

The first ruling created the concept of judicial review, which is the claimed power by the Supreme Court to have the final voice in all issues concerning the United States Constitution. This power is not granted it in the Constitution; moreover, it is not granted to any branch of the federal government. Why might that be? Why would such a critical power not be assigned to one of the three branches of the federal government?

Constitutional coup

” . . . the discretion of the judge is the first engine of tyranny.”

Edward Gibbon, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”

Are we witnessing a non-violent coup of the United States Constitution, methodically carried out by the United States Supreme Court? Has the Court placed itself above the executive and legislative branches of government, above the people, above the Constitution itself?

This coup started in 1803 when the Court claimed the power to rule on the constitutionality of acts of Congress. Claiming this check on Congress seemed appropriate because each of the three branches of government was meant to check the others.

Football and government

The federal government could learn a lot from professional football – teams competing with each other, each team doing all it can to win, referees ensuring they follow the rules, together part of a league whose owners have the final say on the rules and how the league works.

Our league is the United States of America and the teams are our free market system, individuals and companies competing with one another, doing all they can to win. The referees are our elected officials, there to ensure the competitors follow the rules. The head referee is our Supreme Court, appointed to maintain the integrity of the rulebook when questions arise. The rulebook is the United States Constitution.

The Supreme Court – omnipotent and divine?

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments to decide if the Second Amendment right of the individual to “keep and bear Arms” applies to the states in addition to federal enclaves such as Washington, D.C.

Can the court please point to the section of the United States Constitution granting it the power to choose which parts of the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, apply to the states, reducing the Bill of Rights to nothing more than a buffet of suggestions for the court?

Government economics and free markets

Can our free market economy survive the federal government? The president and Congress may get to learn what C.S. Lewis meant when he defined experience as “that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

Hopefully, you do learn, but not always, which leads us to the economic theories of Vice President Biden. With sincerity, he claims that even though the stimulus package failed to do what the administration promised, it was still a success because it created jobs and slowed the rate of job losses. The same Joe Biden also advanced the revolutionary economic theory that the only way to prevent bankruptcy is to spend huge sums of money.

Supreme Court – Constitutional guardian or Guardian Council?

Does the  Supreme Court submit to the authority of the United States Constitution, as it should?  Or, is it complicit with Congress, functioning beyond its constitutional powers?

In 1803, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Marshall, trying to preserve the checks and balances in the Constitution said, “To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing, if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained.”  He was addressing Congress, explaining that Congress could not decide if a law it passed was constitutional, that checking power reserved for the Supreme Court.

Free market economy?

Discussing the economy, the President said the private sector is “still nervous about whether they want to go ahead and take the risks that are inherent in a free market system.”  But, the private sector is not afraid of free markets, it is afraid of continued government interference and fears how much more it will interfere.  The government’s job is to regulate the “playing field” of the markets, not to control and manipulate them.

Spending the people’s money

“Government is like a baby: An alimentary canal

 with a big appetite at one end and no sense of

 responsibility at the other.”

                                 − Ronald Reagan

 Is it an appropriate use of taxpayer money to fund a “tattoo removal violence prevention program,” a Sparta Teapot museum, a program to communicate with extra-terrestrials, the Pleasure Beach water taxi service, a Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative and a swine odor and manure management program?  Moreover, where in the Constitution is the power for Congress to spend our money this way?

Can one person make a difference?

A nation with over 300 million citizens, over 10 million illegal aliens, 1 President, 100 United States Senators, and 435 United States Representatives. Can one person make a difference? No. Not anymore. That time has long since past.

But, what if? What if one person could not look the other way? What if one person saw a duty and cared enough to speak up? What if one person dared to try? What if one person said, “I will get involved?”

Can we tax our way out of irresponsible debt?

 Congress believes irresponsible debt and spending is needed to rectify the problems created by irresponsible debt and spending. Further, it believes raising taxes to pay for its irresponsible debt will actually stimulate spending.        

My father was raised on a farm in eastern Nebraska, sheltered from this unique congressional economic theory. He lived through the Great Depression, served in World War II, raised four sons, and never took a class in economics. Instead, he learned a simple, common sense, outdated, obviously flawed economic theory.  

Is the United States an empire in demise?

George Bernard Shaw said, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.” What did our Founding Fathers want for this United States of America? Did they want complacency? Did they hope for mediocrity? Did they dream of dependency? Or, did they demand freedom and opportunity; freedom and opportunity at any price. What have we fought and died for this past 223 years? 

Are we still that proud, patriotic people? What about 911? Was our response the same as following Pearl Harbor, when we were willing to take on the world? Compare that to 911, an even more heinous attack that intentionally targeted civilians. Well, we were appalled for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. 

Roosevelt or Reagan?

Our country’s leaders believe President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal ended the Great Depression and saved the economy.  Are they right?  Did his New Deal end the depression or even shorten it?  Take a moment and consider the Roosevelt logic Congress is using with our current situation.  They believe they can fix the economy if they interfere with market forces and spend unprecedented sums of money.  But, if all that is needed to end a recession is government meddling and spending, how could we ever get into a recession in the first place? 

How do we fix the economy?  Two former Presidents.  Two choices.   

Who should pay to rebuild following natural disasters?

Did our Founding Fathers intend for the government to take care of us when a disaster strikes?  Is the federal government the correct resource for disasters?  Is managing the aftermath of disasters a Constitutional responsibility of the federal government?  Do individuals or local communities have any responsibility?  Is the government the most efficient and cost effective entity to offer aid to communities and help them rebuild?

We need to return to a citizen government

Our Founding Fathers believed serving as President or in Congress was a duty to country, a sacrifice for country, a calling. They did not anticipate Congress becoming a career choice with members subservient to the power of the incumbency and the money it attracts. Rather, the Founding Fathers intended a weak federal government, subservient to much stronger state governments that served a powerful citizenry.  Thomas Jefferson resisted all attempts to foster a strong federal government, adamant the power must rest with the people.  What went wrong?  Does the power rest with the people, as it should?  Does Congress do the peoples’ work?  The movie Charlie Wilson’s War explains how well Congress tends to the people.  Asked by a political activist, “Why do congressmen talk so much and do nothing,” Charlie Wilson responded, “Tradition mostly.”  The Founding Fathers intended a citizen government, run by people like you and me, serving our country, doing the peoples’ work, and then going home.

Use as intended and die

Imagine selling a product that kills the consumer if they use it as intended.  Then imagine convincing our government to allow it to remain legal.  It is a one of a kind product, legal and if used appropriately, lethal.  It is cigarettes.  We have other products available to us that would kill us if we abused them.  But cigarettes alone are the only product with government sanctioning to kill.  Does it seem a bit absurd something this dangerous is legal?  The validity of the medical data is beyond debate, unless you are a tobacco company executive testifying before Congress; then the data are highly questionable.