Archive for the ‘Federal government of the United States’ Category

Senate Judiciary Page has the link to live video here.

Interesting to hear the left argue forcefully for greater government expansion and destruction of the US citizens’ rights.

From the AP:

Well it’s official, the justices have lost their ever-loving minds. It is now considered, “Constitutional” (I am about to start using the term very loosely) for your Federal Government to tell you what you must purchase and how much of it you must purchase. 10th amendment be damned I guess. After today a citizen of these United States now has less liberty than they had yesterday.

I’d like to leave everyone with this quote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the RIGHT of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government….”

 

 

 

A friend of mine directed me towards this little gem of legislation (if it can be called that), it is too bad I was paying to the “Flukeing Mess” (pun intended) that had descended upon  Rush Limbaugh last week when this bill was passed….

H.R. 347 basically modifies a 1971 law that restricts or limits entering public areas that are temporarily controlled by the Secret Service, or large events like the Republican and Democrat nominating conventions. SHould the President be protected when he goes places – ABSOLUTELY! Should citizens be denied their rights under the First Amendment? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

The problem here is that it is going to put the brakes on any movement, whether of the Right or the Left that wants to gather in Washington D.C.  All the President would have to do is to send a secret service detachment out to the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, or your can name any other public area or memorial to instantly disperse any gathering you or anyone else tries to plan.

The original law was also modified to make any trespassing a felony, and if you happen to be carrying a weapon deemed “dangerous” you get up to 10 years in the slammer. This should remind you of something this guy had to deal with.

This definitely seems to curtail freedoms to protestors, no matter their ideology. It seems to me that FedGov officials want us neither seen nor heard. This should remind you of something this guy had to deal with.

Also you may be intereested to know the bill passed 399 – 3. The Republicans and Democrats always seem to find the common ground when it involves taking away liberty from the citizens they serve.

Info for this post was taken from the following sources:

The Paul Daily

The iTT List

From Wallbuilders:

Just a few examples of just how “Anti-Christian” and “Anti-Judiasm” this president really is:

Here are a few “acts of hostility towards people of biblical faiths:” (to keep it brief I will use one example from each year Obama has been either in office or a candidate)

  • April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”
  • April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus’ name be covered when he is making his speech.
  • October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions.
  • January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court.
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion.

Here are a few examples of the United States military actions while Obama has been Commander-in-Chief:

  • June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery.
  • February 2012 – The Army orders Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read.

To further continue making the point, here are a few examples of hostility towards Biblical values:

  • January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional.
  • July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion.
  • July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778.

The author, David Barton, also goes great lengths to show the president’s preference of all things Islamic:

  • May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan.
  • August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location.
  • October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House.
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do.

Mr. Barton gives SOURCES for every one of these claims including the SEVERAL I did not list here. If you don’t believe me check him out. I provided the link at the top of the post and I’ll post it again here.

I’d say this is concrete evidence that the president is not who he says he is. I learned a long time ago that a person’s deeds will betray a lie every time.

 

It’ll never happen, not with this president.

Having said that, coud it possibly be for the first time in several decades, that we may actually have statesmen in the federal government?

Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Jim Demint have proposed a plan to accomplish to the following:

  • Cut 9+ trillion off of the budget over the next 10 year
  • eliminate 4 federal bureaucracies (energy, education, commerce and HUD)
  • Repeal every last ugly line of the monstrosity known as Obamacare
  • Reform federal entitlements
  • Balance the fedgov budget in five years
  • stop the national debt

The plan itself even outlines privatising the TSA, reigning in the EPA, reducing foreign aid to other country’s at the 5 billion dollar mark, selling off federal land to combat the deficit, and closing other unconstitutional/unaffordable fedgov agency’s or programs.

This plan should be read, studied and passed if it is deemed worthy. The fedgov’s spending is out of control thanks to our president and his senate. This plan would give the tea party and House republicans something to stand on when they have been criticized by our beloved leader and his cronies of not having any plan whatsoever, even though Paul Ryan’s budget proposal from last year comes to mind.

There will be a, “wailing and nashing of teeth” by all the leftist, but seriously, something needs to be done. The country’s credit rating, the president’s obvious spend and tax attitude, the struggling economy all dictate that serious measures must be taken to save the United States from the brink of collapse.

These gentlemen need to be heard and allowed to express their view to all citizens of the United States and this is our attempt to get the word out. Please be sure to contact your senators and congressional reps and encourage them to accept this proposal.

- should be Ann Coulter’s new mantra if she’s defending absurd expansions of the commerce clause.

Via the Washington Examiner:

Coming soon: Individual mandate to buy Chevy Volts

They’re joking with that headline… kinda sorta.

The CAFE rule is the fleet-wide average fuel economy rating manufacturers are required by Washington to achieve. The new rule — issued in response to a 2010 Obama directive, not to specific legislation passed by Congress — would require automakers to achieve a 40.9 mpg CAFE average by 2021 and 54.5 mpg by 2025. In case you’re wondering whatever happened to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it has been supplanted in the CAFE process by the EPA. The proposed regulation was designed, according to the EPA, “to preserve consumer choice — that is, the proposed standards should not affect consumers’ opportunity to purchase the size of vehicle with the performance, utility and safety features that meets their needs.” But the reality is that consumer choice will be the first victim.

Getting from the current 35 mpg CAFE standard to 54.5 can be achieved by such expedients as making air conditioning systems work more efficiently. We have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to anybody who thinks that’s even remotely realistic. There is one primary method of increasing fuel economy — weight reduction. That in turn means automakers will have to use much more exotic materials, including especially the petroleum-processing byproduct known as “plastic.” But using more plastic will make it much more difficult to satisfy current federal safety standards. The bottom-line will be much more expensive vehicles and dramatically fewer kinds of vehicles.

Mind you that’s average fuel standards.  So for every Mustang, Camaro, Challenger, or light truck in the low 20s range, they’ll need to sell about five more cars that get 60 mpg, like the little Euro-Ford Fiesta… which they could be selling here anyway, but it’s diesel, so no one likes it.  Also, as noted by this writer, diesel fuel quality could well be an issue – with biodiesel and such being problematic.

The average price of a new vehicle will go up at least $3,200, according to NHTSA, but experts outside government such as the National Automobile Dealers Association say the cost will be substantially higher. The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that there will be no vehicles costing $15,000 or less, the segment of the market that college students and low-income consumers depend upon. Altogether, an estimated seven million buyers will be forced out of the market for new cars.

Total costs, as calculated by the EPA, will exceed $157 billion, making this by far the most expensive CAFE rule ever. For comparison, the previous rule in 2010 cost $51 billion, according to the EPA. But the EPA doesn’t include this fact in its calculation: Annual U.S. car sales are 14-16 million units, yet over time, this rule will remove the equivalent of half a year’s worth of buyers. Will that be when the EPA takes a cue from Obamacare and issues an individual mandate that we all must buy Chevy Volts?

Of course, the easy way to solve this would be to relax CAFE standards and decrease regulation.  If Dodge wants to go back to making a Durango that gets 8 mpg, people who want that will buy it.  People who don’t, won’t.  If Ford brings over their 62 mpg Fiesta, people who want to buy it will.  The market will solve the problem itself.

Few people want to spend more money on fuel.  Even those who like to burn fuel would rather burn less than more, or burn more and get more for it.  If faced with a choice between an H2 that gets 9 mpg and the same vehicle that gets 20 mpg, people will take the latter.  If you can choose between a Mustang that gets mileage in the teens but good hp or one that gets 26 mpg and 412 hp, people will take the latter.

It’s just simple economics.  The guy who needs the work truck that can haul X load, but only drives short distances around town, may not care about 10 mpg vs 20 mpg, because the tradeoff in performance for economy may not be sufficient over the life of the vehicle – CAFE standards hurt his business and productivity for very little return.  The student who needs a cheap used car, assuming there are any left that haven’t been destroyed with their tax dollars, is now going to have her quality of life reduced because her first new car will cost $3,200 more, and any used car she can still find will cost more as a result of government-induced scarcity.

The end result is that the poor and middle class find that government is reducing, not increasing, their quality of life.  Every paycheck gets thinner, every bill gets bigger.  Freedom dies as your means to exercise it dwindle away.  Of course, if you’re in a taxpayer-funded obese Caddy limo, I guess safety, utility, fuel economy, and everything else is pretty much meaningless, huh?

There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

- Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

The Wall Street Journal had a piece a while back on this very topic.

As federal criminal statutes have ballooned, it has become increasingly easy for Americans to end up on the wrong side of the law. Many of the new federal laws also set a lower bar for conviction than in the past: Prosecutors don’t necessarily need to show that the defendant had criminal intent.

These factors are contributing to some unusual applications of justice. Father-and-son arrowhead lovers can’t argue they made an innocent mistake. A lobster importer is convicted in the U.S. for violating a Honduran law that the Honduran government disavowed. A Pennsylvanian who injured her husband’s lover doesn’t face state criminal charges—instead, she faces federal charges tied to an international arms-control treaty.

The U.S. Constitution mentions three federal crimes by citizens: treason, piracy and counterfeiting. By the turn of the 20th century, the number of criminal statutes numbered in the dozens. Today, there are an estimated 4,500 crimes in federal statutes, according to a 2008 study by retired Louisiana State University law professor John Baker.

WSJ has a graphic here showing the expansion of federal sentences by type of law.  Those with regards to immigration may be disproportionately represented due to the constant violations of immigration law on the US southern border, but the rest paint an interesting picture.

There are also thousands of regulations that carry criminal penalties. Some laws are so complex, scholars debate whether they represent one offense, or scores of offenses.

This is where Cass Sunstein and the nudgers come in.  To give one example, 922(r) compliance.  It gets really complicated really fast.  The short version is that there are a limited number of foreign-made components that are allowed to be used in certain types of firearms.  Furthermore, the regulation is full of vague terms like “sporting purposes”.  Three Gun competition is a sport, but it’s not a Fudd sport approved by the Ruling Class, so it doesn’t count.

But “sporting purposes” turns into vague law that’s subject to the whim of whoever is enforcing it.  Assembling a firearm with the wrong number of components arbitrarily assigned turns into a 10 year prison sentence.

Counting them is impossible. The Justice Department spent two years trying in the 1980s, but produced only an estimate: 3,000 federal criminal offenses.

The American Bar Association tried in the late 1990s, but concluded only that the number was likely much higher than 3,000. The ABA’s report said “the amount of individual citizen behavior now potentially subject to federal criminal control has increased in astonishing proportions in the last few decades.”

A Justice spokeswoman said there was no quantifiable number. Criminal statutes are sprinkled throughout some 27,000 pages of the federal code.

This is where someone like a “regulatory czar” is a very, very bad thing.

One area of expansion has been environmental crimes. Since its inception in 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency has grown to enforce some 25,000 pages of federal regulations, equivalent to about 15% of the entire body of federal rules. Many of the EPA rules carry potential criminal penalties.

Regulations on pollution output can kill industries, regulations on endangered species can destroy people’s rights to their own land, regulations on car MPG can destroy entire auto industries, regulations on oil drilling can artificially hike energy costs and shunt international dominance to nations willing to exploit available resources.

Occasionally, Americans are going to prison in the U.S. for violating the laws and rules of other countries. Last year, Abner Schoenwetter finished 69 months in federal prison for conspiracy and smuggling. His conviction was related to importing the wrong kinds of lobsters and bulk packaging them in plastic, rather than separately in boxes, in violation of Honduran laws.

According to court records and interviews, Mr. Schoenwetter had been importing lobsters from Honduras since the mid-1980s. In early 1999, federal officials seized a 70,000-pound shipment after a tip that the load violated a Honduran statute setting a minimum size on lobsters that could be caught. Such a shipment, in turn, violated a U.S. law, the Lacey Act, which makes it a felony to import fish or wildlife if it breaks another country’s laws. Roughly 2% of the seized shipment was clearly undersized, and records indicated other shipments carried much higher percentages, federal officials said.

Professor James Duane mentions this case in his video “Don’t Talk to the Police”.

The myriad of laws that no one, not even the lawyers, are aware of, is one of the big reasons Prof. Duane gives for not talking to the police and thoroughly exercising 5th Amendment rights.

This overabundance of laws and regulations and rules make it so that simply to CYA, you can’t even trust someone you should be able to trust.  Talking to police when you’re truly innocent could result in a prosecutor or bureaucrat somewhere along the line finding out that you’ve broken a law or regulation you didn’t even know existed.  This slowly turns people against each other, and makes everyone more suspicious of their government (not necessarily a bad thing), but the myriad of laws and regulations is so overwhelming that it makes people not trust anyone.  The officer at the end of the professor’s speech says he never tries to put innocent people in jail – and while he might not – a prosecutor or bureaucrat might.

Or the authority figure might just go after someone they’ve decided they don’t like through use of other means.

The number of regulations that exist without regard for consequences are legion, and every one is a slow affront to the freedom of the individual.  Not all regulations are bad, but many are mindless, and operate without any regard for the consequences or second and third-order effects of their regulation.  Plus government employees, by the nature of their employment, are usually insulated from any negative consequences that their own regulation creates.

Well, usually.

Maybe you’ve heard about this silly story of the CDC warning the public about zombies on Fox or elsewhere. Well here’s the link to what the Centers for Disease Control actually wrote.

http://emergency.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies_blog.asp

On April 1st, it'd be funny. May 19th, not so much.

So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored)

Assistant Surgeon General Ali Khan demonstrates something here that’s actually quite noteworthy.  Whether in a not-so-funny attempt at using zombies as an example of an emergency or in a real one, the idea is to turn to the government.  The official advice here is that you need water, food, and supplies to get you to a refugee camp – or a shelter.  You should be just self-sufficient enough to be cared for by government.

Sadly, Bollywood star Soha Ali Khan is not related to this story.

This line of thinking by Asst. Surgeon General Khan demonstrates a very stark dependence on the state, and an overall mindset of dependence on the state in case of emergency.  President Grover Cleveland warned about this when he refused any federal funds being granted to Texas for drought relief  in 1887 (mind you this was before the federal income tax was levied on every American).

Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character…

-Grover Cleveland

Waiting for the government to come save you from the zombies, or running to the government refugee camp is just as effective as sitting in New Orleans and waiting for FEMA to save you from living below sea level – or being stuffed in the Superdome.  After Hurricane Katrina, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to life.  Louisiana depended on fedgov.

The preparedness message here is all mangled, for numerous reasons.

Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your door step. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency.

Emergency plans for floods should be simple – if you live on a flood plain, you should plan for it when you move there – get to high ground.  If you live in an earthquake zone, you should plan for it – get in a doorway.  If you live where there are tornados, you know to get to a basement or low-laying ground if caught in the open.  They shouldn’t all be something the CDC has to prompt you to do (or maybe that’s just a personal bias due to a lifetime of living in tornado and snowstorm areas.)

Where I would go and who I would call in case of zombies is significantly different than what I’d do if it started raining really hard.

Kirsten and her Kel-Tec KSG. Useful against zombies. Not as useful against tornados.

Not only would scientists be working to identify the cause and cure of the zombie outbreak, but CDC and other federal agencies would send medical teams and first responders to help those in affected areas (I will be volunteering the young nameless disease detectives for the field work).

Ha ha.  Funny, A-SurGen Khan.   But the problem remains – and is well-illustrated by the CDC’s not-quite-funny example of a zombie apocalypse.  We, the public, already know what to do.  We know what the cure is.  So what do we need the government for?  In South Africa, farmers do prepare for something similar – and they know the government won’t help them.  Concealed and open carry advocates in the US already know that in cases of physical safety, when seconds count, the cops are only minutes away.  We know how to handle physical security, and we know how to handle most crises.

Identify your emergency contacts. Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team.

The local “zombie response team” – is YOU, the citizen.  This is the same for every emergency.  Ultimately the individual is responsible for their own safety, and assuming that some authority (that ultimately isn’t responsible) will save you is an abdication of individual responsibility and an abandonment of one’s own authority as an individual to manage one’s own life.

What’s noted by zombie enthusiasts (?) fans (?) aficionados (?) everywhere is that the CDC Asst SurgGeneral doesn’t say “get a gun, an ax, a cricket bat, any type of weapon”.  That’s an actual solution for the individual – addressed in even the smallest bits of zombie film/video games/literature.  Why is this left out?  Do the CDC personnel responsible for this not understand the first thing that’s addressed in any zombie film is individual safety – and retrieving weapons to kill zombies?  Heck, it’s one of the many scientific reasons a zombie apocalypse is doomed to fail.

Certainly the CDC knows, but it would usurp the function of the paternalistic government that President Grover Cleveland warned us about in the late 1800s.  It would be a tacit admission that a lot of the function of government is unnecessary.  Saying “get prepared, you probably don’t need us” ultimately defeats the nanny-state.  In contrast to Cleveland, politicians who give handouts of other people’s money are ultimately more popular than those who say “go earn your own and I won’t take it.”  Bureaucrats who convince people they’re necessary are ultimately more popular than those who say “you’d be better off without us meddling.”

Most of the preparedness notes on the CDC’s site are meant to concern evacuation in case of natural disaster.  But why favor evacuation?  When western Nebraska was hit by heavy ice storms around 2007 and 2008, there were counties in the western part of the state that were without power in some areas for months.  They didn’t degenerate into looting and violence like when many big cities go down.  They got out their generators and sat it out.  By contrast, when New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina, there was looting and rioting and violence – and regions where people stayed dry and safe were only made unsafe by being subject to forcible disarmament and relocation by government agents.  But when Nashville flooded in 2010 it was mostly ignored – but the people there weren’t rioting and looting – and they only went as far as they had to.  When Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley in Texas flooded in 2010 it was also quiet.  Nobody rioted, no looting – and no real need for any kind of distant evacuation. Evacuation is big point for central planners, though.

There are regions where the sturdiness of national character is strong enough to carry on.  There are regions where dictates from DC do not apply.  There are regions where even a lame attempt at being funny by a bureaucrat indicates how the bureaucrats don’t understand that a lot of the nation has sturdiness of character and doesn’t need, nor in most cases even want, government intervention.

Leave the zombies to us.

Or as the Republicans should be saying, “We have you by the balls now, Mr. President.”

“It’s alarming that a bill that funds our troops and could likely pass both the House and the Senate has been termed as a ‘distraction’ by the White House. No one wants to see the government shut down, but Republicans are committed to ensuring that our men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world will be paid if that happens. The White House is directly jeopardizing that.” – Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader

The following is the response from the White House concerning H.R. 1363:

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503

April 7, 2011
(House)
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 1363 – Department of Defense and Further Additional Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011
(Rep. Rogers, R-Kentucky)

The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 1363, making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes. As the President stated on April 5, 2011, if negotiations are making significant progress, the Administration would support a short-term, clean Continuing Resolution to allow for enactment of a final bill.

For the past several weeks, the Administration has worked diligently and in good faith to find common ground on the shared goal of cutting spending. After giving the Congress more time by signing short-term extensions into law, the President believes that we need to put politics aside and work out our differences for a bill that covers the rest of the fiscal year. This bill is a distraction from the real work that would bring us closer to a reasonable compromise for funding the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 and avert a disruptive Federal Government shutdown that would put the Nation’s economic recovery in jeopardy. The Administration will continue to work with the Congress to arrive at a compromise that will fund the Government for the remainder of the fiscal year in a way that does not undermine future growth and job creation and that averts a costly Government shutdown. It is critical that the Congress send a final bill to the President’s desk that provides certainty to our men and women in military uniform, their families, small businesses, homeowners, taxpayers, and all Americans. H.R. 1363 simply delays that critical final outcome.

If presented with this bill, the President will veto it.

He’s so busy and focused after all.

Commentary:

Really Mr. President? Your official response is “shut’er down?” Even the Senate still dominated by Democrats is going to pass the bill you name a “distraction.” This bill will cut 12 billion off the budget and ensure military personnel will get paid till the end of the year. I hardly see anything wrong with this bill except for the fact that the President in his best, “I know better than you,” attitude is going to tell us this is a distraction from the real issue at hand, a budget that will last for the rest of the fiscal year for 2011.

Does anyone need a reminder of why we don’t have a budget? The President’s own Democrat Congress failed to pass a budget before being thrown out of office on November 2, 2010. The inability to pass a budget with control of BOTH houses of Congress and the Presidency is an unprecedented failure after all manner of bills they shoved down the public’s collective throats. So in classic modern liberal/progressive/statist fashion they pass the budgetary problem on the incoming Republicans whose mandate is to cut spending, defund/repeal the Obamacare monstrosity, and to attempt in general to restore the federal government to its Constitutional size.

If the President vetoes this bill, the government will shutdown, but the President doesn’t simply leave us with that bit of gratifying knowledge instead, warns us that military members and their families, small business, homeowners, taxpayers etc. will have no economic certainty because if the government does shut down jobs won’t be created and the economy will not continue to recover. Last I checked it isn’t the government’s place to create jobs and oversee the economic recovery. Job creation belongs to the private sector which has been hampered by new regulations from Obamacare and other “consumer protection” legislation which has done nothing but hamper economic growth and destroy the Dollar.

If the government does shutdown, it’ll be Obama who is to blame. He wants Republicans to bow to his demands, however, without them no spending bill can be originated by any other branch of government. The Senate cannot do it, the courts can’t do it, and the mighty community organizer in chief can only propose a budget. So, it seems to me the House of Representatives is holding all the good cards, the only branches of government are at their mercy as was designed by the Founding Fathers. On this coming Saturday, it will make me and I am sure many other citizens of the United States smile that the out of control federal government has shut itself down because 2/3’s of the legislative process in this country refuses to see reason.

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>The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was just ruled unconstitutional.

The centerpiece of Obamacare is the individual mandate. For those who’ve been ignoring the news for a while, basically you are compelled by government to purchase health care, and if you opt out, you face fines. Unpaid fines to the government don’t result in the government going “shucks, we didn’t really mean it”, they result in jail time. Try it this year with the IRS.

They give you free health care in there, too.

J.B.H. wrote about the unconstitutionality of Obamacare a while back.

Jake Tapper from ABC asked Obama about the fine system and the president admitted he agreed fines for noncompliance were necessary.

And there are jail time penalties in the bill:

“H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

“If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…”

• Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

• Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”

But for now, a judge has ruled against Obamacare and the “buy it or go to jail” mandate – and invalidating the entire bill. Next step is the government going to the supreme court to push for it again.

Ultimately, the question is one of the scope of federal power and the ability for the government to stretch the commerce clause to encompass any absurd suppression of citizens’ rights.

This started in no small part under one of the last giant progressive presidents, FDR. Wickard v. Filburn. Filburn was a farmer who was growing extra wheat for himself to feed his livestock. The government had mandated the amount of wheat that could be grown in order to drive up the price of wheat and “help” farmers.

To begin with, it’s Keynesian economics, which are predicated on meddling by a bureaucrat who believes they know more than the person on the ground – and the bureaucrat ultimately using the government’s gun against the American person who rejects them. The price was low and that “hurt” farmers. But rather than support farmers growing as much wheat as possible by offering tax cuts for farmers or something – leading to more wheat and fewer hungry people, the government decided to limit the amount of wheat. Supply goes down, demand goes up. Of course, limiting the amount of food results in famines… but the bureaucrat in DC doesn’t feel it.

The fedgov is hurting people in California’s Central Valley right now. This time, rather than favor the price of wheat over farmers, they favor a fish over farmers.

The EPA hates Americans of Mexican descent. Obama hates brown people!

Anyhow, Filburn was growing wheat for himself, and the government (FDR’s supreme court), ruled that the government could regulate crops grown for private use, as they “influence the market”. The idea was that since Filburn wasn’t buying wheat at government-inflated prices, he could also not use his own land to grow wheat to feed his own livestock, as his act of not buying wheat influenced the price somewhere, no matter how miniscule.

Since he used his own land to grow his own wheat and not buy government wheat he was influencing the price of wheat by taking out his buying power. It’s like the government looking at the hooligan in the Broken Window Fallacy and going “we should smash some more windows!”

Filburn’s right to his own property and his own enterprise on his own land were violated. The government ruled that through the Commerce Clause that it could tell you what to do with your own assets. This is what Obamacare was doing until it was ruled invalid – except now rather than just growing your own wheat, Obamacare took it one step further. If you didn’t spend your money, you were subject to penalties.

The Commerce Clause is thus:
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes

What does this mean? According to SCOTUS in Gonzales V Raich, which illegalized home-grown marijuana:
The Commerce Clause emerged as the Framers’ response to the central problem giving rise to the Constitution itself: the absence of any federal commerce power under the Articles of Confederation. For the first century of our history, the primary use of the Clause was to preclude the kind of discriminatory state legislation that had once been permissible. Then, in response to rapid industrial development and an increasingly interdependent national economy, Congress “ushered in a new era of federal regulation under the commerce power,” beginning with the enactment of the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887 and the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1890.

What’s it really mean?
It was set up so that trading between states would be regular. So that if someone in Vermont wanted to sell something in Maine, they didn’t have to pay tariffs to cross New Hampshire. That’s about it. It was to keep Kansas from telling flights across the state they have to stop selling drinks at the state line. That was the purpose.

The purpose was not to tell a farmer that if he grew wheat for himself he’d go to jail, or to tell you that when you work for your money, you have to buy a healthcare plan or go to jail.

For those who would contend that not being a lawyer means that you, Joe, Jane, Pedro, Shaniqua or Vinh don’t have a voice, that’s nonsense. The Constitution was not written in some esoteric language. It’s pretty plain even now.

You don’t get from this:
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes

To this:
“H.R. 3962 provides that an individual (or a husband and wife in the case of a joint return) who does not, at any time during the taxable year, maintain acceptable health insurance coverage for himself or herself and each of his or her qualifying children is subject to an additional tax.” [page 1]

“If the government determines that the taxpayer’s unpaid tax liability results from willful behavior, the following penalties could apply…”

• Section 7203 – misdemeanor willful failure to pay is punishable by a fine of up to $25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.

• Section 7201 – felony willful evasion is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”

Without a hefty load of BS between them. If you don’t spend you money the way the govt says, you got to jail. Nonsense.