Citizenship, Free Society

Piers Morgan – the Brit does not understand

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Piers Morgan, a CNN host whose previous experience was as a BBC presenter, has called for the government to seize “assault weapons” and made pious remarks about civilized countries. On September 12, 1814, Brigadier General William Stricker’s brigade of Maryland Militia stopped General Robert Ross’s “unbeatable” regular force on the road from North Point to Baltimore. That action, plus the failure of a naval bombardment to dislodge Fort McHenry with heavy guns and Congreve rockets effectively ended any necessity for Americans to take suggestions or demands from Brits.

Morgan, not real knowledgeable of American history, stated on national television that the second amendment was about muskets, not assault weapons. He has obviously not read my article on the Well-Regulated Militia https://loboviejo.com/2012/03/09/well-regulated…-of-definition/. Nor does he realize that the anti-federalists were addressing the nature of government rather than the technology of weaponry. The nature of government had not changed since Aristotle’s treaty nor has it changed since 1791.

Any argument is going to have to be settled on American terms by Americans. And draconian measures are not going to work any better than they did in 1775 when the governor of Massachusetts Bay sent regular troops to seize arms.  A statist foreign outlook is not appropriate or welcome in that debate.

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Citizenship, Free Society

Compromise – a slippery slope?

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

“Remember,” my wife said, “that this nation is built on compromise.” To a large extent that is true—we would not have the Department of Defense were it not for compromises made after World War II. We would not have the USAPATRIOT Act, the Transportation Security Administration or the Department of Homeland Security without honorable legislators compromising their principles and their Constitution.

The Department of Defense was supposed to give Congress and the administration a handle on spending—it also creates a Secretary who can resolve disputes between the military (Army and Air Force departments) and naval (the department of the Navy was left intact) forces in time of war. The only time this really was a problem was when planning the route for the invasion of Japan in 1944 when Roosevelt had the problem of mediating between the Nimitz plan (through China) and the Macarthur plan (through the Philippines). The Nimitz plan made more strategic sense, but Macarthur threatened to resign and accept the Republican nomination to run against FDR. The President folded quickly. So after the War, George Catlett Marshall worked at developing a unified defense establishment—he intended to reduce duplication and make procurement more economical, and, by the way, eliminate the Marines.

The Marines are still here—to have a UDF you really need to start without strong traditions. Three of the five largest air forces in the world are in DOD. In 1960 there was a big push for a single belt buckle across services—see above The Marines are still here. I have no idea how many extraneous layers of bureaucracy exist in that five-sided building, but I do know we fought World War II with a lot fewer General Officers and you did not have the requirement of a flag in every nuclear armed B-52. So an audit of function as well as budget—conducted by former enlisted personnel rather than officers might be a guide. Compromises generally enlarge agencies.

What else happened was that the venue for compromise was moved to an Executive Branch “superdepartment” in which the arguments about budget are “fully explored, discussed and winnowed” before being presented to Congress in the executive budget proposal. Back before Hoover, Congress did not receive a unified budget proposal—departments competed for the attention of a Congress that took its responsibility for thrift seriously and would decide whether the Army needed ten new tanks more than the Navy needed a new cruiser. Now the Department of Defense has already vetted the request and anything less than full funding of two littorals, twenty tanks, and 150 drones is unacceptable. And congressional compromise is limit to whose district will benefit.

The Transportation Security Administration is an example of a party agenda forcing a “compromise.” The Democrats told Bush the airport security program was DOA unless it included a federal jobs program. The Administration folded. Ten years out there is scant evidence that the quality of personnel has improved—further, the prohibition on unionization has been lifted and TSA employees are now in the fold. Compromises lead to further compromises. See Understanding Gradualism and the Dialectic (https://loboviejo.com/2012/07/19/understanding-…-the-dialectic/).

Back in 1998, at the request of President Clinton, Gary Hart and Warren Rudman co-chaired a Commission on 21st Century Security. The report, issued in 2001, layed out a proposal for a homeland security program at the federal level. The constitutional authority for such an endeavor is found in Article X of Amendment which reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Through a series of compromises agreed upon by the three branches of government and not seriously challenged by the states as a unified body the Commerce Clause has become sort of a general grant of powers to the Federal Government. The European model for internal security is extremely centralized—note that no western European nation encompasses six time zones (Maine to Hawaii).

The Bush administration wanted an Office of Homeland Security within the White House, a sign that the problem involved coordination between current agencies while Congressional Democrats wanted a Department. The difference is that an Office may be abolished when it is no longer necessary—a Department becomes a permanent fixture and seeks, on its own, to expand by developing its own constituency in the Congress and the press. A Department becomes a default budget item whereas an Office may be in the third or fourth tier of priority.

The result of compromise in order to achieve the Bush agenda on other matters was the Department of Homeland Security.

So where does this leave us. We are faced with a situation where there will be compromises required for the government to operate over the next four years. We need only look at Europe which is devolving to see the consequence of continued spending without the means to spend. We have a “running scared” Republican establishment thinking about the next election and what is needed to “make a comeback” and a “smugly confident” Democratic establishment that knows the way to win elections is to identify constituencies and “deliver the goods” so that the votes and the contributions come in. There is no political advantage to cutting spending—the key is to pretend to be “investing in America.” All compromises will be made in this context.

In the area of individual liberties, they have been compromised away in pursuit of the Security state. Either Ben Franklin or Richard Jackson wrote; “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” In other words there is something that should never be compromised—lest it never be regained.

As an example only, I am going to look at the issue of gun control because it is so much a matter of where the statists have worked through gradualism and compromise to get where they are currently.

Do you know that the National Firearms Act of 1934 had nothing to do with gun prohibition and was only passed as a revenue measure under the excise power of the United States? Who said that? The US Justice Department, in appealing the acquittal of Jack Miller for failing to pay a transfer fee on a five dollar shotgun that had its barrel shortened. Never mind that there was no case in controversy as Mr Miller could not be served—having disappeared into the anonymity of poverty that was most of the rural south in the 30s. Never mind the prohibition on double jeopardy. The government did not argue the fear of “gangster weapons” that dominated the congressional debates. This was a valid exercise of the excise power to raise revenue—and anyway a “sawed-off” shotgun is not a weapon of military utility. The Court made the finding of fact that such weapon had no military utility and therefore it was not a Second Amendment question.

Do you know that the 1968 gun control act was passed by compromises protecting the US firearms industry? Further, it limited prohibition of possession and transfer to individuals whose civil rights in general are infringed—it does not have a prohibition on the mentally ill but rather “(4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution…” The major US manufacturers bought off.

Do you know that the McClure-Volkmer Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986 was only passed because of a compromise prohibiting the manufacture and transfer of machine guns in the civilian market after 19 May 1986? The NRA went along with the compromise.

Recall that the anti-federalist movement, once the inevitability of ratification became apparent, made the Bill of Rights a condition precedent to participation in the Compact. There can be no compromise on that portion of the Constitution.

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Citizenship, Free Society

Election over – time to pull up the boots

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Many “conservatives” will mourn after the election of Statist Obama over Statist Romney. There are those of us with legitimate fears about Obama and gun control, but that is about it and we will have to work harder to prevail. But the truth is, that this was an election about minor tweaks in the progressive agenda, not a “liberal-conservative” matchup. To get a conservative-progressive contest you have to go back to 1964. To get a liberal-progressive contest you go back to 1972.

First of all, no matter what you read in the press or the right alternative media, there is nothing historic or unprecedented in this election. Franklin D Roosevelt was re-elected twice (1936 and 1940) with a worse economic record and unemployment rate—his third reelection came when wartime production skewed the economic reports. Only eighteen Presidents out of forty-four have failed to be reelected—sixteen if you do not count Cleveland. Both Nixon and Clinton were under a cloud of scandal when reelected.

What mistakes did Romney make?

This is the question that will keep pundits busy for about a week at most—a little longer on the alternative media websites—and then it will be limited to the alcohol assisted venues where “conservatives” whine about every election the Republicans did not win. Note: it had nothing to do with Gary Johnson. I do have some observations.

The establishment machine made sure that Ron Paul delegations did not get to the Convention and that Ron Paul delegates were not listed as winning caucuses. People you demonize in August are not real likely to support you in November. I said as much then. Whether it would have made a difference in the electoral college I am not sure, but it could have told voters Romney could be fair.

I have seen Al Gore looser than Romney.

There is a tendency on the part of politicians to share tidbits with key contributors. Unfortunately you should never say anything in any kind of gathering that you do not want known throughout the connected world. (This parallels my advice to high schoolers not to put nude pictures of themselves on facebook or send them to significant parties.) The 47percent remark, regardless of its accuracy or source, hit a nerve in the populace. This is not fair, you say, since Obama seems to be Teflon(tm). Well, the world is what it is. Any politician unaware of the parameters is fair game.

In a debate, Mitt expressed approval of NDAA and the USAPATRIOT Act. This alienated liberty voters. A very considered answer would have addressed the Fourth and Fifth Amendment concerns and been vague enough to make voters think he was considering the issue.

There was no counter to Warren Buffett. Berkshire-Hathaway acquires companies where families are forced by the tax code to divest a profitable company to pay inheritance taxes–this is not that different in strategy from Bain.

Where to from here?

The good news is that the Republican Party is healthier down the ballot than at the top. And there is an opening for liberty minded individuals to influence what is going on. If the Republicans can shift back to the Robert Taft conservatism and pull out of military adventurism, it can start to reduce the size of the federal government.

This is small group by small group process that needs to be implemented now, not at the beginning of a campaign. And it needs to be done without Super PACs.

An agenda.

  1. Decide what to compromise on and what not to. We have much needless gun control legislation because the NRA and other conservative organizations were desperate to compromise rather than look obstructionist. Remember, the anti-federalists forced the Bill of Rights, not as a compromise but as a condition precedent to ratification.
  2. Target legislation for repeal with research. Most of the Homeland Security legislation is “emergency” legislation. The United States was last in a State of War in 1945.
  3. Encourage Tenth Amendment groups in the legislature.
  4. Be ready to force Obama to appoint “vanilla” judges to the Supreme Court. Encourage filibusters if necessary.
  5. Be ready to oppose all UN technical treaties. Support withdrawal from NATO and other organizations which authorize military force contrary to Constitutional constraints.
  6. Support free trade and oppose economic protectionism.

More guidance will come.

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Citizenship, Free Society

The Electoral College – essential and relevant

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

As we look at the polls, the argument over the Electoral College raises its head again. My wife mentioned this to me the other evening and stated the argument succinctly. The Electoral College is a remnant of a time when we did not have an informed democracy. That “our Democracy” has advanced beyond those days and there is no reason to have the EC.

There is the argument, pure and simple. I was informed that just because the founders felt this way is no reason to stick with that system. I replied that there was a reason for my position and I can explain it. It does not matter which candidate wins the popular or electoral vote. And I am not driven by democracy as such—the dictatorship of fifty percent plus one is still a dictatorship.

Benjamin Franklin, who apparently slept through much of the Constitutional Convention occasionally awaking to make a pithy remark, is reported to have had an encounter in which a woman asked whether the Convention had produced a monarchy or a democracy. His reply: “A republic, madame, if you can keep it.”

There were several proposals regarding the selection of the Executive. One was selection by the legislative branch, another by popular vote, another by the Governors. And the compromise was the electoral college. The idea was to balance population with representation of the States, from whom the united States derived its existence and powers. By giving each state a vote in the electoral college equal to its number of Senators and Representatives, the small states were not neglected.

Those favoring the idea of a national democracy rather than a federal constitutional republic see the states as irrelevant—or at best a laboratory for national policy. Those from the District of Columbia complain that their votes count less than those in Wyoming—I did not ever vote on giving electoral votes to DC and would not be upset if they were repealed. The fact is, that with both the popular vote and the electoral vote the current president was elected by those residing in less than ten percent of the landmass of the United States.

It is a token of the Republic that we still have an electoral college, that we still make a distinction of states. As long as we can do this, there is hope that we may recapture the Republic and our basic rights.

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Citizenship

Debates – if you have nothing better to do

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

Thinking about debates I have always regarded them as roughly less interesting than going in a spare room and measuring how much the wallpaper has peeled since the last go round.

Some thoughts regarding debates and polls.

Explaining the shift in polls after the first debate indicates that the debate gave an nation a side by side look at the candidates showed that a) people were waiting to see how strong Romney could come off, or b) some people were waiting to see Obama as less than invincible (therefor inevitable), or…

The big OR. Or the electorate is highly fluid. If the tables turn in the next couple debates—or shift with each one—the electorate is also extremely volatile and the demagogue who gets the last shot may win.

Do not worry about prevarication. Lies about economic plans are relative. Paul Krugman, who will not debate an Austrian school economist, is not an expert worth listening to. Romney ignores the fact that we have not had real capitalism in this country since before the passage of anti-trust in 1890, and certainly before the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Obama, who snagged the name of a defunct CPUSA publication as a campaign slogan, lives in a fantasy world of centrally planned economy. His one venture into relevance was his reference to Lincoln—in those days Presidents did not propose or advocate legislation and the one of the three that required expenditure of funds was the Transcontinental Railroad in which he had a vested personal financial interest.

And I have a question for those who place great stock in the debates. Who cares or even remembers Quemoy and Matsu?

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Citizenship, Free Society

RINO, DINO, who really cares?

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us! — Robert Burns

As I sit here watching the political infighting among Republicans I can see why they remain a minority party. One of the key words I here is RINO. The concept is that the individual is a Republican for the purpose of getting elected. It is a matter of perspective. Bob Dole mused that when he was deciding to run for County Attorney he weighed the number of Republican voters as opposed to Democratic voters in Russell County.

Now I would point out that in 1956, George Docking, a lifelong Republican, having been previously rebuffed for the Republican nomination for Governor of Kansas, registered and filed as a Democrat. The term DINO was not used. He won and his son Bob also won as a Democrat. Back then the lines were not drawn as sharply as in the national parties.

Jim Pearson, whose Republican credentials no one questions, switched from the Democratic Party to be appointed and thereafter elected as a United States Senator from Kansas.

Joan Finney, a Republican County Commissioner in Shawnee County, became upset when her mentor Frank Carlson did not support her for Second District Representative. She became a Democrat and ran for State Treasurer. She was elected and reelected and eventually elected Governor.

For a good deal of my life the major parties have been non-ideological. I identify as a Goldwater, conservative and see individual liberty, not populist family values, as defining my philosophy. What that may mean is that I will be at odds with those in power—and I have been a Republican longer than many of them have been alive.

The problem I see is that some of the Republicans calling others RINO are basically Populists in the guise of conservatives. Those who know history know that the Populists, with the aid of the Secretary of State, took control of the legislature until the Kansas Supreme Court certified the results of the County Clerks (whose authority is not subordinate to that of the Secretary of State) and the Republicans, aided by Winchester Arms, took the Statehouse back.

Now that Romney has been nominated he has become the “conservative” answer to Obama. That is not what the “conservatives” were saying at the time of the primaries and the caucuses. So what we have is a “center left” Romney as opposed to a “hard left” Obama, both of whom would have fewer problems with a Democratic Congress than a Republican one.

To find a conservative candidate we need to go back to 1964. No, Ronald Reagan was not a conservative, he was a Teddy Roosevelt progressive with conservative—even some libertarian—tendencies. Look at the record. Call him RINO. No, nor would anyone call Teddy Roosevelt who had plans to amend the Constitution to centralize power in the executive a RINO. They are part of the Pantheon.

And the question is: what happened to the “big tent” after it let in southern populists? And are Republicans going to get elected by trashing other Republicans?

 

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Citizenship, Education, Free Society

Debate – Lincoln’s “investments”

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

The debate coach watched the Debate while I, knowing that it would upset me—as in the past—refrained. I did catch a brief answer by the President speaking about government involvement in which he praised Lincoln for establishing the National Academy of Science, subsidizing the transcontinental railroad and establishing Land Grant Colleges.

OBAMA: But as Abraham Lincoln understood, there are also some things we do better together. So, in the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said, let’s help to finance the Transcontinental Railroad, let’s start the National Academy of Sciences, let’s start land grant colleges, because we want to give these gateways of opportunity for all Americans, because if all Americans are getting opportunity, we’re all going to be better off.
The Academy (National Academy of Sciences) was chartered by Congress in 1863. Lincoln signed the charter on March 3 and the Academy was organized on April 22 of that year. (Note here that Earth Day was proclaimed on April 22, 1970.) The NAS in a private organization that holds a charter—much like the Boy Scouts—but does not receive federal funds.

The transcontinental railroad had no greater lobbyist than Abraham Lincoln who had drawn a line on a map with Grenville Dodge in 1858 to mark the route. (The War Department had surveyed four possible routes and recommended one from New Orleans to Los Angeles. The State Department had made the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 to facilitate this route which would have been built in far less time. Lincoln and Dodge drew a line on a map.) Lincoln had also purchased land in Council Bluffs, Iowa, as an investment. The Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and 1864 established a funding mechanism of 30 year bonds and extensive land grants.

They federal government “owned” millions of acres from the Louisiana Purchase aka “Bonaparte’s Big Flip.” These lands were, in 1862, surplus and therefore expendable. The companies sold much of the land to acquire capital. The railroads were required to reimburse the government for the bonds and there was some default. The bonds and land grants paid about two-thirds of the costs and it was still necessary to raise private investment. (Note: Brigham Young was a serious investor of Union Pacific.)

Lincoln did have a setback in that his Illinois-Central railroad was not chosen, but rather Congress created the Union Pacific and Central Pacific.

One of the ideas that gave rise to the use of land grants was the Morrill Act. The Illinois Legislature had passed a resolution trying to get federal assistance for states to promote agricultural and mechanical education. Sen Lyman Trumbull recruited Rep Justin Smith Morrill to introduce the act which was vetoed by James Buchanan. In 1861 the act was re-introduced with the addition of training in military tactics. Added to the fact that this act and the Homestead Act were necessary to passage of the Transcontinental Railroad Act of 1862, Lincoln signed the Morrill Act.

The funding mechanism is that the States would sell the lands and use the funds to finance the schools. Again, like the National Academy of Sciences, no expenditure was made of federal funds.

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Citizenship, Education, Free Society

Credit where due

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

James Madison, Jr, took copious notes at the federal convention and fleshed them out between sessions. That he was one of the instigators of the convention is not disputed. That he participated in the ratification process and eventually put the Bill of Rights (as well as the Twenty-seventh Amendment) in their current form are matters of record.

But he is not the Father of the Constitution or the Father of the Bill of Rights. Most of the language in the Constitution proper comes from the literary abilities of Gouvernor Morris of Pennsylvania and the Bill of Rights is a (poor) adaptation of the Virginia Declaration of Rights produced by Col George Mason.

Col Mason believed a bill of rights needed to be the first article of any Constitution—he had done it that way in Virginia. Although present, he declined to sign the document for lack of the Bill of Rights and worked to prevent ratification in Virginia. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts did the same. Edmund Randolph did not like the document and declined to sign.

The Bill of Rights was the result of the anti-federalist movement. Madison was only a drafter, not being particularly invested in the project—he had argued for ratification without a bill of rights. His version of the Second Amendment lacks the admonitions against standing armies found in the Virginia Declaration.

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Citizenship

Goodbye federalism

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

As I have been re-reading Madison’s notes as edited by Solberg I have picked up on some details that the 23 year old college senior (slow learner) missed. In fact, I would recommend a re-read of a lot of stuff as an adult—you’d be amazed at what holds up and what does not.

But I digress—as most of my friends and relative note…often. Reading Madison’s notes on the federal convention reveals a lot. Many of the debates are still unsettled from day one. What are we as a nation. Do we have a general, national government or a federal republic? I can argue it both ways as my old hero Harold Fatzer did on occasion when he was chosen (by rotation) to write a majority opinion against which he had voted—his majority was solid and well thought out but his dissent was masterful, logical and chiding of the majority. I can write a legal paper on the textual federalism of the Constitution. I fervently support a federal republic and believe the national government has done more to destroy than protect.

I am writing this about the fact and not the law. The Constitution of the United States is regarded as antiquated. Franklin D Roosevelt wrote to Samuel B. Hill, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on July 6, 1935, stating, “I hope your committee will not permit doubts as to constitutionality, however reasonable, to block the suggested legislation.” I did not find a quote for his reference to the Constitution as a “quaint 18th century document,” but the sentiment fits with his attitude toward Congress and the Supreme Court. And I would posit that most in elective office agree.

What Hamilton and a number of people at the Convention preferred was a national government—some went as far as to propose the elimination of states. At that point even Madison was in favor of a stronger central government than he was after persuasion by Jefferson during ratification. The argument was that the states were a roadblock to a strong (read militarily powerful) nation. And of course the states were a hindrance to commerce—actually California does not recognize the commerce clause when it comes to firearms and the Ninth Circuit says fine.

If I end up interspersing current events with this it is that the same forces are at work today and this is about where we are. There is no provision in the Constitution for a national police force. The federal government has 150,000 “law enforcement” personnel which essentially constitute a standing army within our borders while the natural defense of society—the militia of the people—is further infringed. George Mason who drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights wrote in Section 13: “That a well-regulated militia, or composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.” The Department of Homeland Security has become a power unto itself and has voided much of what is left of federalism. Does this bother the electorate—hint, the candidates are both believers in national government. As Clinton and Bush gave up their defense of their gubernatorial powers when they arrived at the juncture of New York and Pennsylvania Avenues, so too will Romney if elected.

The arguments ranged back and forth on the merits of democratic election versus a republic. And at the Convention, there was a compromise. We are told today by those who wish a more powerful and intrusive government that compromise is not a bad thing. The Senate was to be selected by the legislatures of the states as a bone to the republicans. The fear was that a complete democracy would endanger the rights of all. As the growth of democracy gained power in the 19th Century, the Progressives manipulated the Populists into assenting to their power grab and the 17th Amendment was adopted in 1913 leaving the Senate of the United States unaccountable to those states they represent.

The situation we are in now—a national, central and unaccountable government—is not a failure of democracy but rather the natural consequence of democracy. It arises out of a public school system which has, as its primary mission, the indoctrination of the population in the current political system. This sets them up to accept the demagoguery they became acquainted with in school. Unfortunately the progressives have control of education regardless of who holds the government through the NEA and AFT.

The document remains but the reality is different. The courts and Congress cannot control the Executive because they do not have the will. This is not a new phenomenon of the Clinton-Bush-Obama years. Andrew Jackson once said, “Mr Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.”

More quotes:

“I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate about me.” Theodore Roosevelt whose 1912 campaign made suggestions about the need to revise the Constitution to give the central government more power.

““The President is at liberty, both in law and conscience, to be as big a man as he can. His capacity will set the limit; and if Congress be overborne by him, it will be no fault of the makers of the Constitution, – it will be from no lack of constitutional powers on its part, but only because the President has the nation behind him, and the Congress has not.” Woodrow Wilson who believed there was a “transcendent constitution” that superseded the dead written document.

So we are here with a national rather than a federal government that Republicans and Democrats alike are comfortable with.

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Citizenship

A case for a change

(c) 2012 Earl L. Haehl Permission is given to use this article in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.

There are two major candidates, one of whom will be elected in December, with different aspirations. Mitt Romney wants very much to be President. To that end he will promise anything he needs to promise and will have a tough time following through on those promises if elected. This is not intended as an endorsement of Mr Romney.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, is President. He made all those promises four years ago, and to achieve some he ignored others. He wants very much to transform America. It worked for FDR—four times. It was only after World War II ended and Truman lifted wartime restrictions that the nation began to recover from the recession of 1931.

So let us look at the transformation so far. The “bailout” of the auto industry involved a takeover of two companies in order to preserve the union welfare state of those companies and give the government a “stakeholder” place in decision making. The bankruptcy law was violated and preferred stockholders, many of them public employee and teacher pension funds, were left holding the bag to assure government preferred stakeholders—aka the UAW. When franchises were closed, the fact that some had paid serious money for their franchises was not a consideration. Apparently volume of sales was not either.

Another aspect of the transformation of the auto industry is the new green technology. An example of this is the new Chevy Volt. GM loses $49,000 on every one that leaves the factory in order to reach a price point of $40,000. In addition the taxpayers pick up another $7,500 in a tax credit to bring the price down to a level where people will buy the vehicle.

The genius of the American auto industry has been its ability to produce vehicles that capture the consumer. And scuttle those that do not. They did not have to deal with the fiat that “you will build this vehicle” mentality of the Combloc. The Edsel was a failure—Ford ditched it and followed with the Mustang. Despite Ralph Nader the Corvair was extremely popular—there is a 61 driving around town that is in better shape than Ralph.

Ford escaped the “bailout” by having shepherded its resources to where it would not have to take a reorganization. Not to worry. New EPA CAFE standards took care of the the popular Crown Victoria. The company will survive, but a solid, powerful vehicle has been removed from production. Its replacement, the AWD Taurus-SHO, is unlikely to last as many miles and has a higher price tag to begin with. And with Executive Order 13603 in place, Obama has “authority” to seize industries in the name of national security.

The “bank bailout” saved some companies that should have been allowed a quiet demise. The real estate bubble which brought it down was caused largely by federal requirements to “open up” the housing market. To avoid pressure by compliance agencies, the banks loosened credit requirements to the point that massive groups of people were approved for loans they could never pay. There were people in certain counties in Colorado who were refinancing every eighteen months. There was a joke in the consumer community about using Visa to pay Mastercard—eventually the house of cards (so to speak) tumbles.

As the Congress set about remedying the financial situations there were companies that should have gone under, but were “too big to fail” so they were propped up. The regulations bill that the President signed had not been read by its sponsors. Retiring Sen Chris Dodd said it would take a couple years to find out what was in it.

So we come to the quick fix comprehensive health care reform. Like the financial services bill it was rushed and rammed through without time for reading or reflection. So much for the promise of transparency. What is in it—other than a tax that is unlawful because it originated in the Senate or else in the mind of an intimidated Chief Justice—is not clear. What is not in it is: cost control, frivolous lawsuit control, and cost increase control. Without these, the temporary nature of the bill is apparent—the costs will crash the government.

Then we come to the assertion that the President has authority to order the assassination of anyone he deems a threat to the American people. In asserting this power—which was not asserted in the Divine Right of Kings—the President places himself with banana republic dictators as well as Vlad the Impaler, Caligula, Stalin and Rasputin.

The President has also issued executive orders giving himself authority Congress and the Constitution will not. He tires of waiting for Congress. He has always, from his own statements, been frustrated by the Constitution’s negative liberties. He would like to change this Constitution out for one that mandates redistribution. And he clearly is looking for three more appointments to the Supreme Court in order to achieve this.

Mr Obama recently remarked that is is nearly impossible to effect change from the inside. Perhaps the community organizer needs to get back outside.

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