Supreme Court Rulings – Always Right?

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Is the SCOTUS always right?
Several recent cases (not to mention legalization of abortion several decades ago) have led to many suggesting a given argument is “settled law”. Stop arguing. It is over. Accept it.
But is this really the case?
A quick review of the last few hundred years show that the Supreme Court has overturned previous SCOTUS rulings 123 times as of EOY 2014.
Seems to me nothing is settled. Ever.

As an aside – over the approximately 2000 years of the Catholic Church, while the Popes throughout its history have made only a few of what are called “Ex Cathedra” proclamations, which literally means, “from the chair” (with the full authority of office (especially of the pope’s infallibility as defined in Roman Catholic doctrine)), none have been reversed. These are basically the Pope declaring something to be true and what must be believed. It is quite telling that at no time has a Pope reversed the proclamation of a predecessor. EVER. And while there have only been a few Ex Cathedra declarations, there have been many determinations from popes throughout the history of the Church that have also NEVER been reversed.
It is interesting that the Catholic Church has never reversed what essentially the equivalent or greater (so to speak) of a Supreme Court ruling in 2000 years but the SCOTUS has reversed itself 123 times in approximately 1/10th the length of time.

Post note: I know what some of you will say… The SCOTUS has made hundreds or even thousands of decisions over the last few hundred years and the pope has only made a few. Of course they are going to get things wrong. True. However, not to get into detail of how the Catholic Church works, there are other ways of “declaring” something true and doctrinal. One is through “collegiality” where the pope makes a determination in communion with the other bishops of the church. This is not Ex Cathedra per se but holds the same authority. As well, several Church councils have been called over the centuries (Trent, Vatican I & II are probably the best known). While these councils make non-doctrinal decisions, they also have made doctrinal ones. Again, none of the doctrinal determinations of the Church have been reversed.
This post was not supposed to be a comparison of the Catholic Church and the SCOTUS.
The post overall and the comparison was intended to point out two things.
A) Supreme Court decisions are NOT settled law.
B) When determinations are made on the basis of the truth of right and wrong (vice “I want to do it so it must be right”), good and bad, morals, they have much less chance of being overturned. When decisions are made on the basis of polls, current societal “norms”, “equality”, etc., they will eventually, hopefully, be corrected. The SCOTUS is more and more making decisions based on current societal norms vice what is right (or even Constitutional). I harken again back to Sodom and Gomorrah.

So take heart. Poor decisions can, and hopefully will, be reversed. Oh, wait a minute… have we the time?

One final thought – let’s take a quick look at the Constitution of the United States. You remember that document. The one the POTUS and SCOTUS like to ignore.
It specifies in Article III, Section 2, Paragraph 2:
“In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”
So the question may be – Why does Congress, the body of the people, not stand up for what is right for the people? Congress is Constitutionally authorized to make exceptions as to on what the Supreme Court may or may not rule. For what are they waiting? The people, through their Representatives, have the authority to say “this is the way we wish our country to be run… this is what is right and what is wrong… the minority can’t dictate to the majority… having an opinion (preference?) does not make you right…”. However, our Congress is either ignoring or ignorant of it’s authority to stand up for the people. So much for a “representative democracy”.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

The Tipping Point – a continuation…

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Progressivism (read, Liberalism/Socialism) in a nutshell (although not inclusive)::

Poverty vs welfare: They go hand in hand. What Socialists don’t see is that while welfare doesn’t create poverty, in its current state in our country, it does in fact perpetuate it. This has led to generational dependency and poverty. The way to lift our fellow man out of this perpetual state is to allow the private sector to provide jobs and limit the assistance (at either the State level or via private charity) to a minimal timeframe thereby creating the requirement to accept the work that private sector provides. Considering it is ALWAYS better than the poverty level subsistence provided by the Federal government, why would you NOT take it. Oh yeah, you’d actually have to GET A JOB!
I am not alone in this, the Manhattan Institute, came to this conclusion when it studied the notion of income inequality: “The central problem facing the economy is that income growth over the past few years has been modest to nonexistent, as a result of the financial crisis, the subsequent recession, and an extremely modest recovery. Moreover, policies that aim only to redistribute wealth—rather than generate real economic growth and opportunity—are unlikely to solve, or even meaningfully address, the slow growth trajectory for wages.”

Tax rate vs government income: Proven over and over again, lowering the tax rates creates more income for the government. Makes no sense on the surface (which is as far as the Socialists look because any further would not satisfy their plan of dependency and thereby ensuring its continued power base). However, the reason it works is simple. Less money taken from the private sector by the government allows more money to be spent by individuals and companies. Money spent creates jobs. More jobs equals more income. More income creates more income tax (yes, EVEN at lower tax rates). It is NOT rocket science.
This is not only a solution for our debt, it is a solution for unemployment. It is a solution for pulling anyone and everyone that takes advantage up in social status. As the old saying goes, a rising tide lifts ALL boats. As well, any job created by the government is a cost to all taxpayers, whether you want or need the product/service. Any job created by the private sector is a cost only to those that choose to spend money on that product or service. That said, since profit is the life or death of a company, job creation is required. Without employment, there is no profit. Therefore, the private sector is much better at creating and pricing jobs. Need proof, look at history.

Debt: See comments reference Greece in previous blog (07/05/2015 – The Tipping Point).

Morality: It is a good thing we have a Supreme Court (more on this next week) to dictate morality and create laws to ensure it. I suspect if we keep going down this path (which I see no indication we won’t) we will be able to get rid of Congress (and therefore the will of the people) and just have a dictator as president (later to be renamed monarch since it is more politically correct) and a court to rubber stamp his/her prescriptions. As well, by dictating away Judeo-Christian morals, on which this country was founded and most of our overriding laws (including the Constitution itself) are based, they can ensure their voting base and therefore their power. Keep in mind however that at some point voters will no longer be needed. Subjects on the other hand will be important.

Our national borders: While I fully understand from an individual perspective the desire to improve their standard of living, entering a sovereign nation without permission is not right. From the other side of the border, helping other countries improve the standards of their people is much preferable than taking on their poverty stricken citizens. And undoubtedly less costly in the long run. Not that I am advocating the US as the banker to the world anymore than the police force of the world (although we already supply significant portions of direct and indirect “lending” to nations throughout the world). Nor do I suggest that it is easy to go into a country and presuppose we know better than them how to provide for their people. However, it is without a doubt that we have proven our past philosophies are quite able to ensure a prosperous society. That said, allowing illegal immigration is not the solution to any country’s problems. When we allow the destitute with no means of support (thereby becoming an additional drain on a society already sucked dry), criminals and terrorists to cross into our country unabated, it can only lead to a further decline and eventual destruction of our ability to help ourselves, much less that rest of the world. And it is in direct conflict with the prime raison d’être of government, its reason for existence – to protect (not PROVIDE FOR) its people. Our current policies and level of enforcement is detrimental to our national existence.

Being forced to buy what we may not want (or already have in the form we want): Yes, SCOTUS Care (not interested in using our current POTUS’s name at any time – but aka The Affordable [what a joke] Care Act – as the current major example. The Oligarchy has spoken. The Federal government, or in this case, the Dictator in Chief and his cohorts in Congress, has/have no Constitutional authority to FORCE us to purchase not only something we don’t want, but exactly what and how much it will be. Apparently individual liberty (as in Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness) and the 1st Amendment no longer apply. A solution looking for a problem. Instead of allowing the private sector to solve the problem of the few, the Dictator in Chief has solved the “problem” even for those of us that didn’t have one. As well, we now have pretty much as many or more without coverage than the problem was to address and has shown no lowering in costs for those that are forced to get a new version of something they already had. The numbers for 2012 (prior to “Affordable” Care Act (ACA)) show an uninsured rate of 16.7% with an average family annual premium of $15,745. In 2013 the uninsured rate was 20.8%. Today the uninsured rate is approximately 15.5% with an average family annual premium of $16,800. These numbers are of course from the government that brought you the product you did not need. Honesty? – I don’t think so. In addition, other than forcing people to purchase something they may or may not want, from somewhere they may or may not want purchase it, what has it accomplished? Since, contrary to what was portrayed, there is no indication that the ACA was the cause of the minimal reduction (a theoretical 1.2%) in number of insured. All that said, and contrary to the ruling of the SCOTUS (now a political body vice the intended legal one), there is nothing Constitutionally allowing the Federal government to get involved in health care.

Another long one. The wife hates that. But it needs to be said. And luckily I’m not the only one saying it. If you believe this country needs to get back to prosperity and the moral values upon which it was based, it is time to standup and in whatever way available to you (within the context of those values) do SOMETHING to turn it around.

Again, welcome to the New Dark Ages…

Maybe I’ll try some less depressing topics in the near future.

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

The Tipping Point

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I’m back.
A lot has happened during my hiatus.
In that time I believe we – our country specifically, but the world in general – reached the Tipping Point. We are now on an inevitable march into the New Dark Ages.
Don’t get me wrong. It is not the ABILITY to get back on track that is lacking. It’s not that nothing CAN be done. It is that, as in the past, the DESIRE of those that have the power and authority is to continue down this path toward darkness. Why you may ask? Easy, it is also the desire of those that put them in power and the fear of losing that power. The “receivers” outnumber the “providers” and refuse to give up their spoils. Those in power must continue to provide those spoils or lose everything. In relation to physical spoils, they will of course be forced to do so. The problem for them, and us, is too many are now dependent on too few and it can not be sustained. The providers, not having an endless supply or being given the time and freedom to obtain more, will soon be sucked dry.
That said, these “spoils” come not only in physical (read: financial) support but psychological and moral as well. As with the Dark Ages of old, people want to do what they want to do regardless of any ethical or moral consequences. Regardless of any detriment to society. Regardless of any ill affect on their (our) progeny. They have convinced themselves, and others of equally weak minds, that there are in fact no such consequences. Everybody, as well as any thought, idea, lifestyle – any choice whatsoever – is as valid as the next. The valid, individual worth of the person has transformed into invalid worth of ideas. “I’m as good as you, therefore my ideas are as valid as yours.” Consequences and history be damned. Yes, you ARE as good as me as relates to our worth as human beings. No, your ideas have been shown throughout the ups and downs of history to be based on erroneous information and unsound reasoning and are unquestionably invalid (which is one reason they are not questioned). The acceptance of these ideas is what has led to the collapse of civilizations time and time again.

As one of many examples, let us consider modern day Greece. More and more borrowing over the last 7 years or so. Understating its deficit and debt. Now shut out from borrowing in the world financial markets.
Socialism at its best. The path of the United States. Since much of the issue with Greece is due to the interconnectedness of the world financial markets and the implosion of Wall Street in 2008, many other countries – including the US with $18+ Trillion in debt & no end in sight – will follow shortly. Much of the money lent to Greece by the way was from the US contributions to the international funds. SO… the US going further into debt to bail out a country going further into debt. Some actually considered this a good deal? And finally, in order to obtain the latest in its borrowing, Greece was required to make deep budget cuts (we’ll see how that plays out) and steep tax increases. While it obviously didn’t help – taking money from those that generate the money never does – does this sound familiar?
[note: the day of this original post the Greeks voted in a referendum to reject their creditors’ austerity terms for aid. They rejected the budget cuts. They will have their spoils!]

Not to get to hung up on the financial issues of our march…

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Anonymous [yes I know, that quote has been attributed to many people. But since there is no hard evidence of the true author, I give credit to Anonymous (he has many great quotes)]

And have no doubt. It IS evil that is on the move. Evil in the form of Socialism (Progressive, Democrat, call it what you want). Making slaves – or at best, indentured servants – of so many. More and more, good men are no longer allowed to do anything. Those that have been lured into and convinced of the benefits of this evil are growing in number by the day. They don’t connect their “gifts” of public assistance to their becoming dependent on it (psychologically if nothing else). They don’t connect their “gifts” of public assistance to the taxes of their neighbor. They don’t connect their “gifts” of public assistance to the absurdly high and still growing National debt. Or they just don’t care. But they DO vote.

Previously a great nation assisting around the world to defend, provide humanitarian relief and fund the necessities of the persecuted of other countries (often times, entire countries), we, the US, no longer have the leadership to do so. In addition, our ability to do so has never been so minimal or so strained.
While our fellow man is being brutally tortured and murdered throughout the Middle East and around the world, our leaders (our dictator) has decided to do nothing.

What is leading us to this state of affairs. Why liberalism of course. Progressivism. Socialism. The Scourge. However you wish to refer to it. It is the epitome of evil. It is Lucifer at work. Subtle. Taking what he can, when he can, where he can, how he can. Bringing us the apple in the garden, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Dark Ages, the Holocaust, (yes, I could go on) and most recently – the new, politically correct, way of Socialism.
We will look at some specific aspects of this next time.

In the mean time, to sum up the current state of our government::

Our POTUS is behaving like a Dictator espousing and forcing socialism on his subjects. The dictator commands his branch from an ivory tower and the cabinet members and their many departments decree more and more how we are allowed to live.

Our SCOTUS is run as an Oligarchy ignoring the Constitutional limits of its own power and either rubber-stamping progressive views or legislating liberal ideals from the bench. This oligarchy, with no regard for the will of the people or the law of the land, ignores the duly elected representatives (not to mention the Constitution) and legislates from the bench.

Our Congress is overrun by liberals on both sides of the aisle. We now have but one party split in name only. As well, based on the 17th Amendment, we have but one chamber separated in name only (ok, rules too) and we are suffering the consequences of ignoring the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and changing the original system. When it is not furthering the cause of Socialism, this Congress sits back and, well, sits back.

Because each of the branches has decided to act individually – without any regard for the Constitution, historic precedence, or common sense – the ideal, an institution of checks and balances as intended and prescribed by the Constitution, is no longer existent.

Unfortunately for President Lincoln & the rest of us, the “Government of the people, by the people, for the people…” has perished from the Earth.

As well, our perfect Union, Justice, domestic Tranquility, common defence, general Welfare, and the Blessings of Liberty have all been relegated to the ash bins of history.

We had a good run.
Prepare for the New Dark Ages…

-to be continued-

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…

Government spending brought to the personal level

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Ok … Let me boil this down to the simple and bring it home (literally).

The current US Federal government’s annual income in taxes/fees/etc. (i.e., what the IRS takes into the General Fund with which it can pay expenses) is $2 Trillion.
The current US debt is $17 Trillion.
That is a debt to income ratio of approximately 8.5:1.

Let’s compare that to the average family of four.
The average annual income for a family of four in the US is approximately $50,000.
The equivalent debt would be $425,000.

You tell me… would you lend that family any more money? Would you even lend them THAT much?
I’m guessing there’s not a banker in the country that would take that risk.

Keep in mind, this is unsecured debt. This would not include such items as the family’s mortgage (house), car loan, etc. It would be the equivalent of credit card debt. $425,000 in credit card debt on a $50,000 income!
I’m presuming most of you readers are relatively intelligent and answered no to both those questions. So why then was it ok for our representatives in Congress (and approved by the President) to increase the US debt limit and allow the federal government to borrow additional money?! How many more times are we going to allow our elected representatives to do this before we say “ENOUGH”?!

A) that is YOUR debt if you are a US citizen
B) that is only the federal debt. It does not include state and local debt.


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The definition of entitlement from the Encarta Dictionary: English (North America) “to give somebody the right to have or to do something” [emphasis mine].  Merriam-Webster defines it as “a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also: funds supporting or distributed by such a program” [again, emphasis mine].

What truly are entitlements as the term applies to our daily lives?  According to A Glossary of Political Economy Terms by Paul M. Johnson of the Department of Political Science, Auburn University – the most important examples of entitlement programs at the federal level in the United States would include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, most Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and agricultural price support programs. Based on the definition above, the activities should not be called entitlements.

I would though argue that benefits such as Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans should not be included at all.  These programs were earned through employment – as are any such programs in the private sector.  Although programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are paid for by the eventual receiver of the benefit they are unconstitutional activities of the Federal Government.

Oft cited as justification for Entitlement programs is the “general Welfare of the United States” parts of the United States Constitution.  The Constitution contains two references to “the General Welfare”, one occurring in the Preamble and the other in the Taxing and Spending Clause. The U.S. Supreme Court has held the mention of the clause in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution “has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States or on any of its Departments.”  This leaves the Taxing and Spending Clause which reads, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…”.  However, while the “general Welfare” has been, and I agree should be, interpreted as many things, it says nothing of redistribution of wealth programs – exactly what these so called entitlements are.

Per the official Social Security website: “The constitutional issue about the taxing power had deep roots running all the way back to the founders and to a dispute between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Although both Hamilton and Madison were Federalists who believed in a strong federal government, they disagreed over the interpretation of the Constitution’s permission for the government to levy taxes and spend money to ‘provide for the general welfare.’ Hamilton thought this meant that government could levy new taxes and undertake new spending if doing so improved the general welfare in a broad sense. Madison thought the federal government could only expend money for purposes specifically enumerated in the Constitution.  The Madisonian view, also shared by Thomas Jefferson [an Anti-Federalist], came in time to be known as the strict construction doctrine while the Hamiltonian view is called the doctrine of implied powers.”  Obviously I completely agree with Madison and Jefferson.  When you throw the 10th Amendment into the mix it makes little sense for the general welfare to be interpreted as Hamilton did.  IF, as he suggests, “government could levy new taxes and undertake new spending if doing so improved the general welfare in a broad sense”, thereby opening the door to those “implied powers”, it could basically do whatever it wanted.  It would operate with complete impunity.  Can you say $16T debt?  Can you say 10th Amendment disregarded?  Keep in mind, the 10th Amendment not only covers the States but “we the people” as well.  Considering it is not only our rights being ignored but our money used to pay for these programs, it may be something with which you should concern yourself.  Just a thougth…

According to Paul M. Johnson, “The existence of entitlement programs is mainly significant from a political economy standpoint because of the very difficult problems they create for Congress’s efforts to control the exact size of the budget deficit or surplus through the annual appropriations process.”  As well, “Since the middle 1980s, entitlement programs have accounted for more than half of all federal spending. Taken together with such other almost uncontrollable (in the short run, that is) expenses as interest payments on the national debt and the payment obligations arising from long-term contracts already entered into by the government in past years, entitlement programs leave Congress with no more than about 25% of the annual budget to be scrutinized for possible cutbacks through the regular appropriations process.”  This of course presupposes that you can’t touch such programs.  I have a revelation!  How about we get rid of these programs?  How about if people “need” assistance we leave it to the States (should any individual State choose to have such programs), private charity or family/friends.  Wow, what a concept.  I cannot take credit for it though.  It was around for thousands of years prior to our Entitlement programs being implemented.

Bottom line:  this is a pure and simple redistribution of wealth which boils down to legalized (and unconstitutional) theft.  They are taking money from one to give to another.  The first receives no compensation or benefit from the “transaction”.  As well, per the Merriam-Webster definition of “a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group”, one can hardly argue that it is providing “for the … general Welfare of the United States”.  These programs are providing for specific groups of people that fit specific criteria.
That is NOT the general welfare of our country directly or indirectly!  For those that doubt, we will take a look at the Broken Window Theory at a future date.

I went through the Constitution (again!) to look for rationale above and beyond that normally claimed to support these programs.  I found none.  However, what I DID find were violations of MY rights (and yours).  Since those that come up with these ideas seem bent on interpreting the Constitution in any way they see fit, I am going to throw out these arguments as I see them (two can play at that game).

Taking my money to pay for unearned entitlements for others, and, in fact, specific groups such as the poor and farmers, violates my 4th Amendment rights.  That is, it violates my right to “be secure in [my] … effects, against unreasonable … seizures…”  In this case, taking my money to give to someone else is in effect seizing my “effects” (no pun intended).  It is unreasonable since I receive no benefit from the seizure and have no say in either how much is taken or to whom it is given.  In fact, I actually become less secure in my person and house since I have less money with which to secure family and myself.  In a similar vein, this would also violate my 5th Amendment rights.  These being “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”  In this case we are not even talking about “private property be[ing] taken for public use”.  The money (property) they are taking from me is designated for specific groups, not to be used for the public.  Due process of law means “a fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one’s life, liberty, or property. Also, a constitutional guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious.”  This specifically applies to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” (i.e., ME!) and, while specified in the 5th Amendment this applies to States as well per the 14th.

I am also going to claim my 8th Amendment rights have been violated.  My claim in this is that since this amendment does not claim to be specific to criminals (as may be presumed by its wording), it is applicable to every citizen.  Therefore, this theft of my funds is an “…excessive fines imposed…” which results in “…cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”.  I am being unduly punished by having my money taken, again with no benefit to me, and reducing my standard of living.

Additionally I am claiming a violation of my 10th Amendment rights.  This of course is the amendment that ensures “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.”  I am “the people”.  While I might agree that many of these programs could be enacted and implemented at the State level (should the people of that State so choose and it is done so in a manner so as not to violate my 14th Amendment rights), until then, and as long as it is the Federal government doing it, I am being denied my constitutional rights.  I have all those rights not enumerated in Article I, Section 8.

I am finally claiming my 13th Amendment rights are violated.  As I’m sure you will recall, this amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”  I am claiming that this theft of my funds amounts to involuntary servitude.  I work and do not receive the entire benefit of my labor.  The time I must work to earn that which is taken to redistribute is involuntary servitude.  I have committed no crime.  Why am I being punished?

On the other hand, since we technically live in a Representative Democracy, we may as well just scrap the Constitution (Articles I and II excepted since in order to be a Representative Democracy, you need representatives) and let our duly elected representatives (Congress and the President) enact any laws they wish.  If we don’t like it, we just elect new ones and have them change it.  Based on the treatment of the Constitution over the last 50-60 years (to a more limited extent even longer), we are effectively doing this anyway.  Why not save the money being paid to the Judicial Branch and just scrap it?  No Constitution, no need to interpret it, no need for a Supreme Court (and all the support structure that goes with it).  Per the United States Courts website, “the Judiciary as a whole would receive $6.76 billion” in fiscal year 2012.  More for those Entitlement programs!

You may claim these arguments are silly, unrealistic or just plain ridiculous.  However, keep in mind, when we look at an application of our Constitution based on moving standards vice the original intent of the drafters and common sense, we can eventually make it say virtually anything we want.  Did I say “virtually”?  hmmmmmm

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…