Niki was right!

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The “quote” from Nikita Khrushchev to the UN on September 29, 1959 is yet again circulating the web and e-mails. Aside from there being no evidence he actually said it, at least not directly (and the banging of his shoe is complete fabrication) I have no doubt the sentiment has always been there. Some reliable evidence suggests his quote was more indirect. In fact, I would suggest it was (and is still) their (Russians in this case) plan A. Plan B (a simultaneous action) being a slow, methodical (but more obvious) military takeover of the world. Plan B is not going quite as well as desired at the moment. Plan A? Well you decide…

For those that remember well all the pontifications about it at the time (no, I was not around!) and remember laughing at what he said… I bet you’re not laughing anymore! At least I HOPE not.

Here is the more reliable “quote” as circulated at the time (and since):

“We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism.” – Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev, 1959

Personally I think Socialism is worse than Communism but that is for another time.

Now I’m not suggesting any particular politician (I’ll leave it to Nikita to call them “leaders”) were (are?) assisted by Russia. I’m just say’n…

Per the Oxford Dictionary of English, Socialism is: “A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” [bold, italics mine] A sub definition [ibid]: “Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.” [again, bold, italics, underline mine].

Apparently Bernie Sanders believes we are there. And who am I to argue with a U.S. Senator (at least when they are right).

On the other hand, according to Mises Institute, “Sanders is wrong about the New Deal ‘putting people to work’ since their government-funded activity did nothing to create wealth or end the [D]expression. The Depression lasted until 1945. And the New Deal certainly isn’t ‘the foundation of the middle class’ which grew and thrived in the second half of the 19th century. However, when he classifies the New Deal programs that dominate US policy today as “socialist,” Sanders is absolutely correct.”

It always sounds good on paper, especially when the liberal media adds its two-cents. But it never actually works out that way.

The Mises Institute also states: “To get a sense of what has constituted socialism, historically speaking, it is a mistake to rely on Marxism as the benchmark. Marxism was just one type of socialism in the 19th century, and it failed to gain traction in western Europe. Part of this is because, by the mid-19th century, it was already becoming clear that the predictions of Marxism were wrong. The ownership of capital was not becoming more concentrated. It was becoming more diffuse. The working classes were not descending into a wretched proletariat in western Europe. They were experiencing gains in their standard of living.”

It was for a time also the case on “this side of the pond”; further research showing the application to the U.S. as well. However, we now ARE getting that more concentrated capital (although not to the extent Marx predicted – YET). But the concentration is being caused by the power brokers implementing SOCIALISM, no longer allowing for the diffusion created by CAPITALISM. Why? Well… interestingly enough:

“But socialism isn’t just about cash transfer payment. It’s largely about government regulation, which is where the New Deal was most revolutionary. As political scientist Theda Skocpol pointed out years ago in her research (most especially in her book Protecting Soldiers and Mothers) the US has had “welfare” going back to the 19th century. What was most different about the New Deal — other than its scale — was how it took a largely unregulated economic system and imposed a massive amount of new regulation on property owners in the form of laws related to wages, labor, prices, and more. Arguably, this sort of regulation is far more damaging than mere cash transfers since it directly impedes the creation of wealth before it can even be redistributed.” [ibid]

So, our current state of Socialism? Let’s take a look…
*Medicare, *Medicaid, *Social Security, *Healthcare (ACA as only the latest example), *Public schools funded by the Federal government, *Government college grants, scholarships, and loans, *FDA, *EPA, *HUD, *EBT/ Food stamps, *Minimum wage, *Unemployment insurance, *40-hour work week, *Deposit insurance, *Job programs, *etc. etc. etc. (actually this is just the short list – the VERY short list.)

Hey, what said we combine both redistribution AND massive regulation and see how many lives we can destroy.

Don’t get me wrong. People, from time to time need help. However, I think if we mention that to the “more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations [that] are registered in the U.S.” [according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS)], we might get the problem solved without government involvement (and might I add bureaucratic expense and interference?).

While I completely agree that government has its place, in the United States of America that place is supposedly (used to be) defined by the Constitution. Leaving aside the completely absurd argument that the Preamble defines the responsibilities of the Federal government (i.e., the results of suggesting “…in Order to form a more perfect Union, … promote the general Welfare….” defines ANYTHING the fed is allowed to do), the Constitution defines specific enumerated responsibilities (defined in Section 8 – the remainder primarily defining how it is to do them). Unfortunately, “…promote the general Welfare…”, while intended to explain the WHY of the Federal government vice the WHAT, apparently allows for anything and everything the Federal government wants to force upon us.

Welcome to Socialism. I think we are there. And a sad state of affairs to be sure…

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

What of yourself is yours?

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I am sorry to say, but you have very little that is intrinsically yours. Your time, your talent and your thoughts are pretty much the extent of it. And it is what you DO with that time as well as those talents and thoughts that become everything else that is yours. You usually accomplish this by turning them into money with which you then purchase other things (goods or services).
To what should be a limited extent, living in society requires us to give up some of what is intrinsically ours for an individual and collective benefit. We expect (but have no specific right to) such things as protection – other than self defense (e.g., military, law enforcement, fire protection, etc), education (to a level that is of benefit to society – currently set at the secondary level), clean water, power, etc. Many of these things (depending on where you live) are provided by the State and/or local government. In order to pay for them we must pay taxes.
The question then becomes, how much of ourselves – what is intrinsically ours or what we turn that into – can society demand? To how much does it have the right? Most specifically, to how much does it have ANY right if that demand does not in turn provide direct benefit to us (such as what is listed above).
A professional photographer in NM is told she is breaking the law by not photographing the union of a same-sex couple. She refused to use her time and talent in that manner on religious grounds. She was told that it was discrimination and was compelled to do it. The Supreme Court ruled that Elaine Photography violated New Mexico’s Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph the same-sex ceremony. She was ordered to pay over $7,000 in legal fees.
In 2013 an Oregon baker, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, refused to use his time and talents make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Since Aaron Klein, co-owner, declined to provide a cake for a lesbian “wedding” they now face $135,000 in “damages” for the “emotional suffering” of the couple and are under a “gag order” denying them their 1st Amendment right to present their side of the story. The bakery closed its doors in Dec. 2013.
Other cases (and losses) include a Washington state florist and a Colorado cake artist who refused to do work for same-sex couples and a Kentucky T-shirt printer who declined to make shirts promoting a gay pride festival. All being forced by the state to use their time and talent with neither individual or collective benefit.
“Only unjust laws separate what people say from what they believe,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Jordan Lorence.
Writing in Forbes, 8/28/2013, Josh Steimle states:
“If we want a level playing field with fairness and justice for all, let the law focus on crimes of violence, and let individuals use persuasion in all other matters. This means letting people get away with doing wrong, as long as they commit no act of outright aggression. Even if it is wrong for Elaine to discriminate, we must be tolerant of such behavior if we want to live in a free society with a thriving entrepreneurial base. Those who take joy in this case because the law has ruled in their favor may come to regret a future day when that precedent is used to rule against them. The better way is to not give government such power in the first place.”
Bottom line: Individuals should not be compelled to part with what is intrinsically theirs when that parting provides no specific benefit to them or the society in which they live as a WHOLE. And especially when that parting violates their Constitutional rights.
Of course, not to suggest the effects of the issue above are not of great significance, the major overreach of government at this time is the “Affordable Care Act”. The government forcing its citizens to purchase a specific product and at a specific minimum level. And telling the providers of the end-service (e.g., the medical professionals) they must accept payment as dictated by that service – thereby minimizing the value of their time and talents. In addition, it is a disregard for not only what is intrinsically an individuals – using it for something that is no benefit to them individually (since virtually all already had what they wanted/needed) – but, often times, going against their 1st Amendment rights as well as using the fruits of their time and talent solely for the benefit of others.
Keep in mind, from the standpoint of many of the “powers that be” promoting these issues, it is not truly about any individual or even any of these items. It’s about the mindset. The immature, sophomoric way of viewing individuals vs society. This leads to the fallacy of equality. When T. Jefferson stated, “all Men are created equal” he was referring to their intrinsic VALUE – specifically in the “eyes” of our Creator. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that we are not all equal in every respect. Yet this theory of equality is what leads to Socialism/Liberalism/Progressivism and the eventual downfall of a society (as should be noted from the history of every society of any significance that has tried it).
As well, the underlying reason many (most?) of those that proclaim these positions is to support their own agenda. They won’t admit it, but this is their way of saying “I want to do what I want to do and they rest of you should let me do it.” And those in power continue that statement with “and YOU need to fall in line and do it to.” They just couch it I such a way as to declare they are SO benevolent to others all the while expecting the benefit, if achieved, to eventually get back to them and their issue. If nothing else, eventually society as a whole just becomes liaise faire and let’s anybody do anything. This is a version of Anarchy. Nay, the DEFINITION of Anarchy.
The answer to the question? Apparently even your time and talent are no longer yours. The government can force you to use them as they dictate. Is thought next? King George III is back!

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

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…

A Day Late… Can he sustain it?

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Ok… I have decided that it is virtually impossible to do a credible job of copiously detailing the topics of my major posts with a full time (and then some) job and my desire to ensure the expressed opinion is completely supported.

So, while I fully intend to complete major essays when time is available, I will do my best to present each week a less flushed out, but still worthwhile topic.

With luck, this will meet with my readers’ approval.

That said, a few discoveries I’ve made of late:

1)      The current national debt is: $16,962,383,900,000 (keeping in mind that by the time I was done typing that it had already increased at the rate of $1M every three (3) minutes).  Put simply, the U.S. government is spending approximately $20 million more than it takes in each and every hour of the day!  That is just under $500,000,000 each day (that’s ½ BILLION for those that need help reading it).  Not just spending that amount.  Spending that amount OVER and ABOVE what it takes in.  This is NOT a good thing.  Try running your own household on that accounting model.  This isn’t actually a new discovery, just thought I’d mention it.

2)      Regardless of what I said above, the Federal Government is taking in far more than the necessary resources to ensure it does not default on any of our debt even without an increase in the debt limit.  Said another way, regardless of what the liberals are saying, the sky will not fall without an increase in the debt limit.  We currently are taking in 10 times the necessary funding each month to pay the interest on the debt.  It is also a federal law that the president MUST pay this interest regardless of other funding requirements.  Meaning, for the sake of our children (if not ourselves), we should immediately cut spending to 90% of the current tax collected and we will be fine for the time being.  Next, conduct a Constitutional baseline of the allowed activities and cut expenses to match (this would of course leave millions of government dependent leaches out in the cold (literally since winter is on the way)).  Finally, cut taxes to match REQUIRED spending.  Sounds simple doesn’t it.  It is.  Should anyone try to tell you otherwise, think (don’t say) “clueless”.  I was going to go with “moron” or “idiot” but that might sound negative.

3)      The USDA (yes, that is the United States Department of Agriculture) guarantees home loans.  Yes, you heard (read) me right.  The USDA guarantees residential home loans.  Now you may think that would be for maybe a farmer’s dwelling in which he needs to house himself and his family while he grows crops to feed us.  NOPE!  Anyone that lives in a rural area (defined as 20,000 people or fewer) that meets income requirements (<$73,601 per year for a family of four) qualifies (FICO score etc notwithstanding).  The USDA is in the business of guaranteeing home loans!  How screwed up is our government?!

That’s it for today.  I look forward to expanded commentary in the future but for now, commentary of a limited nature will have to do.

The current national debt is: $16,962,388,400,000.  Your homework is to calculate how long it took me to write and post this article…

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


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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…

We the People have lost control

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The majority of those voting in the last two U.S. elections voted for Socialism.  I’m not sure many of them understand that, but they did.  I AM sure the officials for whom they voted are well aware of it (see my post of 12/23/12).  I do not want to specifically dwell on this issue.  However, I do want to mention of few consequences thereof.  I think from the standpoint of the average citizen that voted for this government, they will find many of the consequences unintentional.  I know many of these people and am dumbfounded that they could actually cast their vote the way they did.   While on the surface they can reconcile their underlying beliefs with what they were being told.  I am dumbfounded however because these are otherwise intelligence people that refused to look any deeper than the political rhetoric, the stump speeches, the sound bites.  I am dumbfounded because of the overwhelming data that demonstrates over extended periods of time in countless different circumstances and situations that none of what they were being told works.  Two of the most pressing topics of the day are ObamaCare and gun control.

I’m not exactly sure how birth control became a medical issue.  It is not a disease to be cured.  It is not an injury to be repaired.   In many forms of birth control you are putting chemicals into your body but you do so also with aspirin or any other over the counter remedy.  However, in those cases you ARE actually attempting to cure, or prevent, some disease or injury.   So why again is birth control a medical issue?  In the past, from a “societal view”, it really hasn’t mattered.  However, in the new Socialist state in which we live, it does.  It does because the government has decided that employers must pay for it.  I can hear many of you now.  Why does THAT matter?  It matters because, although we continue to ignore it, the Constitution is still the law of the land.  The 1st Amendment to said Constitution explicitly states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; …”  So what has THAT got to do with birth control?  It just so happens that some people are opposed to birth control on religious grounds.  So, contrary to popular belief, those privately owned companies that do not believe they should pay for their employee’s birth control are not just doing so on religious principal.  They are doing so on Constitutional grounds.  This is the type of thing our Founding Fathers fought against.  Not just against a government that tells you what religion you must practice (such as belonging to the Church of England in pre-Revolutionary days), but a government that tells you what you are allowed to practice and what you are not.  A government that tells you that unless it is practiced inside four walls designated a religious building, it is not religion.  Your religious beliefs are not a concern of the government.  Control is.

I saw a poster the other day that said, “We don’t blame cars for drunk drivers, why do we blame guns for violent criminals?”  I would add that we don’t blame the alcohol either.  I find it a darn good question.  What I find dumbfounding (apparently my word of the day), is that so many people don’t get it.  In More Guns, Less Crime John Lott demonstrated the inverse correlation between guns and crime.  In doing so demonstrated yet again that gun control does not work.  He demonstrated in fact, the exact opposite.  As an aside, Mr. Lott is an economist quite familiar with how to do honest statistical analysis.  Not being a gun enthusiast himself, he originally planned to prove exactly the opposite of what his results showed.  However, unlike so many that manipulate either the question or the answer in order to achieve their going in supposition, Mr. Lott let the honesty of the results speak for themselves.  Of course, many blame neighboring cities, states, countries, etc for such statistics.  They claim that we must get rid of ALL guns and control them getting into the country.  Hmmmmm…  Let’s ask England and Australia how that is working for them.  Both island nations.  You can’t get better control of your borders than that.  Both saw a marked increase in violent crime as access to firearms became more and more restricted.  Not just crime but crime in which individuals were more directly involved.  What do I mean by that?  In England, prior to guns being outlawed home break-ins were mostly limited to vacant houses.  The robbers were of course concerned with discovery and confrontation if someone was home.  This is problematic if the person at home had a means of defense.  Since that means of defense (firearms) was removed from the home (first restricted to the shooting range/club and then altogether), burglars have little to be concerned about as relates to their safety.  They are now going after homes whether someone is there or not.  Now the citizens of England not only have the crime of burglary but assault.  You need now not fear only the loss of possessions, but the lost of limb or even life.   Australia’s “experiment” proved the same.  Has either country admitted its failed policies?   Oh NO!  We can’t have that.  The fact that their subjects (specifically chosen term) are in far more danger now than ever is not a concern of theirs.

What has all this got to do with us?  We are yet again on the trajectory of more restrictive gun control.  The fact that the Clinton Gun Ban was a failure and we actually have far fewer “gun” crimes now than under that failed policy is beside the point.  The problem they argue is the same as what those in other countries pushed.  It didn’t go far enough.  That these other countries have gone to complete bans and finding exactly what John Lott found (in this case, less gun means more crime – while not the title, also covered in his book) is ignored.  We are now again pushing for another “assault rifle” (aka, black, menacing looking rifle) ban.  In addition, the latest FBI data (2011) shows more murder victims in the U.S. by blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc) than all types of rifle combined (496 vs 323).  I could cite reams of data demonstrating the absurdity of blaming the weapon instead of the user.  But this is what will always continue to baffle me – the complete denial of data demonstrating anything that disagrees with their view.  Your safety is not a concern of the government.  Control is.

Let us set aside the “moral” aspect of birth control and the logical aspect of gun control for a moment.  The question with which we are left amounts to control.  Society is a “contract” in which man bands together for collective benefit.  In such a situation, control is to some extent necessary.  Of this there is no doubt.  Because of this, there becomes a delicate balance between individual and group requirements. Using the example of traffic management makes it quite easy to see such a balance.  Traffic lights and stop signs are used to control vehicles at intersections.  We acknowledge that in order to have an ordered society we may have to come to a brief stop at a stop sign or sit at a stop light for a few minutes even if another vehicle is nowhere to be seen.  I would suggest both evidence and logic would demonstrate this is an acceptable price to pay to ensure a level of safety while driving.  I would also suggest that if individuals choose not to practice birth control or own a gun, this is an acceptable price to pay to live in a mutually beneficial society.  However, when government, against all logic and honest data, decides to take our money to pay for something for another individual that we find objectionable or that we are not allowed a specific tool we find necessary, both with no regard for our Constitutional rights, it is probably time to question into what we have gotten ourselves.  We the People have lost our Constitution.  We the People have lost control.

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