President Trump and Maximus Decimus Meridius

When the Constitutional Convention of 1787 had completed their work on crafting what is now our Constitution, as the aged and feeble Benjamin Franklin was being helped away from Independence Hall where the delegates had been meeting, a woman called out to him “Doctor Franklin, what have you got for us?”  His reply was classic – “A republic, madam – if you can keep it!”

There have been a number of republics down through the ages; one of the greatest was the ancient Republic of Rome.  We all know how it was with the advent of Julius Caesar and the subsequent rise of Octavian (aka Augustus Caesar) that the Roman Republic was dealt its death blow and replaced with a monarchial form of government headed by an emperor.

In the movie Gladiator staring Russell Crowe, there is an interesting exchange between Crowe’s character Maximus, the honored general of the Roman army, and the aged and dying Caesar, Marcus.  The conversation takes place in Caesar’s tent following a bloody but victorious battle.  In the conversation, Marcus tries to convince Maximus to be his successor because his own son, Commodus, was evil and not fit to rule.  Allow me to share some clips of their conversation:

MAXIMUS: You sent for me Caesar? [No response. Maximus turns to look at the weak and old Marcus.] Caesar?

MARCUS: Tell me again Maximus, why are we here?

MAXIMUS: For the glory of the empire, Sire.

MARCUS: Ah yes, ah yes. I remember. You see that map, Maximus? That is the world which I created. For 25 years, I have conquered, spilt blood, expanded the empire. Since I became Caesar I have known four years without war – four years of peace in 20. And for what? I brought the sword, nothing more.

MAXIMUS: Caesar, your life…

MARCUS: Please, please don’t call me that. Come here and sit. Let us talk now, together now. Very simply, as men. Well, Maximus, talk.

MAXIMUS: 5,000 of my men are out there in the freezing mud. 3,000 are cleaved and bloodied. 2,000 will never leave this place. I will not believe they fought and died for nothing.

MARCUS: And what would you believe?

MAXIMUS: They fought for YOU and for Rome.

MARCUS: And what is Rome, Maximus?

MAXIMUS: I have seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark. Rome is the light.

MARCUS: Yet you have never been there. You have not seen what it has become. I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end he wants to know that there has been some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher, the warrior, the tyrant. Or will I be remembered as the Emperor who gave Rome back her true self? There was once a dream that was Rome, you could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish. It was so fragile and I fear that it will not survive the winter.

Maximus, let us whisper now. Together, you and I. You have a son? [Maximus nods.] Tell me about your home.

[Maximus looks a bit surprised at the invitation to hear of his home, but eagerly and proudly describes it — a peaceful happiness overcome him as he speaks.]

MARCUS: I envy you, Maximus. It is a good home. Worth fighting for? [Maximus nods yes and Marcus rises.] There is one more duty that I ask of you before you go home.

MAXIMUS: What will you have me do Caesar?

MARCUS: I want you to become the protector of Rome after I die. I will empower you, to one end alone, to give power back to the people of Rome and end the corruption that has crippled it. [Shock and bewilderment overcome Maximus. He tries to keep from displaying these feelings. Hearing no response, Marcus continues.] Will you accept this great honour that I have offered?

MAXIMUS: With all my heart, no.

MARCUS: [Tenderly holding Maximus’ head with both hands]: Maximus, that is why it must be you.

MAXIMUS: But surely a prefect, a senator, somebody who knows the city, who understands her politics….

MARCUS: But you have not been corrupted by her politics.

If you have seen the movie, you know that Commodus murders his father and assumes the title of Caesar.  He attempts to have Maximus executed but Maximus escapes and ends up as a gladiator.  As a gladiator he ends up fighting in the Coliseum in Rome, and in a one-on-one battle with Commodus, kills him and returns power back to the people.

In 2016 the citizens of this republic elected a non-politician to be our president because we were tired of the corruption of those who have worked their way up the political ladder that is our federal government.  The appeal of Donald Trump to many was he had not been corrupted by the politics of “Rome” (Washington, DC) and pursued the office because of his perceived genuine love for his country and desire to make it great again.

Now, as President, he finds himself in what I would style as the role of a gladiator as well as president.  He is constantly beset by and having to combat those who are corrupt in both political parties, the media and the elite intelligentsia of so-called “higher learning.”

Do I agree with everything President Trump has done?  Absolutely not.  Do I think he is firmly grounded on constitutional principles?  Unfortunately no.  But one thing I do know – he has the tenacity and courage of a gladiator, and with our republic on the brink of vanishing, we need someone who is not afraid to wield a sword in the arena of political combat.

In the 2016 election we had the choice between one in the mold of the corrupt and power-hungry Commodus and one who was not of the political class and was asked by the people to return the power of government to them so that like ancient Rome, America can once again be that shining light on the hill.  Like him or not, President Trump could well turn out to be our Maximus.

-July 7, 2017

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Just What Did We Declare?

This July 4 we will celebrate the 241st anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Parades and concerts will be held, gatherings of family and friends for backyard cookouts will take place, and most citizens will enjoy a day off from work.  However, if you have ever watched any of these “man on the street” interviews where individuals are asked what we celebrate on this day, far, far too many haven’t a clue.  So as we enjoy this day, let’s reflect upon just what our forefathers put their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line to declare.

Some, but not enough, of these queried citizens about this day may be able to quote a phrase or two from the Declaration but there is a greater underlying principle to the Declaration than “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

You may wonder what greater principle can there be than the right to equality, life, liberty and happiness?  The answer can be found in the opening sentence of the Declaration and repeated a little further down in the second paragraph.

In that first sentence Jefferson lays out the principle that Nature’s Laws and Nature’s God entitle people to be self-determining when it comes to how they will be governed.  Listen to how he begins:

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them,…”

Jefferson here claims that people have the right “to assume the powers of the earth” which entitles them to choose with whom they wish to band together into society.  He then proceeds in the second paragraph to expand upon this right by stating that the assuming of this power means they also have the right to determine how the society they formed when banded together is to be governed:

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

If a people are not free to choose how they wish to be governed then they live in a state of tyranny and oppression.  As the song recorded by the Rascals in 1968 put it,

All the world over, so easy to see

People everywhere just wanna be free

Listen, please listen, that’s the way it should be

There’s peace in the valley, people got to be free

That same sentiment is inscribed on the base of our Statute of Liberty:  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Without self-determination when it comes to governance, there can be no life to speak of for it is life without liberty nor happiness.  Yet as far too many in our country today go about the frivolity of fireworks, concerts, et al, and are oblivious to the fact that we stand at the precipice of losing all that our forefathers declared are our inalienable rights that day 241 years ago.

It is time that we all re-learn the true meaning of this day and commit ourselves to the principles contained within that Declaration.  Five years ago I woke up in the middle of the night and penned the following – a modern update to Jefferson’s Declaration.  I hope you find it worthwhile and will share it with others that we might, like our forefathers, dedicate ourselves to the future freedom of our posterity:

Declaration of Reclamation

-June 30, 2017

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Three “Fixes” to Restoring Freedom and Federalism – Part 3

We’re all familiar with the adage that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  This adage is one that applies to the third “fix” I wish to address, namely the 14th amendment.  The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments compose the trio of “reconstruction amendments” that were necessary to ensure that the newly freed slaves in the South were acknowledged to be citizens and entitled to the full rights of white citizens (although there had been a huge number of non-black slaves in the South as well, and these amendments would also have applied to them).

The need for the amendments arose when President Andrew Johnson vetoed as being an unconstitutional overreach of federal power, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that acknowledged these rights as being afforded to the slaves.  The former slaves were not being accorded their due rights as citizens and it was determined that it was best to amend the Constitution as that would nullify the president’s veto argument and could not be overturned by a future Congress as easily as a piece of legislation could be.  This logic is sound.

However, as well intentioned as this action was, because it was not more clearly defined, the courts over the years have been able to expand upon it and make applications that have led to a major issue with our illegal immigration problem.  It was never intended by the authors to grant citizenship to anyone simply because they were born on US soil – that language was inserted to make it clear that the former slaves who had been born on US soil were now to be considered as citizens; futuristic application to those who had not been slaves was never intended.  Such is an application of constitutional originalism.

 Congress attempted to exercise its power vested in Section 5 of the amendment when Harry Reid of Nevada introduced the Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993 in an effort to correct the misinterpretation of Section 1 of this amendment:

“TITLE X—CITIZENSHIP 4 SEC. 1001. BASIS OF CITIZENSHIP CLARIFIED: “The Congress has determined and hereby declares that any person born after the date of enactment of this title to a mother who is neither a citizen of the United States nor admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, and which person is a national or citizen of another country of which either of his or her natural parents is a national or citizen, or is entitled upon application to become a national or citizen of such country, shall be considered as born subject to the jurisdiction of that foreign country and not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States within the meaning of section 1 of such Article and shall therefore not be a citizen of the United States or of any State solely by reason of physical presence within the United States at the moment of birth.”

A second issue with this amendment is the abuse that has been made over the decades of the so-called “Due Process” clause.  It was unfortunate that this was inserted as the Constitution in the 5th amendment already guaranteed this right.  Because it was joined in this 14th amendment with the use of the word “person” in conjunction with this clause, it has been interpreted by the courts to mean that all those on US soil are entitled to the rights of citizens in this regard.   Again, that is taking this amendment out of its historical context, and as we see has contributed to several of our ills today related to immigration and the attending failure to assimilate into our culture.

So was this amendment necessary?  Yes, unfortunately it was.  Yet the amendment clearly illustrates the law of unintended consequences and needs to be rectified, not by statute or court rulings as these can be overturned by future legislation and court rulings, but amended to clarify the meanings that it was originally intended to set in place.

-April 7, 2017

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Three “Fixes” to Restoring Freedom and Federalism – Part 1

In my last two essays (Badges?  We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges!” and The Real Problem with President Trump’s Tax Return) I touched on the subject of how the general government in Washington, DC is encroaching upon our freedom and chipping away at our liberties.  The underlying problem that is precipitating this encroachment is a government that has expanded outside it’s intended, constitutionally-limited role.  Because of this there has arisen a movement to amend our Constitution via a co-called “Convention of States.”

Such a convention has been grossly misrepresented by those who are promoting it, but to address those misrepresentations would take numerous, lengthy essays and it is not the point of this series of essays.  What I wish to point out in this essay and the two to follow are three amendment changes that should be made a priority that would help to restore our freedom that is being destroyed and returning us to a true federal, republican form of government.

The first of these would be a repeal of the 16th amendment.  This amendment was pushed through by the progressives in both political parties (Woodrow Wilson and the Democrats along with Teddy Roosevelt and the northeastern Republicans) in the turn of the last century.  As I’ve pointed out previously, this amendment granted the power to the government to tax every form of our earnings at any level they deem appropriate (during the 1950s’ the marginal tax rate exceeded 90%!).  Such is a direct assault upon the concept of individual liberty as personal property rights, which includes our incomes, is the foundation of that liberty.  If those wishing to amend our Constitution were serious about it, this would be their number one concern.

Not only does this amendment give the government plenary power over our earnings, our tax forms that are required for reporting our income to the taxing authorities capture even more information about us that the government has no business having any knowledge of.   We are required to tell them how many dependents we have, what type, if any, retirement plans we have and if we received any benefits from them, how much we spent on health costs (which gives a window into our health status), what type of business we own (if we are self-employed), how much we donate to charities, what our occupation is, and on and on and on.  I challenge anyone to give me the article, section and clause in our Constitution that grants the government the right to have any of this information, for such authority is non-existent.

Yes, our Constitution is not perfect – Ben Franklin said as much on the last day of the 1787 convention in Philadelphia when the newly minted Constitution was signed by the delegates.  However, the Constitution has since been “toyed” with by individuals who did not rise to the level of foresight and wisdom of those who first framed it, and the 16th amendment is a prime example that needs to be repealed.

Next week – the 17th amendment.

-March 24, 2017

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The Real Problem with President Trump’s Tax Return

So now the whole world knows.  In 2005 the Trumps paid $38 million in income taxes to the general government, or 25% of their taxable income.  As we follow this “bombshell” dud in the news, pundits are assailing it on multiple fronts, but none are touching on the real problem with this incident.

Most of what I’ve heard is how whoever leaked this return committed a felony in that tax returns are, by law, to be kept private unless the individual chooses to voluntarily make them known.  This incident is used as yet another example of how there are those on the left are trying to undermine the new president and his administration.  All of that is true, but that is not the real problem.

Others have drawn comparisons of how much the Trumps paid in taxes compared to the percentages paid by others, especially those on the left to have attacked the president over how much he paid in taxes or whether or not he even paid any taxes.  It has been rightly pointed out that the president paid an outrageous portion of his income in taxes – twenty-five cents out of every taxable dollar he earned.  This illustrates how counter-productive any income tax system is, namely it punishes success and productivity.  From an economic standpoint and the principle of individual freedom as enunciated by the British political philosopher John Locke in the 17th century, this is a problem, but again, it is not the real problem.

Some commentators have rightly stated that this leak and it’s intended purpose of discrediting the president is illustrative of how dangerous it is for the government to have such information on us and how someone who has something against us can then use that information in an attempt to destroy our lives. This is getting close to the real problem with the president’s tax return, but it is not the real problem.

The real problem with the president’s tax return is that the government has possession of that information to begin with.  Think about it.  Last week I wrote about how the government is violating our fourth amendment rights (Badges?  We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges!) by collecting all of our communication data, but on our income tax returns they capture how much money we earn, perhaps what we spend it on, the status of our health (depending upon our medical deductions), our business dealings and investments, and much more, and they have been doing so since 1913 when the 16th amendment was added to our Constitution.

This real problem with President Trump’s tax return is the same as with yours and mine – the government’s access to all sorts of our private information.  Underlying this real problem is that which gives the government this access, namely the 16th amendment.  If those pushing to amend our Constitution were really serious about restoring individual freedom and our liberties, repealing the 16th amendment would be one of their top three priorities (but more on that next week).

-March 17, 2017

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Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Badges!

Remember that line from the classic movie “Blazing Saddles”?  Well that could now easily be the new motto of the United States, replacing the old and tired E Pluribus Unum.  With the latest uproar in the war between President Trump and the leftists over whether or not his campaign and his administration was secretly wire tapped, many who were asleep for the past few decades are learning (or should be) that our government has to power to know everything about each and every one of us, whether warranted or not.

In case you were not aware, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 created a secret court system that was designed to issue warrants allowing government agencies to use electronic surveillance on foreign powers and those suspected of spying for them within the United States.  In December 1981 President Reagan signed Executive Order 12333 that was intended to expand the flexibility of US intelligence agencies in gathering their data and sharing it with other agencies.  It has since been amended and expanded by subsequent executive orders signed by President George W. Bush.  This law and the courts it established, along with these executive orders are now the backbone upon which the National Security Agency today collects data on all citizens with or without warrants.  Just before he left office, President Obama authorized the NSA to open up its treasure trove of data on us to a host of government agencies.

The NSA has its own search engine that covers almost one trillion private phone and internet records of millions and millions of US citizens.  The collection and housing of this “metadata” is allegedly to catch those who would do us harm.  Yet our Constitution is quite clear:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Let’s analyze this amendment against the backdrop of what I’ve shared above.

We have the right to be “secure”, that is protected and kept safe from.

We are to be secure in regards to:

Our persons, which would mean our bodies and any information pertaining to us.

Our houses, hence the notion of our homes being our “castle”.

Our papers, meaning anything we might write or communicate in any form or fashion, including electronic communications.

Our effects, which would include any kind of possessions we have.

We are to be secure against searches and seizures of these items that are deemed to be “unreasonable.”  What is unreasonable is defined by what follows.

In order for the government to search, and if found, seize any of the items described as being protected, a warrant must be obtained from a judge.  Those requesting the warrant must present evidence for the probable cause of a violation of law. Furthermore, they must swear by an oath that the evidence is indeed truthful and straight forward. Therefore, if such evidence is not sufficient to prove probable cause, then any search and/or seizure is to be deemed “unreasonable.”

Not only this, but the warrant must be specific – no blanket, open-ended, generalized warrant is permitted.  The places, individuals and things that have been sworn to be reasonably suspected to be a violation of the law must be named; without this specificity, any search and/or seizure is again “unreasonable.” Yet our government today is gathering all of our communication data and transactions either with a broad generalized warrant, or no warrant at all.

When it comes to the law, governments are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that justice is served, which can only be done when the law protects us from lawbreakers, enemies, and yes, even our own government.  Our government may say “Warrants?  We don’t need no stinkin’ warrants”, but our Constitution that created it says differently.

-March 10, 2017

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The President and the Press

In one of his speeches, the president had this to say about the press:

“During this course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science, are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness, and to sap its safety; they might, indeed, have been corrected by the wholesome punishments reserved and provided by the laws of the several States against falsehood and defamation; but public duties more urgent press on the time of public servants, and the offenders have therefore been left to find their punishment in the public indignation.”

The animosity between President Trump and the main stream media is nothing new; it is as old as our Republic itself.  In 1798 the Federalists, who held the majority in Congress, the White House (John Adams was president), and appointees to the SCOTUS, passed, signed and upheld the Alien and Seditions Act of 1798.  Regarding free speech the Act contained this section:

“SEC. 2. And be it farther enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.”

Fast forward to the administration of the “revered” Abraham Lincoln.  You may be shocked to learn that the great champion of liberty repeatedly trampled on the Constitution and the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  In regards to freedom of the press, he did tolerate criticism of himself and his policies, but only to an extent.  For example, in May 1864, two newspapers in New York, the Journal of Commerce and The World, ran a fake news story that Lincoln was going to issue a presidential order to draft 400,000 men into the army.  Lincoln ordered the two papers shut down and the publishers arrested and imprisoned.  In addition, he had the agency that had transmitted the story, the Independent Telegraph System, shut down and its property seized by the military.

Yet today, because President Trump calls out the media for its failure to live up to its obligation to honestly report the news, or does not call on certain media outlets for questions in a press conference, he is excoriated by both the press and the progressives in Congress who are calling for his impeachment because they claim his actions make him an enemy of the first amendment.  Those individuals are simply showing their hypocrisy and ignorance of history and an understanding of constitutional principles.

There are many other examples I could give in addition to the two I have provided above, but clearly President Trump’s criticisms hardly reach even the hem of the garment of the examples I cited.  And that presidential quote I began with?  It was part of President Thomas Jefferson’s second inaugural address.  You see, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

-March 3, 2017

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Reincarnation of the Sturmabteilung

Reincarnation of the Sturmabteilung

Lately we are witnessing a growing number of anarchistic protestations around our country.  Many are aimed at President Trump and his administration while others are aimed at individual conservatives or groups.  In some cases these anarchists try to disrupt the meetings of groups whose political beliefs they oppose or town hall meetings of conservative members of Congress.  In several instances they have turned violent, causing destruction of both private and public property, and at times even assaulted individuals attending the events.

The irony of all of these instances is they proclaim they are doing this in the defense of freedom and the rights guaranteed to us in our Bill of Rights, especially the right to free speech and peaceful assembly; yet their actions deny to those not in agreement with them the ability to exercise these rights.  Instead, those who hold opposing views (as well as President Trump and his advisors) are called “Fascists” and “Nazis” by these protestors.  Consequently, I think a short review of history of those who were truly “Fascists” and “Nazis” is in order to see just who the real “Nazis” are.

In 1921, Adolf Hitler created the Sturmabteilung, aka the SA or “Assault Division” of the Nazi Party.  These “Brown Shirts” (or “Storm Troopers”) were responsible for intimidating political opposition to the Nazi Party by violence, including personal physical attacks, property destruction and silencing of free speech both of the press and the disruption of meetings of opposing political parties.  They made a special target of the Jews, falsely depicting them as a target for arousing anger among the populace of Germany.  In short, they had total disregard for the law and the liberties of individuals.  In all respects they lived up to their credo, “All opposition must be stamped into the ground.” Their violence was based upon SA Sturmfuehrer Ernst Bayer’s attitude that  “Possession of the streets is the key to power.”

The SA was not as much concerned with loyalty to the German people as they were to the ideology of the Nazi party and German nationalism.  Their aim was to show the weakness of the Weimar Republic and the foolishness of democracy so as to gain power and impose their ideology upon the masses.

Consider these anarchists now causing a disruption in our society.  They are rioting in the streets, smashing windows and setting properties on fire, just as their SA forebears did.  Even police vehicles and equipment have been destroyed without fear of reprisal or arrest and imprisonment.  In the 1920s’ the police in Germany became intimidated in standing up to the actions of the SA.  Our police are not so much intimidated as they are handcuffed by the pc policies of the liberal politicians they must answer to, but the result is pretty much the same.  Some of these ruffians have even taken to wearing a “ninja-like” uniform, although nothing to the extreme like the SA.  However, these groups are in their infancy and being financed by big money leftists and business moguls, just like the SA was in the days of Hitler.

You do not hear of Tea Party, 912 organizations, and other conservative groups behaving in this manner, and yet they are the “Fascists”?  These protesters need to take a good, hard look in the mirror of history.  When they do, they will see themselves staring back, clad in brown uniforms with a red swastika armband around their left arms.

-February 24, 2017

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Health Insurance, Obamacare and Government

Congress and our new President are pushing to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.  I wholeheartedly applaud the goal of repealing Obamacare.  However, the greater issue surrounds its passage to begin with and the follow up notion of “replacing”.

Obamacare is a clear violation of the statement laid down by James Madison in Federalist 45 that “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”  Nowhere in the Constitution’s enumeration of the federal government’s powers is there any hint of a reference to its operation in the realm of health care.  Consequently, from this basic truth, Obamacare is unconstitutional and on that ground demands repeal.

However, that same principle also demands that Congress and President Trump not seek any kind of “replacement” by the federal government.  The proper role of the government in healthcare from the standpoint of the Constitution is no role at all.  If anything, it could be argued that the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several states would authorize it to pass legislation which would allow insurance companies located in one state to “sell” its services in all other states.  This commerce clause in Article I Section 8 was inserted to prevent the states from charging tariffs on goods sent into them from other states, and in a sense insurance services could be likened unto an importation of a product from one state into another.  Hence, Congress legislating that all states allow insurance companies in one state to sell in another would be within its constitutional purview.  (It seems such action should be unnecessary as Congress didn’t have to pass legislation requiring states to allow Chevrolet or Ford to send their products from Michigan and other locations to all of the other states, so why should it be required to force states to allow insurance companies to “sell across state lines”?)

Those who oppose this move of repealing the so-called “Affordable” Care Act claim that access to health insurance is a “right”.  I have addressed this matter in previous essays in more detail, but simply put, a “right” is something that has always been and will always be – something neither created nor granted by man.  Obviously, a cursory examination of the history of health insurance indicates that it fails this basic premise of “rights.”  The concept of health insurance is less than 100 years old and has changed and been modified considerably since its introduction into our society.  Therefore, access to health insurance cannot be a right in the same vein as the right to life, liberty and property.  There is a reason why companies that provide health insurance coverage options to their employees style it as a “benefit”, administered by their “Benefit Department”.  Benefits are something that can be given and taken back, unlike rights which cannot be.

I would hope that Congress and President Trump will indeed repeal Obamacare in its entirety and then butt out and allow the free market to provide a variety and innovative options from which we can choose coverage that is both affordable and appropriate for our individual needs.

-January 27, 2017

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“Not the Government We Fought For”

In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIII Thomas Jefferson left us an astute observation about liberty and government.  It contains a warning about how corruption and subsequent tyranny can and will creep into government –  even one that is a representative government chosen democratically by the people.

Unfortunately, as we observe what is transpiring in all three branches of our current crop of leaders, especially the actions of the outgoing administration, I think we would do well to read and reflect upon his entire essay in this Query.

“4.  All the powers of government, legislative, executive, and judiciary, result to the legislative body [in the Virginia Constitution of 1776]. The concentrating these in the same hands is precisely the definition of despotic government. It will be no alleviation that these powers will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one. 173 despots would surely be as oppressive as one. Let those who doubt it turn their eyes on the republic of Venice. As little will it avail us that they are chosen by ourselves. An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others. For this reason that convention, which passed the ordinance of government, laid its foundation on this basis, that the legislative, executive and judiciary department should be separate and distinct, so that no person should exercise the powers of more than one of them at the same time. But no barrier was provided between these several powers. The judiciary and executive members were left dependant on the legislative, for their subsistence in office, and some of them for their continuance in it. If therefore the legislature assumes executive and judiciary powers, no opposition is likely to be made; nor, if made, can it be effectual; because in that case they may put their proceedings into the form of an act of assembly, which will render them obligatory on the other branches. They have accordingly, in many instances, decided rights which should have been left to judiciary controversy: and the direction of the executive, during the whole time of their session, is becoming habitual and familiar. And this is done with no ill intention. The views of the present members are perfectly upright. When they are led out of their regular province, it is by art in others, and inadvertence in themselves. And this will probably be the case for some time to come. But it will not be a very long time. Mankind soon learn to make interested uses of every right and power which they possess, or may assume. The public money and public liberty, intended to have been deposited with three branches of magistracy, but found inadvertently to be in the hands of one only, will soon be discovered to be sources of wealth and dominion to those who hold them; distinguished too by this tempting circumstance, that they are the instrument, as well as the object of acquisition. With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price. Human nature is the same on every side of the Atlantic, and will be alike influenced by the same causes. The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. It is better to keep the wolf out of the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he shall have entered.

I fear we now have the “wolf” in the midst of our “fold”, and as that old saying goes, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”  It is time we ceased to be sheeple and instead stood up and defended our liberties being devoured by these “wolves.”

-January 6, 2017

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