A Conflict of Vision

Mark and Amazona and I had an off-blog conversation recently about how we have begun to distance ourselves from friends or acquaintances who inhabit the left side of the political spectrum.  For most of my adult life I rationalized keeping such friends by convincing myself that it was “only politics”; that we basically wanted the same things for ourselves and our descendants; we just disagreed with how to get there.

One of the things that the Obama presidency has accomplished is highlighting the stark contrast between Liberals and Conservatives, not just on issues and not just on their approach to problem solving, but on a fundamental conflict in our vision for the future.

The greatest and most obvious conflict of vision is about the basic role of the central government where one side believes the success of government is defined by how many people are helped by government and the other side which believes the success of government is defined by how few people need help from the government.

But the conflict is much deeper and broader than that.  It is a conflict between:

  • The fundamental transformation of America and the fundamental restoration of America.
  • The belief that some people can neither handle nor deserve freedom, and the belief that the yearning for freedom is an inherent part of the human spirit.
  • The belief that America is the greatest force for freedom and prosperity in the world, and the belief that America is the source of most of the evil and misery in the world.
  • Doing what’s right all of the time, regardless of the consequences and doing what’s right only when doing so yields personal or political benefits.
  • Always telling the truth and ignoring the truth when it has negative political or personal consequences.
  • Voting for someone because you’re confident they will honor their oath to uphold the Constitution and voting for someone because you’re confident they will ignore or subvert the parts of the Constitution that you don’t like.
  • Case law and original interpretation.
  • Morality and moral relativism.
  • Learning from history and re-writing history to fit an agenda.
  • Dwelling on what’s good about America as opposed to dwelling on what’s bad about America.
  • The creation of wealth and the transfer of wealth.
  • Freedom of religion and freedom from religion.
  • A dynamic view and a static view on just about everything.
  • Defining success as actually helping someone in need vs. defining success as feeling good because you tried to help someone.
  • Accountability and avoiding responsibility.
  • Humility and hubris.
  • Criticizing policies because they’re bad policies and being accused of being racist for criticizing policies because the policy maker is black.
  • Becoming a color-blind society and using race as a political weapon.
  • Lightly-regulated free market capitalism and crony capitalism with rewards for supporters and burdensome regulations on and harassment of any company that doesn’t support your policies.
  • Policy making based on polling and policy making based on sound scientific and economic principles.
  • Transparency and closed door, secret deals.
  • Increasing tax revenue and decreasing spending.
  • Economic justice and economic liberty.
  • Social justice and justice for all.
  • The individual and the collective.
  • Results vs. intentions.
  • Conservation and eco-imperialism.
  • Victory and exit strategy when applied to military conflict.
  • An educational system that teaches how to think vs. what to think.
  • “Our plan didn’t work because we didn’t spend enough money”, and “your plan didn’t work because it was an unworkable plan.”
  • Eliminating incentive and fostering dependency vs. entrepreneurship and self-reliance.
  • Voting based on issues and voting based on the best way to govern.
  • Liberty and tyranny.
  • And ,ultimately, between the survival of the human race vs. the here and now.

So I ask my former friends and acquaintances on the Left — common ground?  What common ground?  We are in a fight for the soul of the greatest nation in the history of the world, and our conflict of vision for the future is so profound that I will, without hesitation, lay down my life to ensure that my descendants are not forced to live under your vision.

 

Social Security Hitting Kids for Parents’ Debts

This is just hideous:

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy…

This is just a desperate ploy from a government which is greedy for every dollar it can lay its hands on – but it also shows (if ObamaCare didn’t clue you in) that no one in government really knows what is happening…its all done behind the scenes with lobbyists and bureaucrats and staffers inserting things into bills and regulations without anyone accountable to the people really knowing what is going on.

This, of course, needs to be repealed – it is un-American to seek to collect debts owed by one person from another.  If the person who owes the money is dead and there’s no estate to collect it from, then the debt is a write-off.  Whether or not anyone in Congress will step up to fix this particular problem remains to be seen – but the ultimate fix to this is to prohibit Congress from passing laws of more than, say, 10 type-written pages…and to prohibit the bureaucracy from implementing new regulations (which also must not be more than 10 type-written pages long) before Congressional approval of each new regulation.

UPDATE – technically unrelated, but check out what is happening with the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.  True, its a dispute over grazing rights which has been going on for decades…but whatever one wishes to think about the particulars of the case, why did Uncle Sam whistle up an army to round of the man’s cattle?  Why make a “free speech” zone?

Given that this is Nevada and we have Harry Reid and the BLM is involved, I’m immediately suspicious that this is just another corrupt land deal – there are stories that this land is to be set aside for a solar plant with a Reid son involved.  I’m not so sure about that – this has been going on too long for that (since 1993).  I’m more thinking that since it is some really nice countryside (and the Virgin river runs year-round through it as it heads towards Lake Mead) that someone has a mind to build some resorts out there – and ol’ Harry has been more than once involved in screwy land dealings where, hey presto!, BLM land is made available to the “public” and Reid cronies make a killing.

A Constitutional Convention of the States

With the movement for a Constitutional Convention of the States picking up steam, in spite of being completely ignored by the MSM, this is a topic that is long overdue for discussion. Amazona asked that I re-post her comment from the previous thread outlining the constitutional amendments suggested by Mark Levin in his recent best-seller, “The Liberty Amendments.

“Mark Levin is proposing ten amendments to the Constitution. Each one is written in thoughtful language so as to preclude any ancillary problems:

1) Term Limits: He proposes limiting service in both the House and Senate to 12 years. Yes, we’ve heard all the arguments about elections being the best limit. But the past 100 year has proven that to be false. As someone who works day and night to throw the bums out, I can tell you that is nearly impossible to throw them out with the amount of money they raise – precisely for their abuses of power. Levin also proves that limiting time in office was a highly regarded proposal during the Constitutional Congress.

2) Repealing the 17th Amendment: Levin proposes repealing the 17th amendment and vesting state legislators with the power to elect senators so that the power of states is not diluted, as originally feared by the framers of the Constitution.

3) Restoring the Judiciary to its proper role: The Judiciary was never meant to be an all-powerful institution in which five men in robes have the final say over every major policy battle in the country. In order to end judicial tyranny, Levin proposes limiting service to one 12-year term, and granting both Congress and the state legislatures the authority to overturn court decisions with the vote of three-fifths of both houses of Congress or state legislative bodies.

4) Limiting Taxation and Spending: Levin proposes a balanced budget amendment, limiting spending to 17.5% of GDP and requiring a three-fifths vote to raise the debt ceiling. He also proposes limiting the power to tax to 15% of an individual’s income, prohibiting other forms of taxation, and placing the deadline to file one’s taxes one day before the next federal election.

5) Limiting bureaucracy: He proposes an amendment to limit and sunset federal regulations and subject the existence of all federal departments to stand-alone reauthorization bills every three years.

6) Defining the Commerce Clause: Levin writes an amendment that, while technically unnecessary, is practically an imperative to restoring the original intent of the Commerce Clause. The amendment would make it clear that the commerce clause grants not power to actively regulate and control activity; rather to prevent states from impeding commerce among other states, as Madison originally intended.

7) Limiting Federal power to take private property

8) Allowing State Legislature to Amend the Constitution: Although the Framers intentionally made it difficult to amend the Constitution, they did so to preserve the Republic they created. However, the progressives have illegally altered our Republic through a silent and gradual coup without using the amendment process. If we are going to successfully push the aforementioned amendments, we will need an easier mechanism to force them through. The proposed amendment allows states to bypass Congress and propose an amendment with support of just two-thirds of the states (instead of three-fourths) and without convening a convention.

9) State Authority to Override Congress: A proposed amendment to allow states to override federal statutes by majority vote in two-thirds of state legislatures. The last two proposals are rooted in the idea that the states only agreed to the Constitution on condition that their power would not be diluted and that all federal power is derived from the states.

10) Protecting the Vote: A proposal to require photo ID for all federal elections and limit early voting.

Taken as a whole, there is no doubt that these amendments would restore our Republican form of government. Every proposal is backed up by scholarly analysis of the Framers’ view on the proposal, an overview of what has changed since the founding, and the rationale for why the proposal is necessary. You should read the entire book. As someone who is busy reading all the current news every day, this is the only political book I made time to read all year.”

Filibuster Follies

As for the filibuster, itself, I am just not that concerned.  After all, the real mutilation of the Senate came when we started to elect Senators by poplar vote instead of through the State legislators. The Senate is supposed to be the representative of the States, as sovereign institutions – by making the election of Senators direct, we simply turned the Senate in to a smaller, more exclusive House of Representatives.  If anyone wants to restore the Senate to its ancient glory, I’m all with you and let’s set about repealing the 17th Amendment.  But, still, this is a change – and a permanent one.  While the filibuster still technically exists in certain cases, it is in fact a dead letter…any time a Senate minority attempts to use it, the Senate majority will just do away with it, as Harry Reid’s majority just did.

The only thing I can find as a reason for this end of the filibuster is a desire on the part of Democrats to pack the courts with as little fuss as possible – especially the DC Court as it is in charge of dealing with regulatory matters.  Democrats want smooth sailing for whatever Obama and minions say in regulating our lives in to the ground, and this is their way to get it.  Seems a bit short-sighted, though – not a very good reason for giving up the filibuster, especially as Democrats are in grave danger of losing their majority in the 2014 mid-terms (I figure its 50/50 the GOP will win the necessary 6 seats…but even if we don’t in 2014, we will eventually have a Senate majority again, and Democrats will be rather backs against the wall).

And when we have a full Congressional majority and control of the White House, then the Democrats will feel the full force of their mistake.  No longer will the basic premises of Big Government reign supreme because it takes 60 votes to close off debate.  No longer will one or two RINOs be able to ensure that the legislative desires of the GOP are blocked.  All it will take, with a GOP President, is a mere 50 GOP Senators to agree, and our will is law…end of the Department of Education; end of the Department of Energy; and so on.  218 House members, 50 Senators, one President with a Vice President to break the tie in the Senate.  That is not a very high bar.  100 years of Progressive politics can now be undone in a few months.  To be sure, a returned Democrat majority can attempt to re-cobble it all together again…but after four or five years without it, it might not be politically possible to do.  And the certainty is that whatever is done can be easily undone.  And if Progressive politics are in bad odor then a non-Progressive campaign reminding the people that a victory for the left means mere re-imposition of the things we just got rid of, then the non-Progressive side will win.

It could be that when the history of our times are written, it will be revealed that Obama and Reid did away with the filibuster simply because they were frustrated they couldn’t immediately get 100% of their way…that they gutted their own protection because they simply didn’t want to get 90% of their desires.  If so, then it will be just another bit of proof that whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

White House is Staging A Bloodless Coup!

OK, folks–here’s the deal- I don’t think too many people are realizing this:

1. We currently gather TEN TIMES the amount of revenue required to service our debt, EVERY MONTH.

2. The 14th Amendment states that WE MUST honor and service our debts; meaning that paying and servicing debt MUST COME FIRST.

3. Barack Obama has been threatening that we WILL DEFAULT on our debt if the debt ceiling is not raised in two days.

4. The ONLY way this can happen, is if Barack Obama IGNORES the 14th Amendment and REFUSES to service the debt. This means that Barack Obama MUST OPENLY DEFY the Constitution to bring about what he threatens will happen.

5. Understand also that I believe that Barack Obama FULLY INTENDS to carry out his threat. I believe that Barack Obama MEANS, in direct opposition to the 14th Amendment, to ALLOW the United States to go into default. Like a terrorist with his finger on the button of his suicide vest, he is threatening to DESTROY THE FULL FAITH AND CREDIT OF THE UNITED STATES, placing our economy in RUIN, unless Congress meets his every demand.

6. In effect, Barack Obama is staging what amounts to nothing less than a COUP– a complete usurpation of the power of the purse that IS EXCLUSIVELY THE PURVIEW of the duly and locally elected United States House of Representatives.

7. In completely and WILLFULLY ignoring his Constitutional responsibilities with respect to the 14th Amendment, Barack Obama has effectually denounced the primacy of the U.S. Constitution. He is effectively governing by EXECUTIVE FIAT.

In other words, Barack Obama HAS THROWN AWAY THE CONSTITUTION and is in effect GOVERNING AS A DICTATOR!

UNDERSTAND THIS, PEOPLE–THIS IS NOT HYPERBOLE!

Secession is the Answer, Update

Seems to be spreading like wildfire:

…West Virginia was the last state to break off from another. Now, 150 years later, a 49-year-old information technology consultant wants to apply the knife to Maryland’s five western counties. “The people are the sovereign,” says Scott Strzelczyk, leader of the fledgling Western Maryland Initiative, and the western sovereigns are fed up with Annapolis’s liberal majority, elected by the state’s other sovereigns.

“If you think you have a long list of grievances and it’s been going on for decades, and you can’t get it resolved, ultimately this is what you have to do,” says Strzelczyk, who lives in New Windsor, a historic town of 1,400 people in Carroll County. “Otherwise you are trapped.”…

Maryland is governed by the DC/Baltimore area of the State – holding the largest population and entirely dependent upon Big Government (federal and State), the people of those areas prefer their politicians to be Big Government boosters.  And no problem with that.  More power to them.  But this means that the people of western Maryland – much smaller in population and thus playing little role in either the legislative or executive branches of State government – are left out in the cold…and many of them don’t want a government which is keen mostly upon creating more government.

In government, smaller is better – the smaller the territory under any particular government the more attuned it will be to the needs of the local people.  The Founders knew this – and thus set up a federal Republic in order to secure local rule in most areas of government, leaving to the federal government only those limited powers necessary to secure the broad rights of all the people.  Over time, both the federal and State governments have engrossed power to themselves – and do not think that this was just some trick pulled by hucksters…for a very long time, starting in the misbegotten “progressive” era of the early 20th century, the people, themselves, sought government to “do something” about problems.  The trouble is that government “doing something” means government growing in power…and often not doing at all what people wanted.  Now the reaction has set in – and in a very American fashion, it is emerging on the national level as a revived “Jacksonian” desire to reign in the federal government, and a desire to break up the States in to smaller political units which can better be managed by the people, rather than being resigned to the Ruling Class and it’s permanent bureaucracy.

This is the revolution, folks – the Second American Revolution.  The people are leading it, and it will reform this great nation of ours.

Secession is the Answer Update

Yet another move to bring rationality to American politics:

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 this afternoon to pursue seceding from California.

More than 100 people packed the supervisors’ chambers late this morning for a discussion on whether the county should issue a declaration that it wants to secede from the state. Nearly all those in attendance appeared to be for the move…

Siskiyou County is a rural county in northern California which has zero effective representation in both the California legislature and the United States Senate…both places merely representing coastal/urban California with no thought to the rest of the State.  The country is burdened by taxes and regulations written by the coastal/urban areas which bear little relation to the needs and aspirations of the people of Siskiyou.  The only way these people can get representation is to have their own State and send their own Senators to DC.

More and more of this is what we need.

It is Time for a Conservative Anti-War Movement

As the Ruling Class circles the wagons around Obama and determines upon war in Syria to pull Obama’s bacon out of the fire, the question becomes: what can we do?  My answer:  start an anti-war movement.

To be sure, the anti-war movement in the United States has heretofore been the province of leftists – and very often the most kooky of leftists.  The left’s anti-war activity has tended towards being anti-American in effect – and more commonly anti-GOP, because we see how invisible it is now that a liberal Democrat is proposing war.  But just because leftists kooks have been anti-war that doesn’t mean that being anti-war is wrong, provided your being anti-war for sensible reasons.

War is a terrible, cruel and nasty business and should be avoided if at all possible.  Some times it is, however, necessary.  War will come when it comes – and there may even come times when it is necessary for us to start the war.  But what we have here in Syria is a war that isn’t coming to us and which we have no need to start.  The United States is not threatened.  US allies are not threatened.  The two sides in the Syrian civil war are equally bad – think of it like the Spanish civil war of the 1930’s where communists and fascists battled it out.  What possible good would US intervention have done back then – we’d have either midwifed a communist or fascist dictatorship.  In Syria, we can back Assad’s hideous regime, or back the al-Qaeda-like rebels.  No good.

The problem we have today started a long time ago – when Truman criminally hurled us in to the Korean War without obtaining Congressional approval.  That is when the war-making powers of Congress first began to atrophy.  These days, we have plenty of people – including some who are not at all dumb – saying that the President has authority to launch military action in Syria based upon his powers as Commander in Chief.  That is an absurd reading of the Constitution – but it is entirely in line with practice over the past 63 years.  A conservative anti-war movement must have as its goal the reform of this pernicious doctrine – we must return war-declaring power to the Congress.

While getting 100,000 people in to DC by Monday next might short-circuit this war in Syria, I doubt much that such a crowd can be gathered on such short notice.  Looking for the longer term, we should be seeking a law which will specifically prohibit the expenditure of defense funds on offensive actions not authorized by Congress (it is the power of the purse which gives Congress its actual power).  No money can be drawn from the Treasury without Congressional authorization, so all military expenditures would be covered by a law which says that the money can’t be used for offensive operations until Congress declares war (and it is preferred that it be an actual declaration of war – not an authorization to use force). This would still allow the President to use military force to defend – to defend the United States and our allies.  But it would not allow the Syrian strike (nor would it have allowed the Libyan war…and for you liberals out there if you want a piece of this, it would have prevented Panama in 1989 and Grenada in 1983) unless Obama obtains a declaration of war against Syria, first.

This all fits in with the broader, conservative desire to reform government by re-limiting its powers as intended by the Founders.  Only a limited government is a free government – and if we don’t stop this sort of thing, we will find ourselves living in an unfree nation very shortly.

Tell Us Something We Didn’t Already Know!

Another proggy myth disproven! Of course, the proggy politicians already knew this.

Really all you had to do was look where gun control was in place and see the crime statistics!

Gun Control Reduces Violent Crimes

The proggy drones will be out in force regurgitating the mindless talking points. (Since this posting, they have not – I guess they did not get their marching orders).

In short, as we defenders of the 2nd Amendment have long known, the observable facts simply will not support the strictly emotional arguments of the aping gun grabbers regarding both violent crime and suicide. Interestingly, the study also relates a survey of incarcerated felons that confirms that a criminal’s greatest fear is that his victim may be armed. That certainly makesthe case for a well-armed citizenry regardless of the definition of militia. The fact that the most recent acts of gun violence were conducted in gun free zones (by mentally troubled individuals who should have been in an institution – another leftist barrier), also shows the folly of the left’s mindless arguments.

The Failure of Democracy

Which is worse:  a democracy where minorities are oppressed or a dictatorship where minorities are protected?  Before you answer that question, do keep in mind that every single human being on earth is in the minority at some point – whether its because of your gender, skin color, religion, political beliefs or what have you, at some juncture in your life there are more of them than there are of you.  All of us are minorities and thus all of us are a potential target for a democracy ruled by demagogues – ruled by those who single out a minority as the source of evil which must be destroyed. 

In a very real sense, the primary purpose of government is to protect minorities – because only when minorities are protected can justice be said to exist to any extent, at all.  It doesn’t matter how democratic a nation is or how regularly it votes – if a minority is being oppressed, then it is an unjust society and the government is not carrying out its primary function.  Government must ensure that each of us – especially when we are in the minority – are as far as possible allowed to go about our lives without let or hindrance from anyone else.  Given this, better, say, a military dictatorship which will protect all the minorities than a democracy which deliberately attacks some minorities.

Of course, vastly better than either is a government of free people which also protects minorities.  Once upon a time, our government was the best example of that humanity had ever devised.  It is in tatters and shreds right now – so bad that the government is deliberately breaking the law in the matter of the debt limit, domestic spying, ObamaCare implementation and other matters and hardly a peep is raised about it.  But it is still to some extent in existence – we are still partially free; partially protected in our minority rights, that is. 

What is happening in Egypt should send a chill down our spines – because that is what democracy becomes when people are convinced that a vote of the majority rules all.  The Morsi government won the election fair and square and proceeded to do whatever it pleased – because “the people” had said so.  Of course, it wasn’t all of the people – the people will never be unanimous.  There will always be a minority which doesn’t agree – and the first duty of the government, even if supported by 99% of the people, is to ensure that the 1% disagreeing get what they want, even (and especially) if that is no more than to be left alone.  In the United States there are plenty of Americans who now think like the Morsi supporters:  they’ve won the election and so they get to do whatever they want and the minority must knuckle under.  That, however, is a failure of democracy – a failure to understand that we have a democracy not to determine what everyone must do, but to ensure that everyone can do as they wish, as far as practical.

For democracy to work there must be built in to it massive prohibitions against government action – for the very purpose of ensuring that a transient political majority doesn’t get it in their heads that victory at the polls is last word in government.  Our Bill of Rights is our primary bulwark against the failure of democracy.  What many people – mostly on the left – don’t understand is that if they don’t keep up the bulwarks, then the whole thing will come crashing down in to revolt and eventual civil war.  Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed – but, remember, only their just powers.  Just powers cannot be all powers because all powers cannot be granted to the government for the simple reason that not all people will consent to it.

I urge everyone not to tempt fate.  Do not push things too far.  Resign yourself to the fact that people will disagree and will have a right to disagree even to the point where you are offended.  We are straying very close to a precipice right now – our government has grown arrogant; our political pressure groups think they are invincible.  Some people are thinking that “history” is on their side, again (the Nazis and Communists thought that, too).  Democracy is failing – here and around the world – because in too many lands a temporary majority thinks it has the right to re-order everyone’s lives.  Stop it.  Now.  And let democracy be a success, again.