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What Needs To Be Said About What Needs To Be Done March 25, 2011

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Its spring and I’m in a motel snowed in for the second time in three days.  This past weekend I spoke at a symposium hosted by the Tenth Amendment Center at Southern New Hampshire University.  It was a power packed event.  A full day surrounded by people who not only see the hand writing on the wall but who also believe they know what the words mean left my head swimming with the ideas presented and the inevitable optimism created when people see a problem and take action.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way!  This has long been the battle cry of the do something even if it’s wrong lobby.  It also appears to have been the guiding philosophy of George the Second’s TARP and Obama the Only’s stimulus.

I once knew the manager of a Rock-N-Roll band famous for the on the road antics.  A constant string of motel mayhem, bar room buffoonery and generally boorish behavior devoured his attention.  He always managed to get the boys out of trouble and on to the next town.  I asked him once how he managed to smooth so many ruffled feathers.  His answer and his policy for living large in the Rock-N-Roll lifestyle, “Do whatever you want, and choke them with hundred dollar bills.” Or as our politicians lead by example, “Come on let’s throw some money at the problem maybe that will make it go away.”

On my way to my second snow day I drove past miles and miles and miles and miles of orange barrels blocking half the highway.  I could almost count them since the speed had been cut by about 30%.  After a minimum of twenty miles the construction ended, and I could once again drive at normal speed.  During all that time I saw not one worker, machine, or any evidence of human activity except the barrels. Our President has admitted that even though he sold us a trillion dollar pig-in-poke with the catchy little phrase there is no such thing as a shovel-ready job.  It now seems the Stimulus the Progressives foisted upon us was clearly a make-work boondoggle.  Now we are paying people to make signs telling us what wonderful things the Stimulus is accomplishing.  We’re paying people to put the signs up.  Paying people to put out the orange barrels, and then paying someone to pick up the barrels and take down the signs.  What’s next? Do we hire people to dig holes and then hire people to fill them up?

Once American said things like, “Millions for defense but not one cent for tribute!”  Once we said, “Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!” And “I have not yet begun to fight!”  Today the whine seems to be, “Where’s my share?”  “How about me?” and “Don’t touch my entitlement. Cut someone else.”  We have trillions for the political hacks, sweetheart deals for the unions, bail-outs for crony capitalists, and all the other hucksters, but no one with the courage to say what has to be said or do what has to be done even if it won’t cost one cent.

What has to be said is that we’ve squandered all the treasure and we’re about to kill the economy which has always been the goose that laid the golden egg.  Generations of over-the-top spending have finally brought us to the day when the credit cards are about to be cut up and the notes are about to be called.

What has to be done is stop the over spending.  Every household in our transformed America is facing the reality of cutting the expenditures to meet the income.  It’s time the government did the same thing.  We don’t need to have a series of continuing resolutions providing token cuts in exchange for an Amen to continued spending at astronomical levels.  And we don’t need to raise the debt ceiling if we will begin to spend no more than what comes in.  Since we are currently borrowing approximately 40 cents of every dollar Washington spends this will of course mean austerity such as we have never known.  But what is the alternative, insolvency, default, and an America which will slide from the first world to the second.

This isn’t what we inherited from our parents and it isn’t what we should leave for our children.  The people who met to uphold the Tenth Amendment know that, “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.”  And we never delegated the power to spend us into serfdom or charge us into bankruptcy.  So the next time you crawl past miles of closed highway with no work going on make a mental note to contact your Congressman and Senators and tell them to quit the spending and quit digging holes you can’t afford to pay someone to fill up.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

 

The Great Civil Debate February 4, 2011

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It is admitted by all except the liberal media and left-wing ideologues jockeying for political and partisan advantage, neither the tenor nor the content of our public discourse had any bearing upon the tragedy in Tucson.  Nevertheless there have been calls for a return to civility in our speech.  I heartily second that motion, believing as I do that civility should always be the hallmark of discussion among ladies and gentleman.  However, that is not the topic of this discourse.

I seek to call my fellow Americans not to a more civil debate but to The Great Civil Debate.  This is the debate we need if we’re to move beyond the gridlock of right versus left, the vitriol of Democrat versus Republican, and the hysteria of a coming conservative authoritarianism or a looming socialist one.  The debate I’m calling for is not an innovation in American History.  Instead it’s a re-play of a previous event and the sequel to our preliminary event: the debate over the ratification of the Constitution.  What we need now is a debate over the relevance of the Constitution with regard to the actions of the Federal Government.

From the day the Constitution was signed, September 17, 1787 to the day it was ratified June 21, 1788, this country rang with the impassioned speeches and stirring essays of both the opponents and the proponents of this our founding document.  Today is the day and now is the time for the debate to once again stir the hearts of the nation, will we have a limited government, personal liberty and free enterprise or are we going to have something else?  There’s no greater admirer of the United States Constitution then the author of this article.  None can be found who gives more veneration to the Framers or who pays more attention to its words.

However, after 222 years there’s no one more convinced that we’ve reached an historical impasse.  The Constitution is still in force.  It has been amended twenty seven times, but it has not been supplanted.  Yet, it’s all but ignored by the Federal Government.  Our continually expanding federal bureaucracy tips its hat to the commerce clause or uses the elastic necessary and proper clause as a political fig leaf to do whatever they want.  This being the current situation this article is in fact an intervention.  It’s well known that until a problem is recognized there’s no hope for a solution.  Therefore, since every other commentator I’m aware of dances around the 800 pound gorilla in the middle of the room, I’ll acknowledge the obvious and take the afore-mentioned primate as my dancing partner and say what must be said: the Constitution has failed.

This is not to say that it is a flawed document, a vehicle for ulterior motives, or that it has always been a failure.  This is not to say that I’m offering or advocating for a replacement.  As I mentioned earlier, there is no greater admirer of the United States Constitution then the author of this article.  What I do mean to say is that this great document which birthed and sustained a limited government for more than two hundred years has now become effectively irrelevant.

The proof for this sad statement can be seen in the unguarded rhetoric of the movers and shakers of our now unlimited government.  When asked where in the Constitution a warrant for mandated health care could be found one congressman answers, “I don’t worry about the Constitution.”  Another congressman says, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says that the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do. It means what we say it means.”  When asked a question about the constitutionality of health care legislation former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s response is, “Are you serious?”

And we have a President who writes that the Constitution is not “…static but rather a living document, and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.”  No wonder a liberal pundit finds it odd that a candidate for Congress would promise to consider the constitutionality of legislation saying, “that certainly isn’t the job of Congress. They should just pass whatever they want and let the courts worry about it later.”  These examples are joined by volumes of others, which show that not only is the Constitution irrelevant to these leaders it has become so accepted as irrelevant that they no longer even have to pay lip service to the integrity of the document they’ve sworn to uphold and defend.

We need a reset button.  We need to return to limited government.  But how do we get there from here?  The Tenth Amendment which says, “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” has been emasculated through court rulings.  The legal system has moved from original intent to precedent.  From what the words mean to what can we say the words mean.  This tsunami of change is led by the Progressives who believe that we need to evolve past the ideas and procedures devised and set down by the Framers and create a New America. A transformed America founded not on the equality of opportunity but on the equality of outcome.  These big government leaders in both parties seek not mere equal justice for all but social justice, not free enterprise but central planning.

This intervention sadly begins with the assessment based upon the current reality that the Constitution has failed.  However, it ends on a note of hope.  We’re the descendants of the Pioneers, the offspring of the Framers, and we can do this.  We can find a way within the legal framework of the Constitution itself to press that reset button.  We can solve this problem, because we’re Americans and we’re a can-do, get-it-done people.  But if we refuse to admit there’s a problem we’ll be doomed to suffer silently in the shadows as our beloved city on the hill becomes a lost dream in the twilight of freedom.  Instead let’s start The Great Civil Debate. How can we restore limited government, ensure liberty and revitalize free enterprise?  How can we get there from here?  Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

 

Here Comes the Judge December 18, 2010

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Judging that the mandate in President Obama’s Health Care bill is an unconstitutional expansion of the commerce clause, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson struck a blow for a commonsense approach to constitutional interpretation.  He further decided that words actually have meanings and are not merely place holders for future generations to use as they deconstruct the document meant to limit government into a document used to expand it.

Judge Hudson stated “At its core, this dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance — or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage — it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate.”  In his well reasoned and well stated 42 page opinion, Hudson also said many things which have needed saying for quite some time.  After years of activist judges stretching our tortured Constitution from limiting the government to limiting the citizen it’s refreshing to see an American jurist proclaiming that the corruption of our fundamental charter is leading us towards the creation of an unlimited central government usurping the powers expressly reserved to the States and the people.

Several of his statements are so well worded and so important they deserve repeating by every patriot who has a voice:

According to Judge Hudson:

“Although the Necessary and Proper Clause vests Congress with broad authority to exercise means, which are not themselves an enumerated power, to implement legislation, it is not without limitation.”

“Every application of Commerce Clause power found to be constitutionally sound by the Supreme Court involved some form of action, transaction, or deed placed in motion by an individual or legal entity.”

“Although purportedly grounded in the General Welfare Clause, the notion that the generation of revenue was a significant legislative objective is a transparent afterthought.”

“The legislative purpose underlying this provision was purely regulation of what Congress misperceived to be economic activity.”

“[i]f a person’s decision not to purchase health insurance at a particular point in time does not constitute the type of economic activity subject to regulation under the Commerce Clause, then logically an attempt to enforce such a provision under the Necessary and Proper Clause is equally offensive to the Constitution.”

“The same reasoning could apply to transportation, housing, or nutritional decisions. This broad definition of the economic activity subject to congressional regulation lacks logical limitation and is unsupported by Commerce Clause jurisprudence….”

“Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market. In doing so, enactment of the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I….”

“The unchecked expansion of congressional power to the limits suggested by the Minimum Essential Coverage Provision would invite unbridled exercise of federal police powers. At its core, the dispute is not simply about regulating the business of insurance—or crafting a scheme of universal health insurance coverage—it’s about an individual’s right to choose to participate.”

“[T]he Minimum Essential Coverage Provision appears to forge new ground and extends the Commerce Clause powers beyond its current high water mark.”

These are the type of words patriots have been waiting to hear from the bench!  These are the bold and direct statements needed to reaffirm the truth that the Constitution is meant to limit government not to enable it to run roughshod over the freedom and liberty of the people.  If the original document did not make this clear the Tenth Amendment states this fundamental truth clearly for all to hear, “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.”

However gratifying it is to hear an American Judge stand up for American values we must keep this victory in perspective.  Two other Federal Courts have previously upheld the government mandate.  And one thing can be confidently predicted, all of these rulings will be appealed.

There is no effective way to bring pressure on a federal judge.  They are insulated by lifetime appointments.  Therefore, We the People cannot influence any of them and our opinion means nothing.  Although some desire for the procedure to be shortened, having the matter immediately brought before the Supreme Court, even that wouldn’t bring a definitive answer until well into the next election cycle.  And then the decision as to the continued freedom of American citizens to refrain from economic activity and the freedom of American citizens to make personal choices for themselves will be left up to nine individuals.

As the Anti-Federalists warned so many years ago in Brutus’s 15th essay; “The supreme court under this constitution would be exalted above all other power in the government, and subject to no control.” The essay continued to warn, “There is no power above them that can correct their errors or control their decisions.”  And, “The power of this court is in many cases superior to that of the legislature.”  Ultimately observing, “When great and extraordinary powers are vested in any man, or body of men, which in their exercise, may operate to the oppression of the people, it is of high importance that powerful checks should be formed to prevent the abuse of it.”  The ratification conventions of the States chose to ignore these powerful arguments; consequently, never has the freedom of so many rested upon the judgment of so few.  And, probably on a vote of 5 to 4 rests the fate of We the People and a limited government.

Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.

Red Emperors Exploit Red Ink May 23, 2010

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Where does our federal government get the right to put the chains of hopeless debt on our grandchildren to buy a better hammock for those who won’t work? The 10th Amendment says, “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.” If we never delegated the power to create a National Debt how did the government get it? The power to encumber is the power to destroy. This habit of charging the Visa to the MasterCard is selling us out to the rising red star in the East and if we don’t pull the brake we’re heading for a cliff.
East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet passed for wisdom in the days when information took more than a nanosecond passing between continents. Today they not only meet they compete, and the Red Emperors of the East exploit the red ink of the West. Today our Progressive leaders embrace the suffocating sameness of socialist conformity and collectivist confiscation while communist mandarins release the long pent up energies of their people.
Living behind the veil of a high-tech Forbidden City unseen by the outside world Red Emperors abandoned the unattainable ideal of equality of outcome for the more economically successful model of indigenous industries and monetary policies designed to ensure a favorable balance of trade. Alexander Hamilton once recommended these policies and the early United States followed them. The unseen hand of Chinese leaders transforms Mao’s Stalinist nightmare into the poster child for an economic miracle.
Transforming a cult of personality into an oligarchy holding local elections monitored by the Carter Center and judged by them to be open and competitive top leadership faces intraparty elections and peacefully transfer power from one leader to the next. They’ve jettisoned Communist economic policies, which inevitably lead to ruin transforming themselves into a corporate-style authoritarianism resembling the Five Families of New York, or the Outfit and Machine of Chicago. An efficient arrangement that provides ample benefits for those who shut-up and go along to get along and ruthless whacks for any mole silly enough to poke its head up.
The tale of two civilizations: America slides into the decay of collectivism with oppressive regulations and confiscatory taxes discouraging the innovation and enterprise which made us great. China turns away from these tools of re-distribution and embraces capitalism without naming it. Today, business opportunities found in the shadow of Tiananmen Square are discouraged and penalized in the shadow of the Liberty Bell.
Today Union Bosses no longer break your legs if you oppose them, instead they sell your stock short, likewise the leaders of the People’s Liberation Army openly urge that China dump American bonds to influence American policies a naked example of Chinese power and American weakness. China knows they can’t face America militarily. However, due to crippling collectivist policies the American economy is on life support propped up through massive borrowing from China making us vulnerable to extortion. In addition to the $798.9 billion in U.S. Treasuries China holds its accumulated $2.4 trillion in foreign reserves mainly in American dollars. How are they using this economic arsenal? China buys American natural resources, major stakes in American Icon companies, and control of vital natural resources around the world.
As the economies and social systems of Western Europe stumble and America lurches in the same direction what type of system will rise from the abyss? Will dazed survivors of the coming crash shuffle off into a shabby future replicating the collectivist mistakes that drove us off the cliff adding totalitarian terror tactics to the mix or will the re-booted West re-embrace the inspirational thinking of the Enlightenment? Though it’s the excesses of casino capitalism protected and bailed-out by cronies in government inflating the bubbles of our drowning civilization economic freedom and republican principles are blamed for the crime. The true engine of our decline is the collectivism of the Progressives slipping in one entitlement and one tax at a time regulating opportunity and predetermining outcomes. This undermined the economic and social forces of Western exceptionalism. As bewildered citizens become aware of what’s happened to their countries they’ll gravitate to whoever promises the best example of success. It’s an inescapable conclusion China is well situated to provide that example.
Confucius said, “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” The debtor is slave to the lender, and he who pays the piper calls the tune. Whether it comes from the East or the West, wisdom tells us spending yourself into oblivion isn’t such a good deal when it comes time to pay the bill, and payday’s coming some day.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2010 Robert R. Owens dr.owens@comcast.net

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