The Freedom Caucus won the battle but still could lose the war.

trump-1st-100-daysIf President Trump is correct, Obamacare will implode and the Democrats will have little choice but to join the effort to fix healthcare. Don’t count on them to bring conservative solutions to the table though. The problem for the Freedom Caucus if this happens will be to hold onto the concessions they gained during the last few days. The more Democrats elect to take part in the effort the less chance any further conservative initiatives will make it into any new healthcare legislation. The Freedom Caucus having won this most recent battle, may well lose the war.  The best hope for the Freedom Caucus going forward is to continue to explain to the American people at every opportunity the virtues of their positions on healthcare and build public awareness of them to the point that by the second go-round they seem common sense.  They will need to expand their sphere of influence beyond conservative diehards to the more moderate Republican constituencies and Trump supporters if they are to have any hope keeping their gains in tact much less building upon them in the event that Democrats decide they want a hand in fixing the mess they made with Obamacare when next attempt at healthcare reform is made.


Constitution Memorial Day

U.S. ConstitutionSaturday marked the 229th anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.  It established the United States as the world’s first constitutional republic.  We may be mere months from the end of America’s existence as such.  2017 could be the first year of a new, post-Constitutional era.  If Hillary Clinton is elected president her choices of Supreme Court justices will tip the balance in favor of a Court that sees the Constitution as a “living document”, one that can be interpreted to mean whatever they need it to mean.  On that day, the Constitution, already in exile, will cease to function as a constraint on government.

“A Bill of Rights that means what the majority wants it to mean is worthless.”  -Antonin Scalia

The Bill of Rights, in particular, will be eroded to such an extent as to become meaningless.  Rights favored by the new majority will be created out of whole cloth, while rights not favored, such as the right to bear arms, will be made virtually impossible to exercise.   Consider this:  The subject of marriage does not come up anywhere in the Constitution, but the tenth 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.” So anything not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, such as marriage, would seemingly be governed by that amendment. It establishes what is often referred to as “state’s rights”.  When some states wanted to outlaw same-sex marriage, and some states wanted to legalize it, the Supreme Court stepped in with the Obergefell v. Hodges and legalized ‘gay marriage’ nationally.  Many social conservatives objected to the decision on moral and religious grounds, setting those objections aside the decision created a number of problematic consequences for the Constitution. Many, including Justice Roberts, believe the majority in that ruling used arguments with no constitutional basis:

“Whether same-sex marriage is a good idea should be of no concern to us. Under the Constitution, judges have power to say what the law is, not what it should be”

A ruling based on what the majority thought the law should be seems to be exactly what happened.  The Court invented an individual right at the expense of the rights of the states.  The tenth amendment seems to exist only at the whim of the majority.  Impatient with the legislative process that requires consensus building, activists used the Court to do what they could not wait for the state legislatures to do.  Now they have the law but necessarily a consensus.  Because the ruling was based on emotional arguments more than constitutional ones, there is now no constitutional argument to place any limits on marriage between adults, not based on the sex of the participants, not based on the number, nor kinship nor likely even age.  Polygamy laws could be struck down tomorrow, were the cause popular enough.  What would be the argument against?

What other amendments are as disposable as the tenth?  What if the courts because of some public pressure due to security decided to give similar treatment to the fourth amendment?   Our right to privacy would be gone.  Proponents of so-called common sense gun control have already called for legislation (no fly no buy) that would simultaneously abridge our second, fifth, and fourteenth amendment rights.  What if the Court decided to do what a powerful voting bloc such as the anti-gun lobby demanded?

“As long as judges tinker with the Constitution to ‘do what the people want,’ instead of what the document actually commands, politicians who pick and confirm new federal judges will naturally want only those who agree with them politically.” – Antonin Scalia

Another example of how SCOTUS justices chose to use extremely contorted logic to arrive at the decision they wanted was National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the ruling that effectively legalized the Affordable Care Act, A.K.A. Obamacare.  This allowed the government to compel its citizens to engage in commerce, whether they chose to or not, whether they felt like they needed the product or not.  If you remember your grade school history, the American revolution was fought to end this sort of thing.  A government that can compel its citizens to spend money, determine how much, and on what does not serve the populace, it rules it.

The Constitution was meant to act as the guardrails of our government.  It was meant to act as a constraint to the federal government while protecting the rights of the states and individuals.  The idea of the Constitution as a ‘living document’ then makes about as much sense as playing football on a field with no sidelines, with no objective means of determining what is in or out of bounds.  Liberal justices, believing that the Constitution must adapt to the present society have little compunction against following only those parts of it that are convenient to their objectives while ignoring others.  When the Constitution gets to the point where it can mean anything the justices need it to mean, it will at once come to mean nothing.  We will be living in a post-constitutional America.  The three Supreme Court justices that our next president is expected to appoint, if they are liberal, activist judges, will be more than enough to effectively end the era of the United States as a constitutional republic.

The faulty rational of persistent #nevertrump’ers

Election 2016While the primaries were in full-swing, it made sense for movement conservatives to speak out against Donald Trump.  He made many a comment that would have ended the campaign of any other Republican.  His statements about Senator McCain immediately turned off many a patriotic conservative.  He made statement after controversial statement and yet his popularity with the working man only increased.  His has policies were all over the political map, some being conservative, some to the left of even Hillary, mostly all of them populist.  He was outmatched in knowledge about foreign affairs by nearly all of his opponents.  His near absolute ban on Muslims was completely unworkable, but since then has been refined away from populism to pragmatism.  He’s also made it a point to surround himself with foreign policy and military experts.  Still, there were preferable alternatives who showed greater aptitude for conservatism, and who had nearly mistake-free campaigns.

Marco Rubio had great foreign policy credentials. Carly Fiorina also proved herself equal to any of her rivals in that department and focused like a laser beam on Hillary from the beginning.  Senator Cruz has the support of the Constitutionalists and had by far the best ground game of any of the candidates, rivaled only possibly by the Clinton machine.   This was to finally be the year of the movement conservative.  What none of them realized, was that the white, non-college educated working man had abandoned the Republican party two elections ago. With no popular support for so-called ‘establishment’ Republicans (read Jeb Bush) and young, intelligent candidates who could speak the language of conservatism fluently, this election was to be the era of Regan reborn.  The problem was, the average American spoke the language of not conservatism, but populism.   Trump, like his followers, feels free to cherry-pick from any political school of thought, conservatism, nationalism, populism, and even liberalism.  In short, Trump followed former Republican constituency to where it wanted to go.

Everyone knows the result, Trump won the nomination.  the #nevertrump crowd now had (and still has) a decision to make, reluctantly follow the new GOP standard-bearer, for all his flaws, or stick with Republican and  conservative orthodoxy. As Trump filled in the gaps of his foreign affairs and military knowledge, and softened on some of his more problematic stances on immigration, the opposition of many Republicans against him softened.  Little by little, Republican diehards resigned themselves to the reality that it was Trump or bust.  Others though, convinced of the certainty of a Trump loss, and fearful of down-ballot losses stubbornly dug in their heels on the subject of never Trump, even to the point of actively undermining his candidacy.

Reluctant, even stoic support for Trump is to be expected and understandable.  He is not the second coming of Reagan, but the first coming of Trump.  Those who insist on ideological purity won’t find it in this GOP candidate.  Those who had fought hard to rehabilitate the Republican Party’s image after losing virtually all of the black and most of the Latino vote four years ago find themselves besides themselves with frustration in their candidate.  He is their candidate though, and for all his shortcomings with regards to many conservative principles and a maddening lack of political sense, is still better for America in many ways then his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

The key is to show that while Trump says controversial things, Hillary has done, time and again, many things that were deeply dishonest, maybe even illegal.  While Trump’s thoughts get him into hot water, Hillary’s actual deeds (or occasional lack of) have gotten Americans killed or put in jeopardy.  While critics can theorize about Trump being bad, we have proof positive that Hillary would be worse.  Evidence of her corruption is well documented.  We don’t have to wonder how she would govern, she would turn America into her own personal fife, and we her serfs, existing only to provide her and her sycophants  with wealth.  On the subject of Supreme Court appointees alone, there is no real choice for the constitutionalist that wants a Scalia type justice on the Court.

There is no chance of Trump being replaced as GOP nominee, any talk to the contrary is pure fantasy. There is no realistic chance of someone not from the Republican or Democratic parties becoming our next president.  Even if the #nevertrump crowd could come up with a candidate with the financial means to do so, it’s too late to get him or her on the ballot in many states.  So why does anyone claiming to be a Republican seek not to simply withhold support, but actively act to undermine his campaign?  They are ideologues, but ones who fail to understand that under a Hillary presidency, none of their conservative initiatives will come to be.  Clinton will enact her liberal, even socialist policies.  If she can’t get her agenda done under a Republican Congress, the Democrats will appeal to the American sometimes pathological need to just “get things done” regardless what that actually means.  Republican control of Congress his hardly guaranteed.  Democrats are already counting on the fact that the Republicans were put into power on Capitol Hill for the express reason of stopping the liberal Obama agenda.  Whatever political victories Hillary can garner, she will lock in by appointing active judges and an ever-growing, compliant regulatory machine.

The never Trump crowd has fooled themselves that in four years, they will get a do-over if Trump loses and finally undo the Obama/Clinton agenda.  It won’t happen, what they dont’ realize is this election may be the last one for America as a true constitutional democracy.  The next election, should Clinton win, will be more like those in the democratic-socialist countries of Western Europe– mere referendums on how quickly or slowly to descend into the socio-economic oblivion, and who will go out on top. The fact is, regardless of how much the conservative true believer would rather not, there is no real choice when it comes to any meaningful governmental reform.  There is only one candidate that will appoint justices that will respect the letter and spirit of the Constitution.  There is only one candidate with a pro-growth agenda, only one candidate that will turn America away from an otherwise certain, yes certain, move toward a single-payer healthcare system.  Like it or not, the only viable choice, for all his shortcomings, is Donald Trump.

There I said it.

Obama’s Latest Bailout

President Obama is pushing for another bailout, not of some bank or automotive company, but for his own signature piece of legislation, ‘Obamacare’. He remarks in Germany earlier in the week made it clear that he is hoping that the Supreme Court will bail him out and rule that people in states using the government exchanges can get subsidies for health care, a ruling that would require the Court members to ignore the plain language of the law.  Contrary to what the President would have us believe, they would have to also ignore that portion of the law’s intent, to dissuade the states from opting for the government exchange in favor of one’s they set up themselves.

So in other words, the Obama and the Democrats in Congress were fine with that clause the way it was when they thought that it could be used as a stick to pressure governors into setting up their own state exchanges.  Many states didn’t do what the Democrats wanted and forced the Government to create an exchange for them.  The stick did not work, but President Obama still wants to give about six million people in those states the carrot, claiming that was the intent of the law the entire time.  Problem is, that is not what the law says. The law says to the states, (in one of the few instances where it is clear enough for anyone to understand) that if you don’t set up your  own exchanges, your citizens won’t qualify for the subsidy.  It is clear that the clause in question was deliberately written that way under the assumption that no governor would risk not letting their constituents get the subsidy by not creating a state exchange.  To argue, as the President’s attorneys are doing before the Supreme Court, that this was not the case is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest.  They can argue all they want, but Johnathan Gruber, one of the laws creators is already infamously on record saying the intent of the clause was just that, to force governors to set up state exchanges, lest they face the ire of the voters.  There is also one other flaw in the President’s argument: There would be no purpose behind having such language included in the law at all if the intent was to allow everyone to receive subsidies as Obama is claiming.  It would be an “orphan” clause without impact on any other part of the legislation.

 If though, common sence prevails and the Court agrees that the law means what it says and says what it means, that ironically could mean catastrophic success for the Republicans.

If the Supreme Court rules in Obama’s favor, many will throw up their hands and say they give up.  (The author of this article being one of them.)  If though, common sence prevails and the Court agrees that the law means what it says and says what it means, that ironically could mean catastrophic success for the Republicans.  The President has no plan B.  Unfortunately, neither does, so it would seem, the Republican Congress.  They will be like the dog that after years of chasing after cars, finally actually catches one.  To be fair, alternative plans have been floating around the halls of Congress for years, but are any of them ready to go?  What about the six million people who are stuck in the middle?  Can a stop-gap measure that does right by them, but does not give any vindication to Obamacare’s supporters be crafted in time?

Obama is looking for the SCOTUS to bail him out of this mess, failing that, the Congress.  The price the Republicans should demand for this bailout should be the Affordable Care Act itself.

Is America Really a Free Country? Pt. 2: Phone and Pen vs. Pen and Parchment

Is America FreeConvinced that the phone and pen could defeat pen and parchment, President Obama continued his government by decree campaign in 2014.  Frustrated by Congress’ failure to pass immigration reform to his liking, he reverted to type and issued an Executive Order that he hopes will put some five million illegal immigrants on the path to citizenship.  This despite the fact that he himself previously claimed he had no such authority.  He was right:  Article I, section 8 of the Constitution gives the power and responsibility to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization” to Congress, not the President.

Obama and others on the Left claim every President since and including Ronald Reagan have given Illegals amnesty. Reagan did in fact grant nearly three million illegal aliens amnesty.  This was based on and interpretation of a bill passed by Congress which had the effect of deferring the deportation of those aliens.  In contrast, there is no comparable legislation the President can cite as the basis for deferring the deportation of the approximately five million illegal immigrants in question.  The bill he was counting on did not pass, so he cannot claim his is doing Congress’ will as Reagan did at the time.  He therefore is attempting to create new law where there previously was none.

The Supreme Court has ruled that it is Constitutional to force Americans to engage in commerce against their will, provided the penalty for not doing so is called a tax as with the Affordable Care Act.  The President has managed to circumvent Congress and the Constitution on numerous occasions to rule by Executive Order.  In light of these facts, it is hard to maintain the belief that Americans enjoy the kinds of liberties the Founders had in mind when they signed the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.   Even the notion that the U.S. is a “freer” country than many is slowly fading.  According to the 2010-2014 World Values Survey, eleven countries rated higher by their citizens on the question of freedom of choice in life.  The fact that we are not number one or even in the top ten should be to our shame, our eternal shame.

We Americans have been on a steady decent away from being the rulers of this country to being the ruled.  It has gotten to the point that I no longer use the expression, “it’s a free country,” anymore– it just rings hollow.   I pray one day, that “We the People” will be able to proudly proclaim our freedom again, but that day will not come until we decide no longer to barter our freedom for security or comfort.

Is America Really a Free Country?

“It’s a free country,” as the saying goes. We as Americans have been brought up to believe this. Our Founding Fathers even put it in writing. We say it without giving it much thought. It’s cliché. If we were forced to answer this question honestly, could we really answer in the affirmative? Even if we allow for some moral restrictions on our actions, can we with intellectual honesty say that America in the 21st century is a truly a free country?freedom qstn

In 2010, a law was passed requiring Americans to engage in commerce– whether they wanted to or not, whether they needed it or not. On top of that they product was product was made more expensive by requiring services that the buyers in some cases could not possibly use. The law of course is the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Worse than such a law even being passed is that the Supreme Court of the United States actually upheld it, or at least a key provision of the law known as the individual mandate. Their decision, apparently arrived through a lot of legal gymnastics, was that the individual mandate penalty is a tax and as such could be broadly regulated. At that point any pretense that America was a free country went up in smoke.

This SCOTUS ruling meant that the government could make its citizens purchase anything! Yes, anything. This is not hyperbole, exaggeration, or hysteria. The government indeed could force you to buy a book, a car, any manner of goods or service, so long as the penalty for not doing so was called a tax.

Government’s power over commerce need not stop there; by the same logic it could forbid, even hand-pick which goods are allowed to be sold. Under SCOTUS’ reading of the Government’s power to tax there would be nothing keeping Congress from decreeing only American made electric cars be sold. Of course the American people would first have to vote in legislators with sufficient disregard for individual liberty, but we’re too smart to let that happen, right?

OK, so we learned our lesson with the Affordable Care Act and threw out those in Congress willing to play fast and loose with our liberty. The Constitution says that Congress makes the laws, so we are therefore (for the moment) safe from our Government forcing us to buy American made electric cars, yes? No, not necessarily. President Obama has decided he does not need Congress. He has a phone and a pen (read staff and flail) that give him the power though executive order to instruct the proper regulatory body to create virtual law through regulation. He believes he can rule through Executive Order, and in fact has managed to do so. He as he sees it, could issue an order to the EPA, an non-elected body, to regulate the production of fossil fuel out of existence and thereby make gas-fueled vehicles no longer a viable option for transportation. Crazy? He is attempting to do exactly that. Onerous regulations in the coal industry at his direction already make it almost impossible to build an economically viable coal fire plant. He will not allow a pipeline to be built to move Canadian oil despite the fact that it is actually safer to transport it that way than with rail or over the roads. As for the American made part? He basically federalized GM through the bailouts, too bad their electric car has so far not met consumer needs. That window has closed, but should the automotive industry ever need another bailout… Hope (if not change) springs eternal.