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“We are all Socialists Now”

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

The near panic associated with the possibility of Bernie Sanders, after winning the New Hampshire primary and doing so well in South Carolina and Nevada, overtaking Hillary Clinton and becoming the Democratic nominee for president, is treated by the establishment press as a gigantic move into socialism, but it shouldn’t. Seven years ago, Feb. 16, 2009, Newsweek’s cover story proclaimed “We Are All Socialists Now.”

Editors Jon Meacham and Evan Thomas wrote, “Whether we want to admit it or not, the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state,” toward socialism, they observed, “even before Barack Obama’s largest fiscal bill in our history.” The cover of the magazine featured a red hand (republican) shaking a blue hand (democrat) in favor of socialism. Both parties accepted the “growing role of government in the economy,” they observed. “The U.S. government has already—under a conservative Republican administration—effectively nationalized the banking and mortgage industries.” Moreover, “it was, again, under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years: prescription drugs for the elderly.”

If the “growing role in government” was how Newsweek measured socialism, the Obama years thereafter were even more socialist than they could have expected. In this time period the federal government obtained a controlling interest in General Motors, absorbed 1/7th of the economy under Obamacare, and expanded the power of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to oversee most homes in America. This land expansion was in addition to their ownership of a third of all the landmass in the United States known as federal land. This does not count the controlling influence over all businesses by the eighty thousand new pages of bureaucratic rules and regulations descending upon businesses annually that effectively manage most everything else.

Clearly we were replacing our Constitutional Republic, which emphasizes limited government and individual freedom, with socialism long before Sanders became a household name. His appeal to tax the rich even more to pay for free college is but a deeper step into the socialism that already exists in the United States. Newsweek observed correctly then that this was just the beginning. In light of their honesty it might behoove us to understand where socialist might be taking us by noting where socialism has taken others.

In 1975 the book, “From Under the Ruble,” authored by a variety of Soviet dissidents, all but one of whom were still living in the USSR, was published in the West. The participants were fully aware that their commentary on the socialist system smuggled to the “Free World” would undoubtedly unleash the wrath of the Soviet Bear and result in imprisonment, torture, and possibly death for them. Nonetheless, they felt that the West could avoid the loss of freedom they experienced if only it were warned.

Igor Shafarevich, a corresponding member of the Soviet Academy of Sciences and former Laureate of the Lenin Prize, attempted, in his chapter “Socialism in Our Past and Future,” to tell the West what socialism eventually worked out to be in practice. This is, of course, after any significant means of resistance had been removed by gun control. That is the first thing that goes in any tyrannical government. He found the economic definition of socialism, the meaningful governmental control of the means of production and distribution, shamefully incomplete.

Socialism resulted in complete control of private property. Property was defined as anything that existed including one’s own family and person. This included subordination of the individual to the power of the bureaucracy and state control of everyday life. Sexual promiscuity is first tolerated, even encourage, but ultimately procreation on a selective and supervised basis follows.

For the USSR socialism meant the destruction of the family as the basic institution of society and the rearing of children away from their parents in state schools or daycare centers. Marriage, as an acceptable practice, was also minimized.

One of the most defining characteristics of all profoundly socialist countries was the government’s extreme hatred of religion and their commitment to its ultimate destruction. It competes with the state as God.

The destruction of the hierarchy into which society has arranged itself was yet another characteristic under which Shafarevich lived. The idea of equality to a socialist had a special character. It meant the negation of the existence of any genuine differences between individuals: “equality” was turned into “equivalence.” Socialism aims to establish equality by the opposite means of destroying all the higher aspects of the personality.

Newsweek’s invitation to “think more clearly about how to use government in today’s world” should dissuade us from going there at all. Why would anyone want to embrace a system that ended all semblances of freedom and which, for them, self destructed in 1989? At least in the USSR, at that time, they would have been happy to trade their socialism for our freedom. Are we smart enough to listen to them and avoid all socialists in either party, of which there are several, this election?

For Whom Would George Washington Vote?

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

As Presidents Day and presidential primaries are upon us one might ponder whom would President George Washington support in the 2016 presidential election? The answer is found in his famous Farewell Address given Sept. 19, 1796, just prior to his leaving the presidency. In his usual stately manner as the father of this great nation he warned posterity of possible pitfalls that could undermine or destroy this great experiment in liberty. His warnings may well be timelier 218 years later as we near his birthday February 22.
In strong terms he asked that we avoid debt. He said: “As a very important source of strength and security cherish public credit… use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasion of expense… [Use the] time of peace, to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.”

Today our national debt exceeds $19 trillion—the highest in our history–$9 trillion of which from the Obama Administration alone in seven years. Debt resolvement is the most serious issue of our country today, akin to national survival. Obviously neither party has taken Washington’s advice. Presently the debt per taxpayer is $158,902. We are spending our way into oblivion (See USDebtClock.org). This issue has not been vented in any of the presidential debates thus far. Rand Paul (now withdrawn from the race) sponsored a bill to audit the Federal Reserve, a necessary step in curbing runaway debt. Ted Cruz cosponsored it. Basically Democrats do not consider this a problem and most Republican candidates give but lip service to it.

Washington plead with the nation to keep religion and morality strong. He said: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” The Founding Fathers never supported the notion of separation of religion and government—only the separation of an organization of religion from government. Basically both parties work for removal of religion from government but Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee (now withdrawn from the race) and Marco Rubio did work for the evangelical vote in Iowa.

Our first president also had advice with respect to how we should deal with foreign nations. He advised that our commercial policy “should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences…diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce but forcing nothing.” This is a far cry from the bullying tactics we’ve too often employed the last 118 years. Today we have troops in over 32 nations deployed in over 900 bases.

But the warning about foreign aid was especially good. Washington basically told us that gift giving in foreign affairs is a good way to be universally hated. He said it placed us “in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more.” Today there is hardly a nation in the world that does not have its hand out and when, after once giving, the amount is reduce or terminated we are hated all the more for it. Paul would fade it.

Washington warned against the origin of “combinations and associations” whose intent was to suppress the desires of the majority in favor of the minority. He called them artificial power factions. We call them special interest groups. What would he say upon learning that a third of the cabinet of every president since Herbert Hoover belonged to the semi-secret Council on Foreign Relations as does either the President or Vice President of every administration including Barack Obama’s? No candidate dares speak out against this organization by name, Ted Cruz gets closest, “the Washington Cartel.”

Such factions, he said, “May answer popular ends and become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government….” The antidote for this, Washington explained, was “to resist with care the spirit of innovation” upon basic constitutional principles or premises no matter how flowery, appealing or “specious the pretext.” President Barack Obama is the best example that we have had of “specious the pretext” and Donald Trump the second.

Washington worried about posterity not holding their elected officials strictly to the limits imposed by the Constitution. He knew many would seek to undermine that document by twisting it to give power they could not acquire without the distortion. Sound familiar? He said: “But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” Today much of what the federal government does is not even mentioned in the Constitution. Ted Cruz is the “Washington Cartel’s” most hated presidential candidate because he is constitutionally based.

But freedom fighters are not likely to be popular, Washington continues: “Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.” One need not look far for the tools and dupes, they seem to characterize most of the presidential candidates from both parties. Are you voting for one of them or for a real constitutionalist.

Congress does not want Fiscal Irresponsibility on Ballot

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Who says that bipartisanship does not exist in the Federal Government? In a largely secret and hurriedly framed agreement between President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, representatives of both major political parties, agreed to delay for two years a real curb on their addiction to spending. Monday, November 2, 2015, Obama signed into law the “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.” The establishment media played to the Democratic Party theme that it was necessary to avert a default on U.S. financial obligations coming the next day—the same message used to justify previous debt increases.

It essentially took fiscal responsibility off the table as an election issue. No one from either political party, at election time, really wants to deny constituents promised “goodies,” for which we have little hope of paying. The Senate gave approval on Friday and the President signed the following Monday. Only Rand Paul spoke against it in the Presidential debates and threatened to filibuster it the next day. “We will be giving President Obama a free pass to borrow as much money as he can borrow in the last year of his office,” he said on the Senate floor the next day standing beside a poster of a mock “unlimited credit card” issued to Mr. Obama.

The legislation raised the debt ceiling (caps on spending) an additional $80 billion- $50 billion for 2016 and $30 billion for 2017. The US national debt has reached $18.5 trillion having increased nearly $8 trillion since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009. By the time he leaves office he alone will have doubled the national debt. Let me restate this. This amount is double what his 43 predecessors together have laid on the backs of our children. He is the most expensive president in our history and in the impending financial crash to come—if there is not soon a return to fiscal sanity—will be the single most person responsible.

One mathematician gave us a more practical way to evaluate our outstanding debt. One trillion one-dollar bills stacked atop each other (not end to end but flat) would reach nearly 68,000 miles into space—a third of the way to the moon. If so, the debt incurred under President Obama to date alone, would take us to the moon (3 trillion), and back (6 trillion), and two thirds of the way to the moon again (8 trillion), for a total of 8 trillion. (See CNN News Cast, Feb. 4, 2009

But fiscal insanity is not limited to Democrats alone. Congress raised the debt ceiling 18 times under Ronald Reagan, eight under Bill Clinton, seven under George W. Bush and nine, counting the present raise, under Barack Obama. The ceiling has never been reduced. Congressional and presidential fiscal irresponsibility cannot be over stated. Our leaders are taking us into a sink whole from which we may never recover and condemning our children to fiscal slavery. There is no issue in the 2016 Presidential election that is more important than fiscal responsibility and the leadership of both parties has just taken it off the table.

The bill diffusing the debt ceiling issue from remaining a political issue through March 2017, was first passed in the House of Representatives mostly by Democrats (none voting against) in a 266-167 vote. Republicans, in control of this body, were divided, 79 voting with the Democrats, including Republican Party leaders, and 168 against. Opposition to the Speaker Boehner “sell out” contributed to his subsequent resignation both as Speaker and a member of Congress. Congressman Jim Jordan probably represented the feeling of the vast majority of Republicans opposing the bill. “Another last-minute, back-room spending deal by the White House and Congressional leaders that busts the budget caps and allows unlimited debt for the next 18 months. No wonder so many Americans distrust Congress.” Congressman Tom McClintock was more direct. The deal he says adds “nearly $650 for every household in America that will be added to your current and future tax bills.”

The vote in the Republican controlled Senate was 64-35 in favor of the bill with all Democrats voting for with 18 Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, voting with them. The 35 no votes came from Republicans. Senate presidential candidates standing in fierce opposition were Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. The final vote for passage occurred in the early morning hours about 3:00 a. m., thus the bill is dubbed by opponents as the “Midnight Debt Bill.”

The politicians have won the eleventh hour big spending victory “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015,” but millennials and their children will one day view this as a dark day in U.S. History. What it shows more clearly than ever is that Congress (both Houses and both political parties) is incapable with present leadership of curbing their addiction to spending. An impending fiscal collapse is more likely than ever.

Democrats Angry with “sellout” President!! “We want to take back our Government!!”

Harold Pease, Ph. D

Thank goodness for traditional Democrats with wisdom and experience from a previous trade deal that badly hurt the American worker. They are, for the second time in a generation, opposing their own president for selling them out.

Three weeks ago Democratic lawmakers joined union leaders and hundreds of other Democrats in a rally on Capitol Hill to express their outrage with the request of President Barack Obama, to extend fast-track status to what is called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. All speakers were angry, one referring to the White House, “We don’t trust you.” Rep. Alan Grayson called the Administration a “sellout government,” and suggested that it did not seem to matter “who’s in charge, Democrats or Republicans.” He wanted to “take back our government from the political acrobats and the corporate aristocrats.” The crowd cheered. Still others wanted to know what Obama was hiding in the 27 chapter agreement between the Pacific Rim countries, reportedly only five having anything to do with trade itself, since they were asked to approve fast track-status, basically an up or down vote without changes, and without being able to read it. Senator Elizabeth Warren yelled “No more secret trade deals!” And, “No more special deals for multinational corporations!!” Again, these are Democrats accusing Obama of selling them out.

Traditional Democrats feel that they are watching the same movie as provided by President Bill Clinton when he shoved the over 3,755 page North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (two volume copy of treaty and supporting documentation in my possession) down their throats, similarly on a fast-track approval process, some twenty-two years ago with precisely the same arguments, that it would expand American jobs. It didn’t!! They were then; as now, overwhelmingly opposed to it, but he was their president so enough supported him to get the deal through. Most democrats with union membership understandably felt betrayed.

The process then and now is the up or down vote without debate and a simple majority vote of both houses of Congress—a process not in the Constitution. Constitutionally the House of Representatives has no treaty-making function. Solely the Senate possesses this power. Clinton, realizing that he could not get a two-thirds vote for treaty confirmation in the Senate as required, purposely used the word agreement rather than treaty, thus treating it as a law, which then required only a simple majority of both houses of Congress for confirmation. He used the same unconstitutional technique on his second major treaty of his two terms in office, GATT—General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

Obama seeks the same unconstitutional process for his treaty; presenting it to both houses for a simple majority rather than to the Senate for a two-thirds vote as constitutionally required. If not stopped now this will be the trend for future presidents as well. No member of Congress should participate in this constitutional distortion or ever vote affirmatively on any measure that they have not fully read and been thoroughly vetted with colleagues and the public.

Even Obama in 2009, seeking union votes in Ohio, described NAFTA as having been devastating to the working class. He claimed in the Bloomberg News that it had cost 1 million American jobs and led to “entire cities” being “devastated.” Yet it is he that now betrays his base support as had Clinton in 1993, the father of NAFTA.

Last week Democrats courageously prevented an affirmative vote for the hated fast-tracked secret treaty but enough were swayed by personal phone calls from the President to get committee passage. In the Senate it now goes to the full body.

The Republican base is generally supportive minus the Tea Party contingent. Patriots worry not only over the loss of American jobs that will result, but also about expanded corporate international control of every person on earth (formerly referred to as world government). They also view corporate management of the economy as not the free market and they have problems with the distortions to the Constitution to achieve it. They are also troubled by the secrecy surrounding the whole agreement. Secrecy and liberty are rarely compatible.

Thus far Senator Rand Paul is the only prominent presidential candidate from either major party expressing the belief that the treaty should be made public immediately before any vote is taken on it. At present Senators are only allowed to read the 800-page document (probably treaty only without supporting documentation) in a room with signs on the door, “No Public Or Media Beyond This Point.” No private copies are allowed to Senators and they are not to disclose its contents—thus the charge secret agreement. Paul plans to oppose it but his Kentucky counterpart, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, promises to run it through as quickly as possible. We soon will know the position of the remaining presidential contenders. Freedom advocates are advised to reject from further office any member voting for fast-tract consideration or any measure without full disclosure, public vetting, and congressional debate.

Again, thanks to the Democratic Party faithful that have been bold enough to resist the intrigues of their own president to abandon the American worker and instead to protect him. Hopefully constitutionalist will join them in their efforts. It will take more than party to reclaim our liberties and our jobs.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution.

Put Me in Charge of the Welfare State

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

The national debt now exceeds 18 trillion dollars, almost half added during the Barack Obama administration alone, and is increased by three to four billion every day and neither major political party nor network is talking about it as a national emergency. Who is slated to repay this crippling, gigantic burden—our children—the unborn or those too young to have objected? The ones who laid it on their backs, by spending what they did not have, are now dead, dying, or retiring.

Well, reportedly one of those “new debt slaves,” the so-called millennials, voiced her complaint five years ago, November 18, 2010 with a solution to the problem. When she was born 21 years prior, in 1989, the national debt was only around 2.7 trillion dollars, said then to be crippling and gigantic. In an article entitled “Put me in Charge,” first appearing in the Waco Tribune Herald (author unnamed), she outlined four controversial solutions. They follow:

“Put me in charge of food stamps. I’d get rid of Lone Star cards; no cash for Ding Dongs or Ho Ho’s, just money for 50-pound bags of rice and beans, blocks of cheese and all the powdered milk you can haul away. If you want steak and frozen pizza, then get a job.

“Put me in charge of Medicaid. The first thing I’d do is to get women Norplant birth control implants or tubal ligations. Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. If you want to reproduce or use drugs, alcohol, or smoke, then get a job.

“Put me in charge of government housing. Ever live in a military barracks? You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair. Your “home” will be subject to inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried. If you want a plasma TV or Xbox 360, then get a job and your own place.

“In addition, you will either present a check stub from a job each week or you will report to a “government” job. It may be cleaning the roadways of trash, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find for you. We will sell your 22-inch rims and low profile tires and your blasting stereo and speakers and put that money toward the “common good.”

“Before you write that I’ve violated someone’s rights, realize that all of the above is voluntary. If you want our money, accept our rules. Before you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin their “self esteem,” consider that it wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for doing absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem.

“If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices. The current system rewards them for continuing to make bad choices.

“And while you are on Gov’t subsistence, you no longer can VOTE! Yes, that is correct. For you to vote would be a conflict of interest. You will voluntarily remove yourself from voting while you are receiving a Gov’t welfare check. If you want to vote, then get a job.”

Although some of the ideas offered by this angry 21-year-old “debt slave” were scoffed at on some websites at the time as being excessive, public reaction was generally favorable. Still, the millennial generation is the most “abused” generation in American history and they have a right to be angry. Very angry!! Their birthright has been stolen. Unfortunately this message of abuse was only accelerated and the 14 trillion dollars national debt, when the article was first written, is now over four trillion dollars larger. Moreover, 14 million more Americans have become dependent on food stamps since she wrote the above. For the “debt slave” class there seems no hope.

We have the normal three solutions: tax more, inflate more, or cut more. We could double our taxes but that would destroy incentive and resources to create jobs. We could inflate the dollar making every dollar already earned worth less. But that would rob those on fixed incomes and seriously damage the lower classes that don’t have the money to purchase gold or silver to ensure the value of what they have saved. Or finally, we could cut half the free or subsidized “non-essential” programs and live within our means, which everyone supports so long as it is not their program that is cut.

We have got to do something. Soon those receiving welfare will exceed those not on welfare and they will never vote to end a system wherein they are benefited. Perhaps these solutions, offered by the most impacted age group, represented by this young author, will become even more popular as time goes on. Certainly we cannot simply dismiss them because they seem insensitive. The alternative may be national bankruptcy.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution.

Praise the Presidents but Oppose their Messages

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

Presidents’ Day, combining birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for a national holiday, was designed to honor the contributions of both but, though we heap praise upon each, we ignore their messages. Washington’s primary message for posterity can be found in his famous Farewell Address just prior to his leaving office.
In strong terms he asked that we avoid debt. He said: “As a very important source of strength and security cherish public credit… use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasion of expense… [Use the] time of peace, to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.” Today our national debt sits at over $18 trillion—the highest in our history—eight trillion of which coming under President Barack Obama alone. We are spending our way into slavery for our children and/or financial collapse (See USDebtClock.org).

Washington pleaded with the nation to keep religion and morality strong. He said: “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” The founding Fathers never supported the notion of separation of religion and government—only the separation of an organization of religion from government. What would Washington say of the immorality that prevails today?

But the warning about foreign aid was especially good. He basically told us gift giving in foreign affairs is a good way to be universally hated. He said it placed us “in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more.” Today there is hardly a nation in the world that does not have its hand out and when, after once giving, the amount is reduce or terminated we are hated all the more for it.

Washington worried about posterity not holding their elected officials strictly to the limits imposed by the Constitution. He knew many would seek to undermine that document by twisting it to give power they could not acquire without the distortion. Sound familiar? He said: “But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.” Today much of what the federal government does is not even mentioned in the Constitution.

But freedom fighters are not likely to be popular, he said: “Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.” One need not look far for the tools and dupes; they seem to be everywhere in high office and in both parties.

Lincoln was for the free market and decidedly against socialism—just opposite of President Obama. On the ownership of property Abraham Lincoln’s feelings were especially strong, he said, “Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprises” (The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, pp. 259-260). To him there was no need to take by force the wealth of those who produce and give it to those less productive. The “share the wealth” philosophy and “envy politics” so articulated by Obama would have been foreign ideology to the Civil War president.

Lincoln’s answer to the poor, from which he sprang himself, “Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently to build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence….” Unfortunately, many in our society have forgotten the “labor diligently” part of his phrase and have come to expect the government to provide, from the industry of others, their every need. On that score Lincoln also had words. “You toil and work and earn bread, and I will eat it.” He viewed this principle as a form of tyranny to those who work. Today 47.5 % of the adult population pays no federal income tax; many actually receive benefits for which they have paid nothing.

Watching others acquire wealth was, in fact, a sign of a healthy economy for Lincoln. “I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good.” Nor would he have supported the hundreds of laws that we have today that disincentivise a man trying to acquire wealth.

Perhaps teachers and parents would be wise to remind those under their charge of the wisdom of the ages as expressed by these two favorite presidents. There is a reason that we have the day off and that these birthdays were made a holiday. But with all the fun that follows we must not forget their messages.

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution.