By Harold Pease PH. D
The year has shown monumental efforts by some to get back to the Constitution. An ever-growing portion of the largely distracted public is finally awakening to the fact that they are losing freedom and that both parties are responsible. Let us review those monumental moments of 2013 each of which have been covered extensively by us in previous columns.
We began the year with what was called “successionitis”—a desire of some of the people to leave the Union—not seen in the United States since the Civil War. Fifteen states posted over 25,000 signatures with Texas posting 116,000 by itself. The President closed down his site to further counting. With his refusal to allow further counting and the establishment media’s refusal to continue coverage, the issue was squelched. Discontent with the federal government not following the Constitution and the resultant loss of freedom (especially cited were NDAA and TSA) were said to be the reasons for the backlash by those participating.
This was followed by the 2013 Sheriffs’ Rebellion wherein by mid-February, 336 elected county sheriffs had signed pledges that they will not enforce any unconstitutional gun control laws or executive orders—seventeen of them in California. Nine states refused to comply. The Utah Sheriff’s Association made the strongest statement aimed directly at the President. “We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.” Wyoming’s new “Firearm Protection Act,” threatened federal officials with up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines if convicted of attempting to enforce unconstitutional statutes or decrees infringing on the gun rights of Wyoming citizens. Kentucky has enacted something similar and reportedly, Missouri and Texas have similar legislation pending.
Also in February thousands gathered from California to New York and from Florida to Alaska, on February 23, to remind the federal government that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” They were saying, in effect, “Back off Mr. President with your executive orders and Congress with your proposed new laws, you are on sacred Constitutional soil.” The establishment press was weak, almost non-existent, in its coverage. The 124 cities participating largely had to enter their own pictures of their event on the Internet to get coverage—so weak was press response. Seventeen such rallies were held in California alone, a state already sensitive to the loss of gun right freedoms and threatened with more of the same by a largely hostile democratically controlled State Legislature.
On March 6, 2013, one man stood on the Senate floor arguing for 13 hours, even against his own party, to prevent the President’s use of drone strikes to kill Americans on U.S. soil. Without Tea Party support Rand Paul would have been alone. The phrase, Stand With Rand” became popular overnight. Senator Paul wanted assurance from the President that he would never do this to us as he had Americans in other lands. The assurance finally came the next day from Eric Holder but it was far from convincing.
Summer brought the “Gang of Eight” and immigration reform that had every appearance of just another amnesty. S. 744 did nothing to improve border security or immigration enforcement and the House, resisting the pressure to be railroaded, has chosen not to act upon the Senate’s favorable vote until 2014. The Tea Party Patriot movement played an important role in revealing it’s numerous defects.
The year brought an outbreak of media coverage of the National Security Administration’s, NSA, spying on over 100 million Americans, recording their telephone conversations, emails, and other electronic messages for the last seven years. Attention turned to, “Whatever happened to congressional or judicial oversight?” Included in the revelations was the 35 years of FISA court’s special surveillance requests on 34,000 citizens, with virtually no denials. This has caused many to look to the Constitution for protection from their own government. They asked, “Is government spying on its own citizens constitutional?” Edward Snowden said no and intentionally shared with the world that which our government was doing to us and everybody else. He helped give us focus on our government’s serious violations of Amendments I, IV, V and even VI. To millions he was a hero.
In the Fall of the year, Barack Obama, by himself, in total defiance of the Constitution Art. I, Sec. 8, Clause 11, almost took us into war by his intention to, send a “missile across the bow of a Syrian ship.” He was supported in his doing so by Secretary of State, John Kerry and Republican power Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. At least 60% of Americans did not support another no-win war and the President backed down.
In November Senator Ted Cruz stood for 21 hours and 19 minutes, once again mostly by himself with but Tea Party support. Our national debt at 17 trillion dollars, the highest in our history, with Obama responsible for seven trillion of that number in the last five years, was central to his stand. The Republicans had not shut down the government as the media said. Instead they fully funded the government with the exception of Obamacare. More and more people are realizing that the U.S. is going to experience a fiscal collapse unless we return to fiscal responsibility—a core principle of the Tea Party movement. Senator Cruz opposed the debt-ceiling rise as another always follows.
More than half of the states showed their resistance to Obamacare by opting out of exchanges. Resistance to it mounted exponentially when the government website did not work as promised and when the people realized that the President knowingly sold his forced care plan under the false premise that they could keep their doctor and their existing healthcare plan. Most Americans now oppose it.
Seemingly those who damage the Constitution always win. But this year, 2013, had many victories. Let us remember with gratitude those who did stand for freedom and remove from power those who did not. Happy New Year my liberty loving friends!!
By Dr. Harold Pease
Last Friday, November 1, each member of Congress in a most quiet process chose whether they and their staffs accepted the Obama exemption to their having to live under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. If lawmakers didn’t act, staffers were exempted by default—automatically. Do you know how your two U.S. Senators and member of the House of Representatives voted?
Most people were not supportive of Obamacare when first formulated. Today, if a vote were taken, most people would vote against it as well, especially in light of the now established fact that most will have rate increases and higher deductibles. Although promised otherwise by President Barack Obama, most will not be able to keep their doctors or providers. Big business and unions are opting out of it as fast as they can. In what appears aimed to mute congressional opposition to the forced healthcare law, President Barack Obama has allowed Congress to opt out leaving only the American people enslaved by the legislation that they created. Again, do you know how your two U.S. Senators and House member voted?
At first some members of Congress convincingly denied that they had received an exemption but Senator David Vitter published the Obamacare language next to the Obama exemption. The first read in part: “If the employee purchases a qualified health plan through the Exchange the employee will lose the employer contribution (if any) to any health benefits plan offered by the employer and that all or a portion of such contribution may be excludable from income for Federal income tax purposes” (See Section 1512, number 3). The second, the Obama Congressional exemption, coming through the Office of Personnel Management, page 6, read in part: “The revisions adopted here have no impact on the availability to Member of Congress and Congressional Staff of the contribution established in 5 USC 8906” (Alex Pappas, “Republican accuses fellow lawmakers of ‘lying’ about Obamacare exemption,” 9/19/2013).
The President, who has no constitutional authority to make law, unilaterally changed the law and voided, otherwise mandatory, congressional participation. Presumably to grease the skids for members of Congress accepting what in any other setting would be called a bribe. Now they defined their employees as “official” or “not official,” to determine whether or not staff members had to enter the exchanges with the designation of “not official” not having to accept Obamacare.
The hypocrisy of forcing the people to live under what they themselves will not is beyond description and at the height of political corruption. If the president is going to lead us into socialized medicine then he must accept it for himself. If the Supreme Court is going to rule it constitutional they too must live under it. This should be the litmus test for the reelection of every U.S. Senator and member of the House of Representatives for the next several years to flush out of office those who exempt themselves from the laws that they make for others. All members of Congress made this decision on November 1. Did they choose to live above the law? If so, corruption has never been so clear and stark.
Most House Republicans have opted to submit themselves and their staffs to the costly provisions of the law although they despise the law and played virtually no role in its inception. But so far, ironically, Senate Democrats, who all voted for it, appeared hypocritically split on the issue. Still, we believe that no exemptions should be made for anyone who works in government. How will they govern correctly if they have immunized themselves from the pain they cause others?
Senator David Vitter is leading a Senate fight to nullify the exemptions for lawmakers and their staffs. His bill would require all members of Congress and the executive branch to purchase health insurance without taxpayer-funded subsidies— just like everyone else. No exceptions. If this lacks sufficient congressional support we support Senator Rand Paul’s Constitutional Amendment designed to require our government to live under the same laws that they make for us. They are not our masters but our servants.
As this automatically goes into effect without a member of Congress doing anything and as many will let that just happens, it is imperative that you carefully phrase your question to them leaving no wiggle room. We suggest, “Are you, or any of your staff, exempted from or receiving any subsidization from Obamacare.”
Dr. Harold Pease
The great majority of our establishment press almost gleefully speak of the plummeting Tea Party image over its support of defunding Obamacare, which was linked to the partial government shutdown. This should not surprise us, as the vast majority of the press, excepting FOX News, has never been friendly toward this movement. The view that it instead may be soaring is treated nowhere in their coverage. That Senator Ted Cruz, a Tea Party senator, received an eight minute standing ovation from a large crowd when he returned to Texas is unheard of and certainly supports the view that many seem favorable to a member of Congress finally willing to fight; that he isn’t just there to protect his party or job.
So who is the so-called Tea Party? I know a little about it because I helped form it—as did you. It was one of the most spontaneous political movements in U.S. History somewhat similar to the spontaneous rise of the Republican Party, where people united in the 1850’s in their opposition to the extension of slavery; or the Populist Party movement in the 1890’s, based largely on its opposition to the gold standard and supported the Free Silver movement. In each, as with the Tea Party, there were no known original leaders. Tea Party founders, you and I, loved the Constitution, which limits government, and the free market philosophy, that together made us the freest most productive and prosperous nation on earth. Understood also was that both parties must get back to these philosophies lest freedom and prosperity be lost to future generations.
Actually the movement began in opposition to George W. Bush’s $700 billion stimulus bailout package at the end of his term, which received bi-partisan support from President-Elect Barack Obama and the Democrats. Both parties were on the same page and taking us in the wrong direction—bigger government and debt insanity. Tea Party groups began to spring up everywhere in early February 2009, each with their own leaders. Three city leaders in the East, learning of the simultaneous rise of sister cites, contacted each other to compare notes. They liked the name Tea Party because they wished, by that name, to emulate our founding philosophy. Even so, they were uncertain what their core values should be so they invited Internet submissions from the thousands who felt similarly. Still, there was no known single leader. My daily submissions encouraged getting back to the Constitution. The three most frequently submitted core values, and the one’s selected, were: limited constitutional government, free market and fiscal responsibility—precisely the collective views of our Founders.
In my community the leader of the movement was Julie Demos, a second grade teacher, who had had no prior political experience. She was perfect. This was the gathering of the people who no longer wished to use political party, but the Founders core values, in promoting good government. Between three and five thousand folks gathered at the Liberty Bell in April 15, 2009, many spoke, including myself. Over 600 cities throughout the nation had similar gatherings. The movement was not party based. We wished to attract those who wished to get back to these core values. Our own Congressman Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker John Boehner, were denied the podium for that reason. They attended and viewed the proceedings as spectators as did everyone else. This was not a Republican Party rally! Fifteen thousand heard myself and others speak on getting back to the Constitution at the Tulare Ag Center on July 4th in support of over a million who gathered in Washington DC. Two other times such numbers gathered in the capitol before years end.
When I was young I assumed that I would have been with the patriots at Lexington and Concord when the British came to take their guns, or with Patrick Henry when he gave his famous speech that was highlighted by the phrase, “Give me liberty or give me death.” I would have been at Valley Forge with George Washington. When I learned much later that only a third of the people were patriots, another third too apathetic to care, and yet another third Tories, who actually assisted the British during the war, I wondered whether I would have had the clarity of thought to have picked the right side. Would have you? It comes to this, if you share the core values of the Founding Fathers you will befriend the Tea Party movement, then and now; if you do not, then it is likely that you would have been a Tory, then and now.
The Tea Party fight is not just about defunding Obamacare, which turns over to the federal government one-seventh of the economy, it is this and so many other things that have been taken over by the federal government without clear constitutional language as per Article I, Section 8. Any other approach weakens the Constitution. It is about over-taxing one part of the population to feed the other. It is about over-spending to the point that the entire economy collapses. It is about liberty itself. Tories in the American Revolution could not see any of this and opposed liberty. Tories today, from both parties, are equally blind. Some of us value movements and people, like Ted Cruse, that actually fight for liberty and that is why he received the eight-minute standing ovation. So please don’t be angry at the Tea Party for standing for our founding principles, instead be angry with those who demean them.
By Dr. Harold Pease
The likelihood exists that before this column is read the republicans in both the House and Senate will have compromised themselves out of any real resistance to Obamacare. The House of Representatives first voted to fund the entire government minus Obamacare on September 20. It moved next to delaying it one year for everyone—not just Congress, the unions, and big business—to make it fair. The House then moved to delay the individual mandate for a year plus make Congress live under the same law rescinding the exemptions promised them earlier by President Barack Obama enticing them to go along. The House then abandoned its original cause, defunding Obamacare. To counter the blame given them for the shutdown by the openly hostile press they next funded 11 critical functions of the government. Harry Reid and Senate democrats rejected everything.
That republicans caved in so easily and that the democrats would not buy into the fairness argument (historically their strongest tenant—fairness) is very disturbing, but three other areas are even more so. First of these is the blatant media bias in favor of one party and the Senate and the universal villainization of the other party and the House in their non-neutral coverage. All pretense of neutrality is gone.
Second, the damage to the U.S. Constitution, which gives clear direction on this issue, that was ignored by the Senate and now also by the House who should be most protective of this power. “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House.” By refusing to honor this clear constitutional prerogative of the House as the only body that can initiate taxes, which includes defunding originally funded items, such clarity is lost and the Constitution is damaged.
The third, and far more disturbing result of this battle, is that our spending addiction will never be solved and this inability heralds the likelihood of a future complete fiscal collapse of our economy and probably that of the world, as they are so dependent upon our dollar. A position once considered too extreme to voice I now hear everyday. If our leaders were intentionally making choices to collapse the economy how would they differ from those they now make?
What arguments support this view? Almost all evidence shows that Obamacare is going to be far more costly than promised with no real evidence that it will be any better for the vast majority. Our national debt rises between three and four billion dollars a day, which we without guilt pass on to the next generation. Even as I write this column the President is proposing a debt-ceiling raise of a million dollars per minute. He, and the Republican House of Representatives (they for not defunding things, like Obamacare and free cell phone for the poor, long ago) are responsible for seven trillion of our now 17 trillion-dollar debt. Before he leaves office he will have increased our national debt equal to the debt remaining unpaid by all previous presidents of the United States combined, and yet half of our folks remain mesmerized by his promises.
The debt ceiling has been raised 74 times since March 1962, including 18 times under Ronald Reagan, eight times under Bill Clinton, seven times under George W Bush, and five times under Barack Obama. This is our 12th debt raise in 12 years. We raise it every year to accommodate our need for a “fix.” Congress sadly never says no. Does anyone really believe that our debt-addicted government will ever stop the addiction on its own? Fully a third of our population do not earn their bread by the sweat of their brow but vote to get the government to take it from an-others labor and give to them. We are told that those receiving food stamps are now a third of our population having doubled under Obama’s watch.
Yes, we have a two-class society—the takers and the contributors. Takers will always vote for the party and politicians who will promise them more. When that number exceeds 51 percent we will never escape the takers and will have effectively made the contributing class the new slaves. Some believe takers to be very close.
So, go ahead and tell me that after the democrats win this debt crisis, their 7th time under Obama, that they will spend less hereafter and won’t need another income “fix” next year. Tell me that those who receive free cell phones or food stamps or other government handouts will wake up and see the damage that is being done to the productive base of this country. Tell me that after reading this column they will vote for a party or individual that advocates first reducing, then eliminating, these and so many other well meaning but bankrupting programs. Tell me!! The Tea Party provides the only resistance to this self-destructing philosophy and look at how the media and both parties vilify them.
When the real government shutdown comes, and it surely will unless we quickly change direction and get back to the Constitution, we may not have a President, Congress or Supreme Court. For a time we may have real anarchy, hunger and bloodshed. Notice what happened in Wall Mart this week by greedy food stamp recipients when they weren’t even hungry. And most likely The Constitution, now shredded by both parties, won’t be able to save us from ourselves as now. Let us not pretend any longer that what is now openly talked about on the street could never happen here. Would to God we wake up in time to “sober up” and make serious spending cuts so the the impending real government shutdown never happens.
By Dr. Harold Pease
As of day 9 of our federal government services slowdown (only 17 percent of which has been shutdown) it becomes very obvious that there are two warring sides and no middle. Democrats blame republicans and republicans blame democrats and confidence in our Congress is now at an all-time low of eleven percent. There appear to be no neutral news sources. So what are the indisputable facts that I can certify?
Every September the U.S. House of Representatives passes what is now referred to as a Continuing Resolution funding the government for another year. It is normal to have bickering over specific programs and amounts. It is also true that all bills for raising revenue must originate in the House and that constitutional power was exclusively left with this branch in as much as it alone, of the two, was to represent the people, in this case protect them from excessive taxation. Not funding items is also a common practice and has not been particularly controversial or questioned until now. Funding is the constitutional prerogative of the House and the Senate should back away because by not doing so they do probable irreparable damage to Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution.
This aside, conservatives believe that it also will enhance federal power to the tune of one-seventh of the economy and will place the IRS in charge of mandatory collections, an organization presently accused of targeting conservatives, especially religious and Tea Party types, for extra scrutiny. Louis Learner, a prominent IRS administrator, having pled the Fifth to the above noted charges before Congress, reportedly referring to them as “terrorists.” Obviously Tea Party folks, whose core value is to get back to the Constitution, fear abuse of power should the federal government have both the power to enforce taxation and have access to medical records as well.
So why won’t the Democrats simply back off and honor what is traditional to honor? The House has agreed to fund the government—ALL OF THE GOVERNMENT—even the parts that they traditionally oppose, minus Obamacare, and they did so September 20, 2013—ten days before the shutdown. The Republican controlled House of Representatives DID NOT shut down the government but did just the opposite. It fully funded it giving the democrats every thing that they wanted without opposition except this one thing. Again, why won’t the democrats accept this? Because it is their signature legislation and they rightly see this as a threat to the legislation. Socialize healthcare they have coveted for fifty years.
On September 27, the democratically controlled U.S. Senate under Harry Reid stripped the defunding language out of the bill and sent it back to the House refusing to compromise. The next day the House Republicans still voted to fund the government entirely plus fund Obamacare, if Senate Democrats would delay Obamacare for one year for everyone and would repeal the medical device tax. To this point President Barack Obama had given exemptions to big business groups and Congress. In support of the public outcry, “I Want My One-Year Delay Of ObamaCare!” the House voted to give a one-year exemption to everyone, not just the privileged few.
Two days later, Sept. 30, Harry Reid and Senate Democrats refuse to compromise and stripped the two amendments from the Continuing Resolution returning it to the House. The House again agreed to full funding of the government, to delay the individual mandate for a year, and to take away the health care subsidies given members of Congress and their staffs earlier this year. Many wondered why Congress would pass a bill that they themselves would not abide by. Requiring Congress to live under Obmacare, just like the rest of the American people, was sure to move Senate Democrats. It didn’t.
As with the other compromises offered by the House in addition to fully funding the federal government, including every pet democratic expense, it was refused and stripped from the resolution. The House was the only body doing any compromising and it was doing so with itself from a position of strength to an ever weaker position. Some suggested that there was no need for the President or the Senate to compromise; the House did it for them. Still, the media wrongly blamed the republicans for the government shutdown.
Next the House appointed conferees and sent a message to the Senate requesting a conference meeting to resolve their differences. This too was rejected and on midnight Tuesday, October 1, the government shut down. On that same day the House began passing single authorization appropriation bills in an effort to keep payments flowing for veterans and for NIH kids with cancer. Other bills funded the National Guard, Head Start and the National Park Services—eleven spending bills to date. Harry Reid rejected them all.
The most recent House Republican compromise offer, October 9, was to create a super committee consisting of both parties to work out their differences on this issue plus the upcoming debt ceiling resolution due October 17. I predict that the republicans will eventually go for a higher debt ceiling and democrats the new Super Committee. This accomplished the Super Committee will talk itself into oblivion as have earlier Senate Super Committees and accomplish nothing leaving Obamacare funded after all. On debt ceiling raises the republicans are normally outfoxed and on defunding they have repeatedly compromised the strength of their position without any democratic help.
Dr. Harold Pease
The fear with respect to our latest “government shutdown” is amazing. The hysteria peddlers using this terminology, and the media that purposely play to it, must know these two words emit such an extreme emotional response. It appears designed to frighten the least informed either for or against the other political party, thus the terminology and subsequent blame game.
So what does a government shut down look like? Do the president and vice president resign now that the government ends? No, they stay on the job and receive full pay as before. Does Congress fly out of Washington D. C. the following day and cease to draw their pay, and the Supreme Court cease to deliberate on constitutional questions? Does the army come home and cease to protect us? NO! No, No! Do states, counties, and cities no longer function? No again, they have their own tax base and cops, prisons, and teachers remain in place. Will I still get my mail? Yes. The U.S. Postal Service functions as an independent business unit. Will I still get Social Security benefits? Yes! And food stamps? Yes. And unemployment compensation? Yes. And veterans’ benefits? Yes, at least until late October. And will there still be a functioning federal school lunch program? Yes, at least through October (66 questions and answers about the government shutdown, by Gregory Korte, USA Today Oct. 1, 2013).
Then why the hysteria? My point exactly!! Because these two words, “government shutdown,” and the possibility of missed food stamps send the largely uninformed into frenzy, they finally awake from their stupor. They largely know nothing, although they should, of the wrangling of government to protect them from themselves and oppose any proposed government diet that might reduce their daily feed. They worshipfully listen to the party and political leaders that are least likely to disturb this base, like defunding Obamacare.
There will never be a government shut down because none of these things will ever happen short of an overthrow of the government from within, the collapse of our financial structure (which is becoming ever more likely do to our obsession to live beyond our means), or a successful invasion from without. So cease the media frenzy and subsequent over-reaction.
How do we know this? Because we have had 17 government shutdowns since 1977 according to the Congressional Research Service, the Reagan Administration having 8 of them alone. Because in 1979 the government was shut down for 10 days while Congress argued over a proposed salary increase for the legislative branch. Because we had a five-day shutdown between November 14 and November 19, 1995, and a second one of 21 days, between December 16, and January 6, 1996, and none of the bad things mentioned above happened. No! Not even one. In fact, the public as a whole didn’t even notice.
Then what did happen? “The Federal government of the United States put non-essential government workers on furlough and suspended non-essential services…(Wikipedia).” Essentially all went on as before except some paychecks were a few days late. Apparently the federal government does (when forced to do so) know what non-essential services are after all, and is capable of closing them if it has the will.
So at worst a government shutdown is really only a partial shutdown of non-essential services and a delay of payment for some few federal workers. So the federal government goes on a long overdue diet and gets back to the basics. This is precisely the Tea Party position (“cut it or shut it”) and the reason they do not fear such. If you have a budget of $3.7 trillion for a given year and you have taxes covering only $2 trillion during the same time simple math tells you that either you double taxes or cut half of your expenses. You simply can’t keep increasing the national debt, now almost $17 trillion, which has been laid on the backs of our new slaves—our children.
When you have cancer you must surgically remove the infected tissue. Of course it is painful, but the longer you wait the more painful, drastic, and life threatening it becomes. Most of the programs cut in both the last two government shutdowns were not areas of clear constitutional authority as defined in Article I, Section 8, so in time such cuts should become permanent or those areas need to be authorized in the amending process in Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
Usually diets have some benefits in and of themselves. In the case of the shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, both parties benefited: Democrats, under President Bill Clinton, because thereafter he was credited with “the first four consecutive balanced budgets since the 1920’s” and Republicans because they retained control of both houses of Congress largely because of the popularity of their hard line on the budget (Wikipedia).
So, a government shutdown is really only a partial slowdown that may actually be healthy. Let’s call it such in the future so that we don’t frighten the less informed and they overreact?