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The Shutdown: What is Really Happening?

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.

What Government Shutdown? Stop the hysteria!

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?

Tea Party concerns with Gang of Eight “Amnesty” Immigration Bill

By Dr. Harold Pease

Citing the thorough documentation provided by The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the Tea Party Patriots has officially expressed strong reservation with respect to what they now dub the Gang of Eight Amnesty Immigration Bill. They warn that S.744 “dramatically increases legal immigration, while doing virtually nothing to improve border security or immigration enforcement.” It essentially legalizes that which used to be illegal and goes far to legitimizing open borders. If the establishment press shared with Americans what we share below it would have no chance of passage. Unfortunately they do not.

Dissecting the over 800-page bill section-by-section, four concerns are readily apparent. First, the bill “does not secure the border or strengthen national security.” Instead, it “rewards law-breaking and encourages more illegal immigration.” Twelve provisions documenting the above are noted, complete with section and page numbers. Among them are: the granting of legal status by the Department of Homeland Security “before any measure to secure the border has been taken.” It does not “require a biometric exit system “ to “track aliens who enter and leave the U.S., per current law.” It does not “require any additional border fencing or completion of current border fence requirements.” It does not require illegals “to pay back taxes before getting legal status…it only requires … applicants to pay back taxes ‘assessed’ at the time of application.” The new bill “does not require illegal aliens to learn English before receiving amnesty or even a green card.” It does not “prevent future illegal immigration, ensure fiscal sustainability of the influx of immigrants to the United States,” nor does it “end abuse of prosecutorial discretion or administrative amnesty by the Obama administration.
It does, however, increase access for illegal immigrants to the scarce jobs of U.S. workers. Moreover, it does allow “states to grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens—not the aliens who received amnesty, but all illegal aliens who arrive in the future.”

Second, the bill “does not improve immigration enforcement or public safety. Instead, it undermines immigration enforcement and is riddled with waivers and loopholes:” DHS is allowed to wave—three or more times—“multiple misdemeanor convictions when granting amnesty.” These include: “gang-related crimes and gang membership; three or more drunk driving offenses; domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, and violation of protective orders; committing crimes of moral turpitude; violating federal or state drug laws; trafficking in passports; providing fraudulent immigration services; trafficking immigration documents, including document fraud; prostitution; misrepresenting a material fact to procure visas or other immigration benefits; violating student visas; falsely claiming citizenship; and illegally re-entering the U.S. after deportation (which is a felony).”

The proposed new law “delays implementation of E-Verify to prevent illegals from being employed and voids state and local E-Verify laws. Amazingly it even creates “criminal penalties and a $10,000 fine for any federal official who discloses information found in RPI applications in violation of the law.” And it does not “require the deportation of a single illegal alien” whose “application is denied—for any reason.” The bill authorizes “illegal aliens to bring class action lawsuits against the government” and “allows the Department of Homeland Security to appoint counsel to illegal aliens fighting deportation at taxpayer expense.”

The third major concern is that the “Gang of Eight” Amnesty Immigration Bill, according to the report, “does not prioritize the American worker at a time when 22 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. Instead, S.744 hurts the American worker:” It does this by tripling immigration within a decade. In addition it “increases the number of guest workers by 50 percent over the decade after enactment.” It enlarges the admission of additional unskilled workers each year to 200,000 and triples the number of skilled workers who may enter. “S.744 creates a new bureaucracy, the Office of Legal Access Programs, to provide illegal aliens with ‘legal orientation programs’ that help fight deportation. The bill requires DHS to make these programs available to the aliens within 5 days of being taken into custody. Section 3503 also authorizes the Office of Legal Access Programs to provide services, including legal services, to aliens in deportation hearings.” All this, of course, dramatically increases “competition for Americans entering or working in those fields.”

Finally, fourth, S.744 “does not prevent American taxpayers from subsidizing illegal immigration. In fact, it makes the current problem worse:” When permanent resident status is given “the alien need only demonstrate income or resources equal to 125 percent of the federal poverty level” to get assistance so our welfare system will be flooded. The bill also “creates a ‘slush fund’ for nonprofits that help implement the amnesty. Section 2537 authorizes DHS to award newly created ‘Initial Entry, Adjustment, and Citizenship Assistance’ (IEACA) grants to nonprofit organizations that help illegal aliens navigate the amnesty process. The bill appropriates $100 million for IEACA grants for the first five years and ‘such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2019 and subsequent fiscal years’.”

Who was it that said, “We have met the enemy and he is us?” The Tea Party Patriots have good reason to oppose this bill. It impacts all three of its core values: limited constitutional government, the free market, and fiscal responsibility. No piece of legislation could erase our southern border more effectively. A foreign power could not do more damage to our homeland security than our own U.S. Senate does in this one bill which now goes to a, hopefully, more responsible House of Representatives.

U.S. Senate short-circuits the Constitution on taxes, again.

By Dr. Harold Pease

The Constitution is exceptionally clear on the origin of all taxes. “All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives,” not the Senate (Article I, Sec. 7). When is the House going to protect its powers from the Senate’s intrusive attempts to steal its power? Recently the Senate passed the “Marketplace Fairness Act” by a vote of 69-27, an Internet sales tax, giving states the authority to require on-line retailers, with no physical presence in those states, to collect sales taxes. Americans will pay more taxes with this bill than without. It is a bill for raising revenue and it did not originate in the House as mandated by the Constitution.

To put the Senate in its constitutional place the House should never take this bill up. Instead, if they feel such legislation is needful, they should originate their own bill after which invite the Senate to take a new bill through the committee process and to the floor once again. I might also suggest not doing so for a year or two just to make the message stronger. “You are infringing on our constitutional jurisdiction.” If the Senate will not do so, the House should consider the bill non-existent. Under no circumstances should they accept this bill as appropriate action on the part of their sister law-making body. Retailers, on the other hand, should refuse to pay this tax and challenge it in the courts on the constitutional grounds cited above.

Unfortunately, this is becoming a practice on the part of the U.S. Senate. Yet another infringing piece of legislation has also just passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in a 13-5 vote, the so-called “Gang of Eight” immigration bill, S.744, obviously originating therein. The Heritage Foundation estimates that this bill will cost taxpayers a net $6.3 trillion above what illegals contribute through taxes over the next 50 years providing benefits for millions now living in the United States. There may be debate over the numbers but what is clear is that the bill did not originate in the House of Representatives as constitutionally required and that Americans will pay more taxes with this bill than without it. Therefore it constitutes an unconstitutional tax.

The worst of all such recent intrusive taxes was “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” known as Obamacare, also originated in the Senate, not in the House as constitutionally required. Weeks ago I wrote of the extensive efforts on the part of the Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, to cover this up following the judicial decree of Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. proclaiming it a tax when the administration had argued otherwise. The establishment media should have been all over this story and was not. Obamacare may be the only revenue-raising bill in American history originated and processed by the Senate alone. Nothing could be more unconstitutional!!

So why does this matter, a tax is a tax? For thousands of years governments taxed their citizens with no limits. Rulers lived lavishly off the wealth extracted from their poor subjects with little or no mercy toward them—lavish physical structures and frivolous wars of conquest were too often the norm. The Founders wisely took this power from the rich and gave it to the poor by requiring that the poor, then the majority, had to consent to any taxation over them. The power to tax is the only constitutional power exclusively given to the masses. The House of Representatives was the only branch of government designed to actually represent them as it is based upon population. The Senate was to represent the states, the people only indirectly.

As far as I know the United States is the first, possibly the only, country in world history that puts its tax base with the masses who pay the taxes. It is a priceless freedom. If we are over-taxed in the United States we have chosen to be so and one body alone is responsible—The House of Representatives. No tax can constitutionally originate with the President or the Supreme Court, (even if Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. says that it is okay), not even the Senate, although it can modify as on other bills once originated by the House. The House is also in charge of spending. We must not let this freedom dwindle or allow the line between the two legislative branches to be blurred into oblivion.

By letting “origin” slide in these three matters, the House looses its clear distinction on the origin of taxes and the people their right of first approval of taxation for generations yet unborn and probably forever. If left unchallenged these three offending bills, one already implemented, severely damage Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution. All involved are under oath to preserve the Constitution. There is nothing in the Constitution more clear than this. Liberty is lost one piece at a time. It is also restored one piece at a time. Pass this around.

The Supreme Court may yet rule Obamacare unconstitutional

By Dr. Harold Pease

Many may not be familiar with Article I, Section 7 of the U. S. Constitution that requires that “all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” This means that any law, which extracts money from the American people, can only come from the House. The problem is The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, originated in the U.S. Senate not in the House as constitutionally required. The Pacific Legal Foundation, a Sacramento, California based foundation, is pursuing the matter before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

So why does this matter, a tax is a tax? For thousands of years governments taxed their citizens with no limits. Rulers lived lavishly off the wealth extracted from their poor subjects with little or no mercy toward them—lavish physical structures and frivolous wars of conquest were too often the norm. The Founders wisely took this power from the rich and gave it to the poor themselves by requiring that the poor, then the majority, had to consent to any taxation over them. The power to tax is the only constitutional power exclusively given to the masses. The House of Representatives was the only branch of government designed to actually represent them as it is based upon population. The Senate was to represent the states, the people only indirectly.

As far as I know the United States is the first, possibly the only, country in world history that puts its tax base with the masses who pay the taxes. It is a priceless freedom. If we are over-taxed in the United States we have chosen to be and one body alone is responsible—The House of Representatives. No tax can constitutionally originate with the President or the Supreme Court, (even if Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. says that it is okay), not even the Senate, although it can modify as on other bills once originated by the House. The House is also in charge of spending. We must not let this freedom dwindle or allow the line between the two legislative branches to be blurred into oblivion.

In the Supreme Court’s decision of June 2012, it took great pains to establish that Obamacare is not a law passed under the Commerce Clause; this is a tax they ruled. Whether a fine, as the Administration argued throughout the case, or a tax as Roberts insisted, it is an extraction of money from the masses and therefore a tax and therefore must originate from the House, not the Senate. The philosophical switch created by Roberts made the constitutional error far more glaring. By letting origin slide the House looses its clear distinction on the origin of taxes and the people their right of first approval of taxation for generations yet unborn and probably forever.

What is worse it smacks of a sloppy cover-up by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Now that the Supreme Court made healthcare constitutional by deeming it a tax, it mandated a House of Representative origin rather than the Senate. A House version HR 3200 was available but Reid did not like it favoring his own HR 3962, The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Choices Act. Prior to the Supreme Courts tax ruling the tax was called a fine, not a tax, so he reasoned that it did not make any difference which legislative body originated the fine. The ruling necessitated resurrecting a bill that had passed the House first but had not been acted upon in the Senate, the Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009 HR 3590, deleting its contents and pasting in the contents of the Senates bill HR 3962.

The Home Ownership Tax Act was a tax providing a first time home buyer’s credit to members of the Armed Services, never mind that it had nothing to do with healthcare and now, after being deleted leaving only the empty shell, had nothing to do with the Armed Services or home buying either. The only thing that Reid kept was the original date, September 17, 2009, which now deceptively confirmed that it preceded Senate action. Accomplices to Reid were the original authors of the deleted bill: Congressman Charlie Rangel of NY, and Senator Clare McCaskill of MO. This is the kind of morphing that reeks of illegitimacy and fraudulency (“Lawsuit to test Origination clause,” The Washington Times, April 8, 2013, p. 12. See Also www.Patriot Guardian.org).

What is even worse. If Reid had indeed simply pasted in his own bill into the dead Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act, as believed, this tax bill HR 3962, the one that became Obamacare, has never actually been before the House of Representatives, the only body actually authorized to originate a tax. Obamacare may be the only revenue-raising bill in American history originated, processed, and implemented by the Senate alone. Nothing could be more unconstitutional!!

If left unchallenged Obamacare severely damages Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution. As an accomplice, the Senate is unlikely to sympathize but you should find a friend in your Congressperson and governor. Each should have a vested interest in this power shift. Contact them with your own summation of the problem or send them a copy of this article.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Does the UN influence your local government? It does if it supports Agenda 21!

By Dr. Harold Pease

Are your city or county government leaders ICLEI members, or is your city an ICLEI city? If so, you, or they, may not fully realize that the United Nations has a big influence over your local government decisions. You need to void this influence as quickly as possible.

I too was slow to see the influence of the United Nations on city, county, or state governments but the documentation supporting that influence is now overwhelming. I was conversant with their use of environmental prongs to standardize regulations and govern allocations of resources on the nations of the earth through the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and through their United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), but we were okay because we had not signed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol Treaty. There were so many other fronts in trying to preserve our Constitution and Republic this seemed less unimportant.

While I battled the loss of freedom elsewhere, the United Nations formed in 1990 the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, or ICLEI, to ideologically infiltrate local governments into “winning enactment of global-warming legislation at the state and local levels.” A tentacle of a giant UN octopus has reached into our local governments. Now becoming recognized for what it is, it appears almost everywhere. It claims over 1200 local government members in 70 different countries. Of that number 130 are members of our county and city governments in California alone. California’s ICLEI cities include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento, which sheds light on how California could be so easily enticed into AB 32, formally known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. This legislation, sometimes referred to as “cap and trade,” is driving businesses from the state and flooding those who stay with regulatory nightmares.

ICLEI’s purpose, according to their web page, is to “Connect cities and local governments to the United Nations and other international bodies… Mobilize local governments to help their countries implement multilateral environmental agreements such as the Rio conventions…. Forge multi-stakeholder partnerships such as Resilient Cities, a global framework on urban resilience and climate adaptation where local governments, international agencies, development banks, ministries, institutes and others, collaborate.” The master plan is Chapter 28 of Agenda 21.

Agenda 21 “proposes a global regime that will monitor, oversee, and strictly regulate our planet’s oceans, lakes, streams, rivers, aquifers, sea beds, coast-lands, wetlands, forests, jungles, grasslands, farmland, deserts, tundra, and mountains. It even has a whole section on regulating and ‘protecting’ the atmosphere.”

But Agenda 21 is far more than just extreme environmental regulation—that is just the beginning. The New American magazine gave the best description of what it includes. “It proposes plans for cities, towns, suburbs, villages, and rural areas. It envisions a global scheme for healthcare, education, nutrition, agriculture, labor, production, and consumption—in short, everything; there is nothing on, in, over, or under the Earth that doesn’t fall within the purview of some part of Agenda 21” (“Your Hometown and the United Nations,” February 21, 2011, p. 14). In short, it will affect every person on earth and that affect is not likely to be positive for individuals or their local governments. Like a vacuum cleaner it siphons power from local and state jurisdiction to the United Nations.

The list of environmental groups, foundations, and government agencies supporting Agenda 21 is mind-boggling. Local opposition is underfunded and overwhelmed.

“Sustainable development” (not defined) is the wording used to describe their end result. This is the most appealing part of Agenda 21 for visionaries of a perfectly, totally managed, world governing environment. Unfortunately, it is way too open-ended allowing the ruling class (the planners, of course) to modify the rules as necessary. Gone would be the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, but Utopians do not think that far in advance. Fortunately, locally elected leaders generally do, but they need to rid themselves of this UN influence, like a cancer, to remain locally controlled and free. Once again, are your city or county leaders ICLEI members? Why not ask them?

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.