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But, if we Refuse Transgender Bathrooms we lose Federal Funding

By Harold Pease, Ph. D

As reported, every school district in the country received a May 12, 2016 letter allowing transgender students in public schools to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their chosen (not their actual) gender identity. Those not complying are threatened with lawsuits and loss of federal aid.

This federal pressure to be obedient to federal whim, or in this case a radical reinterpretation of old law, is not new. In the seventies President Richard Nixon had speed limits on freeways reduced to 55 miles per hour, lasting over a decade, because of an alleged energy shortage. After a time a Wyoming governor reposted freeway speed in his state to 65. The governor was right, speed regulation on freeways was not a delegated power listed in Article I, Section 8 nor had such power been added to the federal government by way of an amendment to the Constitution. The federal government threatened loss all federal funds for new construction and/or highway repair for non-complying states. Wyoming returned to 55 mph.

About the same time a new directive, similar to the present Obama transgender directive, required institutions of higher learning receiving federal funds to have open gender housing should students demand it. Brigham Young University (BYU) refused on the basis that as a religious institution male/female dorm separation for singles was a fundamental religious principle. The federal government threatened the University with the loss of all federal funds should it not comply. BYU still refused. Coed dorms is also not a federal power as per the enumeration clauses, again in Section 8, and are therefore totally a state power as per Amendment 10. Actually the word education is not in the Constitution so there exists no federal constitutional authority. The federal government cut off all federal funds to the “rebel” university.

The difference between Wyoming and BYU was that the university had never accepted a dime from the federal government, thus the federal government had nothing to cut off. It had no power to blackmail the institution into compliance. It could, and did, fume and bluster threats but it made no difference. Finding no way to punish the institution itself, it went after the poor students unable to attend without a government guaranteed loan by cutting them off; in time that too was dropped. Enrollment remained untouched as demand always exceeded availability.

Sometime in the late 80’s I was appointed to a special county commission to assess how Kern County of California could deal with all the edicts emanating from the federal government and still be free. It was a strange question. I remained mostly silent as others wrestled in complete frustration with the question, getting nowhere. There seemed to be no solution. Then I asked, “How much slavery have you purchased?” The question was greeted with universal stares and silence, so I asked again. “How much slavery have you purchased?” When you line up for the “free” government money you give the giver power over you because he can cut it off after you have made yourself dependent upon it. “So how much money have you taken because that is what will be cut off should you wish to really run your own county?” “Well, not as much as adjoining Los Angeles County,” came the reply. I had made my point. We were freer than LA County.

The federal government has no constitutional authority to fund anything not enumerated in the Constitution, but it has for decades with nary a complaint from the recipients of the “free” money who lined up like hogs at a feeding trough to receive.   Our governors, county commissioners, city councilmen and school administrators have lined up knees bent, palms outreached and open, tongues drooling for the scraps from the table because the “free” money was easier to get than raising local taxes and telling the federal government no.

This without a thought to the “drug” dependency they created for their governments down the road, not noticed until the government asks them for compliance on something that they know is not reasonable or right. Most still will bow their heads in shame but remain in servitude hoping that the next edict will not be so demanding. But they have lost their ability to be independent of their new master—the federal government—that has far more power over them than that imposed by the tiny list of delegated powers in the Constitution. The will of the people they serve is now very much secondary.

In my own profession I have never seen an administrator turn down the “free” money that he used to make himself look better with federal funds because it allowed him to show new buildings or programs as evidence of his excellence. The federal controls that came with it were a small price to pay for the “shiny stuff,” he reasoned. Again, the word education is not in the Constitution but almost every aspect of education is today influenced at the federal level.

My point!! BYU had the right solution to the problem by refusing any federal monies and therefore federal influence. States and communities that didn’t say no to the enticement of “free” money have allowed the federal government to worm her way into all aspects of our lives, a hundred times more than had we stayed with the enumerated powers of the Constitution, to the point that it now tells us where we can go to the bathroom. Sadly we have sold ourselves into dependence. Texas provides the only solution at this point: “the state is willing to forfeit $10 billion in federal education dollars rather than comply.” Will other states and lesser governments follow and break the dependence or continue groveling for the money and more slavery?

Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and 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 30 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

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.

President goes around Congress on Climate Change

Harold Pease, Ph. D

A new Obama executive order effectively legislates climate change. Not content with Congress’s unwillingness to legislate on climate change to his expectations, the president issued a November 1, 2014, executive order that creates a de facto legislative branch to do so. He titled it, “Preparing the United States for the impacts of Climate Change.” Neither Congress nor the scientific community is in agreement that climate change, when it is documentable, is man-made. As a result Congress is unwilling to legislate, tax and spend on this supposed problem until more confirming data is available. The President, in disagreement, seeks to make rules unilaterally as he has in other areas, despite the fact that he constitutionally is not empowered to make any law as per Article I, Section I.

This executive order begins, as do of all his executive orders, without identifying a single piece of legislation authorizing the order. It begins, “By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution (the Constitution denies the President law-making power) and the laws of the United States of America, (none are cited) and in order to prepare the Nation for the impacts of climate change by undertaking actions to enhance climate preparedness and resilience, it is hereby ordered as follows.”

In the absence of a recently passed piece of legislation authorizing the order it is little more than a presidential decree. Amazingly the multi-page decree cites eight previous executive orders, two previous Obama Memoranda’s, and his Presidential Policy Directives-21, these scattered throughout the text, as authority, in sharp contrast to executive orders of previous presidents that cited pieces of actual existing laws passed by Congress. This president makes up his own authority “on the fly” and justifies it by previously made up authority and so far Congress says nothing.

It is obvious that this de facto legislative group will make the rules and regulations with respect to everything that they interpret to have anything to do with the environment. Those areas specifically mentioned were: infrastructure, fresh water, ocean water, fish, wildlife and plants. That is a broad sweep of authority none of which can be found in Article I, Section 8, or in any amendments to the Constitution enlarging federal power or jurisdiction thereafter.

Also obvious is that the decree is aimed at maximizing federal power over local governments as well. It identifies its mission as to “identify opportunities to support and encourage smarter, more climate-resilient investments by States, local communities, and tribes, including by providing incentives through agency guidance, grants, technical assistance, performance measures, safety considerations and other programs.” Incentives and grants are mentioned and, historically, have been used as bribes to draw local governments in.

This wordage is political speak for “we plan to control you.” The normal way to control local governments, as suggested, is to offer them federal money to accomplish federal objectives which will remain federally dominated and the locals are too often more than willing to sell their jurisdiction “soul” for a few dollars. Yes, some governors and a few selected county or tribe representatives will get invitations to serve on the task force, but the numbers will never be enough to overcome the federal majority serving.

Also always present, when the federal government is involved, is the cavalier attitude that they can make “smarter” decisions than local or state governments. This, though they often live hundreds of miles away and thus do not have to live with the decisions they impose on others and this, normally by unelected, thus unaccountable, bureaucrats.

Some defending the Presidents executive order practice of making rules may suggest, naively, that such are not laws and thus okay. The Founders made no distinction between rules and laws. The fact remains that regulations and laws have in common three things, they impose a process, administer a penalty, or prohibit an activity. Congress alone can make them and has no authority to give away her exclusive power to do so, whether called a regulation or a law, nor to allow the executive branch to do it for them. The people have the right to know that every restriction imposed upon their behavior was read and voted on by three elected, thus accountable, persons—their Congressman and their two U.S. Senators.

The constitutional response of Congress to the theft of their sole power to legislate, should be threefold: 1) renounce the President’s decree; 2) the House should refuse all funding to implement the decree as per Article I, Section 7; and, 3) both houses should create a joint committee to study the executive order evolutionary process, recommending additional measures to forbid the executive branch of government Congress’s sole law-making function. If Congress does not renounce this decree, rule making in the area of climate change will be left to the President’s cronies in the de facto “Congress,” created by this executive order.

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

“Forced” Annexation under Hitler, now Putin

By Dr. Harold Pease

Vladimir Putin’s “forced” annexation of the Crimea invites memories of Adolph Hitler’s annexation of Austria. Both absorbed their weaker neighbor with over 96% of their vote.

With unemployment and interest rates at 25% in 1938, Austria was in deep depression and “people were going from house to house begging for food.” Kitty Werthmann, whose story I summarize, remembers her mother cooking a big kettle of soup and baking bread to feed her staving neighbors, about “30 daily.” The Communist Party and the National Socialist Party, two conflicting varieties of socialism, were fighting each other. The Germans, under Adolf Hitler, promised an environment of no crime, full employment, a high standard of living, and happiness. Austrians “became desperate and petitioned the government to let them decide what kind of government they wanted.” The Austrian government could not deliver these conditions, so 98% of the population, believing the lies, “voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler.” When this happened, the people danced for joy in the streets for three days.

Almost immediately law and order returned and “everyone was employed” in government created jobs, but what followed under fascist socialism was pure hell. In return for believing the empty promises, education was nationalized and freedom of religion in public education ended. Crosses in the predominantly Catholic schools were “replaced with Hitler’s picture hanging next to a Nazi flag” and prayer, replaced with singing praises of Germany. “Sunday became National Youth Day with compulsory attendance.” If their children were not present, parents were threatened first with “a stiff letter of warning,” then with a $300.00 fine, and then with jail. The day consisted of two hours of political indoctrination followed by sports and fun. The children loved it but “lived without religion.” Having no moral compass, illegitimacy flourished. “Unwed mothers were glorified for having a baby for Hitler.”

Men and women had equal rights under Hitler. They found out what that meant when workloads were equal, making no distinction on the basis of sex. When the war came in 1939, the draft was compulsory for both sexes and women served on the front lines as well. Many became “emotional cripples because they just were not equipped to handle the horrors of combat.” Kitty Werthmann continues, “When the mothers had to go out into the work force, the government immediately established child care centers. You could take your children ages 4 weeks to school age and leave them there around-the-clock, 7 days a week, under the total care of the government. The state raised a whole generation of children. There were no motherly women to take care of the children, just people highly trained in child psychology. By this time, no one talked about equal rights. We knew we had been had.”

Under Hitler’s socialism everyone was entitled to free handouts, such as food stamps, clothing, and housing. Healthcare was socialized as well, free to everyone. “Doctors were salaried by the government. The problem was, since it was free, the people were going to the doctors for everything. When the good doctor arrived at his office at 8 a.m., 40 people were already waiting and, at the same time, the hospitals were full. If you needed elective surgery, you had to wait a year or two for your turn. There was no money for research as it was poured into socialized medicine. Research at the medical schools literally stopped, so the best doctors left Austria and emigrated to other countries.” Of course, to pay for this benefit for the less productive, “the tax rate had to be raised to 80% of our income.”

When the war started, a food bank was established. “All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn’t work, you didn’t get a ration card, and if you didn’t have a card, you starved to death.” Socialism now controlled life and death by controlling who ate.

Small businesses were intentionally over-regulated out of business leaving the government owned large businesses the only ones existing. “We had consumer protection. We were told how to shop and what to buy. Free enterprise was essentially abolished.” Moreover, “farmers were told what to produce, and how to produce it.” To prevent the population from revolting, guns had long since been registered, then outlawed, and freedom of speech ended as well. “Anyone who said something against the government was taken away.”

Hopefully, the Crimean’s who recently “voted” for Russian annexation will fair much better than the Austrians did in 1938, as Hitler was a tyrant. Unfortunately some say Putin is as well.

Presidents’ Day, What Would Abraham Lincoln Say?

By Dr. Harold Pease

President Barack Obama’s favorite president, as is the case with so many Americans, is Abraham Lincoln who now shares a national holiday—Presidents Day—with George Washington. But the Obama/Lincoln bond certainly could not be because of shared political ideology. Lincoln was for the free market and decidedly against socialism—just opposite of President Obama. He saw nothing in the Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, worthy of emulation.

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.

The answer to ending poverty is not class envy, first identified by Aristotle some 2,500 years ago as being the natural inclination of those with less, a philosophy implemented by Lenin in Russia when the communists identified those holding property as enemies of the state and liquidated some four to eight million farmers, the “Kulaks” (“The Russian Kulaks,” InDepthInfo.com). Then they wondered why the country had such a horrific famine in 1921-1922 when millions starved.

No money was set aside for, or provided to, any class or special interest group in our Constitution. The power distributed benefited all equally and at the same time. The federal role was as referee only. Our Constitution does not redistribute wealth; it leaves the individual to do that by his work ethic. It remains the fairest way. Will income inequality be the outcome? Yes! Free men are not equal and equal men are not free. But all will have more than had we instead forced income equality by taking from those who produce and giving it to those who do not. We remain anxious to share our wealth producing philosophy with our less prosperous neighbors and the world so that all can have more but individuals steeling it from us, or using the government to do it for them, known as legalized plunder, is just wrong.

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.

Lincoln might have added, “When has a poor man ever created a full time job for anyone?” Hate the Wal-Marts’ or the McDonalds’ all you want but they provide the poor thousands of jobs. Do not bite the hand that feeds you then wonder where the jobs and prosperity went, as did the early Russian socialists. The “share the wealth” philosophy, which Lincoln opposed, and Obama endorses, has never brought long term general prosperity for any people, any place, or any time.