Archive for the ‘Tyranny’ Category
Last June, like most conservatives, I felt great shock and disappointment with the ruling of the Supreme Court holding Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—commonly known as Obamacare—as constitutional. The legislation itself represents an assault on our basic liberties. Americans should not be penalized because they have made the economic decision to not purchase health insurance in the private marketplace. Our federal government, which is supposed to be limited in scope, should not be so powerful as to have the ability to regulate not only what we do, but also what we do not do. For the first time in history inaction is now a taxable undertaking. This is wrong and goes against the very nature of American governance and tradition. The United States is exceptional because the very charter that created our nation recognized our inalienable right to liberty. That liberty discussed in the Declaration of Independence includes taking the economic risk of not purchasing health insurance even when you can afford it.
As the law came before the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia made a prescient point that showed how the motivating factor behind Obamacare erodes our freedom. He said, “Everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you [the federal government] define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.” Progressive liberals who support the president’s healthcare reform cling to a notion that unwinds the protections granted to us by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Conservatives must respond by standing together to empower Americans with the freedom offered to everyone by a limited government.
Obamacare is one of the largest expansions of the size of government in our national history. By validating that the federal government has the ability to tax inaction the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress can regulate every aspect of our lives through the tax code. This ruling is a step too far. Good intentions by Washington politicians cannot replace our basic liberties and self-responsibility. Despite being law for over three years, a large majority of Americans want this law repealed. As members of Congress, it is our duty to protect the rights of the people, not take them away.
Regardless of whether or not Obamacare is eventually repealed, the Supreme Court has set a dangerous precedent that only opens the door for future abuse by ambitious lawmakers. The Court ruled that Congress has the ability to pass laws that can force Americans to either buy particular products in the private market or face the IRS. Under this precedent, Congress could force anyone to buy a product that lawmakers in Washington deem indispensible to living a proper life. Chief Justice Roberts has essentially ruled that the Framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were wrong in expecting Americans to be able to make decisions regarding how to live their lives.
If the Supreme Court is going to twist the meaning of the taxation power of Congress to include mandated behavior, the only recourse left is for the people of the United States to change the Constitution, serving as a check on Washington’s authority. I revere the Constitution, and changing it in anyway is something that I take very seriously. A 5-4 ruling should not grant the federal government nearly unlimited power. To rectify this problem, I propose an amendment to the Constitution that prohibits Congress from using the creation of taxes in order to compel individuals to engage in commercial activity. It is the only way to ensure our limited government even if Obamacare is eventually repealed.
Majority Leader Cantor has said that we need to hack away at the infringements of our freedoms that are pervasive through Obamacare. This is my chop. Below is my proposed amendment to the United States Constitution. Washington should not be allowed to control every aspect of our lives. I ask all of you to join me in standing up to this intrusion into our daily lives. We can reclaim our right to be self-responsible citizens without the management of Washington bureaucrats, but we must take action while we still can.
Language of the proposed Bentivolio Amendment:
The Congress shall not have the power to lay and collect taxes in order to compel any person or persons to engage in commercial activity, nor shall Congress have the power to lay and collect taxes from any person or persons for a failure to engage in any form of commercial activity.
Kerry Bentiviolio – Red State
Kerry Bentivolio is a first-term Congressman who represents Michigan’s 11th district. He is a veteran, school teacher, small business owner, and family farmer.
Imagine being a rancher and having a pack of predators attacking your livestock. These predators pose a grave danger to your livelihood and the safety of your family. You have a few options as to how to deal with this ravenous pack. You can remain vigilant and stand watch; shooing the hungry pack away whenever they come around. A possibility could be to try to provide alternate food options for them to keep them away from your animals. You may even choose to sacrifice the weakest of your livestock periodically to satiate the appetite of the predators. This will only cause the pack to increase in size and appetite… it will devour more of your livelihood. Or… you can get rid of the predators.
Speaking of hungry predators with insatiable appetites, have you seen what your governments have been up to lately?
The predators that come back night after night after night, ObamaCare and tax increases, are still going strong. The periodic predators that only come around when the opportunity presents itself, control of the internet and gun control, are coming out of the desk drawers that they have been stored in… waiting for just the right crisis/opportunity.
After having ObamaCare pushed upon the unwilling with complete disregard for the rights of individuals, the costs are already going up with double digit increases. I thought the ACA was supposed to reduce costs? While many state governments are refusing to fully comply with ObamaCare or to implement state run exchanges, the GoverNerd of my home state of Michigan has been going like gangbusters to getbought off by the feds.
By now everybody has been lambasted with smaller paychecks by the government ending the payroll tax holiday. Ben Swann reports how some politically connected groups got special deals as a part of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations while the citizenry got the shaft! What ever happened to the promise that nobody making less that $250,000 per year will see their taxes go up in any way, shape, or form? Oh yeah… that was a lie.
Not only do Americans face a smaller paycheck, they also face the fact that the money won’t go as far as it used to. This is not only due to the Federal Reserve devaluing the currency through planned inflation, but from a potential new sales tax on health insurance. For the new ObamaCare related taxes, click here. For more on rules on income taxes, click here. If you are productive, you are nothing but a life support for the State.
“We will keep the Chinese and Russian governments from cyber-attacking US computer systems… by spying on and collecting the personal information of US citizens.” He didn’t really say that… he’s not that honest.
First there was SOPA and PIPA and those went away due to public outcry. Then CISPA was introduced and went away due to public outcry. Now, it’s back.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R) MI has reintroduced CISPA. If we are to suspend common sense for just a moment… why would we want an organization that constantly comes under cyber attack and is continuously being hacked providing cyber security? It’s like UPS or FedEx going to the post office for advice on efficiency. Wouldn’t it be better to hire a group like Anonymous? Those guys at least appear to be capable.
The president even signed a questionable executive order related to emergency internet control. Sounds harmless enough, Winston and Julia?
What these new internet laws really provide is an opportunity for politically connected, rent seeking corporations to enforce IP at tax cattle expense and for the federal government to censor unpopular information and spy on the citizenry just like the Soviets would have done. Ever heard of firewalls, anti-virus software, or a business taking the personal responsibility for their own cyber security?
It also appears that many local and state governments as well as the federal government feel that mere mortal citizens do not have the right to own and use property without their blessing. The president has signed 23 executive orders related to gun control. The state of New York has rammed through legislation to restrict the property rights of citizens of that state. Meanwhile in Missouri, the democrats are pushing for full confiscation of private property with new legislation that will essentially make ownership of semi-automatic firearms and proper capacity magazines a class C felony. Other states and localities are getting into the act too. All of this is happening while the federal government stocks up on enough weapons and ammo to fight a 30 year war and local police departments are provided with urban assault equipment similar to that used in war zones.
The Political Response
“As soon as you say, ‘Those Democrats [or Republicans] are what’s wrong with this country,’ you’ve gladdened the Establishment’s heart. You’ve fallen for the Punch and Judy show. You are no threat to the system. Meanwhile, the looting goes on.” ~Tom Woods.
If anything has been learned by the people protesting ObamaCare at the town hall meetings and through writing letters and making phone calls, it’s that your rulers really do not give a damn what you think and you can put your concerns where the sun doesn’t shine. They are going to do what they want and unless you have enough money to outbid their true owners, you can go suck an egg.
Warning: This part will offend some of you but it needs to be said. You could always hold up your pocket constitution and shout, “Stop it! Stop it! You’re not allowed to do that!” You will then be ignored like the constituents before you since the very first congress and president took office. No government has ever been restrained by a constitution. The only thing that has ever restrained any government is its own inability to consume and destroy everything all at one time. And that inability is being overcome more and more with each passing day. There has never been a time in this country’s history ( or any country for that matter) where the constitution was obeyed even closely, let alone strictly. Not even under Grover Cleveland was it followed closely. Sure, Cleveland vetoed a lot of stuff but the fact that it made it to his desk in the first place is proof that the constitution wasn’t followed. What part of, “criminals don’t obey laws” do you not understand? I am certain that somebody will read that statement and despite all of the historical evidence will pull a Sheriff Mack, hit the refresh button and say, “If we could only get back to the constitution.”
I will concede that Nullification at the state level can be used to fight federal tyranny to a point. If the fed goons decide that they want something to happen, they will employ every dirty trick in their arsenal from bribery to outright brute force. But what if it is your state that is violating your rights to own property? For all branches of government, individual nullification will be the only real answer.
I would caution people not to put too much hope in their elected rulers to advocate on their behalf. That has been done before and here they are over $16 trillion dollars in debt later. It’s not that one party caves under pressure from the other party or popular opinion. No, it is that any period of resistance is nothing more than the requisite waiting period to make it look like they fought the good fight and do what they were planning to do all along. Then it is hailed as meeting in the middle in a grand example of bipartisanship and statesmanship. After all, the Indefinite Detention of US Citizens provision of NDAA 2012 was a result of bipartisan cooperation just as blocking any attempt to repeal that provision has been examples of bipartisan cooperation.
As Walter Williams has written, Under Article 1, Section 7 : “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.” Constitutionally and by precedent, the House of Representatives has the exclusive prerogative to originate bills to appropriate money, as well as to raise revenues.” The GOP could have defunded ObamaCare as soon as they took control of the House. By the same token, the Democrats could have defunded the wars as soon as they took control of the House. Ever notice how the actual policies never really change even though the rhetoric and party does? The system must be preserved at any and all costs.
This video clip is from the pro gun rights rally in Albany, New York. The likelihood of the politicians that voted for the NY gun ban getting voted out of office is pretty slim. The incumbency/recidivism rate for politicians is usually over 90%. The main point here is that the people are growing their numbers and getting others fired up. They are rising up against their rulers. They are setting the stage for nullification on the individual level!
The Effective Response
“No.” ~Rosa Parks
Bad laws are not repealed because people want them repealed or because the rulers have a moment of benevolence. Prohibition was not repealed because FDR was such a swell guy. Prohibition was repealed because it was unenforceable, Too many people were ignoring the law. The violation of the law made the government look impotent in addition to looking like the miserable failure that it was. The Civil Right movement did the same thing with the Bus Boycott and their activism.
The answer is non-compliance and civil disobedience. It is my sincere hope that it does not come down to armed resistance but that is a strong possibility. New Yorkers are the first to face off against their state government. This may be the “shot heard round the world.” As Alex Newman writes for the New American in his article Gun Owners Refuse to Register Under New York Law
“They’re saying, ‘F— the governor! F— Cuomo! We’re not going to register our guns,’ and I think they’re serious. People are not
going to do it. People are going to resist,” explained State Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King, who also serves
on the National Rifle Association board of directors. “They’re taking one of our guaranteed civil rights, and they’re taking it away.”
Figure out ways to separate yourself from the government. Look into alternative currencies and markets; starve the beast. Twelve million fewer people voted in the 2012 elections, and that was the most important election of our lifetimes since the last most important election of our lifetimes… and until the next most important election of our lifetimes. Can you imagine the politicians trying to claim legitimacy and a mandate when only 10% of eligible voters even bother to show up to the polls? That is the easiest part of individual nullification as you don’t even have to show up.
If you are unhappy with the government you have… withdraw your consent. If America chooses to make a stand, they had better make certain that they make themselves clear. It will not be enough to just win the battle only to have the rulers pull back to regroup. If that is the case, they will come back again with a fervor never before seen. They will come back with an unimaginable violence… that is the nature of the State.
Imagine being a private citizen trying to earn a living and take care of your family but are constantly stalked by your government. These predators pose a grave danger to your livelihood and the safety of your family. What do you do?
“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace²but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” ~Patrick Henry
Lou – Freedom Feens
“You are free to not eat broccoli, but if you don’t the government will impose a penalty on you. This penalty is really just a tax and since the government has the power to tax for all sorts of reasons, they can tax you if you don’t eat broccoli.”
This is the logic of Justice Roberts argument in the Obamacare case that was handed down today.
This should not surprise us because the Constitution is whatever the Justices wish it to be. Now they have handed the government another mandate to regulate our behavior. As we know they can and do regulate our behavior already. For example, if you smoke, they will tax your habit heavily. It is not a giant leap to force you to do something they want you to do by penalizing you for not doing it. According to today’s ruling, there is nothing in the Constitution preventing them from doing this.
The technical details of the ruling are interesting but very disappointing. Roberts’ justification of the Obamacare Act relied on the taxing power of the federal government as well as the general welfare clause. Roberts shot down the government’s reliance on the Commerce Clause to mandate our behavior. He wrote, “The Commerce Clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave, simply because he will predictably engage in particular [interstate] transactions.” Some clever commenters are saying, “Aha, that sneaky old Roberts. He always wanted to limit the wide powers of the Commerce Clause and this is how he did it.”
This limitation of the Commerce Clause may or may not be significant. Only future cases will answer this question. Based on the history of the Court, I have my doubts that this will impose any new restrictions on the government’s broad powers to regulate the economy.
The argument that a penalty was really a tax was, to say the least, a novel approach since the Administration thought it was a penalty and not a “tax” (the statute clearly points this out). Thus Justice Scalia’s famous query during argument that the government could force us to eat broccoli under the government’s theory of the Commerce Clause was cleverly turned aside by appearing to support the logic of Scalia’s broccoli argument yet upholding the law under the taxing authority.
The tax argument by Roberts is a good example of finding means to justify and end.
None of this is to say that the payment is not intended to affect individual conduct. Although the payment will raise considerable revenue, it is plainly designed to expand health insurance coverage. But taxes that seek to influence conduct are nothing new. Some of our earliest federal taxes sought to deter the purchase of imported manufactured goods in order to foster the growth of domestic industry.
Robert’s final words on the subject:
But imposition of a tax nonetheless leaves an individual with a lawful choice to do or not do a certain act, so long as he is willing to pay a tax levied on that choice. The Affordable Care Act’s requirement that certain individuals pay a financial penalty for not obtaining health insurance may reasonably be characterized as a tax. Because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness.
Robert’s logic is tenuous: none of the examples of taxation he cites impose a “tax” on something someone doesn’t do. If I wish to buy expensive heavily taxed imported goods, that’s my choice. Under his logic they could “tax” me for not buying domestic goods because it serves the goal of fostering “the growth of domestic industry.” Roberts just makes it up to fit his intended outcome.
The Court’s dissenters make quick work of Justice Robert’s invention (turning a penalty into a tax). Justice Kennedy’s dissent on behalf of Scalia, Thomas, and Alito:
Our cases establish a clear line between a tax and a penalty: “[A] tax is an enforced contribution to provide for the support of government; a penalty … is an exaction imposed by statute as punishment for an unlawful act.” United States v. Reorganized CF&I Fabricators of Utah, Inc., 518 U. S. 213, 224 (1996) (quotingUnited States v. La Franca, 282 U. S. 568, 572 (1931)). In a few cases, this Court has held that a “tax” imposed upon private conduct was so onerous as to be in effect a penalty. But we have never held—never—that a penalty imposed for violation of the law was so trivial as to be in effect a tax. We have never held that any exaction imposed for violation of the law is an exercise of Congress’ taxing power—even when the statute calls it a tax, much less when (as here) the statute repeatedly calls it a penalty.
It’s not a tax, it’s a penalty.
This use of the taxing power was hailed by most legal scholars this morning as a proper conclusion by Roberts. Most whom I heard couldn’t understand why anyone would think it would not pass constitutional muster. Most legal scholars see nothing wrong with expanding federal power to implement social policies they believe are beneficial. This is the “living constitution” theory which has guided legal scholarship for many years, most specifically since FDR’s New Deal. But it is an old argument going back to the Federalists and the Jeffersonian Republicans.
What Justice Roberts has done may be another “switch in time to save nine.”* Perhaps it is a bit hyperbolic to so suggest this, but clearly he wanted to uphold Obamacare and take the Court out of the political and policy spotlight by this legal sleight of hand. Left-wing commentators are saying how crafty the Justice is to uphold this worthy social policy on the one hand, and yet hew to his supposedly conservative roots with his Commerce Clause arguments on the other. Most of these people could care less about the Constitution: to them the end justifies the means in every extension of federal power.
This is the problem with progressives who think the government has the right to regulate the economy in any way Congress deems it, and the Court is full of progressives. Justice Ginsberg in her opinion said, “The Chief Justice’s crabbed reading of the Commerce Clause harks back to the era in which the Court routinely thwarted Congress’ efforts to regulate the national economy in the interest of those who labor to sustain it.”
The Constitution has been gutted by the Supreme Court, and their butchers work continues. The Founders’ fear of a powerful central government has been betrayed by the Court. Our original constitutional limitations on federal power have been ground down by redefining the Constitution to suit government goals. A Court can now find constitutional power for almost anything the government wishes to do.
With but a few exceptions we now closely resemble the Nanny states of Europe. And those countries have powerful central governments with few limitations on their power. Now with government-run health care, it would be difficult to distinguish the U.S. from, say, France. After 225 years, we are “them”. Thank you, Justice Roberts for doing your part.
*It is ironic that the justice who switched his vote in the famous “switch” case ( West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish) was also a Roberts, Owen Roberts.
Econophile for ZeroHedge
Why keep squabbling over issues that cannot be resolved except by the Tyranny of the Manipulated Majority? Decentralize, diffuse and devolve power to the lowest level and the national dead-ends vanish. Natural selection will sort out what works and what doesn’t.
The solution to centralized power can be summarized as the three Ds: diffusion, decentralization, and devolution of power to local communities. Yesterday I analyzed the global failure of centralization: The Master Narrative Nobody Dares Admit: Centralization Has Failed (June 21, 2012).
The concentration of power into the hands of a few bureaucrats in Europe has failed, just as concentrating monetary power into the (privately owned) hands of Federal Reserve bureaucrats has failed. Enabled by a captured Central State, financial power has become concentrated in five banks, media control has been concentrated into six corporations, and so on, ad nauseum.
Concentrating centralized political power inevitably spawns State/private-capital cartels that stripmine taxpayer/citizens. This cannot be avoided or staved off with 1,000-page legislative bills and 30,000 pages of regulations, all of which serve to consolidate the power of centralized government and private capital.
The Argument Industry (May 25, 2012) is a symptom of what I term profound political disunity. (If I didn’t coin the phrase, I am the predominant user of it in recent history.) This is a key concept in my books Survival+ and Resistance, Revolution, Liberation, for it underpins our inability to address, much less solve, the over-arching problems of our society and economy.
Yes, arguing fruitlessly without hope of resolution is a profitable “make-work” business, but it has a debilitating effect in the real world: views get hardened by propaganda into rigid ideological silos, and fractured institutions are slowly delegitimized.
Take gay marriage as an example. Does anyone seriously think there will ever be some sort of national consensus on this issue? Why does anyone think there *should* be a national consensus that is politically imposed on the minority who disagree?
My friend Richard Metzger of Dangerous Minds recently summarized the “devolution solution”–devolve power to the states:
They want to force their way of life on everyone else, we think they’re idiots, etc, etc. and n’er the twain shall meet. EVER.So why try to force the fit if it doesn’t work anymore? Let Arizona do whatever it wants. Or Wisconsin, Or Florida.
Let North Carolina ban gay marriage… but let the gays in NC pick up the hint and move to more hospitable climes and so forth for other groups and individuals who would not be able to get along in a situation whereby the DOMINANT paradigm of a particular region would be allowed to have free rein.
But let the rest of us do what we want to do and we’ll KEEP our tax dollars *where we live*, thank you very much!
Not only do I totally agree, but I would devolve power even lower down the ecosystem to counties. Let me first stipulate that I have consistently held that there is an essential role for a strong but limited Central State: it must have the power to disrupt and dismantle local monopolies, oligarchies and criminal organizations, and it must retain the power to guarantee freedom of faith, exchange, movement, expression, enterprise and association to all individuals. It must also be empowered to defend the nation against external threats and attack, and protect the nation’s “commons”–its soil, water, air, natural beauty and resources–from despoilation and exploitation by global, national or local Elites.
But beyond these limited roles, all other power should be diffused and decentralized to the lowest units of local political power, the counties. If County A legalizes gay marriage, County B bans it and County C decides that marriage is a private affair that the government should have no role in, then people who have concluded this is a key issue will migrate to the county of their choice. (County D may choose by not choosing to enable an “Argument Industry” that endlessly gnaws over the same old tired ideological debates as part of the local “entertainment industry.”)
There is a decidedly favorable element of natural selection to this process of letting local communities choose their own machinery of governance. With no Savior State to skim money from one community to give to another out of political favoritism, local communities will have to tax themselves for whatever services they desire.
If productive people are being taxed into penury and receiving little in the way of services they desire, they will move to a county with more favorable policies. Corrupt kleptocracies will be abandoned until there are no productive people left to exploit, and the kleptocracy will implode.
Each county will be an experiment on what works and doesn’t work, and it is likely there will be a spectrum of successful models. Those counties which allow concentrations of power to infect and control their social and financial ecosystems will likely stagnate; those which incentivize freeloading will be overwhelmed with freeloaders, and so on.Risk and consequence will be reunited, as they are in Nature.
If County E decides that all CEOs of banks chartered to do business in the county must live in the county, then business/finance will adjust to that political will. As noted yesterday, If 500 banks are forced to compete in a transparent marketplace, it will be very difficult for those corporations to purchase the political power the five “too big to fail” Central State-created banks now own.
Is local control of the way of life “efficient”? Perhaps efficiency’s elevation to godlike status is as misplaced as confusing convenience with meaning. What “works” for some communities is not just what’s cheapest in terms of consumerism. “Efficiency” is often corporate-speak for a second-order tyranny.
Charles Hugh Smith – Of Two Minds
Be still my beating heart…some people in government are actually starting to wake up to the theft. Too bad it’s not here in the US.
• European Parliament, Brussels, 14 February 2012
• Speaker: Godfrey Bloom MEP, UKIP (Yorkshire & Lincolnshire), Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group.
• Debate: Oral question ECON: Commission – Feasibility of introducing stability bonds- O-000333/2011 – with resolution: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=OQ&reference=O-2011-00…
I’m pretty sure he said: STOP THE LOOTING & START PROSECUTING!