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Archive for May, 2014

Gavin Seim who is running for U.S. Congress in the Washington State 4th Congressional district had a great quote on his Facebook page the other day.   He wrote:

To deprive man the right to protect their person and property from any who without due process assault them, is both despotism and anarchy combined to destroy the foundation of liberty.  Such evil must be given no space. We must press it back and those who practice it must be removed from any office in which they can assault liberty with such vile intents.

The Constitution of the European Union begins with the words, “His Majesty, King of the Belgians…”  Under the charter of the E.U. it is assumed that all rights belong inherently to government, who then dictates to individuals what they can and cannot do.  Almost every government in ~human history~ has made this same assumption.

The Constitution of the United States is radically different.  It beings with the words, “We the People…do hereby ordain and establish…all…powers granted…”  In our form of government is was – until 100 years ago – assumed that all powers lay with individuals who dictate to government what it can and cannot do.

That started to change under President Woodrow Wilson in the progressive era when it started becoming popular to have a “living document” view of the Constitution, a view which says leaders can do whatever they want in the style of European Monarchs.  But the ~letter~ of the U.S. Constitution is still there and many still believe in it today.

Words matter.  In a European style government, the civil authority can claim to nullify the God-given right to defend one’s self and one’s property.  But never under the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

We are a “delegated powers” government where the people delegate what government can do.  The Bill of Rights does not ~give~ us our rights.  It simply acknowledges them and was put in place just in case later generations (like Wilson’s) ignored the plain wording of the Constitution, which they have.  That’s why the fight over the Second Amendment (bearing arms), the Fourth Amendment (honoring of private property and liberty) and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments (acknowledgment of individual and State sovereignty) are so important.

Government has slowly over the last 100 years began to act as if all powers reside with itself and not with the People.  This used to be an occasional occurrence and mainly happened with laws made in wartime and decisions made by activist judges on a range of issues.  But in the past 20 years progressives have become shameless, openly advocating communism, wealth confiscation and systematic government elimination of religious expression, private property and the traditional family.

These voices are still a minority, but they are very vocal and they have targeted absolute control over education and social issues.  They are raising a generation of students who don’t know any better than to sympathize with progressive positions.  The students are being taught a caricature of history and are conditioned to question or dislike individualism, equality of treatment under law, equality of opportunity, traditional values and people reaping the consequences of their own choices.  In a word, they are being taught to dislike America.

The answer for this is to read – read the U.S. Declaration of Independence.  Read the U.S. Constitution, you can read it in one or two hours easily.  Read some of the Federalist Papers, the debates that resulted in the ratification of the Constitution.  Read ‘The Law’ by Frédéric Bastiat.  Read ‘The Road To Serfdom’ by Friedreich Hayek.  Read ‘Ameritopia’ or ‘Liberty and Tyranny’ by Mark Levin. Listen to anything audio you can find from Milton Friedman on Youtube (you can listen to it in the background while you do other things).  Or go to LearnLiberty.org and listen to some of their four minute presentations.

Understand why Individualism always leads to freedom and prosperity, while collectivism always leads to tyranny and poverty.  Just look at North and South Korea, or East and West Germany of 30 years ago.

Or look at daily life in the U.S. just 20 years ago, and compare it to today.  It’s time to vote in some people who truly understand liberty to roll back government and bring us back to America.

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Recently progressive comedian Bill Maher expressed the view that progressives have won the culture war, and took the same opportunity to refer to the Bible as a “dumb book”:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/05/23/bill-maher-tells-twitter-liberals-to-calm-down-the-culture-war-is-over-and-we-won/

Here’s the reality:  Judeo Christian values have been winning the culture wars for 2,000 years and show no sign of stopping.

The Christian church is, “an anvil that has worn out many hammers,” and Judeo Christian values (the Ten Commandments) are the basis of the modern Western understanding of ethics and law.  If you don’t believe that, try going out and killing someone in the U.S. for any reason other than self defense.

The Roman Empire tried to redefine marriage.  It didn’t last.  I mean the Roman Empire.

Every generation rejects the values of previous generations and thinks, “Ah, this time, we’ve finally gotten it right!”  But the only consistent value systems that have lasted over centuries are systems directly tied to major world religions or religious philosophies.  And only one of those value systems gave birth to the highest level of individual liberty and prosperity in the history of the world.  It eliminated slavery.  It gave women power to vote and represent themselves legally.  It wound up saving Europe and the world from expansionist tyrannies on three separate occasions.

I’m not talking about enlightenment Humanism – on the contrary, Humanism originally sought to eliminate some “races” through eugenics and to this day tries to divide people into arbitrary groups, plundering one for the profit of another, but really taking the money to enrich it’s own leaders.

No, what led directly to a 5,000 year leap was the idea of constitutional republic grounded in Judeo Christian values.  It was Christians who believed that God is separate from creation and that nature could be looked at and studied objectively apart from myth.  It was Christians who popularized the radical idea that secular governments should not impose a state religion.  It was Christians who led the effort to abolish slavery.  It was Christians who won women the right to vote (the fight was led by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union).  And it was Christians who led the civil rights struggle of the 50’s and 60’s.

Everywhere Humanism and subsequent collectivism has been tried, it has led to servitude and poverty.  Individualism and Judeo Christian values have led to freedom and prosperity.  Most people who grow up in the U.S. simply cannot appreciate how special and rare this is in the history of the world.

Sadly, progressives like Maher want to muzzle free speech and attack people who don’t agree with them.  They have declared war on America and American values.  They want to enforce collectivism and uniformity of thought under the threat of law.  They want to put their fellow citizens in tyranny under social planners that wield the atheist equivalent of “Divine Right of Kings”.

They are the ones trying to drag this country backwards.

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Ever heard of civil forfeiture?

It goes like this:  6 Billion dollars worth of U.S. citizen’s assets seized each year by law enforcement on “suspicion” with no warrant or prosecution needed for seizure and sale of the assets.  There is no compensation for the owner.

I think this can only be happening because the average citizen hasn’t heard of it and probably wouldn’t believe it.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/09/policing-for-profit-lawmakers-advocates-raise-alarm-at-growing-govt-power-to/

I believe the logic is that the government declares it can sue an item of property instead of an individual.  In the suit, the government is listed as the plaintiff, the item of property as the defendant, and the legal owner of the item as simply a third party “claimant”.  The item itself is assumed to have been potentially complicit in some alleged crime, whether or not the owner of the item was involved or has knowledge.

Because objects don’t have the same rights as human beings, the item is then simply disposed of and if the owner wants even a chance of compensation they have to initiate costly litigation in a government courtroom (it is germane that both the confiscating agency and court belong to the same entity) to attempt to assert a third party interest in the item.

This leads to ridiculous lawsuits with titles such as “USA vs. $124,700”.

http://media.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/06/08/053295P.pdf

Here is the opening text of the above suit:

The United States initiated civil forfeiture proceedings against $124,700 in United States currency, alleging that the money was subject to forfeiture as the proceeds of a drug transaction or as property used to facilitate the possession, transportation, sale, concealment, receipt, or distribution of a controlled substance. See 21 U.S.C. § 881(a)(6). Three individuals filed claims opposing the forfeiture, and after a bench trial, the district court entered judgment in favor of the claimants. The government appeals, and we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Notice what the wording does?  The suit magically erases the fact that any individual ever owned the item in question, and assumes the government has – and has always had – complete jurisdiction, which is equivalent to ownership.

By the way, if any lawyers are reading this, feel free to tell me tell me if you think I’m presenting this incorrectly.

This is not at all the first time government has assumed ownership over private items.  Property taxes – taxation on any item which is privately owned – effectively make you a renter of your own property.  If you neglect to pay taxes the government can place a lien against an item.  And the value of the taxes collected over time inevitably exceed the value of the item itself (especially if you figure in the horrible tax of inflation, which averages about 4 1/2 percent per year), so the government is really ultimately claiming true ownership.

This leads to it’s own set of ridiculous circumstances, such as the government confiscating a woman’s home over a $6.30 tax bill:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2014/04/29/widow-loses-house-over-6-30-tax-bill/

The confiscation of the house was executed by Beaver County, Pennsylvania.  But confiscations like this happen in every state, and can occur all levels of government.  It’s not hyperbole or fear-mongering to make the very rational conclusion that if this happens to one citizen, it could happen to you next.

Coming back to civil forfeiture confiscations, over one third of them happen at the federal level.

The 4th Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

But there can be no protection for private property when government assumes it legally owns everything.

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A week ago Governor Inslee issued Executive Order 14-04 to implement, “WASHINGTON CARBON POLLUTION REDUCTION AND CLEAN ENERGY ACTION”
http://www.governor.wa.gov/office/execorders/documents/14-04.pdf

Governor Inslee has no authority to do this. 

According to the Washington State Constitution, Article II Section 1, “The legislative authority of the state of Washington shall be vested in the legislature.”  That word “vested” means non-transferrable.  Additionally, “The first power reserved by the people is the initiative,” and, “The second power reserved by the people is the referendum.”

Because of this, Executives Orders in Washington State carry no force of law.  They are simply and only policy statements describing how the executive branch intends to implement law that has been duly passed by the State legislature or the people. 

No legislation has been passed mandating a, “transition from coal,” or to, “advance electric vehicle use,” or to, “implement opportunities to increase statewide investments in multimodal transportation.”  And no legislation has been passed to, “develop…a new state program to assist and support our research institutions, utilities, and businesses to develop, demonstrate, and deploy new renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.” 

For Governor Inslee to pretend to create such mandates with the stroke of his pen is for him to abandon the role of the executive listed in the State Constitution in Article III Section 5, to, “see that the laws are faithfully executed.”

http://www.leg.wa.gov/LawsAndAgencyRules/Pages/constitution.aspx

Part of the problem is poorly crafted law.  When legislators craft law giving the executive branch a blanket statement such as, “spend such and such,” or, “provide energy,” the executive branch ~assumes~ it has been delegated the duty of making up any law as it sees fit – in the form of executive orders and bureaucratic regulations – to achieve the goal.  That’s the real issue. 

For example, in 1969 the federal Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act.  The act basically said, “An Act to establish a national policy for the environment, to provide for the establishment of a Council on Environmental Quality, and for other purposes.”  That’s it.  The rest of the act was six pages of platitudes about, “assure for all Americans safe, healthful, productive, and aesthetically and culturally pleasing surroundings,” and, “recognize the worldwide and long-range character of environmental problems,” etc.  I’m not making this up.

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/nepapub/nepa_documents/RedDont/Req-NEPA.pdf
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/42/4321

In 1970, based off that poorly crafted act, President Nixon issued an executive order authorizing creation of the EPA and giving it blanket authority over wide swaths of government and other previous legislation. 

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-84/pdf/STATUTE-84-Pg2086.pdf

Since that time the federal Congress has given the EPA additional, similarly undefined duties.  For example, the monstrous Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 which starts off with the preamble, “The objective of this chapter is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters,” and goes on to say things like, “It is…the policy of the Congress to support and aid research relating to the prevention, reduction, and elimination of pollution and to provide Federal technical services and financial aid to State and interstate agencies and municipalities in connection with the prevention, reduction, and elimination of pollution,” etc.  It went on to say, “Except as otherwise expressly provided in this chapter, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (hereinafter in this chapter called “Administrator”) shall administer this chapter”

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/33/1251 (Title 33 1251-1376)

So the President of the United States and the EPA administrator both think they can make up law as they see fit.  But they cannot, because under the U.S Constitution, “We the People…do ordain and establish..All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…”  Again, that word “vested” means non-transferrable. 

The U.S. Congress has no authority to delegate it’s role away.  They have no authority to delegate environmental regulation to the EPA, power to initiate acts of war to the executive, coinage to the Fed, or origination of tax code to the I.R.S. 

Similarly, the Washington State Congress has no authority to delegate to Governor Inslee the authority to make regulation regarding engergy consumption, transportation or creating new state programs.

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