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Dictators vs. Democracy in the Labor Wars

by Bill O'Connell on February 25, 2011

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When the unions and their progressive supporters hit the streets in Madison, Wisconsin the news cameras didn’t have to look high and low to find the Hitler posters, they could probably spot them from a hundred yards off, but honestly, who didn’t think there would be Hitler posters at a left wing rally? But in a effort to modernize, somebody found a newspaper and saw there was some unrest in the Middle East and voila, we had comparisons to Hosni Mubarak and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. So Governor Scott Walker, we are to believe, is acting like a dictator not a democratically elected governor working through a democratically elected legislature? Hmmm, I wonder how the public sector unions got the “rights” they ferociously cling to?

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Public Sector Unions: Right or Wrong?

by Bill O'Connell on February 23, 2011

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To hear the progressives talk about the public sector unions in Wisconsin and other locales you would think collective bargaining was enshrined in the Bill of Rights. We have a right to bargain collectively. The unions are fighting for their rights. The Bill of Rights was won through the fighting of a bloody revolution. The right for all citizens to vote was won through the passage of an amendment to the Constitution. So, naturally, the right of public sector unions was won through a similar groundswell of popular support, right? No. Actually it was started by one man, fighting for his political life, in the shadow of Tammany Hall.

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It’s Time to Dismantle the Public Sector Unions

by Bill O'Connell on January 25, 2011

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The public sector unions have succeeded. They have been so successful they are on the verge of bankrupting the country. Like the private sector unions, who at one time were a key advocate for unskilled and semi-skilled workers, they don’t know when to declare victory and go home.

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So Called Conservatives and Birthright Citizenship

by Bill O'Connell on August 18, 2010

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A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, newly elected Republican Congressman from Hawaii Charles Djou called Birthright Citizenship a GOP Achievement.  And to think I was happy to hear Mr. Djou was elected in an unusual special election where he ran against two Democrats simultaneously.  They split the vote and he won.  Birthright Citizenship is not a GOP achievement it is an accomplishment of judicial activism, pure and simple.  Mr. Djou says, “The Citizenship Clause of the Constitution’s 14th Amendment provides that a person born in the United States is automatically a citizen, regardless of the race, ethnicity or citizenship of his parents.”  Where the hell does it say that? 

The Amendment actually reads, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”  These, so called conservatives, like the first part of the clause but seem to go ignorant or blind at the second part.  If you are a Constitutional Originalist, you look to the meaning of the Constitution first in the actual text, then to any information that you can glean from what was discussed at the time of its passing.  This is a case where that information could not be any clearer.

Senator Jacob Howard of Ohio was the author of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment.  He said:

 “[E]very person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States.  This will not [emphasis added] , of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.  It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are not citizens of the United States. “

How much clearer could “not include aliens” be?  Aliens are outside the jurisdiction of the United States and are subject to their home country.

Linda Chavez, who presents as her conservative credentials that she served in the Reagan and Bush administrations, points to English Common Law as the basis of the Birthright Citizenship.  Since under Common Law you are immediately and forever a citizen of the place of your birth.  However, with the Declaration of Independence we did away with that custom of English Common Law.  Under Common Law, you could not renounce your citizenship, and if we are still under that law, we are still all Englishmen.  It was also one of the causes of the War of 1812.  The British did not recognize our process of Naturalization.  They were stopping our merchant ships and taking off sailors they deemed to still be English citizens and pressed them into service in the Royal Navy.  The concept that Ms. Chavez is arguing supports Birthright Citizenship is from feudalism, where the serfs belonged to the land.  They received the lord’s protection and in return gave their lord a lifetime of service.

At the time of passage of the 14th Amendment, whose purpose was to grant citizenship to the freed slaves, the debate was whether it would also confer citizenship on the American Indians.  Under Mr. Djou’s logic and Ms. Chavez’s they were born here, it was automatic.  But it wasn’t.  Not because of discrimination but because they were members of their tribes which were considered sovereign nations.  The United States signed treaties with them.  In the Supreme Court case Elk v Wilkins the court ruled:

“Indians, born within the territorial limits of the United States, members of and owing immediate allegiance to one of the Indian Tribes, an alien though dependent power, although in a geographical sense born in the United States, are no more born in the United States and ‘subject to the jurisdiction thereof’ …than the children of subjects of any foreign government born within the domain of that government, or the children, born within the United States, of ambassadors or other public ministers of foreign Nations.”

That was the law until 1898 in the Supreme Court case United States v Wong Kim Ark, where the majority used the Common Law argument to ignore what was written in the text of the Amendment, what was discussed at the time of the Amendment by the author of the Amendment and its supporters and the prior Supreme Court case.  This is judicial activism at its baldest.  In the dissenting opinion by Chief Justice Fuller he made it clear:

“when the sovereignty of the Crown was thrown off and independent government established, every rule of the common law and every statute of England obtaining in the colonies, in derogation of the principles on which the new government was founded, was abrogated.”

The American Revolution did away with that definition of Birthright Citizenship under the Common Law.

So along comes Lindsey Graham, who can’t decide if he is for open borders or against them, so his suggestion to amend the Constitution to end Birthright Citizenship sounds somewhat hollow.   It is also irrelevant.  Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution clearly grants the Congress the power “To establish an (sic) uniform Rule of Naturalization..”  This does not require an amendment, just a simple clarifying law that Birthright Citizenship does not exist in the United States.

The irony is that the 14th Amendment was created to make it more difficult for future Congresses to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which said pretty much the same thing as the 14th Amendment and it was changed with the stroke of the pen of an activist Supreme Court.  Perhaps we need to consider the idea of Mark Levin in that perhaps we need to have a legislative veto of Supreme Court decisions.  If the role of the Supreme Court is to interpret laws written by Congress, why not let Congress with a two-thirds vote, explain what the Supreme Court misinterpreted?

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Liberty and Mobility

by Bill O'Connell on June 1, 2009

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Movin' Out

One of the great blessings bestowed upon us by our Founding Fathers was federalism. Our federal form of government evolved from the Articles of Confederation, where states had primacy and the national government acted only with the consent of the states.  This proved to be too cumbersome.

In writing the Constitution, the Founders identified very specific roles and responsibilities for the national government and left everything else to the states or the people (see Tenth Amendment).  In doing so it gave the people the power of liberty through mobility.  If you didn’t like the way they did things in Massachusetts, you could move to Virginia.  If the people of Pennsylvania didn’t want a mass migration of people to Georgia, they needed to be careful regarding the laws that they passed so as not to alienate a large block of their constituents.

The War on Federalism

The statist, who loves government and believes government should control every aspect of our lives, hates federalism, because it weakens its control.  So they attack it through the courts.

Here is their standard battle plan.  Let’s the case of Gay Marriage.  Vermont’s legislature approves Gay Marriage.  Whether you are in favor of that or oppose that it shouldn’t affect you if you don’t live in Vermont.  If you are in favor and you live elsewhere, you can move to Vermont.  If you live there and are opposed you can either fight to overturn it in Vermont, or move elsewhere.  That’s the beauty of federalism.  If continued to its logical conclusion, some states would approve it and those in favor would migrate there, and those who are opposed would concentrate in states that would ensure that it would not be adopted in their state.  You could have a raging debate, but your liberty would be preserved through mobility.

However, the statists have a different view of things.  After the law is passed in Vermont by the legislature (as is proper), or made up out of thin air by the court in Massachusetts (judicial activism and improper), some couples who are married in these states move to another state.  By doing so, they should leave their state sanctioned rights behind.  However, what they will typically do when their Vermont sanctioned rights are not honored in, say, Tennessee they will rush to federal court and says their Constitutional rights are being violated.  A court stocked with judicial activists, will find some fig leaf of justification with words like emanations and penumbras, to make a new law of the land and with the stroke of a pen, the liberties of all Americans will be swept away based on the will of the people of Vermont.  You no longer can protect your liberty through mobility.  You cannot go anywhere to live in proximity to like minded people and live the life you believe in.  Mobility is no longer a tool to protect your liberty it is a weapon against you.  People can secure rights elsewhere and use mobility to come to your doorstep and use the courts to force their beliefs on you.

Fierce Fighting

I believe that is why the fighting over these issues become so fierce and acrimonious.  If something is allowed anywhere, it will soon be allowed everywhere, because of an activist judiciary.  Our rhetoric has become more strident, our politics is anything but bipartisan, all because everything is being elevated to the federal level.  States are becoming less and less important.  If you don’t believe it  ask people, who was responsible for the fiasco after hurricane Katrina?  If they say President Bush, ask them to name the mayor of New Orleans or the governor of Louisiana at the time. Bush and the federal government should have been the third line of defense, not the first.  The first should have been the city, then the state and then the federal government.

Back to Federalism

Show me where in the constitution it says the government should own General Motors and Chrysler.  Show me where it says that a tunnel, entirely in the city of Boston should be paid for by the taxpayers of Arizona.  Show me where in the constitution it says education is the responsibility not of local government but the federal government.  It doesn’t.  And until well roll back this juggernaut, our liberties will be crushed little by little, day by day.

This is why it is also important to guard against activist judges getting on the bench or being elevated to higher levels of the court. It is just these activist judges who are taking away your liberty to move away from those who don’t believe what you do and moving toward those you do agree with.  Take note of the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

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The Audacity of Those Republicans!

by Bill O'Connell on February 1, 2009

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Frank Schaeffer writes in the Huffington Post, under the headline Republicans: “Go To Hell America”, 100% Partisan Vote”, about the vote on the so-called stimulus package.  As Shakespeare said, “Me thinks he doth protest too much.”  In actuality it was a bi-partisan vote, bi-partisan against the stimulus package.

Stimulus?

As more details about this pork-a-palooza come out the American people grow more concerned and less supportive as evidenced by a recent Rasmussen poll with support slipping from 45% to 42% and opposition growing from 34% to 39% with 19% undecided.  Which means that 3% moved from the support column and 2% from the undecided column into the opposition column.  In other words, more people supported John McCain than support this package, and McCain lost.

So why is Frank Schaeffer on the verge of having a stroke over this?  When you look more closely it’s pretty clear.  By all Republicans voting against the measure, they did not give the Democrats the fig leaf they were looking for.  If this is truly a stimulus package and if the Democrats need no Republican votes to pass it, then pass it and take all the credit when the economy rockets to life.  The dirty little secret is that the Democrats really don’t believe this is a stimulus package at all.

The Big Payoff

The purpose of this package is to help the Democrats to consolidate power.  It begins by paying back those who supported them.  Why else is there money in the package for Hollywood, family planning, teacher’s unions, massive transfers of money from the federal to the state governments?  The “tax stimulus” of about $10 per week, is aimed at those who pay little to no income taxes.  “If I give you a check for nothing today, will you give me your vote in 2010?”  They are pushing to reach that tipping point where the majority of voters pay no income tax and maybe even get checks from the government.  Once that magical 50% line is crossed look out.  By having majority rule, they can then jack up the tax rates on “the rich” to astronomical levels, and there is little that can be done about it short of another revolution.  Remember those famous words, “Taxation without Representation”?  And why should it matter to rich Democrats, since they don’t pay the taxes they owe anyway (Rangel, Daschle, Geithner).

The Republicans could have done a great thing for their party and the country: sent a message to the world — we stand together! Imagine the impact on tomorrow’s stock market, and our enemy’s view of America and our standing in the world if instead of a partisan Republican “NO” vote the backing of the recovery plan had been unanimous approval! — Schaeffer

Sorry, comrade, it’s time for Mr. Schaeffer to get a reality check.  First of all that was a bipartisan NO! Second, the stock market has fallen 1,600 points since Obama was elected.  That’s not exactly a vote of confidence from the financial markets.  Look, the measure passed.  If it is a truly good stimulus package the stock market should rise on that alone.  Does he think Wall Street cares whose vote is in which column?  Please!

The Republicans might have then shared the credit, even won a few elections in the future. Now their fate is sealed. Obama will succeed. America won’t forget who to thank. — Schaeffer

You would think that Mr. Schaeffer was born yesterday.  This package was put together by President, I mean, Speaker Pelosi.  She gave the back of her hand to the Republicans.  They had no role to play in putting this package together, so let’s put the bipartisan rhetoric back in the museum case where it belongs.  President Obama’s dinner with conservative writers, his cocktail parties, his Capital Hill meetings with Republicans were all just PR and window dressing if they have no input on the legislation.  When asked if the package was bipartisan, Speaker Pelosi said that depends on how the Republicans vote.  In other words, if they vote for what we are trying to cram down their throats, its bipartisan, if not, well just call on Frank Schaeffer to scream FOUL!

If he wants a true stimulus package, cut the pork, cut the unnecessary spending, eliminate the capital gains tax and cut tax rates, not give out $10 per week that will barely buy a pizza.  If you want to build a serious stimulus package, I am sure the Republicans would stand ready to work with President Obama, but it’s time for President Obama to realize that he’s the one with the 70% approval rating not Nancy Pelosi, whose Congress has approval ratings in the single digits.  He should take the lead not follow hers.  But for now someone has to watch the American people’s backs and their wallets, and that, my friends, are the conservative Republicans.

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Cram This

by Bill O'Connell on January 13, 2009

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With Citibank caving in on the subject of cramdowns, we are all about to take it in the neck.  What the cramdown is, is where a bankruptcy judge can re-write the terms of a mortgage, including lowering the principal on the loan, in effect, “cramming” the loss down the banks throats.

Now I’m no fan of the banks making loans to people who shouldn’t have gotten them, but it has been a long standing principle that in a foreclosure, the bank gets the house, if you can’t pay.  If the loan is structured right, that is, a good down payment then this presents good security for the bank.  In return, banks have traditionally been able to offer lower rates on mortgages than on many other kinds of loans.  However, if you change the rules of the game, such that banks no longer have that kind of security, what is any rational banker going to do?  That’s right, raise the interest rates.

So any banker writing a mortgage in the future, will have to weigh that some day in the future his security could be taken away at the stroke of some legislator’s pen.  While it is true that, Sen. Schumer’s proposed deal is only on loans in place at the time of the legislation and only if the bank and the consumer tried and were unable to negotiate different terms, it still hangs over the mortgage industry.  A banker today, will have to consider that in the next thirty years of the mortgage I am about to write, there may be another serious economic downturn, and in that downturn, some legislator may decide to do this again.  Therefore, I’ll add 1/4% or 1/2% to the rate to cover it, on every mortgage I write from this day forward.

Let’s recap.  Government programs (Fannie, Freddie, Community Reinvestment Act, Clinton’s Justice Department, HUD) push very hard on banks to make loans to marginal lenders.  The housing bubble bursts causing financial crisis and government rides to the rescue so that we can pay more for mortgages forever.

And we keep electing these people.

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