Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 5

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

In his speech, the President said:

“And ever since, there's been a raging debate over the best way to restore growth and prosperity, restore balance, restore fairness. Throughout the country, it's sparked protests and political movements – from the Tea Party to the people who've been occupying the streets of New York and other cities. It's left Washington in a near-constant state of gridlock. It's been the topic of heated and sometimes colorful discussion among the men and women running for president.”

It is true, the debate has raged, but the President's words are deliberately deceiving. He is actually attempting to set the terms of the debate to favor a long-standing Marxist agenda. His use of the words, "the best way to restore growth and prosperity, restore balance, restore fairness" is intended to establish false Marxist package deals in your mind. He wants you to conclude with him that we need more government controls and regulation of the economy.

First of all, today's Marxists do not care to "restore growth and prosperity". They have known for decades that Marxist re-distribution does no such thing. They use the words to pull you into their world of lies. They want you to think that they are as concerned about prosperity as you are concerned. They are not; they only want power and they use these words to fool you into thinking they actually want to make things better. In addition, their use of these terms is designed to make you think that they actually know how to restore growth and prosperity when they know nothing of the kind. They want you to think they are a vital part of the debate about prosperity and that they merely have a different view on it; that their solution, which is to create more government coercion, is just as good as your solution which is to restore capitalist principles of freedom.

The other terms: "restore balance, restore fairness" are also pure Marxist myths. They assume the premise that balance and fairness are actually proper goals of social policy (meaning goals of government force) and that you, like they, want a balanced and fair society. What they want you to ignore is that their solutions for achieving balance and fairness are nothing more than more coercion, more government force.

The other false implication of this word usage is that capitalism creates imbalance and unfairness which it does not. The Marxist idea of "imbalance" in capitalism means that some people become rich and others descend further into poverty. But, in capitalism, this does not actually happen. The accumulation of large amounts of capital enables the investment in larger and larger companies such as utilities, national transportation companies, etc., all of which create a higher standard of living for everyone especially the poor. Such successes result, not because of greed, but because some people work harder and/or smarter than others. Those who come up with the best solutions to human problems in a capitalist system are necessarily going to get richer than those who don't. The Marxist argument ignores the fact that, in capitalism, the beneficiaries of those bigger companies are the people who buy from them and that includes the poor and middle class.

The idea that capitalism is "unfair" is based upon a similar argument; that capitalism unfairly rewards people with money and punishes those without money. Again, the Marxist myth is that this is a problem. The truth is that there is nothing unfair about a person who creates great goods for trade and gains lots of money in the process. The individual has earned it. The idea that such people should pay higher taxes because they have unfairly taken more from the system than they put into it is pure collectivist hogwash. They have, in fact, put more into the system than they receive in terms of riches. The value they have created is worth much more than the profits they make. There is no way to put a price upon the long-term benefits of a system like capitalism that is constantly improving and making peoples' lives better. What is unfair, however, is the Marxist system that rewards people who use government force to put more able competitors out of business.

In spite of these ages-old myths used by the President, it is true that the debate about a proper economic system has raged. The Tea Party phenomenon began to develop after the politicians “saved” the economy by means of a massive infusion of fiat money into the banking system, most of which went to the banking institutions that contributed the most to Democratic politicians. These were institutions that had become “over-leveraged” in mortgage derivatives bundled by the Democrats at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

While the politicians insisted that TARP was necessary to “save capitalism” back in 2008, the American people gave the politicians a clear signal: “Don’t do it! Don’t bail out the companies that made these bad investments.” Congress, after first defeating the bill to authorize TARP, came back a week later to pass it. We are still struggling with the consequences of this mistake. When the American people saw that their politicians were doing things, massive things, without their approval, the genesis of the Tea Party took shape. Later, when they saw that President Obama was engaged in massive payoffs to his political cronies under the name of “stimulus” for the economy, they knew that it was time to unite against these massive violations of their rights.

However, we should not be confused about the so-called “Occupy” movement that the President mentioned. This movement is an invention of the Obama administration and the unions, not to mention the holdovers from ACORN. Union money, laundered by the administration, is behind this movement and their goal is to support the President. There is nothing grassroots about this movement. It is by, about and for the Obama administration…ostensibly aimed at the very people who support the Obama administration, the crony capitalists…but clearly it is an anti-capitalist movement (Remember, there is a difference between “crony capitalism” and capitalism). This movement is nothing more than a cynical effort by the unions and the President to gin up support for their legislative agenda and to instill in the American public an anti-capitalist attitude. It is an effort to create a faux-movement to "replace" and discredit the Tea Party movement.

Don’t be fooled when the President insists that the “Occupy” movement is a genuine reflection of real attitudes. This so-called movement is nothing more than the President’s effort to develop the pitchforks that he will need for the coming election. These people are practicing for the street riots and disruptions that will be let loose on society by the administration during the lead up to the election. This movement is nothing more than Obama’s effort to directly inject himself into the opposition’s politics so he can control the debate. The President is the Occupy movement's creator and leader and they support his goals. The unions have paid for these demonstrations with laundered money from government. This means the unions are colluding with the government in a way that is corrupt and evil – and this fact alone is a clear reason that the Democrats should be rejected wholesale in the coming elections. We must stop the unions' efforts to corrupt government. Theirs is fake outrage, fake protest and fake principles. There is nothing democratic about the so-called Occupy movement except that they are Democrats pretending to be a grassroots movement.

And should the President not be able to control his opposition, and should he somehow lose the election, these people will be ready to riot in every major city. It will be the left’s last stand and it won’t be pretty. Their goal is to create as much havoc as possible in order to save their own skins; as if this would actually save their skins. The left knows that it is due for a total repudiation by the American people and their only hope is to instill a defeatist attitude among Tea Party members.

The President is also trying to blame “gridlock” for his inability to advance his fascist agenda. Today’s gridlock is a result of Tea Party efforts to stop the President’s massive spending programs. It is, in fact, a good thing. By electing fiscal conservatives and budget hawks, the Tea Party is blocking the President’s efforts to move our nation further into fascism through massive spending and interference in the economy. The President's response is that the Tea Party movement is blocking the progress necessary to solve our economic problems. His goal is to counter the Tea Party opposition by disenfranchising it and drawing attention to the Occupy "message" of more government spending and re-distribution.

We have now discovered the next reason why the President does not want to speak in terms of essential principles. He must avoid his own essential principles because they have always been rejected by the American people. These principles are those of socialism, re-distribution and forced altruism. The President’s solution to the rejection of these principles is to discuss politics as if it were a matter of “our gang versus their gang”. This deliberate effort to obfuscate principles is the only way the President and the Democrats can run for election while at the same time moving the nation headlong into full-blown socialist re-distribution. If the President can turn the debate into a sort of “gang warfare” then he need not discuss principles; he need only throw dirt and mud at his opponents in an effort to “brand” them as evil while he pretends to be the enlightened protector of the middle class.

Can this approach win? The President supposedly has $1 billion dollars to prove that it can. The question is: Can money replace principles in a political campaign? Can money buy principles? Can the constant repetition of lies and spurious charges win an election? Can it help politicians deceive people?

Not if they are paying attention.

-to be continued

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 4

So, if none of our leaders will tell the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

In his speech, the President said:

“Now, for many years, credit cards and home equity loans papered over this harsh reality. But in 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We all know the story by now: mortgages sold to people who couldn't afford them, or even sometimes understand them. Banks and investors allowed to keep packaging the risk and selling it off. Huge bets – and huge bonuses – made with other people's money on the line. Regulators who were supposed to warn us about the dangers of all this, but looked the other way or didn't have the authority to look at all.

It was wrong. It combined the breathtaking greed of a few with irresponsibility all across the system. And it plunged our economy and the world into a crisis from which we're still fighting to recover. It claimed the jobs and the homes and the basic security of millions of people – innocent, hardworking Americans who had met their responsibilities but were still left holding the bag.”

The implication here is that the house of cards collapsed because of…wait for it…irresponsible greed. It was because people wanted to make money that the house collapsed, and, the President thinks, it was wrong. But let’s look a little deeper. The President talks about the fact that mortgages were sold to people who couldn’t afford them. Who was responsible for that? Issuing these bad mortgages was caused by a regulatory scheme set up to re-distribute bank loans from credit-worthy borrowers to non-credit-worthy borrowers. Certainly, these bad mortgages would not have been given by a rational bank manager seeking to make money; he would have known that the loans were questionable and that issuing so many of them could potentially destroy his bank. Why did "rational" bank managers seeking to make money issue so many bad loans? Dig deeper and you find that this was done because of government regulations that forced banks to issue and solicit these bad loans.

Which group of people created and favored these programs? The answer is progressives of the “New Deal” variety. In fact, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which was passed in the ‘70s, was strengthened in 1994 after a law suit that claimed banks were guilty of racial discrimination when deciding who got home loans. The goal of these lawsuits was to force the banks to issue more loans to poor people. The strengthened CRA demanded that banks prove they were not discriminating against blacks under threat of prosecution by the Clinton Justice Department. And it was a willing ACORN that encouraged poor people to take these loans and they had a working scheme in place to take advantage of the CRA regulations. In addition, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bought these loans and bundled” them into investment packages to be sold to financial institutions as top-rated securities. Certainly, there was some fraud involved here.

It was a failed re-distribution scheme fostered by progressives that caused the stock market to collapse, TARP to be created and the literal theft of almost one half of the savings of many middle class Americans. Yet, not one government official has been charged with a crime. It was the government, not capitalism, that was responsible for the collapse and it was progressives, including President Obama, who lobbied and sued the government to create this entire scheme. So now, one of the architects of the fiasco (the President), tells us that it was not caused by the people who forced the banks to issue the mortgages (the Clinton administration), or the people who shook down the banks (ACORN), forced banks to prove they weren’t racist (ACORN) and solicited (pressured) poor people to apply for the loans (again ACORN). And, in spite of this, we are supposed to believe that the real problem was “greed”. Is the President fingering his own greed or that of his employer ACORN? I don't think so.

Understand what I am saying: all of these bad decisions that the President criticizes were decisions made by people who share the President’s philosophy of re-distribution and they were undertaken by institutions created to effect that re-distribution. These include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, government appointed heads of those companies, Countrywide, a Democratic Congress, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, ACORN; all of whom claimed to be working on behalf of the “poor”. Yet, this sounds like altruism to me, not greed.

Why isn't the altruism inherent in these programs blamed for the economic collapse? It was not greed but socialist principles that sacrificed the savings of the middle class in order to give homes to the lower class. The actors whose philosophy caused the collapse were involved in socialist irresponsibility, not capitalism. Why didn't the media pick up on this?

The answer is pretty simple: socialism doesn’t work and they are invested in socialism. The cold, hard truth is that socialism is the means through which a smart criminal can cover up the fact that he is stealing money. All he has to do is say he is doing it for the poor. And rather than expose the charlatan scam that caused the financial collapse of the most powerful economy in history, the media looks the other way. And they allow the President to blame the fiasco on an institution, capitalism, that was raped and violated by the scam.

It should be no surprise that one of the lawyers involved in changing the CRA back in 1994, President Obama, is the one person who benefited most from the economic collapse. Not only was he able to skim some of the stolen money for his Presidential campaigns (he is one of the largest recipients of Fannie and Freddie campaign contributions), but when the economy collapsed, it paved the way for his election as President. Although he and his progressive friends caused the collapse, the Republicans got blaimed. In fact, Obama may have lost the election were it not for the collapse made possible by the failed policies he advocated. Is it a coincidence or a plot? I’ll let you decide.

Needless to say, the President won’t blame himself for the financial collapse, nor does he want to blame his own philosophy. But his denials don’t change the truth. And this is a time when honesty and truth are required (as if there is ever a time when they are not). Rather than tell you the brutal honest truth, the President would rather play politics and continue to assert in a major economic speech that capitalism is the cause of the problems that he created.

The truth is that the philosophy destroying our economy is altruism, the philosophy of the President. Does he care that re-distributing money violates the rights of hard working Americans? Does he care that it makes virtual slaves of the very people he claims to be defending? Apparently not, since he is not willing to admit that he is the real destroyer of the middle class. It is not his fault, he says. He inherited the situation, feigning innocence.

Are you now beginning to see why the President does not want to think in terms of essentials and why it is not possible for him to tell you the truth? If he were truly an honest man, he’d admit that his philosophy is bankrupt and that socialism has failed.

Apparently, judging from the President's words and actions, this is not the time for the truth. According to the President, it is the time for posturing, for pretending to be an honest critic. It is a time for telling lies and for accusing his political enemies of doing the very things that he is doing, and, if that isn’t enough, he now intends to spend $1 billion dollars (that he got from someone) to convince the American people that the real culprit is the greed of “fat cats”.

On the contrary, I think it is the time for telling the truth. We cannot survive without it.

-to be continued

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 3

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

In his speech, the President said:

“Today, we're still home to the world's most productive workers. We're still home to the world's most innovative companies. But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and their investments – wealthier than ever before. But everybody else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren't – and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up.”

Here the President is attempting to provide a reason why the “optimism” of the previous statement (Part 2) has been “eroded”. Yes, the President says, we still have the most productive workers and the most innovative companies, but the “basic bargain” has been eroded, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. What does this mean? Who eroded the “basic bargain”? What was that basic bargain? How was it brought about? Who made it possible?

The basic bargain to which the President refers was a sort of implicit contract that if you “give it your all” you have some assurance that you’ll be able to take care of your family, have your health care taken care of and put away money for retirement. It is this “bargain” that has been eroded, according to the President. The “middle class” is no longer receiving the benefit of the “basic bargain” and someone is responsible for that: “those at the top”.

Before we go back to the President’s speech, we must establish the full context. First of all, we should understand what made possible those “most productive workers” and “most innovative companies” to which the President refers. I think it is important to have this background if we are to think in essentials. Indeed, you can’t decide what to do in the future if you don’t know the essential principles that got us where we are.

How does a nation accomplish productive workers and innovative companies? Not every nation has been able to do this and it is important to be clear about the ideas and values that create prosperity. In other words, what must we have in the way of economic principles in order to build a vibrant economy?

History has provided an answer: capitalism. Capitalism is the prerequisite of prosperity. Remove capitalism from a nation and you lose it. Why is this? What is so good about capitalism that it creates such tremendous abundance?

As Ayn Rand has pointed out: “Capitalism is the system that made productive cooperation possible among men, on a large scale—a voluntary cooperation that raised everyone's standard of living—as the nineteenth century has demonstrated.”(1)

The fact that capitalism enables voluntary cooperation is missed by the President and his economic advisers. And they have no idea why voluntary cooperation is accomplished more effectively by capitalism than by their vaunted collectivism that requires cooperation through shared sacrifice. Capitalism must be inferior to them because it is only about “playing by your own rules” and stealing from people. This view sees exploiters everywhere and it misses the spectacle of millions of individual acts of mutually beneficial cooperation that take place every day under capitalism.

Rand also provides the definition of capitalism:

“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man's rights, i.e.., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man's right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.”(2)

According to progressives, capitalism is not about the banishment of physical force; it is about the use of physical force through government to create monopolies, get special privileges and steal from the consumers who have no choice but to work in the factories and use the products. They ignore the men who rose from poverty to become some of the most successful industrialists in the world; whose enterprises provided virtually all of the luxuries we enjoy today. They ignore the elevating standards of living, the longer life-spans, the mobility and self-confidence that people develop because they hold their destinies in their own hands. They ignore the millions of morally proper decisions that people make daily. They ignore the fact that capitalist systems tend to be more peaceful and secure because people who earn their own livings do not feel compelled to violate the property rights of others.

Leftists cannot think in terms of essentials. They don’t understand that survival is about work and that any system that liberates man to pursue survival through production and trade is one that creates a million mutually beneficial trades every day. They confuse production with force and criticize production as if it means a zero-sum transaction where one person wins and gets rich and the other person loses and becomes poor. They ignore the fact that it is capitalism, and nothing else, that created the middle class. So they proclaim themselves champions of the middle class while they seek to destroy or undermine the source of voluntary cooperation: capitalism. And they countenance physical force by government in order to rectify what they consider to be problems created by capitalism (that are actually created by their own coercive policies).

Progressives act as if they are righteous defenders of the average man, protectors of the rights of man, as if they were fighting dictators not industrialists. They posture as courageous critics of a corrupt system while ignoring the fact that the capitalist “dictators” they denigrate are merely clear thinking men who have mastered the art of production, not the art of conquest. They don’t understand what it takes to create and manage a thriving corporation because they have never done it and they let their altruist morality cloud their minds to the fact that capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any of the sundry dictators they admire. Where capitalism enables thriving, socialism enables murder; and yet they don’t see it – they don’t see the killing fields and mass graves.

They don’t see the beautiful cities of capitalism, the tall buildings, the bustling factories and the brilliant shops offering stunning products. They don’t see the automobiles and the jet airplanes and the HDTVs, the 5-speaker sound systems and the iPods and iPhones. Instead, they imagine dead bodies and starving children in the clutches of a blood thirsty capitalist eager for plunder. They proclaim that capitalism would just as soon let people starve for the sake of profit without noticing that the real starving people in the world are those trapped by the progressives' view of the world.

And what is their view of the world? Like all altruists, they believe man is evil at base and incapable of being moral. They send out this teaching through every pronouncement and judgment of men. They treat individuals as expendable and particularly worthy of ridicule. Since their morality holds that man should sacrifice for others, they see man’s inability to be totally self-sacrificial as a black mark on man. Therefore, the most successful, those who practice sacrifice the least, are viewed as particularly evil and deserving of forced sacrifice, control and punishment. If you notice a similarity between this view and the views of some of the most brutal tribal leaders of the past including some of the most monstrous dictators, the similarity is not a coincidence.

What is the greatest threat to capitalism, peace and cooperation? It is the progressives' view of man coupled with the idea of collectivism, the modern form of tribal organization; the idea that people must cluster into bands or tribes and battle one another for political power. Anti-capitalism is essentially anti-reason and anti-man in the same way that collectivism is anti-individual. It is a desire to destroy the good because the good is unwilling to grovel at the altar of self-sacrifice.

Don’t proclaim that altruists really want to do good things for people. There are two sides to the altruism coin. One side is protestations of love for man while the other side is protestations of hatred for everything. One side, the side of professed love, is the outward expression of altruism that keeps altruists in the game of acting on their hatred. And this brings us back to the President’s speech.

The President, by proclaiming a love and support of the middle class, declares that the enemy of the middle class is the very system that created the middle class: capitalism.

Yet, capitalism can only exist in a nation where the government protects individual rights and the rule of law. Its basic principle is that the individual is free to use his own mind, create his own survival and keep the results of his work. It declares that man is essentially good, capable of reason and that he acquires his survival through production and trade with others, by means of reason. What does capitalism require? Capitalism requires freedom, freedom to think, freedom to evaluate reality, to make judgments, to develop products, to obtain capital, to trade and to keep the results of one's work. The President will have none of that.

Remember what I said about the character of the American people in the pre-war and wartime period; that their victories were made possible by the fact that they were free. Their freedom meant they were free to live, to think, to invest and to create…they were not regulated into prosperity; their Constitution liberated them to create that prosperity because the Founders knew that their hard work and thought would directly benefit them and that a government that protected their rights is the most advanced government possible.

Because of capitalism, the American spirit was free to win the war and this spirit, this sense of life, released upon the world a “can do” attitude that says anything is possible if you are free to act. Capitalism means freedom to survive; not just for “those at the top” but for all Americans. Americans become “those at the top” compared to the rest of the world by producing and investing their own savings (for retirement). The middle class was created when Americans were liberated to work in the factories; liberated to become the workers, middle managers and the upper managers. Without capitalism you do not have productive workers, innovative companies or a middle class.

How can the President be a defender of the middle class when he does not seem to understand this critical point about freedom - and especially about capitalism? How can he, on the one hand, champion freedom and on the other champion re-distribution of the income of producers? Isn’t he turning the producers into slaves through re-distribution? How can he, on the one hand, claim to be liberating producers, “those at the top”, while on the other hand raising taxes upon them? How can he, on the one hand, praise the free market, while on the other hand creating oppressive regulations that stifle economic activity? How can he, on the one hand, recognize that Americans are productive and our factories innovative while on the other hand not even acknowledging that it was capitalism that brought it about? And if it was capitalism that brought this situation about, how can he, on any hand, claim that “playing by your own rules” is what brought capitalism down and ended the "basic bargain"?

So the real question is not how did we lose our optimism and the “basic bargain”. The real questions should be “how did we lose capitalism?” and “how can we get it back?” And the real answer should be, by eliminating regulations, letting people keep what they earn and returning to the Bill of Rights.

-to be continued

1)How To Read (And Not To Write), The Ayn Rand Letter Vol. 1, No. 26 September 25, 1972
2)What is Capitalism, Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 2

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

At the beginning of his speech the President builds up his first key concept: optimism.

“My grandparents served during World War II. He was a soldier in Patton's army; she was a worker on a bomber assembly line. And together, they shared the optimism of a nation that triumphed over the Great Depression and over fascism. They believed in an America where hard work paid off, and responsibility was rewarded, and anyone could make it if they tried – no matter who you were, no matter where you came from, no matter how you started out.

And these values gave rise to the largest middle class and the strongest economy that the world has ever known. It was here in America that the most productive workers, the most innovative companies turned out the best products on Earth. And you know what? Every American shared in that pride and in that success – from those in the executive suites to those in middle management to those on the factory floor. So you could have some confidence that if you gave it your all, you'd take enough home to raise your family and send your kids to school and have your health care covered, put a little away for retirement.”

One thing that characterizes most of the President’s speeches, and I’ve noticed it since his first “important” speech in 2004, is that he thinks in non-essentials. What this means is that the principles that underlie his statements are not based on fundamentals but quite often on derivatives of fundamentals. To elaborate; was “optimism” really what made depression-era Americans successful? Or is optimism merely a characteristic derived from a more fundamental characteristic such as the fact that they possessed the uncompromising characteristics of a free people?

You might ask why is this question important? How does it impact the values the President is trying to explicate? First of all, a lack of conceptual clarity, thinking in non-essentials, influences decisions and proposed solutions. If the President is going to talk about what made Americans succeed during that period when his grandparents lived, shouldn’t he refer to their basic characteristics rather than non-essential characteristics? Secondly, it is important to ensure that we aren’t being manipulated in some way. Thinking in non-essentials is a characteristic of leaders who don’t understand where they are and where they are going. In other words, they may be leading you down the wrong road for the sake of their own agendas rather than yours.

This is the problem of thinking in non-essentials: you develop an inability to know, in terms of essentials, what you should do. For instance, if you accept “optimism” as a key characteristic of past Americans you cannot then decide which type of government people should establish. Optimism, not being a fundamental principle, does not explain how man survives. It does not explain how people determine their core values, their core philosophies, their needs, desires and ideas. With optimism as your guide, you cannot identify which essential measures the government should take in order to secure the safety and rights of individuals. The term is without content, standards and meaning.

Optimism is not the key characteristic that made our grandparents’ generation successful. This generation suffered greatly and they were poorly served by their political leadership. Most were not highly educated and they certainly did not have a sense of optimism about the future. In fact, they had been beaten down by poverty and unemployment, hunger and homelessness. Those not completely destroyed by it learned how to survive; they became rugged, practical and dedicated to the survival of their families. What they did have was the ability to survive and the determination to overcome incredible obstacles. This was a legacy of the freedom they possessed and the ethical standards made possible by that freedom. Yes, they were strong, resilient and committed to their families; but they were also free during a period of history when the world was moving toward fascism. They saw this trend and decided they wanted no part of it. They did not want to live as slaves.

Certainly, one could say, in a sense, that they were optimistic about the future, they had many of the traits of their ancestors and they certainly hoped for a better day. But to say that their optimism was their critical character trait is to focus only on one aspect among many that made up the American psyche.

The implication of the President’s statement is that no other characteristic of the American psyche is responsible for those successes. The President, and many others, would have you believe that it was because Americans were collectively minded, that they sacrificed for others and fought to save their communities – these were the goals Americans sought – stronger communities.

But, here’s the problem of thinking in non-essentials: if the President is going to be genuine, truly lead and inspire, he must identify the real fundamental principles that our forefathers held, not some Dale Carnegie course approximations. If the President wants to inspire people, he must deal in universal principles that ring true. The idea that “optimism” is what gave people the courage to win is false. Can you imagine a soldier heading into battle, with mortar shells going off all around him, saying to his buddy: “I’m going to kill those Germans because I’m optimistic about the future.”

Our grandparents succeeded because they were free thinkers, individualists, who refused to live as slaves. Individualism has many consequences. For instance, an individualist has the ability to think and speak as he deems fit. He can act and be goal-oriented. He has the freedom and the desire to succeed. Individualism releases a person to “be himself” so to speak and, in another respect, to create his own character and live a moral life. The individualist has a strong desire to be self-reliant and to keep the results of his work. In fact, the individualist does not like to be ruled, preached too, commanded or directed. The American individualist will fight when you threaten his freedom. And this is what helped Americans defeat the depression and the war.

But individualism is not the idea toward which the President is aiming. His goal is not to release you to defeat an enemy but to ensure that you vote for him; and toward this goal, he’d prefer that you have “optimism”, collective pride and a willingness to sacrifice. He’d prefer that you think in non-essentials because that is his only hope of keeping his job.

-to be continued

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Truth about the Obama Economic Policy Part 1

“I am not one of those whom one may ask about their why” – Nietzche (Thus Spake Zarathustra)

Whenever a nation faces a great challenge, the leader of that nation must tell the truth. He must stand upon a lectern so high that the entire nation can hear and ponder his words. He must carefully explain the situation, how the nation got there and what must be done to correct the mistakes of the past. To use a cliché, only the whole truth can help a people muster the courage necessary to save the nation. Only the whole truth can clear minds and establish the proper agenda for victory.

For a true leader, this is not a problem. Truth and honesty are part of his life. He became successful by correctly assessing a number of situations and he has proven his leadership under fire, among real people and on the battlefield that is the real world. He also knows that he cannot solve human problems by lying to the people. He must be sufficiently analytical and self-critical that he is able to discover the flaw, even in his own philosophy, that has caused the nation’s problems; and he should be forthcoming about that flaw. Times of crisis are not times for rationalization, excuse making and narcissism. If a leader thinks he can rationalize his own failings, then the nation will not be well-served.

But the truth requires more than just a statement of fact. The correct context must be established and the leader must understand that the unseen is often the cause of the seen. He must grasp the fact that it is his responsibility to be dispassionate, even self-critical, if he is to earn the trust of the people. Such a person must have a commitment to the truth and he must express it clearly, with the dignity that makes him trustworthy. He is the embodiment of the people's struggle, the repository of their hope and the representative of their aspirations for a better life. He must know that he holds the survival of the nation in his hands and that the lives of people are at stake. Only a great leader can clarify the moral issues upon which a nation is founded and only a great leader can muster the honesty necessary to point out the moral principles upon which survival will be based.

Our nation is on the precipice of disaster. Millions of individuals are without jobs, many of them have lost their homes and many live in homes worth less than the amount owed on them. The cost of transportation is going up. The cost of food is going up and there is no end in sight to the suffering. Society will collapse if the negative trends continue. Government policies have caused these sufferings and only a change in government policy will rectify them.

In the midst of this suffering, our President gave a speech in Kansas recently, in the virtual center of the country, in which he spelled out what he considers to be the truth; how he thinks we got to this position, the principles we have disregarded and the solution to our problems. He wanted the nation to rally around him and accept his philosophy as our best hope. He also wants us to reelect him so he can do more of what he has been doing to “solve” our problems.

As I will show, the speech was full of lies and any rational person can see that this man is not up to the task of leadership. The speech was full of so many rationalizations, so many fallacies, so many excuses and false solutions that any clear thinking individual can see that this man must be removed from power in the next election (if not sooner).

Yet, the aftermath of the speech exposed the fact that our situation is worse than we had thought. It exposed a leadership vacuum, not only with the President, but with his opposition as well. There appears to be no one who can answer the President; there is no one who is capable of telling the truth; no one who can rise to the occasion; no one who can tell us why we are bankrupt monetarily and morally. The President’s speech may have given us lies, but the opposition to him has been silent.

Why is that? I think it is because the opposition cannot refute what the President said in his speech. The opposition is swimming in the same river, so to speak. Republican politicians agree with every major premise the President accepts and because there really is no opposition, there is no one in the public arena who can save the nation. Where are Gingrich and Romney on this speech? Why haven’t they spoken up? Where is the response that will answer the President in clear, believable terms? Certainly, in the midst of all this nihilism, there is a person who can clearly articulate the flaws in the President's economic policy. Where is the opposition leader who is up to the challenge of history?

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth, someone else will have to do it.

-to be continued

Monday, November 21, 2011

Your Voice May Save the Country

It seems that every Presidential election is important. Looking back, some were more important than others. For instance, the election of Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter was important. It corrected, at least in some respects, the mistake of electing a weak and indecisive President.

This coming election will be a similar election, and it is very likely that the incumbent President will have so much fraudulent control over the election process, so much money (most likely obtained illegally) and a bully pulpit in the media, that he will be able to tell the most outrageous lies and wind up the winner by default.

This President will be able to make the issue whatever he wants. He will say that the Republicans represent big business (when it is he who represents crony capitalism), or he will say that the Republicans are fascists (when it is he who has enabled fascism), or he will say that the Republicans want to dismantle entitlements for seniors, Veterans and the poor. He could, and likely, will get away with this because many people already believe that the Republicans are cruel and inconsiderate of a large numbers of voters.

Yet, the real issue in this coming election should be that the President is a communist who is instituting fascism in America. He is destroying the economy by looting productive citizens and stealing their wealth. Not only has the President handed the middle east to radical Muslims, he has virtually set up the next war in the region which could mean the destruction of Israel and the next holocaust. This is bad enough, but he has also weakened America to such a degree that the hordes of communists in league with him could bring revolution, destruction and Marshall Law to our cities.

Our situation is really more like that in 1968 when Nixon ran against Humphrey. During that election, the American people, including myself, saw the rise of the new left, a group of young people who wanted to destroy America and turn it into a colony of the Soviet Communists. This group exposed themselves as destroyers, haters and anti-Americans. The American people saw it and reacted appropriately. The result was a victory for Richard Nixon. The American people had had enough in 1968 and the “silent majority” spoke loudly. When McGovern came along in 1972, expressing a similar agenda, he was defeated in a landslide.

We are back in the '60s again and the silent majority has become the Tea Party movement. It is time that the American people make their convictions clear once and for all. Capitalism, limited government individual rights and pro-Americanism can never be defeated by liars, freeloaders, cheaters, crony capitalists and phony protest movements. This next election must make the principles of America clear; not sacrifice, not re-distribution, not government entitlement programs, not freeloading and theft of taxpayer money, not some people living off of others. The next election should be a vote for limited government. It should be about having a government that protects rights and liberties - not one that violates them routinely.

We must make sure that we drown out the media and make Obama run on his record. We want him to run the most negative campaign in history and to spend billions in lying and deceiving and insulting. We need to defeat progressivism under the worst circumstances...or else we will never get rid of it. We have to have a bi-partisan citizens' campaign made up of individual truth-tellers who are willing to take on the lies and deceptions of the left, and, once and for all, rid the world of government coercion. We must defeat progressivism as a philosophy of government. We must expose the immorality and the failure of this philosophy. We must expose, not the failure of capitalism, but the failure of socialism/fascism. We have to purge, through the vote, the dishonesty and corruption of the progressive movement, crony capitalism and the idea that one man owes a living to another.

Please make sure you make yourself heard by voting in 2012. And if you can, join the citizen army of truth-tellers. Speak your mind, wear t-shirts that express your views, talk, write blogs and letters to the editors and be part of a movement that intends to put the government back into the hands of the people. Your vote and your voice may be the one that saves our country.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Cult of Sacrifice

President Obama’s recent Press Conference in Hawaii can provide us with a “light-bulb” moment about the President’s mindset. It provides a microcosm of insight into a pattern of thinking that has characterized mankind for centuries to its detriment. I call it the Cult of Sacrifice. Here is the President’s statement regarding the “need” for Congress to pass his “American Jobs Act”:

“This doesn’t require radical changes to America or its way of life. It just means that we spread out the sacrifice across every sector so that it’s fair; so that people don’t feel as if once again people who are well connected, people who have lobbyists, special interests get off easy, and the burden is placed on middle-class families that are already struggling. So if other countries can do it, we can do it — and we can do it in a responsible way.

I’m not going to comment on whether I’d veto a particular bill until I actually see a bill, because I still hold out the prospect that there’s going to be a light-bulb moment where everybody says “Ah-ha! Here’s what we’ve got to do.””

As the President indicates, “what we’ve got to do” is sacrifice, spread out the suffering so that no one person suffers too much. Yet, one thing he overlooks is that the debt of this country cannot be dealt with even if you took all the money made by the richest in America. In fact, the debt is so massive that it would barely put a dent into the deficit. Even spreading out the suffering would accomplish no negligible benefit to our society. More sacrifice will not work.

One would think that the President’s logic is flawless. Certainly, as patriotic Americans we all want to make things better in our society. And, some think, considering the present circumstances, our leaders are only trying to encourage Americans to do their part to lift society out of the doldrums. But, I think that the President’s remarks are nothing more than a ritualized (in other words, automatized) response that has been repeatedly imposed upon mankind for centuries and that it has never worked. In fact, it is a form of “sleight of hand” where the President offers great benefits to the people if they would only sacrifice; but, historically, in other similar cases, those benefits were never accomplished. The only thing we did is lose people, energy and time.

In fact, our deficit problem was created by the very same thinking in which the President is asking us to engage. He asks us to sacrifice for our fellow man. Yet, the trigger for the economic collapse, the subprime crisis was caused by a former President Clinton who asked the banks to sacrifice so that more people could buy homes. The result was a massive number of foreclosures; and those people who got homes are now sacrificing whatever money they have left to the banks that were decimated by the original sacrifice. It seems that someone has figured out how to use sacrifice to convince people to re-distribute lots of money. It is an old game.

Along the way, President Obama’s biggest supporters have become exceedingly wealthy by taking in more sacrifice from the tax payers, creating a crony capitalist scheme that rewards his supporters with stimulus dollars so that they can do it all over again in 2012. Everyone gets rich but the taxpayers who are sacrificing. This is the ancient Cult of Sacrifice made contemporary.

It appears that Ayn Rand, in her novel Atlas Shrugged was correct in her assessment of crony capitalism. In the universe she created, it was the crony capitalists that were using the language of duty, of collective salvation and of love in order to justify their thefts. They used this language to condition society to the necessity of sacrifice, all the while, destroying their industrial enemies in order to keep their grip on power. As each new producer rose up, he was immediately seized upon as by vultures and eaten alive by laws, government programs and regulations. Each new sacrifice was supposedly engaged in for the good of society, to save society, to get us out of the doldrums. And the argument was always: “we should spread the sacrifice around”.

In spite of the fact that Atlas Shrugged was a fictional story, today we are seeing it come to life as if it were a prophesy. And, as happened in Ayn Rand’s fictional universe, our universe keeps descending into more poverty and more calls for sacrifice. How could she get it so right? How could she know that cronyism is the hallmark of collectivism, of communism, of socialism and of fascism? Her answer was “Identify the dominant philosophy of a society and you can predict its future.” (1) Today, the dominant philosophy of society is “The Cult of Sacrifice”.

Today, cronyism has exposed itself as a “bubble” and it is ready to burst. The entire house of cards built by the President, a house made up of “looters” as Ayn Rand would call them, is beginning to collapse around the President. The cronies have taken over the economy and no one is safe until the American people put a stop to it. They must restore the Constitution by limiting the power of the President.

Everyone knows that the President is lying with virtually every sentence he utters and that nothing he says or does will bring about an economic resurgence. His words are more of the same; more calls for the very sacrifice that got us into the situation. What is the Cult of Sacrifice; and how is it destroying us? It is not something new, but something very old, like a dusty old skeleton dug up after centuries in the sand…propped up as the source of life when it is merely old and dead.

Let’s begin at the beginning; somewhere in a distant past, before history was being written. It is within this past that we can see the remnants of the Cult of Sacrifice. Imagine that archaeologists have just dug up a group of people who had not gone through the Industrial Revolution, whose level of knowledge was miniscule compared to ours. These people knew so little that they interpreted everything they saw from a primitive perspective. They saw the influence of “spirits” everywhere and their most fundamental principle is that there were two dimensions of reality, the world of the spirits and the world of reality in which they lived. One realm was superior, active and real (the world of the spirits) and the other was full of fear, terror and catastrophe (the reality in which they lived). These people yearned for the paradise of the spiritual world and wanted to escape the drudgery of the real.

Everywhere the archaeologists dig, they uncover bodies without heads in one place, and in another place, heads without bodies. They find children buried at the cornerstones of buildings and the tombs of kings with hundreds of dead “attendants” including people, animals, chariots of war and even whole horses. They find a “cemetery” with bodies thrown in as in a mass grave and they find votive offerings with statues of ancient gods whose names are long lost to history. Everywhere, they find the Cult of Sacrifice.

The gods and spirits were everywhere for the men in this society, influencing their daily lives and sometimes even raining down disaster, hurricane and earthquake as punishment for not honoring them. The archaeologists find layer upon layer of dust in the village and layer upon layer of buildings built upon older buildings as if periodic destruction came to this society. And with each destruction layer, they found more bodies.

For these people, the spirits lived, not only in the heavens, but in the animals and objects of nature, everything had an animating spirit and everything that happened on this earth was influenced by their interventions. Understanding what the gods demanded was a daunting task that could only have been accomplished by the priest/rulers who presumed to have a deep connection to the gods and spirits.

We must understand that these people had no science. They had no view of reality that informed them of cause and effect and they had only their trust in their leaders. If their leaders told them that in order to save society, they must offer up their children in sacrifice to the gods, they believed it. If they were told that in order to ensure that earthquakes did not destroy their buildings, they had to bury a living child at the cornerstone of each building. If they were told that the gods were angry at them and could only be appeased through the brutal murder of some of their citizens, they believed such sacrifice was necessary. If they were told that, as servants of the king, they must continue their service by being buried with him upon his death, they believed that as soon as they died en masse they would resume a new life of service to the king.

This new archaeological find, however, is not so different from other finds which have been discovered all over the world, on every continent, in virtually every country and river bank on the planet. And, as we examine the writing of recent history and explore our planet, we see strains of human sacrifice, even up to modern times. The brutal truth is that the Cult of Sacrifice has informed the lives of people for century upon century.

Throughout these many centuries, most men believed that all causes were enacted by the gods and all men must live in their service. Did any of them notice that sometimes their devout sacrifice did not accomplish the end they sought? Yes, but they were told that they had not sacrificed enough. Did any of them question their religion for asking them to give up their highest values? Yes, they were soon offered up as the next to be sacrificed. Did any of them offer their own bodies in order to save the lives of their children? Yes, but they were told that only the sacrifice of children could appease the gods. At each questioning of the wisdom of the ruling elites, there was an argument ready and one thing they did not question: the belief that the gods existed and that they could rain devastation upon them.

The cult of sacrifice was so engrained in men during past ages that even today men believe they have to sacrifice to God or Allah in order to live moral lives. Sacrifice, today called altruism, is a remnant of the human sacrifice that was practiced by our ancient forebears. And all the negatives of ancient ritual sacrifice are with us today in lost human energy, lost dignity and lost love; in devastated societies and people resigned to suffering and death. It has come down to us by means of religion and those philosophers influenced by Plato who preached a two-dimensional universe. We can see how ingrained sacrifice is today if we understand the meaning and purpose of ritual.

Ritual is the scripted reenactment of mythological tales about the lives of the gods. Ritual is the ancient version of moral thinking. In fact, ritual is the method by which ancient leaders kept the “people” in line, controlled their activities and instituted their sacrificing. A ritual was both a commemoration of the lives of the gods and a moral lesson on how to act at all times. Ritual told men how to live, how to be god-like. Ritual always included obedience and sacrifice and was the means through which ancient rulers earned their booty or “made their living” so to speak. Ritualized practices were the means of maintaining the Cult of Sacrifice.

Many people think that very few cultures actually engaged in ritual human sacrifice. In fact, the practice took many forms throughout pre-history and was practiced in almost every culture of the past. Those forms we read about from ancient Egypt and ancient Greece were some of the most brutal form of sacrifice that had been practiced for centuries before as archaeology has borne witness. The only changes men saw throughout pre-history were the various different forms of sacrifice, some more brutal than others, with different sacrificial objects to accomplish different results. Religious reformation was slow but sometimes it was more deadly and at other times more benign. Eventually, many cultures were told that the gods no longer interfered in the affairs of men. It was no longer necessary to fear catastrophe at their hands. Brutal deadly sacrifice was slowly replaced by animal and money sacrifice. The gods became fatherly and motherly figures teaching love, knowledge and piety. Still the means of control were ritual reenactments of the lives of the gods that became morality. The Cult of Sacrifice has always been alive and well.

We obtain a hint at how religious reformations came about if we look at how the reformation of Greek myths slowly evolved into secular philosophy. Early Greeks began to question the premises of their brutal religious practices by inventing some key questions about the nature of the universe. These questions challenged the view of the gods as brutal masters who demanded human sacrifice. The Greeks asked such questions as what is the relationship between the one and the many. What principles create change? Is it the spirits or earth-bound processes such as air, water, fire and earth? What is the role of the individual as an autonomous thinker and what of the collectives that demanded various forms of human sacrifice? As they grappled with these questions, their society developed along two tracks, one religious demanding sacrifice and another secular demanding that the individual mind be allowed to question and investigate without the influence of religion. To a great extent, Ancient Greece was very much like our society in that both societies experimented with various forms of social structure and investigated such issues as a separation of church and state, the role of the individual in solving his own problems and the role of government in the lives of individuals.

If you examine the writings of Greek philosophers, you see the tension between secular analysis and religious dominance. Their example reminds us of the many intellectuals during our Enlightenment period that experienced a similar tension as they strove to understand the difference between a free mind and one enslaved by doctrine. A new vision once again strove to remove men from the slavery of the mind. These issues continue to influence us today as we question the viability of sacrificing the individual to the demands of the state. We ask whether it is society or religion to which we should sacrifice our minds, our time, our possessions; and some of us ask whether there should be any sacrificing at all. Some of us think that the legacy of the Enlightenment, what thinkers like Locke and others struggled to understand was the issue of freedom versus tyranny. Should society defend and protect the human mind seeking to understand, prosper and flourish or should it be the instrument of enforcing sacrifice? This is the Founding Fathers versus the progressives.

Through the influence of the progressives today, the residue of the demand for human sacrifice looms as a deep threat. According to the progressives, it is immoral to be for “yourself” and moral to think of the whole. It is immoral to seek profit and moral to sacrifice for the good of the group. Indeed, the statement by President Obama quoted above is nothing more than an echo of the ideas that confounded the Greeks so many centuries ago and still confound us today. The Cult of Sacrifice is alive and well among the President’s allies in the “Occupy Wall Street” pseudo-movement, while others, the true historical radicals in the Tea Party movement, cry out for capitalism, freedom and individual rights.

Some would say that connecting ancient human sacrifice to modern calls for altruism is unfair. Yet, one of the most ancient examples of the tension between the one and the many has come down to us today in the form of Greek tragedy, a ritualized recreation of the lives of the gods and demigods. These plays helped people experience catharsis by seeing for themselves, as we see today on television and in the theater, how the gods lived and how they acted. Greek plays were virtual examples, morality plays if you will, on how ancient Greek citizens were supposed to live their lives.

You can observe two basic themes in Greek plays that you can also observe today in American theater and movies. These themes make up the “natural resources” so to speak of both Greek and American story telling. They are the “suffering savior” and “the battle of the sexes”. These themes are repeated constantly in our stories today as they were in the plays of Greek tragedy. Each theme represented an ancient religious perspectives; they were primitive forms of religion, so to speak, that laid the foundation for modern religion and political theory today.

Stories of Prometheus, Atlas, Hercules, Theseus, Odysseus, Oedipus, Perseus and more provided for the Greeks the examples that taught them how a creature like man, all too human and frivolous, could participate in world consuming events, suffer, struggle and fight against the gods and nature, take on tremendous challenges and defeat violent enemies, sometimes to die (sacrifice himself) as an offering or scapegoat for the good of the earth or the people.

Likewise, today, actors such as Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis and others play heroes who suffer and die to save the planet, America and little children. They participate in world consuming events, suffer, struggle and fight against the odds and nature, take on tremendous challenges and defeat violent enemies, sometimes to die (sacrifice themselves) as an offering or scapegoat for the good of the earth or the people. The images of these sacrificial offerings, these virtuous men, are intended to elicit admiration and a desire to live as they lived, to experience the "magnificence" of life as a successful sacrifice. These tragedies are the symbols of the Cult of Sacrifice.

These stories, both ancient Greek and contemporary American, are derived from the earlier rituals and myths of pre-history where men were called upon to give up their lives, their children and their possessions for the sake of setting the world right. They represent the constantly repeating themes of the Cult of Sacrifice, the idea that was more than a mere suggestion but a demand for sacrifice made upon all men, of all parts of the world and almost for all time.

The Cult of Sacrifice has gone through many reformations throughout history. As the Enlightenment began taking shape, many philosophers realized that religion had come under attack because of the new focus on reason inaugurated by the Enlightenment. Men began seeing that life could be “lived”, enjoyed and that reason was the means of that enjoyment. Men began to question the religious life of self-sacrifice, humility and self-denial and liberated themselves from the shackles of religious intolerance. As some have observed, Ayn Rand for one, the backlash against the ideas of the Enlightenment took the shape of a “new” morality invented by Kant, but based upon the dusty old skeletons of the past, the Cult of Sacrifice. Kant’s goal was to save religion from the Enlightenment and he did it by elevating “duty” as prime motivation, turning it into an "imperative" built into the structure of the mind. Through this “new” morality, we have the effort of the Cult of Sacrifice to throw off the dust of the past and redeem itself by once again controlling man’s mind and actions. When Comte began to elaborate upon the principles of “altruism”, otherism, the victory of Kant was sealed and the Enlightenment was killed. The Founding Fathers never had a chance.

Yet, the Enlightenment left us one legacy; the Constitution of the United States that defined liberty and rights for man. This document rescued one nation from the Cult of Sacrifice and provided, for a couple of hundred years, an example of the magnificence possible to a nation built on reason. For the next few centuries the struggle was between a new morality of freedom and the reconstituted but still dusty Cult of Sacrifice now championed by Kant and the pragmatists. Because the thinkers that ruled the universities were essentially Kantians and their descendents, the victory of the Cult of Sacrifice is near complete. Today, the President can say, as if it is a foregone conclusion, that he will not accept a bill (that is supposed to solve our problems) unless there is some sacrifice in the bill. In fact, because of the resurgence of the Cult of Sacrifice, you cannot be considered a good person unless you convince people that you are pious practitioner of duty, altruism and “love”. The suffering savior is back on the ash.

Let’s look back to the past again so we can identify the one fact that centuries of world leaders, witch doctors, kings, queens and prime ministers have missed. With every demand of sacrifice that has been made, there has always been a presumption that something good would happen; earthquakes would be mild, the gods would be fed and appeased, the world would be set right. Just as our President promises a prosperous economy if there is more sacrifice, men have always been promised that each and every sacrifice will save men, quiet the seas, bring good fortune and generally make things better. When the feared consequences did not come, the sacrifice was considered to have worked. The rulers were please at their accuracy and demanded more loot. When the feared consequences came anyway, the rulers told men that they had not sacrificed enough, that next time they would need to sacrifice more people, more goats and chickens and more money. They demanded more blood and loot.

What did we miss through all these centuries of sacrificing? There was seldom a thought that the dreaded catastrophes had nothing to do with whether men sacrificed or not; that no matter what men did or gave up, the consequence that eventually came, good or bad, would have come anyway. The sacrificing was irrelevant, a brutal, sad waste of human energy and love. It was sacrifice for the sake of sacrificing...as is the call for sacrifice today by the President.

It also did not occur to many men in the past to question the rulers who proclaimed themselves proficient at knowing what the gods wanted from men. They did not notice that the demand for sacrifice kept the rulers alive while they, the pious ones, lost their loved ones, even their goats and chickens not to mention their passion for life. And it does not occur to us today that President Obama is seeking sacrifice, not because he knows it will solve our problems, but because he knows it will not solve our problems. President Obama is a high priest of the Cult of Sacrifice doing what other high priests before him have done: he is faking a moral superiority and making it possible for him and his cronies to loot the substance of society.

The Cult of Sacrifice has never solved our problems and perhaps it is time to stop the sacrificing, recognize that the thinkers of the Enlightenment were on the right track. We should complete their work and profess again the idea that men do have rights and that the first purpose of government should be to prevent sacrifice, to protect the lives and property of the people.

If we want to solve our problems as a nation, we should look at the practitioners of the Cult of Sacrifice and “throw them all out”.

(1)quoted in “Ayn Rand – The Prophesy of Atlas Shrugged

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What is Executive Power?

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." – Lord Acton

Recently, the President made the following statement: “I’m here to say that we can’t wait for an increasingly dysfunctional Congress to do its job. Where they won’t act, I will.”

This statement is intended to reflect the image of an increasingly gridlocked Congress so ineffectual that only an American President can act. Is it true? Is Congress dysfunctional or is the President seeking to denigrate reasoned opposition to his policies? And, more importantly, is the President’s goal really to get something done, to win the next election or to turn our nation into a dictatorship?

Is the President the only person today who has the moral power to act? Is it really as simple as that? Will the history books tell future students about the courage of our President or his deviousness? Will they examine his deep personal struggle on behalf of the poor or his cynical power play?

We must remind voters that in times past, in particular, during the days leading up to World War II, the European nations had a similar debate. Parliamentary bodies in several European countries were vilified by radicals who favored sweeping aside parliamentary government in favor of dictatorship. During those times, the idea of dictatorship did not have the negative connotation that it does today; it was viewed as a viable option for some nations. Some argued that one man, with the power and charisma to move people, could better implement the will of the people. This man, freed from the shackles of parliamentary weakness, could be the key to making things happen.

Needless to say, two of these men, Mussolini and Hitler, wreaked havoc on Europe, joining a small group of the most hated and murderous men in world history. The absolute power they were given corrupted the entire planet absolutely. Today, we see one-man-rule, not as a saving idea but as a deadly one. At least we did until we got our own charismatic leader with a will of his own. So let’s look a little closer at the issue of whether we are becoming a dictatorship.

First, let’s examine some important principles upon which our government was founded. The first principle is called “checks and balances”. Merriam-Webster.com defines checks and balances as “a system that allows each branch of a government to amend or veto acts of another branch so as to prevent any one branch from exerting too much power.”(1)

Keep in mind that the goal of checks and balances is to limit power. No branch of government should have the power to dictate government action, which means to unilaterally write laws without approval and input from the other branches and from the source of government, the people. In short, unilateral action by any branch or individual is prohibited by the framers of the Constitution. If the President cannot get Congress to act as he would like, then he must desist until he can convince the people of the wisdom of his recommendations. He cannot simply go ahead and act. To do so would violate the purpose of government which is to protect the rights of citizens. Ours is a system of laws, not of men.

You might say that the present situation is too dire to allow Congress to dawdle while people suffer. You must ask yourself, if the President knows this, why doesn’t the Congress also know it? Why don’t they see the wisdom of the President’s position and make an effort to act; to do their job? The truth is that Congress also realizes that the situation is dire and has passed several proposals that are presently being blocked by the Senate. What the President calls dysfunction is nothing more than checks and balances. The Congress does not agree with the President’s “solutions” to the crisis and is therefore blocking his proposals. By doing little about the President’s proposals, the Congress is checking the power of the President to act in a way they do not approve. In fact, the Senate is blocking the actions of the House of Representatives and both houses are blocking the proposals of the President. Doing nothing is sometimes a legitimate response in a free country. This means the checks and balances are working.

Consider that the President’s proposal, his so-called American Jobs Act, has a strong re-distribution component that many in Congress see as harmful to our nation. They point to numerous examples of re-distribution in the past to show that re-distribution causes economic distortions and lost jobs. In fact, a case can be made that re-distribution, as for instance in the sub-prime crisis, is what caused our economic troubles in the first place. For the President to introduce more re-distribution is analogous to a doctor trying to cure a poisoned patient by giving him more poison.

As Thomas M. Cooley wrote in 1908, "The theory of our political system is that the ultimate sovereignty is in the people, from whom springs all legitimate authority."(2)

This means that legitimate authority does not spring from the President alone but from the governmental body closest to the people; the Congress. If the legislative bodies refuse to pass something the President wants, it in no way means that they are dysfunctional. They are, in fact, performing their constitutional responsibility.

To carry the President’s logic forward, he is saying that the people are dysfunctional, that they have lost control of their representatives and that he alone should act. Is this true? Remember, in 2010 the people elected a new Congress and Senate and they brought into government a large number of people who campaigned against President Obama’s policies of deficit spending, health care and stimulus programs. If Congress is opposing the President’s policies and legislative agendas, then Congress is doing what the voters instructed them to do; which is to obstruct the President in advancing his agenda. It is the President’s responsibility to acquiesce to the will of the people, to get the message of the last election and to desist from deficit spending, regulatory programs and his health care program.

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories." – Thomas Jefferson 1781

The second principle is called “separation of powers”. This is “the principle or system of vesting in separate branches the executive, legislative, and judicial powers of a government.”(3) In our system, the executive branch is responsible for seeing to it that the laws of the land are enforced. The House of Representatives is responsible for writing those laws while the Supreme Court is responsible for interpreting those laws. The Senate is responsible for advice and consent to the Executive.

If one branch of government attempts to operate in an area which is not within its range of powers, legal procedures as well as the Supreme Court should intervene and put a stop to it.

There is nothing in the Constitution about any form of unilateral Executive Power. For instance, Section 2 of Article 1 delegates to the Executive the power to issue writs of election to fill vacancies of elected representatives. Section 3 of Article 1 discusses additional Executive powers regarding Senatorial vacancies.

Article 2 Section 1 spells out the nature of Executive Power.

“1: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows”… It goes on to discuss the procedures for the election of the President and Vice President.

At this point in our examination of the Constitution, we’ve only been told that there is such a concept as “Executive Power” but the Constitution has not yet defined that power. There is no implication that such power is in any way like the power of any other branch or that there are overlapping powers.

We find out what real Executive Power is in the next paragraph Article 2 Section 2:

“Section 2

1: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

2: He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

3: The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

There is nothing here that gives the President the power to make law, to issue decrees or otherwise make decisions that overlap with decisions that are the Constitutional province of any other branch. It says, simply, that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. We still do not have any justification for unilateral Presidential action.

It has been argued that the mere mention that the President has “Executive Power” is a justification for unilateral action. There is no reason to make that assumption and any effort to act upon that assumption should be roundly challenged.

A major “power” or responsibility of the President is discussed in Section 7:

“2: Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.”

Again, we have no justification for unilateral action by the President. There is no mention of an “Executive Order” in the Constitution. Yet, we read elsewhere:

“The president:
• is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. He or she has the power to call into service the state units of the National Guard, and in times of emergency may be given the power by Congress to manage national security or the economy.
• has the power make treaties with Senate approval. He or she can also receive ambassadors and work with leaders of other nations.
• is responsible for nominating the heads of governmental departments, which the Senate must then approve. In addition, the president nominates judges to federal courts and justices to the United States Supreme Court.
can issue executive orders, which have the force of law but do not have to be approved by congress.
• can issue pardons for federal offenses.
• can convene Congress for special sessions.
• can veto legislation approved by Congress. However, the veto is limited. It is not a line-item veto, meaning that he or she cannot veto only specific parts of legislation, and it can be overridden by a two-thirds vote by Congress.
• delivers a State of the Union address annually to a joint session of Congress.”(4)

What happened? Where did this come from? The only mention of “executive orders” I find in the Constitution is the power to issue pardons and reprieves. Our friends at Cornell try to explain:

“In times of emergency, the president can override congress and issue executive orders with almost limitless power. Abraham Lincoln used an executive order in order to fight the Civil War, Woodrow Wilson issued one in order to arm the United States just before it entered World War I, and Franklin Roosevelt approved Japanese internment camps during World War II with an executive order. Many other executive orders are on file and could be enacted at any time.”(5)

So, it appears that “Executive Orders” are justified by precedent alone. Lincoln just began issuing them and no one challenged him (except the south, of course). The fact that Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt issued Executive Orders is given as a justification for the acts of any President who thinks it is appropriate to issue an Executive Order. Yet, these Executive Orders, according to Cornell, are issued only during times of emergencies.

It appears that the framers of the Constitution wanted the legislative authority to reside with the people; so they determined that the power to make law was vested in the House of Representatives. It was not given to the Executive for a good reason; they knew that eventually the Executive would turn that power into a dictatorship. Thomas Jefferson said it best:

"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories." 1781

and “Unless the mass retains sufficient control over those entrusted with the powers of their government, these will be perverted to their own oppression, and to the perpetuation of wealth and power in the individuals and their families selected for the trust.” 1812

As Martin and Caul explain:

“The greatest fear the founders of this nation had was the establishment of a strong central government and a strong political leader at the center of that government. They no longer wanted kings, potentates or czars, they wanted a loose association of States in which the power emanated from the States and not from the central government.

John Adams advocated that a good government consists of three balancing powers, the legislative, executive and the judicial, that would produce an equilibrium of interests and thereby promote the happiness of the whole community. It was Adams' theory that the only effectual method to secure the rights of the people and promote their welfare was to create an opposition of interests between the members of two distinct bodies (legislative and executive) in the exercise of the powers of government, and balanced by those of a third (judicial).”(6)

To understand why “Executive Orders” were not countenanced by the Constitution, we must understand that the Constitution, apart from being a “legal” document is also a moral document. It holds implicitly that the moral is the practical; that free people have the power to make their own decisions and act on their own behalf.(7) It held that individual rights were not only moral but also practical. They were inviolable. Living independently of government control meant living morally and therefore, no single man, not even the President, could hold the authority to unilaterally dictate to any other man. Dictatorship was viewed as an immoral form of government that had disastrous consequences for society.

The Founders saw that individual rights, political freedom and the other rights they acknowledged in the Constitution were issues of morality, issues that reflected the individual's responsibility to himself. So, in order to protect the rights of men to live freely, without coercion, the branches of government had to be restricted and controlled, powers had to be separated and balanced…as a matter of having a government that respected the freedom of individuals to make their own moral decisions. Coercion, the forcing of a man against his will, was considered immoral and improper, not only when done by one individual to another but also when done by government toward citizens. The idea of one man, not accountable to the people, with the power to issue unilateral orders, to make laws, was considered coercive and dictatorial. Such unilateral action was outside the bounds of proper government. Further, the final check against government power is the power of the people to approve or reject the proposals of the government. Executive Orders eliminate that important check and corrupt the broad principles of the Constitution.

Yet, it was Andrew Jackson who began usurping the Constitution, not Lincoln.

“President Andrew Jackson used executive powers to force the law-abiding Cherokee Nation off their ancestral lands. The Cherokee fought the illegal action in the U.S. Supreme Court and won. But Jackson, using the power of the Presidency, continued to order the removal of the Cherokee Nation and defied the Court's ruling. He stated, "Let the Court try to enforce their ruling." The Cherokee lost their land and commenced a series of journeys that would be called The Trail of Tears.

President Abraham Lincoln suspended many fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He closed down newspapers opposed to his war-time policies and imprisoned what many historians now call political prisoners. He suspended the right of trial and the right to be confronted by accusers. Lincoln's justification for such drastic actions was the preservation of the Union above all things. After the war and Lincoln's death, Constitutional law was restored.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson could not persuade Congress to arm United States vessels plying hostile German waters before the United States entered World War One. When Congress balked, Wilson invoked the policy through a Presidential Executive Order.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order No. 9066 in December 1941. His order forced 100,000 Japanese residents in the United States to be rounded up and placed in concentration camps. The property of the Japanese was confiscated.

Both Lincoln's and Roosevelt's actions were taken during wartime, when the very life of the United States was threatened. Wilson's action was taken on the eve of the United States entering World War One. Whether history judges these actions as just, proper or legal, the decision must be left to time. The dire life struggle associated with these actions provided plausible argumentation favoring their implementation during a time when hysteria ruled an age.”(8)

An argument can be made that none of these acts were proper; that they represented a usurpation of the powers delegated to the President and they violated the intent of the Constitution as well as the oath of office. Certainly, today, most of us see the actions of Jackson as unjustified. He clearly violated the individual rights of the Cherokee people. He used government force against individual Americans which was a criminal act every bit as evil as anything done by Hitler. He should have granted to the Cherokee nation their victory under the Constitution. Through his unilateral decision, Jackson put our nation on a “slippery slope” that is getting more slippery by the day.

But Lincoln had a unique situation. He was involved in the only civil war ever to hit the United States of America. The very survival of the Union, as it was founded, was at stake. One could say that Lincoln needed to protect the integrity of our system and that harsh measures were needed against those who would destroy our nation. Yet, one could also argue that the Civil War would have been won without these Executive Orders. The industrial might of the North and the specific battles won by the North would probably have been won without those orders by Lincoln. Shutting down newspapers may have made little difference to the outcome of the war.

Yet, we must ask ourselves: "If the principles of the Constitution are made to apply during peace time, why don’t they apply during war?" If the moral is the practical, aren’t emergency situations times when we need our principles the most? Were there other legal options that Lincoln could have taken to accomplish the goals behind his Executive Orders? Would these not have been preferable to establishing a precedent that violated the Constitution? Remember, an Executive Order violates the individual rights of every citizen purely on the basis of the fact that it circumvents the power of the people to approve laws. By circumventing this power, the President is circumventing the individual rights of the citizens.

One could also argue that Wilson’s order was entirely within his responsibility as Commander in Chief of the military and that an Executive Order was not necessary. One could also say that Roosevelt’s order, though a violation of the Individual Rights of Japanese citizens, was also within his mandate to protect the borders of the country (I disagree with that position). Perhaps, not wise, these orders may have been defensible before the Supreme Court due to the responsibility of the President to be Commander in Chief.

What is an emergency that is so important that the Constitution can be disregarded? One has to understand why it is important that government powers cannot overlap; why did the Founders believe the principle was so important that they virtually prohibited the Executive from violating these divisions of powers? And, since they did not identify any circumstance that could be an “emergency” or “exception to the rule”, why do we think that such emergencies or exceptions give us the authority to violate the Constitution today?

An Executive Order, if it constitutes anything other than a pardon or reprieve by the Executive, is unconstitutional. The Founders did not intend that the separation of powers and checks and balances should EVER be violated. Furthermore, the violation of these principles was undertaken without justification, without a law enacted by Congress and without the advice and consent of the Senate and, when it was tested by the Cherokee Nation, the Supreme Court agreed that Jackson’s Executive Order was unconstitutional.

When a people considers the violation of the separation of powers to be necessary, what is it saying? What is the philosophical implication of such an idea? As mentioned before, the Constitution holds that individual rights are inviolable. It holds that a moral government is one which honors the rights of the people to life, liberty and the pursuit of property. It holds that no emergency could ever justify the violation of individual rights. So how could Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt and Obama think that they could violate individual rights by a mere Executive Order?

The flaw in their reasoning is a long-standing principle that has brought much evil into the world. Those Presidents who issue Executive Orders operate according to a philosophy that holds the moral to be impractical. They hold morality to be self-sacrificial and therefore impractical. They see anyone living a "moral" life to be inept and unworthy. In other words, they do not understand that the principles of the Constitution are universal principles that apply to all men for all times and that they work to create a better, practical and affluent society. They see the moral person as weak. They believe that the principles of the Founders are inferior to a broader, and to them more practical, principle. Their view that the end justifies the means enables them to brush aside the rights and morality of individual men trying to live good lives. They hold, implicitly, that it is proper to violate peoples’ rights because only force is practical; only force can accomplish anything worthwhile.

They should ask themselves the question asked by the Founders: Are the coercive acts practiced by potentates, generals, kings, queens and emperors superior to those of individual freedom and the universal rights of man? Isn’t our Constitution telling us that there are no circumstances where individual rights take second place to force exerted by government? Aren’t the Founders telling us that there is never a proper time to disrespect men?

We cannot merely say that because Jackson and other Presidents established the precedent of Executive Powers we should not quibble about our present office holder when he continues the precedent. On the contrary, a bad precedent must be overturned and the integrity of the system must be restored lest dictatorship become the order of the day. We must tell our leaders that there is no circumstance that justifies the arbitrary and artificial suspension of our rights. The end does not justify the means.

To understand the danger of Executive Orders and why we must restore the integrity of our system, let’s look at some of the Executive Orders that have been issued over the last few years. These examples are provided by Martin and Caul.

“A Presidential Executive Order, whether Constitutional or not, becomes law simply by its publication in the Federal Registry. Congress is by-passed. Here are just a few Executive Orders that would suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These Executive Orders have been on record for nearly 30 years and could be enacted by the stroke of a Presidential pen:

• EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
• EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.“(9)

These orders listed above were issued by previous Presidents. Let’s look at some issued by President Obama.

2009 Executive Orders Disposition Tables
Barack Obama – 2009

Executive Order 13489 Presidential Records
Executive Order 13490 Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel
Executive Order 13491 Ensuring Lawful Interrogation
Executive Order 13492 Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Close of Detention Facilities
Executive Order 13493 Review of Detention Policy Options
Executive Order 13494 Economy in Government Contracts
Executive Order 13495 Nondisplacement of Qualified Workers Under Service Contracts
Executive Order 13496 Notification of Employee Rights Under Federal Labor Laws
Executive Order 13497 Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Regulatory Planning and Review
Executive Order 13498 Amendments to Executive Order 13199 and Establishment of the President's Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Executive Order 13499 Further Amendments to Executive Order 12835, Establishment of the National Economic Council
Executive Order 13500 Further Amendments to Executive Order 12859, Establishment of the Domestic Policy Council
Executive Order 13501 Establishing the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board
Executive Order 13502 Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects
Executive Order 13503 Establishment of the White House Office of Urban Affairs
Executive Order 13504 Amending Executive Order 13390
Executive Order 13505 Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells
Executive Order 13506 Establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls
Executive Order 13507 Establishment of the White House Office of Health Reform
Executive Order 13508 Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration
Executive Order 13509 Establishing a White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers
Executive Order 13510 Waiver Under the Trade Act of 1974 With Respect to the Republic of Belarus
Executive Order 13511 Continuance of Certain Federal Advisory Committees
Executive Order 13512 Amending Executive Order 13390
Executive Order 13513 Federal Leadership on Reducing Text Messaging While Driving
Executive Order 13514 Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance
Executive Order 13515 Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Federal Programs
Executive Order 13516 Amending Executive Order 13462
Executive Order 13517 Amendments to Executive Orders 13183 and 13494
Executive Order 13518 Employment of Veterans in the Federal Government
Executive Order 13519 Establishment of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force
Executive Order 13520 Reducing Improper Payments
Executive Order 13521 Establishing the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
Executive Order 13522 Creating Labor-Management Forums to Improve Delivery of Government Services
Executive Order 13523 Half-Day Closing of Executive Departments and Agencies on Thursday, December 24, 2009
Executive Order 13524 Amending Executive Order 12425 Designating Interpol as a Public International Organization Entitled To Enjoy Certain Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities
Executive Order 13525 Adjustments of Certain Rates of Pay
Executive Order 13526 Classified National Security Information
Executive Order 13527 Establishing Federal Capability for the Timely Provision of Medical Countermeasures Following a Biological Attack

To be “fair” here’s a list of how many Executive Orders were issued by President Bush:

Disposition of Executive orders signed by President George W. Bush:
• Subject Index
• 2009 - E.O. 13484 - E.O. 13488 (5 Executive orders issued)
• 2008 - E.O. 13454 - E.O. 13483 (30 Executive orders issued)
• 2007 - E.O. 13422 - E.O. 13453 (32 Executive orders issued)
• 2006 - E.O. 13395 - E.O. 13421 (27 Executive orders issued)
• 2005 - E.O. 13369 - E.O. 13394 (26 Executive orders issued)
• 2004 - E.O. 13324 - E.O. 13368 (45 Executive orders issued)
• 2003 - E.O. 13283 - E.O. 13323 (41 Executive orders issued)
• 2002 - E.O. 13252 - E.O. 13282 (31 Executive orders issued)
• 2001 - E.O. 13198 - E.O. 13251 (54 Executive orders issued)

291 Total Executive orders Issued by President Bush.(10)

Do we have an enormous problem here? Were you informed of any of these Executive Orders? Would you have approved them had you been asked? Shouldn't there have been open debate about these orders? Doesn't the issuance of these Executive Orders circumvent the responsibility of Congress to write the laws of the land? Don't they circumvent the responsibility of the Senate to advise and consent? Where is the Supreme Court on this? Doesn't the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution state: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” It does not state that they are reserved to the President.

How is it possible that we have forgotten a key principle of government, the unraveling of which threatens our very freedoms and survival? How can we survive as a free people when the government can do whatever it wants?

Did the Constitution want the Congress to be dysfunctional? The answer is “yes”. It did not countenance a Congress that was efficient because it saw "efficient force" as a violation of the rights of the citizens. The framers saw the citizens as the main protectors of their own freedoms and they sought to give the most power to the people as a check on the acquisition of power by the other branches of government.

The framers intended that the government be, in a sense, gridlocked, incapable of doing anything not checked by the people. If the people tell their representatives (through the vote) “no more deficit spending” that meant the Congress could not approve deficit spending. It could not write or pass any laws that enabled such spending. This is the simple practical protection of the Constitution; but the principle that made this possible is the philosophical idea that “all men are created equal”, that it was the responsibility of the government to protect, not violate, individual rights. Any violation of the Constitution was a dereliction of responsibility on the part of the violator.

We must understand this issue; so I’ll state it again: Any violation of the Constitution is a violation of individual rights. Whenever Executive Orders are issued, the rights of the citizens to approve or reject the actions of government are violated. The Constitution is written to protect individual rights and, one of those rights is the right to check the power of government. An Executive Order constitutes a deliberate dictatorial act against the people.

The proper action for the President, when he decides that a specific government action should be taken, should not be whether to write an Executive Order or ask Congress to write a law. The President's power extends only to the act of convincing the people to act through the legislature. That is the proper challenge put forward by the Constitution. If he cannot convince the people, he cannot issue an Executive Order. This is demanded by his oath of office to defend the Constitution.

Put another way: the Constitution is intended to provide the protocols that guide the proper actions of government. First, the President is required to report on the State of the Union to joint sessions of Congress and he is required to present, during this speech, any proposed legislation he would like to put forward. There is no provision in the Constitution for the President to declare that Congress is dysfunctional and therefore he will act alone. Such a declaration violates the constitutionally mandated protocol for making change; it is a declaration that the people are no longer wise enough to run their government and that their representatives are inept. The statement made by the President that he will act alone is improper. There is no accommodation for such action in the Constitution.

The early Executive Orders of past Presidents added fuel to one of our nation's oldest debates about government powers. We cannot base governmental action on emergencies and I submit that there are other “legal” ways to accomplish proper action without violating the Constitution. Those methods include honoring the intent and procedures established in the Constitution.

Government action is supposed to be slow. Most often, deliberation and open debate make for better laws, more thoughtful laws, and they prevent a demagogue from steamrolling his or her own agenda. Having a proper government is important and we must take the time necessary to respond to real problems without creating additional other problems through hasty action. The power of the President to issue Executive Orders must be abolished.

President Obama is the only President in modern times who has openly declared his intent to circumvent Congress. In many respects, especially in his unwillingness to compromise with Congress before and after the 2010 elections, he is involved in an intense war against the Constitution and against freedom. The crisis the President declares is one of his own making; one undertaken, either as a deliberate strategy, or as a haughty response to the outrage expressed by the Tea Party over his deficit spending and Health Care Programs. This makes him a dangerous President who must be confronted in the voting booth and made to desist. The American people must intervene, or should I say, they should take their government back.

The President is declaring that Congress is dysfunctional because members of Congress disagree with his policies. The President is using his bully pulpit to insult the intelligence of the American people. To declare that he is the only adult while the rest of the nation is acting like children is to paint over the real ideological and economic principles that divide left and right today. To paint over the disagreement on the proper use of government power denies the real debate we should be having; the debate between those who would use coercion against man (the left) and those who would respect man’s rights and freedoms (Tea Party members).

To answer the question, “Are we a dictatorship?” the answer is “almost”. The President is making a serious effort to defeat his “loyal opposition” by discrediting its motives and continuing with his coercive agenda in spite of the will of the people. By declaring Congress dysfunctional, the President is playing politics with our Constitution. If he truly wants to act for the sake of the nation, he will desist from issuing Executive Orders that advance his unpopular agenda. The people have spoken; it is time for him to listen.

As citizens, we must be vigilant and watch every move made by the Executive Branch. At the present time, the precedent for dictatorship is in place. The President now has the authority to do anything he desires regardless of Constitutional constraints, division of powers and checks and balances. There is nothing that can stop him from declaring Marshall Law, cancelling the elections and declaring his intent to rule by decree. The only political force that can stop him is the people.

The first thing they should do is ensure that this election is a fair one. They should challenge the cadre of vote fraud experts that the President has unleashed. They should monitor the election and ensure that the registration process is not fraught with registration fraud. This leads to stuffed ballots. They should vote in huge numbers to declare their opposition to dictatorship and to ensure that the left is completely disenfranchised. And, once we regain our government, they should fight against any conservatives and neo-cons who want to take advantage of the situation to install a theocracy. Finally, they should advance two Constitutional Amendments: 1)to abolish the power of the President to issue Executive Orders, to submit all previous Executive Orders to the Congress for a vote, and 2)to declare a separation of government and economics; to get the government out of the cronyism business.

They should also institute a new rule in Congress that prohibits Congress from handing over its power to write laws to other agencies or departments of the government.

We can thank the Tea Party movement for standing up. So far, they have slowed the advance of dictatorship. The real political battle is ahead.

(1)http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/checks%20and%20balances
(2)Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations…p. 56

(3)http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/separation+of+powers
(4)http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/executive_power
(5)Ibid
(6)“The Executive Order” http://dmc.members.sonic.net/sentinel/gvcon5.html
(7)For an excellent discussion of the idea that the moral is the practical, read "Capitalist Solutions" by Andrew Bernstein
(8)Ibid
(9)Ibid
(10)All data found at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/