The Constitution

Oath? What oath?

A great guest viewpoint by Henry Kramer in this morning's Ithaca Journal (not yet linked on the website—UPDATE: It's linked now.):

 
U.S. presidents take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, which provides in Article II, Section 3, that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” The provision does not say “the president is ex­cused from executing laws with which the president disagrees,” or “the president may aid and abet violators of the laws,” or the presi­dent may bypass Congress and issue executive orders when Congress will not pass legislation the president desires.” When a president ignores that oath, he un­dermines the legitimacy of his power.
 
The current president did all three of those things. He refused to fully enforce immigration law. He encour­aged defense employers to ignore the provisions of federal law (WARN) protect­ing workers that require 60 days’ notice of mass layoffs and plant closures. He then further encouraged lawless behavior by announcing that our tax dollars will pay for violators’ defenses and fines they may incur by not giv­ing notices. He enacted by presidential directive legis­lation (Dream Act) he could not get through Congress and, by setting age param­eters for this program, he engaged in age-based dis­crimination.
 
The Constitution of the United States, one of the oldest in the world still func­tioning, is the “glue” that holds us together. Provided our duly elected leaders follow constitutional rules, they have the consent of the governed, even their oppo­nents. The Constitution has kept us together even in the closest presidential races, including Hayes-Tilden and Bush-Gore. Its one outright repudiation resulted in our fratricidal Civil War.
 
The wisdom of our foun­ders was to divide power and to provide checks and balances in order to limit government, not to empow­er it. Congress can seem ineffective, but it is still the main check we have on a runaway presidency. We may excuse Abraham Lin­coln for violating the Consti­tution to keep the nation intact, but we must condemn the view of presidents such as Woodrow Wilson and Barack Obama to whom the Constitution is merely an outdated charter of negative liberties.
 
When the Constitution is involved, the president’s policies aren’t the issue; it is the violation of the Constitu­tion that matters. Whether or not you favor the presi­dent’s objectives is irrele­vant. The precedents being set create a constitutionally dangerous, imperial presi­dency, one in which the chief executive is a dictator, unilaterally enacting laws by executive order rather than enforcing existing laws. The authors of those precedents today may well regret them tomorrow when the political winds shift and the power is held by those with a different vision.
 
The loss of liberty is not always a single discrete outrageous act. It is time for a new president who honors our Constitution.
 

Orwellian

“The president shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate.”
 
— The Constitution,
Article II, Section 2
 
When on Jan. 20, 2009, Barack Obama swore to defend the Constitution, he did not mean all of it. He evidently believes that the provision quoted above merely expresses the Framers’ now anachronistic anxieties about abuses of executive power. (Jefferson’s lengthy catalogue of George III’s abuses is called the Declaration of Independence.) So on Jan. 4, 2012, Obama simply ignored the Recess Clause.
 
He was in his “We can’t wait!” — for Congress and legality — mode, as he was when he unilaterally rewrote laws pertaining to welfare, immigration and education. On Jan. 4, he used recess appointments to fill three seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), even though the Senate said it was not in recess. Obama’s cheeky Humpty Dumpty rejoinder was: I decide what “recess” means. Now a court must decide whether the Constitution means what it says.
 
In 2011, the Noel Canning company, which bottles soft drinks in Yakima, Wash., was negotiating a labor contract with Teamsters Local 760. The union says it and the company reached a verbal agreement. The company disagrees. An administrative law judge sided with the union. On Feb. 8, after Obama’s disputed appointments, the NLRB upheld that decision and asked a federal court to enforce it. Noel Canning is asking the court to declare that the NLRB’s intervention in the dispute was unlawful because the board lacked a quorum until Obama made the recess appointments, which were invalid because the Senate was not in recess.
 
In support of the company, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and 41 members of his caucus have filed a brief arguing that the recess appointments “eviscerated” two of the Senate’s constitutional powers — to “determine the rules of its proceedings” and to reject presidential appointments...
Read the rest of George Will's column.  If the current regime is returned to office on November 6th, things will only get worse.
 

It's all about doing away with that inconvenient Constitution

Doesn't matter whether we're talking about Agenda 21 specifically or RGGI or doing away with fossil fuels and "replacing" them with renewables (but there would never be blackouts or brownouts if we did so, oh, no)— it ultimately all comes down to which do we choose...liberty or tyranny?

Environmentalists want to ban hydraulic fracturing in Las Vegas, N.M., and the surrounding county and they don’t plan to let the United States Constitution stop them.
 
“What people don’t understand is sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution to get things done,” Paula Hern, a board member with Community for Clean Water Air and Earth, told the ABQ Journal. “Laws are made to protect corporations and we need laws that protect Mother Earth – earth, air and water.”
 
Hern was defending a “community rights ordinance” banning fracking that the Las Vegas (N.M.) City Council passed but the mayor refused to sign. “The way it reads, it will supersede everything – our city charter, state and federal laws,” said Mayor Alfonso Ortiz...
"What people don’t understand is sometimes we have to step outside the boundaries of the Constitution..."? Oh, I understand plenty.  
 
And I've been in Las Vegas, NM.  It's poor. And about an hour's drive from Santa Fe, where I've also been, and which struck me as Ithaca with a Spanish accent.  Are you getting the picture?  I wonder how many of the fractivists pushing for the ban in Las Vegas are from San Miguel County and how many are well-heeled imports from Santa Fe—and beyond—who just plain know better than anyone else...and who use fossil fuels and their derivatives and by-products all the time but who don't want to see any low-brows seriously better themsleves by working to produce those fuels.  Better that they should sit on the sidewalks around the central plaza in Santa Fe selling baskets of tchotchkes.
 
Stand up for the Constitution and liberty, people, or we're all going to be sitting on sidewalks selling tchotchkes.
 
    

Constitution Day is September 17th...

...that's tomorrow, folks, and we need to make sure it's not the last time we mark the day.

At the LATimes:

Alleged 'Innocence of Muslims' filmmaker taken in for interview
 

Just after midnight Saturday morning, authorities descended on the Cerritos home of the man believed to be the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim movie that has sparked protests and rioting in the Muslim world...

Glenn Reynolds writes at Instapundit:

...By sending — literally — brownshirted enforcers to engage in — literally — a midnight knock at the door of a man for the non-crime of embarrassing the President of the United States and his administration, President Obama violated that oath. You can try to pretty this up (It’s just about possible probation violations! Sure.), or make excuses or draw distinctions, but that’s what’s happened. It is a betrayal of his duties as President, and a disgrace.
 
He won’t resign, of course. First, the President has the appreciation of free speech that one would expect from a Chicago Machine politician, which is to say, none. Second, he’s not getting any pressure. Indeed, the very press that went crazy over Ari Fleischer’s misrepresented remarks seems far less interested in the actions of an administration that I repeat, literally sent brown-shirted enforcers to launch a midnight knock on a filmmaker’s door.
 
But Obama’s behavior — and that of his enablers in the press — has laid down a marker for those who are paying attention. By these actions he is, I repeat, unfit to hold office. I hope and expect that the voters will agree in November...
So while the economy and foreign policy are critical, this election is more fundamental than that.
 
As Chris Muir points out in today's Day By Day (which appears daily over there in the left sidebar), let's all "Feel the Paine":
 
 
 

Even more government by fiat

This executive order, "the administration's latest effort to deploy cleaner and more efficient energy production in the country by working around political resistance to climate change and "green" energy legislation on Capitol Hill" according to Reuters, was signed last Thursday whilst people were paying attention to the wrap-up of the Republican convention in Tampa (via The Blaze):

 
 
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to promote American manufacturing by helping to facilitate investments in energy efficiency at industrial facilities, it is hereby ordered as follows:
 
Section 1. Policy. The industrial sector accounts for over 30 percent of all energy consumed in the United States, and, for many manufacturers, energy costs affect overall competitiveness. While our manufacturing facilities have made progress in becoming more energy efficient over the past several decades, there is an opportunity to accelerate and expand these efforts with investments to reduce energy use through more efficient manufacturing processes and facilities and the expanded use of combined heat and power (CHP). Instead of burning fuel in an on site boiler to produce thermal energy and also purchasing electricity from the grid, a manufacturing facility can use a CHP system to provide both types of energy in one energy efficient step. Accelerating these investments in our Nation's factories can improve the competitiveness of United States manufacturing, lower energy costs, free up future capital for businesses to invest, reduce air pollution, and create jobs....
Read the whole thing and then listen to Mark Levin:
 

Dora Dogood strikes again!

Haven't heard from the old battleaxe dear in a while. Turns out she's been taking a few turns in her Sopwith Camel.  

In this essay, Dora makes Hallmark's Maxine

 

look like

 

***

A few days ago, I was sitting in Dryden’s Queen Diner having coffee, reading my copy of the ever shrinking Ithaca Journal.  There, I learned that not only was our county legislature about to vote on the minimum wage but that it was also considering a vote on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to withdraw person status from corporations.  This last item led me to almost choke on my coffee.  It should have been in the comics section.
 
Indeed, it would be humorous, if it was not so sad, to see a local government body concerning itself with an amendment of that type.  I hope we all learned in social studies classes what it takes to pass a constitutional amendment, a two-thirds vote of each house of Congress and ratification by three-quarters of the states.  This process is so rigorous that while many amendments have been introduced, very few have been adopted.  That’s for good reason, tampering with our constitution for any but the most serious reasons is at best unwise, at worst likely to be foolish.  As a practical matter, such voting by our county legislature is a total waste of time and resources, a blatant political statement, that will be dead on arrival wherever it is sent. And, we’re actually paying them to pretend to work on our behalf.
 
Thinking back to the last election of county board members about three years ago, I cannot remember anyone questioning candidates on their views about the American constitution or anyone voting to give them the power to speak for county residents on constitutional law.  Perhaps my memory has lapsed now that I’ve reached age 88, but I think not.
 
Have Albany and Washington been abolished?  Are we unrepresented there?  Have Jim Seward, Richard Hanna, Tom O’Mara, and Mike Nazzolio gone home?  A quick check on my iPhone said they are still in office.  But what do we need them for when we have Martha Robertson and her dwarfs to vote on these issues?
 
If a corporation wasn’t a person, who could we sue if wronged?  What would happen to the investments that support our pensions, including a lot of stock?  Who would risk their money by putting it into a non-entity?  It would be nice if occasionally people who come up with schemes like corporate non-personhood would think about where their proposals would take us.  Perhaps I’m expecting too much when asking people to think.
 
Local power grabs... For most of my long lifetime, local governments including our Dryden and county governments stuck to what local governments do best, mostly roads and a bit of public safety.  They checked on septic systems and made sure they met public health needs.  But, they did not vote on banning activities they didn’t like, far reaching zoning and environmental controls, minimum wages, or constitutional amendments.  Now, we have “home rule,” which means local officials erode our rights, take away our choices, and enact local laws about matters they haven’t the first clue about. Government of the uninformed, by the uninformed, and for the uniformed, where the loudest voice gets served and fears rather than information rule.

I’ll inevitably be “checking out” before too many more years.  What will happen to my children, grandchildren and beyond, I dread, particularly if they choose to live in this area.  Enough said, I’m off to do some flying.  Aerobatics, if mishandled, are a good way to realize how short life can be.
 
 
  
 
 
Town of Dryden
 

Of minimum wages and corporate personhood

Ah, it's spring in Tompkins County and can the May Day rallies be far behind?  

In today's Ithaca Journal, a little story about the Tompkins County Legislature voting on issues that are above their pay grade on, of course, May Day:

With the Tompkins County Legislature voting on resolutions to endorse a higher state minimum wage and end corporate personhood Tuesday, the Tompkins County Workers' Center is preparing to rally in support of the two measures, while the county Republican Party is calling endorsing a higher minimum wage hypocritical.
 
The minimum wage resolution supports state minimum wage increasing from $7.25 to at least $8.50 or ideally $12.78 an hour. County representatives are scheduled to consider the resolutions at a special meeting of the Capital and Personnel Committee at 4:45 p.m. and then the full Legislature will take it up at 5:30 at the Tompkins County Courthouse, 320 N. Tioga St...
 
...The county GOP issued a statement Sunday saying the county Legislature should leave the issue for state legislators and calling the higher wage an unfunded mandate causing increased costs and prices. "It is hypocritical to complain only about those unfunded mandates that directly affect the Tompkins County Legislature but not those that impact the private sector," Tompkins County Republican Chairman James Drader said. "Ultimately it is the same taxpayer/purchaser who pays for unfunded mandates, whether these mandates are on government or businesses."
For more actual, you know, data on the effects of a minimum wage increase in NYS, see Raising the Minimum Wage in New York: The Poverty Impact of A. 9148.  To whet your appetitie:
...The data show that a majority of the employees affected by an $8.50 minimum wage in New York are either living with family or have a spouse that also works. As a result, the family income of a typical beneficiary of an increase in New York’s minimum wage is far higher than the $15,080 full-time, year-round income figure cited by policymakers and advocates.
 
The average family income of an employee affected by the proposed wage increase is above $53,000 a year. Even the median income of a beneficiary is $37,033 per year—more than double the $15k family income figure that advocates rely on....
Read on, Macduff.  Sound like an unfunded mandate that doesn't even do what it claims to do anyway?
 
And as for ending corporate personhood, see this post at Middle Class Dad on Politics, Marriage, Low-Carb Diets and a 1967 Firebird:
...Under this amendment, if I were to gather a group of my friends to advocate a position and we incorporate so we can claim non-for-profit status, we could be limited on what we could say by the government....
And that's only one of many issues with the idea that those evil, nasty, greedy corporations need to be muted.  
 
In the end, though, it boils down to free speech for me but not for thee. Progressives just hate it when they don't have enough rational arguments marshalled to win a debate, so their solution to that sticky wicket is to silence the other side.
 
And then, of course, there's the issue of the Tompkins County Legislature spending taxpayer money, in effect, as well as time on topics like the state minimum wage and an amendment to the US Constitution that are well outside their bailiwick.
 
Must be there are no county issues to deal with.
 
Right.
 

In case you still aren't convinced...

...that our freedoms are under attack and that we're in imminent danger of losing them.  

At Lifesite News, via The Line in the Sand:

After a fiery homily last weekend urging the faithful to oppose President Obama’s “radical pro-abortion and extreme secularist agenda” at the ballot box in November, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria has been hit with an IRS complaint from a national secularist lobby group...


...On Thursday, the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State claimed the homily violated federal law by taking sides in a political campaign...

Read the whole thing.

By the way, 

In [Americans United (For Separation Of Church And State)] AU's estimation, conservative congregations are the primary offenders who violate the prohibition against electioneering in the sanctuary:
 
“Every weekend, millions of Americans attend houses of worship to hear sermons, study scripture and participate in other religious activities. If some politicians and Religious Right activists have their way, however, people in the pews might soon be doing other things during services -- listening to partisan political speeches, being solicited for campaign contributions and getting instructions about whom to vote for on Election Day.”
 
...AU has condemned the Christian Coalition “Voter’s Guides” that are distributed to churches during election seasons. In an October 2001 letter addressed to nearly 300,000 houses of worship nationwide, Barry Lynn warned churches that they “should be extremely wary of distributing voter guides” lest they lose their tax-exempt status...
 
AU responds very differently, however, when restrictions against church electioneering are violated by leftists. For instance, the organization chose not to file a complaint with the IRS after presidential candidate Barack Obama had given a speech at the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) 2007 national convention. In fact, when the IRS eventually announced that it would be investigating the UCC, Americans United protested the decision. “We saw no evidence of UCC officials seeking to appear to endorse his candidacy,” said Barry Lynn.
 
Nor did AU complain that candidate Obama had spoken to congregants at Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) in Chicago, or that TUCC pastor Jeremiah Wright had aggressively supported Obama's candidacy from the pulpit...
What does the first clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution say?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
How does AU interpret that?
...“religion and government must stay separate for the benefit of both,” a meaning that bears little resemblance to the actual wording of the First Amendment.
 

Oh, THAT Marbury v. Madison!

(CBS News) In the escalating battle between the administration and the judiciary, a federal appeals court apparently is calling the president's bluff -- ordering the Justice Department to answer by Thursday whether the Obama Administration believes that the courts have the right to strike down a federal law, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom.
 
The order, by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, appears to be in direct response to the president's comments yesterday about the Supreme Court's review of the health care law. Mr. Obama all but threw down the gauntlet with the justices, saying he was "confident" the Court would not "take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress."
 
Overturning a law of course would not be unprecedented -- since the Supreme Court since 1803 has asserted the power to strike down laws it interprets as unconstitutional...
Ah, yes, Marbury v. Madison.
 
Audio from the 5th Circuit hearing, with Judge Smith's order to DOJ, is available here (docket no. 11-40631).
...The bottom line from Smith: A three-page letter with specifics. He asked DOJ to discuss "judicial review, as it relates to the specific statements of the president, in regard to Obamacare and to the authority of the federal courts to review that legislation."
 
"I would like to have from you by noon on Thursday -- that's about 48 hours from now -- a letter stating what is the position of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice, in regard to the recent statements by the president," Smith said. "What is the authority is of the federal courts in this regard in terms of judicial review?"
 
Smith made his intentions clear minutes after the DOJ attorney began her argument, jumping in to ask: "Does the Department of Justice recognize that federal courts have the authority in appropriate circumstances to strike federal statutes because of one or more constitutional infirmities?"
 
[DOJ attorney Dana Lydia] Kaersvang replies yes...
Hmmm.  Incoming...
 
 
h/t Tom
 

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