Constitution 101 (5)

http://www.hillsdale.edu/constitution/week_05_overview.aspx

Lesson 5:“The Separation of Powers: Ensuring Good Government”

Study Guide

Overview
The separation of powers helps to ensure good government at the same time it guards against tyranny. Independent in function but coordinated in the pursuit of justice, the three branches of government—legislative, executive, and judicial—must each have enough power to resist the encroachment of the others, and yet not so much that the liberty of the people is lost.

A political regime has three dimensions: the ruling institutions, the rulers, and the way of life of the people. In America, the rulers—the people themselves—and their ruling institutions—staffed by the people’s representatives—aim at securing the Creator-endowed natural rights of all citizens. The Framers did this in two ways. “Vertically” considered, our ruling institutions are defined by federalism, or the division of power between the national, state, and local governments. “Horizontally” considered, the ruling institutions of the federal government itself are separated and co-equal.

In the American regime, the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land.” No one branch is superior to it; all three branches have a duty to abide by it. While each of the three branches plays a unique role in the passage, execution, and interpretation of laws, all of the branches must work together in the governing process.

The legislative branch is closest to the people. It is also the branch in which the danger of majority tyranny lurks. The passions of the people are reflected most in the House of Representatives, where the members are elected for terms of two years. The Senate, with its six year terms, was designed to be a more stable legislative presence than the House.

The defining characteristic of the executive is “energy.” The president can act swiftly and decisively to deal with foreign threats and to enforce the law, and can also provide a check on legislative tyranny through the veto.

Members of the judiciary, the third branch of government, must exercise judgment in particular cases to secure individual rights. Through “judicial review,” the judiciary is given the authority to strike down laws that are contrary to the Constitution. But judicial review is not judicial supremacy; even the Supreme Court must rely upon the other branches once it has rendered judgment.

The checks that each branch can exercise against the encroachment of the others ultimately protect the liberties of the people. The separation of powers promotes justice and good government by having each branch perform its proper function. This institutional design allows the sovereign people to observe and to know which branch is responsible for which actions in order to hold each to account. The sense of mutual responsibility built into the separation of powers is a reflection of the moral and civic responsibility all Americans share.

Joke of the Day

The father of five children had won a toy at a raffle. He called his kids together to ask which one should have the present.

“Who is the most obedient?” he asked. “Who never talks back to Mother? Who does everything she says?”

Five small voices answered in union. “Okay, Dad. You get the toy.”

Mitt hearts Oil

I don’t agree much with Mitt Romney, but he is right on the money regarding this topic.

rom: Conservative Byte

During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney said there is “no question” that President Obama is to blame for rising gas prices and called for the president to fire the “gas hike trio” of cabinet members.

“When [President Obama] ran for office, he said he wanted to see gasoline prices go up,” Romney said. “He said that energy prices would skyrocket under his views, and he selected three people to help him implement that program.

The secretary of energy, the secretary of interior and EPA administrator. And this gas hike trio has been doing the job over the last three-and-a-half years, and gas prices are up. The right course is they ought to be fired because the president has apparently suffered election-year conversion. He’s now decided that gasoline prices should come down.”

Romney went on to say that once Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson submit their letters of resignation, Obama should “start drilling for energy here,” and pursue development of oil, natural gas, and coal resources.

A Fork in the Road

Stuart Chase was a progressive and Fabian socialist, who wrote a book called “The Road we are Traveling”. He wrote this book in 1942.Chase was a well-known progressive of his era and was part of the Woodrow Wilson administration. He has been credited for the term “The New Deal”.

No one, including me, had heard of this gentleman, until Glenn Beck brought him to light a few days ago. The reason why he brought him to light was the new film, the propaganda film, narrated by Tom Hanks, called “The Road we Traveled”.

When I heard of this book by Stuart Chase, I, like Glenn, thought, what a remarkable coincidence that this progressive book and this new film could be so similarly titled.

Over the past few days Glenn Beck has done some research on this progressive, Stuart Chase and has come up with some remarkable similarities between the book, “The Road we are Traveling” and the situation we find ourselves in now.

As Glenn Beck has stated, when Barack Obama said five days before the election in 2008 that he wanted to fundamentally transform America and the world, no one listened. We should have.

As many people say, words mean things. It’s no different for progressives. Words mean things to them also. Progressive’s words are always carefully crafted. We should realize that they do in fact mean what they say and say what they mean. They are not just hollow words nor campaign rhetoric.

Knowing now whom Barack Obama is and the people that he has surrounded himself with are, we must surely take him at his word that he and they wish to change the entire structure of America and the world.

Most of us today would consider this progressive march to be a march toward socialism communism or fascism. Once again we go back to, words mean things.

Stuart Chase was smart enough to realize that, in 1942 no one wanted to hear about socialism or fascism or communism. Instead he called his proposed fundamental transformation, simply “Political System X”. Chase claimed, in his book; once you have enough pieces of the society fundamentally transformed, you will not be able to turn the ship around, as it were. In other words, there will be no turning back to capitalism or the free market.

So now let’s juxtapose what Stuart Chase had in mind and just how far Barack Obama has come.

As we go through this list just keep in mind that Barack Obama and his ilk are not the first to attempt to transform this country. It has been a progressive project for 100 years. These are patient lot.

In his book Chase describes his political system X as the following [Chase’s words will be italicized]: You will need a strong centralized government. I think we can all agree that we have a strong and ever stronger centralized government. I guess we can check that one off.

You will need an Executive arm growing at the expense of the Legislative and Judicial arm. I think we can all agree that this is happening right under our noses. President Obama and his administration appear to be doing whatever they want whether they have the constitutional authority to do so or not, simply brushing aside the legislature as they go. I suppose we can give him a big thumbs up for this one.

You will need to have control of banking, credit and security exchanges by the government. The tarp bailouts pretty much took care of the control of banking issue. As far as credit goes, try getting a student loan or purchasing a house without having the government involved in the financing. Let’s check that one off.

Seems they are doing rather well with their fundamental transformation project so far.

You will need underwriting of employment through armaments or by public works. This sounds a lot like the stimulus package. I guess we’ll check this one off also, at least partially.

You will need underwriting of Social Security by the government, underwriting of food, housing and medical care by the government. Social Security, that’s a given. Underwriting of food is certainly being taken care of with the FDA, the USDA and Michelle Obama with the rest of her food Nazis telling us what we can and can’t eat. And let us not forget the foodstamp program. Housing is certainly being taken care of through Fannie and Freddie and all the other government organizations controlling loans and whatnot. Of course, Obamacare will take care of medical care. That’s check, check, check and check.

The use of deficit spending to finance underwriting is essential. This one is fairly obvious. We’ll give them a big checkmark.

There must be an abandonment of gold in lieu of managed currency. The Fed accomplished this during the Nixon administration in the 1970s. Check that one off.

You will need government control over trade, natural resources, transportation, agricultural production, organize labor unions and youth corps. You will need a youth and people dedicated to the ideology of government authorities. What part of trade doesn’t the government already control? That is of course a rhetorical question. They are certainly busy trying to control natural resources, coal, oil and natural gas; the air we breathe and the water we drink, etc. as far as labor unions are concerned I’m not sure who controls whom? Is it the government that controls labor unions or vice versa. I guess they are actually one in the same. Glenn Beck contends, and I agree, the youth and people dedicated to the ideology of government authority is Occupy Wall Street. They are the youth corps.

Heavy taxation of Estates and incomes of the wealthy is essential. Gee, who has been pushing for that for as long as I’ve been alive? I’d give that a half a checkmark, but it seems they will eventually achieve this.

There must be state control over communications and propaganda. It appears they’re well on their way to achieving this goal. We don’t call them the state-controlled media for nothing. Let’s give them a big checkmark for that.

Well now. Can I get a holy crap?!

I think it might’ve been easier to compile a list of what they haven’t accomplished instead of what they have. I guess the old saying “Ignorance is Bliss” really does apply in this case. Maybe we should all just go back to sleep and allow the government to take complete control of our lives.

By the way, Glenn Beck believes, as do I, that the reason this new propaganda film is titled “The Road We’ve Traveled”, is that these progressives believe that the journey is virtually completed. As I’ve stated before, these progressives choose their words very carefully. They did not choose this title by accident.

I truly hope that Stuart Chase is wrong and that we will be able to turn this ship around, or at least slow it long enough for a majority of our citizens to wake up.

Attribution: I would like to thank Glenn Beck for compiling this list. He and his staff are an invaluable resource.

Joke of the Day

A Tourist walked into a Chinese curio shop in San Francisco. While looking around at the exotic merchandise, he noticed a very lifelike, life-sized, bronze statue of a rat.

It had no price tag, but was so incredibly striking the tourist decided he must have it. He took it to the old shop owner and asked, “How much for the bronze rat?”

“Ahhh, you have chosen wisely! It is $12 for the rat and $100 for the story,” said the wise old Chinaman.

The tourist quickly pulled out twelve dollars. “I’ll just take the rat, you can keep the story”.

As he walked down the street carrying his bronze rat, the tourist noticed that a few real rats had crawled out of the alleys and sewers and had begun following him down the street. This was a bit disconcerting so he began walking faster.

A couple blocks later he looked behind him and saw to his horror the herd of rats behind him had grown to hundreds, and they began squealing.

Sweating now, the tourist began to trot toward San Francisco Bay.

Again, after a couple blocks, he looked around only to discover that the rats now numbered in the MILLIONS, and were squealing and coming toward him faster and faster

Terrified, he ran to the edge of the Bay and threw the bronze rat as far as he could into the Bay.

Amazingly, the millions of rats all jumped into the Bay after the bronze rat and were all drowned.

The man walked back to the curio shop in Chinatown.

“Ahhh,” said the owner, “You come back for story?”

“No sir,” said the man, “I came back to see if you have a bronze Democrat.”

Rush and the New Blacklist

By Patrick J. Buchanan

The original “Hollywood blacklist” dates back to 1947, when 10 members of the Communist Party, present or former, invoked the Fifth Amendment before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

The party was then a wholly owned subsidiary of the Comintern of Joseph Stalin, whose victims had surpassed in number those of Adolf Hitler.

In a 346-17 vote, the Hollywood Ten were charged with contempt of Congress and suspended or fired.

The blacklist had begun. Directors, producers and writers who had been or were members of the party and refused to recant lost their jobs.

Politically, the blacklist was a victory of the American right.

In those first years of the Cold War, anti-communism and Christianity were mighty social, political and cultural forces. Hollywood acknowledged their power in what it produced.

Rhett Butler’s departing words to Scarlett O’Hara — “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” — were the most shocking heard on screen.

Catholicism was idealistically portrayed in “Going My Way” and “The Song of Bernadette.” Priest roles were played by Bing Crosby, Spencer Tracy, Gregory Peck.

But over a half century, the left captured and now controls the culture.

The Legion of Decency is dead. The Filthy Speech Movement from Berkeley 1964 has triumphed. The “seven filthy words” of comedians like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin are regular fare in films and steadily creeping into prime-time.

Movies show sexually explicit scenes that make Howard Hughes’ 1944 condemned film, “The Outlaw,” starring Jane Russell, look like “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”

Where Ingrid Bergman of “Casablanca” fame had to flee the country in 1950 after an adulterous affair with director Roberto Rossellini, the media today happily provide all the salacious details of every “relationship” that Hollywood stars enter into and exit.

All of this testifies to the cultural ascendancy of the left.

Yet every establishment has its own orthodoxy, its own taboos, and its own blacklist. And, despite its pretensions to be open to all ideas, our cultural establishment is no different.

While the Hollywood Ten have been rehabilitated and heroized, it is Christians and conservatives who are in cultural cross hairs now.

Traditional Catholic morality is mocked, as are Southern evangelical Christians. And the new cultural establishment has erected a new regime called Political Correctness. It writes the hate-crimes laws that citizens must obey and the campus speech codes students must follow.

The new mortal sins are not filthy talk or immoral conduct, but racism, sexism, homophobia and nativism. The establishment alone defines these sins and enforces the proscriptions against them, from which there is no appeal, only the obligatory apology, the act of contrition and the solemn commitment never to sin again.

If you still believe homosexuality is unnatural and immoral and gay marriage absurd, you are a homophobe who is to keep his mouth shut.

If you think some ethnic and racial groups have greater natural athletic, academic or artistic talents, don’t go there, if you do not wish an early end to your journalistic career.

If you think illegal aliens should be sent home and legal immigration should mirror the ethnic makeup of the nation, you are a xenophobe and a racist.

All of these terms — racist, sexist, homophobe — are synonyms for heretic. Any of them can get you hauled before an inquisition.

To control the politics of a nation, control of the culture is a precondition. For who controls the culture defines what is moral and immoral, and what is heroic and villainous. And if you can set limits on what journalists write and broadcasters say, you can shape what people think and believe.

Through history, frightened establishments have dealt severely even with peaceful challenges to their power, which is why Socrates was forced to drink poison, Christ was crucified, Sir Thomas More was beheaded and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was sent to the Gulag.

When Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” for demanding that Georgetown Law School subsidize the $3,000 women students annually require for birth control to exercise their sexual freedom, the media that piled on Rush objected less to the term than to the target he picked: one of their own.

Bill Maher routinely uses far more odious terms on Sarah Palin. Yet his $1 million gift to an Obama Super PAC was welcomed by agents of the same president who phoned Fluke to console her over Rush’s remarks.

Rush apologized. But the left still campaigns to have his voice stifled and censored, by threatening advertisers of his radio show with boycotts if they refuse to drop him.

Thus does the left honor the First Amendment.

As shown in HBO’s “Game Change,” John McCain in 2008 ruled out attacks on Barack Obama’s 20-year ties to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the Chicago preacher of “God damn America!” fame.

Why? Wright and Obama were black, and such attacks might agitate the latent racism of white America. The Republican Party censors itself so as not to antagonize a cultural establishment that wants to see it dead.

“Beautiful losers,” my late friend Sam Francis called them.

Adolf goes Hollywood

It sounds like the bizzare script of a Hollywood B-movie. Maybe it still could?

In a parallel universe the Nazis have won the war and Adolf Hitler moves to Los Angeles where he mingles with the stars of the silver screen while running his evil empire from a luxurious ranch deep in the LA hills.

But during the 1930s, American sympathizers were so confident this exact scenario was actually going happen they spent millions building a deluxe compound ready for their fuhrer’s imminent arrival.

Equipped with a diesel power plant, 375,000 gallon concrete water tank, giant meat locker, 22 bedrooms and even a bomb shelter, the heavily guarded estate was home to a community of Hollywood fascists who hoped to ride out the war there.

There were further plans to build five libraries, a swimming pool, several dining rooms and a gymnasium with money from Germany.

But on the day after Pearl Harbor, as America entered World War Two, police raided the premises and rounded up the the 50 or so American fascists who were living there.

Today the eerie landmark lies in ruins, splattered with graffitti, and awaiting the bulldozers so it can be turned into a picnic area for hikers, a soon-to-be forgotten slice of American history.

Close to the homes of actors and directors such as Stephen Spielberg, the site has been a magnet for historians, curiosity-seekers and modern-day nazis.

At one point after the war it became an artists colony and was home to the novelist Henry Miller.

It was built by the Silver Shirts, a sinister group of 1930’s fascists who took their name from Hitler’s Brown Shirts grass roots organization. Their official name was the ‘Silver Legion’, but were nicknamed the ‘Silver Shirts’ due to their attire. A silver shirt, silver tie,  a campaign hat and blue corduroy trousers with leggings. The shirt was emblazened with a large scarlett ‘L’ signifying Loyalty, Liberation and Legion.

By 1934, the Silver Shirts had about 15,000 members, led by William Pelley and funded directly by Nazi Germany.

Fascism had been on the rise in the wake of the Great Depression and the Silver Shirts were one of the most fanatical groups.

The 55-acre ranch, was sold to mining fortune heiress Jessie Murphy in 1933 by screen cowboy Will Rogers.

In the next few years, Murphy struck up a relationship with a German man known only as Herr Schmidt. Unbeknownst to her, Schmidt was Hitler’s agent in America.

He persuaded her to invest $4million ($66 million today) to transform the property into a nazi stronghold fit for Hitler.

Historian Randy Young said, “This was supposed to be the seat of American fascism from where Hitler would one day run the United States”.

“The neighbors were a little freaked out by the construction and weird happenings, but until war broke out, they thought they were just eccentric people.”

Attribution: Daily Mail

Joke du Jour

A Father says to his son: “I want you to marry a girl of my choice.”

His son immediately replies: “I will choose my own bride, father.”

The Father sighs: “But the girl is Bill Gates’ daughter.”

The son thinks about this only for a split second – then answers: “Well, in that case, yes! OK Dad.”

The Father then approaches Bill Gates and says: “I have a husband for your lovely daughter.”

Bill Gates quickly answers: “No chance! My daughter is too young to get married!”

The Father says: “But this young man is a vice-president of World Bank.”

Bill Gates thinks for a while then answers: “Ah well, in that case, yes, that’ll be OK with me.”

Finally the Father goes to see the president of World Bank.

The Father smiles and says: “I have a young man to recommend as a Vice-President.”

The President hurriedly answers: “Not interested, I already have more vice-presidents than I need.”

The Father continues smiling: “But this young man is Bill Gates’ son-in-law.”

A few seconds pass, then the World Bank President answers: “Ah that’s interesting, Hmmm. In that case, well yes, he may start tomorrow.”

Now that’s looking out for your kid!

The Road They’ve Traveled

Glenn Beck uncovers the origin of The new Obama campaign documentary, or propaganda film. It is truly chilling.

If you do nothing else, watch the video discussion by Beck and his crew at the end of the article. It is a real eye opener.

Link to it here

A BOSS Farmer

From Jason Mattera of Human Events:

Bruce Springsteen is a man of the people. He stands up for the little guy. A regular blue-collar Joe. A union man. A bona fide working-class hero.

And, when he’s not busy being all that… he’s a tax-dodging liberal hypocrite worth over $200 million who pretends to be a farmer to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on his property taxes that would have otherwise funded the welfare programs he pretends to care about.

That’s right. Mr. “Union Man, Blue Collar” Springsteen is a total fraud, as I explain in my brand-new book Hollywood Hypocrites: The Devastating Truth About Obama’s Biggest Backers.

Recall that Springsteen actively campaigned for Obama in 2008, hosting free concerts that attracted tens of thousands of people in key battleground states. Springsteen’s song, “The Rising,” became a campaign staple for Obama’s speech venues and culminated in him playing for Obama’s Inauguration. And this time around, the White House plans on using the aging rocker’s new politically-motivated track, “We Take Care of Our Own,” to warm up crowds as the re-election bid kicks into high gear.

So does The Boss live by the same prescriptions he and Obama wish to inflict on the rest of America?

Consider the following.

In 2011, perhaps wanting some local free press, Springsteen decided to write a letter to the editor of his town’s newspaper. In response to an article about tax cuts and aid to entitlement programs, the Boss wrote in to praise the piece for being “one of the few that highlights the contradictions between a policy of large tax cuts, on the one hand, and cuts in services to those in the most dire conditions, on the other.”

Furthermore, Springsteen wrote, “your article shows that the cuts are eating away at the lower edges of the middle class, not just those already classified as in poverty, and are likely to continue to get worse over the next few years.” Then, with his well-honed “everyman” touch, he signed the letter along with his oh‑so-common-man-sounding town name, “Colts Neck.”

A year earlier, the Boss echoed similar concerns while emphasizing his support for Obama’s constant naggings to tax the rich.

“The biggest problem we have now is almost 10 percent unemployment, but we also have the disparity of wealth,” Springsteen told London’s Sunday Times. “You can’t have an American civilization with the kind of disparity of wealth we have. It will eat away at the country’s heart and soul and spirit.”

Now, all this would be just fine and dandy. But there’s one small problem with Springsteen’s anti-tax-cut posturing: the man is a first-rate tax evader.

Bruce Springsteen pays over $138,000 a year in taxes for his three-acre home in Colts Neck, New Jersey. He owns another 200 adjoining acres. But because he has a part-time farmer come and grow a few tomatoes (organic, of course) and has horses, his tax bill on the remaining 200 acres is just $4,639 bucks. Do the math. By being a fake farmer, the working-class zero Springsteen is making a mint by robbing New Jersey of the antipoverty program funds he says they desperately need.

“I think it is unfair to our other property taxpayers that if you are a fake farmer, and that you don’t legitimately farm, that you are getting a property tax break and forcing your neighbor to pick up your tab,” said state senator Jennifer Beck. “That was not the intent of the law. It’s a violation of the public trust.” When Fox 5 New York reporter Barbara Nevins Taylor asked a lawyer for the trust that owns Springsteen’s land to comment on the Boss’s lucrative fake-farming tax breaks, predictably, the lawyer had no comment.

The tax loophole comes from the New Jersey’s Farmland Assessment Act of 1964. Originally the provision was created to help preserve agriculture in New Jersey. To qualify for the tax break, landowners must own at least five acres of land and produce just $500 a year in goods in order to qualify. Anyone who can meet those minimum standards can reduce their farmland tax bills by an astounding 98 percent.

Now, no conservative begrudges anyone—not even a die-hard Obama Zombie like Bruce Springsteen—from lowering their tax burden by taking full advantage of every tax break available to them. That’s legal and fine. But for a guy who makes hundreds of millions pretending to be a guardian of the working class, and who vocally supports Obama’s attempts to tax the rich at higher rates, to then turn around and utilize obscure tax loopholes to pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars that would otherwise go to his beloved social programs . . . well, that’s just flat-out Hollywood hypocrisy.