You Don’t Get To Rewrite the Constitution Because You Dislike Donald Trump

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Townhall.com

David Harsanyi

 

If your contention is that President Donald Trump has the propensity to sound like a bully and an authoritarian, I’m with you. If you’re arguing that Trump’s rhetoric is sometimes coarse and unpresidential, I can’t disagree. I’m often turned off by the aesthetic and tonal quality of his presidency. And, yes, Trump has an unhealthy tendency to push theories that exaggerate and embellish small truths to galvanize his fans for political gain. Those are all legitimate political concerns.

Yet the ubiquitous claim that Trump acts in a way that uniquely undermines the rule of law is, to this point, simply untrue.

At National Review, Victor Davis Hanson has it right when he argues that “elites” often seem more concerned about the “mellifluous” tone of leaders rather than their abuse of power. “Obama defies the Constitution but sounds ‘presidential,'” he writes. “Trump follows it but sounds like a loudmouth from Queens.”

But while former President Obama’s agreeable tone had plenty to do with his lack of media scrutiny, many largely justified, and even cheered, his abuses because they furthered progressive causes. Not only did liberals often ignore the rule of law when it was ideologically convenient for them; they now want the new president to play by a set of rules that doesn’t even exist.

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Dangerous Times for the Constitution and Freedom

Frontpage mag

by Bruce Thornton

While We the People distract ourselves with porn stars and royal weddings, the cracks in our Constitutional order continue to multiply and widen.

Evidence continues to mount that a sitting president, Barack Obama, colluded in using the nation’s security and surveillance apparatus to subvert the campaign and then presidency of a legitimately elected candidate and president. This effort consisted of numerous illegalities: a mole planted in Donald Trump’s campaign; a FISA warrant granted on the basis of false opposition research paid for by his rival; the outgoing president’s expansion of the number of people allowed to unmask the identity of Americans mentioned in passing during surveillance; a rogue FBI director, James Comey, who illegally usurped prosecutorial powers to exonerate a felonious Hillary Clinton; and other FBI agents colluding in the plot to damage Trump. And don’t forget a Deputy Attorney General appointing the close friend of the fired and disgraced Comey as a special counsel to investigate the non-crime of “collusion,” an investigation that has gone on for a year with nothing to show but a handful of indictments resulting from dubious perjury traps.

To quote Bob Dole, “Where’s the outrage” at these attacks on the Constitution?

Outrage is surely warranted. These assaults on the rule of law and accountability to the people are akin to the catalogue of “repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States,” published in the Declaration of Independence. Yet our “watch-dog” media in the main have become the publicists for this attack on the foundations of our freedom, as they flack for the political party that long has resented the limitation of power enshrined in the Constitution. Only a few Cassandras, notably FOX News’ Sean Hannity, are trying to alert the citizenry to the coming conflagration that if unchecked could leave the architecture of our freedom in smoking ruins.

 

In fact, what we are witnessing in the deep-state Democrats’ undermining of divided government, check and balances, and government accountability, is the culmination of a process begun over a century ago. Addled by the false knowledge of scientism and secularism in the 19th century, the progressives took aim at what they scorned as the archaic political structures based on the permanence of a flawed human nature’s susceptibility to corruption by power. Divided and balanced power, the progressives argued, is inefficient and incapable of solving the new conditions and problems created by industrialization and modern technology.

Instead, power must be concentrated, centralized, and expanded. The deliberations and votes of citizens in their towns, counties, and states must give way to the technocrats housed in bureaus and agencies, and trained in the latest discoveries and techniques of the “human sciences.” In 1925, Progressive publicist Herbert Croly expressed this hubristic and question-begging optimism for a “better future” that “would derive from the beneficent activities of expert social engineers who would bring to the service of social ideals all the technical resources which research could discover.” All they needed was the power and authority to create and apply the mechanisms of this new knowledge.

First, though, the Constitution’s antique structures must be altered. This “increased amount of centralized actions and responsibility” required, as progressive historian Charles Beard wrote in 1913, the discarding of the “strong, almost dominant, tendency to regard the existing Constitution with superstitious awe, and to shrink with horror from modifying it even in the smallest detail.” And it required discarding as well the notion of “inalienable” rights that precede government and lie beyond its power, a belief that Beard called “obsolete and indefensible.” Rights can be created by government in order to suit its own ideological and political aims, as FDR promised in his 1944 “Second Bill of Rights,” which expanded rights to include health care, recreation, and a good job, to name just a few of the gifts government would bestow on the people.

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Indictments Are Comey…er, Coming

American Thinker

By William L. Gensert

Since Barack Obama weaponized the FBI, the IRS, the NSA, the FISA court, and the CIA, citizens who believe that America is a nation of laws have been on a collision course with progressives.  Core constitutional tenets including checks and balances, equality under the law, innocent until proven guilty, and no man is above the law have been replaced with identity politics, victim culture, and weakened First and Second Amendments.

Apocryphally, Bismarck said: “God looks out for idiots, drunkards, children, and the United States of America.”

Thank God for Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Congressman Devin Nunes, Congressman Trey Gowdy, and prosecutor John Huber (appointed by Sessions to investigate the DOJ and prosecute crimes uncovered by I.G. Horowitz).

Thank God for Hillary Clinton.  Had she won, or gone gracefully into the night after losing, we wouldn’t know of the left’s plan for the usurpation of the United States Constitution.

Had Comey not wanted to be the “corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding and the baby at every christening,” these shenanigans would still be secret.

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Why the Second Amendment?

American Thinker

by Anna L. Stark

Once again and on cue, the gun-control zealots are calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment.  Former Supreme Court justice John Paul Stevens parroted the gun-grabber narrative in his recently published New York Times article: “[t]he demonstrators should seek more effective and lasting reform.  They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.”  He further bloviates that the Second is a relic of the 18th century.  It’s a sorry state of affairs when a Supreme Court justice who was tasked with upholding the U.S. Constitution – including the Bill of Rights – must be reminded why the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  You’d think a constitutional scholar would know these things.  It’s also proof positive that advanced age and wisdom are not necessarily synonymous.

The Bill of Rights Institute provides an excellent brief background on the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  Simply put and stated eloquently, “[t]he Bill of Rights is a list of limits on government power.”  Unfortunately, not only are there those in favor of surrendering their Second Amendment right, but these same people believe that government forces are incapable of oppression, subversion, coercion, or any number of other forms of tyranny.  My advice to this particular group of naïve, nattering nabobs?  Pick up any American history book and revisit why America’s Founding Fathers were familiar with government oppression – they lived it, and many gave their lives fighting it.  As history has shown time and time again, tyrants conquer the populace by instilling fear.  They rely on killing or sinister threats of harm and injury to control the masses.  Heinous killing sprees and wretched oppression of the citizenry are the result of a people unable to defend themselves.

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Senator Sasse (Among Others) Needs a History Lesson

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Family Security Matters

by WILLIAM R. HAWKINS

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) has come out strongly against President Donald Trump’s decision to impose modest tariffs on imports of foreign steel (25%) and aluminum (10%) to aid these strategic domestic industries. On his website, the Senator calls this “kooky 18th century protectionism.” On Fox News, he declared that “two centuries” of tariffs had shown this to be a policy failure. Both of his statements are wrong. America became the world’s largest industrial power using tariffs to support lines of economic development in the face of rivals who were poised and eager to capture control of the U.S. market and keep Americans in the role of providing only food and raw materials to support advances elsewhere. Indeed, any analysis of the “comparative advantages” of the U.S. in the years after independence would have consigned the new nation to an economic dependence not much different than the colonial status it had fought to escape. But America broke out of its “assigned role” and took control of its own fate; and by the dawn of the 20th century was out producing Europe’s two major industrial powers, Great Britain and Germany, combined. This achievement changed the entire course of world history.

Even those who did not like the tone of this policy, such as the left-wing critic of nationalism, Max Beer, had to concede its success. He wrote in 1901, “The United States, with its ruthlessly protectionist trade policy, vast territory and endless energies, is proving the most powerful rival to England and Germany.” When Beer wrote, President Teddy Roosevelt was in office. In a letter to his friend Sen. Henry Cabot Lodge (R-MA), TR had proclaimed “Thank God I’m not a free trader.” The Republican Party in its days of political dominance was the party of nationalism and protectionism. It had preserved the Union and was committed to building up its strength.

The origins of U.S. protectionism date back to the Founding Fathers. One of the seminal documents of American history is the “Report on Manufactures” written in 1791 by Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury in President George Washington­’s administration. He advocated a protective tariff, fearing that without import controls the southern states would turn to England and France for industrial goods rather than to the northern states. The lure of foreign trade with Europe could pull the Union apart. This nearly happened in the Civil War when the Confederacy turned to its overseas trading partners for military aid. The oligarchy of slave owners had no interest in industrializing the south and had always opposed tariffs. Their system was not just immoral, it was wrong-headed and doomed to stagnation and defeat.

The Constitution embodies Hamilton’s thinking. Article 1, section 8 gives Congress the power to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States” while Section 10 takes these powers away from the States. These two provisions create a large, unified internal market that can support the growth of domestic production in the face of overseas competition. Trade is clearly made a matter of Federal (national) policy. This had been the dream of the 17th century mercantilist Jean-Baptiste Colbert for France, but he had been unable to overcome the resistance of provincial interests. It was the dream of Friedrich List, who fled to the U.S. because of his advocacy of a united Germany. List’s book The National System of Political Economy remains a classic and his ideas influenced Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay and James Madison, among others whom he met. But that large market was created to support domestic enterprise. As conservative historian Forrest McDonald has noted.

   While rejecting laissez-faire, however, Hamilton was emphatic in his commitment to private enterprise and the market economy. Primarily this commit­ment was moral, not economic. Hamilton believed that the greatest benefit of a system of government-encouraged private enterprise was spiritual—the enlargement of the scope of human freedom and the enrichment of the opportunities for human endeavor.

Hamilton’s plan was to create a system within which Americans could attain their own success; not merely sit on the sidelines as foreign entities made the key decisions affecting the future of the U.S. economy.

Thomas Jefferson at first opposed Hamilton’s trade and industrial policies. As an agrarian, Jefferson was quite content to let the factory system, which he equated with dirty smokestacks and urban slums, stay in Europe. Writing in 1785, Jefferson said “Were I to indulge in my own theory, I should wish [our states] to practice neither commerce nor navigation but to stand, with respect to Europe, precisely on the footing of China. We should avoid wars and all our citizens would be husbandmen.” Not a wise choice of comparison given that China would soon be carved into foreign spheres of influence by the more advanced industrial powers. Today’s People’s Republic of China is driven towards rapid industrialization and technological development to prevent ever again being subject to such a “century of humiliation.”

Jefferson as President attempted to implement several of the fashionable liberal notions about foreign affairs. He laid up most of the Navy, replacing blue-water warships with tiny coastal gunboats which he thought were less provocative. He reduced the diplomatic corps. This was in line with the views of his French friend and classical economist J.B. Say who claimed, “It is not necessary to have ambassadors. This is one of the ancient stupidit­ies which time will do away with.” They should be replaced by consuls whose function would be to promote free trade.

Those on the putative Right who are led astray by “free trade” rhetoric should remember it was part of a larger body of liberal ideology which saw private commerce as the remedy for interstate war. If individuals could forge ties without regard to borders or national allegiances, then there would be no more conflicts. As the British Radical Richard Cobden claimed, “the motive for large and mighty empires, for gigantic armies and great fleets would die away.” This was (and still is) the kooky notion that controls so much liberal thought. It leads to mistaken trade policy in the real world of contending states because, as List noted, it “has assumed as being actually in existence a state of things which has yet to come into existence….a universal union and a state of perpetual peace.” The last two centuries have made hash of liberal sophistry.

The War of 1812 woke Jefferson from this liberal fantasy. He shifted to the Hamiltonian camp and argued for a new industrial policy including tariffs. He wrote, “The prohibiting duties we lay on all articles of foreign manufacture which prudence requires us to establish at home, with the patriotic determination to use no foreign articles which can be made within ourselves without regard to difference in price, secure us against a relapse into foreign dependency.”

The Hamiltonian program became the party line of the Whigs before the Civil War and the Republican Party afterwards. “By the election of 1880 protectionism virtually equaled Republican­ism” states historian Tom E. Terrill in his book The Tariff, Politics and American Foreign Policy 1874-1901. President Trump has quoted President Abraham Lincoln’s warning, “abandonment of the protective policy by the American government [will] produce want and ruin among our people.” Anyone who has seen the empty factories and blighted communities in a Middle America plundered by the “outsourcing” of production overseas has seen the proof that Lincoln was right.

As historian Paul Kennedy has argued, “How a Great Power’s position steadily alters in peacetime is as important to this study as how it fights in wartime.” During the post-Cold War euphoria of “free trade” the U.S. position was altered in a negative way; running huge trade deficits ($796 billion last year) that measured the extent that net production capacity had shifted overseas. The reason for the shift was the rise of transnational corporations looking for cheap foreign labor to replace “expensive” American workers who expected fair treatment. This united Big Business with the ghosts of the southern slave owners in the embrace of “free trade”— hardly a laudatory motive.

In contrast, proper government policy should seek to shape the flow of economic factors, including trade, with an eye to increasing the productive capacity of the nation, particularly in strategic industries. Protectionism is a central part of a proper trade policy. For example, Century Aluminum, the main domestic producer of high-purity aluminum used in military aircraft, will restart idled production lines at its smelter in eastern Kentucky in response to Trump’s tariffs. It had closed most of its operation because of import competition from China and Russia. Does anyone really want our aerospace industry to be dependent on imports from these rival foreign powers? The philosophy of “free trade” just doesn’t cut it in the real world. The United States must manage its own fate, and it can only do so from a position of economic strength; meaning resources, technology and industry under its own control.

Tampa Bay Times: Time for Confiscation!

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The Truth About Guns

by Simon Green

An unanswered question in the Florida gun debate: What to do with existing guns? That’s the scary ass headline hovering over a tampabaytimes.com article written in the aftermath of Florida’s new gun control legislation. The implication is clear: Dems don’t think it’s enough to ban “assault weapons” (which the new bill does not do). Something must be done to disarm MSR-armed civilians. No really . . .

When the Senate debated SB 7026— the gun legislation that just landed on Gov. Rick Scott’s desk — Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando sponsored an amendments that would have banned the “sale or transfer” of certain assault weapons. Under the proposal, Floridians would have had until July 1, 2019, to obtain a certificate of possession or remove their assault weapon from the state.

A policy like that would pose logistical challenges, experts said.

“If all gun sales were banned tomorrow, there’d still be plenty of guns in the U.S. in 25 years,” Jay Corzine, a professor of sociology at University of Central Florida said. Corzine researches the impact of different weapon types on mass shootings. He added that such a ban would likely be subject to legal challenges.

“Once guns are out in circulation, it’s very difficult to bring them back,” said Jaclyn Schildkraut, an expert on mass shooting research and an assistant professor of public justice at the State University of New York at Oswego. She noted that many gun control measures would punish law-abiding gun owners while likely doing little to deter criminals — who commit all mass shootings — from obtaining weapons.

Thank you for that rational and realistic analysis. Precisely the kind of logic that Florida Democrats are happy to overlook. Or, worse, ignore . . .

Those factors put Florida Democrats in a tough spot. But Rodriguez said the scale of the challenge shouldn’t be an argument against addressing it. “There are all kinds of ways of dealing with the fact that, yes, these weapons are very prevalent right now,” Rodriguez said, citing programs like gun buybacks. “It’s a question of the state dedicating resources to a problem.”

Those are the most chilling words I’ve read in a long time. The article’s closing quote from Schildkraut isn’t quite as bad, but it’s bad enough.

Even if new laws aren’t the answer, Schildkraut said, “Our job in society is to make (mass shootings) more difficult, not to make (them) easier.”

As far as gun control advocates are concerned, even if gun control doesn’t work, it works! As long as it puts Americans on a slippery slope to confiscation. In case you didn’t know.

The Radical Left and Muslim Brotherhood Continue Their Assault on Protecting Our Constitutional Rights

Family Security Matters

by CHRISTOPHER HOLTON

 

State Representative Eric Redman of Idaho, a Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Air Force, is the latest elected leader in the USA to author American Laws for American Courts legislation.

Sadly-and predictably-Representative Redman has now had to endure vicious attacks and an organized disinformation campaign engineered by radical Leftist organizations, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Muslim Brotherhood, in the form of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

While patriotic, educated Americans should view opposition from the SPLC and CAIR as a sign that American Laws for American Courts is well worth supporting, the recalcitrant and corrupt news media has aided and abetted their disinformation campaign.

Before we address the opposition’s underhanded tactics, it’s worth reviewing just what American Laws for American Courts legislation does.

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