The IRS Scandal: A Study in Government Tyranny

JEFFERSON - When the People Fear Government, there is Tyranny by Diane Rufino, April 19, 2017

“The Obama administration and its fronts in the Senate accomplished what Richard Nixon wasn’t able to accomplish, which was the suppression of an entire movement against him. That’s how you steal an election; you make sure your political opponents can’t open an office.”  —  Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which has sued the IRS to obtain documents related to the controversy

From 2010 until 2013, the IRS, under President Barack Obama, intentionally targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for 501(c) tax-exemption by delaying the processing of their applications, requesting burdensome information from them that was later deemed unnecessary, and by intimidating them into withdrawing their applications. The scheme was intended to intimidate and/or stop Tea Party and other conservative groups from engaging in political activity in the 2012 presidential election and in subsequent mid-term elections. The abuse by the IRS was orchestrated in response to the growing Tea Party/ conservative/ grassroots movement (which all of a sudden were applying in great numbers for tax-exempt organization status and which were donating in large amounts to Republican candidates and elections). The actions of the government, spearheaded by President Obama, were a clear example of government tyranny – using terror and intimidation (the full resources of the federal government) to silence political opposition.

As Rep. Darrell Issa and Rep. Jim Jordan of the House Oversight Committee explained in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koshinen: “This revelation that the IRS sent 1.1 million pages of nonprofit tax-return data — including confidential taxpayer information — to the FBI confirms suspicions that the IRS worked with the Justice Department to facilitate the potential investigation of nonprofit groups engaged in lawful political speech.”

To date, and there is no surprise here, the IRS and its officials, have escaped justice and punishment. Its aggressive 3-year campaign against conservative grassroots organizations to suppress their first amendment rights of speech, expression, and assembly, and its illegal leaking of private tax information for political purposes, and its turning of the executive branch of the federal government into a thug ring for the Democratic Party has been explained away as mere incompetency and a lack of proper oversight.

The fact that Lois Lerner escaped prison, that records were destroyed in a campaign to obstruct justice and allow other guilty parties to escape punishment, and that John Koskinen retain his job as the IRS commissioner are scandals in and of themselves. Last fall, House Republicans took steps to have John Koskinen removed by impeaching him for his role in covering up Lerner’s crimes, his misleading a congressional investigation, his obstruction of Congress (defying a subpoena), and outright lying to Congress. Unfortunately, on December 6, House GOP leaders managed to derail impeachment, forcing the debate back to a committee for more study, where it silently died when Congress adjourned at the end of the year.

While most believe the scandal and the government abuse subsided in 2013 when the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released an audit report concluded that the IRS had in fact used inappropriate criteria to identify, target, and then harass Tea Party and other conservative organizations in their applications for 501(c) tax-exempt status, the fact is that the IRS continued to improperly use its power to influence the 2016 presidential campaign and apparently still has hold-over rogue elements from the Obama administration who are secretly trying to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency. How else could Donald Trump’s tax returns have been leaked?  How else was it possible that Trump’s 1995 tax information was leaked during the 2016 presidential election season to Clinton’s team, just in time for the presidential debates? How can we forget her accusation and then the ensuing political pressure from the media for Trump to release his tax returns.  Remember what she said in the September 2016 debate;  “You’ve gotta ask yourself, why won’t he release his tax returns? And I think there may be a couple of reasons. First, maybe he’s not as rich as he says he is. Second, maybe he’s not as charitable as he claims to be. Third, we don’t know all of his business dealings, but we have been told, through investigative reporting that, he owes about $650 million to Wall Street and foreign banks. Or maybe he doesn’t want the American people, all of you watching tonight, to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes. Because the only years that anybody has ever seen, were a couple of years where he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license. And they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.”

And how was it that an “anonymous” package with Trump’s 2005 tax return and tax info was mailed to the New York Times in early March?  [See my article “How Quickly Trump’s Tax Return Story Has Disappeared,” April 23, 2017].  Someone at the IRS, apparently still having the capability of treating it as a rogue agency, committed a felony. And Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, who received the tax returns from the Times and who was salivating over the chance to humiliate Trump, chose to insinuate that our President was the criminal and not the felon from the federal government.

Why do I suggest that the “leaked” tax information during the presidential campaign season and the anonymous package to the NY Times containing Trump’s 2005 tax return came from a rogue element still entrenched in the IRS?  Oh geeeezz, let me see…   All one needs to do is recall the 2012 targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups by the IRS for the purpose of reelecting President Obama.  The thought of someone at the agency doing a similar favor for Obama’s successor doesn’t seem so far-fetched. The tendency to hold on to power is natural.  Machiavelli explained this to us. The link between the IRS and Trump’s leaked tax returns is persuasive.

Furthermore, the history and modus operandi of both Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner, head of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS and mastermind of the Tea Party targeting scandal, appear very similar similar….  break rules, skirt the law, and then destroy evidence by deleting emails and destroying hard drives and servers. It’s a Democrat thing.  They benefit from the lawbreaking but escape justice by destroying evidence, which is itself a crime. Both used their positions in government not to genuinely and constitutionally serve the legitimate interests of the American people in general, but rather to advance personal and/or political goals. Lerner targeted the Tea Party. And Hillary collected lots of money by making personal deals while as Secretary of State to enrich her presidential campaign.  And then she had officials of the government “provide” her with ammunition (Trump’s tax returns) to beat Donald Trump.  Both “lost” or destroyed the emails that would have proven their crimes.

The New York Times says “someone” sent the documents to a reporter so it has no criminal liability in publishing it. Constitutional law is fairly firm on this point. But as a lawyer, I find that at times it fails to pass the “smell test.” In other words, the policy sometimes stinks!!  How is an ordinary citizen supposed to reconcile this reality:  “If a private citizen receives stolen property, they go to jail.  But if a reporter receives stolen documents, they receive the Pulitzer Prize.”  [Daniel John Sobieski, “Rogue IRS Felons Vindicate Trump.” American Thinker]. To the very end, the Obama administration, through the officials he put in place, used the power of the federal government for strictly political purposes – for the purpose of assassinating the character of a presidential candidate, helping Hillary Clinton win the election, and to further entrench the agenda of the Democratic party in government. The IRS had never ceased serving as the nefarious arm of the political left to target conservatives and lessen their chances in the political arena. And even as a new administration is taking over the federal government, Obama officials still in remaining at the agency are using the same power to obstruct the efforts of a legitimately-elected president of another (an opposing) political party.

Think about this –  Hillary Clinton, as a candidate for president, continued to receive the highest levels of support from the government (including control of the media and access to illegally-disclosed confidential information) even after she had abused that government’s power and prestige and had clearly broken many of the laws put in place to provide transparency to the American people. And, the President of the United States and the Democratic Party (the party having full control and power in government) co-opted all the functions, resources, and instrumentalities of t government, and their influence/pressure as well, in order to help her and to interfere in the campaign of a presidential candidate that threatened their power. It wasn’t the Russians. It was the Obama administration itself.  If this isn’t the definition of government tyranny or the definition of government corruption, I don’t know what is.

It’s about time the American people learned the true extent to which the government had turned on them, had violated their precious liberties, sought to target and silence them, and threatened their voice in government.  This investigation is necessary so that We the People, and conservative watchdog groups, can seek protections to make sure it never happens again.

We exercise the First Amendment so that we don’t have to exercise the Second !!

INTRO — 

We all know how fundamental the rights of conscience, religion, and speech are.  The rights of conscience and religion are the beginnings of thought.  Speech is how we express that thought.

More than that, from a liberty point of view, it is our first amendment right that protects all the others by giving voice and publication when government violates them. It alerts the People to weigh for themselves how much they value their rights and liberties. And then it is the second amendment that ultimately secures all other rights from tyranny in government.

In the IRS scandal, we had the Obama administration using the IRS as a tool of terror, of intimidation to silence the Tea Party –  his party’s political opposition. In theory and practice, it was much like Hitler and his gestapo. Political speech was frozen by government action, first and foremost, and then there were the Tea Party groups and folks who self-censored for fear of having the IRS target them, audit them, and god-forbid come up with some trumped-up charge to make their lives a living hell, fine them, or imprison them.

Why?  Because he was working to win the 2012 election for himself and his party and to win mid-term elections.  In fact, documents released just last week by Judicial Watch confirm that President Obama’s IRS improperly targeted conservatives in order to help him win the 2012 presidential election.

On April 14, 2015, Judicial Watch announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the IRS seeking “any and all records” related to the selection of both individuals and organizations for audits based upon applications filed requesting nonprofit tax status.

Political speech and expression is the most protectable form of speech; it was intended to help We the People flesh out ideas, assess honestly and fully what the government is doing, figure out which candidates are best to govern on our behalf, and to see that government operates as best and as responsibly as possible from our end. Our Founding Fathers appreciated the importance of protected political speech from the lessons taught throughout the colorful history of England. We can never forget that the government is OUR government and not the government of a political party. It operates on us, as individuals, in our lives, our property, our revenue, our liberty, and in our ability to live freely. Political parties are merely political organizations looking for power, not human results.

THE IRS and TAX-EXEMPTION

US federal tax law, specifically Section 501(c)(4) of the IRS code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)), exempts certain types of nonprofit organizations from having to pay federal income tax. The statutory language of IRC 501(c)(4) generally requires civic organizations described in that section to be “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare“. Treasury regulations interpreting this statutory language apply a more relaxed standard, namely, that the organization “is operated primarily for the purpose of bringing about civic betterments and social improvements.” As a result, the IRS traditionally has permitted organizations described in IRC 501(c)(4) to engage in lobbying and political campaign activities if those activities are not the organization’s primary activity.

TIMELINE of the IRS SCANDAL —

(1)  On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court decided Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010) is a U.S. constitutional law and corporate law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held (5–4) that freedom of speech prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.

All of a sudden, non-profit groups could spend money to engage in political activity and to influence elections. At the time, the Tea Party movement had just taken off, and:

  • Most of the applications to the IRS for tax-exempt 501(c) status were conservative groups, and
  • Most of the money pouring into TV and radio ads to influence elections were from conservative groups to benefit Republican candidates

(2)  Beginning in March 2010, when the Tea Party movement was the rage, the IRS more closely scrutinized certain organizations applying for tax-exempt status under sections 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code by focusing on groups with certain words in their names. IRS staffers began flagging applications from groups with politically themed names like “We the People” and “Take Back the Country.” Staffers also targeted groups whose names included the words “Tea Party,” “patriots,” and “912” (a movement started by Glenn Beck). Those flagged applications were then sent to specialists for a more rigorous review than is typical. (This info, this timeline, came from a draft report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, May 2013).

In May 2010, some employees of the “Determinations Unit” of the Cincinnati office of the IRS, which is tasked with reviewing applications pertaining to tax-exempt status, began developing a spreadsheet that became known as the “Be On the Look Out” (“BOLO”) list.

The list, first distributed in August 2010, suggested intensive scrutiny of applicants with names related to a number of political causes, including names related to the Tea Party movement and other conservative causes. Eventually, IRS employees in Ohio, California, and Washington, DC applied closer scrutiny to applications from organizations that:

  • referenced words such as “Tea Party“, “Patriots”, or “9/12 Project“, “progressive,” “occupy,” “Israel,” “open source software,” “medical marijuana” and “occupied territory advocacy” in the case file;[34][35]
  • outlined issues in the application that included government spending, government debt, or taxes;
  • involved advocating or lobbying to “make America a better place to live”;
  • had statements in the case file that criticized how the country is being run;
  • advocated education about theConstitution and the Bill of Rights;
  • were focused on challenging thePatient Protection and Affordable Care Act—known by many as Obamacare;
  • questioned the integrity of federal elections.

Over the two years between April 2010 and April 2012, there was an increase of applications for 501(c) tax-exempt status – from 1,500 applications to more than double that amount, 3,400.  The government (controlled by Democrats) took notice.  The IRS essentially placed on hold the processing of applications for 501(c)(4) tax-exemption status received from organizations with “Tea Party”, “patriots”, or “9/12” in their names. While apparently none of these organizations’ applications were denied during this period, only 4 were approved. During the same general period, the agency approved applications from several dozen presumably liberal-leaning organizations whose names included terms such as “progressive”, “progress”, “liberal”, or “equality.  Only 3 groups were targeted had the word “occupy” in their name.

Tea Party groups targeted by the IRS for scrutiny and delay were forced to provide such information as:

  • Names, addresses, and emails of all their members
  • Names, addresses, and emails of everyone who has ever attended any of their meetings
  • The names of the donors, contributors, and grantors. If the donor, contributor, or grantor has run or will run for a public office, identify the office. If not, please confirm by answering this question “No”.
  • The amounts of each of the donations, contributions, and grants and the dates you received them.
  • How did the group use these donations, contributions, and grants. Provide Details.
  • A copy of every presentation given by every speaker at their meetings
  • A copy of the flyer or announcement for each meeting
  • Copies of all materials passed out at all meetings
  • Biographies of every speaker at their meetings
  • “Provide the following information for the income you received and raised for the years from inception to the present. Also, provide the same information for the income you expect to receive and raise for 2012, 2013, and 2014.”
  • Copies of any contracts the group is a party to
  • Copies of all training materials the group has used or will use with the Koch Foundation
  • Copies of stories and articles that have been published about the organization and/or any of its members.

Organizations were told that if the information was not provided, they would not be certified as “tax-exempt.”  And even if all the information was provided, the IRS would scrutinize it and further delay the application by following up with probing questions. For example, The Coalition for Life of Iowa, a pro-life group, was asked to “Please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood are considered educational as defined under 501(c)(3). Please explain in detail the activities at these prayer meetings. Also, please provide the percentage of time your group spends on prayer groups as compared with other activities of the organization.”

(3)  In June 2011, Lois Lerner, Director of the director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), reportedly became aware of what was going on and directed staffers to change to how they vetted nonprofit applications.

(4)  By the spring of 2012, so many conservative groups had complained about the IRS harassing them that Republicans in Congress took notice. Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.) sent the IRS a letter asking why it was targeting Tea partiers, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) held a hearing in which he grilled then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee, over the agency’s treatment of conservative groups. Shulman denied that his agency was targeting conservatives, and the controversy remained quiet until Lerner’s apology (in May; see below).

(5)  In early May 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, Michael McKenney, released a preliminary audit report confirming that the IRS used inappropriate criteria to identify potential political cases, including organizations with Tea Party in their names. The final report would be released on May 14.

(6)  On May 10, in advance of the public release of the audit findings, Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division of the IRS, Lois Lerner, “apologized” for what she termed were “absolutely inappropriate” actions by the IRS. She would then blame the actions on lower-ranked employees out of a Cincinnati office.

(7)  On May 12, Republican and Democratic lawmakers called for a full investigation of the IRS. At a  press conference the next day, President Obama called the charges “outrageous” if true, and said those responsible should be held accountable.  On May 14, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered the Justice Department to begin an investigation as to whether the conduct amounted to criminal behavior.

(8)  The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found gross violations. His investigation found that of the 296 total conservative non-profit applications reviewed in the audit conduct in December 2012, no work at all was conducted on them for at least 13 months. Of those 296 applications, 108 had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant because of frustration and seeming harassment, none had been denied, and 160 were left open – without moving them forward – for more than three years and spanning two election cycles, During that time, the organizations were hit with burdensome questions and numerous requests for more information.

Clearly, the IRS was abusing its power.  Clearly, the Obama administration was abusing its government power to silence political opposition.

(9)  In early May, following the Inspector General’s report, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-OH), began an investigation into the IRS. Additionally, the House Committee on Ways and Means expanded its ongoing 2011 investigation into possible IRS political targeting.

On May 22, 2013, in her opening statement to the Oversight Committee, Lois Lerner stated: “I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations. And I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.” Lerner then invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify.

House Republicans dismissed Lerner’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment as ineffective, with chairman Issa (R- OH) stating: “You don’t get to use a public hearing to tell the public and press your side of the story and then invoke the Fifth.”  Democrats characterized the contempt proceeding as a “witch hunt” geared toward the 2014 midterm elections.

(10)  In June 2013, the IRS revealed that it had selected political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on their names or political themes. In other words, they were intentionally targeting conservative groups – particularly ones with the name “Tea Party” or “Patriot” or “912” in their name. It admitted that it improperly frustrated and held up their applications. Judicial Watch has recently confirmed (thanks to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act) that the targeting began in 2010.

(11)  In August 2013, Democratic congressman Chris Van Hollen (Md) filed suit against the IRS seeking to overturn a rule that had been on the books since 1959 which allowed social welfare groups to engage in political activity. For 54 years, the IRS has respected that rule and has allowed 501(c)(4) groups to engage in political activity, as long as it wasn’t their primary mission. That rule has been widely interpreted as allowing such tax-exempt groups to spend 49% of their money on politics — without disclosing where that money came from.

It was this 1959 IRS rule that was at the center of Tea Party scandal.

However, more insidiously, the law suit had a lot to do with the greater flexibility granted to groups to engage in political expression with the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.. This case overturned many previous restrictions on political campaign spending and allowed nearly unlimited and often anonymous spending by corporations and other groups to influence elections. Some Tea Party leaders began forming political action committees as offshoots of their 501(c)-tax-exempt organizations –  501(c)(4) groups – to spend money to influence elections or at least to become politically involved.

So, in 2012, Obama won re-election, although very narrowly.  Tea Party groups were actively speaking out against Obamacare and his bail-out policies, and everything else. And now they have been empowered to continue being active, by the Citizens united decision. Tea Party groups started raising money and pouring money into what is called “anonymous politics” –  not being part of the Republican or Democratic parties. Ordinary citizens, exercising their right of political expression in groups (where there is more power than being exercised at the individual level).

In September 2010, it was reported by The New York Times that almost all of the biggest players among third-party groups, in terms of buying television time in House and Senate races since August of that year, have been 501(c) organizations, and their purchases have heavily favored Republicans….     Remember, the Tea Party movement essentially started in 2009 – 2010.  [CNBC’s Rick Santelli was on the floor of Chicago’s mercantile exchange in Feb. 2009, ranting about the government’s bail-out policy and announced: He urged all capitalists to join him to start a new Tea Party movement].

Between 2010 and 2012, the number of applications the IRS received each year seeking 501(c)(4) certification doubled, many being Tea Party groups and other conservative groups. Democrats became worried. By early 2012, House and Senate Democrats started pressuring the IRS to scrutinize 501(c) non-profit applications and make sure they aren’t seeking the status to engage in political activity.

Van Hollen, who was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, by filing the lawsuit sought to force the IRS to draft new rules requiring that the tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups strictly comply with the section of the IRS code that requires such groups to be “operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.”  Van Hollen and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sought to limit conservative 501(c) non-profit groups from pouring money into political campaigns.

Apparently, Van Hollen didn’t like how Democrats were responding to the emerging scandal which had just broken 2 months earlier and was hoping to emphasize the point that under the Obama administration, the IRS was merely trying to resolve the legal issues surrounding political activities by tax-exempt groups and return to the intention of the IRS code for tax exemption – to further social work.

Jay Sekulow and his American Center for Law & Justice, represented 41 Tea Party groups and sued the IRS over what he called “Political Targeting.” He said that Van Hollen’s agenda raises “serious First Amendment issues.”

Sekulow said: “Political speech is protected by the First Amendment.  Anonymous pamphleteering is as old as our country, and deserves just as much constitutional protection.”  He also said: “If Van Hollen wants to change the code, he should do that through the legislative process” and not try to by-pass the rightful branch, the legislative branch, by going to the improper branch, the judicial branch (or the federal courts).

(12)  On January 15, 2014, the FBI announced that it had found no evidence warranting the filing of federal criminal charges in connection with the affair. The FBI stated it found no evidence of “enemy hunting” of the kind that had been suspected, but that the investigation did reveal the IRS to be a mismanaged bureaucracy enforcing rules that IRS personnel did not fully understand. The officials indicated, however, that the investigation would continue.

Disturbingly, in February, while the investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) was ongoing, President Obama stated there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS.

(13)  On April 9, the House Committee on Ways and Means voted to send a letter to the Department of Justice referring former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois G. Lerner for criminal prosecution. The Committee’s nearly three-year investigation uncovered evidence of willful misconduct on the part of Ms. Lerner.   In particular, the Committee found that Ms. Lerner used her position to improperly influence IRS action against conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law.  The Committee also found she impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  Finally, Lerner risked exposing, and it was actually alleged (even in a lawsuit) that she did expose, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of IRS section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.

(14)  Two months later, on June 13, the IRS notified Republican congressional investigators that it had lost Lerner’s emails from January 2009 to April 2011 because of a mid-2011 computer crash.  The emails were under subpoena as part of the congressional investigation. June 19, the IRS said that the damaged hard drive containing Lerner’s missing emails had been disposed of more than two years prior.

On July 9, 2014, Republicans released an April 13, 2013 email from Lerner in which she cautioned colleagues to “be cautious about what we say in emails.”

(15)  On September 5, the IRS said it lost additional emails of five workers under congressional investigation, blaming computer crashes. These five workers include two people based in Cincinnati who worked on Tea Party cases.  According to the IRS, the crashes all predate congressional investigations and had occurred between September 2009 and February 2014.

(16)  On September 5, 2014, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released its report on the scandal, finding that inappropriate screening criteria were definitely used but concluded that there was no intentional wrongdoing or political bias in the use of the criteria.  A few months later, in December, Chairman Issa released a new report that found that “the IRS’s inability to keep politics out of objective decisions about interpretation of the tax code damaged its primary function: an apolitical tax collector that Americans can trust to treat them fairly.”

(17)  In January 2015, the US Senate requested that the White House produce all communications it has had with the IRS since 2010.

(18)  On August 5, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee released a report that concluded that management at the IRS had been “delinquent in its responsibility to provide effective control, guidance, and direction over the processing of applications for tax-exempt status filed by Tea Party and other political advocacy organizations” and that it was only guilty of poor planning and oversight.

(19)  In October 2015, the Justice Department notified Congress that there would be no charges against the former IRS official Lois Lerner or against anyone else in the IRS. The investigation found no evidence of illegal activity or the partisan targeting of political groups and found that no IRS official attempted to obstruct justice. The DOJ investigation did find evidence of mismanagement and Lerner’s poor judgement in using her IRS account for personal messages but said “poor management is not a crime.”

(20)  Four days after the Justice Department closed its investigation, 19 members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee led by the Committee’s Chairman, Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), filed a resolution to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Those sponsoring the impeachment resolution to remove Koskinen from office accused him of failing to prevent the destruction of evidence in allowing the erasure of back-up tapes containing thousands of e-mails written by Lois Lerner, and of making false statements under oath to Congress. In a statement released by the Committee, Chaffetz said Koskinen “failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled. Impeachment is the appropriate tool to restore public confidence in the IRS and to protect the institutional interests of Congress.”

(21)  Last month, as part of an ongoing investigation into the IRS scandal and an ongoing inquiry by Judicial Watch, the government released names of 426 organizations which had been improperly targeted by the IRS because of their politics. Another 40 were not released as part of the list because they had already opted out of being part of the class-action suit. That total is much higher than the 298 groups the IRS‘ Inspector General identified back in May 2013, when investigators first revealed the agency had been subjecting applications to long and potentially illegal delays, and forcing them to answer intrusive questions about their activities.

(22)  Courts have already ruled against the IRS.  For example, in 2016, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals did so and noted in its ruling: “501(c)(4) groups may not collect tax-deductible donations, but they may engage in relatively unfettered political advocacy, including election advocacy. 501(c)(4) groups range from national organizations—including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Rifle Association, and the Sierra Club—to local neighborhood associations.”

(23)  There has been a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch and its investigation into the scandal continues. It has just received almost 700 pages of documents (61% redacted) under the Freedom of Information Act which proves the scheme by the Obama administration to target Tea Party groups into silence and inactivity in political elections. Its current lawsuit is seeking at least 7000 pages of documents related to the IRS scandal that have been hidden from Congress and the American people. The IRS, under the Obama administration, intentionally sought to restrict Tea Party activity and especially in political elections.

Responding to the lawsuit, Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in a sworn declaration that Lerner’s Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”   In a USA Today opinion column, James S. Robbins wrote, “For a scandal that is frequently derided as ‘fake,’ it is amazing how often real evidence disappears. The disappearing act is so frequent, it is reasonable to wonder whether it is really a systematic attempt to destroy evidence of abuse of power.”

(24)  The current US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has been asked by Congressional Republicans to re-evaluate the evidence against the IRS and against Lois Lerner and re-open the investigation.  At present, Sessions seems noncommittal on the matter.  Taxpayers deserve to know that the DOJ’s previous evaluation was not tainted by politics. 

TARGETING POLICIAL OPPOSITION IS TYRANNY –

The IRS scandal was egregious and conservatives should be enraged. I would say all Americans should be enraged but judging from the conduct of Democrats, they seem to be fine with anything that shuts up a conservative – even if it means denying their basic constitutional rights.  But an assault on the rights of one group in the end will be an assault on everyone’s rights down the road. Looking the other way while the government violates the rights of certain citizens is a dangerous thing. Allowing the government to get away with it is worse.  Allowing the government to silence political opposition is to put our free society at risk.

As President Harry Truman once warned: “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”  [In a Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]

References:

Audit Report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review.”  Referenced at:  https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2013reports/201310053fr.html

Diane Rufino, “How Quickly Trump’s Tax Return Story Has Disappeared,”  Forloveofgodandcountry blog, April 23, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://forloveofgodandcountry.com/2017/04/23/how-quickly-the-trump-tax-return-story-has-disappeared/

IRS Targeting Controversy, Wikipedia.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRS_targeting_controversy

“The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals: Another Court Ruling Confirms IRS Illegally Targeted Tea Party and Conservative Groups,” CEI.org, November 21, 2016.  Referenced at:  https://cei.org/blog/another-court-ruling-confirms-irs-illegally-targeted-tea-party-and-conservative-groups

Andy Kroll, “The IRS Tea Party Scandal Explained,” Mother Jones, November 21, 2013.  Referenced:  http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/05/irs-tea-party-scandal-congress-nonprofit-obama

Stephen Dinan and Seth McLaughlin, “House Republicans Derail Impeachment Effort Against IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner,” The Washington Times, December 6, 2016.  Referenced at:  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/6/john-koskinen-irs-commissioner-spared-impeachment-/

David Barstow, Russ Bruettner, Susanne Craig, and Megan Twohey, “Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades,” The New York Times, November 2, 2016.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-taxes.html

Adam Liptak, “Is It Illegal to Publish a President’s Tax Returns,” The New York Times, March 15, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/15/us/politics/trump-tax-returns-legal-precedent.html

Daniel John Sobieski, “Rogue IRS Felons Vindicate Trump,” American Thinker, March 16, 2917.  Referenced at:  http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2017/03/rogue_irs_felons_vindicate_trump.html

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What Our Founding Generation Would Have Said About Obamacare

tea-party-you-mean-we-can-tax-them-for-not-buying-tea       by Diane Rufino, February 25, 2017

Although we are on the verge of having President Obama’s signature piece of legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka, “Obamacare”) repealed and replaced, I am writing this piece to remind folks of the loss of freedom we suffered at the hands of President Obama and his administration with the unconstitutional and universal healthcare scheme he misrepresented and then forced on the American people.

The assault on the precious liberties of the American people were realized by only a handful (and certainly not the liberal members of the Supreme Court) and to half of these, it didn’t matter. When I talk about those who could care less, I am referring to the Republican members of Congress, who for years seemed unable to craft legislation or summon a vote.

Certainly, the caliber of an “American” has changed. We should all shutter for the future of our republic and for the security of the liberties our forefathers fought a revolution for. The debacle known as Obamacare has shown that they are never secure in the face of a hostile president who uses a “phone and a pen” and secret meetings to pressure legislation that that are violative of them.

Yes, it would be wonderful for everyone to have healthcare insurance to help them with their healthcare costs. It would be great if insurance didn’t make it cost prohibitive for those with pre-existing conditions. It would be great if times were like they were many years ago when everyone went to school, took their education seriously, got a job, and took care of themselves and their families. But jobs are scarce and people willing to invest in themselves and look for a job are even scarcer. It would be great if people took stock of their health and avoided tobacco, drugs, and fattening foods so that they are not obese and prone to diabetes and heart disease and therefore put an enormous strain on our healthcare system, but they don’t.

Yes, there are poor people out there. Some are poor because of a legitimate situation but most are poor because of a mindset and lifestyle choice. Some complain about being poor but don’t want a job; they merely want to be made more comfortable in poverty, which the Democratic Party is all-too-happy to do. Dependents make the most loyal voters. Why would anyone want to set an alarm to get up early every morning, worry about shuffling their kids to daycare, deal with traffic on the roads, put up with bullshit at work, put up with a horrible boss, have to show up even when they don’t feel well, strive to earn a decent performance evaluation just to hopefully be able to take home the same amount of money the following year, stress out about whether he or she has job security, balance work with other parenting obligations (such as when children get sick), and deal with limited days off when they could stay home, sleep late, get a welfare check from the government, have their apartments paid for, heating and air-conditioning paid for, food paid for, daycare covered (even though they aren’t working), a free cell phone, and free healthcare. Why do they need to work? Why would they even want to work?

American used to produce things. Americans used to be productive citizens. They were ambitious, resourceful, proud. Our government programs are creating the human waste and decay that is beginning to define America and destroy our cities, our schools, and our ability to live contently amongst each other. How can one group of Americans, who work hard, raise their families responsibly, pay their taxes and then find out that those exceedingly high taxes are going to pay for others and their families, have any respect for the latter? They don’t. They don’t look at them as equals.

But there is a constitutional way to solve problems and there is an unconstitutional way to solve them. And that’s why it is so important to vet presidential candidates for their constitutional character and not make choices based on skin color or social justice.

And so, a lesson taught so well that it inspired a revolution has been lost on today’s generation of Americans. And that lesson was to never yield individual liberties to the designs of government, even if those designs are well-intentioned. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote: “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficient… The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.”

The lesson of the Boston Tea Party, an act of civil disobedience and protest that inspired today’s Sons of Liberty movement (the Tea Party), is an important and timeless lesson.

On the night of December 16,1773, members of the Sons of Liberty dressed as Indians, boarded three ships in the Boston harbor, and tossed 342 chests of tea overboard. They did this to protest the Tea Act. The Tea Act was actually not so bad in its provisions – it provided a high-quality tea, at lower costs than the colonists had been used to, and at a lower tax than what they had been previously used to. So why were the colonists so upset?

The Tea Act of 1773 was a follow-up to the Revenue Act, which was one of the laws in the hugely unpopular Townshend Acts. The Townshend Acts set new import duties (taxes) on British goods including paint, paper, lead, glass and tea. Due to protests from British merchants, whose trade was seriously effected by the American colonists refusing to buy the goods, Parliament ultimately repealed all of the duties (taxes) – except the tax on tea.

The principal objective of the Tea Act was to reduce the massive amount of tea held by the financially-troubled British East India Company in its London warehouses and to help the struggling company survive and to do so, it created a monopoly on the sale of tea to the colonies to the East India Company. It allowed the East India company to sell its large tea surplus below the prices charged by colonial competitors and thus under-cut and threatened local tea merchants. It was able to sell its tea at lower prices because the Act granted the Company the right to ship its tea directly to North America from its China warehouses (without first stopping at Britain to pay export duties). However, as mentioned earlier, the tea imposed on the colonies was still subject to the tea tax under the Revenue Act.

Specifically, the Tea Act provided:

1. Tea could be shipped in East India Company ships directly from China to the American colonies, thus avoiding the tax on goods first due England, as required by previous legislation.

2. A duty (tax) of 3 pence per pound was to be collected on tea delivered to America. [The previous duty (tax) was 12 pence (1 shilling) per pound, which was paid on tax which had been sent from Britain, so colonists would be paying LESS in tea tax with this Act. Also, interestingly, they would be getting their tea cheaper than the people of Britain !!].

3. The tea would be marketed and forced on colonists by special consignees (receivers of shipments) who would be selected by the East India Tea Company.

The new import tax of 3 pence was considerably less than the previous tea tax on the colonists, in which 12 pence (1 shilling) per pound on tea sent via Britain, so colonists would be paying LESS in tea tax with the Tea Act of 1773. Also, interestingly, they would be getting their tea cheaper than the people of Britain !! Even King George III was reported to comment that “the colonists will finally be happy!” and will stop protesting.

The Act also encouraged British agents to seek out local merchants of tea who were smuggling in tea (in violation of the new law) and shut down their operations. In effect, they were making sure the monopoly on tea was complete and that colonists were buying only the tea that the British Parliament were forcing on them.

While the average contemporary American might look at the bottom dollar and assess the law based on their pocketbook and conclude that the Tea Act was good and fair, our founding generation looked at the insidious violations to their fundamental liberties embedded in this seemingly harmless law.

First of all, the Tea Act forced the colonists to purchase Company tea on which the Townshend duties were paid, thus implicitly asserting Parliament’s right of taxation. Even though the costs and the taxes were lowered, they would not back down on their demand that there be “No Taxation Without Representation!” This basic English right was secured in the Magna Carta of 1215 and re-asserted over and over again up until the English Bill of Rights of 1689, which essentially transferred government power from the King to the peoples’ house – Parliament. And second, the Tea Act compelled the colonists to buy a product identified by a legislative body far away. It took away their right to enjoy competition and to pursue livelihoods.

If men like Sam Adams, John Hancock, James Otis Jr., Paul Revere were alive today, they would have called out Obamacare for violations similar to those in the Tea Act. They wouldn’t be complaining about the increased premiums or the frustration in signing up for healthcare… they would be sounding the alarm to government compulsion and unconstitutional taxation.

Let’s hope that when Obamacare is repealed it will be replaced by a scheme that divests the federal government of compulsion power over the American people and returns power to the free market system. And let’s help educate our lesser-informed members of society that those who are all too happy to receive hand-outs from the government are the most insidious threats to the very liberty upon which our country was founded. “A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares about more than he does about his personal safety,” wrote John Stuart Mill, “is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

Constitution Day 2013

Constitution - #2  by Diane Rufino

Last Tuesday was Constitution Day – September 17.  It marks the day that the Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 concluded and the final draft of Constitution was signed by the delegates who attended.  It is fitting that this is the day we choose to honor the US Constitution.  As we all probably know, the Convention was called in a somewhat devious and misleading manner.  James Madison and others from Virginia called the Convention (after securing a promise that the most beloved man in America would serve as its president – George Washington) for the express purpose of AMENDING the Articles of Confederation and tweaking the Continental Congress (the government at the time) to make it more effective. The most glaring defect of the common government was its ability to raise the revenue it needed to carry out its functions.

All the states sent delegates except Rhode Island.  And so 12 of our original 13 states participated in Philadelphia. Collectively they appointed 70 individuals to the Constitutional Convention.  But a number of our most important Founding Fathers did not accept or could not attend. These included Richard Henry Lee (of VA), Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. Jefferson, who authored the Declaration, was overseas at the time, acting as Minister to France. And Patrick Henry did not trust the intentions of some of the delegates.  He found out the real intention of the Convention – to scratch the Articles entirely and to write a new Constitution and design a new government.  Patrick Henry suspected that New York’s delegate, Alexander Hamilton, a strong monarchist, would try to get his way and fashion our new government after the British Monarchy. And so Henry declined to go to Philadelphia, claiming: “I smell a rat.”

And so when a total of 55 delegates from the states met in Philadelphia, they soon found out the real purpose of the gathering. Some did not take the news very well and argued that they did not have the proper authority to abandon the Articles of Confederation.  James Madison, George Mason and Edmond Randolph, all of Virginia, arrived in Philadelphia well-prepared. In fact, Madison was the first to arrive.  He arrived in February, three months before the convention began, with a Plan already prepared and a blueprint for the new Constitution and government in place. Although he authored the Plan, it was Randolph, who was Governor of Virginia at the time, who proposed it at the Convention – in the form of 15 resolutions. It was known as the Virginia Plan. It called for a strong NATIONAL government with many centralized functions and also with a UNIVERSAL VETO power over the States.  Madison called it a “universal negative.” Under Madison’s Virginia’s Plan, the government would have the power to veto any state law “for any case whatsoever.”

Luckily, the Virginia delegation couldn’t sell all of their plan to the other states and the Convention turned out to be a 4-month exercise in compromise and well-intentioned debate.  In the end, on September 17th, we got a constitution that created a limited FEDERAL government.  It was quite different in many respects from the government that the Virginians proposed. Luckily, the overwhelming number of delegates at the Convention that year did not believe in concentrating too much power in a common government; they believed that government is most responsive when it is closest to the People and so they remained steadfast that the bulk of government power must remain with the States.  A government that is closest to the People can serve them best and can be “altered or abolished” by them when circumstances demand it.

The delegates ranged in age from Jonathan Dayton (of NJ), aged 26, to Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, who was so infirm that he had to be carried to sessions in a chair. They brought with them the interests of their States and their people. They brought with them a wealth of knowledge and a keen eye on the prize they fought for in the American Revolution (which Patrick Henry would later describe as “that precious jewel – Liberty”).  They brought with them their understanding of what a common government should do to serve them and also to serve a common good for all States.  Not one State intended to surrender its sovereignty or its influence.  Not one state intended to surrender its individual identity for a “national” identity.

In the close of the Convention, only 39 delegates would feel compelled to sign the Constitution.  Many refused to sign because there was no Bill of Rights.  More than half of the Virginia delegation wouldn’t sign, including Mr. Randolph himself and George Mason (who wrote Virginia’s Bill of Rights). Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts was another powerhouse that refused to sign it.  A Bill of Rights, they argued, was an absolute necessity to limit any government.

The particular opposition by George Mason is most compelling.  While Elbridge Gerry was, by most accounts, cantankerous, irritable, and most disagreeable to many things and Randolph was likely sulking since his Plan was rejected in good part and believing that the States would ultimately reject a new constitution anyway, it was Mason who refused to sign based on pure principle.

George Mason didn’t trust a large republican government…  not without a Bill of Rights, that’s for certain.  He believed certain stipulations were necessary to protect the liberties of the People from the reaches of government.  James Madison, on the other hand, argued against a Bill of Rights. It was his position that such stipulations weren’t necessary due to the nature of the Constitution. He argued that the Constitution specifically enumerated the powers that were delegated to the federal government. That is, the document explained what the government COULD do and not what it COULD NOT do.  He feared if a Bill of Rights was included, it could ultimately backfire on the People. He feared that if a Bill of Rights was added to prohibit the government from intruding on rights A, B, and C, then it could be inferred that the government could intrude on rights D, E, and F. Madison explained that if you listed some individual rights, you must list them all and that would necessarily change the Constitution from forbidding the federal government from doing anything not enumerated to something that allows the government do whatever it wants as long as it is not listed in a Bill of Rights.

But Mason wasn’t convinced by fellow his fellow Virginian’s rationale.  For Mason, it came down to principal, basic human nature, and the enormity of history that taught us what happens when government has the ability to concentrate power. In early 1776, before Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, Mason drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights and helped frame Virginia’s constitution. George Mason was exceedingly proud of Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, and was pleased that it became a model for other states. In part, the Declaration of Rights provided:

SEC.1 That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

SEC. 2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates are their trustees and servants and at all times amenable to them.

SEC.3.  Government is, or ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community; of all the various modes and forms of government, that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of maladministration and […] when any government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, inalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.

The document had sixteen sections, but it’s quite clear that these short paragraphs encompassed America’s Founding Principles, which Thomas Jefferson would later incorporate into the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. Mason simply did not trust a government to police itself.

Even Thomas Jefferson agreed.  He wrote James Madison from his post in France that a Bill of Rights should be added: “A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.”

The decision of whether to add a Bill of Rights ultimately came down to the States in their Ratifying Conventions. And George Mason, along with Patrick Henry, would do all they could to derail the ratification of the Constitution until proper assurances and restraints were added.

At the Virginia Ratifying Convention in June 4, 1788, Mason took the floor and addressed the delegates:  “Does any man suppose that one general national government can exist in so extensive a country as this? I hope that a government may be framed which may suit us, by drawing a line between the general and state governments, and prevent that dangerous clashing of interest and power, which must, as it now stands, terminate in the destruction of one or the other. When we come to the judiciary, we shall be more convinced that this government will terminate in the annihilation of the state governments: the question then will be, whether a consolidated government can preserve the freedom and secure the rights of the people.  If such amendments be introduced as shall exclude danger, I shall most gladly put my hand to it. When such amendments as shall, from the best information, secure the great essential rights of the people, shall be agreed to by gentlemen, I shall most heartily make the greatest concessions, and concur in any reasonable measure to obtain the desirable end of conciliation and unanimity…”

Patrick Henry accused the Virginia delegation of abandoning the spirit of the Revolution by taking the Constitution at face value and trusting a common government to respect the sovereign powers of the States and limit itself to expressly-delegated objects.  On June 5, 1788, he addressed the members of the Ratifying Convention with these words:

“When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different.  Liberty, sir, was then the primary object.

      We are descended from a people whose government was founded on liberty; our glorious forefathers of Great Britain made liberty the foundation of everything. That country is become a great, mighty, and splendid nation; not because their government is strong and energetic, but, sir, because liberty is its direct end and foundation. We drew the spirit of liberty from our British ancestors; by that spirit we have triumphed over every difficulty. But now, sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country into a powerful and mighty empire. If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together. Such a government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism. There will be no checks, no real balances, in this government.

      Consider our situation, sir; go to the poor man and ask him what he does. He will inform you that he enjoys the fruits of his labor, under his own fig tree, with his wife and children around him, in peace and security. Go to every other member of society; you will find the same tranquil ease and content; you will find no alarms or disturbances. Why, then, tell us of danger, to terrify us into an adoption of this new form of government? And yet who knows the dangers that this new system may produce? They are out of sight of the common people; they cannot foresee latent consequences. I dread the operation of it on the middling and lower classes of people; it is for them I fear the adoption of this system. I fear I tire the patience of the committee, but I beg to be indulged with a few more observations.

 I profess myself an advocate for the liberty of the people. I have said that I thought this a consolidated government; I will now prove it. Will the great rights of the people be secured by this government?  Suppose it should prove oppressive, how can it be altered?  Our Bill of Rights (Virginia’s) declares that ‘a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the public weal.’ 

      The voice of tradition, I trust, will inform posterity of our struggles for freedom. If our descendants be worthy the name of Americans they will preserve and hand down to their latest posterity the transactions of the present times……

      Liberty, the greatest of all earthly blessings…  Give us that precious jewel, and you may take everything else!   Guard it with jealous attention. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel…

At this point, the adoption of the Constitution seemed unlikely. Virginia would likely not ratify and neither would New York, and North Carolina clearly would not ratify. Without Virginia, Madison realized, there could be no hope of ever building a coalition to adopt it.  Madison needed Virginia. And so he began working tirelessly for ratification. He teamed up with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay on a series of articles (collectively called “The Federalist Papers”) that were published in newspapers all throughout the States making the case for ratification. And then he changed his stance on a Bill of Rights. He promised to include a bill of rights as the first order of business for the new federal congress. This finally brought George Mason around, which then helped tip Virginia towards ratification.

In the end, as we know, the Constitution was ratified by the States and we became a “more perfect Union” in 1788.  On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making it the Law of the Land.  Virginia and New York ratified it within a month and North Carolina wouldn’t ratify it until over a year later (November 1789).

The Federalist Papers, the debates in the various State Ratifying Conventions, and the Bill of Rights itself continue to be a lasting testament to the limited nature of the US Constitution.

In past years, Tea Parties, Constitutional groups, and other conservative organizations honored Constitution Day by passing out pocket Constitutions.  We have asked people to take the time to read it and become familiar with it.  But perhaps the real message we need to send is how all our Founding documents fit together and why the Constitution still matters.

First, let’s ask what IS a Constitution?  Our Founders gave us that answer.

The Supreme Court, with John Jay (author of some of the Federalist Papers) as the Chief Justice, told us in 1795:

What is a Constitution? It is the form of government, delineated by the mighty hand of the people, in which certain first principles of fundamental laws are established. The Constitution is certain and fixed; it contains the permanent will of the people and is the supreme law of the land…
       It is stable and permanent, not to be worked upon by the temper of the times, nor to rise and fall with the tide of events; notwithstanding the competition of opposing interests, and the violence of contending parties, it remains firm and immovable, as a mountain amidst the raging of the waves.”   [Opinion in Vanhorne’s Lessee v. Dorance, 2 U.S. 304, 308 (1795)]

A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution is power without a right. All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must be either delegated, or assumed. There are not other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.”   — Thomas PaineRights of Man (1791-1792)

The purpose of a written constitution is to bind up the several branches of government by certain laws, which, when they transgress, their acts shall become nullities; to render unnecessary an appeal to the people, or in other words a rebellion, on every infraction of their rights, on the peril that their acquiescence shall be construed into an intention to surrender those rights.” — Thomas JeffersonNotes on Virginia, 1782.

Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.” — Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to W. Nicholas (1803)

Does it sound like our Constitution was intended to become a LIVING, BREATHING DOCUMENT?

The reality is that the Constitution is not a stand-alone document.  And I think that is where our discussions have failed.  Our founding documents fit together as follows:

(i) The Declaration of Independence.  It proclaims our philosophy of sovereignty, rights, and government.  It establishes the order in our country and puts government in perspective. The individual precedes government. Government must serve the individual by protecting his rights.

(ii) The US Constitution.  It designed a government (checked by the sovereign powers of the States and the People) to embrace the philosophy set forth in the Declaration.

(iii) The Bill of Rights.  It further limits the authority of the federal government (as the preamble to the Bill of Rights states: “In order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added…..”)

We enjoy our God-given rights because our founding documents boldly assert that only We the People have the right to determine our government, since it is only by the voluntary and temporary delegation of our rights to govern ourselves that government exists. We have the right to “alter or abolish” government when it becomes destructive of its ends (which is first and foremost to protect and preserve our rights to Life, Liberty, and Property and the right to defend them). Nowhere in any of our founding documents is government given a life of its own; it has no right or power to seek its own self-interests nor to preserve, insure, or protect its existence. Yet today, government’s interests are placed above those of the People. Government has made sure that it has the exclusive power to define its own powers.

Our creature has become our master.

Too often the Supreme Court uses a skewed perspective. Instead of asking:  ’Are citizens’ rights being violated by this law?’  the Court asks: ‘Is the violation of citizens’ rights justified because of overriding government goals and objectives?’  Too often the answer the court delivers is ‘yes.’  When your rights get in the way of a government objective, you lose.

       Government created to protect your rights should have no goal higher than the protection of those rights. When government’s own goals override your rights, government is acting unconstitutionally. Government often states that these violations of citizens’ rights are necessary ‘for the good of society.’  Society is ill served by laws which violate the rights of the citizens making up that society.

       The Constitution (and the federal government it brought into existence) was created by the states to serve the states. It sets forth the rules for how the government must behave and says, in effect (in the tenth amendment)  ’Any powers that we did not give to you are ours; we’re still the boss.’

This is like exercising parental control. You tell your child how to act, with whom he (or she) may associate and what time he must be home. You assign household chores and responsibilities. In short, you establish rules of proper conduct.

       Suppose that this works fine for a while, but as your child grows, he begins testing the boundaries you had set and breaking the rules, but you do nothing to prevent it. One day you realize that your child is making his own rules, even telling you what to do and what you cannot do. If you object that he is not acting within the rules you set down, he says that he knows better than you what your rules mean. If you try to assert your own rights, you are punished — your child is now bigger and stronger than you are. Your child’s allowance demands are ever increasing. If you don’t do something to correct the situation soon, you’ll be declared incompetent and your child will control all aspects of your life.”

The Tea Party and Constitutional groups take a lot of criticism.  The media, for example, says that the Tea Party has lost steam and has lost relevance.  And sometimes, I admit it, I wonder if it might be true. But when I celebrate Constitution Day and when I continue studying the Constitution and what our Founders intended, and when I have those “light bulb” moments when I begin to understand why certain principles were incorporated into our founding documents, I am reminded of why the Tea Party was founded in the first place and why it is so important.  And I am re-inspired to be a part of it, as well as the Tenth Amendment Center.  It’s because the Tea Party is the party of the Constitution.  We understand its relevance……   We understand why our Founders rejected that Virginia Plan in Philadelphia and why they spent four months building the consensus for a government that would be delegated only limited powers and that would be restrained by a series of checks and balances.

We understand that the problems our country faces today are all a direct consequence of the federal government’s failure to keep itself limited to the express powers delegated to it by the States back in 1791 AND the States’ failure to stand up and remind the government of its limits.

We understand – because we know that America is still defined by the Declaration of Independence – that every time the federal government oversteps its constitutional authority, it is taking sovereign power away from We the People and from the States.  And it has to stop.   We are slowly (maybe not slowly) slipping back into tyranny.

There is a lot at stake in the American experiment. Ours is a nation founded on an ideal and nothing else.  Whether that grand ideal will survive depends on whether the American experiment is successful or not. What is that ideal?  It is the notion that individuals are sovereign and that they are endowed with Natural rights that are “self-evident” and “inalienable” which are an integral part of their very humanity. Since these rights come from our Creator, they cannot be deemed to be granted by government. Hence government is powerless to take them away or violate them. In fact, governments are instituted to serve the People and to protect those rights.

It was from that ideal that our Founders understood the great challenge that would be presented:  How to keep the role of government strictly limited in order that liberty is enlarged and that government is prevented from growing into a new form of tyranny.  They studied history and were well-aware that the nature of any government is to control and gain more power from those it governs. And that in that challenge, we understand why the Constitution is still relevant.  At one time it defined a limited government and it offered numerous protections against those governmental intrusions which they knew would come eventually.  The Constitution still holds the power of limited government and still defines the proper relationship between the People, the States, and the federal government. The key is to put that document, with its original meaning and its original intent, back to work for the American people and for the protection of their inalienable rights.

The Tea Party summoned the spirit of the Revolution to resurrect the Constitution. They went back to the days of peaceful civil disobedience, ownership of their rights and destiny, engagement of their government in their civil liberties, and robust discussion of what it means to be a “free” people.

They took the name “Tea Party” because of its rich historical significance. The Boston Tea Party occurred on December 16, 1773 as a protest against the tax on tea imposed by a government in a far-off land that did not permit its representation in the legislative process (Parliament).  Earlier that year, the British government passed the Tea Act, which authorized the British East India Company to ship tea directly to colonies while the government levied a tax of three pence on each shipment. While the Tea Act actually lowered the price of tea for colonists (so that even with the tax, the colonists were still paying less for tea), many colonists were still angry at being taxed at all.

“Taxation without Representation” was a rallying cry that was particularly significant. The taxes the British tried to collect were modest and the revenue collected was to be spent entirely in the colonies for their benefit and protection. It wasn’t even going to be sent back to the mother country. So why all the fuss and cry of “tyranny”?  It was because the real reason for American Revolution was the lack of political machinery to protect the colonists’ rights.  In short, our founding agitators and revolutionaries weren’t as concerned about the insignificant tax on tea as they were with the underlying violations of their basic human rights.

The American experiment will continue to be successful only as long as we continue to be as vigilante and protective of our rights and as long as we continue to demand that government keep its distance. And so, as we recognize Constitution Day each year on September 17, we should re-commit to our Revolutionary spirit as Americans and read our founding documents in that light. As Jefferson warned, we shouldn’t render our government one of general and unlimited power because we’ve tacitly allowed it the exclusive domain to interpret the Constitution as it sees fit.  We can all know the meaning and intention of the Constitution simply by doing our homework and reading what words of wisdom our Founders left. We don’t need government officials or judges to tell us.  Government wants power.  People want liberty.

As Patrick Henry warned on June 5, 1788 when he addressed the Virginia Ratifying Convention: (paraphrasing) “When we lose the American spirit and our mental powers have decayed, then our liberty will be gone forever.”

Unite in Freedom!

Freedom - eagle

by Diane Rufino, January 13, 2013

A message to the Tea Party, 9/12 groups, the Republican Liberty Caucus, Ron Paul supporters, and other Liberty-minded groups and individuals….  

In this article, I hope to convince grassroots conservatives to unite in the coming year to re-assert founding values and strengthen principles of Liberty and to reject the contorted view of the Constitution that President Barack Obama is pushing on the American people.

First, let’s view the results of the 2012 election, as much as it pains me to do so –

1).  Obama received a majority of the electoral votes –  332 to 206

2).  He won the popular vote: 50 – 48%

3).  Independents made up 29% of the vote this time, and Romney beat Obama by five points among those voters. This was an increase over 2008 when McCain didn’t capture any of the independent vote.

4).  Surprisingly, Mitt Romney received less votes in November than McCain got in 2008. Romney received 2-3 million less votes than McCain.  Romney lost the 2012 election not so much because he got fewer votes than Barack Obama but because he got fewer votes than John McCain in 2008.

5).  Obama received 60.6 million votes in 2012, almost 9 million less than he received in 2008. Again, if Romney could have had even a slightly better showing than McCain had in 2008, he would have won the presidency.

6).  Outside the South, President Obama defeated Romney 55 – 45%.  In the South (minus Virginia and Florida), Romney took the lead 60 – 40%.  As the Daily Beast put it: “Romney got elected president of the old confederacy.”

7).  Romney won North Carolina by 2% of the vote

8).  Obama only received 39% of the white vote – the worst showing among whites since Mondale. Yet outside the South, whites didn’t turn out as strongly for Romney either.  In fact, the share of votes cast by whites was at its lowest (at 72%) since 1992.

9).  Romney won among white voters by 20 percentage points.  That was up from John McCain’s edge of 12 percentage points in 2008.  Of all those who voted for Romney, 88% were white.

10).  Non-whites made up 28%  of the electorate, up a bit from 27% in 2008.  This group largely backed Obama: 71% of Hispanics (up 4 points from 2008) and 93% of blacks (down 3-4 points from 2008).

11).  Romney, on the other hand, received only 2% of the black vote and 29% of the Hispanic vote.

12).  Young voters were important to giving Obama his first term.  Voters under age 30 showed up again this time:  They represented 19% of all voters, one point higher than 2008.  But this time, they didn’t back Obama as strongly this time.  In 2008, they backed him 66%, but in November their support dropped by 6 points.

13).  Seniors backed Romney by 56 to 44%, mostly unchanged from 2008.

14).  Married women backed Obama by 11 points (down from 2008) while married women backed Romney by 7 points (a far better showing than McCain got).

15).  Men, in general, backed Romney (by 7 percentage points), but married men backed him by an even wider margin (almost 2-1).

16).  White Catholics went for Romney by a margin of 59-40%.

17).  Romney apparently didn’t fare as well as he could have among Mormon voters.  George W. Bush received more support from the Mormon community in 2004 than Romney did in November.

18).  While Romney won the presidential debates, the attention that Obama received in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, particularly with bloated NJ Governor Chris Christie, helped him in the polls in the days leading up to the election. (Never mind that the government has yet to provide any assistance to the victims). 42% of voters said Obama’s handling of the hurricane disaster influenced their vote in a positive way. The Benghazi scandal, on the other hand, which far exceeded any wrong-doing that Richard Nixon did in the Watergate affair, seemed to have no negative impact on voters.  4 Americans serving their country in a hostile part of the world notified the State Department that their lives were in danger from radical extremists and requested additional security, but were denied. Hilary Clinton watched in real time as Ambassador Chris Stevens, computer specialist Sean Smith, and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were overcome by a terrorist assault on the US Consulate and a safe house.  An urgent request from the CIA for military back-up and air support during the attack was denied. US forces were told to stand down and 4 Americans were left to be slaughtered.

19).  Republicans lost 6 seats in the US House

20).  Republicans lost 3 seats in the US Senate

The fatal mistake that we made was in thinking that voter turn-out would be like that of 2010 when Republicans made historic gains in state government and in Washington DC.  The single cause of Romney’s defeat was the failure of Republicans and conservatives to get out the vote.  3 million Republican voters stayed home on Election Day.  If those Republicans had voted, Mitt Romney would have won the popular vote by 180,000.

Why did Republicans stay home?  The only conclusion is that they weren’t motivated by the Republican party’s election message.  They weren’t inspired by the Republican party.  They weren’t convinced that Mitt Romney was a better alternative than Barack Obama. They didn’t see a clear-cut difference between the candidates.

On the bright side, however, thirty (30) Republican state governors were elected.

On Saturday, January 5th, Pat McCrory was sworn in as the new Governor of my state of North Carolina.  The last time NC had a Republican governor was 24 years ago. And for the first time in 144 years, a Republican Governor will meet a Republican Legislative Majority.

The NC General Assembly picked up an additional nine Republican seats (for a total of 77 out of 120 seats) and an additional two Republican Senate seats (for a record total of 33 out of 50).

But unfortunately the NC GOP could not get an outstanding slate of conservative candidates elected to the NC Council of State.  Ed Goodwin, Mike Causey, John Tedesco, Mike Royal, and Debra Goldman all lost their races. How could that be?  Many, including the candidates themselves, believe that the failure of the state GOP to provide adequate funding to their campaigns, when it could have done so, was what cost them the victories.

So let’s look at where we are now that the 2012 election is over and what the challenges are ahead.

On Monday, January 20, Obama was sworn in again as President.  I could barely summon the fortitude to watch  the event. I’ve changed the diapers of my four children with no problem, and endured their episodes of projectile vomiting, but I couldn’t stomach to listen to this man.  Just like a mother knows from the sounds her infant makes what vile mess awaits her, that’s how I feel about Barack Obama. The notion of a socialist/Marxist, globalist as the President of the greatest republic in the world, premised on the greatest respect for individual liberty and property rights, offended me to the very core. The lessons of Nazi Germany and Communist Russia are playing out right now here in the United States.  An ignorant and uninformed electorate, sufficiently devoid of morals and personal responsibility, more concerned in classifying themselves as a particular ethnic or social group than unifying into one common culture, was swayed by the charisma and promises of “hope” by a demagogue. We’ve given this man great political power and now we wait to see what he will do with it.  It struck me how our country, in all its greatness and with its supposed dependence on the Rule of Law, is not insulated from the seeds of tyranny.

In his inauguration speech, Obama laid out his agenda in stark terms: More spending on the same failing big government programs and another push for his global warming agenda to drive up energy prices and take away more of our freedoms in their name of sustainability and wealth redistribution. More centralization of power and more centralized planning over people’s lives and property. We were treated once again to a lecture on Obama’s interpretation of the Constitution and the meaning of our founding principles. And once again he talked about the transformation of America to meet the needs of a new day.  It’s clear once again that he is willing to trample on the Constitution anytime it interferes with his ends.  We are seeing it right now with his gun control initiative.

We have many challenges ahead and I hope they will serve to make our resolve stronger and unite the many conservative groups on common goals. These challenges include the mounting fiscal showdown, the government’s outright declaration of war on the wealthy and its wealth distribution polices, the administration’s open support of a gay rights agenda, Obamacare and its implementation, the re-interpretation of our Constitution, and the rising storm against Gun Rights.

We already see the start of the same old fight.  House Republicans are insisting on spending cuts in exchange for agreeing to a 3-month deal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling. But President Obama has already warned that he will not negotiate. He wants the rich to pay and pay and pay so that he doesn’t have to make any cuts in government programs.  Only in America can the rich people – who pay 86% of all income taxes – be accused of not paying their “fair share” by people who don’t pay any income taxes at all.

Welcome to 2013 where the gravest problem threatening the nation is spending, where our Democratic president refuses to make spending cuts, where the Democratic Senate lawlessly refuses to pass a budget, and where Democrats frustrate congressional GOP efforts to enact spending and entitlement reform, yet the public is conned into believing that Republicans are the problem. Almost all polls show that the American people blame Republicans for the fiscal mess (either because they refuse to give in or because they haven’t aren’t standing strong enough).

The question is whether the debt ceiling deal, the “No Budget, No Pay” bill that the US House passed and just recently the Senate, which will delay pay to members of the House or Senate if they don’t approve a budget by mid-April.  According to Section 2 of the bill, a payroll administrator would withhold Congress members’ pay after April 15, 2013, if one or both houses of Congress couldn’t agree on a fiscal year 2014 budget. The money will be held in an escrow account and given back to Congress members when a budget is passed or at the end of the current 113th Congress in January 1, 2015.  Of course the deal lacks any meat since the 27th Amendment, our most recent constitutional amendment, would most likely prevent the holding of Congress’ pay.  The 27th Amendment essentially prohibits a sitting Congress from adjusting its compensation.

Obamacare is moving forward. By November, the exchanges will be open and those without an employer health plan can start enrolling in the government scheme. And next year, the Individual Mandate kicks in. To fund this massive socialist entitlement plan, the government will deep further into our pockets.  This will be in addition to the “American Taxpayer Relief Act” which Congress recently passed to allow the expiration of the payroll tax cut to have more money taken out of people’s paychecks. (The mean increase, by the way, is $1,635).  Embedded in Obamacare are approximately 6 new taxes which will hit everyone, while 21 new taxes will hit the wealthy (mostly affecting small business owners).  Personal and real property will become less and less valuable to us and our children (perhaps even becoming a liability). Because poorer Americans will be exempt from the Individual Mandate and the insurance fee and the wealthy will have no problem paying the “penalty,” Obamacare will be the largest tax increase on the middle class in this country’s history. As Rand Paul said: “Just because a couple of people on the Supreme Court declare something to be “constitutional” does not make it so. The whole bill remains unconstitutional..”   The four Justices who dissented wrote: “The values that should have determined our decision today are caution, minimalism, the understanding that the Federal Government is one of limited powers, and federalism.  But the Court’s majority undermined those values at every turn.  The decision creates overreaching taxing power and undermines state sovereignty. The adherence to those core values is central to liberty, and when we destroy it, we place liberty at peril.  Today’s decision should have vindicated, should have taught, this truth;  Instead, our judgment today has disregarded it.”

What the Court has done is to clear the way for  a very broad use of the tax power, even to the point of coercing people into doing what the government wants them to do and punishing them for their inactivity.  We think we have free will, as human beings, but according to the government, we may have to be burdened with taxes to enjoy that luxury. Under the precedent set by the healthcare decision, government can now impose pretty much any mandate of any kind.  It could force people to purchase broccoli or cars or other product.  It could force people to join a gym and exercise, take contraceptives, limit families to two children, or any other government initiative.  We must continue to fight this bill in every way we can.

The Obama administration has succeeded in updating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which continues to include the offensive provisions which allows the President, and the Defense Department and Homeland Security personnel he surrounds himself with, to target American citizens as belligerents, thereby detaining them indefinitely, interrogating them, and stripping them of their constitutional (Bill of Rights) protections. He have already seen Obama’s willingness to use the NDAA against Americans.

Last August, a 26-year-old former marine and citizen of the state of Virginia, Brandon Raub, wrote the following posts on facebook: “The bill of rights is being systematically dismantled.”  ”Your leaders are planning to merge the United States into a one world banking system. They want to put computer chips in you. These men have evil hearts. They have tricked you into supporting corporate fascism. But there is hope. BUT WE MUST TAKE OUR REPUBLIC BACK.”  For those words, the government showed up at his home, arrested him, and committed him involuntarily and indefinitely to a mental hospital. The government made the decision to take his rights away. (Luckily, his mother and a sharp lawyer were able to fight the unlawful arrest). But having the mental institution on his record might prevent him from exercising his Second Amendment rights.

Also last year, the FAA, at the behest of Congress, made the decision to allow low-flying, unmanned drones to patrol the US skies to aid local law enforcement. By the end of the decade, there will be as many as 30,000 drones in our skies. Drone manufacturers are currently working on prototypes that would be equipped with fire power. These drones are so sophisticated that they will be able to read license plates, lettering on envelopes, faces, and at night, to detect activity through heat emission. Routine aerial surveillance would profoundly change the character of public life in America.  It is said that at any given time, every American is likely breaking between 3-8 laws each day — simply because there are so many laws that we can’t possibly know them all. The only reason we aren’t arrested or stopped or cited is because police themselves can’t keep up with all the laws and plus, resources are limited in most localities. But imagine with the extra tools to spy on citizens??  Remember, you can be denied a license to carry guns if you are convicted of breaking the law.

In 1996, Congress overwhelmingly passed the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the benefit of children and society.  But the Obama Administration has disregarded this law and neglected its duty to defend DOMA in court.

In March, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in two crucial marriage cases: One involves the constitutionality of DOMA and the other involves the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which is California’s voter-approved constitutional amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The potential impact of these two cases on the future of marriage can be potentially be disastrous.  The question is whether we trust the Supreme Court to do the right thing?

Years ago, the government had an interest in the education and morality of its children to ensure the best America possible. I remember the days when every student stood to salute the flag, acknowledged God, and then got a good, solid education, based on the time-honored principles of competition and responsibility. I remember when the family was the most important structure in society. I remember when church bells rang throughout my town and everyone’s lives somehow centered around the church and its activities. Now the government proclaims that it has no business legislating morality. Now the government has an interest in our youth for the primary purpose of indoctrinating them with the mindset that traditional social policies are unfair and discriminatory and should be challenged.

In 2001, Congress passed No Child Left Behind and now we have different standards set for different students and education has never been so bad in the United States. If a child doesn’t get enough sleep, he qualifies for a disability.  If he doesn’t want to study hard, he qualifies for another disability. Children learn that in life, they all get to play by different rules.  Administrators don’t want to spend their energies disciplining children so they put the responsibility on the teachers so that valuable education time is spend managing problem children, at the expense of those who want to learn. Teachers don’t want to spend time disciplining, so they dumb down their lessons, requirements, assignments, and tests. Teachers and school administrators don’t want these troubled, bad students to keep returning so they move them along, often by setting lower standards so they can pass the classes. They use group assignments, often pairing smart students up with those who struggle. They share one grade.  But diversity and tolerance is promoted… which all too often seems to be the aim of the public school agenda. Academic excellence continues to yield in the name of fairness, diversity and social justice.

Currently, the Obama administration is bribing the states with federal dollars to implement his “Common Core” program, which is the administration’s radical make-over of our children’s public school core curriculum. Michele Malkin says the program should be called “Rotten to the Core.”  Grammar classes will be deemed irrelevant; literature classes will de-emphasize the classics because too many of the classic authors are white.  History lessons covering western civilization and our Founding Fathers will be attacked as being racist. With respect to the math reforms alone, Stanford University has concluded that the Common Core scheme would place American students two years behind their peers in other high-achieving countries.

Remember, America’s downfall began with the entitlement generation and it will continue with the proliferation of the “low-information voter.”  And that, of course, starts right in our schools and in our homes….. It starts with the no-knowledge student.   The same can also be said about the voter without morals and values.

Probably most offensive to us, as Americans, are the 23 Executive Orders that Obama signed into law on January 16 to regulate gun rights. We knew Obama was coming for our guns. The school shootings just provided him the opportunity.  We all know that psychopaths are attracted to schools precisely because they are gun-free zones and because they want to vent their anger in the most audacious way. We know that firearms are merely instruments. They don’t shoot themselves. It’s malevolent souls, like those who shoot helpless children in their classrooms, who are the problem, not the Second Amendment.

We don’t have a God-given right to the Second Amendment, but we do have a God-given to self-protection and self-preservation. And that’s what the Second Amendment is all about. It protects our right to Life, and by extension, Liberty and Property.  If we are denied the ability to protect those basic rights, then we are not truly free. The Second Amendment was not written to protect the rights of hunters, it was written to protect the rights of the hunted; whether those that are hunting us or our family are common criminals or a tyrannical government that no longer respects the Constitution, the Rule of Law, or our God-given rights as human beings.

Requiring Americans to register themselves and their firearms, have a photograph taken, have fingerprints on file, and submit to psychiatric evaluations when the government defines what classifications of free speech are considered dangerous is a prerequisite for government monitoring and then confiscation, which then is the prerequisite for subjugation and totalitarianism. In the extreme cases, it is a prerequisite for the extermination of political enemies.

Everyone concerned for their Second Amendment security should contact their state representatives, their County Commissioners, and their local Sheriff’s department (the enforcement agency closest to the individual) and inquire whether each intends to honor their oath to support and defend the US Constitution (and state constitution, which also contains a Bill of Rights).  Please urge your representatives and local officials to adopt resolutions which declare the intent to preserve and protect the rights to have and bear a firearm.  Resolutions are being adopted all over – from the state of Wyoming to Beaufort County in North Carolina.  Model resolutions are available from the NC Tenth Amendment Center. (http://www.northcarolina.tenthamendmentcenter.com)

We need to start treating abuses of the constitution as felonies.

The unconstitutional, fiscal, social, educational, moral, and criminal problems we suffer today are not the problem. They are the symptoms and the consequences of a people who have turned from God and become a society that encourages the “instant gratification” nature in many of us. It’s the American people who need fixing before we can hope to fix the country and our government.  A good and moral people require few laws and therefore a small government is possible. And a small government allows for the greatest exercise of freedom.  People who can’t control their conduct are one of the reasons we have an out-of-control government and a judiciary that thinks they need to deconstruct the Constitution in order to fashion new social norms for these types of people.

As Tea Partiers, we constantly refer back to the Constitution and our founding principles. It’s our respect for the Constitution and Founding Fathers that gave rise to our movement.  Governments are an extension of Natural Law – to address the social nature of man and to keep us in ordered societies and to protect our God-given rights. Constitutions, on the other hand, are not of divine origin. They are man-made instruments that restrain the government and prevent it from oppressing the people it is supposed to serve and protect. Laws restrain people but Constitutions restrain government.  Luckily for us, our Constitution was divinely-inspired.

The brilliance of our Constitution is the separation of government powers, each branch jealously guarding its sphere of authority, and the complex system of checks and balances, which includes the states (under the Tenth Amendment) and an engaged and vigilante electorate. Without these effective checks and balances, we would cease to have a constitutional republic. We would, in effect, have a democracy, the one thing our Founders wanted to avoid.  The rule of a constitutional majority would simply become the rule of the numerical majority – where the majority would be able to use the full resources of the federal government for its selfish purposes.  In times of stress, such as our economic depression and rising unemployment, the rule of the majority can easily become the rule of the mob – with the majority taking what it wants from the minority.  Again, this is precisely what our Founders struggled to avoid.  Freedom is God-given, but it is up to us, as men and women, to make sure it is secured from the evil tendencies of government.

The attacks on our freedoms and our property rights are a symptom of a deep problem – an unfortunate shift in the political wind and a calculated re-engineering of American society. Those in power get away with it because we let them.  And there are several reasons for this:
(a)  a fundamental disrespect for the Bible and our Constitution
(b)  a failure to stick to our traditional American values
(c)  a failure to hold our representatives to their oaths of office..  (we keep electing them);  and
(d)  a failure to find candidates to represent the party who are not afraid to ask the tough question: “What would Thomas Jefferson do?”

We are facing an unprecedented level of central planning over our lives, our fortunes, and our Pursuit of Happiness. What are our rights worth if the government regulates us so much that we can’t exercise them freely and safely?  What President Obama implied in his inaugural speech, as he so heavily relied on the memory of Abraham Lincoln, is that the pursuit of happiness is the pursuit of equality of result. Not the equality of opportunity, but the equality of result. He implied that would do what he could to use the government to make everybody more equal, in terms of their income and their life’s work. He didn’t talk about the rightful reward for effort, sacrifice, and achievement. He didn’t talk about the reward for success, which is the natural incentive and which keeps a civilization moving forward and becoming more successful.  It was an income-leveling speech… which signals the death of our John Locke foundation of government and the nation’s view of Natural Rights.

As columnist Keith Koffler wrote: “Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Franklin trusted the people with a Republic. Liberals say the people can no longer be trusted alone with such things…..   Jefferson wanted to guarantee the pursuit of happiness. Obama wants to guarantee happiness. The former is the philosophy of capitalism. The latter is Socialism, which uses government to reduce freedom, not create it. This is not what the Founders intended.”

It was unthinkable to hear the leader of the United States, the nation founded on the recognition of man as an inherently free creature, and a former Harvard-educated constitutional lawyer, argue during his speech that America has evolved to the extent “our founding documents” no longer require us to “define liberty in exactly the same way.”  The truth is that Obama’s ideology contradicts the Constitution he is sworn to uphold and he is putting his ideology above the one thing that protects the freedom our Creator has endowed us with – the Constitution. Because of this president, we can expect the ideological divide to grow wider over the next four years and time-honored social foundations to be sufficiently eroded.  Put on your seat belts folks….   The carnage we can expect as a result of his divide-and-conquer policies and his policies of national transformation will be immense.

As if this all isn’t enough, the rumor that Obama might seek to repeal term limits for the Presidency so he can run again in 2016 is coming true.  On January 4, Democratic US House rep, Jose Serrano (NY), introduced a piece of legislation – Joint House Resolution 15 (H.J. Res. 15) – proposing “an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.”  It is currently referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

What is it about “tyrant” and “dictator” that is attractive to people? And why is the government trying so hard to make it a reality for this particular president?

But while the pendulum of political ideology swings back and forth, tipping right now at the far left, we have to wonder if the momentum will ever bring it back over to the right. History shows a recurrent movement back and forth  in our country, between idealistic big governmental activists and their conservative counterparts who oppose centralized government and believe that government is best when it governs least. These historical cycles have usually lasted for one generation, approximately 20 to 25 years.  It’s been 25 years since Ronald Reagan left office.  It’s been 25 years since we last enjoyed a president who actively sought to turn back “big government.”

Let’s hope there is a political equivalent of the laws of physics: “For every action there is an equal but opposite reaction.” What goes around comes around.

What will the Republican Party offer in 2016?

I got a call from the GOP sometime before Christmas, asking for money. It was a call from a Washington DC number.  Still being in a funk over the results of the presidential election, I wasn’t in a donating mood. But the guy wouldn’t stop asking so I asked him what the GOP plans to do going forward to energize the conservative base?  This is what he told me  –
1).  It will have to support some kind of amnesty – to attract the Hispanic vote  (An analysis of the Hispanic community, however, shows that  Hispanic voters are not voting for Democrats because the Democratic party is for amnesty or for open borders. The reason they vote for Democrats is the same reason other groups vote for Democrats.. for the hand-outs).
2).  The GOP platform can continue to show its support of the Right to Life and the rights of the Unborn but it should not pursue policy to limit or take any abortion rights or funding from those who believe otherwise.
3).  The GOP platform can continue to show its moral disapproval of Gay Marriage but it should not pursue policy to deny rights to gays/lesbians.

In other words, the Republican Party intends to sell out its principles and abandon the hope of restoring moral principles to this once moral nation.  It is planning to pander to social groups.  What party does that remind you of?

The Democratic Party.

If the GOP doesn’t believe in the Rule of Law, if it believes there are special rights for special groups, and if it is willing to concede our founding principles for a more fair outcome, then it has ceased to be Republican party. It is just another liberal party and should waive the white flag of surrender. If you think it is acceptable that our choice in 2016 will be the party of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the party of unprincipled conservatives, then our country is lost. If you believe that we should resign ourselves to a culture  that lacks the moral courage to discourage envy and covetousness, then you have rejected the American ideal of “Equal Opportunity” in favor of the French model of “Equality of Outcome.”

We have to stand the course and fight as best we can issue by issue, at this point. If we still believe in the notion that we have a government of the people, by the people, for the people, then we have to put the power back in the foundation where it came from – us.  We the People.  That’s what the Declaration of Independence proudly proclaims.

We have 4 more years with a President who fundamentally stands for everything we oppose and who is as ambitious at transforming America as Kim Kardashian is at finding a husband…. or as ambitious as Chris Christie is at finding a donut shop.  Obama has made, perhaps, one too many a mistake by going after our Gun Rights. That might be the issue we can hope to build stronger coalitions against this administration. We HAVE to win more seats in the House and Senate in 2014, and we HAVE to figure out, once and for all, the winning strategy for 2016.  Or we may never see a Republican in the White House again.

If you believe, as the Republican Liberty Caucus believes and as many Tea Party groups believe, that with hard work and determination we can wrestle the GOP from the grips of those who would sell its soul and restore her, then I beg you to please take to heart what you will hear and learn here today.

Again, we have to get involved to make a difference.  The success or failure will rest with us…..   working together.

APPENDIX

I.    Obama’s 23 Executive Orders to Regulate Gun Ownership:

1). Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background-check system.

2). Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background-check system.

3). Improve incentives for states to share information with the background- check system.

4). Direct the attorney general to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5). Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6). Publish a letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7). Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8). Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9). Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10). Release a Department of Justice report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

11). Nominate an ATF director.

12). Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13). Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14). Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15). Direct the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun-safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

16). Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17). Release a letter to healthcare providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18). Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19). Develop model emergency-response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20). Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21). Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within Affordable Care Act exchanges.

22). Commit to finalizing mental-health parity regulations.

23). Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

Reference:   http://www.newsmax.com/headline/obama-guns-executive-orders/2013/01/16/id/471689#ixzz2JgW48lwc  (“Obama’s Executive Orders to Address Gun Violence Reduction?)

Also see:  Scott Coffina, “Gun Control by Executive Order,” National Review Online, January 16, 2013.  Referenced at:  http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/337789/gun-control-executive-order-scott-coffina?pg=1

II.    Obama’s First Term by the Numbers 

At the beginning of January 2013, the RNC Research arm released a list of how much President Obama’s first four years cost in terms of deficits, regulations, stimulus spending, and the underemployed and unemployed individuals. The following are a few of those figures:

  • $25.4 Trillion: Projected federal debt in 2022 due to Obama’s binge spending (Office of Management and Budget, 7/27/12).
  • $16.4 Trillion: Current national debt (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • $9.2 trillion: Amount Obama’s FY2013 budget would add to the debt through FY2022 (OMB, 7/27/12).
  • $5.8 Trillion: Added to the national debt since Obama took office (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • $2.6 Trillion: True cost of ObamaCare once fully implemented (Office of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Report 1/6/11).
  • $1.75 Trillion: Annual cost of federal regulations (Small Business Administration, September 2010).
  • $1.18 Trillion: Total cost of Obama’s first stimulus with interest (CBO, 1/31/12).
  • $1.17 Trillion: American debt held by China (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • $1.090 Trillion: Federal budget deficit for FY2012–Fourth Highest in U.S. History (CBO, 10/5/12).
  • $833 Billion: Price tag of Obama’s first failed stimulus (CBO, 8/23/12).
  • $820 Billion: Amount of taxes in ObamaCare (CBO 3/13/12).
  • $518 Billion: Amount of regulatory burden since Obama took office (American Action Forum, 1/14/13).
  • $447 Billion: Price tag of Obama’s second stimulus (The White House, 9/8/11).
  • $236.7 Billion: Amount of regulatory burden in 2012 (American Action Forum 1/14/13).
  • $188 Billion: Taxpayer funds for Fannie May and Freddie Mac (ProPublica, Accessed 10/10/12).
  • $28.5 Billion: Outstanding government investment bailouts of the auto industry (Treasury Department, 1/10/13).
  • $24.3 Billion: Amount government expects to lose on bailouts of auto industry (Treasury Department, 1/10/13).
  • $535 Million: Stimulus loan to the failed solar company Solyndra (The Oakland Tribune, 11/4/10).
  • 46.2 Million: Number of Americans receiving food stamps (Department of Agriculture, 1/4/13).
  • 22.7 Million: Americans unemployed, underemployed, or have given up looking for work (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 12.2 Million: Unemployed Americans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 2.6 Million: Unemployed workers that have given up looking for work (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 757,000: Unemployed veterans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 226,000: Unemployed post-9/11 era veterans (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 89,000: The number of stimulus checks sent to dead or incarcerated people (The Wall Street Journal, 10/7/10).
  • $53,224: Your share of the national debt (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • $18,804: Increase in your share of the national debt since Obama took office (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • 45,696: Pages of new rules added to the federal register during Obama’s first two years in office (Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2011).
  • $15,500: Annual cost per household from federal regulations (Small Business Administration, September 2010).
  • 61%: The amount by which new offshore leases for oil and natural gas drilling has declined under Obama (FactCheck.org, 10/19/12).
  • $3,065: Amount of increase of average cost of family health care premiums since Obama took office (The Kaiser Family Foundation, 2012).
  • 7.8%: The current unemployment rate, which is the same as when Obama took office (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/17/13).
  • Since Obama took office, the unemployment rate for women has increased from 6.9% to 7.8% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/4/13).
  • In December 2012, the unemployment rate for women spiked from 7.6% to 7.8% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/4/13).
  • Since Obama took office, the African American unemployment rate has increased from 12.7% to 14.0% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/4/13).
  • In December 2012, the African American unemployment rate increased from 13.2% to 14.0% (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 1/4/13).

Reference:  Figures compiled by the Republican National Committee