When In The Course Of Human Events... 2015
As our Declaration of Independence carefully and specifically enumerated well-reasoned grievances for seceding from the British Empire, the cycle of tyranny which results from any command economy is once again upon us. One of the most active political operatives in Alabama working to reverse our corrupt path to tyranny recently reminded me of the power a well organized ‘militia’ can muster.
Showing significant numbers at the right time can make a great difference in our long-run course of human events. He imagined if a mere one million (about half a percent) marched upon the SCotUS to protest in 1973, how much less the estimated 60 million lost to abortion would be. A million is well below the Genesis 18:26 (about five percent) threshold to spare the corrupt city of Sodom from her fate, but perhaps such a small group showing great conviction for liberty could’ve changed our course in a more modern era.
Roe v. Wade is one of DC’s more tangible assaults on State sovereignty. As many readers know, I’m a pragmatist on the issue. If the people of a State want to allow murder in Massachusetts and not in Mississippi, it is NOT a federal offense. The definition and enforcement of murder isn’t authorized to the federal government. I’m not foolish enough to think banning murder will end all the killing (even less so the immediate and tangible murder of a defenseless child inside or just outside a womb) we’ve observed, but I want the freedom to live a State which doesn’t subsidize the murder of one’s own child. If you wish to kill your own child, do it on your own purse. It is not a lot to ask on the 4th of July to be free from coercion to take my treasure to subsidize what I find reprehensible in the Spirit of securing the blessings of liberty for myself and my posterity. So the biggest grievance I’d like to declare this 4th of July is to stop forcing that blood on my hands - it is even sadder commentary upon our churches who’ve allowed governments to be their moral compass instead of taking the lead on issues of this sort. Perhaps belief in ‘global warming’ is indeed more important to most others…
Another grievance worthy of addressing this 4th of July is to end the assault on my 2nd Amendment civil right. I understand I must coexist with gun haters in society but do not impose this hatred on others - esp. those law abiding concealed carriers who generate great positive externality in our State. Thank God we had significant numbers (militia) willing to stand up against the British Empire when they came to confiscate arms; this courage to say “ENOUGH!" against the greatest military power of their era is what pulled the trigger on this ‘Shot Heard Round the World.’ The Americans from 1775 to 1815 who fought to win and hold onto their independence against insurmountable odds are indeed our nation’s greatest generation.
I pray this 4th of July enough of that Spirit may still be found in large enough numbers to reverse the tyranny we observe. All federal gun laws are unconstitutional. If Connecticut wants to have the death penalty for possession of any armament they see fit, OK - but they can not impede the regular flow of arms from manufacturers in their State nor block the regular flow of commerce in arms through their State -- even if possession/use is completely prohibited within the sovereign State. Don’t know why this sounds odd to so many - didn’t Jack Daniels manufacture and deliver sour mash whiskey for decades from a place where consumption/possession was strictly prohibited in a ‘dry county?’
Readers of my column on ‘car carry’ (SB 14) legislation may recall I applaud efforts at the State level to mitigate the harm from DC operating so far outside Constitutional limits. I’m delighted to report SB 14 passed the Alabama Senate. In a show to reaffirm his political ‘brute force,’ the Speaker of the House REFUSED to assign SB 14 to committee for ELEVEN days effectively killing this bill upon expiration of session. Isaac Whorton (one of a group of ten and hopefully growing in the House who are not giving in to rampant corruption on Goat Hill) made great effort and showed courage trying to move SB 14 forward. Watch this fine young gentleman - he’s got the ‘right stuff’ for those who embrace and want to advance the ‘Spirit of ’76.’
My next grievance is restrictive ballot access and use of special elections to get desired corrupt results which fail if allowed on general election ballots. Sen. Whatley has proposed legislation to curb special election abuse - we’ll see who has the courage to support it. We have some of the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation aiding and abetting the anti-competitive results we observe. Little wonder we observe so many legislators of poor intelligence and integrity getting reelected. Sen. Dial is the ‘poster child’ in this regard, front-running big govt. legislation impeding our State economy for decades as a modern AEA Democrat and now as a traditional BCA Republican. Capitol Hotline just reported Dial one of the biggest recipients of BCA money; the current political junkie joke is “the BCA is the new AEA.” The time is now to get more Constitution, Libertarian, T.E.A., et al Party type competition in our political arena if folks seriously want change our course of events instead of “Dialing” between these two corrupt parties protecting their duopoly.
The 2016 Election cycle is beginning to unfold; three Alabama Supreme Court Seats in play appear to be attracting the most attention. Associate Justices Tom Parker, Mike Bolin and Kelley Wise are in the ‘Election or Go Home' decision calculus. Scuttlebutt has Associate Justice Mike Bolin as the only possible 'Go Home' of the three, but I’ve found no announcement of Bolin’s intention to not run again. The Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee (ACJRC) has supported both Wise and Bolin in previous elections. Justice Parker is a known political ally of Chief Justice Roy Moore and ‘conservatives’ of this sort. Pay for an Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court is $160,000 - it will be interesting to see how high the “campaign spending to pay ratio” will get on some of these races… No seats are up for election in 2016 on the five member Court of Criminal Appeals, nor the five member Court of Civil Appeals. The Alabama Chief Justice cycle is set for election in 2018 along with four Associate Justices and six Appeals Court Justices. Mandatory 'Age Out' of elections for judges in Alabama is 70. Moore will not be eligible for reelection in 2018 because of this discriminatory 'Age Out' provision finishing his current term January 2019. It was righteous to see voters reverse the Myron Thompson, et al wrongful removal of this Chief Justice - I pray we can come up with better candidates who will indeed protect our civil rights and not be easy tools for jurists like Thompson to use toward further empowering our corrupt federal government.
The last grievance I’ll address this July 4th will be of little surprise to readers who know the research I’m most noted for - the deleterious impact of wealth transfer activity on our economy. Sadly, Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) passed 219-211 with Alabama support. Apryl Marie Fogel’s June 12 report from DC claimed the ‘big buzz’ that week centered around the TPA vote setting parameters for negotiating future trade agreements. TPA once again redefines how trade agreements will proceed instead of following Constitutional constraints, allowing members to read the text of the deals 60 days before the executive signs it and allowing Congressional approval of trade bills on a straight up-or-down vote. Ms. Fogel further noted the bill made for some ‘odd bedfellows’ where a few staunch ‘conservatives’ sided with President Obama; the biggest opponents of the bill included unions and strong Tea Party type conservatives - though some broke ranks and supported TPA including Ted Cruz.
Obama lobbied hard for the bill, making an unscheduled stop at the Annual Congressional Baseball Game the evening before the vote where his final push seems to have paid off in the final hours according to Fogel. Obama persuaded a few undecided Democrats like Terri Sewell to support his position on the bill as she reported the Alabama Delegation voting as follows with some statements from their office:
• Rep. Bradley Byrne (R – 01): Voted for TPA
• Rep. Martha Roby (R – 02): Voted for TPA
• Rep. Mike Rogers (R – 03): Voted for TPA
• Rep. Robert B. Aderholt (R – 04): Voted against TPA
• Rep. Mo Brooks (R – 05): Voted against TPA
• Rep. Gary Palmer (R – 06): Voted against TPA
• Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D – 07): Voted for TPA
Byrne said, “TPA is about boosting the American economy, promoting a strong foreign policy, and restricting an out-of-control president. Every president already has the authority to negotiate trade agreements, but this legislation puts Congress in the driver’s seat and ensures transparency for the American people.”
Roby said, “Trade with other countries is good as long as it’s fair. We want Alabama products to be sold in growing international markets and ensure America builds its economic advantage globally. With China’s economic emergence, that’s as important as ever. But, I don’t want President Obama having unilateral trade authority. I want strict checks and balances from Congress, as well as a multilayered mechanism to shut down bad trade deals. That’s why enacting the Trade Promotion Authority is important. TPA empowers Congress to hold this president accountable for presenting the strongest trade agreements possible, and if he doesn’t, we can strike them altogether.”
Rogers said, “Long term, TPA gives Congress oversight and authority in any future deal, and the power to ensure those deals are fair for Alabama’s diverse economy. It will help the United States compete more fairly against China’s ever growing economic influence, and gives Congress final say in whether a trade deal moves forward or not. I disagree with the president often, and this bill keeps President Obama in check.”
Sewell said, “I cast my vote today in support of President Obama and American workers. I believe that this president should be given the same authorities that every other president has been given to negotiate trade agreements that benefit American workers, businesses, and our economy. While I share many of the concerns of my friends in labor regarding trade, I am convinced that President Obama is committed to safeguarding our shared values and protecting American jobs. Ultimately, I believe that President Obama will protect the best interests of the American people, and the folks I represent in Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. The bottom line is that President Obama has our back, and we should have his too.”
No surprise Mo Brooks stuck to his principles, not fooled by this next mutation into decay from Constitutionally correct results, but pleasantly surprised by Messrs. Aderholt and Palmer. Rep. Byrne as a BCA shill was easy to predict - he has a long history of empowering government to promote more corporate welfare destroying our State and nation. I won’t recall ALL the history from past columns, but violating the uniformity clause (Art. 1, Sec. 8) and excessive protection has triggered much despair (Nullification Crisis, War Between States, Great Depression) for the US economy.
The first mutation of this sort of ‘fast tracking’ was Most Favored Nation (MFN) trading status to enable more picking of winners and losers. After Hoover and the Republicans (typical big govt. champions expanding the corporate welfare playbook to agriculture & raw materials - i.e., our comparative advantage, so destined to fail BIG) didn’t back off the Smoot-Hawley tariff it paved the way for FDR. Elected by those who thought FDR a traditional Democrat who would clean up the usual mess Republican corporate welfare programs generate; once in office FDR’s lauded first hundred days provided NO tariff relief from Hoover’s protectionism, but successfully used it as an opportunity (as a modern Democrat) to advance even more federal command and control economy programs along with further funding and expanding the ones of Mr. Hoover.
The spike down in unemployment anticipating Roosevelt reversing Hoover’s policies quickly ended and immediately returned to (actually a little higher) the Hoover result without tariff relief. Finally MFN (allowing the executive to reduce specific tariffs as much as 50% without congress) provided some tariff relief and unemployment slowly fell back to pre Smoot-Hawley levels over the following years until the “Fair Labour Standards Act” in 1938 established the first (also unconstitutional) federal minimum wage. Unemployment spiked up yet again, not to fall for an extended duration till Europe goes to war again (WWII) and demand for US exports exploded as has been the case since the Napoleonic Wars. Instead of more ‘entangling alliances’ President Washington provided sound caveats against and thousands of pages in trade agreements (think NAFTA, GATT, etc.) filled with preferential treatment which fail in the long run, consider returning to a low uniform tariff which incorporates the cost of keeping commerce regular in imports prices. Abolish the federal income tax (along with other unconstitutional policies & programs) which imbed in prices of US exports distorting the balance of trade we currently observe if one sincerely cares about US workers. The uniform tariff (as a revenue bill) must originate in the HoR (Art. 1, Sec. 7 drawing from the wisdom of the Magna Carta celebrating an 800 year anniversary) then also pass the upper House (Senate) where the executive can either sign or veto. Very simple, very effective - esp. if the coalition of States wants to advance competition over protectionism.
No one could rationally expect someone of Rep. Rogers’ courage, integrity and intelligence to understand (much less advance) this sort of improvement toward the Constitutional result he took an oath to uphold - he’s shown himself to stand for little of substance these past decades in Congress. Always, quaint to hear Mr. Rogers talk of “fairness” without any definition or understanding of how real world economies function. Rep. Roby’s rhetoric is most disappointing. Not only because she also evokes the “f-word” (fair) without definition, but years ago she genuinely seemed honest and educable. Increasingly less likely to be taken seriously as a gubernatorial candidate; perhaps she can reverse course and stop listening to those in the federal courts who think themselves godlike in their decisions and learn it is the legislature’s role to make laws within the constraints of their oath of office, not judicial fiat.
Last but not least Rep. Sewell was interesting in remaining ‘undecided’ for so long, perhaps it was to get even more attention or political gain of some sort. Always entertaining to read what powers she ‘believes’ a president ‘should’ have instead of those actually enumerated in the Constitution, not that she’s been much of a champion of our rule of law to secure the life, liberty and property of those in our State in her years of ‘public service.’ I have little doubt her 4th of July contemplations are directed more toward empowering the govt. She ‘believes’ in over the rights endowed by our Creator to advance the blessings of liberty over tyranny.
Postscript: As a resident of Lee County I’d be remiss not typing a few words on the recent passing of Jule Collins Smith; from conception of the enormous endeavor she wholeheartedly threw herself into every aspect of the Museum project. When asked for remembrances, founding member Prof. Robert Ekelund fondly & recalled her speech outside the construction trailer on the day the Museum was dedicated many years ago. She expressed genuine thanks for the great honor husband Albert bestowed upon her then far exceeded the initial vision of what this Museum would mean to Auburn University, students, the community and most of all our less fortunate children in the area. She clearly intended to be an active, integral part of the process; not simply an ‘honorific’ participant. Her dream and work helped immensely to create the reality we now observe and enjoy. She was the epitome of a great benefactor - one very honored, yet also ready to roll up her own sleeves to push, pull and elevate to get things accomplished. A wonderful template to follow toward accomplishing important, impactful ends of this sort; she was proud of her museum and would consider its continued excellence a “coin worth having.” Most notable was her love for us all and how many felt and returned it with dividends! I pray this lovely lady rests well in peace - she’s earned it as a blessed example in our State -- well noted for giving.