The Ominous Omnibus

“…[T]he Biden administration announced that $350 billion in state and local funding provided by the American Rescue Plan – the President’s major Covid-19 relief bill, signed into law in March 2021 – was permitted to be used for hiring law enforcement, paying officers overtime and enforcement efforts to reduce gun violence exacerbated by the pandemic, as well as technology and equipment investments for law enforcement.” In New York, Biden turns his focus to gun violence as Democrats try to shed ‘defund the police’ label – CNNPolitics

Freedom First Society members received a legislative alert on March 8, 2022 about an upcoming omnibus appropriation, which in regular order would be considered as 12 individual bills. Omnibus bills are a huge problem because — like the American Rescue Plan, which weighs in at over 600 pages — senators typically feel rushed to pass the whole omnibus, often without having time to even read the bills in their entirety (the current FY2022 omnibus, H.R. 2471, was 2,741 pages long!). This opens the door for unconstitutional insertions such as the gun control measures mentioned in the above quote. Congressional leaders routinely sneak in spending and other measures that constituents and representatives themselves may not even notice!

Omnibus bills are a destructive and totally foolish way of running the country. But as long as we stay silent about it, nothing will change.

Says the group Gun Owners of America, “Because your elected officials are afraid of being on the record, … [they stuff] things they don’t think will pass on its own merits into what is known as the annual omnibus bill, or omni for short.”

Indeed, omnibus bills have been used to pass legislation that ranges from the silly to the sinister. For example, in Dec 2020, then-president Donald Trump signed a nearly 6,000-page omni that contained measures concerning the mailing of cigarettes, the doping and medication of racehorses, and of course funding for a vast number of federal programs that have put our country into trillions of dollars more of debt.

The most recent omnibus reinstates VAWA, the Violence Against Women Act. While this piece of legislation ostensibly protects women, it contains red flag laws that prohibit citizens from gun ownership if they are even suspected of a propensity for violence. This new legislation masquerades under the seemingly benign title of “Homicide Reduction Initiatives.”

It may seem logical to pass legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but please remember that criminals don’t really care about breaking the law. Red flag laws serve to harm only those who would own guns legally — responsible citizens who could be targeted in the future for a number of reasons such as religious beliefs, political party, how they school their children, etc. It’s not unthinkable that this could happen, as it has already occurred in countries across the globe: think Rwanda, Nazi Germany, and current Venezuela.

For those who responded to our call to action and contacted your representatives asking them to stop the omnibus bill, we thank you! Although the omnibus is now public law, you can still send an email to your congressmen complimenting them for voting against the omnibus or registering your displeasure if they voted for it.  (See link to rep votes here, links to senate votes here, and links to contact info here.  Don’t be misled by the distracting Haiti aid vehicle for H.R. 2471.)

And if you are not yet a member of Freedom First Society, we encourage you to join our organization and be notified when your help is needed to stop harmful legislation from being passed.

The Federal Money Tree

“Congress simply isn’t doing enough yet. Conditional assistance tied to work or a single stimulus check are not — and frankly never have been — enough to protect Americans from economic insecurity.

“What we need in this moment to meet the need and help families who are struggling is a Covid-19 guaranteed income, with direct, recurring cash payments for all Americans — including immigrants — that last at least until the economic hardship of this public health crisis ends. A form of Universal Basic Income, this guaranteed income is unconditional, won’t interfere with other social safety net benefits and would help give Americans an income floor during a time of great economic instability.”  —  Michael Tubbs and Melvin Carter, “One more stimulus check from Congress won’t be enough. This is what will really help,” CNN Business Perspectives, 8-21-20

Most Americans undoubtedly recognize that states don’t have money trees.  But many take it for granted that the Federal government has a wealth tree and can dispense wealth at will.  And if it doesn’t, it’s just being stingy.

The truth is that the federal money tree is a very real threat to our freedom and prosperity.  And government created economic devastation, ostensibly in response to pandemic crisis, is being used as the pretext for a drastic inflation of our currency.

The above cited article was written by two city mayors – Michael Tubbs, mayor of Stockton, California and Melvin Carter, mayor of Saint-Paul, Minnesota.  As an opinion piece, it was disclaimed by CNN Business as not representing the views of CNN.

However, in a related CNN Politics article, “‘A growing sense of panic’ with no fresh federal relief in sight,” 8-19-20, CNN seems also to support more federal spending as the right thing to do:

There’s support from both sides of the aisle to send a second round of checks, extend at least some unemployment benefits and allow small businesses to apply for another loan so that they can pay their workers. But Republicans … and Democrats … remain far apart on the details even after weeks of talks in July.

Millions of people are still unemployed
The package of financial aid that Congress passed in March got money to people fairly quickly at a time when lawmakers didn’t expect the pandemic to last as long as it has….  But the economy is far from recovered.

By the end of June 2020, our national debt stood at $26.5 trillion — an increase of almost $3 trillion in the previous six months — the fastest rise in history!

Intended Destruction
The remedy for one destructive act — government shutdown of the economy — is not another destructive act — wild inflation of our nation’s currency.   Some history is needed to understand how and why the federal government got a money tree.   But first we recall what should have been an early warning re inflation’s destructive consequences.

In his 1920 The Economic Consequences of Peace, Internationalist conspirator and British Fabian Socialist John Maynard Keynes wrote:

Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens….

Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

The Federal Reserve Act
In 1910, international bankers from Wall Street convened a highly secret meeting at Jekyll Island, Georgia and came up with a scheme to gain control of our nation’s money.  It was originally introduced in Congress as the Aldrich Plan, but Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island was too clearly connected to the international bankers, and for that and other reasons his bill went down to defeat.

However, after the 1912 elections, the essence of that plan was reintroduced as the Federal Reserve Act.  Congress passed the Act on December 22, 1913 during its rush to adjourn for Christmas.  Insider-controlled President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law the next day.

During the Act’s consideration in the House of Representatives, the great American statesman Charles A. Lindbergh Sr. (father of the famous aviator) addressed his colleagues as follows:

This act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth …. When the President signs this act the invisible government by the Money Power, proven to exist by the Money Trust investigation, will be legalized ….
This is the Aldrich Bill in disguise ….
The new law will create inflation whenever the trusts want inflation….

After more than a century, Lindbergh’s prediction has come home to roost — big time.  In recent years, the only thing preventing monetary inflation (to finance federal deficits) from becoming price inflation has been the willingness of other nations’ central banks, most notably Communist China’s, to hold our debt.  But this makes the U.S. susceptible to the actions of a hostile nation.  And according to an April 1 Bloomberg report, foreign holders have begun dumping the dollar as a result of the new explosion in U.S. debt.

A moment’s reflection should convince anyone that consumption requires production.   And no amount of currency inflation can substitute.   Money won’t put food on our tables, if food is not produced.

The destruction of America will continue as long as a misinformed public is vulnerable to the deceptions of those seeking tyrannical power.

The solution starts by creating understanding among grassroots patriots regarding the deceptions of the Insider-controlled media in support of a cabal of power seekers.  Much of what needs to be understood is recorded in Freedom First Society’s Masters of Deception — The Rise of the Council on Foreign Relations.

But to bypass the media and create sufficient public pressure on Congress to roll back decades of entrenched subversion, it will take the tough leadership of an informed grassroots organization.  Of course, we recommend Freedom First Society.

It’s NOT a Democrat Problem!

A July 24, 2020 release from Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo. 05) explains why he voted against a Democrat-inspired appropriations minibus.  In fact, no Republicans voted for it.

With his release, Rep. Lamborn perpetuates a common but insidious Republican deception that our nation’s problems are due to those awful Democrats.   That line ignores GOP culpability and says the significant problem Americans should be concerned about is simply the partisan struggle between Republicans and Democrats.

But this focus on the sins of Democrats is a horrible illusion that is deceiving many conservative Americans into relying on equally culpable Republicans to put our nation on track.  In reality, Republicans, as we shall argue, are very much a part of our problem, too.

Rep. Lamborn’s release is short.  We repeat it all here, interspersed by much needed rebuttal:

Congressman Lamborn Opposes Minibus.

Washington, D.C.- Today, the United States House of Representatives passed their first Appropriations Act funding the Department of State, Foreign Operations and other related programs. This minibus rolls back pro-life policies, limits domestic energy production, and provides billions in emergency spending.

Congressman Lamborn issued the following statement:

“This is simply no way to govern.  The bills in today’s minibus spend billions of dollars beyond what the current budget agreement allows.” 

Freedom First Society:   However, recent budget agreements are not the standard to which legislation should adhere.  The standard should be what the Constitution allows.  Realistically, the vast majority of budgeted spending is for unconstitutional programs and departments, which desperately need to be rolled back and eliminated.   Americans should not allow the two parties to simply agree on how much more unconstitutional spending to add to the mix.

“Today’s legislation prohibits funds from being used for a border wall, overturns the Mexico City Policy which will allow foreign organizations to receive federal funds even if they perform abortions, restricts oil and gas production, and provides $500 million for international climate funds. This legislation has no serious chance of becoming law and is being used only to message to their socialist base.” 

Freedom First Society:  Much that Congress votes on has no chance of becoming law but is designed merely to impress constituents (messaging).  Republicans are not exempt.

“Even more concerning is the fiscal insanity prevalent in the Democratic party in Washington. We have spent more than $6 trillion dollars in coronavirus aid, yet Democrats think we can continue to recklessly spend money.

“We cannot continue to saddle future generations with debt.” 

Freedom First Society:   Congress has been spending recklessly for decades, so why expect it to stop now?  That’s how our national debt has grown to top an incomprehensible $26 trillion.  Here’s Rep. Lamborn’s solution:

“We must find bipartisan consensus and work to cut wasteful spending.”

Freedom First Society:   Absolutely NOT!  If the Democrats are generally as fiscally irresponsible as Rep. Lamborn indicates, and they are, then the last thing America needs is a compromise with big spenders.  America needs a new breed of congressmen, irrespective of party, who steadfastly refuse to compromise on their oath to defend the Constitution.

Lamborn also pushes here a particularly damaging illusion.   Our massive debt, as well as bloated government, is NOT due to “wasteful spending.”  No, massive unconstitutional spending, not waste, is destroying America’s opportunity and, if continued, will rob us of our freedom.   And that foundation of unconstitutional spending is supported by an overwhelming majority of Republicans, who conveniently focus on a few examples of waste and posture as opposing excessive increases.

Indeed, wasteful spending is inevitable when government has grown beyond the point where Congress can manage it.  What is needed is backbone in Congress, supplied by informed and activated constituents, to start phasing out unconstitutional departments and programs, returning the federal government to just its constitutionally assigned mission.  It can and must be done!

Restore Regular Order.
There is another serious deficiency in Lamborn’s release.   He fails to attack the minibus for its violation of regular order (i.e., separate votes on the 12 independent appropriations bills).

The continuing damaging procedure of voting on several independent bills amassed into one bill, on a take it or leave it basis, supports big spending.   Grouping several bills together into a minibus or omnibus allows congressmen to argue that they had to support the bad in order not to reject the good.  In fact, many bad features and poison pills slipped in by congressional leadership get approved in this way.

Neither principled congressmen nor the public need accept this violation of regular order.  In leading up to the above minibus, the House staged votes on more than 100 amendments.  There was certainly time to have voted separately on each of the four appropriations bills in the minibus.   A tough, constitutionalist Senate or President would refuse to accept a minibus or omnibus.

Judge Them by Their Record
Americans cannot judge the performance of their Congressmen by just relying on their tough talk.  As the saying goes, “talk is cheap.”

What Americans need in order to evaluate the actual performance of their congressmen is a reliable scorecard on how they vote.  Fortunately, there is one at hand:  The Freedom First Society “Congressional Scorecard” is designed to help Americans force Congress to return the federal government to its constitutional limits.

In selecting votes to score, we avoid the many posturing measures and slam-dunk party-line votes that come before Congress and instead look for the tough votes that separate the congressmen who vote according to the Constitution from those who don’t.  Measured against the clear language of the Constitution, the great majority of what the federal government does today is unconstitutional.

Lamborn Not Alone
Rep. Lamborn is not alone in blaming Democrats for our problems and fueling the partisan deception.  Of course, during campaign season it’s expected that a candidate will run against opponents — but not against an entire party.

Indeed, conservatives need to understand the lie in the implied claim that merely electing Republicans will in any way solve our nation’s problems.  Both parties are giving us socialism.  Often, the Democrats lead the assault in one area and the Republicans in another (e.g., Republicans gave us the breakthrough in federal aid to education and delivered the crucial votes for U.S. membership in the Internationalists’ World Trade Organization and NAFTA.)

Here are excerpts from several recent GOP campaign messages, with links to the congressman’s FFS scorecard:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif. 22) (7-25-20):  “Since day one, I have proudly fought on the front lines to expose the Democrats’ corruption.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif. 22) (7-21-20): “The Democrats are destroying our cities and promoting lawlessness and anarchy nationwide. On top of that, they want to defund our police.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif. 23) (7-25-20): “Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen countless mobs destroy our cities, harm our police officers, and disrupt law and order. The kicker is that they’re supported by the Democrats in Congress.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif. 23) (7-25-20):  “Leading the House GOP, I’ve seen firsthand exactly how radical Nancy Pelosi and the Squad’s agenda really is.”

Senator Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) (7-24-20): “The far left wants to eliminate the Senate filibuster. That means if they gain just 4 seats in the Senate, there will be no way for Republicans to stop their radical agenda. They’re going to steamroll Americans to appease their leftist base.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio 04) (7-23-20): “Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the radical, unhinged Democrats got what they have wanted since November 2016.  They undermined our democracy in January by voting to impeach President Trump – our duly elected president who 63 MILLION Americans voted for!

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) (7-21-20): “The Democrats aren’t fighting to put America first. They’re more focused on electing their hand-picked candidates — so much so that they’re willing to tear down Republican women for their appearance, block Conservative efforts to create sensible police reform, and even play games with economic relief for small businesses and middle-class families during a pandemic.  The America that the radical Left is fighting for is NOT the America I believe in and it’s up to us to fight back.”

In fact, in response to the recent city riots, President Trump echoed the same theme on July 20 that America’s principal problem is Democrats: “Look at what’s going on. Run by Democrats. All run by very liberal Democrats. All run really by radical left.”

Bipartisan Subversion
The massive unconstitutional federal monster has been created and nourished over decades by Republicans and Democrats alike.  Democrats are often portrayed as wolves, while most Republicans have become wolves in sheep’s clothing.  But remember that both are wolves.

Moreover, the wolf in sheep’s clothing is actually the more dangerous, as that wolf can sneak up on you and devour you.

No, America is NOT suffering from a Democrat problem.  It is being victimized by a Conspiracy, a Conspiracy that has corrupted both parties and targets our freedom.  That’s the understanding that must be communicated to more Americans, and it is the mission of Freedom First Society to do so.  But we need more help.  So, we respectfully invite you to join our organization.

Where’s the Data, Dr. Fauci?

“President Donald Trump may want to reopen the U.S. economy by Easter — but the novel coronavirus wreaking havoc across the globe may have other plans.

“Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, pointed out Wednesday that the virus is determining ‘the timeline’ for the pandemic.

“‘You’ve gotta be realistic,’ Fauci told CNN’s Chris Cuomo…. ‘You’ve got to understand that you don’t make the timeline, the virus makes the timeline….

“‘You can’t make an arbitrary decision until you see what you’re dealing with. You need the data.’” [Emphasis added.] — HuffPost, 3-26-20

Note:  On March 29, President Trump announced that he was extending the federal social distancing guidelines until April 30th.

Okay, Dr. Fauci, where’s the data?  I mean the data you used in the beginning to justify the unprecedented government decision to shutdown the economy?  Surely, you wouldn’t have accepted the notoriously unreliable Communist Chinese data?  Even the often quoted data from the UN’s World Health Organization can’t be trusted, because WHO has an agenda to reinforce the UN’s global power grab.

Indeed, where’s the data that the coronavirus is more deadly or more communicable than other infectious diseases that the world copes with every year without shutting down?  The American people deserve to know, particularly since the Internationalist Insiders dominating our government regularly use crises as pretexts for government to seize more unconstitutional power (see “Internationalist Treachery,” below).

Dr. Ron Paul

According to Dr. Ron Paul, a former U.S. Representative, Fauci “testified to Congress that the death rate for the coronavirus is ten times that of the seasonal flu, a claim without any scientific basis.”

We hear statistics about number of cases and deaths, but how to those compare with say, the flu, or tuberculosis?  Most Americans can’t readily make the comparison, and many cases of such diseases go unreported.   (The CDC estimated that during the 2018-2019 flu season, the flu killed 34,200 of about 35.5 million people infected.)

Scaring Us
In a March 16th open letter, Dr. Paul further charged: “The chief fearmonger of the Trump Administration is without a doubt Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. Fauci is all over the media, serving up outright falsehoods to stir up even more panic.”

And the impact of that panic is everywhere.  Congress just passed a $2.2 trillion rescue package, which The Hill (3-25-20) claimed was “the single largest stimulus package in the nation’s history.”  And that may be only a beginning.

The ostensible justification for the enormous addition to the national debt was to stimulate an economy that is in recession, not because of the coronavirus directly, but because of governments’ (federal, state, & local) response, using the hyped scare as justification for the unprecedented assumption of power.  Only a lesser portion of the rescue package was devoted to defense against the virus itself.

On March 29th, Dr. Fauci ramped up his warning dramatically. According to The Hill:

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci said that, based on what he’s seeing, the U.S. could experience between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from Covid-19.

“We’re going to have millions of cases,” Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, noting that projections are subject to change, given that the disease’s outbreak is “such a moving target.”

Unfortunately, his projections seemed to have been based on computer models, which even Dr. Fauci admitted were no better than the assumptions fed into them.

Internationalist Treachery
In evaluating the crisis claims, we have a right to demand proof, because for decades Internationalists have been employing evolving threats and scares to gain power — leading to global power, accountable only to them.

With the start of the Cold War, the threat was nuclear annihilation.  But that shifted with the break-up of the former Soviet Union.   As replacements, the Internationalists embraced new threats — drugs, terrorism, and environmental catastrophe — as pretexts for increasing the authority of International bodies.

In its November 24, 1997 issue, The New American magazine warned that Internationalists had adopted another alarmist threat — pestilence — to accomplish their aims. The report was entitled “Scaring Us Toward Global Government.”  Remember that the following assessments were written two decades before the world heard of a “coronavirus pandemic:”

In recent years, yet another alarmist refrain has been heard: “World government or pestilence!” This latest crisis requiring global management is the threat presented by supposedly new infectious diseases. Where once we were menaced by megatons, the danger now supposedly comes from microbes — and familiar voices are insisting anew that only world government can save humanity from destruction.

As a tool for manipulating public opinion, the threat of pestilence actually has an advantage over the earlier scare scenarios: Nuclear annihilation of humanity, while a horrifying prospect, is simply too abstract to have a visceral impact. The same is true of environmental collapse. But everybody has been sick and can individualize the horror of succumbing to an incurable disease. Thus, the pestilence scenario may have far more potential as a tool for selling the public on globalist “solutions.”

In November 1993, President Clinton set up, by Executive Order, the National Science and Technology Council, which included a Committee on International Science, Engineering, and Technology Policy (CISETP).

The New American article cited a CISETP report as an example of “the willingness of public policy elites to play off media-generated fears of infectious disease.” According to the report:  “[Th]e past few years have been marked by a recognition of renewed vulnerability to infectious diseases. Bestselling books and Hollywood thrillers have triggered public fascination with ‘new,’ deadly, and unpredictable microorganisms.”  The New American continued:

The report noted that protecting the health of the “global village” demands “a worldwide response,” and “recently, public discussion has been further focused on the global issue of emerging diseases by … popular movies such as ‘Outbreak,’ starring Dustin Hoffman.”…

In the miniseries Pandora’s Clock, an airliner bound for JFK Airport in New York has the misfortune to be carrying a passenger infected with a doomsday virus. The plane is not allowed to land, lest the virus be loosed, and the government plans to shoot the plane down instead — another effective pitch for the idea that crises must be dealt with through extreme measures.

CISETP’s eagerness to cite Outbreak and similar entertainment products typifies a distressing willingness on the part of some public health officials to focus on lurid scenarios at some expense to sound science. The average American is largely at the mercy of domestic and international public health bureaucracies for information about infectious disease. This trust has been abused by public health authorities in recent decades.

For a more recent example of this strategy at work, check out our  11-24-19 post “Crisis-Hyping — What’s At Stake!”

But perhaps, this time, the Internationalists do have a real crisis to drive their power grabs.  Perhaps. However, we also know that with sufficient focus, the Establishment media can make any problem, such as “gun violence,” appear to be a new pandemic.  And there are several reports circulating claiming that the coronavirus statistics are exaggerated.

Data Alone Fallacy
Dr. Fauci’s claim that the virus data alone should drive government policy is a dangerous position.   In particular, his claim supports the Internationalist Establishment’s agenda for totalitarian power.  As several have pointed out, when the threat passes, government doesn’t give us our freedoms back.   It insists that an ongoing threat warrants that government retain the new authority. As an example, consider the “temporary” surveillance authorities granted to government following 9/11 by the Patriot Act, now the U.S.A. Freedom Act.

The coronavirus, even if it deserves major attention, is by no means the only problem the public faces.  Human mortality has not been conquered.  In the meantime, the public deserves the opportunity to try and accomplish life’s goals, protected by government, not burdened by government-imposed “emergency” restrictions.

But most significantly, the arguments in favor of the government measures ignore the much more dangerous threat of a high-level Internationalist Conspiracy that lusts to expand government authority in perpetuity and is greedy for useful pretexts.

So if these Conspiracy Insiders have their way, this scare is not a onetime event.  Indeed, Dr. Fauci has warned:  “We really need to be prepared for another cycle” to hit later this year.  And what about next year?

Multiple Gains
Establishment Internationalists are reaping multiple gains from their “crisis.”   Alexander Hamilton pointed to a principal one:

Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates…. [T]he continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free. — The Federalist No. 8

Hamilton’s warning is even more valid today, when there is a major organized Conspiracy for total power at work determined to undo the American revolution.  But in addition to preparing the public to give up its rights and accept government domination, the Conspiracy gains in other ways.

A primary Conspiracy gain is the enormous addition to our national debt from massive government spending — more than 2 trillion dollars the government does not have.  The consequences (inflation) and potential consequences (destruction of the dollar and its replacement with an International currency) are huge topics in themselves.  Bloomberg just reported (4-1-20):

The Federal Reserve is trying to call time on a fire sale of Treasuries by foreign governments and central banks.

Foreign official holders of Treasuries dumped more than $100 billion in the three weeks to March 25, on course for the biggest monthly drop on record, according to weekly Fed custody data that captures much of the pandemic-fueled turmoil.

Another gain by power seekers is the destruction of small businesses, a pillar of a free market economy and of the middle class — a bulwark of freedom.   Many other small businesses are to be put in hoc to the federal government.  In an interview with Yahoo! Finance (published 3-31-20) Ivanka Trump, President Trump’s daughter and senior advisor, made the following observation:

“Small businesses employ close to 50% of the American workforce, and obviously are the most vulnerable from a cash flow situation,” she said.

The $2 trillion fiscal stimulus sets aside over $350 billion in loans for small businesses. “We want to just bridge people until the world reopens,” she said.

And last, and very alarming, the Leftwing Politico reports that the Trump administration has asked Congress to draft legislation that would allow it to suspend parts of the Constitution:

The Justice Department has quietly asked Congress for the ability to ask chief judges to detain people indefinitely without trial during emergencies — part of a push for new powers that comes as the novel coronavirus spreads throughout the United States.

Documents reviewed by POLITICO detail the department’s requests to lawmakers on a host of topics, including the statute of limitations, asylum and the way court hearings are conducted  — “DOJ seeks new emergency powers amid coronavirus pandemic,” 3-21-20

Let’s Learn the Lessons of History!

“Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.” — President Donald Trump, Second State of the Union Address, 2-5-19

Unfortunately, uninformed resolve won’t stop the socialist revolution.  The Newsweek cover story, “We Are All Socialists Now,” for its February 16, 2009 issue, published during the Obama administration, is once again timely and illuminating.  During the subsequent 10 years the socialist revolution has continued to advance through a pattern of subversive deception.

“We Are All Socialists Now” is supported by a second article, “Big Government Is Back — Big Time.”  We will comment on both.

In their cover story, the two Newsweek authors properly excoriate posturing “conservatives” for attaching the unpopular “Socialist” tag to Obama administration policies while ignoring the fact that Republican administrations had also supported socialism.

But these GOP “conservatives” are not hypocrites, as Newsweek seems to imply, but “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” For the Establishment weekly also took pains to portray the subversive socialist trend in big-government as a natural modern development (thus covering up the hidden orchestration) and something that should be embraced.

Not surprisingly, both authors of the cover story showed up on the 2008 and 2009 membership lists for the Establishment’s Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

We list here a few of the article’s claims, followed by our (FFS) analysis:

         Newsweek:  “Whether we want to admit it or not — and many, especially Congressman Pence and Hannity, do not — the America of 2009 is moving toward a modern European state.”

         FFS analysis: Newsweek deceptively ignores the fact that America is being pushed into socialism.  Neither natural forces nor an informed public will are driving that revolution.

         Newsweek continues:  “We remain a center-right nation in many ways — particularly culturally, and our instinct, once the [2008 financial] crisis passes, will be to try to revert to a more free-market style of capitalism — but it was, again, under a conservative GOP administration that we enacted the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years:  prescription drugs for the elderly.”

         FFS analysis: Here Newsweek again covers up the orchestration behind our nation’s demise, by suggesting that our culture and “our instinct” are what drives Washington rather than merely serving as an obstacle for the Establishment to overcome.  But even Newsweek admits that “our instinct” didn’t prevent “a conservative GOP administration” from enacting “the largest expansion of the welfare state in 30 years.” Nor does the Newsweek story give any attention to the orchestrated attack on our culture through government-controlled education or the push for massive unassimilated immigration, against the public will, from cultures that are far from center-right.

         Newsweek“If we fail to acknowledge the reality of the growing role of government in the economy, insisting instead on fighting 21st-century wars with 20th-century terms and tactics, then we are doomed to a fractious and unedifying debate.  The sooner we understand where we truly stand, the sooner we can think more clearly about how to use government in today’s world.”

         FFS analysis:  Here Newsweek tries once more to reinforce the pure illusion that some kind of “open debate” is actually deciding the direction of government.  While the partisan winners and losers may not be “fixed,” the socialist direction of government is.  In support of that fix, the Establishment-controlled media obscures political betrayal by entertaining the public with the equivalent of a professional wrestling match.  And, of course, Newsweek never even suggests that there are any constitutional restraints on what government can or should do.

         Newsweek:  “Whether we like it or not … the [government spending] numbers clearly suggest that we are headed in a more European direction…. But the simple fact of the matter is that the political conversation, which shifts from time to time, has shifted anew, and for the foreseeable future Americans will be more engaged with questions about how to manage a mixed economy than about whether we should have one.” [Emphasis added.]

         FFS analysis:  Here again, Newsweek seeks to reinforce the illusion that political conversation and a public engaged with questions are what is driving our nation’s subversion.

         Newsweek“During the roughly three decades since Reagan made big government the enemy and “liberal” an epithet, government did not shrink.  It grew.”

         FFS analysis: President Reagan gave very conservative speeches, but, contrary to Establishment myth, his administration was anything but conservative.  Indeed, President Reagan chose several stalwarts from the Establishment’s Council on Foreign Relations, such as Secretary of State George Pratt Shultz and Vice President George H.W. Bush (a former CFR director) to run his administrations.

         Newsweek“Now comes the reckoning. The answer may indeed be more government.  In the short run, since neither consumers nor business is likely to do it, the government will have to stimulate the economy.  And in the long run, an aging population and global warming and higher energy costs will demand more government taxing and spending.” [Emphasis added.]

         FFS analysis:  Here Newsweek perpetuates the power-grabbing Establishment mantra that government must run a modern economy.  But just perhaps, when consumers decide not to spend, they may have a good reason.

         Newsweek“Obama talks of the need for smart government. To get the balance between America and France right, the new president will need all the smarts he can muster.”

         FFS analysis:  Here Newsweek further supports the same power-grabbing deception that has also been used to justify the Federal Reserve:  namely, that only the “best and the brightest” intellectuals can be trusted to prevent a market economy from imploding.

Newsweek’s supporting article
Newsweek’s supporting article, authored this time by Michael Freedman, is titled: “Big Government Is Back — Big Time, U.S. policymakers reconsider the relationship between government and the private sector.”

Right off the bat, we would ask:  “When was big government away?”  But let’s look at some of what the article is promoting.

This article regularly compares what was happening in the U.S. (in 2008-2009) with what was happening in France under President Nicholas Sarkozy:

         Newsweek:  “When Obama called Wall Street ‘shameful’ and greedy, he was articulating what the French have always thought, and endorsing Sarkozy’s recent dismissal of the ‘crazy’ idea that markets are always right.”

         FFS analysis:  While markets may not always be right, they have the right to be wrong.  This applies to what consumers spend their money on as well.  The clever sophistry that government force should supervise such decisions is merely a pretext for a government power grab.

         Newsweek:  “At its most basic level, the nearly $1 trillion U.S. stimulus package now being dissected on Capitol Hill is a fight over how great a role the federal government will play in what had been, for decades, private economic life.  And while it’s impossible to know just what the day after the crisis will look like, the broad contours of the new economic world are becoming visible.”

         FFS analysis:  The “new economic world” sounds ominously like “a new economic order.”  “Building a new economic order” is a phrase used by Internationalists (e.g., Trilateralists and CFR types) to refer to the process of consolidating global control.   And Newsweek is just helping to lay an intellectual smokescreen for a new step in government control of “private economic life.”

         Newsweek:  “One of the more lasting effects will be a steady drift toward what could be called a European model of governance, regulation and paternalism…. More specifically, in the absence of a robust private sector (or at least public confidence in business) the U.S. government will be forced to fill the gap, firmly directing businesses in all sorts of ways — regulating some industries (particularly banking and the automotive sector) with big-brother vigilance, favoring others like clean energy with grants and loans, and turning still others — health care, pensions — into virtual wards of the state.”

         FFS analysis:  Who forces government to fill an ostensible gap?  Not the public.  Instead, opportunistic socialists seek to fill any gap they can claim exists.  And constitutional protections against government overreach be damned.

         Newsweek:  “So aside from expanding the social safety net, the government will have to take a greater role in guiding business toward ends the state deems healthy for the overall economy.” [Emphasis added.]

         FFS analysis: This outrageous endorsement of more government power is a blatant rejection of the limited government authorized by our Constitution.  America’s founders understood from the historical record that unrestrained government led to tyranny and that “the state” needed supervision, not the other way around.  Newsweek doesn’t identify whom it sees as “the state.” But it’s obvious that its state consists of Establishment Insiders who seek to build an unaccountable police state.

         Newsweek:  “But sentiment is moving toward some form of universal health care and will only grow if unemployment remains high.”

         FFS analysis:  Whose sentiment?

         Newsweek:  “Another way government can take a larger role, particularly in easing the burden created by low stock-market returns, is by introducing programs that forgive some or all college-tuition debt in exchange for public service, something Obama promised to do on the campaign trail.

         FFS analysis:  Newsweek’s endorsement of “public service” seems reminiscent of President Clinton’s inauguration of “national service” via the National and Community Service Trust Act.  That Act created the taxpayer-financed Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which would include the AmeriCorps and VISTA. The bureaucracy that must be set up to administer these programs is not only highly expensive, but the “service” is generally of marginal value to the taxpayer.  And most ominously, the idea of an expanded volunteer army serving the State harkens comparisons to Mussolini’s programs for service to the Fascist State. One should also consider why college education has become so expensive now that the federal government is placing increasing demands on colleges to create bureaucracy to enforce political correctness.

         Newsweek:  “This crisis-driven debate on the proper role of government is not confined to America. At the recent World Economic Forum….”

         FFS analysis:  The notion that there is a high-level debate on the proper role of government is absurd.  The only debate is over how government can best gain more power through deception and manufactured crises.

         Newsweek:  “Bailouts, protectionism, talk of bank nationalization and a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package are not a socialist conspiracy, as some right-wing U.S. pundits and talk-show hosts insist.”

         FFS analysis:  We think Newsweek doth protest too much, while seeking to demonize even phony opposition as “right-wing”!

         Newsweek:  “Nonetheless, it is clear that a ‘centrist rebalancing’ is taking place even in America, says Sunder Katwala, head of Britain’s center-left Fabian Society, and that a prolonged period of slow growth will force the United States to become something more like Europe.”

         FFS analysis:  Center-left? Britain’s Fabian Society is out-and-out socialist.  Indeed, one of its leaders, published The Story of Fabian Socialism.  From its inception, the Fabian Society embraced a strategy of deception, patient gradualism, and permeation of other organizations. The Fabians would permeate and control the British Labour Party and the Socialist International.  They would also establish roots in this country.

GOP Fails to Protect the Unborn — Mike Lee

Under this bill, neither the unborn nor taxpayers are any more protected from the abortion industry than they were under President Obama and a unified Democratic Congress….

This bill represents a significant opportunity missed — and missed at a time when we can’t be sure how many more we will be given going forward, how many more opportunities like this one we might have. — Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), 9-18-18

On September 18th, the Senate “debated” the House-Senate “compromise” on the FY2019 Defense Appropriations bill (Senate Vote 212).  Earlier the Senate leadership had attached the unrelated Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill to the Defense bill in order to bring the big-government Democrats on board.  Only 7 senators voted against the “compromise,” which was very much like their earlier minibus.

During the ostensible debate, Senator Mike Lee took the podium to put on record why he was voting against the bipartisan measure:

For the second straight year of unified Republican governance — unified pro-life governance — Congress’s annual spending bills will include no new reforms protecting unborn children or getting Federal taxpayers out of the abortion business.

The House version of this Health and Human Services spending bill included multiple reforms. It denied taxpayer funds to the largest abortion provider in the country, Planned Parenthood. It eliminated title X family planning grants, which cross-subsidize abortion providers. It prohibited Federal funding of research on aborted fetal tissue. It included the Conscience Protection Act protecting pro-life people and groups from funding discrimination.

None of these modest, commonsense spending reforms survived the House-Senate negotiations — none of them. None was made a priority by the people empowered to set the priorities….

But before this bill passes with an overwhelming bipartisan supermajority as its base of support — despite it being mostly unread by its supporters — someone ought to speak up for the Americans whom this legislation conspicuously leaves behind….

Some causes are worth fighting for, even in defeat — the God-given equal rights and the dignity of all human beings paramount among them. [Emphasis added.]

Instead of following Senator Lee’s example, Senate appropriators touted bipartisan compromise and insisted, hypocritically, that in the interest of such compromise and getting things done on time, they had eliminated so-called controversial “poison pills” from the legislation.   But attaching the largely unconstitutional and unrelated Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bill to the Defense bill was itself such an act.   In fact, in the House, 56 Republicans rejected this compromise to the Left, but only 5 Democrats (see House Roll Call 405).

Here are some examples (excerpts from the debates) [Emphasis added]:

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), member Appropriations Committee:  This is a bipartisan agreement…. Today’s bill, I think, reflects the priorities of both sides of the Capitol and both sides of the aisle. We fulfilled the commitments the leaders made in the February budget agreement to keep the extraneous issues off these bills that fund the government.”

Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee:  “Mr. President, I want to thank my colleagues,  particularly Leaders McConnell and Schumer and Vice Chairman Leahy for  their help in moving this package. The conference report before the Senate accelerates the rebuilding of America’s military and provides our men and women in uniform with the largest pay increase in nearly a decade.

“It also increases NIH’s budget by $2 billion and provides  critical resources to combat the opioid epidemic. And, it contains no poison pill riders.   On the whole, the conference report tracks very closely with the Senate version of this package, which passed by a vote of 85 to 7. I hope it will receive the same level of support today and urge my colleagues to vote yes.”  

Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), member Appropriations Committee:  “In conclusion, the outcome of much of this bill shows what we can  accomplish when Democrats and Republicans work together.”

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), ranking Democrat on Appropriations Committee:  “The two bills in the package before us — the Defense bill and the Labor-HHS-Education bill — are a product of hard work and bipartisan cooperation….

“We are still in conference on a four-bill minibus…. Most of the funding issues have been resolved. We do have some controversial poison pill riders.  We shouldn’t delay this package over unrelated policy matters that have no place on must-pass spending bills. Get the poison pills out and pass the bills.”

Such audacity! With the Health and Human Services bill attached to the Defense bill it is very much germane to decide whether or not to fund abortion providers with taxpayer money.  It’s just a matter of which group GOP senator leaders wanted to cater to — members of their own party or openly radical socialists.   Senator Lee comments:

The best measure of any government or any policy or proposal can be  measured according to its impact on the least among us. Too often today, Washington acts as though “the least among us” refers to our most vulnerable incumbents rather than our most vulnerable constituents. This $1.3 trillion spending bill exemplifies that very confusion and fails that very test….

I understand that fighting on contentious issues comes with a cost. I  understand that it is not easy. But other things come with a cost too.  It is not just this that comes with a cost — so, too, does not fighting on them, especially in the rare moments when we could win. This bill represents a significant opportunity missed — and missed at a time when we can’t be sure how many more we will be given going forward, how many more opportunities like this one we might have. Some causes are worth fighting for, even in defeat — the God-given equal rights and the dignity of all human beings paramount among them. [Emphasis added.]

Senator Lee’s complete remarks
For your interest, we include here the complete text of Senator Lee’s remarks as reported in the Congressional Record (9-18-18) [Emphasis added]:

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah):  “Mr. President, I am a Republican because I am a conservative. I am a conservative because I believe the Constitution  and the ideals that it asserts on behalf of the American people are worth protecting, worth defending, even when they are untimely, even when they are unpopular, and especially for the vulnerable, for the marginalized, and for the forgotten among us.

“Equal rights, equal opportunity, equal justice under the law, equal dignity under God — we fail as Americans when we violate these ideals, when we neglect them to whatever degree, when we exclude some number of  our neighbors from their God-given share of our common inheritance,  when we declare in the interest of expedience and in defiance of our  own national creed that some people somehow are less equal than others.

“Such was the cruelty of our Nation through our laws, long-visited on  African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and ethnic minorities,  on women, on the disabled, and on religious minorities, including  religious minorities like my own forebears as members of the Church of  Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   Happily, this is no longer the case. Happily, all of these groups — who, taken together, comprise the vast majority of all Americans — were at different times in our history affirmatively brought under the  protection of our laws. This work of inclusion, of expanding the circle of legal and constitutional protection, was not a natural, organic,  spontaneous, evolutionary process; it was the product of hard work — the  work of vigilant citizens, activists, and lawmakers who affirmatively,  aggressively, painstakingly advanced the cause of justice at every  opportunity, even against the entrenched forces of the political status quo.   Republicans in this Congress have undertaken such efforts on behalf  of certain priorities — in particular, the tax relief and spending  increases that are poised to yield a budget deficit of nearly $1 trillion this year.

“But no such legislative progress has been achieved advancing the right to life nor the plight of those denied it. For the second straight year of unified Republican governance — unified pro-life governance — Congress’s annual spending bills will include no new reforms protecting unborn children or getting Federal taxpayers out of the abortion business. The House version of this Health and Human Services spending bill included multiple reforms. It denied taxpayer funds to the largest abortion provider in the country, Planned Parenthood. It eliminated title X family planning grants, which cross-subsidize abortion providers. It prohibited Federal funding of research on aborted fetal tissue. It included the Conscience Protection Act protecting pro-life people and groups from funding discrimination.

“None of these modest, commonsense spending reforms survived the House-Senate negotiations — none of them. None was made a priority by the people empowered to set the priorities. The authors of this bill defend their $1.3 trillion compromise. And of course, this being Washington, I know, as is always the case, that  in this case, it could always be worse. But before this bill passes with an overwhelming bipartisan supermajority as its base of support — despite it being mostly unread by its supporters — someone ought to speak up for the Americans whom this legislation conspicuously leaves behind.

“The best measure of any government or any policy or proposal can be  measured according to its impact on the least among us. Too often today, Washington acts as though “the least among us” refers to our most vulnerable incumbents rather than our most vulnerable constituents. This $1.3 trillion spending bill exemplifies that very confusion and fails that very test. Under this bill, neither the unborn nor taxpayers are any more protected from the abortion industry than they were under President Obama and a unified Democratic Congress.

“I understand that fighting on contentious issues comes with a cost. I understand that it is not easy. But other things come with a cost too.  It is not just this that comes with a cost — so, too, does not fighting on them, especially in the rare moments when we could win. This bill represents a significant opportunity missed — and missed at a time when we can’t be sure how many more we will be given going forward, how many more opportunities like this one we might have.  Some causes are worth fighting for, even in defeat — the God-given equal rights and the dignity of all human beings paramount among them.   The arc of history may, as I hope, bend toward life, but only if we bend it. I oppose this legislation, but I do so neither in anger nor in sadness; rather, I do so in hope, looking forward to another bill, another time in the not-too-distant future, one that stands up for  those Americans who asked nothing more than the chance to one day stand  up for themselves. I yield the floor.”

Restore Regular Order PLUS!

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and the subsequent massive 1.3 trillion FY2018 omnibus appropriations bill are now fait accompli. So attention naturally shifts to FY 2019, which begins on October 1, 2018.

However, it’s important that the American people learn what’s wrong in Washington and what to do about it.  And a good place to start is to examine the FY 2018 appropriations process and the refusal of congressional leaders to restore regular order (separate votes on the 12 appropriations bills).

During the February 8 Senate debate over the Budget Act, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) gave a particularly eloquent explanation of what is wrong with the current last-minute appropriations process.  We repeat here, at length, some of his excellent remarks as recorded in the Congressional Record:

“Mr. President, we find ourselves in another position like those we have found ourselves in before. We find ourselves in a position in which the government’s spending authority is set to expire in just a few hours. We have known this was coming for weeks, just as we did with the last continuing resolution and the one before that and the one before that….

“Sometimes we are so focused on the policy and the price tag that we forget about the process.  It is primarily to this subject, the process, that I would like to turn my attention for the next few minutes….

“The Constitution is, itself, all about the process….  It is all about making sure that there is responsiveness and accountability from the government to the people, making sure that the government serves the people and not the other way around….

“Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to spending bills.   You see, it is in spending bills that we have the opportunity to exercise oversight over the Federal Government — a government that requires the American people to spend many months out of every year working just to pay their tax bills, a Federal Government that imposes  $2 trillion every single year in regulatory compliance costs on the American people, a government that has the power to destroy a business  or a livelihood or, in some cases, lives.

“It is important that we exercise this oversight, and without spending  constraints, there can be no meaningful oversight. Without an adequate process, the Republican form of government cannot fulfill its role. The American people are no longer in charge of their government when this  happens.

“For this reason, it is a little disturbing that a government that spends nearly $4 trillion every single year makes its spending decisions in one fell swoop as it does. You see, whenever we pass a continuing resolution, what we are doing as a Congress is effectively pressing a reset button. It keeps current spending levels intact, in place, unchanged, as if there were no reviewing body, as if there had been no election, as if the American people didn’t matter at all to the process by which they are governed.

“This is an abdication of our role as the people’s elected representatives. It disconnects the American people, and we wonder — we wonder why it is that this is an institution, Congress, that enjoys an approval rating somewhere between 9 and 14  percent, making us slightly less popular than Fidel and Raul Castro in America and only slightly more popular than the influenza virus, which  is rapidly gaining on us….

“We have a bill before us that is quite lengthy and that we have had access to for only about 24 hours — a little bit less than that — and we are asked to make a binary choice as to that legislation, yes or no.  Vote for it and, in this case, there are some things that you get. You get $90 billion in emergency spending. You get an increase of spending caps of about $300 billion over 2 years. You get in excess of $1 trillion in new debt. Some have estimated it could be more like $1.5 trillion, but we will be talking about a $22 trillion debt by the second quarter of 2019 as a result of this bill….

“Members are told over and over and over again: You are either going to vote for this and accept the government as is, with no changes or with changes that you might find incredibly disturbing, or you will be blamed for a shutdown. Why is this OK? …

“Through the amendment process, people offer up legislation, and they offer to improve legislation. If they have concerns with it, they can offer up amendments. When Members are denied that opportunity, the American people are disconnected yet again from that process.  Who benefits from this? Well, it certainly isn’t the American people, who find that their government gets bigger and more expensive. It does so at their expense, at the expense of the American people.

“Every time we undertake this process again — we pass another continuing resolution — we suggest that it is somehow OK to fund the government this way, with one decision affecting every aspect of government, in one vote put forward under sort of extortive circumstances in which Members are told: You have to do this, or the government is going to  shut down, and you will be blamed for that if you vote against it.

“This isn’t right. Why couldn’t we bring legislation to the floor not hours but weeks or even months before the deadline? Why couldn’t we allow that to occur, to allow the debate, the discussion to occur under the light of day rather than having this legislation negotiated under cover of darkness, behind closed doors, where the American people are left out?

“I have thought about this on many occasions, and there are very few circumstances in our day-to-day lives that are like the way Congress spends money.  It has occurred to me that it is as if you moved into a new area, a very remote area, and you had access to only one grocery store for many, many miles, many, many hours away. You were on your way home from work and your spouse called you and said to stop at the store and pick up bread, milk, and eggs. You go to the store and get your grocery cart. You go to the bread aisle and put a loaf of bread, a carton of milk, and a dozen eggs in your cart.

“You get to the checkout counter, and you put out your bread, milk, and eggs. The cashier rings those things up and says: I am sorry, you may not purchase bread, milk, and eggs unless you also purchase half a ton of iron ore, a bucket of nails, a book about cowboy poetry, and a Barry Manilow album. In fact, this is a special kind of store where you have to buy all of those things. In fact, you have to buy one of every item in this entire store in order to buy any of these things, including the bread, the milk, and the eggs.

“That would start to approximate what it feels like to spend money in Congress, where we are told: You can’t fund any part of government unless you are willing to fund all of government, subject to such changes as the few people who write the continuing resolution might  insert. And you, by the way, having been duly elected by the citizens of your State, will be left out of the process other than to exercise the binary choice of yes or no.  So we have seen that this is how we get to be $20 trillion in debt, soon to be $22 trillion in debt….

“So process matters. The fact is, we will not always come to an agreement as to how much we ought to spend. We will not always come to an agreement as to those things on which we will be spending, the requisite amount of money. But I think we should be able to agree that the American people deserve a process, one that allows them to be heard through the people’s own elected representatives. If not us, who? If not now, when? At what point are we going to start appropriating funds through this government, through a process that is open, that is transparent, that can be observed by the American people and through which the American people can be heard?” [Senator Lee voted no!]

Freedom First Society:  Restoring regular order is a necessary first step towards the vital goal of rolling back unconstitutional spending.   Following the passage of last year’s omnibus measure (The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017), Representative Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) explained how the public is being misled:

“House Leadership and the media have led the public to believe that passing one giant omnibus every year, at the last minute, is a legitimate way to fund the government and that anything else will result in a total government shutdown. Both are false. We should write, debate, amend, and pass 12 separate appropriations bills as the law prescribes, so that if any one bill fails to pass, only 1/12th of the Federal government shuts down.”

As James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” pointed out in Federalist No. 58, a simple majority in the House alone has the power to bring government under control:

“The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government.  They, in a word, hold the purse — that powerful instrument … [for reducing] … all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of government.  This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

The reality today, however, is that a majority of congressmen with that agenda does not exist.   Congress is marching to a different tune, reinforced by an Establishment media also controlled by big-government forces.

Frustrated voters cannot accomplish change at the ballot box if representatives, once elected, decide they must march to the big-government tune to stay in office while merely talking conservative to their busy constituents, particularly at election time.

The solution: A major educational effort, outside the Establishment media, to build informed constituent pressure will be required to wrest control of Congress from the big-government architects.  Only an informed electorate can force the House to use its “power of the purse” to roll back unconstitutional spending, departments, and functions.   To accomplish such a task, organization is required — the purpose of Freedom First Society.

As part of its mission to build informed pressure on Congress, Freedom First Society has created a no-nonsense online congressional scorecard to help constituents understand how their representative and senators are voting. We urge visitors to sign up to receive an alert when we score a new House Roll Call or Senate Vote (sign up on the upper right of our home page) and then share these alerts and our scorecards widely.

Constitutional Camouflage

“Our peculiar security is in possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction.” — Thomas Jefferson, September 7, 1803

House rules requiring a Constitutional Authority Statement for every bill submitted have been around for some time. In 1997, the 105th Congress adopted such a rule, imposed on Committee reports. Early on the rules were likely inspired to some extent by outside pressure, but more recently the House GOP merely seems to have discovered a political public relations opportunity.

The current and latest such Rule was adopted by the Bohener-led House in 2011, as promised in the House GOP’s 2010 Pledge to America. The Rule mandated that every bill or joint resolution submitted be accompanied by a statement “citing as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution.”

In its January 5, 2011 explanation of the new rule, the House Committee on Rules stated:

“The adequacy and accuracy of the citation of constitutional authority is matter for debate in the committee and in the House. The rule simply requires that the bill be accompanied by a constitutional authority statement upon introduction.”

Unfortunately, the “debates” in the House are generally little more than chest pounding by a lead by proponent from the majority party with equal time allotted to a representative of the minority party. If the measure has bipartisan support, opponents are rarely heard. Moreover, in reviewing hundreds of pages in the Congressional Record, your author cannot recall the constitutionality of a measure ever being challenged on the floor of the House.

As the Rules report further stated: “Ultimately, the House will express its opinion on a proposed bill, including its constitutionality, by either approving or disapproving the bill.” So nothing really changed. The requirement for an accompanying Constitutional Authority Statement has not prevented unconstitutional business-as-usual one iota.

No one should be surprised. Given the tremendous forces behind the centralization of more and more unconstitutional functions in the federal government, it would be unreasonable to expect the House GOP leadership willingly to bind themselves down with “the chains of the Constitution.”

As confirmation of those expectations, let’s look at the abuses of Constitutional Authority Statements that pretend those chains don’t exist. Three clauses in particular have been misinterpreted to portray the Constitution as a blank-check authorization: The “General Welfare Clause,” the “Interstate Commerce Clause,” and the “Necessary and Proper Clause.” These willful misconstructions, supported by activist Supreme Court decisions, have long served as protective coloration for the successful drive to create unlimited government.

The “General Welfare Clause”

Undoubtedly, the most common citation of constitutional authority is Article I, Section 8, particularly the introductory “General Welfare Clause.” Here is a typical such authority statement

“Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following: Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution, to ‘provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.’”

The “general welfare clause” in Article I, Section 8, is commonly misused to create the appearance that unconstitutional congressional acts are constitutional. In 1987, Notre Dame Law School Professor Charles Rice clarified the misuse of the clause:

“The Constitution created a government of limited, delegated powers. The term ‘general welfare’ in Article I, Section 8, does not confer on Congress a general power to legislate and regulate for purposes beyond those enumerated in the remaining clauses of Section 8. If the General Welfare Clause had been intended to confer an open-ended power to legislate for whatever purposes Congress might consider necessary for the general welfare, it would have made no sense for the framers to have followed it with what would have been a needless list of particular powers that would have been included by implication in the general one. In fact, the clause did not confer a general power to enact legislation at all.

“Instead, it conferred a power only to enact legislation to ‘lay and collect’ taxes and, by implication, to spend the revenue raised by those taxes for the ‘general welfare.’ It was, then, not a general power to regulate the activities of the people, but a power to tax and to appropriate, i.e., to spend, which was limited to the purposes stated in the remaining clauses of Section 8.”

In the Federalist No. 41, James Madison, “the Father of the Constitution,” had also rejected the claim that the General Welfare Clause “amounts to an unlimited commission to exercise every power which may be alleged to be necessary for the common defense or general welfare”:

“For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.”

During congressional debate on February 7, 1792, Madison warned:

“[I]f Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress….”

But politicians today still get away with claiming that the clause gives them a grant of power to do almost anything if they can project some benefit for the general welfare. (Our example: How about Congress forbidding families from having more than one child to promote population control or to stop climate change?)

Frequently, Congressional Authority Statements merely refer to the entire Article I, Section 8, and not just its preamble, without identifying any particular power. They thus imply that Article I, Section 8 provides Congress with general legislative authority. But Alexander Hamilton refuted this notion in The Federalist, No. 83 by pointing to the Constitution’s enumeration of specific powers:

“This specification of particulars evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was intended.”

The “Interstate Commerce Clause”

Statements of Constitutional Authority for unconstitutional acts also cite clause 8 of Article I, Section 8 — the “Interstate Commerce Clause.”  In so doing, they are following creative Supreme Court decisions overturning long-established understanding.

Clause 8 states: “[The Congress shall have Power:] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes.” [Emphasis added.]

The middle section of this clause was designed to give Congress the power to prevent the states from inhibiting the interstate flow of goods through trade barriers, as they had previously done. In allaying Anti-federalist concerns, James Madison stated that the clause was not designed “to be used for positive purposes,” but was to serve as a “a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves.”

And for many years in our nation’s history this was well understood and observed. “Nonetheless,” as the late Congressman Lawrence P. McDonald observed in his book, We Hold These Truths — A reverent review of the United States Constitution (1976), “more pressures were put on Congress to enlarge its powers under the Interstate Commerce Clause than under any other provision of the Constitution. Commercial affairs, being among the most pervasive and the most profitable of man’s activities, produced many reasons for such pressures.”

The “Necessary and Proper Clause”

Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, commonly referred to as the “necessary and proper clause,” authorizes Congress to “make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.” [Emphasis added.]

In The Federalist, No. 44, James Madison wrote: “Without the substance of this power, the whole Constitution would be a dead letter.” And a report on the Virginia Resolutions, drafted by Madison, stated that this clause “is not a grant of new powers to Congress, but merely a declaration, for the removal of all uncertainty, that the means of carrying into execution those [powers] otherwise granted are included in the grant.”

Yet despite its clear meaning, the clause has been eagerly misinterpreted as an “elastic clause” authorizing Congress to do virtually anything it decides is “necessary and proper.”

In arguing against the constitutionality of a national bank, Thomas Jefferson further admonished against the creative use of the “necessary and proper clause” (February 15, 1791):

“It has been urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes. Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary,’ not those which are merely ‘convenient,’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers.”

And One More

The House Appropriations Committee has often cited Article I, Section 9, Clause 7 as authorization for appropriations for blatantly unconstitutional programs and departments.   The clause states: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law….”

Citing this clause as an authorization to spend money is an insult to our intelligence. The clause is akin to a corporate requirement that two officers sign every check.   In no way would such a requirement by itself entitle the officers to write checks at their pleasure.

In Summary

For decades, the Establishment media in “informing” public opinion have conveniently ignored: 1) the federalist principles America’s Founders incorporated in the Constitution; and 2) their vision that the Constitution imposed strict limits on what the federal government could and could not do — it could only properly do what was specifically delegated to it.   With regard to both, James Madison stated in The Federalist No. 45:

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce….”

And in The Federalist No. 14, Madison further commented on the limited purpose of the federal government:

“Its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” 

The Solution

America’s Founders intended for the people to control their new government through the House of Representatives. To promote local accountability, they required representatives to stand for frequent elections (every two years) in relatively small districts, and they gave the House the all-important power of the purse. As James Madison emphasized in the Federalist No. 58, a simple majority in the House alone has the power to bring government under control:

“The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse — that powerful instrument … [for reducing] … all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

The reason the House hasn’t exercised that authority in recent times is that no simple majority has, or can acquire on its own, the desire and backbone to do so. Such a majority would have to stand up to the Establishment’s grip on the parties and withstand its dominating influence on public opinion.

Realistically, the necessary backbone must come from an informed, engaged electorate following new leadership, provided through a new channel of communications. Freedom First Society was founded to offer that leadership. See also our online no-nonsense congressional scorecard to find out whether your representative is voting to continue or roll back Washington’s assault on America and our campaign page: Congress: Just Vote the Constitution!

Footnote:  The history of Supreme Court misconstruction of the Constitution is recounted in We Hold These Truths — A reverent review of the United States Constitution (1976) by the late Congressman Lawrence (Larry) Patton McDonald (See Chapter V: A Breach in the Wall).


Voter-Supplied Backbone Needed!

On May 3rd, the House approved a massive $1.07 trillion appropriations bill to finish off the last 5 months of FY 2017 (which ends on September 30th). The Senate followed suit the next day, and on May 5th President Trump signed it into law.

In any omnibus spending bill, there is good mixed with the bad. That’s one reason why omnibus appropriations are so destructive — the “good” in the bill makes it easier to obtain congressional support. And proponents of this measure argued that there was something in this legislation for everyone — except, of course, for those who have to pay the bill and whose liberty is threatened by the federal monster.

It is easy to assess the 1,665-page measure, the product of a “bipartisan deal,” from the fact that only 15 House Democrats opposed it. The good news is that GOP support was split 131 in favor to 103 against.   (In the Senate, the only opposition came from 18 Republican Senators.)

AP (5-3-17) reported that both President Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan “declared victory, but the opinions of top party leaders were not shared by the rank and file…. Negotiators on the bill say it looks pretty much like the measure would have looked like if it had been ironed out last year under Obama — save for Trump’s add-ons for the Pentagon and the border.”

Why did 103 House Republicans buck their party leadership to vote against this measure?   Certainly, not because they are all committed constitutionalists. It’s because they know they have to face the voters back home and ward off any challenges to their reelection.

This shows that an organized effort to build a much better informed electorate can still help Americans fix the direction of the House and unleash its power to battle the other branches effectively.

Wielding the Power of the Purse

Two widely perpetuated myths provide cover for the House’s unwillingness to use its power of the purse to trim spending. The first is the notion that when pushed against deadlines the House needs to include all 12 appropriations measures in a single omnibus measure for an up-or-down vote.   With an omnibus bill, the big spenders can use the specter of a government-wide shutdown to scare a public increasingly dependent on federal spending in order to obtain congressional support.

In reality, the House could easily schedule several independent votes and play hardball with one or more of the areas. In fact, in the case of the just completed FY 2017 appropriations, the least controversial of the 12 regular measures — Military Construction, the Department of Veteran Affairs — was passed and became law last September.

In the new 115th Congress, the House passed appropriations for the Department of Defense on March 8.   There was no need for the House to include that measure again in an omnibus measure: A tough House would demand that the Senate deal with the House bill already before it. The bottom line is that we need to insist that our representatives refuse to support omnibus appropriations measures.

The Compromise Myth

The other destructive myth is an ostensible need for compromise. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell repeated it recently when he stated that spending bills “cannot be done by one party alone.”   The idea that appropriation legislation has to be a compromise with socialists, as happened here, is a sure road to our destruction.

The Founding Fathers gave the House the power of the purse so that an informed public could use its leverage with their elected representatives to give government its marching orders.

Separate votes on the 12 appropriations measures would help restore the House’s leverage. Unfortunately, that is not the program of the House leadership. House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks often of returning to regular order (12 independent votes), but Ryan and his GOP predecessors are always willing to kick this can down the road to the following year.

The Usual Charade

Once the FY2017 appropriations were completed, the White House sent Congress a proposed budget for FY2018.   Although presidential budgets are merely an administration’s statement of priorities, in no way binding on Congress, the Trump budget is instructive.

The plan proposes to balance the budget in 10 years, while allowing next year’s deficit to increase. We’ve heard such promises many times before. Moreover, as along as the notion persists that federal spending must be a compromise with socialists, such a projection is certainly nonsense.   And it’s certainly nonsense with the current Congress and media-controlled voter understanding.

Of course, Democratic leaders immediately railed against the plan’s proposed cuts, thereby helping to create the illusion that the budget is fiscally conservative.

Our real leverage is in helping others understand the issues and the voting record of their congressman. Building informed constituent pressure is the key to obtaining a Congress responsive to the Constitution.  And sharing our online scorecard for an individual congressman or printed copies is a great way to start.

[Note: Once there are enough significant votes for us to update our scorecard for the current session of Congress, the House and Senate votes on the above $1.07 trillion “Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017” will certainly be included. In the meantime, please use these links to the official voting records for each chamber: House Roll Call 249 (5-3-17) and Senate Vote 121 (5-4-17). (Both are still misleadingly titled as the HIRE Vets Act, the vehicle used by the House).]


No Omnibus in the Lame Duck

The September 28th House “debates” over a last-minute continuing resolution to fund the federal government until December 9 (after the November election) were again misleading. They mislead Americans as to the House’s true  power over the purse — IF it had the will to use it.

In The Federalist, No. 58, Father of the Constitution James Madison explained the awesome unused power of the purse, which the Constitution assigns to the House of Representatives:

“The House of Representatives can not only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of the government. They, in a word, hold the purse — that powerful instrument [for] finally reducing … all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

Rather than asserting this power, however, the debates claimed that the House needed to work cooperatively with the Senate and the President, while perpetuating the false notion that all parties are sincerely interested in the good of the country.

House Debates (from Congressional Record)

Leading the majority (Republican) debate in the House, Rep. Tom Cole argued:

“Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am always disappointed when we are forced to consider continuing resolutions, especially given the work this House has done in the appropriations process this fiscal year.

“For 2 years in a row, the House Appropriations Committee was able to complete all 12 appropriations bills–and complete them before the August recess. In addition, this House passed five appropriations bills. Unfortunately, just as in years past, Senate Democrats prevented consideration of many appropriations bills on the floor of that body. This leads us to the unfortunate situation of having to put forward a short-term CR to fund the government through December 9….

“I think it is worth pointing out that you can’t have regular order in the House if you don’t have regular order in the Senate. The real reason we are here is because the Senate has refused consistently to take up appropriations bills that have been passed by this House. At some point, you simply quit passing the bills because the Senate isn’t going to deal with you.” [Emphasis added.]

We would ask, why must the House bear the blame for a government shutdown if the House has done its job? Why not insist that the Senate (and the President), as a minimum, accept the five appropriations bills as the House passed them or bear responsibility for shutting down just that portion of the government?

Actually, the CR package included one of the least controversial of the 12 regular appropriations bills, funding its programs for the entire fiscal year 2017. Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers pointed out:

“[T]he package contains the full-year Military Construction-VA bill for FY17, which was conferenced by the House and Senate and passed by the House already in June [H.R. 2577, Roll Call 342, H.R. 2577]…. It is important to note that, once the President signs this bill into law, it will be the first time since 2009 that an individual appropriations bill has been conferenced with the Senate and enacted before the September 30 fiscal year deadline.”

Lame Duck Appropriations

When the Congress resumes in the Lame Duck after the election, the leadership of both parties will lobby for either an omnibus appropriations bill, funding the government through September 30, 2017 for the other 11 areas, or for kicking the ball to the next Congress with another short-term continuing resolution. True constitutionalist should not support either option.

While the four appropriations bills passed by the House and not taken up by the Senate may not have been worthy of support individually, constitutionalists in the House should not allow a new CR or omnibus to include those areas. A House that asserts its dominance in appropriations is a necessary base from which to roll back unconstitutional government. And in a world dominated by a hostile Establishment media, that requires regular order.

So, as a minimum, constitutionalists should refuse to vote for any omnibus appropriations bill that includes those four. And best, insist on 11 separate votes.