» Solyndra leaders invoke 5th Amendment at hearing News

Solyndra leaders invoke 5th Amendment at hearing

By Matthew Daly

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top executives from a bankrupt California solar energy company declined to testify before a congressional hearing investigating their half-billion dollar government loan.

Solyndra Inc. CEO Brian Harrison and the company’s chief financial officer, Bill Stover, both invoked their Fifth Amendment right to decline to testify to avoid self-incrimination.

Harrison told the House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday: “On advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer any questions.”

Stover did the same.

Lawmakers from both parties said they were disappointed, but said that silence from the two executives would not stop them from pursuing their investigation into a $528 million loan that Solyndra Inc. received from the Energy Department in 2009.

The panel’s chairman, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., compared the Solyndra loan to the Great Train Robbery in England in the 1960s.

“It appears we have a great heist of over half a billion dollars and … maybe even co-conspirators called the U.S. government,” Upton said.

Upton faulted the Obama administration for its role in the loan, saying at a minimum the Energy Department did not complete due diligence on the company, which lost hundreds of millions of dollars in the years before the loan was approved.

He called the loan “reckless use of taxpayer dollars on a company that was known to pose serious risks before a single dime went out the door.”

Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said it was important for the committee’s investigaton to continue.

“The American people deserve answers. Half a billion dollars is missing,” he said.

GOP lawmakers said they were expanding their inquiry into the Solyndra loan, which has become a rallying point for Republican critics of the administration’s push for so-called green jobs.

Lawmakers said they want the administration to turn over all communications between the Energy Department and White House related to Solyndra, as well as all communications between Energy and the Treasury, which lent Solyndra the money.

Committee leaders said the administration may have violated the law when it restructured Solyndra’s loan in February in such a way that private investors moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of default. The economic stimulus law provides for taxpayers to be ahead of other creditors in the event of bankruptcy or default.

Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said Thursday that the restructuring was “entirely legal,” noting that another aspect of the law requires Chu and other officials to protect the overall interests of taxpayers. He said the restructuring accomplished that because it gave the struggling company a better chance to succeed.

Solyndra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month and laid off its 1,100 employees.

The Fremont, Calif.-based company was the first renewable-energy company to receive a loan guarantee under a stimulus-law program to encourage green energy and was frequently touted by the Obama administration as a model. President Barack Obama visited the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters last year, and Vice President Joe Biden spoke by satellite at its groundbreaking ceremony.

Since then, the company’s implosion and revelations that the administration hurried Office of Management and Budget officials to finish their review of the loan in time for the September 2009 groundbreaking has become an embarrassment for Obama as he tries to sell his new job-creation program.

Surprised? This is the very tip of the corruption permeating the Obama administration. Let’s follow the money..

The Constitution and Limited Government

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September 2011
Edward J. Erler
Professor of Political Science,
California State University, San Bernardino

Edward J. Erler is professor of political science at California State University, San Bernardino, and a senior fellow of the Claremont Institute. He earned his B.A. from San Jose State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from Claremont Graduate School. He has published numerous articles on constitutional topics in journals such as Interpretation, the Notre Dame Journal of Law, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. He was a member of the California Advisory Commission on Civil Rights from 1988-2006 and served on the California Constitutional Revision Commission in 1996. He has testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the issue of birthright citizenship and is the co-author of The Founders on Citizenship and Immigration.

The following is adapted from a speech delivered at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar on May 24, 2011, in Dallas, Texas.

The Constitution and Limited Government

Two cases that are currently making their way to the Supreme Court may well in the short term decide the constitutional issue of the reach and extent of the federal government. At stake, in other words, is the future of limited government. And together, these two cases present an exceedingly odd situation. In the case of the Arizona illegal alien law, the federal government is suing a state for constitutional violations; and in the case of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—that is, Obamacare—more than half the states are suing the federal government, contesting the Act’s constitutionality. It is indeed a litigious season.

But the Supreme Court’s decisions in these two cases may not be the last word, because both of them present eminently political issues that will have to be decided ultimately by the American people.

The administrative state, of course, always seeks to extend its reach and magnify its power. This is an intrinsic feature of a system where administration and regulation replace politics as the ordinary means of making policy. If there are to be limits to the reach of the burgeoning administrative state, they will be political limits imposed by the people in the ordinary course of partisan politics. The advent of the administrative state poses the greatest challenge to limited government, because it elevates the welfare of the community—whether real or imagined—over the rights and liberties of individuals. The task today is to confine the federal government to its delegated powers. The minions of the administrative state seek to destroy constitutional boundaries in their desire to replace politics with administration. This is tantamount to denying that legitimate government derives from the consent of the governed, or that limited government rests on the sovereignty of the people.

One of the proofs offered in the Declaration of Independence that King George was attempting to establish an “absolute Tyranny” over the American colonies was the fact that “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.” Obamacare certainly fits the description of the activities denounced in the Declaration. The number of regulations and the horde of administrators necessary to execute the scheme are staggering. We have only to think here of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It is a commission of 15 members appointed by the President, charged with the task of reducing Medicare spending. This commission has rule-making power which carries the force of law. The Senate, it is true, will have the power to override its decisions—but only with a three-fifths majority. There are no procedures that allow citizens or doctors to appeal the Board’s decisions. The administrative state—here in the guise of providing health care for all—will surely reduce the people under a kind of tyranny that will insinuate itself into all aspects of American life, destroying liberty by stages until liberty itself becomes only a distant memory.

The advent and extraordinary success of the Tea Party movement, with its emphasis on restoring limited government, has made this a propitious time to rethink what the Framers meant by limited government and how they understood the relationship between limited government and the protection of rights and liberties. It is rare to see a people acting spontaneously in a political cause. The Tea Party movement must be regarded as a testament to the independent spirit—the freedom-loving spirit—of the American people.

How did the Framers understand limited government? In the first place, limited government was not for the Framers identical with small government, as the Tea Party sometimes tends to believe. The identification of limited government with small government was the position of the Anti-Federalists who opposed the ratification of the Constitution. Limited government, for the Anti-Federalists, meant government that was too weak to threaten the rights and liberties of the people. Small government was, therefore, both the necessary and sufficient condition of political freedom. Consequently, the Anti-Federalists preferred a purely confederal form of government in which the states assumed priority.

The Federalists, on the other hand, regarded confederal government as an attempt to do the impossible: to create a sovereignty within a sovereignty. Conflicting claims to sovereignty would be debilitating and would render the government of the whole ineffective—as was surely the case under our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation.

The Framers of the Constitution settled upon a novel design for government, one that Madison said was “partly national, partly federal.” For some purposes, Madison explained, we will be one people; for others, we will be multiple peoples. With respect to the national features—those things that concern the nation as a whole—the federal government will have sovereignty—complete and plenary power to accomplish the objects entrusted to its care in the Constitution. Those objects are principally found in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. National defense, for example, is exclusively delegated to the federal government. And since the exigencies that face nations in foreign affairs are unpredictable and innumerable, the federal government must have sovereignty to fulfill this delegated trust. And if that trust is to be fulfilled, the federal government must also be accorded the necessary means to achieve that end. If this entails large government—and today it surely does—then large government must be compatible with limited government. Similar reasoning applies to all the objects delegated to the care of the federal government.

The Declaration of Independence provided the authoritative statement of America’s political principles. For the first time, government was said to derive its legitimacy—its just powers—from “the consent of the governed.” This was a turning point in world-historical consciousness: no longer would it be possible to argue that sovereignty belonged to governments or kings—even if kings claimed appointment by divine right.

In order to form just government, the people delegate a portion of their sovereignty to government to be exercised for their benefit. The fact that only a portion of sovereignty is ceded by the people is the origin of the idea of limited government. The people delegate only some of their sovereignty to government, and what is not granted is retained by the people—the people, for example, always reserve (and can never cede) the ultimate expression of sovereignty, the right of revolution. The Declaration describes this right as “the Right of the People to alter or to abolish” government when it becomes destructive of its proper ends—namely, the protection of the safety and happiness of the people. This right of revolution, as understood by the Founders, was the right that secures every other right, because it serves as a constant reminder of the sovereignty of the people.

The Anti-Federalists never understood these revolutionary implications; they seemed to believe still that governments, not the people, were the ultimate repositories of sovereignty, and that the only way to secure the rights and liberties of the people was to weaken the power of government—as if freedom existed only in the exceptions to government power. But as Madison wrote, “Energy in government is essential to that security against external and internal danger and to that prompt and salutary execution of the laws which enter into the very definition of good government.”

What limits the federal government is not a limit on its power to act, but the limited range of objects entrusted to its care—the enumerated powers of government. The powers not delegated to the federal government nor forbidden to the states in the Constitution (e.g., ex post facto laws, bills of attainder, and laws impairing the obligation of contracts) are reserved to the states. These are the police powers, which are generally described as the power to regulate the health, safety, welfare and morals of the citizens of the states.

In cases of conflict, the supremacy clause of the Constitution gives preference to the federal Constitution and laws made in pursuance of the Constitution. The supremacy clause was described by Madison as an essential improvement over the Articles of Confederation. Where there is no final authority to arbitrate disputes between the federal government and the states in this “compound Republic,” government will be paralyzed. Madison confessed, however, that the exact boundary between the powers of the federal government and the state governments will be impossible to determine in advance. The precise lines of demarcation will have to be worked out in practice. The Supreme Court—and through the supremacy clause, the state courts—will have to determine conflicts on a case by case basis.

An illustration of the difficulties of drawing clear lines between federal and state authority in our “compound Republic” is the Arizona illegal immigration bill, passed in April 2010. The law allowed police officers to verify the immigration status of any person after a valid stop or arrest if there “is a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully present in the United States.” Everyone remembers the hysteria that was unleashed when the bill passed. The President called the law irresponsible, saying that it threatened “basic notions of fairness.” Others said the provision of the bill relying on “reasonable suspicion” would mandate racial profiling; and some of the more hysterical commentators even insisted that the law was tantamount to genocide. The Assistant Secretary of State felt compelled to apologize to members of a Chinese delegation visiting the United States for this egregious assault upon human rights. One can only imagine the bemused looks on the faces of the Chinese delegation.

The President ordered the Justice Department to intervene. And to the surprise of many, the Justice Department’s lawsuit did not seek to enjoin the law based on racial profiling or equal protection or due process, arguing instead that the law conflicted with the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration. Perhaps someone had explained to the Attorney General that “reasonable suspicion” has been a part of our due process jurisprudence for many years. It means that a police officer can question on suspicion that is less than probable cause; reasonable suspicion, of course, must be something more than a hunch or a guess or an intuition—it must be based on articulable facts. In addition, the Supreme Court in 1975 ruled that ethnicity could be one of the factors determining reasonable suspicion. The Arizona law, in contrast, disallowed any use of ethnicity in determining whether a person could be asked about his immigration status.

In United States v. Arizona, the Federal District Court judge enjoined the operation of the law because it intruded upon the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration and control foreign policy. On appeal from the District Court, one piece of evidence adduced by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the Arizona law was an unconstitutional impingement upon the federal government’s exclusive power to conduct foreign policy was the fact that the President of Mexico and the heads of several other Latin American countries had expressed severe criticisms of the bill both in the press and in amici briefs! Rarely do we encounter such humor in court opinions, however unintended the humor might be.

The Constitution, of course, does not specifically grant control over immigration to the federal government. Instead Congress has power to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization.” Control over naturalization, however, seems to imply control over immigration—so uniform rules governing immigration would seem, by necessary implication, to fall within the scope of federal power. The real question here—although it was not addressed by the District Court or the Court of Appeals—was what power, if any, devolves upon state governments when the federal government fails to carry out its obligations. The District Court had candidly noted that the Arizona law was passed “against a backdrop of rampant illegal immigration, escalating drug and human trafficking crimes, and serious public safety concerns.” In the face of federal inaction or manifest indifference, does Arizona have the reserved power—indeed the obligation—to secure the safety of its citizens? The President’s recent remarks that the border has been secured and that it is now time to think of providing a path to citizenship for illegal aliens is, in reality, a statement of declared indifference to the people of the State of Arizona and to all the border states similarly situated. Surely those states have the constitutional right, sustained by their police powers, to protect themselves through laws that are as unobtrusive as the Arizona law. But in the District Court’s judgment, the Arizona law invoked “an inference of preemption” because it placed an “impermissible burden” on federal “resources and priorities” and inevitably “will result in the harassment of aliens.” The burden on federal resources stems from the fact that there will be an increased number of requests to verify immigration status. This increased burden will in turn force the immigration services to reallocate resources away from other priorities. Such is the logic of the District Court.

These reasons seem trivial when compared to the real and pressing dangers that Arizona faces as a result of federal inaction and indifference. Surely this is not what the Framers had in mind when they crafted the supremacy clause, while at the same time reserving to the states the essential responsibility of protecting the safety and welfare of their citizens. Madison wrote in The Federalist that “the powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” This extensive power reserved to the states should weigh heavily on preemption decisions. In this light, the Arizona law seems to have been a clear exercise of the state’s police powers, and any burden imposed on the federal government to have been incidental and insignificant.

Obamacare is another issue that tests our understanding of the Constitution and the role of limited government. In federal courts, the Obama administration has defended the bill as a legitimate exercise of Congress’ power to regulate commerce. At issue here is the individual mandate that forces individuals to purchase health care insurance and carries a penalty for failure to do so. Congress has the power to regulate commerce; but does it, as here, have the power to create commerce—i.e., to force individuals to engage in interstate commerce by purchasing health care insurance from private providers? Another way to look at the issue would be to ask whether, under the commerce clause, Congress has the power to regulate inactivity, i.e., the refusal to buy insurance. This would indeed be a novel extension of commerce clause jurisprudence and utterly impossible to square with any notion of commerce that was held by the framers of the Constitution.

In addition to the commerce clause argument, the Obama administration maintains that the individual mandate is authorized by Congress’ power to tax and spend for the general welfare. Congress’ power here is extensive. Over the years, the Court has generally deferred to Congress in determining what constitutes the general welfare. This is proper, since Congress represents the nation and what promotes the general welfare is essentially a political question. If Congress determines that a universal health care system serves the general welfare, then the courts will not interfere. The power to “lay and collect Taxes,” however, has been subject to judicial scrutiny. While Congress may tax for the purpose of raising revenue, it may not use the power of taxation for the express purpose of regulation. A tax that is merely a subterfuge for regulating activities will not be allowed, although a tax that only incidentally regulates behavior will pass constitutional muster as long as the principal purpose is raising revenues.

Madison argued that the general welfare clause was actually a limitation on the federal government. Taxes could be imposed and money spent only for the general welfare—meaning the welfare of the whole of the American people. It is true that Alexander Hamilton had a more extensive view of the general welfare clause, but throughout much of our history Madison’s view prevailed. Today, however, the idea that the general welfare clause was ever intended as a limit on the reach of government has been destroyed by the progressive architects of the welfare state.

In any case, if the individual mandate is to be defended under the general welfare clause, what the plain language of the bill calls a penalty must be regarded as a tax for the express purpose of raising revenue. If the penalty can be sold as a tax, the Obama administration argues, then Obamacare is authorized by the general welfare clause. In the Florida District Court case, the Justice Department made the wholly tendentious—not to say absurd—argument that since the IRS was charged with administering the individual mandate and collecting the penalties, this was sufficient to convert a penalty into a tax. But as Florida District Court Judge Roger Vinson remarked: “Besides the fact that President Obama confidently assured the American people that there would be no new taxes to support the medical insurance scheme, no amount of administrative indirection should be allowed to convert a penalty into a tax for raising revenue. This is not a revenue raising measure and therefore cannot be justified under the general welfare clause.”

But here is a somber thought: If, instead of using the individual mandate, Congress had relied on its general revenue-raising powers, under current Supreme Court doctrine, it is almost certain that Obamacare would be constitutional. It would be an example of Congress spending money for the general welfare.

In conclusion, the only certain method of defeating universal health care and other cases of federal overreach—as it appears that the American public desires to do—is political opposition. A political party dedicated to genuinely limited government—not small government—is an urgent political task. Whether the Tea Party is up to this task remains to be seen—but it is probably our best hope. The Tea Party will have to learn, however, that the task today is not to weaken the power of government—it is to confine the government to the exercise of its delegated powers and to restore to its full vigor the partly national, partly federal form of government that was the legacy of the Founders.






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Copyright © 2010 Hillsdale College. The opinions expressed in Imprimis are not necessarily the views of Hillsdale College. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the following credit line is used: “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.” SUBSCRIPTION FREE UPON REQUEST. ISSN 0277-8432. Imprimis trademark registered in U.S. Patent and Trade Office #1563325.

It’s refreshing to read such clear and direct explanations of why government naturally tends to expand and try to reduce the power of citizens over time. This lust for power reminds us that relying on humanity alone for guidance and wisdom is a foolish path.. that leads to tyranny. It is particularly obvious and acutely undermining our freedoms under the Obama administration.

EROSION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

 

September 21, 2011

 

SERIES SPOTLIGHTS EROSION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS 

 

Portland, OR — Americans for Prosperity and the I Spy on Salem Radio Show will be co-hosting the first Basic American Rights Series on Thursday, Sept. 22, from 5:30 to 9:00pm at the Portland Airport Shilo Inn. It will also be broadcast live around the state to: Shilo Inns in Seaside, Springfield, and Klamath Falls; the China Gorge Restaurant in Hood River; and the Salem Public Library.

 

This town-hall style event will focus on our property rights, which are fundamental to the American Dream.

 

Speakers include: Tom DeWeese on private property rights, local implementation of Agenda 21, and how cloaking regulations  in “sustainability” impacts property rights;

Karen Budd-Falen, who will discuss how environmental extremists lock up land through regulation and lawsuits; and Jim Huffman, who will give a constitutional and historical perspective

 

The cost is $10 to cover expenses. Due to limited seating, guests are encouraged to pre-register by going to americansforprosperity.org/Oregon. There will be a social hour/mixer from 5:30 to 6:30 and the main event will begin at 6:30. For more information, contact karla@ispyonsalem.com.

 

Clackamas County Commissioners – Lose Again

Judge tosses sham ballot — Motion and Memo re: ballot title-ruling

Another victory for the white hats.

A Clackamas County Judge threw out the ballot title Clackamas County Commissioners came up with to thwart the citizen’s initiative measure.

The judge tossed out the whole farce .. This fictional representation that it is a “local” vote that commissioners were trying to pitch.

Ruling below 🙂

The Judge’s new ballot title is still a bit confusing but it takes away the phony play by the county.

Also attached, for your consumption, is the ballot title challenge by Attorney Eric Winters and the County response that the judge considered.

The county had requested a hearing but the judge wasted no time in returning a quick rejection of the county position and request.

And he awarded Winters some costs.

Well done! — to Lawyer Eric Winters

Eric Winters who also wrote the citizen’s UR measure which the county tried but failed to smear with government vendor law firm Ball Janik ( one of Oregon’s largest and most expensive legal firms).  Ball Janik is paid huge taxpayer funded fees .. while “representing” these commissioners in their effort to silence taxpayers who are rightfully concerned about the enormous debt this set of commissioners are determined to impose on local taxpayers.It’s clear, these commissioners do NOT want citizens to exercise discretion and oversight in the wasteful spending they have in mind.  Political donors who help get these “friendly” commissioners elected are no doubt intending to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to help ovecome the will of the taxpayers.. after all, they stand to rake in enormous profits … public projects are always enormously profitable for these insiders.

That didn’t go so well either. http://bojack.org/2011/08/clackistan_war_update_county_b.html
More on that Ball Janik work coming soon!

So here we are again just like the recent fee battle. The citizens against the politician’s gang.

The conniving commissioners tried everything they can think of to thwart the citizens; including hiring outside counsel,.  Progressive group,  “Our Oregon” did their very best to smear the citizen’s initiative… but sometimes it doesn’t matter how much money you have when the effort is so unfair and blatantly at odds with good government.  Even Metro’s Tom Hughes rallied the Light Rail/planning insider gang to defeat the citizen rebellion.. but to no avail.  Here comes the November ballot.. and they will spend $100,000’s of thousands of dollars to confuse voters and disparage anyone who thinks they have a right to have a say in how we go about deciding on enormous tax burdens hoisted on the backs of local taxpayers.   How dare we!

Informed people, who have no financial benefit from this huge spending plan, are looking forward to an enormous victory for Citizen’s Measure 3-386 and a crushing defeat for the politicians shameful effort to silence taxpayers.

http://embedit.in/It7t9wX7Jj.swf

 

Court Documents!

 

Obama Investigations: Fast and Furious, Solyndra, LightSquared

Morning Bell: The Obama Investigations

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You wouldn’t know it if you solely paid attention to the mainstream media, but while President Barack Obama attempts to sell the country on hundreds of billions in new stimulus spending and $1.5 trillion in new taxes, his Administration is smack in the middle of several growing scandals: the Operation Fast and Furious gun-running debacle and the crony capitalism wrongdoing involving Solyndra and LightSquared.

In the fall of 2009, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which is overseen by President Obama’s Department of Justice, launched an effort to sell weapons to small-time gun buyers in the hopes of tracing them to major weapons traffickers along the southwestern border and into Mexico. Their effort, which is known as Operation Fast and Furious, failed terribly.

Around 1,500 of the guns went unaccounted for, about two-thirds of those guns ended up in Mexico, a border patrol agent was shot and killed with weapons that were sold as part of the operation, 57 Fast and Furious weapons have been connected to at least 11 violent crimes in the U.S., and in Mexico an unconfirmed toll of at least 200 people have been killed or wounded with other weapons linked to the botched effort.

Save for recent reports from CBS News and the Los Angeles Times, and earlier reporting by ABC News, the mainstream media has largely ignored the story and the White House press corps has not bothered to ask the President or press secretary Jay Carney about the scandal since July 5 — that’s 78 days, and over 40 press briefings, without one single related question.

Meanwhile, congressional hearings were held, top officials associated with the operation were removed from their positions, and a third individual resigned. In the latest news, Mexican officials are complaining that, to this day, the United States has not offered an explanation about Fast and Furious, much less an apology. And yesterday, CBS News reported that a series of secretly recorded audio tapes thought to have been recorded in March reveal that an Arizona gun dealer and an ATF agent involved in the operation were worried about the unraveling scandal.

Turning from guns to butter, another scandal has cropped up, this one involving the solar panel manufacturing company Solyndra, which received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Energy Department as part of President Obama’s green jobs spending spree. The President lauded the company when he spoke at the unveiling of its new factory in May of last year. But now, little more than a year later, it stands bankrupt and plans to lay off more than 1,000 employees. Days after it filed for bankruptcy, the FBI raided the company’s offices and the homes of its executives.

The Obama Administration had a lot riding on Solyndra and the promise it offered. The President had made “green” energy a centerpiece of his failed plan to boost job growth in the United States, likening his effort to America’s “moonshot”–the space race following the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik. The import of the company’s bankruptcy was evident in a January 31 e-mail between Office of Management and Budget staff regarding “Solyndra optics.” In the e-mail, the staff discussed what it would look like if the company went belly-up down the road, its implications for the 2012 elections, and how an earlier default might give the Obama Administration some credit for “fiscal discipline.”

Then there’s the story of LightSquared, a wireless start-up company backed by billionaire Democratic donor Philip Falcone. The Daily Beast reports that military officials fear that the company’s technology could interfere with GPS signals–and that “two U.S. officials allege the White House tried to influence their [congressional] testimony to rush key testing, to LightSquare’s benefit.”

Enter the investigations. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Tuesday that his committee plans to investigate government loans to private companies made by the Obama Administration, according to The Hill. “I want to see when the president and his cronies are picking winners and losers,” Issa said. Now, Reuters reports that Solyndra’s chief executive and chief financial officer will invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to answer questions at the hearing on Friday.

A cross-border gun-running scandal, deaths in the United States and Mexico, staff removals and resignations, secret audio recordings, complaints from foreign officials, hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, bankruptcy, an FBI raid, campaign donors, and allegations of inappropriate White House influence in congressional testimony. There are serious questions coming out of Washington. It’s time the media start demanding answ

The smell emanating from Washington D.C. is becoming noxious to freedom loving America.. those citizens who yearn for an end to corruption.

Where are the Environmentalists Now?


Where are the Environmentalists Now?

                                      By Kay Helbling, West Linn

 

If you take a drive past SW Lincoln around 1st to 4th streets in Portland, you’ll be struck by the absolute beauty of the stand of London Plane (sycamore) trees. Some have 18-30” diameter trunks and must be 40-50 years old. This spot of green beauty in the middle of Portland is scheduled for clear cutting in order to make room for the Milwaukie Light Rail.

 

The hypocrisy goes without saying.

 

Federal funds for the project haven’t even been allocated, but, the planners are not concerned with that minor detail. We’ve seen this strategy too many times before—“you can’t say no now, we’ve already spent so much, we’re already so far along..”  

 

The arrogance is striking.  

Obama rips up the Constitution- for example…

Robert Knight – Guest Columnist – 9/20/2011 9:50:00 AMBookmark and Share

Robert Knightcolumnists archives buttonThe Constitution of the United States, whose adoption we celebrate every Sept. 17, clearly lists the powers of each branch of the national government.
 

Let’s take a look at what Barack Obama, like any president, is empowered to do and see if it squares with his actions. In Article II, Section 1, he is sworn to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Section 2 names the president as commander in chief of the armed forces, grants him the power to make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate and to appoint ambassadors, federal judges, cabinet officials and other federal officers.  In Section 3, the president “shall take care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”

In his two years and nine months in office, Barack Obama has compiled a spectacular record of non-compliance with the Constitution.  Here are just some of the ways his administration has failed to execute the laws while using raw, unauthorized power.

The Defense of Marriage Act – On Feb. 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. announced that, under Obama’s direction, the Justice Department would no longer defend DOMA, which is under attack in several federal courts. DOMA, which was passed by overwhelming majorities in Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1996, defines marriage for all federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman, and allows states under the Full Faith and Credit clause not to be forced to recognize unions from other states that do not comport with their state marriage laws.  Forty-five states have moved to strengthen their marriage laws, with 30 enacting constitutional amendments.  Obama, who has played coy with the marriage issue while aggressively promoting the homosexual agenda, is violating his oath of office to appease the gay lobby. (See related article)
 
The 15th Amendment – Under Obama, the Justice Department has effectively become a race-based enforcement unit. After New Black Panther Party members were caught on tape intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008, the Justice Department declined to defend the convictions, and thus sent the message that baton-wielding thuggishness on Election Day is no big deal.  Former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams, who laid out the case before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, described the administration’s dismissal of charges as “lawless hostility toward equal enforcement of the law.” (See related article)
 
Illegal Immigration – The Obama administration has ignored the illegal actions of “sanctuary cities” and instead sued the state of Arizona in July for enforcing federal law. Then, in August, the administration announced a new policy that, in effect, ends enforcement of illegal immigration providing the illegal alien meets the requirements of the DREAM Act, a bill that Congress failed to pass. So, Obama is ignoring current federal law while creating rules based on a law that never passed. (See related article)
 
Cap and Trade – In 2010, the Senate rejected a sweeping environmental bill that would have created a massive federal carbon regulation system. Despite this, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would treat carbon dioxide (the air we breathe out) as a pollutant, and begin cracking down on America’s businesses and power plants. The EPA has become a law unto itself.  The Obama Administration also has ignored a federal judge’s ruling that it acted illegally in prohibiting new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. (See related article)
 
Obscenity Laws – The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has ignored federal laws against selling obscene materials, prosecuting only a handful of cases. Even though the law is clear and courts routinely hand down convictions, U.S. attorneys don’t bother to enforce the law anymore given the direction from the top. The result is that the Internet is awash in illegal obscenity and even mainstream hotels peddle obscene materials via pay TV. (See related article)
 
The Fifth Amendment – The Constitution guarantees that no one is deprived of their property without “due process of law” or without “just compensation.” The National Labor Relations Board’s absurd order to Boeing not to open a newly built $750-million Dreamliner facility in right-to-work South Carolina because unions in Boeing’s home state of Washington object violates that guarantee. Even liberal New York Times columnist Joseph Nocera commented: “Seriously, when has a government agency ever tried to dictate where a company makes its products? I can’t ever remember it happening.” (See related article)
 
The First Amendment – The NLRB struck again this year, declaring two Catholic universities — St. Xavier University in Chicago and Manhattan College in New York — not sufficiently “religious.” If the holdings stand, the schools may see the NLRB assert jurisdiction and rope the faculty and employees into a union election.

While ignoring laws that he is obligated to enforce, Obama has added other duties that would leave America’s Founders scratching their heads. As columnist Don Feder notes:

“Right out of the gate, there was his salaam to the Saudi king and his declaration in the course of a 2009 speech at Cairo University that; ‘I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.’ That’s in the Presidential-Responsibility-To-Fight-Negative-Stereotypes-Of-Islam section of the Constitution.”

More frightening is Obama’s heavy-handed seizure of the nation’s healthcare system and ObamaCare’s unconstitutional mandate for everyone to purchase health insurance. Nowhere, not even in the much-abused Commerce Clause, does the Constitution give the government the right to force citizens to engage in commerce. If ObamaCare is upheld, government bureaucrats can pretty much order us to do anything they want.
 
This list, which could be longer, should include Obama’s failure as commander in chief to lead our armed forces with honor. Can you imagine George Washington’s or Gen. George S. Patton’s response to the Obama administration’s doctoring the results of a troop survey, leaking misleading “findings” to the press, ignoring strong opposition by combat troops, and ramming through a policy of homosexualizing the armed forces? This violates 235 years of tradition in the world’s finest military.
 
Paraphrasing Ted Koppel’s comment about the Ten Commandments, the Constitution is not a set of suggestions. The Constitution’s enumerated powers and limitations ensure maximum liberty in a free republic.
 
When the chief enforcer shows such profound contempt for the Constitution, he needs to be reminded that no one is above the law. Not even The One.

Property and Liberty | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

Property is “the guardian of all other rights,” as Arthur Lee of Virginia wrote in 1775.[1] The Supreme Court declared in 1897: “In a free government almost all other rights would become worthless if the government possessed power over the private fortune of every citizen.”[2] Unfortunately, legislators, judges, and political philosophers in the twentieth century have perennially disparaged property’s value to freedom.

Without private property, there is no escape from state power. Property rights are the border guards around an individual’s life that deter political invasions. Those who disparage property often oppose any meaningful limits on government power. John Dewey, for instance, derided “the sanctity of private property” for providing “freedom from social control.”[3] Socialist regimes despise property because it limits the power of the state to regiment the lives of the people. A 1975 study, The Soviet Image of Utopia, observed, “The closely knit communities of communism will be able to locate the anti-social individual without difficulty because he will not be able to ‘shut the door of his apartment’ and retreat to an area of his life that is ‘strictly private.’”[4] Hungarian economist Janos Kornai observed: “The further elimination of private ownership is taken, the more consistently can full subjection be imposed.”[5]

Yet Oxford professor John Gray asserted in 1990 that “very extensive State intervention in the economy has nowhere resulted in the extinction of basic personal and political liberties.”[6] One wonders which freedoms Bulgarian and Romanian citizens enjoyed under communism that Gray neglects to mention. Perpetual shortages of almost all goods characterized East Bloc economies; politicians and bureaucrats maximized their power and maximized people’s subjugation through discretionary doling out of goods. Shortages created new pretexts to demand further submission: the worse the economic system functioned, the more power government acquired—until the people rose up and destroyed the governments.[7]

The Economy Is Lives

Government cannot control the economy without controlling the lives of everyone who must rely on that economy to earn his sustenance. There is more to life than wealth. But the more wealth government seizes from people, the more likely that government will be able to control all the other good things in life. Once government domineers the economy, it becomes far more difficult to resist the extension of government power further and further into the recesses of each person’s life.

Property rights are not concerned merely with the sanctity of the estates of the rich. The property right that each citizen has in himself is the foundation of a free society. As James Madison observed, “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses.”[8] The property that each citizen has in his rights is the foundation of his ability to control his own life and strive to shape his own destiny.

Some contemporary liberals argue that government ownership is the ultimate safeguard of freedom. According to Alan Wolfe, “No one would be able to enjoy the negative liberty of walking alone in the wilderness if it were not for the regulatory capacity of government to protect the wilderness against development.”[9] Wolfe implies that if the government did not own much of the nation’s land, private citizens would ravage the landscape from coast to coast. However, private landowners have a better record of safeguarding the environmental quality of their land than does the federal government.[10] The Army Corps of Engineers has destroyed far more of the natural river beauty in this country than has any private malefactor, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s lavish subsidies for “flood insurance” have made possible vast numbers of buildings on ecologically fragile coastlines.[11] Wolfe also implies that no private forest owner would permit anyone else to walk on his land. However, the proliferation of contracts for hunting on private land show that, with a sound incentive system, access to private land can easily be negotiated. Citizens have different values, and many citizens prefer to keep their land in semi-pristine condition. Besides, even if all citizens wanted to sell their land to developers, only a small percentage of such land would be developed—simply because there is no economic rationale for developing much of rural America.

Bulwark of Privacy

The sanctity of private property is the most important bulwark of privacy. University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein wrote that “private property gives the right to exclude others without the need for any justification. Indeed, it is the ability to act at will and without need for justification within some domain which is the essence of freedom, be it of speech or of property.”[12] Unfortunately, federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors are making private property much less private. In 1984 the Supreme Court ruled in Oliver v. United States—a case involving Kentucky law-enforcement agents who ignored several “No Trespassing” signs, climbed over a fence, tramped a mile and a half onto a person’s land and found marijuana plants—that “open fields do not provide the setting for those intimate activities that the [Fourth] Amendment is intended to shelter from government interference or surveillance.”[13] (The Founding Fathers apparently forgot to include a parenthesis in the original Fourth Amendment specifying that it applied only to “intimate activities.”) And the Court made it clear that it was not referring only to open fields: “A thickly wooded area nonetheless may be an open field as that term is used in construing the Fourth Amendment.”[14] Justice Thurgood Marshall dissented: “Many landowners like to take solitary walks on their property, confident that they will not be confronted in their rambles by strangers or policemen.”[15] Even prior to this ruling, it was easy for law-enforcement agents to secure warrants to search private land merely by concocting an imaginary confidential informant who told police about some malfeasance.[16]

The core of the “open fields” decision is that the government cannot wrongfully invade a person’s land, because government agents have a right to go wherever they damn well please. After this decision, any “field” not surrounded by a 20-foot-high concrete fence is considered “open” for inspection by government agents. (And for those areas that are sufficiently fenced in, the Supreme Court has blessed low-level helicopter flights to search for any illicit plants on the ground.[17])

The Supreme Court decision, which has been cited in over 600 subsequent federal and state court decisions, nullified hundreds of years of common-law precedents limiting the power of government agents. The ruling was a green light for warrantless raids by federal immigration agents; in late 1997 the New York Times reported cases of upstate New York farmers’ complaining that “immigration agents plowed into fields and barged into packing sheds like gang busters, handcuffing all workers who might be Hispanic and asking questions later . . . . [D]oors were knocked down, and workers were wrestled to the ground.”[18] In a raid outside of Elba, New York, at least one INS agent opened fire on fleeing farm workers.[19] Many harvests subsequently rotted in the fields because of the shortage of farm workers.

Conflicting Views of Freedom

The “open fields” doctrine provides an acid test of conflicting views on freedom. Are people more or less free when government agents can roam their land? Are they more or less free when they can be accosted by government agents any time they step past the shadow of their front door? Is freedom the result of government intrusions—or of restrictions on intruders? The scant controversy the 1984 decision evoked is itself a sign of how statist contemporary American thinking has become.

Few government policies better symbolize the contempt for property rights than the rising number of no-knock raids. “A man’s home is his castle” has been an accepted rule of English common law since the early 1600s and required law-enforcement officials to knock on the door and announce themselves before entering a private home. But this standard has increasingly been rejected in favor of another ancient rule—“the king’s keys unlock all doors.”[20]

A New York Times piece observed in 1998 that “interviews with police officials, prosecutors, judges and lawyers paint a picture of a system in which police officers feel pressured to conduct more raids, tips from confidential informers are increasingly difficult to verify and judges spend less time examining the increasing number of applications for search warrants before signing them.”[21] The Times noted that “the word of a single criminal, who is often paid for his information, can be enough to send armed police officers to break down doors and invade the homes of innocent people.”[22]

No-knock raids have become so common that thieves in some places routinely kick down doors and claim to be policemen.[23] The Clinton administration, in a 1997 brief to the Supreme Court urging blind trust in the discretion of police, declared that “it is ordinarily reasonable for police officers to dispense with a pre-entry knock and announcement.”[24] Law-enforcement agencies’ fear of losing small amounts of drug evidence has fueled attacks on the sanctity of homes. The Clinton administration, for instance, appears far more concerned about the flushing of drugs than about the flushing of privacy. In a 1995 brief to the Supreme Court, the Clinton administration stressed that “various indoor plumbing facilities . . . did not exist” at the time the common law “knock-and-announce” rule was adopted.[25] Making a grand concession to civil liberties, the administration admitted that “if the officers knew that . . . the premises contain no plumbing facilities . . . then invocation of a destruction-of-evidence justification for an unannounced entry would be unreasonable.”[26] The Supreme Court has failed to impose effective restraints on police’s prerogative to carry out no-knock raids. Professor Craig Hemmens observed that the Court’s “recent decisions involving the knock and announce rule, essentially gutted the rule, reducing it to little more than a ‘form of words.’”[27]

Police also possess the right to destroy property they search. Santa Clara, California, police served search and arrest warrants by firing smoke grenades, tear-gas canisters, and flash grenades into a rental home; not surprisingly, the house caught fire and burned down. When the homeowner sued for damages, a federal court rejected his plea, declaring that the police “only . . . carelessly conducted its routine and regular duty of pursuing criminals and obtaining evidence of criminal activity. The damage resulted from a single, isolated incident of alleged negligence.”[28]

It is as much a violation of property rights and liberty when government agents storm into the shabbiest of rental apartments as when they invade the richest mansion. The sanctity acquired by renters to a private domain illustrates how the exchange of private property can give someone vested rights—rights within which they can build and live their own lives. Local and state governments routinely treat renters as second-class citizens; many localities have mandatory inspection policies for all rental units that permit government officials to search private dwellings without a warrant or any pretext. Park Forest, Illinois, in 1994 enacted an ordinance that authorizes warrantless searches of every single-family rental home by a city inspector and police officer, who are authorized to invade rental units “at all reasonable times.” No limit was placed on the power of the inspectors to search through people’s homes, and tenants were prohibited from denying entry to government agents. Federal Judge Joan Gottschall struck down the searches as unconstitutional in February 1998, but her decision will have little or no effect on the numerous other localities that authorize similar invasions of privacy.[29]

Bane of Freedom?

Some socialists have argued that private property is a bane of freedom because inequality of wealth is equivalent to political tyranny. According to historian R. H. Tawney, “Oppression . . . is not less oppressive when its strength is derived from superior wealth, than when it relies on a preponderance of physical force.”[30] But regardless of how much wealth a person owns, he has no legal right to coerce other citizens. Offering someone the best wage he can find is unlike holding a gun to his head; offering someone the best price for a product he is selling is not like expropriation. A legitimate government must restrict the coercion of all citizens, including those with the largest bank accounts. But the fact that politicians are sometimes corrupted by bribes and deny equal protection of the law to the poor is not a good reason to give more power to politicians.

To understand the difference between economic wealth and political power, consider the difference between the power of a boss and that of a government agent. Any power that a boss or company has over a person is based on a contract, express or implied; that power is limited to the work and time contracted for. (Contracts for lifetime labor are illegal in the United States.) A boss’s power is conditional, dependent on an employee’s choosing to continue to receive a paycheck.

In contrast, the government agent’s power is often close to absolute: for example, a citizen who refuses to pull over for a traffic cop flashing his lights can face jail time, regardless of whether the cop had a legitimate reason to stop him. Markets allow people a choice of whom to deal with, while government dictates that citizens must submit to its orders. As Nobel laureate James Buchanan observed, “As individuals become increasingly dependent on ‘the market,’ they become correspondingly less dependent on any identifiable person or group. In political action, by contrast, increasing dependence necessarily becomes increasing subjection to the authority of others.”[31] Markets limit the power of people to dictate to other people because the parties can seek other bidders or sellers. Markets provide venues for people to voluntarily agree with other people. Markets are symbolic of voluntary activities in the same way that jails are symbolic of coercion.

Some friends of government legitimize vesting sweeping power in politicians by defining practically any private business decision as coercive. Economist Robert Kuttner declared on a 1997 PBS program that “when a company relocates overseas . . . that is a form of violence.”[32] To define practically any economic change as “violence” is to authorize an unlimited number of political first strikes against property owners. If moving a factory overseas is a form of violence, then moving a factory across state lines is also a form of violence—since the “violence” is presumably done by a factory leaving one location, regardless of where it relocates. When a person is given a “right” to a job, all other people are prohibited from competing for that job.

A viable concept of freedom must consist of more than psychological wish fulfillment—more than a fantasy world in which every citizen can buy low and sell high, in which every citizen gets the wages he demands and pays the prices he pleases. It is crucial to distinguish between frustrated economic aspirations and government coercion. Feeling a compulsive need to impress neighbors by buying a swimming pool is not the same as facing arrest for planting grass seed in your yard and allegedly disturbing a federally designated wetland. The compulsion to buy a suit of the latest fashion is not the same compulsion as experienced during an IRS audit, especially if the agent decides to employ a notorious “lifestyle audit,” which forces citizens to detail and justify how much cash they had on hand at any one time a year or two before, whether they have a safe deposit box and what it contains, how much they spend on groceries, where they eat out, what toys they buy for their children, and what books or jewelry they purchase.[33] The compulsion to buy a new car differs from the compulsion you feel when police pull you over, announce that your appearance matches that of a “drug courier profile,” and proceed to rummage through your trunk, glove compartment, tire hubs, and pockets, and to ask a bevy of incriminating questions about your personal life.[34] The fact that a person spends himself deeply into debt and thus feels obliged to keep working at a job he despises is not coercive because no one compelled the person to become a mindless consumer.

An inability to find a satisfactory job or satisfactory career path is not a violation of liberty—unless government or private action forcibly blocks or restrains people. A person is not “oppressed” by his own lack of marketable job skills: every art history major who did not find a good job after college is not a victim of some sinister force.

One of the clearest violations of freedom of contract is government licensing laws, which prohibit millions of Americans from practicing the occupation of their choice. Over 800 professions, from barbers to masseuses to interior designers to phrenologists to tattooists to talent agents, now require a government license to practice. Licensing laws are usually engineered by professional associations that want to “protect” the public from competitors who might charge lower prices.[35] Licensing laws kept many blacks out of the skilled professions until the civil rights era. The Federal Trade Commission perennially reports on the anticompetitive aspects of state government licensing boards.[36] For many professions, private accreditation systems—many of which have already been developed—would provide a much more reliable consumer guide than politically controlled certification systems.

Liberty in Action

Property is the basis of freedom of contract, which is simply liberty in action. Without freedom to exchange, government places all exchanges at the discretion of the political-bureaucratic ruling class. As new forms of property and wealth have developed in the last 200 years, it is now much clearer how vital property is to all citizens’ freedom, not merely that of landowners. By holding title to certain resources (including themselves and their own labor), people can make exchanges with others that allow them to raise themselves, to better provide for their families, to pursue their own values. Freedom is more than the right to own property or the right to buy and sell. But once the citizen loses the right to own—even if he previously owned nothing—he loses the ability to control his own life. If the citizen is denied the right to own or control his own computer disks or the clothes on his back, he has little chance of being able to shape his own future.

Property rights and market economies are vital steppingstones to political freedom. Private property gives people a place to stand if they must resist the government. Market economies and private property allow citizens to build up sufficient wealth to resist government pressure.

It is important to have freedom to buy and sell, to invest, to innovate, to choose one’s risks and reap one’s profits—but it is not enough. It is also vital that police not be able to break people’s heads, or entrap them on bogus charges, or intercept their e-mail at a whim, or target them because of their race, ethnicity, or political ideas. Unfortunately, some advocates of economic freedom seem nonchalant about practically any use of government power that does not directly interfere with profit-making.

Notes

  1. Quoted in James W. Ely, Jr., The Guardian of Every Other Right (New York: Oxford University, 1992), p. 26.
  2. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R.R. v. Chicago, 166 U.S. 226 (1897).
  3. John Dewey, Liberalism and Social Action (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1935), p. 34.
  4. Jerome Gilison, The Soviet Image of Utopia (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975), p. 149.
  5. Quoted in Robert Skidelsky, The Road from Serfdom (New York: Penguin, 1997), p. 99.
  6. Ibid., p. 119.
  7. James Bovard, “Eastern Europe, The New Third World,” New York Times, December 20, 1987, and James Bovard, “The Hungarian Miracle,” Journal of Economic Growth, January 1987.
  8. The Writings of James Madison, vol. 6, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906), p. 103. The quote is from an article Madison wrote for the National Gazette, March 29, 1792.
  9. Alan Wolfe, review of Stephen Holmes’s Passions & Constraint: On the Theory of Liberal Democracy, New Republic, May 1, 1995.
  10. Tom Bethell, The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), pp. 272-89.
  11. James Bovard, “Assistance to Flood Victims Invites Further Disaster,” Los Angeles Times, June 18, 1997.
  12. Richard Epstein, Takings (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1985), p. 66.
  13. Oliver v. United States, 466 U.S. 170, 179 (1984).
  14. Ibid., p. 180, fn. 11.
  15. Ibid., p. 192.
  16. The National Law Journal reported in 1995 that between 1980 and 1993 the number of federal search warrants relying exclusively on confidential informants nearly tripled, from 24 percent to 71 percent, and that “from Atlanta to Boston, from Houston to Miami to Los Angeles, dozens of criminal cases have been dismissed after judges determined that the informants cited in affidavits were fictional.” Mark Curriden, “Secret Threat to Justice,” National Law Journal, February 20, 1995.
  17. Florida v. Riley, 488 U.S. 445 (1989).
  18. Evelyn Nieves, “I.N.S. Raid Reaps Many, But Sows Pain,” New York Times, November 20, 1997.
  19. Associated Press, “Agent Fired During Raid on Migrants, Report Finds,” New York Times, December 12, 1997.
  20. Craig Hemmens, “I Hear You Knocking: The Supreme Court Revisits the Knock and Announce Rule,” University of Missouri at Kansas City Law Review, Spring 1998, p. 562.
  21. Michael Cooper, “As Number of Police Raids Increase, So Do Questions,” New York Times, May 26, 1998.
  22. Ibid.
  23. Barney Rock, “Kicking in Doors New Trend among Thieves,” Arkansas Democratic Gazette, January 21, 1995.
  24. Hemmens, p. 584.
  25. Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae Supporting Respondent, Wilson v. Arkansas, no. 94-5707, February 23, 1995, p. 26.
  26. Ibid., p. 28.
  27. Hemmens, p. 601.
  28. Patel v. U.S., 823 F. Supp. 696, 698 (1993). For discussion of this case, see Gideon Kanner, “What Is a Taking of Property?” Just Compensation, December 1993.
  29. Kenneth Black et. al v. Village of Park Forest, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2427, February 23, 1998.
  30. Quoted in Robert E. Goodin, Reasons for Welfare (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988), p. 307.
  31. James Buchanan, “Divided We Stand,” review of Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy” by Michael J. Sandel, Reason, February 1997, p. 59.
  32. “Debate on Free Trade,” Public Broadcasting Service, August 15, 1997.
  33. Arthur Fredheim, “IRS Audits Digging Deeper Beneath the Surface,” Practical Accountant, March 1996, p. 20.
  34. See, for instance, Tracey Maclin, “The Decline of the Right of Locomotion: The Fourth Amendment on the Streets,” Cornell Law Review, September 1990, p. 1258, and Mark Kadish, “The Drug Courier Profile: In Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; and Now in the Jury Box,” American University Law Review, February 1997, p. 747.
  35. See, for instance, Sue Blevins, “Medical Monopoly: Protecting Consumers or Limiting Competition?” USA Today (magazine), January 1998, p. 58.
  36. Interview with Federal Trade Commission spokesman Howard Shapiro, July 28, 1998.

While reading this article.. keep in mind the wide ranging efforts and policies that the Obama administration intend to impose on America. It should give all of us pause to reflect on the “transformation” that Obama and his cohorts hope to impose from above. Keep America FREE from this power grab.

Extending Unemployment Benefits: Good Intentions, Bad Results | Cascade Policy Insitute

Last Thursday, President Obama asked Congress once again to extend unemployment benefits, allowing workers to continue receiving benefits for up to almost two years. His request may be at odds with his newly proposed chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger.

During Mr. Krueger’s career as a Princeton economics professor, he wrote about the effects of unemployment insurance on the unemployed. He, along with numerous mainstream economists, wrote that unemployment insurance increases the time that workers remain unemployed. More generous benefits lead to longer periods of unemployment. Thus, a bill aimed at helping the unemployed may actually have the opposite effect.

Many economic analyses have estimated that unemployment insurance has significantly increased the unemployment rate. For example, one recent publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, conservatively estimated “[t]he extension of unemployment insurance benefits during the recent economic downturn can account for approximately 1 percentage point of the increase in the unemployment rate.”

Adding another 4% to the estimated 2012 deficit, the President’s requested extension would cost around 45 billion dollars. And what about the human cost? Is it right to delay so many workers’ reemployment? Is it right to artificially inflate unemployment? As with so many government programs, good intentions too often lead to bad results. In this case, those results can be measured in fewer jobs and in less personal dignity.

Last Thursday, President Obama asked Congress once again to extend unemployment benefits, allowing workers to continue receiving benefits for up to almost two years. His request may be at odds with his newly proposed chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger.

During Mr. Krueger’s career as a Princeton economics professor, he wrote about the effects of unemployment insurance on the unemployed. He, along with numerous mainstream economists, wrote that unemployment insurance increases the time that workers remain unemployed. More generous benefits lead to longer periods of unemployment. Thus, a bill aimed at helping the unemployed may actually have the opposite effect.

Many economic analyses have estimated that unemployment insurance has significantly increased the unemployment rate. For example, one recent publication from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, conservatively estimated “[t]he extension of unemployment insurance benefits during the recent economic downturn can account for approximately 1 percentage point of the increase in the unemployment rate.”

Adding another 4% to the estimated 2012 deficit, the President’s requested extension would cost around 45 billion dollars. And what about the human cost? Is it right to delay so many workers’ reemployment? Is it right to artificially inflate unemployment? As with so many government programs, good intentions too often lead to bad results. In this case, those results can be measured in fewer jobs and in less personal dignity.

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Why does government work so hard to create government dependents at every opportunity? Think about it..