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Speaking Truth to Power

From a town hall meeting with Claire McCaskill.  If only a few percent of the soldiers returning from overseas are like this guy, I might have to rethink a lot of my pessimism that we may never recover our liberties.  I think we all owe it to veterans like this to get up and do something about the current state of affairs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y98HxYbsdBM

When the left speak of “Speaking Truth to Power,” I doubt this is what they had in mind, but this is one of the best examples of that philosophy I’ve seen.

26 Responses to “Speaking Truth to Power”

  1. Buck says:

    She needed to hear that.

  2. Ronnie says:

    I guess this is the type of returning veteran who Janet Napolitano had intended to put on her Homeland Security terrorist watch list – one who actually believes in upholding and adhering to the United States Constitution.

  3. Thirdpower says:

    Obviously the speaker and entire audience were plants by right-wing organizations.

  4. dave says:

    god bless our armed forces, and veterans of the same.

  5. Carl in Chicago says:

    Fantastic.

  6. Melancton Smith says:

    I’ve been trying to figure out the Constitutional authority they are using to justify this, but haven’t had much luck.

  7. Fjolnirsson says:

    Fantastic! I’ll bet he doesn’t ave to buy his own beer for a long while.

  8. mikeb302000 says:

    Yes, indeed, that’s very rousing rhetoric. But does it really work? Wasn’t the “general welfare” and the government’s proper role in it, completely different in the 18th century? Don’t we have to use today’s needs and standards rather than an antiquated document written for another time and place?

    I realize you’d be hard pressed to answer in the affirmative because you know very well I’d apply the same thinking to the 2nd Amendment. Actually I already do apply that rationale to the gun questions. But, about health care and general welfare of the people, don’t you see there’s a problem trying to rigidly apply the Constitution?

  9. Brad says:

    It isn’t the general welfare clause that the Feds use, it’s the power to regulate interstate commerce that the Feds use as a giant loophole to claim the power to regulate all aspects of our lives.

    The soldier is right though, that this is a blatant abuse of the Constitution. The Feds have essentially torn up the 10th amendment of the Bill of Rights in a naked power grab. Sadly, it’s been this way since the FDR administration and doesn’t look to change.

  10. illspirit says:

    Wasn’t the “general welfare” and the government’s proper role in it, completely different in the 18th century? Don’t we have to use today’s needs and standards rather than an antiquated document written for another time and place?

    Well, if some politician can convince 32% of the public (remember, just under 64% showed up at polls in 2008) that today’s general welfare would be better served by ignoring that antiquated 1st Amendment and strapping a muzzle to your face, I suppose you’d be okay with that? Perhaps they could make promoting “gun control” an act of treason. Sound fun to you?

    Or, how about that 13th Amendment? It’s like 144 years old now, and maybe some political hacks can convince the plurality of voters that it would promote the general welfare to enslave who they perceive to be left of center bloggers? Why, just think of the economic stimulus all that free labor would create!

    So, yea, be careful what you ask for there. Once the rule of law is dead, you’re only one election away from people who don’t like you very much having a chance to destroy your antiquated rights to promote their idea of general welfare.

    If you don’t like the Constitution, change it, as per Article 5. Or you can just keep giving them more power to ignore the whole thing and act surprised later when someone else turns the Leviathan on you.

  11. Melancton Smith says:

    Yes, Article 5 is the proper recourse. In 2004, Jesse Jackson Jr proposed an Amendment to create national healthcare.

    I wonder why such an amendment is not needed in 2009.

  12. Like I says:

    General welfare does not include me having to pay for your, lifestyle diseases; If you want to eat fast food everyday and drink a 2 liter of Coke everyday and get diabetes, if you want to smoke and get cancer, if you want to be promiscuous and get an STD, etc, etc, I should not have to foot the bill by paying for your health care.

  13. Ken says:

    Yes, indeed, that’s very rousing rhetoric. But does it really work? Wasn’t the “general welfare” and the government’s proper role in it, completely different in the 18th century? Don’t we have to use today’s needs and standards rather than an antiquated document written for another time and place?

    I realize you’d be hard pressed to answer in the affirmative because you know very well I’d apply the same thinking to the 2nd Amendment. Actually I already do apply that rationale to the gun questions. But, about health care and general welfare of the people, don’t you see there’s a problem trying to rigidly apply the Constitution?

    Here it is in small words: Words mean things. That is why there is a written Constitution in the first place” “The government is permitted this, but forbidden that.”

    Games with the meaning of words — which is what the intellectually dishonest, morally pernicious fraud of the “living Constitution” is — renders the document meaningless, and unable to restrain in any way the men with their hands on the reins of the State.

    Just the way you want it.

  14. Sebastian says:

    Games with the meaning of words — which is what the intellectually dishonest, morally pernicious fraud of the “living Constitution” is — renders the document meaningless, and unable to restrain in any way the men with their hands on the reins of the State.

    Your overall point I think is a good one, but in law you’re always going to have “games with meaning of words” because it’s rare that legislation or even constitutions are abundantly clear. Even the Founders argued over the meaning of the General Welfare Clause, and Hamilton’s definition of it is the one we use today, that the clause is a more general power of taxing and spending.

    What defines “[The Congress shall have power] To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes” It’s not abundantly clear. Does it apply to regulating air travel? Trucking? Can you prevent a big state like California from passing regulations that destroy the national market in a product? Can you make it a federal crime for someone to sabotage a railroad? A telephone? Computer? Use a telephone to commit a fraud?

    None of these questions are easy. Clearly the Commerce clause is meant to make a distinction between what is national and what is reserved to the states and to the people, and I’ll be the first to agree that Congress has been given too broad a scope under this clause, but the questions aren’t easy, and you can’t escape wrangling over the meanings of words.

  15. Tom says:

    Yes, indeed, that’s very rousing rhetoric. But does it really work? Wasn’t the “general welfare” and the government’s proper role in it, completely different in the 18th century? Don’t we have to use today’s needs and standards rather than an antiquated document written for another time and place

    If the “general welfare” is different is it because you have redefined the terms, just like “gay” used to mean something different. Use a dictionary of the day and nothing has changed. Read what the folks who wrote it meant by “general welfare”.

    The document lays out the specific powers and duties of the government, amendments were made to ensure that .gov had no say in certain things. Had “give free shit away to people” been one of the things the feds were charged with doing they WOULD HAVE SAID IT. Period. End of story.

    The government’s job is to protect the “general welfare”, making sure my rights are not taken away. According to your redefinition mike the “general welfare” is the opposite, to ensure the government violates my rights in order to enslave me, perhaps only partially for now, to steal property and hand it out to others unwilling or in some cases unable to get their own. Since there are more people who have things the “general welfare” does not increase under your definition but decreases as more people suffer for the gain of a few.

    That is precisely why we fought a revolution. We as a nation were tired of folks who had no ability to live (the royalty and boot licking tagalongs) taking the resources of others (the subjects) with no other reasoning besides the “we think it should be so”

    If you insist on your redefinition there are countries still practicing that system. You have two legitimate choices besides the subversive path you walk; propose an amendment granting the .gov that power or Relocate!

    I suggest the latter.

  16. Sebastian says:

    From Alexander Hamilton’s “Report on Manufacturers” (1791)

    A Question has been made concerning the Constitutional right of the Government of the United States to apply this species of encouragement, but there is certainly no good foundation for such a question. The National Legislature has express authority “To lay and Collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the Common defence and general welfare” with no other qualifications than that “all duties, imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United states, that no capitation or other direct tax shall be laid unless in proportion to numbers ascertained by a census or enumeration taken on the principles prescribed in the Constitution, and that “no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.” These three qualifications excepted, the power to raise money is plenary, and indefinite; and the objects to which it may be appropriated are no less comprehensive, than the payment of the public debts and the providing for the common defence and “general Welfare.” The terms “general Welfare” were doubtless intended to signify more than was expressed or imported in those which Preceded; otherwise numerous exigencies incident to the affairs of a Nation would have been left without a provision. The phrase is as comprehensive as any that could have been used; because it was not fit that the constitutional authority of the Union, to appropriate its revenues shou’d have been restricted within narrower limits than the “General Welfare” and because this necessarily embraces a vast variety of particulars, which are susceptible neither of specification nor of definition.

    It is therefore of necessity left to the discretion of the National Legislature, to pronounce, upon the objects, which concern the general Welfare, and for which under that description, an appropriation of money is requisite and proper. And there seems to be no room for a doubt that whatever concerns the general Interests of learning of Agriculture of Manufactures and of Commerce are within the sphere of the national Councils as far as regards an application of Money.

    The only qualification of the generallity of the Phrase in question, which seems to be admissible, is this–That the object to which an appropriation of money is to be made be General and not local; its operation extending in fact, or by possibility, throughout the Union, and not being confined to a particular spot.

    No objection ought to arise to this construction from a supposition that it would imply a power to do whatever else should appear to Congress conducive to the General Welfare. A power to appropriate money with this latitude which is granted too in express terms would not carry a power to do any other thing, not authorised in the constitution, either expressly or by fair implication.

    You can argue that Hamilton was a scoundrel, and many people of his time would agree with you. But the interpretation of the general welfare clause as being a relatively catch all spending power certainly is not a product of the modern age, and was not unknown to the founders, even though many would disagree with it.

  17. Ken says:

    Your overall point I think is a good one, but in law you’re always going to have “games with meaning of words” because it’s rare that legislation or even constitutions are abundantly clear. Even the Founders argued over the meaning of the General Welfare Clause, and Hamilton’s definition of it is the one we use today, that the clause is a more general power of taxing and spending.

    Three things about that, Sebastian:

    1. Hamilton once claimed — I think it was in The Federalist that there was nothing in the proposed Constitution that could be interpreted as a “sweeping clause.”

    2. The fact that he had changed his tune within a handful of years has sort of a familiar ring, does it not?

    3. By “playing games with words” I was referring to what we have seen statists of all political labels do over the years. I did not mean to imply the words were entirely unambiguous, although they are far less so than the would-be panjandrums of the law make them out to be. For not being entirely clear, I apologize.

    Continuing, though, the answer is to apply a standard that is consistent within itself and consistent with what the Founders hoped to accomplish — not rule by the dead, but the rule of law. I personally advocate “original public meaning” originalism, and its extensions (based on the Ninth and Tenth amendments, particularly the former) “the presumption of liberty” , as advanced by Randy Barnett in Restoring the Lost Constitution.

  18. Tom says:

    A power to appropriate money with this latitude which is granted too in express terms would not carry a power to do any other thing, not authorised in the constitution, either expressly or by fair implication.

    So that whole thing you posted is negated by that sentence, the fed has NOT been authorized to interfere with healthcare.

    One could also argue that this scheme does not promote the general welfare as the country will suffer due to costs as well as loss of “rights” the left holds so dear…but of course those “rights” will be included at the expense of others. Violations of the first amendment would be made law yet again as some are opposed to abortion on religious grounds but they would now be forced to pay for it. With the government footing the bill what about the being able to sue? No so much since the feds decide if they can be sued.

    Congress already has the (theoretical unlimited “interstate commerce” ) power that would allow them to reform and regulate private insurance companies to solve this “problem” that is, IF that were what this was actually about.

    No, general welfare is not the goal, control and power are. REMAKING America is Obomba Inc’s goal. the closest this false messiah can come to having the power of life or death is health care and he means to seize it and wield it at his discretion. Just have a look at the eugenicists, abortionists, and radical communists he is surrounded by that he sought out as his friends and allies. Look to his promises to “fundamentally remake” America in light of those people. I can’t even begin to think like those who believe this to be a good thing.

  19. Mike Gallo says:

    “The only qualification of the generallity of the Phrase in question, which seems to be admissible, is this–That the object to which an appropriation of money is to be made be General and not local; its operation extending in fact, or by possibility, throughout the Union, and not being confined to a particular spot.”

    Healthcare reform will be a local object; it will take from some and give to others, leaving some classes covered and others, not. Clearly, not what Hamilton meant, even if he did have a broader idea of federal power than others in his time.

    There was not one socialist amongst the framers. Even the authoritarians, IMHO, found the idea of government theft for handouts (or government control over private healthcare choices) loathsome.

  20. Sebastian says:

    What Hamilton is saying here is that the “spending power,” as it’s known as in vernacular, does not give Congress any grant of specific power outside of the power to spend for the general welfare of the Untied States, which he believed to be virtually plenary.

    I mean, Congress has no enumerated power to involve itself in education and agriculture, yet Hamilton suggests appropriations for both are appropriate exercise of Congress’ spending power. That’s can’t be reconciled with the last paragraph as you’re reading it.

  21. Tom says:

    Well, we see how well they spend. Education for example is useless when “welfare” programs are held as an option over putting in the effort to get an education. Education is not GIVEN it is EARNED.

    When the government will give you “free” stuff such as housing, food, health care, minimum telephone service (cells with something like 70 min/month), transportation, etc. of what use is an education? Educational spending becomes “tits on a bull” if you will.

    There lies the problems with federal “general welfare” programs. They breed ignorant, lazy, corrupt people dependent on continued theft and waste…and SLAVES to support the others. Divide and conquer as those pillaged grow ever more contemptuous of the parasites. When they buck or swing their tails as these town halls show they only provide more opportunity for the slavemasters in DC to use them for propaganda and to consolidate power unless enough of them stand up and do something about it.

    Just how well has the government spending and running of education turned out? Have prices gone up as education levels have gone down? Compare the average child today with those of 50 years ago and get back to me.

    Agriculture? The spend to grow, they spend NOT to grow, they spend to prosecute IF you grow too much for yourself.

    How is dumbing down a population in it’s best interest?

  22. mikeb302000 says:

    Tom said, “According to your redefinition mike the “general welfare” is the opposite, to ensure the government violates my rights in order to enslave me, perhaps only partially for now, to steal property and hand it out to others unwilling or in some cases unable to get their own.”

    Tom, I’m afraid you’re the one redefining things here. What I’m talking about is doing something about the gun violence through gun control laws. I honestly believe that’s all anyone else on my side of the argument wants too. Your turning it into a conspiracy on the part of the government to “enslave” you, sounds like a bit of paranoia to me.

    I would say the general welfare could be served very well with a significant reduction in gun availability. That would reduce the guns that flow from the good guys to the bad guys and it would proportionately reduce the number of good guys who turn bad.

  23. Sebastian says:

    MikeB, that’s exactly what Hamilton said in the last paragraph of The Letter to Manufacturers the General Welfare clause did not do. It’s not a grant to Congress to anything whatsoever for the general welfare, but is limited to appropriations that promote the general welfare.

    So gun control is not among the things Congress can do with the spending power, save a nationwide voluntary gun buy back, or something of that nature. All of the federal gun control laws are done using Congress’ commerce clause powers.

  24. Tom says:

    OK Mike, overlooking your overlooking of the facts and claims of paranoia…can you name a gun control law that has been followed by a criminal? What is the definition of “gun violence”, violence committed by a gun?

    Perhaps you are unaware of the artificial scarcity of machine guns and other (unconstitutionally) regulated arms. Perhaps you can go into cities and amongst the poor and pitch your racist plans to those most in need of personal protection from criminals. You see, limiting supply drives up prices for the honest law abiding and guarantees that more criminals will have them “illegally”. Shall we look at Chicago? Shall we look to england where “knife violence” has caused similar programs for knives?

    You have to be in the top five on the ignorant disarmament cheerleader squad. That doesn’t include the likes of helmke and other top organization folks as they know damn well what they will bring about, but you, you seem to just be a cheerleader for communism. I will remind you there are countries you can move to.

    Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women? —Martin Luther

  25. Tom says:

    And just in case that last part isn’t clear…

    “My side” is pro choice and “your side” is pro police state. With my side you have your rights and can choose to exercise them if you wish, no force is involved. Your side demands control and to remove rights.

    Mike, do you support abortion? your argument of “for the children” goes out the window, heck a few of your arguments do, if you support that position.

    Before you liken me to the pro infanticide crowd my position involves no killing of the innocent who could not possibly have done something. My side holds to the right of self defense and self preservation on this subject, to be able to defend themselves against the violent criminals who have no problem with killing for no reason that your much prized and worshiped system seems to be incapable of rehabilitating or incarcerating to protect that “general welfare”.

    The positions of your side, the “soft on criminals” have failed, the laws that only bind those who care to comply have failed and instead of going down your path of insanity, doing more of the same and expecting different results, we choose not to.

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