CHALLENGE
THE PREMISE

Newsmakers

ARCHIVE - JUNE 2014

The Best of The Best

Who is America's
best Senator?


Wisconsin's
RON JOHNSON!

And here's why!


Senate


Will Harry Reid hang
on as Senate Majority
Leader in 2014?
Photo from foxnews.com
It is looking like it
might slip away.

It's going to be close…
Keep an eye on our
election coverage!

House


Can John Boehner keep
his raucous caucus in
the driver's in 2014?
oxnews.com
Probably, but only if he
avoids unforced errors
like a bruising brawl on
immigration.

Keep an eye on our
election coverage. There
will surely be lots of
twists and turns.

IS THE FIFTH AMENDMENT AVAILABLE TO LOIS LERNER?

2014/06/23 - Starting a new country from practically nothing is an opportunity (and burden) granted to few; indeed it is a transcendent event in human history when such circumstances come upon those who are not found wanting.

Even before hostilities commenced it was obvious to the American colonists that, should they succeed in freeing themselves from the tyranny of King George III, they would still need government, and yet, one that would not degenerate into a like oppression as the government they were throwing off. These colonists would seek a new form of government, a government as one later put it, of the people, by the people, for the people.

So the founding fathers, convinced that a legitimate government existed only with the consent of the governed, set about to create a structure that both facilitated governmental function, yet would restrain its growth and protect the people from tyranny.

Our Constitution achieves these goals by granting to the government certain enumerated powers; and, to protect the people from abuse of these powers, granting to them certain enumerated rights. Power to the government, and protections to the governed.

And lest there be any doubt as to where their hearts and minds lay, our founding fathers articulated two additional expressions to curb the potential for oppression by the federal government:

  • To the states belong any powers not specifically granted to the federal government; and
  • To the people belongs a general protection (unenumerated rights) beyond those rights specifically granted.
  • So what happens when the federal government abuses its authority? Kids rob the cookie jar, teens stay out past curfew, adults speed and text & drive, and there are murderers and bank robbers among us. We all regularly contravene prescribed limits to some extent or another, so let’s not pretend for a moment that the federal government doesn’t also – perhaps even routinely – exceed limits prescribed by law.

    What remedies are available to people - to citizens, to taxpayers – when they believe the federal government has exceeded its powers and treated them unlawfully? In the case of the IRS targeting scandal, the aggrieved have quite reasonably asked Congress, as their representatives, to pursue their cause against the executive branch. Their charge is extremely serious – that partisans within the government have abused its powers: targeting law-abiding citizens of a different persuasion, stifling speech, and influencing election outcomes: In a word, the government stands accused of: Tyranny.

    Let’s be clear: to the government is granted powers, but not rights; and to individuals are granted rights, but not powers. Attempts by Congress to understand the IRS targeting scandal - motives, extent, participants, actions – have been thwarted by agents of the federal government. The federal government (through its agents), in complete contravention of the Constitution of the United States, is subverting the foundation of our democracy by invoking without any entitlement to do so, an unavailable Fifth Amendment right.

    By definition, the federal government does not have access to the Bill of Rights. An agent of the federal government cannot invoke a Fifth Amendment right related to actions undertaken in performing a government function. Simply, the Federal Government cannot simultaneously enjoy both the offensive capability of enumerated powers, and the defensive capability of enumerated rights. How can we avoid falling into tyranny if the federal government has both the power to abuse, and the protection to avoid remedy and redress? Abuse with impunity is precisely the definition of totalitarianism. Let’s not get confused here: in the substance of this matter, the House Committee represents the people who are claiming their constitutional rights have been violated; and Lois Lerner is merely the personification of a federal agency gone awry, a government that has allegedly abused its enumerated powers. There is no such thing – indeed there cannot be if we are to avoid becoming a totalitarian state – no such thing as a Fifth Amendment protection for the federal government, nor for its agents acting under the pretext of the federal government’s enumerated powers.

    Suppose Lois Lerner disliked her neighbor because of his dog. If the police knock on her door and accuse her of kicking her neighbor’s dog, of course she can invoke the Fifth Amendment. However, what if the circumstances were different? What if, instead, she ordered a tax audit of her neighbor in order to punish him – and then bragged about it in emails to colleagues? Should those emails be covered by Fifth Amendment privilege? When accused of personal wrong-doing, she is entitled to invoke the Fifth Amendment; but not when she is accused of wrong-doing as a federal agent.

    We have a tradition, a very good one, of thinking that the Bill of Rights applies to all Americans at all times. But that’s not exactly right. The Bill of Rights exists to protect the people from the government; it is a perversion to use the Bill of Rights to protect the government from the people!



    Random Ramblings


    June 25, 2014 - SHOCKER!

    GDP surprises way to the downside, -2.9%!

    This is the third and "final" release of first quarter economic output. Technically, it is not the final release, because the number is subject to regular updates in perpetuity, but by then it's old news.

    Many blame the poor result, at least in part, on the tough winter endured by much of the country. We do not believe this is unreasonable, but it will be interesting to see if there is any kind of bounce back in the second quarter. The first look at 2Q GDP is scheduled for July 30.



    June 18, 2014 - Just when you thought the Obama Administration had run out of things to screw up - Spendulous, Fast & Furious, ObaMcCare, Benghazi, IRS Targeting, NSA Spying, Ukraine / Syria / Libya / Egypt / Nigeria, VA Scandal, Bergdahl - they screw up something else.

    ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) rebels run rampant in the mideast, capturing city after city, looting banks to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, confiscasting weapons that the US gave to the Iraqi army, and of course, slaughtering human life. And rolling back the hard-fought victories that so many of our service personnel gave life and limb to secure.

    And the Obama Administration does nothing. Basically cornered by its own rhetoric. Since he has already done his touchdown dance on Iraq, Obama has nowhere to go.

    But get the teleprompter out, you know another speech is coming our way. "Blame Bush blah blah blah".



    June 11, 2014 - SHOCKER!

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA07) loses his primary - by 10 points - to economics professor David Brat. Check our
    election coverage for more details.



    June 10, 2014 - New Fox poll reveals that Americans by a 55% to 38% margin wish ObaMcCare had never been passed, and prefer instead that we were still on the previous system.

    Worse for Democrats' 2014 election hopes, 58% of Independents and 53% of those under 35 regret President Obama's signature legislation.

    The poll reaffirms Republican messaging in their efforts to take control of the Senate.



    June 09, 2014 - Just when you thought the Obama Administration had run out of things to screw up - Spendulous, Fast & Furious, ObaMcCare, Benghazi, IRS Targeting, NSA Spying, Ukraine / Syria / Libya / Egypt / Nigeria, VA Scandal, Bergdahl - they screw up something else.

    This weekend President Obama announced an expansion to the "Pay as You Earn" program to help those with student debt problems - basically, no more than 10% of earnings need be applied to student debt, so, if you don't earn, you don't have to pay.

    Surely the responsible public policy solution would be 1) to increase employment and incomes among debtors, so they can pay off their debt; and 2) to investigate why college educations are so expensive, thus saddling students with so much debt in the first place?

    As usual, Democrat left wing socialist policies do no such thing, they attack the symptom, rather than the illness.

    What the plan boils down to, is that if you can't service your debt, then don't. Just let that millstone keep hanging around your neck.

    Fortunately there is a real, practical solution that actually solves the problem - reduce the burden of government so free markets can function normally and energize economic growth, job creation, and growth in personal incomes.



    June 02, 2014 - Just when you thought the Obama Administration had run out of things to screw up - Fast & Furious, ObaMcCare, Benghazi, IRS Targeting, NSA Spying, Ukraine / Syria / Libya / Egypt / Nigeria, VA Scandal - they screw up something else.

    This weekend's personnel exchange with the Taliban was nothing short of insane. We surrendered five high value targets - who have killed thousands - and we lost many good men to capture - and recieved one miserable low level deserter.

    Not only was exhange foolhardy, it was also illegal. Congress is supposed to be given thirty days notice prior to such an exchange, but no such notice was given. "No time", we were informed by the notorious Susan Rice, returning to the Sunday talk show circuit to spew White House talking points.

    Imagine that - another foolish, imperial act by the lawless Obama Administration.




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