Down With The Constitution!

It has been quite an eventful and productive couple of weeks for the forces of statism in the former “land of the free, and home of the brave.”

The federal government’s highest court has enshrined “perversity” into law, guaranteeing untold amounts of future litigation while infringing on the right of freedom of association and, just as important, “disassociation” for those who rightly consider sodomy an abomination which wantonly mocks the Author of the natural law.

Prior to its cultural wrecking decision on “gay marriage,” the Court ensured that socialized medicine would become a permanent feature of American life, upholding a key provision of Obamacare.

While the Supreme Court was issuing its heinous decisions, the two other federal branches of government were also actively augmenting the American Leviathan. After considerable arm twisting, threats, payoffs, and a large dose of GOP support, President Obummer was able to secure passage of the TPA fast-track legislation–one of, if not, the greatest piece of “crony capitalism” legislation ever conceived. Of course, in the current statist era, the exact details of this monstrous law have not, as of yet, been made public; however, what has been made known is quite chilling.

While these liberty-defying acts were being committed, a prior provision of the American police state was renewed by Big Brother Barack and his Congressional Commissars. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which outlines the budget and expenditures of the U.S. DefenseOffense Department, has since 2012 contained the provision (section 1021) “which allows the Federal government, through military force, to arrest anyone, including American citizens, without a warrant, and hold them indefinitely without charges or due process – habeas corpus.”

Naturally, there was considerable outrage among freedom groups and those within the alternative media over the latest expansion of federal power. The responses, however, were typical with calls for “taking back the country from the globalists,” “restoring the Constitution,” and “electing liberty-loving candidates to office.” The latter cry was spoken about the most with the Presidential election around the corner, with some commentators speculating on which candidate could best “turn things around.”

Such talk and the tactics promoted to combat totalitarian America have been trumpeted so many times that they have long lost their appeal. They are not only worn out, but they would not work even if successfully implemented–simply because they are not directed at the source of the problem.

The recent judicial decisions, the many wars, the debasement of the currency, spying, the fomentation of racial violence, and the ruination of the economy are the result of a single institution – the United States federal government – which was surreptitiously created with the “ratification” of the Constitution in 1789 against, as most historians agree, the will of the American majority for which it would tyrannically rule over ever since.

“The Miracle at Philadelphia” was a “miracle” only in the sense that the event has been viewed as some sort of liberty-defining watershed where individual rights would be safeguarded and state power held in check by the Constitution. Few historical fantasies have been believed for so long!

Instead of a federated system where power is decentralized between national and local governments, the Constitution created a highly centralized state through the document’s often vague terminology “for the general welfare,” and its explicit grants of power–“federal statute is the supreme law of the land.”* The highly lauded system of “checks and balances” between the three branches of government have rarely, if ever, stemmed the growth of state power.

Yet, despite the suzerainty of the federal state, “patriots” and all those opposed to the regime still believe the system can be “reformed.” Even when the national government is controlled by those supposedly sympathetic to liberty, government power continues to expand while any previous welfare or draconian measure enacted are never curtailed, much less abolished.

Attempts at reform or working within the “political process” are a gigantic waste of time. Instead, such efforts should be directed at secession, the goal of which is the dismemberment of the Federal Union into sovereign, independent entities–the greater in number, the better.

Until the Constitution is recognized for what it is, the chances of ending the American police state, economic recovery, and the cessation of the myriad of global conflicts, wars, and hostilities in which the U.S. is actively fomenting are next to nil.

The dissolution of the U.S. “federated” Republic is not only necessary for the well-being of Americans, but for the peoples of the globe, millions of which have been murdered, intimidated, plundered, and spied upon by the Leviathan residing on the shores of the Potomac. Likewise, as the Constitution has served as a model in the development of nation states throughout the last three centuries, so its demise will provide an example for the rest of the world to hopefully emulate.

* Kenneth W. Royce, Hologram of Liberty: The Constitution’s Shocking Alliance with Big Government.  Javelin Press, 2nd ed., 2012, pp. 105-106.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Ted Cruz Just Told A Room Full Of Wall Streeters What’s Up Right To Their Faces

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz cannot be accused of playing to the crowd after some of the things he said at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference.

The event took place in New York City before a Wall Street audience. Cruz pointed out that big business and big government can go hand-in-hand, hurting economic mobility and the chance for people to live out the American dream.

“You want to sum up this race in one simple meme? It’s one we tweeted out,” Cruz said lightheartedly. “Reaganomics, you start a business in your parent’s garage; Obamanomics you move into your parents garage.”

“The simple reality is big business does great with big government,” the senator said. “I’ll give you a statistic that you’ll never hear President Obama or Hillary Clinton admit: the top 1 percent, the millionaires and billionaires Obama constantly demagogues today earn a higher share of our income, than any year since 1928.”

“There is a tendency in Washington to support giant corporations,” he said, adding that “the Democratic party is the party of the rich, big government and cronyism. That is the Democratic Party”

Cruz offered the example of Dodd-Frank, which “killed hundreds and even thousands of small financial institutions” because they could not comply with its onerous regulations, which the candidate said Wall Street helped write.

“I don’t think government should be playing the role of either Santa Claus or thug,” the candidate observed.

Cruz conceded to CNBC host John Harwood that most of Wall Street was likely splitting their support between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

The reformer candidate was also willing to call out his own party as being part of the problem in Washington. Harwood asked Cruz if he thought GOP leadership was corrupt. The senator answered by offering the example of the 2013 debt ceiling debate.

After legislation passed the House raising the debt ceiling, primarily with the help of Democrats, the measure came to the Senate. The leadership called in all the GOP senators into a meeting and asked them to agree, with a unanimous consent floor vote, to allow the debt ceiling increase to go forward by a simple majority, rather than the usual 60 vote requirement. The leadership said that that way, the Democrats could pass it by themselves (they had 55 senators at the time), and all the Republicans could vote against it and go tell their constituents how they stood up against big spending.

Cruz indicated he could not in good faith do what they were asking. He said only Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, stood with him and filibustered raising the debt ceiling without spending reforms.

GOP leadership pressed Cruz why he was going to make five Republican senators have to vote with the Democrats to pass the legislation. Cruz saw the incident as emblematic of leadership that had forgotten why they were sent to Washington.

h/t: Business Insider

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Ethanol And Biodiesel: Guilty As Charged

Two notorious crooks are helping us wrap up another sordid episode in the saga of the United States biofuel mandates, while further highlighting how bungled and long past its expiration date the program is.

Congress concocted the mandates over fears that US gasoline demand would rise forever and keep the United States dependent on foreign oil, as America’s supposedly limited reserves were depleted. The mandates currently require that we blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol with gasoline every year, and produce over a billion gallons of biodiesel. They hammer us consumers every time we fill our tanks.

Turning corn into ethanol requires vast amounts of land, fertilizers, pesticides, tractor and truck fuel, and natural gas for distillation. It enriches some farmers but raises animal feed prices and thus the cost of beef, pork, chicken, eggs, fish, and international food aid. Biodiesel from restaurant waste oil makes some sense, but making it from palm oil or soybeans has similar negative ecological impacts.

The ethanol mandate encourages farmers to plow wildlife habitats and fallow fields to grow corn, releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide. Ethanol gets one-third less mileage per gallon than gasoline, so motorists get fewer miles per tank and per dollar. It produces ozone, attracts water, and corrodes car and small engine components, forcing us to spend billions on repairs.

The tale of Philip Joseph Rivkin (aka Felipe Poitan Arriaga) reveals an equally disgusting aspect of the mandate, resulting from the absurdly complex Renewable Identification Number (RIN) system devised by EPA bureaucrats. As Ron Arnold explains in our book, Cracking Big Green, the EPA requires that every gallon of biofuel must also have its own unique 38-digit RIN. That’s billions of RINs per year!

“Dry” RIN paper credits are supposed to be associated with actual “wet” gallons of biofuel: corn-based ethanol, biomass-based diesel, or nonexistent “advanced cellulosic” fuels. When fuels are not available, refiners can buy RINs from another party that was able to blend the fuel. This “tradable credits” market creates irresistible opportunities for “entrepreneurs” like Rivkin, whose Green Diesel company sold phony biodiesel RINs to oil companies and brokers.

Between 2011 and 2012, Rivkin sold $29 million worth of phony RINs, without producing a single gallon of anything. Secret Service agents arrested him last year in Houston, after he had been expelled from Guatemala, where he had falsely claimed to be a citizen. He plead guilty and now faces ten years in prison, millions of dollars in fines, and the forfeiture of his Lamborghini, Maserati, Canadair LTD plane, $29 million in cash, and an art collection valued in the millions.

His escapade copied what Rodney Hailey pulled off in Perry Hall, Maryland. He rented a garage; filled it with pipes, tanks, and pumps (none connected to one another); registered his Clean Green Fuel company with the EPA; put up a fancy website; and claimed he would produce 20 million gallons of biodiesel annually from recycled cooking oil. Through a network of traders, Hailey sold more than 32 million bogus RINs for $9 million, while still collecting unemployment.

Eventually, his fancy house, 20 luxury cars, and lavish lifestyle attracted law enforcement. In 2013, he was sentenced to 12-1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $42 million in restitution: his sleazy profits plus what his victims had to pay for valid replacement RINs.

The good news is that Rivkin and Hailey will have to pay for their fraudulent actions. (How many other biofuel crooks have not been caught we have no way of knowing.) The bad news is that the RIN system is still in place, under a misguided federal law that benefits almost no one outside the biofuel industry. The worse news is that the cost of their fraud pales by comparison to the lies and fraud perpetrated by the EPA and its climate crisis, clean energy, and ultra-pure air allies.

Since the biofuel mandate was imposed in 2005 and expanded in 2007 under the Renewable Fuel Standard, it has sent billions of taxpayer and motorist dollars to corn farmers and ethanol producers. It has cost consumers countless billions in reduced mileage, higher food prices, and repairs to their cars, trucks, boats, snowmobiles, chain saws, and other small engine equipment. The corn converted into biofuel each year is enough to feed 412 million malnourished people in African and other countries.

Antique autos and other older cars are not compatible with fuels containing ethanol, especially E15 (15% EtOH). Gaskets and other rubber parts can fail, causing fuel leaks and even engine failure or fires. On boats, fiberglass fuel tanks deteriorate; and outboard motors can overheat and stop functioning. On airplanes – well, you don’t want to ponder what happens when your engine stalls at 10,000 feet.

Many consumers – even corn farmers with older tractors – prefer straight gasoline, which is increasingly hard to find. Nevertheless, in 2014, straight gasoline accounted for almost 7% of total US gasoline sales, double the 3.4% of pure gasoline sold in 2012.

Meanwhile, worries about “peak oil” and “over-dependence” on foreign oil have nearly evaporated. Thanks to fracking and other advanced drilling technologies, the United States is now the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. As consumers drive less and invest in more fuel-efficient newer vehicles, gasoline demand is moderating, after peaking in 2007. And the other justification for ethanol, “dangerous manmade climate change,” is steadily being exposed as just another über-expensive ecological scare.

If consumers want “alternative fuels,” natural gas presents more viable, environmental, free-market, cost-competitive choices. Compressed into high-pressure tanks, it can (and already does) power cars, trucks, taxis, and buses. Converted into methanol, our abundant natural gas would enable Detroit to build light, powerful, low-pollution, high octane engines that get better mileage than ethanol-tainted fuels. Existing cars can be converted into “flex-fuel” vehicles for less than $100 – and producing the natural gas and converting it into methanol involves minimal land impacts, no food price hikes, and no harm to engines.

Biofuels are guilty as charged. They do to motorists, taxpayers, and consumers what wars and riots do to cities. Justifying legislative mandates by saying they create jobs for a few corn growers, biofuel producers, and engine repairmen is akin to claiming mobs and warfare foster employment for insurers, firemen, carpenters, and window repair companies. The perverse logic also ignores jobs destroyed and businesses destroyed or relocated, and the far better ways our billions of dollars could have been spent.

Politicians, bureaucrats, and eco-activists clearly care little about the coal mine workers and communities they have destroyed. Why should biofuel producers be more sacrosanct and protected – based on false claims that these fuels ensure emission reductions, “home-grown” energy supplies, and climate stability?

The Renewable Fuel Standard and biofuel mandates do more harm than good. They have outlived their usefulness and should not merely be “fixed,” as some suggest, but scrapped entirely.

Americans should no longer be forced to prop up crony-corporatist biofuel companies and pay for expensive repairs under outdated congressional and EPA edicts.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

The Ex-Im Bank: By Doing Nothing, Congress Sides With Taxpayers And Basic Market Principles

After more than three-quarters of a century, the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) could close its doors on June 30.

Ex-Im was created by Executive Order in 1934 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. With the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945, Congress made Ex-Im an independent agency and required that Ex-Im be reauthorized every four to five years. Ex-Im’s current authorization expires at month’s end.

Ex-Im has historically enjoyed bipartisan support. However, the need to cut spending—coupled with watchdog reporting—brings reauthorization into question. Under the Obama Administration, Ex-Im lending has increased 248 percent. Taxpayers now hold nearly $140 billion in Ex-Im exposure.

The Ex-Im website states: “EXIM Bank is more critical than ever to small businesses.” However, a recent report from American Transparency (AT), the Federal Transfer Report – Export- Import Bank, found that while 90 percent of Ex-Im loans do go to small businesses, 85 percent of the money goes to big business—10 percent of the transactions get 85 percent of the money.

The AT report, released on May 30, analyzed the $172 billion in Ex-Im loans, guarantees, and activity since 2007.

Boeing is Ex-Im’s number one customer.

However, a just-released addendum to the AT report highlights Ex-Im’s involvement in funding many of the green-energy projects I’ve covered in the past few years.

The addendum points to $3 billion green energy companies received from Ex-Im. There are more than $140 million worth of failures within the financial transaction portfolio—though “additional time, resources and further research would turn up much more.”

Solyndra is on the list. Just six months before its infamous bankruptcy, Ex-Im approved $10.3 million in long-term credit to Solyndra’s exports to Belgium.

Spanish solar company Abengoa, which is under investigation for a variety of violations, has an interesting connection to Ex-Im: former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson is an advisory board member to Ex-Im and sits on Abengoa’s advisory board. The addendum states: “Abengoa has obligations of over $225 million in Ex-Im support.”

Other examples include Amonix, Evergreen Solar, Abound Solar, SolFocus, Calisolar/Silicor Materials, and Willard & Kelsey Solar Group—all received Ex-Im support and failed.

But, our taxpayer dollars didn’t just go to failing green-energy projects; they also went to foreign companies. In addition to Spain-based Abengoa, Germany-based Siemens Energy has been the recipient of $709.53 million in Ex-Im financing. Switzerland-based ABB got $89.22 million. France-based Areva Solar North America received nearly $54 million in Ex-Im support. China’s troubled Hanergy owns MiaSole, which received $9 million in “working capital” funding from Ex-Im.

Green-energy companies are not the only ones in the energy sector to take advantage of the low-cost, taxpayer-funded financing. Multinational oil company Exxon Mobil and oil industry service companies Halliburton and Schlumberger also received billions.

It is tough to chastise these companies for making wise business decisions in finding low-cost funding—but we can criticize Congress for allowing our taxpayer dollars to be given to them.

Ex-Im supporters claim that failure to reauthorize would threaten jobs. Siemens, GE, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, and Schlumberger—just to mention some of the big businesses in the energy sector—should all be able to continue without Ex-Im.

Addressing Ex-Im’s future, Adam Andrzejewski, Chairman of American Transparency and the report’s author says: “The fate of the bank is an important test that will show whether Congress is on the side of taxpayers, and basic market principles, or special interests that are capable of bending markets in their direction.”

Ex-Im is one case where a “do-nothing Congress” is a good thing. If they do nothing, Ex-Im’s authorization expires on June 30; and we, the taxpayers, will no longer be responsible for funding this corporate welfare.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Did You Know That The ‘One Percent’ Are On Welfare Too?

This month, Congress will consider whether to renew the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank). Ex-Im Bank is a New Deal-era federal program that uses taxpayer funds to subsidize the exports of American businesses. Foreign businesses, including state-owned corporations, also benefit from Ex-Im Bank. One country that has benefited from $1.5 billion of Ex-Im Bank loans is Russia. Venezuela, Pakistan, and China have also benefited from Ex-Im Bank loans.

With Ex-Im Bank’s track record of supporting countries that supposedly represent a threat to the US, one might expect neoconservatives, hawkish liberals, and other supporters of foreign intervention to be leading the effort to kill Ex-Im Bank. Yet, in an act of hypocrisy remarkable even by DC standards, many hawkish politicians, journalists, and foreign policy experts oppose ending Ex-Im Bank.

This seeming contradiction may be explained by the fact that Ex-Im Bank’s primary beneficiaries include some of America’s biggest and most politically powerful corporations. Many of Ex-Im Bank’s beneficiaries are also part of the industrial half of the military-industrial complex. These corporations are also major funders of think tanks and publications promoting an interventionist foreign policy.

Ex-Im Bank apologists claim that the bank primarily benefits small business. A look at the facts tells a different story. For example, in fiscal year 2014, 70 percent of the loans guaranteed by Ex-Im Bank’s largest program went to Caterpillar, which is hardly a small business.

Boeing, which is also no one’s idea of a small business, is the leading recipient of Ex-Im Bank aid. In fiscal year 2014 alone, Ex-Im Bank devoted 40 percent of its budget — $8.1 billion — to projects aiding Boeing. No wonder Ex-Im Bank is often called “Boeing’s bank.”

Taking money from working Americans, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to subsidize the exports of large corporations is the most indefensible form of redistribution. Yet many who criticize welfare for the poor on moral and constitutional grounds do not raise any objections to welfare for the rich.

Ex-Im Bank’s supporters claim that ending Ex-Im Bank would deprive Americans of all the jobs and economic growth created by the recipients of Ex-Im Bank aid. This claim is a version of the economic fallacy of that which is not seen. The products exported and the people employed by businesses benefiting from Ex-Im Bank are visible to all. But what is not seen are the products that would have been manufactured, the businesses that would have been started, and the jobs that would have been created had the funds given to Ex-Im Bank been left in the hands of consumers.

Another flawed justification for Ex-Im Bank is that it funds projects that could not attract private sector funding. This is true, but it is actually an argument for shutting down Ex-Im Bank. By funding projects that cannot obtain funding from private investors, Ex-Im Bank causes an inefficient allocation of scarce resources. These inefficiencies distort the market and reduce the average American’s standard of living.

Some Ex-Im Bank supporters claim that Ex-Im Bank promotes free trade. Like all other defenses of Ex-Im Bank, this claim is rooted in economic fallacy. True free trade involves the peaceful, voluntary exchange of goods across borders — not forcing taxpayers to subsidize the exports of politically powerful companies.

Ex-Im Bank distorts the market and reduces the average American’s standard of living in order to increase the power of government and enrich politically powerful corporations. Congress should resist pressure from the crony capitalist lobby and allow Ex-Im Bank’s charter to expire at the end of the month. Shutting down Ex-Im Bank would improve our economy and benefit most Americans. It is time to kick Boeing and all other corporate welfare queens off the dole.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth