Romeo Area Tea Party
When: Wed July 30th @ 7PM
Where: Washington Township Hall/Senior Center
57900 Van Dyke, Washington Twp.
(park in the back lot and enter in the South entrance)
****This event is free and open to the public****
About The Monuments Men:
Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action-thriller focusing on an unlikely World War II platoon, tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners. It would be an impossible mission: with the art trapped behind enemy lines, and with the German army under orders to destroy everything as the Reich fell, how could these guys – seven museum directors, curators, and art historians, all more familiar with Michelangelo than the M-1 – possibly hope to succeed? But as the Monuments Men, as they were called, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements.
Movie Web Site: http://www.monumentsmenmovie.com/
Movie Trailer: http://youtu.be/oBfMOmR4S9M
Median Wealth Of U.S. Households Plummeted By One-Third In The Past 10 Years
by Ben Bullard
In the past decade, the wealth of the median household in the United States has dropped by an average of one-third, according to a recent study published by the Russell Sage Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit research organization.
The group concluded that the median worth of American households has declined from a high of $98,972 in 2007 to $56,335 in 2013. For the 10-year period between 2003 and 2013, that figure dropped from $87,992 to $56,335 — about a one-third decrease.
The brunt of the loss has occurred since 2007, and it’s hit the bottom economic demographic the hardest.
From the study summary:
Through at least 2013, there are very few signs of significant recovery from the losses in wealth experienced by American families during the Great Recession. Declines in net worth from 2007 to 2009 were large, and the declines continued through 2013. These wealth losses, however, were not distributed equally. While large absolute amounts of wealth were destroyed at the top of the wealth distribution, households at the bottom of the wealth distribution lost the largest share of their total wealth.
Net worth is a measure of the value of a household’s assets against its debts: stocks, land and homes compared with what a household owes to own these assets free and clear. Home values, which are closely tied to the net worth of middle-class families, have been particularly affected over the past decade.
“While stock prices rebounded relatively quickly after the collapse in 2007, housing prices did not,” the report states. “As a result, the median of wealth not held in real estate declined by about only $6,900 between 2007 and 2013, compared to a decline in median total net worth of about $42,500. Affluent households are more likely than other households to hold stocks and have large portfolios, which allowed them to benefit from the gains in the stock market.”
State Of The Nullification Movement
Here’s something that shouldn’t be news to you: Congress is actually much worse than a lost cause. But while things may appear bleak for the Constitution and liberty, there is a State-level line of resistance building that provides hope for the future and a blueprint for success.
Even though the establishment media never report on it this way, the modern nullification movement has grown into a political force — one that is revolutionary. It is comprised of various State-level actions that bring about what one can define as nullification today: “Any act or set of acts which has as its result a particular law being rendered legally null and void, or unenforceable in practice.”
Of course, when referring to this movement as a revolution, or revolutionary, this doesn’t mean one characterized by a physical upheaval against the established order. Instead, it is a deeper, more philosophical revolution developing — a revolution in thought.
As John Adams once put it, this is how he viewed the American Revolution as well:
But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments of their duties and obligations. … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people, was the real American Revolution.
The motives behind the various actors in the modern nullification movement vary as much as any group of people when it comes to their political goals. Some issues draw people from the right, others from the left. Political philosopher Murray Rothbard considered this “dynamism” one of the “major characteristics” of a revolution, as it creates an “unfreezing of the political and social order” for people, whatever their motivations may be.
Today’s nullification movement offers hope of smashing the established political order — one of “voting the bums out” only to see new “bums” violate the Constitution in more costly and dangerous ways each year, or relying on Federal courts to limit Federal power, or simply begging Federal officials to give us back our freedom.
This past legislative session saw some type of nullification bill introduced in nearly every State, addressing issues from National Security Agency spying to preserving the 2nd Amendment. To highlight just how far the movement has come, the Tenth Amendment Center’s 30-page report is the first-ever comprehensive look into the State of the nullification movement.
The following covers some of the highlights.
Next week in Missouri, the people will have the opportunity to support the #YesOn9 campaign and vote to approve Amendment 9. This small, but important, change to the State constitution would give “electronic data and communications” the same State constitutional protections as “persons, houses, papers and effects.” This would eliminate any constitutional ambiguity surrounding electronic data and specifically bar State agencies from accessing it without a warrant in most cases.
In New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hassan signed a bill this month that bans State and local law enforcement from searching an electronic device without a warrant and also prohibits a small, but important, category of what the NSA has been doing with the warrantless data it collects.
In California, a bill that would create a mechanism to turn off material support and resources (like water and electricity) to Federal agencies engaged in unConstitutional warrantless surveillance programs is just steps from the Governor’s desk.
As bills are filed for the 2015 session, similar legislation is expected in States like Utah, Texas and Washington.
Also next week in Missouri, voters have an opportunity to approve Amendment 5, a State constitutional amendment that would “obligate” the State to defend the right to keep and bear arms against all infringements — not some; all.
In Idaho, Governor Butch Otter signed a bill that would effectively nullify future Federal gun laws by prohibiting State enforcement of any future Federal act relating to personal firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition.
S1332 passed unanimously in both houses.
Erich Pratt, director of communications for Gun Owners of America, cheered the governor’s action. “By signing this nullification bill into law, Idaho has joined an elite class of states that are telling the feds to ‘get lost’ — especially when it comes to unconstitutional gun control infringements.”
And in a sign that these efforts are seen as a threat to the gun control lobby, the Brady Center filed suit to block implementation of a 2013 gun control nullification law in Kansas.
The fact is if they weren’t concerned about the results, they wouldn’t spend their time or resources to try stopping them. This should be seen as a big green light to push harder than ever to protect the 2nd Amendment through State level resistance to Federal gun control measures.
New York just became the 23rd State in the country to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. By authorizing what the Federal government unConstitutionally attempts to prohibit, these States are creating a practical and effective nullification of Federal acts.
This fall, voters in Alaska and Oregon have the opportunity to approve full legalization measures similar to what are already active in Colorado and Washington State. These act as an even broader and stronger nullification of Federal prohibition.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley both signed new laws that authorize the growing and production of industrial hemp within their States, effectively nullifying the unConstitutional Federal ban on the same.
While supporters of Federal power like to claim that this is happening only because the current Administration is simply turning a blind eye to the issue, this couldn’t be further from the truth. No one in modern history has tried harder, spent more, or attempted more raids to stop State marijuana markets than the Barack Obama Administration.
The fact is the Feds are just flat out losing to the States.
The nullification movement is not limited to spying, guns and weed. Across the country, more people are learning that the way to accomplish one’s political goals is to stop wasting time on Federal politicians and instead focus their time, energy and resources more locally.
In Missouri, a bill to withdraw from Common Core was signed into law this month. In Arizona, voters have an opportunity to approve a Right to Try measure that would effectively nullify some Food and Drug Administration restrictions. Oklahoma became the second State (following Utah) to take the first step toward following the tender requirements of the Constitution and nullifying the Federal Reserve’s near-monopoly on money. In Georgia, a new law went into effect this month that blocks implementation of some important parts of the Affordable Care Act.
While voting the bums out of Congress rarely happens and the Federal government grows in size and power every single year, people still pour billions of dollars into campaigns that aren’t giving results.
In a business scenario, anyone spending that kind of money and losing repeatedly would be fired quickly. The smart and successful business manager doesn’t put all his eggs in one basket. But at the same time, he quickly recognizes where concrete results are actually happening.
So if you are also feeling that there’s little to no hope in Congress, the State of the Nullification Movement Report shows that positive things are happening even in what might feel like the worst of times.
The message should loud and clear.
When enough people say “No!” to the Federal government and when enough States pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the politicians in Washington, D.C., can do to force their so-called “laws” or mandates down our throats.
“A Perilous Hour” Sen. Sessions Rails Against Obama’s Impending Unlawful Immigration Order
Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions warned his colleagues they are fast approaching “a perilous hour” for the separation of powers between the president and Congress, delivering an impassioned denunciation of President Barack Obama’s plan to ignore Congress and grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants despite opposition from lawmakers.
Most reports — including some from Democratic members of Congress — claim Obama will grant some form of amnesty to vast swathes of people now living in the country illegal. According to Illinois Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, that number could be as high as 5 million.
“We are entering a momentous week,” Sessions began, “as Congress must face the reality that President Obama is moving towards a decision whereby he would issue orders in direct contravention of long-established American law . . . This after Congress has explicitly refused demands to change the law to suit his desire.”
Any amnesty without congressional approval, the senator warned, “would be in contravention of his duty and his oath to see that the United States are faithfully enforced — and it would be a direct challenge to the clear powers of Congress to make laws!”
“The president’s actions are astonishing,” he continued, “[and] they’re taking our nation into exceedingly-dangerous waters . . . Such calculated strains the constitutional structure of our republic.”
Sessions called for the president to “pull back” and cease promising action to special interest groups. “Simply put, that which you desire is beyond your lawful reach!” he admonished.
“Mr. President, you work for the American people,” he continued. “They don’t work for you! And they will not accept nullification of their law passed by their elected representatives. The American people are not going to accept it. They’re going to fight this. They will resist.”
Sessions called on his fellow lawmakers to immediately pass a provision expressly forbidding Obama from taking unilateral action on amnesty.
“I’m calling on every person in this body and in the House of Representatives to stand up and be counted in this perilous hour,” he declared. “I think it is a perilous hour. I don’t think I’ve seen a situation in which a president, weeks in advanced, have announced he’s going to take action that violates law.”
Congressman Returns U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Award Over Chamber’s Pro-Amnesty Stance
by Ben Bullard
Frustrated over the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement of a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens living and working in the United States, Congressman Kerry Bentivolio (R-Mich.) handed back an award the organization had bestowed on him earlier this year.
Bentivolio, along with many other sitting Congressmen, received the Chamber’s “Spirit of Enterprise” award in March — an honorific that goes to elected leaders on the same policy page, more or less, as the Chamber. But Bentivolio, after considering the implications of the Chamber’s amnesty position as tens of thousands of illegal immigrants flock to the Nation’s southern border, decided last week to give the award back.
He apparently had a lot on his mind, because he lit into the Chamber with a fury.
“The U.S. Chamber is in the pocket of Communist China and big companies seeking cheap labor in the United States,” Bentivolio’s office said in a statement explaining the move. “We think it is morally repugnant for the chamber to pursue, as a matter of public policy, initiatives which exploit the poor and oppressed, just so they can keep labor costs down for their fortune 500 member companies.”
Bentivolio’s chief of staff further torched the Chamber last Thursday, telling The Daily Caller “they call it the Spirit of Enterprise award, not the Spirit of Free Enterprise award. Crony Capitalism is alive and well at the Chamber of Commerce.”
Bentivolio, who’s serving his first term in Congress, may be looking for a political lift as he heads into a late summer primary against a party challenger who’s polling 22 points ahead, has the support of the GOP establishment, and has outspent Bentivolio 20-1.
That doesn’t change the message his award give-back sends, though. At least Michigan voters know where he stands.
Study Finds Record-Low Midterm Turnout Amid Widespread Discontent
(MCT) — There may be no more self-abasing profession than politics.
Consider: You visit the grocery store. When you cross the parking lot, you won’t run a gauntlet of critics from a rival supermarket bad-mouthing the produce section, demeaning the selection of dog food and questioning the sell-by date on the ground chuck.
Or you visit the dentist. There’s no barrage of radio and TV ads, produced by a competitor, trashing your dentist’s education and background, impugning the sanitation of his equipment or wondering why he charges such an exorbitant price for a routine checkup.
And yet ridicule, contempt and disparagement are not just the common language of political campaigns, they’re pretty much the only words spoken these days when Democratic candidates discuss their Republican opponents, and vice versa.
Little wonder people are so disgusted with politics and politicians. Would you visit a dentist if there were even the slightest doubt about properly sterilized equipment?
So there was a certain what-did-you-expect resignation accompanying a report last week from the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, which showed Americans are staying away from the polls this election season in droves.
Specifically, of the nearly 123 million voters who were eligible to cast ballots in 25 statewide primaries for governor and U.S. Senate, only 18 million did so.
That’s a 14.8 percent turnout.
If precedent holds, the study says, the Nation will record the lowest midterm primary turnout in its history; already more than half the States holding primary elections this year have had record-low turnouts, including California. Only three — West Virginia, Nebraska and North Carolina — had higher numbers in 2014 than the midterm election four years ago.
Why does that matter? “It presents a danger to our society insofar as democracy does thrive on the consent and involvement of the governed,” said Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan election research center and a decades-long student of voter behavior. “Leadership needs some form of mandate.”
The study says a major factor in the low turnout is a sense of futility: Congressional districts consciously drawn to favor one party or the other, which leave many voters wondering why they should bother participating when the outcome is preordained.
Interestingly, the report found that making it easier to vote did nothing to boost turnout when voters felt there was no point to an election. “No-excuse mail voting invites people to leave the ballot on the kitchen table,” Gans said.
There are plenty of reasons — personal as well as political — that people choose not to vote, and no single solution for boosting turnout. Some even say that low rates of voter participation are not such a bad thing, as many who opt out are either apathetic, uninformed or both.
One solution Gans suggests, a national biometric identification that would eliminate the need for voter rolls — just show up and if your body matches the information on a government-issued card, you’d be free to cast a ballot — seems improbable in this post-Edward Snowden age of privacy concerns.
But there is another place for interested parties to start.
Politicians, heal thyself.
–Mark Z. Barabak
Los Angeles Times
Can the House of Representatives Sue Obama for Not Executing the Law?
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, believes he has the key to reining in the executive branch: suing President Barack Obama for not faithfully executing the law. But while Obama has repeatedly waived requirements of laws, or chosen not to enforce them against whole categories of offenders, there’s a legal requirement known as “standing” that may stop Boehner in his tracks.
As John Malcolm and I detail in this Heritage paper, standing is a constitutional requirement for all lawsuits, including suits filed against the executive branch by private citizens, individual members of Congress, or an entire chamber of Congress. In essence, the standing requirement means that Boehner must be able to show that Obama’s failure to faithfully execute the law actually harms the House of Representatives, leaving it little recourse without court intervention.
Courts are generally reluctant to become referees in disputes between members of Congress and the executive branch when it would force them to police the limits of coequal branches’ powers. In such a case, it’s better for the political branches to work out their differences on their own—and Congress has tools such as appropriations and impeachment to deal with an obstinate president.
For this reason, most successful lawsuits challenging an administration’s abusive unilateral actions have been filed by private parties that suffered a demonstrable economic injury. A steel company challenged President Harry Truman’s attempt to nationalize American steel mills. After members of Congress failed in their lawsuit challenging the Line Item Veto Act, New York City and a group of businesses got the Act overturned. And recently, a bottling company brought down Obama’s “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.
Boehner has laid out a plan for suing Obama and other executive branch officials for their failure to fully implement Obamacare. You may be wondering why the party that has tried to defund and repeal Obamacare would sue to get the administration to fully implement that same law. The answer is pretty simple: the president’s failure to implement the law “squelches any opportunity to have a robust, political debate about [its] workability,” as law professor Elizabeth Price Foley pointed out.
Boehner argues that the House can sue (as an institution) if there are no private parties who can sue, there is harm being done to the general welfare and faithful execution of the laws, and no legislative remedies exist. Late last week the House Rules Committee approved a resolution that would authorize such a lawsuit.
Boehner will face an uphill battle in this lawsuit. But critics should not be so quick to dismiss this case. The administration and many others claimed suits challenging Obamacare’s “individual mandate” under the Commerce Clause were laughable and lacked any merit. (Recall then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded, “Are you serious?” to someone asking about Congress’s power to enact the individual mandate.)
But ultimately, the Supreme Court agreed that the individual mandate could not be justified under the Commerce Clause, and instead turned the mandate into a tax to uphold it. Boehner’s lawsuit may also surprise its critics.
Court rules IRS illegally implemented tax credits
In a significant decision issued Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the IRS’s implementation of a significant portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was illegal. The case is called Halbig v Burwell, No. 14-5018. The DC Court’s opinion was very much in line with the interpretation of the ACA urged by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who submitted a supporting brief on behalf of the state of Michigan in cooperation with the states of Kansas and Nebraska.
What the DC Court said was that the clear and unambiguous language of the ACA states that certain tax credits are available only to people who receive their health insurance through a “health exchange” created by one of the 50 states. These tax credits serve as a taxpayer-funded subsidy to those who buy insurance through the exchange. Additionally, the existence of these tax credits affects the penalties that the IRS uses to enforce the insurance mandate for both individuals and businesses. For individuals, the tax credit makes it more likely that a person who does not buy a qualified insurance plan will face a financial penalty. For businesses, the penalty kicks in whenever a business that employs more than 50 people has an employee who receives this tax credit. If the tax credit is not available, then there can be no penalty for the employer.The states made a choice whether or not to create these exchanges, and Michigan’s legislators voted not to create an exchange but rather let the federal government create one for them. As Attorney General Schuette argued, this was a conscious choice because it excused Michigan businesses and some Michigan individuals from incurring the ACA’s insurance mandate penalties. As the attorneys general stated in their brief:
“[Michigan and the other states] seek to protect their decision to opt out of the benefits and burdens associated with establishing state-run marketplaces for selling qualified health insurance plans under the [ACA]. The Act expressly gives States this option. In States that opt out, federally funded premium assistance tax credits are not available to individuals who purchase insurance through the required fallback federal marketplaces. In turn, large employers (including States and their political subdivisions) are not subject to the employer mandate. But the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has undermined the States’ policy choice by extending federal premium assistance subsidies to them anyway. As a result, the regulations expose otherwise-exempt individuals to the individual mandate and trigger the employer mandate in States—including [Michigan]—that properly chose to avoid these additional regulatory burdens.”
The DC Court said that under the plain wording of the statute, the federally created exchange did not qualify its participants to receive tax credits, and that many of the penalties found in the law do not apply to Michigan and the other states that did not create exchanges. The court said that for them to interpret the statute as the IRS and President Obama want them to do would be rewriting the legislation — which is not the job of the courts. Does that mean that the subsidy tax credits are not available in Michigan, or that Michigan’s business and residents do not need to worry about the insurance mandate penalties? The answer isn’t clear yet.In striking down the IRS’s interpretation, the DC Court of Appeals sent the matter back to the lower district court to issue an order in accordance with the appellate court ruling. Whether the IRS’s policy of offering credits to states that did not create exchanges will continue at least temporarily, or whether it will be immediately ended, will be determined by the lower court, unless the matter is first heard by the entire DC Court of Appeals. The makeup of the DC Court of Appeals was recently altered drastically by the addition of three of President Obama’s appointees, after the Senate took the extraordinary step of ending the possible use of the filibuster against appellate court appointees. To further cloud the outlook, another federal circuit, on the same day, ruled that the same IRS interpretation was acceptable because the ACA, as written, was ambiguous. The Fourth Circuit, which covers the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland, held that the IRS has the ability to clarify matters that Congress left ambiguous.The entire matter may require a decision by the Supreme Court. However, we may find out before then whether or not the current IRS interpretation of extending the tax credits to states like Michigan will continue or has been ended. This depends on what happens in the DC Circuit either at the district court level, or at a sitting of the entire DC Circuit Court of Appeals.