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Repeal of fine for not having health insurance set for 2019

Repeal of fine for not having health insurance set for 2019

FILE - Obamacare site (2018)
Txking | Shutterstock

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

U.S. law still mandates that people have health insurance in 2018, but in 2019 the fine on those who don’t have insurance goes away. An insurance broker has said it will be good when the dust settles and the effects of the change become clearer.

The federal tax reform law President Donald Trump signed in December strikes the fine imposed on taxpayers who don’t have insurance coverage, starting in 2019.

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency Individual Insurance Agent Dave Ferguson said there won’t be much of a change in insurance offerings once the mandate is essentially lifted in 2019, but he said premiums outside of government insurance exchanges could go up 10 percent every year.

“These insurance companies do have to make money,” Ferguson said. “They adjust their premiums to the point where they think they’re going to make money. They never know for sure until they get through the whole year.”

With renewed efforts expected this year in Congress to reform the health insurance industry, Ferguson said there’s a lot of confusion among consumers.

“And it will be nice when things settle down and become stabilized in the marketplace, whatever that solution winds up being,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the amount of money needed to fund Medicaid could go down as result of people who would have been forced into Medicaid deciding to forego insurance.

Goldwater Institute Director of Healthcare Policy Naomi Lopez Bauman agreed.

“Assuming that people choose not to enroll because there’s no longer a penalty, you could potentially see some savings,” Bauman said.

Medicaid is among the largest costs for Illinois taxpayers.

Ferguson said Illinois’ biggest challenge for those forced into Medicaid because of the mandate is the time it takes to process individual applications.

Bauman said the solution ultimately should be to afford consumers more choices that fit their needs.

 

“Why not open up the market so there could be more innovation, more choices of products?” Bauman said.

People who don’t obtain insurance coverage for this year can still expect a fine, Ferguson said.

Source: Will County News

A vending machine for the homeless just launched in the U.K., and will soon debut in U.S. cities

A vending machine for the homeless just launched in the U.K., and will soon debut in U.S. cities

 December 30, 2017  Washington Post

Action Hunger’s first vending machine for the homeless launched this month at a shopping mall in Nottingham, England. (Action Hunger)

It all goes back to the countless hours Huzaifah Khaled spent on trains and in train stations, shuttling back and forth between his home in Nottingham, England, and classes at the University of Cambridge, some 90 miles away.

“In the U.K., train stations are almost magnets for homeless people,” Khaled said. “When I’d be waiting for trains, walking to and from the train station . . . I came into contact with a lot of them.”

He talked with them, bought them coffee, and over time, developed relationships with them.

“I essentially developed a very deep understanding of their needs,” said Khaled, who recently got his PhD in law. It hit him that, for the homeless, even basic necessities are hard to access, and the limited hours for drop-in services at day shelters meant people had to schedule their days around visits to the shelter, making it hard to hold a stable job or see family regularly.

“I realized that there had to be a more effective way of getting at least the bare necessities to them,” he said.

That’s how he hit on the idea of a vending machine for the homeless: a 24/7 pit stop where people can access free food, clothing and other basic supplies.

The first vending machine launched this month in a shopping center in Nottingham, stocked full of supplies like water, fresh fruit, energy bars, chips and sandwiches, as well as socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes and even books. The machine was installed by Action Hunger, a charity directed by Khaled.

The initiative has been close to two years in the making. Back in early 2016, he had toyed with the idea of installing stocked fridges in cities across the U.K. But fridges posed challenges for keeping track of supplies, so he switched gears and focused his attention on vending machines instead. He devoted weekends and evenings to the project, all the while working toward his PhD.

“I speculatively approached over 50 manufacturers across England and Europe — most ignored my proposal, a few politely declined, and just before I was about to give up and try to raise funds to buy a machine instead, [N&W Global Vending] responded to my letter and invited me to pitch the idea to them,” he said. “They came on board almost immediately afterwards.”

N&W Global Vending, one of the world’s largest vending companies, gave Khaled a 10,000-pound, or about $13,000, machine free. Meanwhile, Khaled reached out to the Friary, a day center serving the homeless in the Nottingham area. Now, as a partner organization to Action Hunger, the Friary gives out keycards to its patrons, which are programmed to permit up to three items being dispensed per day.  Users have to show up at the Friary once a week to continue receiving access to the keycards.

The idea is users do not become dependent on the machines, and are working toward a long-term plan for getting off the streets, Khaled explained. He wants Action Hunger’s low-cost vending machines, which are restocked daily by volunteers, to complement other existing services, and believes continued engagement with local support services is key to ending the cycle of homelessness.

Khaled hopes to expand quickly across the country, as well as across Europe and the United States. A machine will be installed in New York City in February, followed by San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles. Action Hunger has partnered up with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, a food rescue nonprofit based in New York City, and is also in talks with Tyson Foods.

Over the next month, Khaled and his team will monitor which products in the machine are in highest demand, and which aren’t as highly sought after. In the longer term, they want to crunch data from the keycards to figure out whether giving someone access to free basic necessities contributes to helping them get off the street.

“Homelessness has become so accepted in our society that we often don’t even look at these people,” Khaled said. He hopes Action Hunger’s vending machines will represent a step toward a sustainable, long-term solution to homelessness. Even still, he wishes homelessness had never become such a seemingly intractable issue in the first place.

“In an ideal world, I would never have needed to start this charity,” he said. “I would love nothing more than to shutter this charity next week.”

Source: Will County News

Busting myths to get your 2018 started right

Busting myths to get your 2018 started right

Myth vs Fact

If we are to ever unbind ourselves from the chains of conventional wisdom, we must first come to understand that we are constantly under assault from government propaganda and government propagandists. Our indoctrination begins at an early age and reaches its peak as we glide through the government indoctrination camps deceptively called public education.

When we are born into a system and we live it for a period of time, we lose our imperative to inquire. We automatically and unconsciously assume that things that are have always been. The system is prescribed.

We accept it, and it becomes a part of us. We don’t feel animosity or hostility toward the authority that we are born under. We are all born into conventional wisdom. Every bit of information we get from the very beginning of our existence “sells” us on authority. This goes on through public (non)education and throughout life.

The only acceptable social and moral thing to do then is to accept authority, conform to authority and above all, never question authority, let alone its morality and its modus operandi. Once a person is taught a fact and believes that fact long enough, he or she cannot ponder or contemplate information or a question that challenges the fact. The mind simply cannot process information that conflicts with previously accepted data. Prior conditioning is difficult to challenge.

Psychologists call this quirk of human nature cognitive dissonance. It means the rejection of information not in harmony with previous beliefs.

Here’s an example. Conventional wisdom holds that there exists two political parties in America and that they pursue two different agendas. The reality is that there are two names of political parties, but the philosophy and morality of all politicians is the same. Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other.

Source: Will County News

2017 Closes As Trump Aids In Captured Americans Returning Home

Another Victory As 2017 Closes As Trump Aids In Captured Americans Returning Home

This style of leadership has universal qualities in getting things accomplished which we need a lot of in the United States, especially after the less than helpful previous president.

One of the areas of interest that President Trump has directed his energy towards has been that of releasing American citizens that have been taken captive by foreign governments.

Fox News reported:

Immediately after President Trump took office, he told Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson to prioritize bringing home Americans who’ve been wrongfully detained or held hostage in foreign countries,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told Fox News in an email.”

 During Trump’s first year in the Oval Office, he and his administration have successfully brought 10 wrongfully detained, or outlandishly sentenced, people home through diplomatic efforts.

The liberals like to twist the truth, claiming Trump has not accomplished anything, or how he isn’t good for American efforts.

Reuniting loved ones sounds like a pretty successful feat, the same loved ones that Obama couldn’t seem to get here with his “diplomatic efforts.”

While Obama was running foreign diplomacy, it took him 8 years to finish what Trump did in 1.

Ned Price, spokesman for Obama, speaks on the detainees released during Obama’s terms.

Deadline reported:

Their tireless efforts resulted in the release of at least 10 Americans from North Korean custody during the course of the Obama administration.”

The efforts were so tired because of the Obama administration’s energy being spent elsewhere, like trying to do away with the sanctity of marriage or making sure citizens can kill their babies.

There are still many United States citizens, many of whom the Trump administration hasn’t named yet, whose release is being aggressively pursued.

For now, let’s take proper note of the publicized Americans that were brought home in 2017.

Otto Warmbier

The capture and release of Otto Warmbier was highly publicized and ill-fated. The University of Virginia student was arrested in North Korea for allegedly attempting to steal a government banner from the hotel he was staying at.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, which is notoriously harsh, in the power-hungry North Korea.

On June 13th Warmbier was medically evacuated to the United States, but was already in an “unresponsive state”, according to Fox News.

Sadly, it wasn’t long before death found the young student. There was no empirical evidence of physical abuse, but Warmbier was missing a substantial amount of brain tissue, which suggested: “he had lost blood supply to his brain for a period of time.”  

Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle

Fox News reported:

Coleman and her Canadian husband, Boyle, were kidnapped in October 2012 by the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network while on a backpacking trip that took them into Afghanistan. Held by the terror group for five years, the couple had three children while in captivity before being rescued as their captors attempted to move them across the border to Pakistan.”

 Under President Trump, Secretary Tillerson, Defense Secretary Mattis, diplomats, and military personnel told Pakistani officials that if they didn’t stop the car that was suspected of carrying the kidnapped family, they would move in to carry out the operation themselves.

The car was stopped by the Pakistani enforcement, and Coleman, Boyle, and their surviving children, who had suffered psychological traumas and abuse, were found in the trunk.

Sabrina De Sousa

Sousa was a former CIA agent, she was accused of aiding in a kidnapping of a Muslim cleric.

An extradition from Portugal to Italy was being arranged for De Sousa when the Trump administration stepped in and stopped it.

The U.S. didn’t make an official statement on aiding in the reprieve of De Sousa, but former Rep. Pete Hoekstra said the White House “was closely involved in the case”, according to Fox News.

Aya Hijazi

Fox News reported on Hijazi’s charges of child abuse:

Shortly after President Trump met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in April, the country released Egyptian-American charity worker Aya Hijazi from prison after nearly three years of detention. Hijazi and her husband had established a foundation to aid street children, but were arrested along with six others in 2014.”

 The United States has been quiet in the release of Hijazi, but Trump has made comment that the seeing her free was “on the agenda”, according to Fox News. And it was a personal U.S. plane that picked Hijazi up.

UCLA Basketball Players

Most recently, the media has been buzzing about the UCLA basketball players that were released from a Chinese prison over stealing a pair of Louis Vuitton sunglasses outside of their hotel.

The young students were in China for a game against Georgia Tech. Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping personally to negotiate the release of the young men who made incredibly poor choices.

A Twitter war has sparked between Trump and LaVar Ball, father of one of the boys who the Trump administration had released.

Ball thinks that he doesn’t owe Trump a thank you, and said he had some people that “knew the situation.”

Well, so did everyone else who reads the media. Ball then tried to say it was the Chinese president who released his son whom he should be thanking.

The fact of the matter is, President Jinping would have let the UCLA basketball players rot in jail without thinking twice before Trump came along.

This is a prime problem with the emotionally charged left, who will dismiss a grand gesture of grace, just to stand the illogical ground of not showing support for anything moral.

It has been a busy year in politics with the tax cuts, healthcare initiatives, bringing our citizens home, and much more.

The potential torture and injustice that has been saved by even a single prisoner escaping lack of due process is a year well done.

Source: Will County News

Illinois police department to unveil new roadside drug test

Illinois police department to unveil new roadside drug test

  • By Vincent Caruso and Benjamin Yount | Illinois News Network
FILE - police, traffic stop
Shutterstock photo

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

An Illinois police department will be among the first in the country to use a mouth swab drug-testing kit that can detect if motorists pulled over on suspicion of impairment have drugs in their system.

The suburban village of Carol Stream is slated to be the first municipality in the state – and one of only a few in the nation – to roll out the small and portable tests manufactured by German biotechnology company Protzek.

Tests – which will quickly determine the presence and amount of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines, and opiates such as heroin – will be performed on willing suspects who have already been arrested and who consent to testing. The results cannot be used against them in court.

The procedure for the test will go as follows: an officer will screen a driver who has been pulled over for cause using a mouth swab, which will then be tested by a mobile P.I.A.2 device. Subsequently, the device will produce measurements of a drug present in the driver’s system.

Officers in only four other states – Michigan, Kansas, Colorado and California – have similar tests at their disposal. Tests cost approximately $30 per kit and funding will come from existing DUI Tech funds.

That the test measures the amount of the drug’s presence and not merely detects it is significant because the state doesn’t recognize the presence of controlled substances alone as sufficient evidence of impairment. Marijuana, for example, can be detected for days after it is used even if its effects have worn off.

Sgt. Brian Cluever of the Carol Stream Police Department’s traffic and safety unit said the goal is to perform 50 to 100 sample tests. Cluever said if the testing is proven effective, it can hopefully be used by Carol Stream and throughout the state.

Since last year, the level of a driver’s impairment must cross a defined threshold before reaching illegality, necessitating more than just a mere positive or negative test result.

According to state law, a blood, urine or breath sample may be procured by police on suspicion that a driver is under the influence. In the coming months in Carol Stream, motorists suspected of being impaired will also be asked for a swab.

The department already is known for its aggressive drunk-driving enforcement. This, in part, is why Judicial Testing Systems, the company that distributes the system in Illinois, first approached Carol Stream police.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, for the first time, the number of drivers involved in fatal deaths who tested positive for drugs outpaced those who tested positive for alcohol.

Carol Stream authorities herald the Protzek test as a greater means of facilitating enforcement against driving under the influence.

“We want to give officers all the tools they need to make sure they’re making the right decisions and removing intoxicated drivers from the roads,” ” Cluever said. “Once we have proven this in court and it’s been proven in the scientific community to be accurate and reliable, then there’s no reason why it should not go statewide,” Cluever said.

Defense attorney Don Ramsell, who specializes in D.U.I. law, is skeptical of the new test.

“They might just as well hand somebody a bag of nachos and see if he eats it,” Ramsell said. “That’s just as valid.”

Ultimately, the courts will make the decision on the validity of the new test. In the meantime, the verdict is still out.

Source: Will County News

Trump finds fresh target in U.S. Postal Service, rips Dems on Twitter — after ‘Fox & Friends’ segment

Fuming Trump finds fresh target in U.S. Postal Service, rips Dems on Twitter — after ‘Fox & Friends’ segment

President Donald Trump, sequestered away at his Florida resort for the holidays, fumed on Friday morning — lashing out at Democrats, the media and the “dumber and poorer” post office.

Trump kicked off his sixth day in the Sunshine State by sending out several social media posts from the confines of his Mar-a-Lago estate.

The president’s latest Twitter tantrum included a new target as he ranted about the United States Postal Service, encouraging the agency to raise prices for delivering packages for online retail giant Amazon.

“Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!” he wrote.

The independent agency, known as the United States Postal Service since 1971, does not use taxpayer money for its operations.

Under federal law, it can’t raise prices more than the rate of inflation without approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Trump has lashed out at Amazon in the past, often belittling company CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post.

The president, who has no official business lined up for the day, has gone golfing every day except for Christmas when he promised “tomorrow it’s back to work in order to Make America Great Again.”

Each morning, a string of tweets — often in response to segments aired on Fox News — have erupted from Trump’s Twitter account before he hit the links.

Trump’s tweet about Amazon and the Postal Service came after a “Fox & Friends” segment about technology trends in the new year.

Part of the report looked at Amazon’s future use of augmented reality, allowing shoppers to see how things would look in their homes before buying them.

Trump also shared his thoughts on immigration policy, saying that Democrats “have been told, and fully understand, that there can be no DACA without the desperately needed WALL at the Southern Border and an END to the horrible Chain Migration & ridiculous Lottery System of Immigration.”

Earlier, Trump accused the media of misreporting his “so-called low approval rating.”

One poll released Thursday by Rasmussen has Trump’s approval rating at 46 percent — identical to his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, at the end of his first year in office.

Trump’s average approval rating sits at 39.3 percent, according to a composite of polls by RealClearPolitics.

The president’s Twitter use is deemed “appropriate” by just slightly more than 1 in 4 Americans, according to a poll by The Economist and YouGov released Wednesday.

Overall, just 26 percent respondents say they find the president’s prolific Twitter use appropriate, with 59 percent disapproving. Fifteen percent say they aren’t sure.

— Denis Slattery
New York Daily News

———

©2017 New York Daily News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Source: Will County News

Contaminated chemo drugs, the FDA, and chemical warfare against the public

Contaminated chemo drugs, the FDA, and chemical warfare against the public

This originally appeared at NoMoreFakeNews.com on December 29, 2017.

Chemo drugs are highly poisonous to begin with. But suppose, on top of that, they’re contaminated and tainted?

Welcome to the FDA: the handmaiden to Big Pharma; the promoter of destructive medicines; the opponent of natural health; the agency that should have been disbanded and fumigated decades ago. Corruption Central.

In today’s episode, the Agency has issued a slap on the wrist to Fresenius, a major provider of health care in Europe, with two dozen drug-manufacturing facilities around the world.

Bloomberg reports: “U.S. regulators warned Fresenius SE after the company’s Indian plant that makes cancer-drug ingredients for the U.S. market aborted hundreds of drug-quality tests because they seemed like they were going to fail due to impurities.”

“When workers at the plant found potential tainted products, they halted the tests and said human or machine errors were to blame instead, according to a Food and Drug Administration warning letter dated Dec. 4 that cited 248 aborted checks at the West Bengal facility.”

The FDA’s warning basically instructed Fresenius to do better. Re-examine all their manufacturing and testing practices. Hire an outside consultant.

That’s comforting, isn’t it? With contaminated chemo drugs floating around the world, the FDA says nothing about ferreting out these medicines—and here is the capper from the Bloomberg article:

“The agency also warned that if the company doesn’t correct the issues raised in the letter, FDA workers could refuse products made at the facility admission into the U.S.”

My, my. Fresenius can continue to sell its fraudulently tested, tainted drugs. Not a problem. Business is business. Promise you’ll mend your ways, boys, and stick to your word. Meanwhile, we, at the FDA, will get back to seeing what we can do to limit sales of those REALLY dangerous products called nutritional supplements.

Oh, and by the way, this is not the first warning letter the FDA has issued to Fresenius. As fiercepharma reports: “In a previous warning letter…FDA cited similar…deviations.” And now, the FDA writes to the company, ‘You proposed specific remediation for these deviations in your [previous] response,’ the letter reads. ‘These repeated failures demonstrate that your facility’s oversight and control over the manufacture of drugs is inadequate’.”

But the FDA isn’t stopping Fresenius from exporting its chemo drugs into the US. No one is prosecuting company employees and sending them to prison for fraud and reckless endangerment.

Here are excerpts from my piece about the FDA’s overall mafia operation, to give you the flavor of what goes on at that rogue agency:

In a stunning interview with Truthout’s Martha Rosenberg, former FDA drug reviewer, Ronald Kavanagh, exposes the FDA as a relentless criminal mob protecting its client, Big Pharma, with a host of mob strategies.

Kavanagh: “…widespread racketeering, including witness tampering and witness retaliation.”

“I was threatened with prison.”

“One [FDA] manager threatened my children…I was afraid that I could be killed for talking to Congress and criminal investigators.”

Kavanagh reviewed new drug applications made to the FDA by pharmaceutical companies. He was one of the holdouts at the Agency who insisted that the drugs had to be safe and effective before being released to the public.

But honest appraisal wasn’t part of the FDA culture, and Kavanagh swam against the tide, until he realized his life and the life of his children was on the line.

What was his secret task at the FDA? “Drug reviewers were clearly told not to question drug companies and that our job was to approve drugs.” In other words, rubber stamp them. Say the drugs were safe and effective when they were not.

Kavanagh’s revelations are astonishing. He recalls a meeting where a drug-company representative flat-out stated that his company had paid the FDA for a new-drug approval. Paid for it. As in bribe.

He remarks that the drug pyridostigmine, given to US troops to prevent the later effects of nerve gas, “actually increased the lethality” of certain nerve agents.

Kavanagh recalls being given records of safety data on a drug—and then his bosses told him which sections not to read. Obviously, they knew the drug was dangerous and they knew exactly where, in the reports, that fact would be revealed.

The situation at the FDA isn’t correctable with a few firings. This is an ongoing criminal enterprise, and any government official, serving in any capacity, who has become aware of it and has not taken action, is an accessory to mass poisoning of the population.

Seventeen years ago, the cat was let out of the bag. Dr. Barbara Starfield, writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, on July 26, 2000, in a review titled, “Is US health really the best in the world,” exposed the fact that FDA-approved medical drugs kill 106,000 Americans per year. That’s a MILLION deaths per decade.

Dr. Starfield was a revered public health expert at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. In interviewing her, I discovered she had never been approached by the FDA or any federal agency to help remedy this tragedy. Nor had the federal government taken any steps on its own to stop the dying.

The government has still done nothing.

— Jon Rappoport

Source: Will County News

New Illinois gun law cracks down on repeat offenders

New Illinois gun law cracks down on repeat offenders

FILE - Confiscated guns, gun rights, gun control
rkl_foto | Shutterstock

ILLINOIS NEWS NETWORK

In response to the epidemic of gun violence in Chicago, Illinois lawmakers passed a new law coming into effect next week that some say will help crack down on repeat gun offenders. Reform advocates argue that they’re missing the point.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law new mandatory minimum sentences for people arrested more than once for gun crimes. The bill is seen as Springfield’s answer to rampant gun violence plaguing Chicago’s south and west sides. The new law requires at least seven years in prison for repeat gun offenders instead of three.

Republican Minority Leader Jim Durkin sponsored the bill. He admitted that it would not solve the problem, but it was a start.

“This is the start of something to stop this plague of violence which we pick up and read in the newspaper on a daily basis,” he said in June.

But Clark Neily, CATO Institute vice president of criminal justice, said putting more people behind bars for a longer period of time is not a move in the right direction.

“All you’re doing is locking people up for much longer periods of time,” he said. “It’s very costly and has a terrible effect on their lives as well as their families and the people who depend on them.”

The best cure for crime, Neily said, is gainful employment.

“When people have work that they find meaningful, then they truly feel that they’re part of something,” he said.

Illinois has the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest and the highest black unemployment rate in the nation.

More than 3,500 people were shot in Chicago this year with over 600 dying.

Source: Will County News

Human courage and kindness stand as obstacles to the void

Steve Balich Editors Note: Freedom may be something we take for granted because we as Americans were born into Freedom. It cost us almost nothing, yet many Americans wish it were gone. Replaced by a new version of distribution of wealth and control in the name of “Political Correctness”. We as citizens need to ask why a change from what made us a great nation is necessary in the first place. Americans, for the most part,  are by nature hard working people with traditional moral and ethical values which were handed down through the generations. We as a people recognize all people as good. This is where those who want to change the way America views itself capitalize on. The arrangement that we should have open borders because we need to love and care for all people does not account the huge cost to citizens of our Country who live week to week trying to have a good life. Love of all people is also the reason the word racist gets so much traction. No one wants to be cruel or unfair to anyone for any reason; so using the term racist hits at the moral and ethical nature of the American view of themselves. Americans recognize the wrongs we as a nation participated in over the years. We can’t justify wrongs that happened, but we can be proud we try to fix them when they are exposed. We must remember rights and wrongs are part of our History and should never be erased or forgotten. They are part of what made us the great nation we are. It is our courage and kindness that make us great. It is our work ethic that keeps us going. It is our love of God, Family, and Country that pushes us forward in the right direction.

Human courage and kindness stand as obstacles to the void

Among liberty activists, there is a rather universal consensus on what ails our nation. We understand that there is a concerted and deliberate effort by the establishment to undermine individual rights and constitutional protections. We understand that there is a coordinated effort by international financiers to destabilize our economy and siphon wealth from the middle class until it shrivels up and dies. We understand that there is an organized plan to radicalize the public along ideological lines and pit them against each other. We understand that geopolitics and regional wars are exploited to distract us from underlying issues. There is not very much debate over these realities; the evidence is overwhelming.

However, there is constant disagreement among activists on solutions to these problems, and there are several reasons why this conflict persists. Let’s examine them…

Ease versus struggle

This is one conflict that I don’t think many people recognize or pay much attention to, but it stand as a key weakness that derails effective action. There is a distaste among some liberty activists for the idea of self sacrifice and struggle in achieving freedom. The reality is most fights are won through persistence and force of will; there are no shortcuts to defeating tyranny. There are no secret weapons.  There is only indomitable spirit. That’s it. It doesn’t matter if you have a movement of 100 people or 100 million — any goal is achievable, but only so long as you accept the cost of pain and sacrifice.

Source: Will County News

What Americans should know about the Constitution

Steve Balich Editors note:  If it is not mentioned in the Constitution the 10th Amendment say the power is with the States. All the omissions should be under the control of the States.

What Americans should know about the Constitution

This article appeared at The Future of Freedom Foundation on December 27, 2017, and is reprinted with permission. 

Having just finished reading a new biography of H.L. Mencken, I was intrigued when I discovered that the Washington Post had an online section about politics called “Monkey Cage.” It was Mencken who said, “Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage.” “Monkey Cage’”s mission “is to connect political scientists and the political conversation by creating a compelling forum, developing publicly focused scholars, and building an informed audience. Here, political scientists draw on their own expertise and the discipline’s research to illuminate the news, inform civic discussion, and make some sense of the circus that is politics.” But it was the headline of the first post I read in the comments section that intrigued me even more.

“Too many Americans know too little about the Constitution,” read the headline. That is certainly not fake news, I thought. I saw that ignorance firsthand back when I taught American Government to high-school seniors. Most of them had absolutely no clue about federalism, the separation of powers, the differences between the House and Senate, or anything the Constitution actually said other than “separation of church and state,” which, of course, is a phrase not found in the Constitution. But, as Andrew Rudalevige made clear in his “Monkey Cage” post, ignorance of the Constitution is not limited just to high-school seniors. Adults — including college students and college graduates — are just as ignorant. Rudalevige is the Thomas Brackett Reed Professor of Government at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He “specializes in the study of American political institutions, primarily the presidency and the interbranch relations, with a recent focus on presidential management of the executive branch.”

For years now, late-night television hosts, including Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel, have sent camera crews onto the sidewalks in major cities and asked random pedestrians questions about U.S. history and government, including questions about the Constitution. The answers (and nonanswers) are comical. Some of them will make you cringe.

Last year the PoliTech political student group at Texas Tech University released a video titled “Politically Challenged” in which students at the university were asked very simple political questions, such as “Who is the vice president?” and gave answers that “were nothing short of appalling.” Of course, the students had no trouble naming famous actors or the actors’ television shows.

A few years ago an American-history literacy survey called “What Do College Graduates Know?” was conducted for the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, “an independent, non-profit organization committed to academic freedom, excellence, and accountability at America’s colleges and universities.” Three hundred college graduates between the ages of 21 to 34 were interviewed, evenly divided between men and women. Only 58 percent could identify the Constitution as the document that “established the division of powers between the states and the federal government.” Some thought it was the Marshall Plan. A little more than half knew that the right to a speedy trial and public trial by an impartial jury was not one of the freedoms protected in the First Amendment. Thirty percent thought that the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, which is part of the First Amendment, was not one of the freedoms protected in the First Amendment. Twenty-two percent placed Lincoln’s famous statement from the Gettysburg Address, “government of the people, by the people, for the people” in the Constitution and more than 50 percent thought it appeared in the Declaration of Independence. Just 17 percent had it correct. Only 38 percent knew that the terms for members of Congress were 6 years for senators and 2 years for representatives. And more than two-thirds of college graduates identified Thomas Jefferson, not James Madison, as the “Father of the Constitution.”

The purpose of Rudalevige’s post was to introduce a small attempt by Bowdoin College to remedy American ignorance of the Constitution. Beginning on June 27, and appearing every Tuesday throughout the summer, the professor began posting a 15-lesson educational video series dedicated to civics titled “Founding Principles.” The series, which Rudalevige narrates, “provides an introductory overview and basic understanding to American government, but one that is crucial to building citizen-leaders, promoting civic engagement, and working toward the common good.” It is “an instructive tool readily available and appropriate for a wide assortment of audiences.” It “lays out what the Constitution says; why it says it; how (and how well) it works now; and how that matters.” I have watched some of the videos. Although they do a good job of telling Americans what the Constitution says, they are inadequate to really inform Americans what they should know about the Constitution.

The Constitution

Another Constitution Day has come and gone. September 17 is designated Constitution Day because it is the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Federal law requires “each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year to hold an educational program on the U.S. Constitution on September 17 of such year for its students.” Yet, in spite of that, and as Rudalevige wrote, too many Americans know too little about the Constitution.

The United States was set up as a federal system of government where the states, through the Constitution, granted a limited number of powers to the national government. As future president James Madison explained in Federalist No. 45,

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. 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.

There are about 30 powers given to Congress throughout the Constitution. Everything else is reserved to the states — even without the addition of the Bill of Rights and its Tenth Amendment.

Most of these powers are listed in the 18 paragraphs found in Section 8 of Article I on the Legislative Branch. Congress is therein given the power

  • To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises
  • To borrow money
  • To regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the states, and with the Indian tribes
  • To establish rules and laws regarding naturalization and bankruptcies
  • To coin money, regulate its value, and fix the standard of weights and measures
  • To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting
  • To establish post offices and post roads
  • To secure to authors and inventors copyrights and patents
  • To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court
  • To define and punish maritime crimes
  • To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water
  • To raise and support armies
  • To provide and maintain a navy
  • To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces
  • To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia
  • To exercise exclusive legislation over the District of Columbia and federal installations.

The last paragraph gives Congress the power “to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Elsewhere in the Constitution, Congress is given the authority to admit new states into the Union; propose amendments to the Constitution or call a convention for proposing amendments; make or alter state regulations concerning national elections; direct the location of the place for the trial of a crime not committed within a state; declare the punishment for treason; provide the manner in which the public acts and records in each state are accepted by the others; dispose of and regulate the territory or other property of the United States; impeach and try the impeachment of federal officials; and provide by law for the case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability of the president or vice president.

The Constitution is not a long document, it is not an obscure document, and it is not a document that any American with a computer or smart phone couldn’t access in a matter of seconds. Yet too many Americans know too little about the Constitution.

Notable omissions

Just as important as what the Constitution says, is what it doesn’t say. The Constitution has some notable omissions that Americans should know about.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to wage war on drugs. That means no Controlled Substances Act, Office of National Drug Control Policy, drug “czar,” National Drug Control Strategy, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), or Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCE/SP), and no prohibitions or regulations relating to the buying, selling, growing, processing, transporting, manufacturing, advertising, using, possessing, or “trafficking” of any drug.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with education. That means no student loans, Pell Grants, math and science initiatives, school breakfast and lunch programs, bilingual-education mandates, Head Start funding, Title IX mandates, teacher-education requirements, teacher-certification standards, school accreditation, educational vouchers, Common Core, standardized-testing requirements, or special-education mandates, and no Department of Education.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with medicine. That means no Medicare, Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), vaccination programs, HIV/AIDS-prevention initiatives, federal laboratories, National Institutes of Health, or Department of Health and Human Services, and no regulation of medical schools, drugs, hospitals, nursing homes, medical devices, or physicians.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with insurance. That means no National Flood Insurance Program, no unemployment insurance, no regulation of insurance companies, and no mandate that Americans must have health insurance.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with charity. That means no welfare programs, means-tested or otherwise, such as food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP); or Elderly Nutrition Program, and no refundable tax credits.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with a retirement or disability program. That means no Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Social Security Administration, and no Social Security payroll taxes.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to make gun-control laws. That means no gun-dealer licensing; no National Instant Criminal Background Check System; no Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); and no regulations concerning guns, ammunition, magazines, gun shows, gun manufacturing, or gun sales. And all of that would be true even without the Second Amendment.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with labor. That means no minimum-wage laws, job-training programs, overtime requirements, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Davis-Bacon Act, or National Labor Relations Board, and no Department of Labor.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to fund research or the arts. That means no government scientific or medical research, no funding of clinical trials, no National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and no National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with housing. That means no Section 8 housing vouchers, public housing, homeless assistance grants, Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), Federal Housing Administration (FHA), or VA loans, and no Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to have anything to do with agriculture. That means no subsidies, guarantees, loans, Rural Development Agency, dietary guidelines, or Department of Agriculture.

Americans should know that the Constitution gives the federal government no authority to provide security for private businesses. That means that airports and airlines should handle their own security just like any other business and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should be abolished.

An objection

Supporters of the welfare/nanny state frequently raise an objection to the limited authority the federal government has under the Constitution: the “general welfare” clause. The first paragraph of Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, where this clause is found, reads as follows:

The Congress shall have power To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;…

Typical is Huffington Post columnist Paul Abrams:

The general welfare. There is no adjective or adverb qualifying that authority. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 grants the United States government the unqualified and unlimited power to raise and spend money, for example, to: provide healthcare for the elderly (or for everyone); provide old-age pension; build roads, bridges, train tracks, airports, electric grids, libraries, swimming pools, housing; educate our children, re-train the unemployed, provide pre-school and day care; fund public health projects; invest in and conduct basic research; provide subsidies for agriculture; save the auto industry; create internets; and, yes, Tea Party Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), even provide emergency aid from natural disasters, and so forth. All subsumed under the authority to spend for the general welfare.

Abrams believes that the authority of the federal government “to raise and spend money for the general welfare is broad, deep and unqualified.”

But as Michael Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center points out, “The fact that the Framers followed up the general welfare clause in Article I Sec. 8 with specific enumerated powers” indicates that “the general welfare clause doesn’t really mean unlimited federal authority to fund things beneficial to the nation as a whole.” If the Framers “had intended Congress should have the power to do virtually anything and everything to promote the general welfare, they wouldn’t have bothered to include specific powers.” This is the very point that James Madison — the Father of the Constitution — made in Federalist No. 41:

For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars, which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity which as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.

And in a letter written in 1792 just a few years after the adoption of the Constitution,

If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions. It is to be remarked that the phrase out of which this doctrine is elaborated, is copied from the old articles of Confederation, where it was always understood as nothing more than a general caption to the specified powers, and it is a fact that it was preferred in the new instrument for that very reason as less liable than any other to misconstruction.

And in a letter written years later in 1831,

With respect to the two words general welfare, I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.

Clearly, the general welfare clause does not give Congress carte blanche to make any law or spend money on anything it pleases. The enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution limit the federal government’s spending power to specific things. Any tax collected and any money spent must be for the benefit of the United States as a whole — not for individual, regional, or special interests — but only within the scope of the authority granted to the federal government by the Constitution.

The most ignorant

Yes, too many Americans know too little about the Constitution. But the most ignorant of Americans when it comes to the Constitution are the very people that one would expect should know the most about it: members of Congress. All senators and representatives take an oath of office in which they solemnly swear that they will “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and that they will “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” How are members of Congress supposed to “support and defend” and “bear true faith and allegiance” to the Constitution if they don’t know what it says, and, just as important, what it doesn’t say? Although all members of Congress are educated (only 20 House members have only a high-school diploma), and many have law degrees (36 percent in the House and 54 percent in the Senate), their continual votes to fund the welfare/nanny state show that they don’t have a clue about what the Constitution says or doesn’t say.

Libertarians don’t claim that the Constitution is perfect, ideal, or a libertarian document. But they do maintain that the Constitution is adequate as a check on the welfare/nanny state — if it were just followed. Americans need to know more about the Constitution. Someone has got to teach the members of Congress.

This article was originally published in the October 2017 edition of Future of Freedom.

— Laurence M. Vance

Laurence M. Vance is a columnist and policy adviser for the Future of Freedom Foundation, an associated scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and a columnist, blogger, and book reviewer at LewRockwell.com. He is also the author of Social Insecurity and The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom. His newest books are War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism and War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy. Visit his website: www.vancepublications.com. Send him e-mail.

Source: Will County News