Is federal funding more than just a bad policy decision?

If you missed The Chris Salcedo Show last weekend you definitely missed an… interesting Constitution Revolution segment.  Here’s the clip:

In order to understand how our Constitution works, it’s important to realize that the states were supposed to play a central role in this country – part of that role was to be a check against the federal government.  I know it can be easy to blow off something as seemingly innocent at federal highway or education funding and say, “What’s the big deal?”  But remember, money like this always comes with strings attached.

It should be common sense that when you are dependent on someone else for your survival, you aren’t in a very good position to challenge that person’s authority over you.  Most of us saw this demonstrated in our own homes growing up.  Do you remember hearing the phrase, “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll live by my rules?”  Well the same thing is true when it comes to government.

The politicians in Washington aren’t giving this money to the states because they are super-generous and wonderful.  They are doing it because they want a certain level of control over the internal policies of the states who receive the money – and now they have it.

When the federal government sent its sternly worded letter to the state of Indiana, it was essentially saying, “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll live by my rules.”

This process of the federal government funding the states has made our states virtually irrelevant.  The politicians in Washington D.C. are able to drive a significant part of our domestic policy because the states are dependent on the federal government for money.  Now try to answer this question – what purpose do our states serve at this point?  They don’t to too much more than just implement federal policies.

That’s a very bad situation for you and me.  Remember, the states were supposed to play a major role in making sure that the federal government didn’t become too powerful and begin to take away your freedom.  But notice, as our federal government continues to grow at an increasingly fast pace not too many of our states are even making a peep about it.  They literally can’t afford to.

And all the while, more and more of your freedom is being destroyed.

Next weekend, make sure you don’t miss another awesome segment like this!  Check out The Chris Salcedo Show on TheBlaze Radio from 12 – 3 PM eastern.

Is Common Core Just a Symptom of a Larger Constitutional Problem?

Last week, Oklahoma became the second state in the union to repeal Common Core.

But before Gov. Mary Fallin signed that bill into law, one of the questions she had to consider was whether or not getting rid of Common Core was worth putting her state’s education funding in jeopardy.

One of the strategies that Congress has used for decades to increase its power is to offer the states money for something like funding education or highways. Naturally, that money always comes with a catch: The only way for the states to get the funding is to implement policies that the federal government approves of. It’s a back-door way for members of Congress to gain control over issues that are supposed to be left to the states.

Therefore, the issue of Common Core isn’t as simple as asking if it is a good policy for the children of Oklahoma. Fallin also has to decide if her state can afford to deny the federal government here….

Read more at The Blaze.com

The Part of the Edward Snowden Interview that Every American Needs to See

I recently started writing for TheBlaze.com, so naturally I’m going to post all of my articles here.  Here is my first contribution:

After the interview that Edward Snowden did with NBC last week, the issue of domestic spying is back in the news.

Of course, whenever I talk to people who aren’t politically active about this topic they usually have the same response: “I don’t have anything to hide. So what’s the big deal?”

The perception that you don’t need to worry about domestic spying as long as you “don’t have anything to hide” is why every American needs to see this clip from the Snowden interview (scroll down for video):

What he’s saying here is that there is no such thing as “having nothing to hide.” Every piece of information the NSA collects is valuable to them. Even something as innocent as checking the score of a hockey game.

When we allow the government to collect information about the private lives of citizens, that gives our politicians an extraordinary amount of power over you and every other American. If we ever make the mistake of electing people who want to use that information against you they will have everything they need to destroy your life.

That’s why you need to understand how the Fourth Amendment protects you from bad people in the government….

Click here to read more at TheBlaze.com

Call it what you want, it’s still unconstitutional

Here is this week’s Constitution Revolution segment.  Buckle up for a wild one:

Whenever we’re trying to decide if the federal government has the authority to use a certain power, we always have to keep our focus on the principles involved.  Far too often, we allow ourselves to get confused by definitions or processes that are completely irrelevant to whether or not what the government is doing is Constitutional.

Unfortunately, Progressives have been very effective at convincing the American people that just changing what we call something that makes it Constitutional.  If the Federal Election Commission would have been able to pass this regulation and classify conservative media outlets as political organizations, that’s exactly what they would have tried to do.  We would have seen progressives arguing with a straight face that they aren’t really restricting speech – all they’re doing is regulating political organizations.  What’s the big deal?

Obviously the big deal is that this regulation would have the effect of regulating the speech of American citizens.  I don’t know about you, but if the government is taking away my freedom I couldn’t care less what they call it.  They could call it the “Chad Kent is the Greatest Guy Ever Act of 2014” and I would still call it unconstitutional.  The federal government does not have the authority to restrict the rights of Americans to speak their minds – that is all that matters here.

Perhaps the most amusing part about this whole story is that we wouldn’t have to worry about these knuckleheads in the FEC in the first place if we hadn’t allowed the federal government to do something unconstitutional by changing what they call it.  The Constitution says very clearly that Congress has all of the power to write laws in this country.  And since the Federal Election Commission is a part of the Executive Branch, that would mean that it cannot create any laws.

Don’t worry though – the super-smart people in Washington have reassured us that we don’t need to worry about that because executive agencies like the FEC don’t write laws – they just issue regulations.  But consider this – if this regulation had been passed by the FEC, would Matt Drudge and Sean Hannity still have been expected to comply with it?  Yes they would.  And if they didn’t, would the federal government have either fined them or sent them to prison?  Yes they would.  So this “regulation” is just a law that the federal government decided to call something else to get around that  pesky Constitution thingy.

The enemies of freedom will always come up with clever ways to grant themselves more power. The only way for us to preserve our freedom is to keep a constant focus on the substance of what our government is doing and not the rhetoric.

Be sure to catch the Constitution Revolution live next Saturday during The Chris Salcedo Show (12-3 pm Eastern) on The Blaze Radio!!

More on why you should love the Electoral College

Last weekend on The Blaze Radio I did another wild segment about the Electoral College.  Here’s the clip:

If ever there was an issue where we needed to truly engage and understand the situation rather than making decisions based on emotion and catch-phrases, it’s the issue of a national popular vote for president.  There is so much more to the Electoral College than just what you see on the surface.  Before making changes to the way we elect a president, we need to understand how it impacts our Constitution and the way our country runs as a whole.

I understand that proponents of the national popular vote have a lot of sound bite arguments that sound great initially – every vote should count, the one with the most votes should always win, this makes us more like a democracy, etc.  But we need to think much deeper than that.  Those arguments might sound great on their own, but will they actually accomplish what is best for the country?  Will they protect your freedom or further empower the government?

We also need to move past Step 1 and ask ourselves how we would actually implement a national popular vote.  For example, what would a national recount look like?

I sincerely ask you to make sure your friends are aware that this is an issue and also to inform yourself the best you can.  Take some time to examine Tara Ross’s website and her book.  Read about why the Founders felt that the Electoral College was the best system.  Whatever you do, don’t support one side or the other without doing some legitimate research.

And hey, while I’m asking you to do stuff – you should also listen to The Chris Salcedo Show every Saturday from 12 – 3 EDT on The Blaze Radio.  It’s the only place where you can hear my Constitution Revolution segment live!

Why you should love the Electoral College

I know, I know.  It’s the in thing now to rip on the Electoral College and how it’s so outdated.  That’s why I did last weekend’s Constitution Revolution segment on why the Electoral College is a critical part of our country:

I get that the Electoral College seems a little odd and can be difficult to understand.  But it is absolutely essential to creating stability in this country.  Without it, we open ourselves to the possibility of having some very vicious battles over who is the legitimate president.  That just doesn’t create the kind of environment where freedom can survive.

Think again about the division and anger that the Florida recount caused in the 2000 election.  Our country wouldn’t be able to survive that kind of episode on a nationwide scale.

But, in the event that you still aren’t convinced on the value of the Electoral College, here is a video I did on the topic a few years back:

And – of course – if you are dying to learn even more about the virtue of our wonderful Electoral College visit TaraRoss.com or go to Amazon and buy Tara’s book.  Tara is a lawyer here in Dallas/Fort Worth who has done some fantastic work on the Electoral College.  If you spend some time with her book and her web site you’ll be an expert in no time!

 

If you this week’s Constitution Revolution made you think, be sure to check it out live next week!  This segment airs during The Chris Salcedo Show which you can hear on The Blaze Radio every Saturday from 12 – 3 PM EASTERN Time  (find out how to listen here).

Are you being governed… or being ruled?

When Congress passes bills without reading them, it shouldn’t come as a shock that we’re going to be in for a few surprises when those bills become laws.  Recently, my Constitution Revolution segment for The Blaze Radio covered yet another gem that was a part of the Dodd-Frank bill:

As Americans, we need to make sure that we understand the difference between being governed – and being ruled.  It basically comes down to who is in control – the people or the government. Citizens who participate in creating the laws of the country are governed.  When laws are simply imposed on you without your input you are being ruled.  In that case, you are essentially a subject who is at the mercy of an all powerful government.

During the Revolution, some members of our Founding generation gave us a perfect description of what the relationship should be between a free people and their government:

“[Our representatives] being but servants of the people cannot be greater than their Masters, and must be responsible to them.”

In this country we still puff up our chests and claim to be “the land of the free.”  But if we are truly free people then our government cannot be more powerful than the people… and our representatives must be accountable to us as citizens.  Is that still the case?

Think about the bureaucrats at the CFPB – and the other executive agencies for that matter.  How exactly are those bureaucrats responsible to you?  You don’t get to vote for them and and if you don’t like the job they do you have virtually no way of holding them accountable.   Despite that, they have enormous power to impose rules on you.  Under those conditions, it seems pretty clear who is the servant and who is the master.

So because we have allowed laws to be created in ways that the Constitution didn’t authorize, we are now having rules imposed on us that we have no part in creating… that are passed by people we had no part in electing.  Alexander Hamilton had a word to describe that kind of government:

“When any people are ruled by laws, in framing which, they have no part, that are to bind them, to all intents and purposes, without, in the same manner, binding the legislators themselves, they are in the strictest sense slaves, and the government with respect to them, is despotic.”

If you this week’s Constitution Revolution made you think, be sure to check it out live next week!  This segment airs during The Chris Salcedo Show which you can hear on The Blaze Radio every Saturday from 12 – 3 PM EASTERN Time  (find out how to listen here).

Did the Constitution create a limited government?

Get ready for an idea that will help you win some arguments with some friends and family.  Here is the Constitution Revolution segment from last week’s Chris Salcedo Show:

The contrast between the 9th and 10th Amendments makes it extraordinarily clear that the Constitution was intended to create a government of limited power.  That removes all doubt that any interpretation of the Constitution that gives the federal government virtually unlimited power is clearly incorrect.

Despite that, the prevailing wisdom in this country is to interpret our Constitution in a way that favors the power of the federal government over the protection of your rights.  Unfortunately, that isn’t as innocent as just one point of view winning out over another.  It leaves you vulnerable to being mistreated by your government.

As I’ve discussed numerous times lately – the Constitution is designed to protect you from the people in government.  When we sit back and accept interpretations of the Constitution that allow our politicians to steal power that we did not intentionally grant them, that protection is destroyed.

Don’t forget to listen to the Constitution Revolution LIVE every Saturday on The Blaze Radio.

So… why did we create this government?

At a time when so many people don’t care too much about current events, it can be hard to explain why the heck our Constitution matters.  Well the Constitution Revolution segment from last week’s Chris Salcedo Show will help you out with that:

Here is the John Trenchard quote I mentioned in the clip:

“The Experience of every Age convinces us, that we must not judge of Men by what they ought to do, but by what they will do; and all of History affords us but few instances of Men trusted with great Power without abusing it, when with Security they could. [...]  For these Reasons, and convinced by the woful and eternal Experience, Societies found it necessary to lay Restraints upon their magistrates or publick servants, and to put Checks upon those who would otherwise put Chains upon them.”

Just like we lock our doors at night to protect ourselves from other people, we need to take steps to protect ourselves from the people in our government.  That’s the idea behind our Constitution – we restrict the power of government because history shows us that if we don’t that power will be used against us.

It’s very simple: we should do our best to protect the Constitution because the Constitution protects us.  Without it, we are at the mercy of the people who run our government.

Don’t forget to listen to the Constitution Revolution LIVE every Saturday on The Blaze Radio!

When is it ok for the government to spy on you?

If you missed my segment on The Chris Salcedo Show last weekend you missed a fun one.  Fortunately, you’re in the right place to catch the replay.  Here’s the clip:

So often when we’re are discussing different aspects of the Constitution we allow ourselves to get side tracked by the technology involved.  And that is definitely true here with the Fourth Amendment – a lot of the discussion is focused on the internet and not the nature of the searches that are taking place.

In situations like this, we need to slow down and ask ourselves two critical questions:

1. What was the purpose of our Constitution?

The Constitution is designed to protect you and me from the government.

2. Why was that the purpose?

The Founders understood that – because of the flaws in human nature – it is the natural tendency for a government to grow and ultimately become oppressive.  So we had to do our best to restrain that growth and protect the rights of the individual.

We need to keep the those two ideas in mind regardless of what clause in the Constitution we’re considering.  For example, let’s look at the 1st Amendment.  The Founders didn’t ratify the 1st Amendment because there was some new printing press that they thought needed protection from the government.  Technology had nothing to do with it.  They ratified the 1st Amendment because of the general principle that people in a free society have a right to speak their mind – and that that right should be protected from government infringement.  Does it matter if that individual speaks his mind in a newspaper, on an internet blog, or on a street corner?  No, because it’s the principle that matters.

The concept is the same with the 4th Amendment.  This amendment wasn’t ratified because the Founders were concerned that a certain type of property might be searched.  The idea was to prevent the government from invading the lives of citizens with broad, non-specific searches.  Does it matter if the government is doing that broad search in your home or in your e-mail box?  Of course not.  The idea here is to prevent the government from gaining too much power and having the ability oppress individual citizens.

Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happing today.