The Constitution of the United States of America is part of a long line of charters written and implemented to establish strictly limited governmental power that is nonetheless strong enough to secure the rights of the people. As the fundamental law of the land, the text of the Constitution should be known by every American citizen.
In this module, the historical background to the proposal for a new Constitution is examined in detail, as well as the text of the Constitution itself and the struggle between its opponents and its advocates over ratification. The result was by no means a simple victory for advocates of a new national constitution; it was something quite different, a result shaped as much by Anti-Federalists as by Federalists. The Constitution as adopted incorporated a Bill of Rights capped by an explicit statement of the limited nature of the powers accorded to the federal government.
In seeking to establish a government powerful enough to secure the rights of the people, the Framers had to confront the problem of how to limit that power and constrain it from expanding whenever expansion might be in the interest of the most powerful factions. To secure that end, the Framers applied the doctrines of the separation of powers, or of “checks and balances,” and maintained the independence of state governments. In addition, such mechanisms as the staggered six-year terms of the Senate were designed to temper policy and to insulate it from occasional paroxysms of popular sentiment.
The most profound political thinking and writing are usually called forth during great political and legal conflicts. The debates over the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution proposed as a substitute for them are no exception. The Federalist Papers and the various lesser known Anti-Federalist Papers exhibit an extraordinary degree of practical and philosophical sophistication.
This module examines both sides of what is perhaps the most important issue dividing Americans today, one that is still hotly debated in American jurisprudence: does the government have all the powers it might wish to claim, except those specifically denied it in the Constitution, or does it have only those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution?
Readings to Accompany The Audio
From From Magna Carta to the Constitution: Documents in the Struggle for Liberty: Articles of Confederation (1778) (pp. 63-74); Constitution of the United States of America (1789) (pp. 75-89).
From The Libertarian Reader: James Madison, “Federalist Number Ten” (pp. 13-19); Richard Epstein, “Self-Interest and the Constitution” (pp. 42-52)
From Libertarianism: A Primer: Chapter 6, “Law and the Constitution” (pp. 115-26).
Some Problems to Ponder & Discuss
• In Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, the Congress is granted 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.” What role do the terms “necessary” and “proper” play in this clause?
• James Madison, in Federalist No. 10, addresses the problem of limiting the power of majority factions. His answer was not to eliminate the causes of faction, for that would mean eliminating liberty and even human nature itself, but to seek “relief … only … in the means of controlling its effects.” A national government, Madison argued, would be more likely to secure republican liberty from the dangers of majority faction than would local government only: “Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.” In protecting against the danger of majority faction, however, did Madison at the same time open the door to minority faction, or what we today term “special interests”? Did Madison’s solution also make it more difficult to motivate a majority, for example, taxpayers, with a “common motive” to protect their rights against minorities, in this case, subsidized special interests? What constitutional innovations or amendments might guard against both majority and minority tyranny?
• Is there a distinction between judicial review and nullification of unconstitutional laws, on the one hand, and judicial lawmaking or usurpation of the legislative power, on the other? Are there other mechanisms, in addition to judicial review, to combat or resist usurpation of or encroachment on the rights of the people by the other branches of government?
• In Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, the Congress is granted power to “lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States… .” Does this mean that the Congress has been granted the power to take any act it believes will “provide for the … general Welfare”? Is there a contrast between “general welfare” and “particular welfare”? Is the term “general” a limiting or an empowering term? What is the meaning of this section?
Suggested Additional Reading
Roger Pilon, “Restoring Constitutional Government,” Cato’s Letter No. 9 (Washington: Cato Institute, 1995). This pamphlet, available from the Cato Institute, explains how the Constitution established a government of delegated, enumerated, and thus limited, powers and how to restore such constitutional government today.
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers (many editions). Few people read The Federalist Papers in their entirety; many were written on topics of little interest today or on very specific issues of the Constitution then being debated. The papers that definitely deserve special attention today include No. 1 (introduction to the structure and objectives of the papers); No. 10 (union as a safeguard against domestic faction and insurrection—included in The Libertarian Reader); No. 45 (assuring that the powers and rights of the states have been maintained); No. 46 (ensuring that the states have been left ample power to counteract an ambitious national government); No. 47 (arguing for the separation of powers); No. 48 (arguing that overlapping powers facilitate separation of powers); No. 51 (arguing for checks and balances, reinforcing the separation of powers through self-interest); No. 78 (arguing for the powers of the judiciary to protect us—via judicial review—from majoritarian excesses); and No. 84 (arguing that the doctrine of enumerated powers renders a bill of rights unnecessary).
The Anti-Federalists: Writings by the Opponents of the Constitution, Herbert J. Storing, ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985). As Herbert Storing and other scholars have pointed out, the so-called Anti-Federalists have an equal claim to being the authors of our constitutional system, through their insistence on the doctrine of enumerated powers and on the Bill of Rights, including the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Some of the more relevant papers, warning of the dangers of centralized powers and stressing the need for decentralization and legal guarantees against the abuse of power, include the Letter from “Centinel” (pp. 13-20); Letters from “A Federal Farmer” (pp. 32-95); Essays of “Brutus,” 18 October 1787 (pp. 108-17) (contrasting confederal with national government), 29 November 1787 (pp. 127-32) (on the powers of Congress), 13 December 1787 (pp. 133-38), 31 January 1788, 7 February 1788, 14 February 1788, 21 February 1788, 28 February 1788, 6 March 1788, and 20 March 1788 (pp. 162-87) (on judicial powers); 10 April 1788 (pp. 187-91) (on the Senate); Letters of “Agrippa,” 23 November 1787 (pp. 229-30) (contrasting limited government with absolute government), 14 December 1787 (pp. 239-40) (on the need for a “declaration of rights”).
For Further Study
Stephen Macedo, The New Right vs. the Constitution (Washington: Cato Institute, 1987). Macedo carefully examines the original intent jurisprudence of the “new right” school of constitutional interpretation, which argues for an essentially untrammeled majoritarianism. Macedo argues for interpreting the Constitution in light of the theory of rights and government that inspired the Founders, rather than as merely a structure for the exercise of democratic power.
Edwin S. Corwin, The “Higher Law” Background of American Constitutional Law (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1955). Corwin shows how the American Constitution rests on a foundation of natural and inalienable individual rights.
From The Libertarian Reader: Lysander Spooner, “The Constitution of No Authority” (pp. 154-60). This essay pushes to the limit the idea of a government based on the consent of the governed and raises important and difficult problems concerning the foundations of political authority, with special attention to the U.S. Constitution.
View full post on Libertarianism.org
Michael F. Cannon
The IRS is attempting to tax, borrow, and spend more than $800 billion over the next 10 years without congressional authorization, and indeed in violation of an express statutory prohibition enacted by both chambers of Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
By offering the [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s] subsidies in states that have not set up [health insurance] exchanges, the federal government is inflicting tax penalties on individuals and employers that go beyond even what Obamacare allows…
Pruitt v. Sebelius has been supplemented by a lawsuit filed last month by a group of small businesses and individual taxpayers also challenging the IRS’s authority to impose penalties outside of state-created exchanges…
Stopping the IRS from imposing punitive taxes where it has no legal power to do so should in fact be a popular and bipartisan issue, regardless of one’s opinions about the ACA itself…
Republican governors, attorneys general, and state legislators looking to use their offices to the significant benefit of the nation as a whole should be lining up to create a 30-state united front with Oklahoma. Scott Pruitt is fighting for the rule of law, and Republican governors might trouble themselves to give him a hand.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
37 million Americans currently have outstanding student loans, and the delinquency rate on those student loans has now reached a level never seen before. According to a new report that was just released by the U.S. Department of Education, 11 percent of all student loans are at least 90 days delinquent. That is a brand new record high, and it is almost double the rate of a decade ago. Total student loan debt exceeds a trillion dollars, and it is now the second largest category of consumer debt after home mortgages. The student loan debt bubble has been growing particularly rapidly in recent years. According to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of student loan debt has risen by 275 percent since 2003. That is a staggering figure. Millions upon millions of young college graduates are entering the “real world” only to discover that they are already financially crippled for decades to come by oppressive student loan debt burdens. Large numbers of young people are even putting off buying homes or getting married simply because of student loan debt.
So why is this happening? Well, a big part of the problem is that the cost of college tuition has gotten wildly out of control. Since 1978, the cost of college tuition has risen even more rapidly then the cost of medical care has. Tuition costs at public universities have risen by 27 percent over the past five years, and there appears to be no end in sight.
We keep encouraging our young people to take out all of the loans that are necessary to pay for college, because a college education is supposedly the “key” to their futures.
But is that really the case?
Sadly, the reality of the matter is that millions of young Americans are graduating from college only to discover that the jobs that they were promised simply do not exist.
In fact, at this point about half of all college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.
This is leading to mass disillusionment with the system. One survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in college.
And because so many of them cannot get decent jobs, more college graduates then ever are finding that they cannot pay back the huge student loans that they were encouraged to sign up for. The following is from a recent Bloomberg article.
Eleven percent of student loans were seriously delinquent — at least 90 days past due — in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 6 percent in the first quarter of 2003, according to the report by the U.S. Education Department. Almost 30 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds aren’t employed or in school, the study found.
Everyone agrees that we are now dealing with an unprecedented student loan debt bubble, but none of our leaders seem to have any solutions.
The two charts posted below come from a recent Zero Hedge article, and they are very illuminating. The first chart shows how the amount of student loan debt owned by the federal government has absolutely exploded in recent years, and the second chart shows how the percentage of student loan debt that is at least 90 days delinquent has risen to a brand new record high…
How is the economy ever going to recover if an increasingly large percentage of our young college graduates are financially crippled by student loan debt?
And things are about to get even worse.
If Congress takes no action, the interest rate on federal student loans is going to double to 6.8 percent on July 1st. That rate increase would affect more than 7 million students.
And debt burdens just continue to increase in size. In fact, according to one recent study, “70 per cent of the class of 2013 is graduating with college-related debt – averaging $35,200 – including federal, state and private loans, as well as debt owed to family and accumulated through credit cards.”
This is one reason why there is so much poverty among young adults in America today. As I mentioned in a previous article, families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent. For much more on the student loan debt bubble and how it is crippling an entire generation of Americans, please see my recent article entitled “29 Shocking Facts That Prove That College Education In America Is A Giant Money Making Scam“.
And of course delinquency rates remain very high on other forms of debt as well. For example, delinquency rates on home mortgages have typically been around 2 to 3 percent historically. But as you can see from the chart below, the delinquency rate on single-family residential mortgages is currently close to 10 percent…
So are we really having an “economic recovery”?
Of course not.
Things are good for those that have lots of money in the stock market (for now), but for the vast majority of Americans things continue to get worse.
And we continue to forget the lessons that we should have learned from the financial crisis of 2008. Right now, we are seeing a resurgence of cash out financing. But this time, people are leveraging their inflated stock portfolios instead of their home equity. The following is from a CNN report…
The recent run-up in the market, financial advisers say, has led to a resurgence of the type of loan not seen since the end of the housing boom — cash out financing. But this time, though, people aren’t tapping their inflated house for money. These days stock portfolios appear to be the well of choice.
Financial planners say in recent months clients have taken out so-called margin loans to buy real estate, fund small business acquisitions, or to provide gap financing before a traditional loan could be secured from a bank.
“No one wants to be out of the market for 90 days,” says Mark Brown, a financial planner for Brown Tedstron in Denver. “People just don’t want to sell right now.”
We are a nation that is absolutely addicted to debt. We know that it is wrong, but we just can’t help ourselves.
We are like the 900 pound man that recently died. He knew that he was eating himself to death, but he just couldn’t stop.
In the end, we are going to pay a great price for our gluttony. Everyone in the world can see that we are killing the greatest economy that ever existed, but we simply do not have the self-discipline to do anything about it.
View full post on The Economic Collapse
The Common Core curriculum standards, we’re all told, are “state led” and “voluntary.” So why are the Chiefs for Change – a group of Core-supporting state education chiefs – writing to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to oppose a moratorium on Common Core accountability?
On behalf of Chiefs for Change, thank you for your continued leadership and collaboration on education reform issues, especially as states across the nation work to raise standards and strengthen accountability….
Recently, some members of the national education community have advocated for pulling back on accountability in our schools. With the majority of states across the nation adopting new assessments – based on higher academic standards – in the 2014-2015 academic school year, it is important for state education leaders to communicate in detail how we will sustain strong accountability during this transition.
The members of Chiefs for Change reject any calls for a moratorium on accountability. This position overstates the challenge and undervalues our educators. A one-size-fits-all suspension of accountability measures denies the unique circumstances each state faces. We will not relax or delay our urgency for creating better teacher, principal, school and district accountability systems as we implement more rigorous standards. That is a disservice to our students and would undermine the tremendous amount of preparation our states’ education agencies, districts, schools and educators have contributed to this multi-year effort….
We welcome additional opportunities to work with other states and with our federal partners on strengthening accountability in education.
What the heck is going on here? If this is all truly state led and voluntary, why are the chiefs writing to Secretary Duncan? Doesn’t he have zippo to do with it? And if they are really worried about states having the ability to deal with their own, “unique circumstances,” why do they positively refer to the 2014-15 school year, when Common Core-aligned national tests – selected and paid for by Washington – are supposed to kick in? And if they actually want Washington to have nothing to do with this, why didn’t they just write the following letter, saving themselves lots of time and pixels?
Dear Secretary Duncan,
Please don’t get involved.
The Chiefs for Change
The almost certain answer to all of these questions is that the chiefs know that Washington, through Race to the Top and NCLB waivers, has been the key to Common Core’s spread, and they want the Feds to keep twisting states’ arms. But since few Americans want Washington controlling standards or assessments, they can’t just come out and say this. So they write an obtuse open letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education that talks of states’ “unique circumstances,” and decries a possible accountability moratorium without saying who would, or would not, enact it. And, ultimately, the intended message seems to be “thanks for pushing states to do what we want. Now don’t go wobbly on high-stakes testing.”
Thankfully, as the recent explosion of Common Core resistance is making clear, people aren’t being fooled by the rhetorical tap dancing anymore. They know this is federal, and they are tired of efforts to deceive them.
View full post on Cato @ Liberty
I like Bitcoin because it decentralizes money. I like it because it is a great experiment in free banking, in free market money. I like it because it directly challenges the central banks.
That last reason is why the government is doing all that it can to kill Bitcoin in the crib.
Would I put my life’s savings into Bitcoin? Nope. But some money, enough to make it interesting? Sure. Many other people feel the same as I do. And the Feds do not like that one bit.
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
Saudi official: Kingdom ‘warned the United States IN WRITING about Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2012 and rejected his application for an entry visa to visit Mecca in 2011′
Saudis developed intelligence separately from Russia, which also warned the U.S. about the accused Boston bomber
A letter to the Department of Homeland Security allegedly named Tsarnaev and three Pakistanis as potential jihadis worthy of U.S. investigation
Red flags from Saudi Arabia to have included Tsarnaev’s name and information about a planned explosive attack on a major U.S. city
Saudi foreign minister, national security chief both met with Obama in the oval office in early 2013
By DAVID MARTOSKO and THE AMERICAN MEDIA INSTITUTE
PUBLISHED: 03:46 GMT, 1 May 2013 | UPDATED: 06:18 GMT, 1 May 2013
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2012, long before pressure-cooker blasts killed three and injured hundreds, according to a senior Saudi government official with direct knowledge of the document.
The Saudi warning, the official told MailOnline, was separate from the multiple red flags raised by Russian intelligence in 2011, and was based on human intelligence developed independently in Yemen.
Citing security concerns, the Saudi government also denied an entry visa to the elder Tsarnaev brother in December 2011, when he hoped to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, the source said. Tsarnaev’s plans to visit Saudi Arabia have not been previously disclosed.
Was it preventable? A senior Saudi official says his country warned the U.S. about Tamerlane Tsarnaev in 2012, advising the federal government that he planned an attack on a major U.S. city
Did she know? Janet Napolitano sits atop the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that allegedly received a detailed letter from the Saudi kingdom about Tsarnaev and three Pakistani jihadis
The Saudis’ warning to the U.S. government was also shared with the British government. ‘It was very specific’ and warned that ‘something was going to happen in a major U.S. city,’ the Saudi official said during an extensive interview.
It ‘did name Tamerlan specifically,’ he added. The ‘government-to-government’ letter, which he said was sent to the Department of Homeland Security at the highest level, did not name Boston or suggest a date for his planned attack.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was placed on a U.S. terrorist ‘watch’ list after ‘multiple’ warnings from Russian authorities to the FBI
The radicalization of Tamerlan Tsarnaev: Older ‘bomber’ studied Koran for days at a time and witnessed ‘bombings and shootings’ in Islamic Dagestan capital
‘I’m willing to die for Islam’: Boston Marathon bomber’s chilling texts to his mother reveal he was prepared to sacrifice his life for jihad
Boston bomber was caught discussing jihad with mother: Russia ‘recorded call between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and parent but failed to tell FBI’
If true, the account will produce added pressure on the Homeland Security department and the White House to explain their collective inaction after similar warnings were offered about Tsarnaev by the Russian government.
A DHS official denied, however, that the agency received any such warning from Saudi intelligence about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
‘DHS has no knowledge of any communication from the Saudi government regarding information on the suspects in the Boston Marathon Bombing prior to the attack,’ MailOnline learned from one Homeland Security official who declined to be named in this report.
The White House took a similar view. ‘We and other relevant U.S. government agencies have no record of such a letter being received,’ said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the president’s National Security Council.
While U.S. intelligence agencies are exploring the possibility that Tsarnaev learned to make pressure-cooker bombs while visiting Dagestan in 2012, Saudi Arabia was his first choice for a travel destination until the kingdom turned down his visa request
As many as 4 million Muslims make pilgrimages annually to the Grand mosque in the city of Mecca. Tsarnaev sought to join them for an ‘Umrah’ journey, a trip that happens outside of the month reserved for the annual Hajj
The letter likely came to DHS via the Saudi Ministry of Interior, the agency tasked with protecting the Saudi kingdom’s homeland.
A Homeland Security official confirmed Tuesday evening on the condition of anonymity that the 2012 letter exists, saying he had heard of the Saudi communication before MailOnline inquired about it.
An aide to a Republican member of the House Homeland Security Committee speculated Tuesday about why the Obama administration contradicted the knowledgeable Saudi official.
‘It is possible the Department of Homeland Security received the information from the Saudi government but never passed it on to the White House,’ the GOP staffer said. ‘Communication between DHS and the White House’s national security apparatus isn’t always what it should be.’
‘I can easily see it happening where one hand didn’t know what the other was doing because of a turf war.’
‘Just like the different agencies in the Boston JTTF [Joint Terrorism Task Force] want credit for breaking the Tsarnaev case,’ the aide added, ‘they sometimes jealously guard the very intel they should be sharing the most freely. Sometimes it makes no sense at all.’
Obama said Tuesday that an inter-agency review would leave no stone unturned in an effort to learn whether government agencies could have done more to prevent the Boston bombings
Two backpacks were left in shreds after the bombs they contained were detonated in the midst of dense crowds on Boston’s Boylston Street. The Department of Homeland Security has been left to explain why
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Mike McCaul plans to announce on Wednesday an investigative hearing to probe what U.S. intelligence knew prior to the Boston attacks, two senior Republican sources told MailOnline.
Separately, President Obama announced Tuesday that the U.S. government will launch a wide-ranging inquiry into the sharing of information among the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and other intelligence and law-enforcement agencies of the federal government.
‘We want to leave no stone unturned,’ the president said in a rare White House press conference.
The internal review will be led by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and several inspectors general.
‘This is not an investigation,’ Clapper’s spokesman Shawn Turner said in a prepared statement. ‘This is an independent review of information-sharing procedures. It is limited to the handling of information related to the suspects prior to the attack.’
It is not yet clear whether information from Saudi Arabia will be involved in Clapper’s inter-agency review.
Eight-year-old Martin Richard was among the three people killed in the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15
Chaos: The bombing left thousands running for their lives and sent more than 200 to hospitals, including some whose limbs were torn off their bodies by the force of the blasts
Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz appeared on CNN Tuesday afternoon, upbraiding the Obama administration for presuming that the federal government’s handling of intelligence prior to the Boston bombings was appropriate and effective.
‘As soon as the bombing happened we had officials, locally and from the feds, saying, "Oh, this was an isolated case, there was just one person involved." We didn’t know that,’ Chaffetz said.
The ‘starting point’ for a federal investigation, he said, must be, ‘This is unacceptable, we will not stand for it, we will get to the bottom of it, and we will not rest until we figure it out.’
‘Mr. President,’ he said, addressing Obama, ‘the starting point should be an intolerance that this thing happened.’
GOP momentum? House Homeland Security Committee chair Mike McCaul plans to convene a hearing to investigate the government’s failure to prevent the Boston bombings. Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz , who serves on that committee, said on CNN that an inquiry should not presume all is well
The high-ranking Saudi official whom MailOnlne interviewed at length provided a wealth of detail about the warning he says his government sent to the United States. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk publicly about foreign intelligence, or about Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic relationship with the United States.
He suggested that the Saudi Ministry of Interior sent the letter out of an abundance of caution in order to be helpful to the United States, even though its intelligence on Tsarnaev wasn’t yet fully developed.
‘With Saudi Arabia it’s always code red,’ he said. ‘There’s no code orange, or code yellow. Always red.’
The Saudi government, he added, alerted the U.S. in part because it believed American authorities should be inspecting packages that came to Tsarnaev in the mail in order to search for bomb-making components.
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz met with President Obama in January. His counterpart in the Saudi foreign ministry, Prince Saud bin al-Faisal , had an unscheduled meeting with Obama in the Oval Office just two days after the Boston bombings
The written warning also allegedly named three Pakistanis who may be of interest to British authorities. The official declined to provide more details about the warning to the UK, but said the two governments received the same information.
The Ministry of Interior, he said, sent the letters in 2012, likely after Tsarnaev returned from Russia to the United States in July.
President Barack Obama’s published schedule indicates that he met in the Oval Office with Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi Interior minister, on January 14, 2013.
The Saudis denied Tsarnaev entry to the kingdom when he sought to travel to Mecca in December 2011 for a pilgrimage known as an Umrah – one that is undertaken during months that don’t fall within the regular Hajj period of the year.
That rejected application came one month before he traveled to Russia, where U.S. intelligence sources believe he acquired training enabling him to construct and detonate the bombs that he and his younger brother placed hear the Boston Marathon’s finish line.
The younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is in federal custody at a prison medical facility.
Celebration turned to mourning on April 15 after Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar allegedly detonated two powerful bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring more than 200
The Saudi official speculated that Tsarnaev’s residence in the United States might have made it more difficult for him to gain entry into the kingdom.
‘U.S.-based Muslims who become radicalized and want to visit Mecca create an unusual problem,’ he said, compelling the Saudi government ‘to carefully examine applications.’
In the wake of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal met with Secretary of State John Kerry on April 16, and then had an unscheduled meeting with President Obama on April 17.
‘This is the DNA of the Saudi government,’ said the Saudi official, referring to officials in the royal court in Riyadh. ‘This is how they work. They sent the letter, but that wasn’t enough. They then sent the top guy to meet personally with the president.’
He dismissed the idea that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was likely trained by al Qaeda while he was outside the United States last year.
The Saudis’ Yemen-based sources, he explained, said militants referred to Tamerlan dismissively as ‘the volunteer.’
‘He was a gung-ho, self motivated jihadi who wasn’t tasked by a larger group,’ he said.
‘There is no reason for anyone in Afghanistan to have in his thinking a scenario like this,’ the official added, referring to pressure-cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon. ‘He took the initiative. That’s why they call him "the volunteer."’
‘The Boston thing is beneath them,’ he said of al Qaeda. ‘They don’t think like this. This is like a firecracker to them. They want something big.’
Richard Reid was apprehended after a failed attempt to blow up an airliner with bombs concealed in his shoes. The Saudi government provided specific intelligence about Reid to the U.S., and now it has been revealed that they wrote to the American government about Tamerlan Tsarnaev (R) in 2012
Tamerlan may have boasted about his plans online, the Saudi official said, offering an explanation for how Yemen-based sources first learned of him. Islamist militants have well-developed social networks that can enable news to migrate quickly across vast distances.
The Saudi government sometimes tracks such radicals by launching fake jihadi websites to attract extremists. The Ministry of Interior then tracks them electronically, often across the world, and shares information with governments it considers friendly, including the United States.
‘The Saudi Arabian government is doing everything it can to wipe out these people and treat America as a true friend,’ the official said.
The Saudi intelligence services have a long history of providing credible information to America and Great Britain about looming threats.
‘This is the fourth time the Saudi Arabian government has given the U.S. specific intel’ about a possible terror plot, the official said, citing prior warnings about Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber who repeatedly tried to light a fuse in his shoe to bring down American Airlines flight 63 bound for Miami in December 2001.
He also cited the 300-gram ‘ink-cartridge bombs’ planted on two cargo planes headed for the United States from Yemen in October 2010. Those explosives were intercepted in Dubai, and at an East Midlands airport in Great Britain.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s namesake was a 15-century Central Asian warlord who referred to himself as ‘the sword of Islam.’ Sometimes spelled ‘Tamerlane’ in English, he was known for his cruelty.
When he conquered Baghdad, he reportedly made a pyramid of human skulls from unfortunate residents of that city.
Although still revered in Chechnya and throughout Central Asia, the original Tamerlane is sometimes vilified in modern-day Saudi textbooks.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article … z2S1Gef9pI
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Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed May 01, 2013 12:26 am
View full post on opinions.caduceusx.com
United States of Food Stamps: Food stamp usage has grown by 30,000,000 people since 2000. The economics of a food stamp recovery.
Posted by mybudget360 in dollar stores, food stamps
I was working through a few pages of Excel data regarding food stamp usage and a troubling milestone has now been breached. Since 2000, we have now added over 30,000,000 Americans to the food stamp program now labeled SNAP. What is even more difficult to understand is this number has moved up nearly unabated since 2000 even though if you believe the data, we were in full recovery from 2001 to 2007 until the financial crisis hit. In reality, what was happening was that the poor and working class were merely papering over their shrinking wealth by going into unsupportable debt. The fact that food stamp usage continues to move up is a very telling sign of our current economic situation. Over 47.77 million Americans are now on food stamps. In many parts of the country, Wal-Mart stores have adjusted store hours at the end of the month to coincide with food stamp debit cards (EBT) being reloaded allowing people to shop. I wanted to dive into the food stamp data a bit deeper.
Food stamp participation up by 30,000,000 people since 2000
I doubt anyone would ascribe growing food stamp usage with an actual economic recovery. That might be a bit of a stretch. When we chart this out, it becomes even more dramatic:
Keep in mind that for most of the 2000s, we’ve been in a “recovery” according to various sources. Yet food stamp usage soared dramatically over this period. Also, keep in mind that we’ve been in an economic recovery since the summer of 2009 yet food stamp usage continues to expand. In 2009 we had 33 million Americans on food stamps. Today it is over 47.77 million adding nearly 15 million people to the program during a time of economic recovery. At least that is what we are told.
Record number of families on food stamps
While we are off from the peak reached in December at least in a raw count of people, we are actually at a new peak when it comes to households on food stamps:
Over 23.08 million households are participating in the SNAP program. When we look at the stock market making record highs we have to keep in mind that most Americans do not have any sizable amount of money in bonds or stocks.
Food stamp costs are obviously rising with the growing number of people in the program:
Keep in mind that much of this gets spent back into the economy so this isn’t an argument on the merits of the program. There are strict means testing to get on food stamps which is even more troubling because it underlies how many Americans are really in dire economic situations. How is it feasible that we can call this a recovery when we have a vast portion of our population struggling to get by on food stamps? In other words, these families have such little income that they need supplemental support just to feed themselves and their children.
Take a look at what states have the highest food stamp participation:
It is astounding how many states have 20 percent or about 20 percent of their entire population on food stamps. The economics of food stamp usage have also created some winners here. After all, if you have 47 million customers receiving a set amount each month, you can provide products to this group. It is interesting that many dollar stores have shifted from general items to focusing on a large portion of their store selection being on food. Take a look at a couple of major dollar stores around the country and how well they have done over the last few years:
Some excellent performance from both Family Dollar and the 99 Cents Stores. Are we on path to reaching 50,000,000 Americans being on food stamps? At this rate, it’ll only be a few years away. If you think this is the case, you now have a few stocks to invest in assuming you have the money to invest. I believe Wall Street would call this the food stamp play
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:24 am
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Michael F. Cannon
Drawing from my white paper “50 Vetoes: How States Can Stop the Obama Health Law,” Reason’s Peter Suderman highlights six reasons why states should refuse to implement any part of ObamaCare. Here are two:
3. Refusing to create an exchange potentially protects a state’s businesses from the law’s employer mandate.Obamacare fines any business with 50 or more employees that does not offer health coverage of sufficient value—as determined by the federal government—$2,000 per employee (exempting the first 30 workers). The employer penalties, however, are triggered by the existence of the law’s subsidies for private health insurance. And as Cannon notes, the text of Obamacare specifically states that those subsidies are only available in states that choose to create their own exchanges. The IRS has issued a rule allowing for subsidies in states that reject the exchanges, but a lawsuit is already under way to challenge it.
4. States also have the power to protect as many as 12 million people from the law’s individual mandate—the “tax” it charges individuals for not carrying health insurance. Obamacare requires that nearly everyone maintain health coverage or pay a penalty—a “tax,” according to the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the law last year. But Obamacare also exempts individuals who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their household income for their share of their health insurance premiums. So if states bow out of the exchanges, and as a result the law’s private insurance subsidies are no longer available, then the mandate will no longer apply to the low and middle income individuals who would have to pay more than 8 percent of their income to get health insurance. Cannon estimates that if all 50 states were to decline to create exchanges, a little more than 12 million low and middle-income individuals would be exempt from the law’s mandate.
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Michael F. Cannon
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) writes in the Washington Examiner:
To combat the sticker shock of Obamacare’s numerous requirements on health insurance premiums, the law creates expensive subsidies, which take the form of tax credits, for individuals who purchase a government-approved insurance plan. In order to avoid the appearance of a federal takeover of health care, the law ties the availability of these premium tax credits to an “Exchange established by the State.” Importantly, the way the law was written, if tax credits are not available within a state, then the expensive employer mandate tax does not apply to companies within that state.
With so many states refusing to play the role the law’s drafters envisioned, the Obama administration has embarked on a legally dubious effort to bypass the plain language of the law. Obama’s IRS has issued a rule that delivers the expensive subsidies through federally run exchanges as well. If it stands, this extralegal rule will undermine the decision-making role offered to states by Obamacare, and cause hundreds of billions of dollars of taxes and spending not authorized by the president’s health care law…
The language that limits tax credits to state-established exchanges should not now shock Obamacare’s supporters. Early in 2009, legal scholar Timothy Jost, one of Obamacare’s leading proponents, explicitly suggested linking the tax credits to state-established exchanges as a way to encourage states to set up the exchanges.
The Obama administration may be surprised and disappointed that many states have not found the refundable tax credit to be a sufficient incentive to set up their own exchanges, exposing their citizens to the other taxes and penalties associated with the law. But this does not justify the administration’s effort to ignore the plain language of the law that Obama championed and signed.
For more on this issue, see Jonathan Adler’s and my Health Matrix article, “Taxation Without Representation: The Illegal IRS Rule to Expand Tax Credits Under the PPACA.”
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