Thursday, February 25, 2016

February, 2016, Part 3, Will The Center Hold: Welfare Reform, State Takeover of Federal Land and Suing Over Amnesty

We occasionally do a review of the theme, “will the center hold.” Given the ever growing reach and encroachment of the Federal government and Obama administration into state matters and citizens’ lives, we have often reported on the increasing pushback against that overreach. From everything from Obama Care to Common Core to gun control to NSA spying, Americans are reasserting their right to tell the Federal government and Washington politicians that citizens in this country hold the power, not them.

Which has led us more than once to contemplate what would happen if Washington enacted a law or the President executed an executive order and the rest of the country simply ignored it? Would the center hold or would we be looking at serious fissures within the country? 

For a few days we have been reviewing where the rest of the country is telling Obama and the Washington political class to stop their power grab and overreaching into our lives: 

1) As you or may not know, in many western states, the Federal government owns/controls more than half of the entire ground area of the state. This has ticked off state citizens and politicians for a long time since they feel that they should be in control of their local areas, forests, parks, etc. and not be forced to deal with dictates from far away Washington. Up until recently, this was not a front burner issue with anyone.

But as the Obama administration has continued its overreach into the lives and freedoms of every American, the states are starting to get feisty when it comes to controlling their own state’s territories. The one state actually being proactive in potentially taking its state’s lands back from the Federal government is Utah. Utah’s state government recently completed a study that shows that there is legal reasoning and precedent that would allow it to challenge the Federal government’s control of Utah’s lands and turn control of those lands over to the state of Utah. 

If successful, states and their citizens across much of the west will be able to take far more control over their lands, their homes, and their economic future and not live under the dictates of a Washington political class that does what is right for themselves and not what is right for states’ citizens.

2) One of the biggest push backs that citizens and states have had to do against an overreaching Federal government is in the area of gun control. The Obama administration has been especially persistent in stripping the Constitutional gun rights of ordinary American citizens with a stupid public stance of protecting Americans from themselves. He and others of his ilk are oblivious to the reality that gun control measures do nothing to take the guns out of the hands of criminals and only end up making it more difficult for law abiding citizens to protect themselves. 

According to an article written by Teresa Monroe-Hamilton for the I Have The Truth website on January 31, 2016, two Tennessee state government politicians are really sticking to Obama and the other gun grabbers. They are putting forth legislation that states if a location insists on being a gun free zone and someone who has a valid, licensed and legal concealed carry permit gets hurt at the location, they can sue that location for not allowing themselves to protect themselves. 

This of course assumes that you survived the violent crime that got you hurt in the gun free zone. But such a law, if passed, might give a gun free zone advocate second thoughts about that status if they knew they would be sued for denying Second Amendment rights to someone. 

The logic of the legislation as explained by one of the politicians, state representative Jeremy Faison, goes as follows: “I believe in the Second Amendment; I don’t believe a person should be held back from having a gun. However, I also believe in property rights. If you have a business, and you don’t want guns there, you certainly have a right to do that. That being said, if you’re going to deny me protecting myself, then you should protect me. If you haven’t protected me, and you don’t allow me to protect myself, then I’m going to say it’s your fault if something happens.” 

I am sure that Obama would fume if he heard this logical, cogent argument. Consider this pending legislation in light of a recent tragic shooting where two police officers actually died responding to a call at a Panera Bread location. Panera Bread locations are official gun free zones, as proclaimed by the Panera management. Despite Panera being a gun free zone, a Panera customer brought a gun into the restaurant and ended up killing two police officers. 

As we have said many times before, criminals do not follow rules and laws, that is why they are criminals. That did not stop this criminal from ignoring Panera’s policy and the results were tragic. Gun free zones make it that much easier for violent criminals. In Tennessee, a more coherent gun free zone could be in the offing, regardless of what Obama thinks.

3) According to recent reporting by The Hill, 25 states are now part of a lawsuit that challenges Obama’s amnesty plans, claiming that his administration overstepped its limits by issuing work permits to illegal immigrants and promising them they will not be deported. The states who filed their opposition are: Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin. As you can see, many of the states that are part of the suit are in the southern part of the country where many of the illegal immigrants and the problems they bring are likely most intense.

What is interesting is that 12 states filed a legal brief to defend Obama's overreach and override of existing laws. Every one of those states are far away from most of the illegal immigrant problems with the exception of California, the land of fruits and nuts: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia.

Whatever, this promises to be a major lawsuit and one that pits states against the Federal government and states against states. Will the center hold? 

4) Utah is not the only people interesting in wresting control of their state’s lands back from the Federal government. Some people in Congress are also getting interested in curbing Federal government overreach into states land management:

  • Oregon Congressman Greg Walden recently weighed in: “More than half of my [Congressional] district is under Federal management. They have come out with these proposals to close roads into the forests. The have ignored public input.”
  • In 2014, Senator Ted Cruz proposed legislation that would prohibit the Federal government from owning more than 50% of the land in any one state.
  • Nevada Congressman Cresent Hardy has introduced legislation that would prohibit the Federal government from buying any new land unless it could pass a balanced budget.
Unless something is done, there is a real chance that bloodshed is a potential outcome as the tensions over Federal use and dictatorship of western state lands become more intense. We had the Bundy/Fed standoff in Nevada a few years ago. We recently had the armed standoff in Oregon where there was a fatality. 

Last summer, citizens rallied around mine owners at the owners’ request to provide security at mines in Oregon and Montana after complaints about Federal land managers. In December, 2015, Phil Lyman, an elected official in Utah, got a 10 day jail sentence after he led a protest ride of all terrain vehicles through Federal land that had been closed to local access. Dangerous times.

The frustration of Federal bureaucracy encroaching on states’ lands is summed up by Erin and Jeff Maupin, cattle ranchers in Oregon that pay the Feds to allow their cattle to graze on Federal lands. They have tried to work with the Federal government representatives but come away frustrated by the overwhelming regulations on grazing and environmental issues: “We want somebody to make sure we’re doing it right. But it’s got to the point where there’s no common sense in it.”

Similar frustration come from Leland Pollock, a commissioner in Garfield County, Utah: “The land policies now are, basically, lock it up and throw away the key. It’s land with no use. The local economy’s really suffered as a result. Grazing has been reduced. We used to have a thriving timber industry — that’s all but gone.”

Will the center hold and more importantly, will someone else get killed as Americans push back on the meddling of the Federal government in their lives and homelands out west?

5) One last topic for this month’s edition on “will the center hold?” Starting in early 2016, all able bodied welfare recipients in 23 North Carolina counties will receive government checks only if they work. Specifically, in order to get food assistance, food stamps, under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, these people must work, volunteer, or train at least 20 hours per week in order to continue to get food assistance.

Welfare recipients have 90 days to find a job after the rules take effect. When the state of Maine did a similar program, it found that its welfare roles dropped by 80%, saving state taxpayers a bundle of money. I would assume the same effect will happen here with North Carolina taxpayers feeling the benefit. If only the Federal government would do the same types of common sense things would every American taxpayer get the benefit.

So today we learned that another state is showing the Federal government how to save on welfare costs, a number of states and their citizens and politicians are in the process of trying to figure out how to get the Federal government out of controlling their states’ lands, and half the states are suing the Federal government over amnesty to protect the interests and safety of their own citizens,

Never have so many pushed back so hard on Washington which raises the scenario: what happens when Washington issues an edict and the rest of the country ignores it and yawns in its face? Interesting, and increasingly dangerous times, we live in.

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