Nation in social chaos: “If you don’t believe we’re in chaos, go to Wal-Mart on Saturday and just look around and see what you see.”
The Columbus Exchange Club held its “One Nation Under God” program November 10. The featured speaker was Henry Ross, former mayor of Eupora. Ross most recently ran unsuccessfully against Alan Nunnelee for Roger Wicker’s former seat in the US House.
Ross received a business degree and law degree from Ole Miss. Ross served in the navy and naval reserve, retiring with the rand of commander. He worked for four years as assistant district attorney in the fourth circuit, and was appointed a circuit judge in District 2 by Gov. Kirk Fordice. He also was appointed by the Bush administration to the US Department of Justice, where he served from 2008-2010.
Ross began by talking about the US Constitution and the encroachment of the federal government into everyday life.
“In 1911, how would you know in Lowndes County that you had a federal government other than the post office or the money in your pocket that said US government?” Ross asked. “Let’s go from there to 2011 and ask you if you know if there’s a federal government today? Yeah, you probably would. There’s lots of reasons you’d know that. In a hundred years’ time, something has obviously changed.
“In 1951, how many people in Lowndes County died of starvation?” Ross asked. “Zero. That’s probably right. How many people in 1951 were homeless, living under a bridge or in the woods somewhere? Let’s go back to 1776. That’s the year our founders declared us to be a free nation. They made that declaration in the face of the greatest superpower of the time. Great Britain ruled the world, basically. When the framers made that declaration, they wrote it down and signed it. All of them knew that if they lost the war each of them would be hunted down by the British and hanged as traitors. The chances they would win were not that great, but they did it anyway because freedom meant that much to them. They signed it, they fought the war and they won. God’s hand was on us, and they won. They put it all on the line for the concept of being free people.
“Then these men did a second great service to the United States,” Ross said. “They wrote a blueprint of freedom that they wanted to endure for all the generations to come. They wrote the Constitution. Their chief goal was to limit the powers of the central government. They wanted to limit the powers of the lawmaking body that they were creating, the US Congress. They limited or enumerated the powers that Congress would have, and they would have no other powers beyond what was specifically listed in the Constitution. They were not a free-range government at all. They wanted to stop that. They didn’t want that anymore. They did not give the Congress power over the economic everyday life of the United States. All they had power to do was regulate commerce between the several states. They gave the government this power because in the Articles of Confederation days the states were setting up tariffs between each other. That was impeding trade and that would not bring about prosperity.
“Decade after decade after decade went by and everybody knew this,” Ross continued. “Congress restrained itself. We went through the War Between the States and Reconstruction. Everything went back to the way it was, a limited federal government. The everyday governance was left to the states and to the people. In the Tenth Amendment, the Constitution makes it clear that any power not given to the government was reserved for the states and to the people. Everyday police powers over health, education and welfare are left to the state. It’s as clear as can be.
This freedom began to change when the federal government instituted an income tax, Ross stated.
“Something changed and got out of kilter and these things changed,” Ross said. “In 1913 the states apparently agreed that the federal government needed to have an income tax. They ratified an amendment to the constitution that allowed for an income tax. If you lived in Lowndes County in 1915 you wouldn’t have known there was a federal income tax. The threshold was so high to pay that there wasn’t hardly anybody that had to pay it. World War I came and they raised that tax up to fund the war. Then Calvin Coolidge, when the war ended, lowered the federal income tax and we had the Roaring Twenties come as a result. It was a time of great prosperity, but it was also a time of an economic bubble. We just went through one of these bubbles. In the 2000s people began to speculate on real estate. They borrowed money to buy, and planned to sell it when the value went up, repay the loan, and pocket the profits. The bubble burst and we went into a recession, and we are still in the effects of that recession. They did the same thing in the 1920s. They began to speculate on stocks. They borrowed money to buy stock with the expectation that the stock would go up, they would sell it and pay the loan off and pocket the proceeds. The bubble burst and in 1929 the United States went into a severe recession.
“The reaction to that recession is what threw us into the Great Depression,” Ross said. “Hoover and the Republicans made some mistakes. The first thing they did was raise the income tax rate. They began to choke to the United States economy. The second mistake was that to keep jobs in the United States they passed tariffs on just about everything you can think of. Goods coming into the United States cost a lot more. The problem is the rest of the world retaliated by raising a whole host of tariffs. The outcrop of this was that world trade came to a halt. The third thing was that the Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913. The government wanted to avoid these ups and downs in the economy, they thought the Federal Reserve Bank would be able to smooth these things out. By the late 1920s and 1930s, the New York Fed dominated the Federal Reserve, and for some reason or another the Federal Reserve had a restricted money supply. They didn’t allow a lot of money to be in circulation. If you remember your father or your grandfather talking about the Depression, you probably remember them saying if you had a dollar you could buy anything. Those three things made the Great Depression what it was.
“Roosevelt and the New Deal Democrats were elected because of this,” Ross said. “These guys could’ve reversed those things and county would have gone back into prosperity like it did before. But instead of doing that they began to regulate every aspect of economic life. They determined how much things were going to be sold for, wages, working conditions, you name it, they started getting involved with it. The things they did were very anti-competitive. Businesspeople couldn’t compete. So the Depression went on. The next mistake was that Roosevelt and the Democrats raised the income tax once again. The top rate went up to 90% in 1936. The economy was started to come back up some, and then they did that and it troughed off again. It only started changing in World War II.
“If you remember what we said a while ago, Congress didn’t have any power to do this stuff,” Ross said. “They only had power to regulate commerce between the states. The Supreme Court began to look at these laws. The Four Horsemen of the Supreme Court in the 30s, the four conservatives, time after time would look at these laws and say they were unconstitutional. When they did that the Congress would come back and pass some other version of it. Roosevelt threatened to pack the court. That somehow intimidated the court and they began to move left. In 1942 the court had a case called Wicker vs. Filburn. In that case a farmer in Ohio had appealed to the Supreme Court over the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938. In that act they were telling farmers all over the United States to only produce so much crop. They were going to control it from Washington. Farmer Filburn was not involved in interstate commerce at all. He was told how much to raise, and he did it anyway. He was fined $117 for exceeding his allotment, and he took it to court. The Supreme Court said Filburn’s consumption of wheat, in the aggregate, may have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. May have. Anything in the aggregate has an effect on the whole world if you look at what everything does. If I buy a hamburger in Columbus, it doesn’t affect interstate commerce. It hardly affects Columbus. It doesn’t do anything. If you look at it in the aggregate, sure. Well, what they did was they rewrote the US Constitution to say they could regulate individual economic activity. The protection from an overreaching Congress was thrown out the window by the US Supreme Court.
“Nothing changed in the almost 70 years since then,” Ross said. “No court case has overthrown any individual act saying it’s unconstitutional. The result of that is that Congress had gotten involved in every aspect of everything. Today you and I are less free than our grandparents were when all this started. We have to look to the federal government for health care, education, whatever. They have rules that govern every aspect of what you do. The problem is they have no authority to do it. Today we are $15 trillion in debt as a result of that. This coming week we’ll pass over to $15 trillion. The agency debt, which is off the books, is about $7.5 trillion. They don’t count that. When you add it all up, it’s about $23 trillion. We can’t survive with that kind of debt, and nothing is happening to reduce it. In August Congress passed the budget act where they raised the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. [According to the White House Office of Management and Budget, the debt ceiling has been raised 106 times since 1940. In the last 30 years, the debt ceiling has been raised 41 times. President Ronald Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times; President George H.W. Bush raised the debt ceiling nine times; President Bill Clinton raised the debt ceiling four times; President George W. Bush raised the debt ceiling seven times; President Barack Obama has raised the debt ceiling three times so far. – Brian Jones] What’s going to happen is by this time next year we will have borrowed $2.1 trillion in addition. All the spending reductions they’re talking about are years down the road. They’re meaningless.
“The politicians in the New Deal days and on learned a good lesson,” Ross said. “If we pass programs and hand out money to people, people will re-elect us. The whole thing is a self-perpetuation scheme for congressmen to go up there and stay. Our country is in jeopardy because of it.”
Ross also stated that Congressional overreaching caused social chaos in the United States.
“In 1965 Congress changed the welfare laws within the United States,” he said. “They said if she gets in trouble, if she gets pregnant, we are going to provide health care, cash, housing benefits, food. We’re going to do all these things under one condition: she not have a wage-earning male – a husband and a father – in the home. They subsidized a state of no marriage. In Genesis 1, the first thing God did was create a family, a man and a woman coming together in marriage to raise their children. You can’t change or rewrite what he did. That’s the only scheme that’s going to work. Any other scheme won’t work. Congress can’t do it. They don’t have the wisdom to do that, but they did it anyway. They doomed millions of children, and we’ve been through this for 45. If you don’t believe we’re in chaos, go to Wal-Mart on Saturday and just look around and see what you see. Go to Social Services and ask them what they deal with down there. Go talk to your pastor and see what he comes up against. Go to the schoolteachers in the schools. Every bit of that came from one act of Congress changing those laws.
“When I grew up we had a commodity house in Eupora,” Ross said. “If somebody needed food they could go down there. They could get peanut butter and meat and cheese. They probably had the same thing here. Nobody did without food, nobody starved to death. We established that long ago. Nobody was homeless. People took care of one another. The government was not involved, and they didn’t have the authority to do it in the first place. Because of what they’ve done now, our country is spinning out of control. The illegitimate birthrate in the African-American community is almost 70%. In the Caucasian community it’s nearly 50%. Marriage is going away. It’s fading away right before our eyes, and we can trace it right back to the US Congress doing that. These guys have known this for 45 years, and they have not done one thing to change this idea. They don’t want to think about it. They’ve seen this chaos, but they don’t want to do anything about it. The Wefare Reform Act was passed in 1996, but all it did was place a limit on the amount of money that a person on welfare could receive. It didn’t change the basic premise of it. Nothing’s changed.
“Our country is in peril today because of what the US Congress has been doing,” he said. “The debt we’ve racked up. The lost freedom we have. The social chaos from the family deteriorating before our eyes. All of this can be pointed back to these guys. They are responsible. What can we do about it? How many times have you heard these so-called conservatives we send to Congress say they don’t have the authority to pass this new law or start this new program?”
Ross then turned his attention to the US Supreme Court.
“Have you ever wondered why your children can’t pray in public schools?” he asked. “Someone pointed out to me a few days ago that they can bow their head in school. Sure. But when I was in school in Eupora we had a chapel program and a prayer on the intercom every day before we started. Why can’t we do things like that? The First Amendment of the US Constitution says the Congress can pass no law respecting an establishment of religion. What the founders wanted to stop was having a church of the United States. They didn’t want that. They came from a place with the Anglican Church, the Church of England, and people had to belong to it. They didn’t want that in the United States. That’s all they wanted to stop. They had no intention whatsoever of going beyond that. When they passed the first law in Congress, the next thing they did was set up the Northwest Territories. They set up schools in it, and they encouraged the teaching of the Bible in the students to learn morals and learn history through the Bible. In 1947 in a case called Everson vs. Board of Education a township in New Jersey had been using public money to bus Catholic children around town. Somebody was unhappy with that and it went to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court said that was fine. Hugo Black wrote the majority opinion. He was a senator from Alabama that Roosevelt put on the court. But then he threw out this. He said there is a wall between church and state that is impregnable and cannot be breached.
“Thomas Jefferson had written a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association years after the Constitution was ratified and he expressed in that letter that there’s a wall of separation between the church and state,” Ross said. “Jefferson wasn’t around when the Constitution was written. He was a minister in France when it was ratified. He had nothing to do with the Constitution. I like Jefferson. He was a limited government man. I admire him. But on religious issues he was very different. He was a Deist. He rewrote his own Bible and took every reference to Jesus being the Son of God out of his own Bible. [The Jefferson Bible, or the Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, is the document to which Mr. Ross refers. Jefferson removed all supernatural elements from the Bible in an attempt to emphasize Jesus’ doctrine and teachings. Small numbers of the book were published and shared among Jefferson’s friends in around 1820. It was not published during his lifetime, but is now in the public domain and freely available on the Internet. – Brian Jones] His view about the Establishment Clause was his own view, no more. That just got stuck in the Supreme Court case. It didn’t have anything to do with it, Black just stuck it in there.
‘Then around 1962 in Engel vs Vitale the Supreme Court said children could not officially pray in public schools anymore,” Ross said. “They said it was a violation of the Constitution because there was a wall of separation between church and state. Get yourself a copy of the Constitution and read it all day and next week and tomorrow and you won’t find anything about separation of church and state in there. It’s non-existent. That was a liberal’s view on the Supreme Court of the way life ought to be in our country. They took their own view and used their power to insert this and we lost freedom. They said no Bible teaching in public schools. [It is not now, nor has it ever been, illegal to teach the Bible in public schools. Not only is the Bible taught in public schools – albeit from a historical and literary perspective – but the number of public schools offering Bible classes is on the rise. According to a 2007 report in Time magazine, 460 districts in 39 states offer courses on the Bible, and I’d be willing to bet that that number has grown since then. The issue is, and always has been, compulsory religious activity. That is the only thing that the Supreme Court banned. – Brian Jones] They said no graduation prayers at high school graduations. No Ten Commandments in the public square. No manger scenes. On and on and on. Because of what they’ve done, we’ve lost freedom. The guys that we’ve sent to Congress up there just let it happen. They didn’t do anything about it. They just let it happen.
“In 1965 in Griswold vs Connecticut the Supreme Court heard a case where the state of Connecticut said they outlawed contraceptives in their state,” Ross said. “The state of Connecticut outlawed that. They were a Catholic state. What did we say the Tenth Amendment did? It gave states the power to make the laws. The state legislature makes the laws, and if you don’t like what they do then kick them out and make some more. They had made that judgment in the state, but someone was unhappy with it. The US Supreme Court said that law was unconstitutional. They said there was a right to privacy in the Constitution. They said there was a ‘penumbra’ around the Bill of Rights emanating from the ‘life and spirit’ of the document. There’s a penumbra around this thing! And in that glow there’s a right to privacy, and they just discovered it. Because they discovered it and they didn’t like that law they said it was unconstitutional. The Fourteenth Amendment that was passed and ratified after the War Between the States, it says that the government cannot deprive anyone of life, liberty and property without the due process of law. What they were attempting to do was not have anything happen to former slaves without them having the chance for a hearing in front of an impartial judge. Just due process, a procedural right. Liberals on the Supreme Court over the years began to say that within that liberty provision there are certain rights there and we’re going to start finding them. The right to privacy is what they found in that liberty provision. In other words they just made it up.
“In 1973 they overturned 43 state laws to say women had a right to abortion,” Ross said. “The whole country had outlawed that to some extent or another, governed it through the states, and seven people on the Supreme Court said they didn’t like this, they were going to change it. They took that power for themselves. That has divided the nation more than any other issue since then. They made up the right to privacy in the 1960s and it has affected everybody since then. We’ve lost freedom. No matter how you feel about the issue, what we’re talking about is five people on the Supreme Court deciding this for all of us.
“Three or four years ago the supreme court of the State of California said there was a right for homosexuals to marry,” Ross said. “People in California were unhappy with that, some people were, and they said we’re going to have an initiative. We just went through that two days ago here. They said we’re going to have a popular vote. They did and by a vote of 52% to 48% the people of California said they were amending their state constitution to say that homosexuals do not have the right to marry in California. Does that sound like democracy? Does that sound like something the founders would be pleased with? Somebody was unhappy with that and went to the federal court in San Francisco and the judge said within the Fourteenth Amendment liberty provision that homosexuals have the right to marry under the US Constitution. Nobody ever heard that before. He just decided that’s the way it needed to be, and he did it. The founders never said anything about that. That case will be appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. They will agree with that, then that case will move on to the US Supreme Court probably next year. I predict that the US Supreme Court, by a 5-4 decision, will find that there is a right of homosexuals to marry in the US Constitution. All of the state laws will be overruled in the blink of an eye. The circuit clerk at the courthouse here will have to start issuing marriage licenses regardless of how the people in Mississippi, or any other state, feel about that.”
“The reason I know that is that there are three liberals on the Supreme Court, three conservatives and one guy, Anthony Kennedy, who is the swing vote,” Ross said. “Had Ronald Reagan appointed Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, he would have been an excellent justice, probably one of the best. But he wasn’t confirmed. That was the first time these appointments were politicized in the senate. Reagan’s alternative appointee was Kennedy, and he was confirmed. In 2003 Kennedy wrote the opinion from a case in Texas that said there is a constitutional right in the United States to engage in sodomy. He will be the fifth vote on the homosexual marriage issue. Kennedy also said that there is an emerging awareness in the United States that this kind of conduct is okay. He cited a European law to back up his analysis. He had the power to do that. The Supreme Court has taken this power upon itself.
“Justice Scalia, a very conservative justice, dissented in Lawrence vs Texas and said this case is the end of morals legislation in the states,” Ross said. “Eventually laws that prohibit polygamy, incest, adultery, bestiality, you name it are going to be wiped away by the US Supreme Court. States have completely lost control because five people decided it was so. Regardless of how you feel about this issue, do you want five people to decide this for a nation of 350 million people? Really, it’s just one person who’s going to decide this for the entire nation. Is that how the founders set this up? Is that what they had in mind? This is as far from this document as you can imagine. We are losing this country the founders gave us, and who’s to blame? It’s the US Congress. These Supreme Court justices can be removed from office. They can be impeached. When they hold their hand up and swear to uphold the Constitution, that means to uphold it. It doesn’t mean to ignore it and it especially doesn’t mean to rewrite it. They can be removed, but nobody’s tried it. None of these politicians in Washington want to do anything that controversial because they might lose their seats. They want to stay there so bad they won’t protect our freedom.”