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Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

The Solutions to Our Broken Institutions Are In the Constitution

America is facing a crisis.  As a matter of fact we are in such a constant state of crisis that I should be using the plural crises but that sounds silly and looks improbable.  As do the policies which have pushed us to this point.

  • Open borders erase what being an American means.
  • Strangulation regulation that prohibit growth and punish productivity.
  • Free Trade giveaways that send our industry and jobs overseas.
  • Taxation that makes us long for the tax rates that started the Revolution.
  • Attacks on police, on every right guaranteed, not granted, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
  • An internal war on our own energy sector in the name of a mythical man-made global warming.
  • An administration that fans the flames of racial and social divides for political advantage.
  • A political class made up of the perpetually re-elected of both parties that sits like a twin headed bird of prey atop a corporatism system rigged to reward the connected and ignore the rest.

How could any of this fail…..to end America’s 240 year old experiment in human freedom?  The institutions of our government are broken.  However, there is a solution, and it is in the Constitution.

First of all the system was built to provide checks and balances.  Each branch, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial were meant to counterbalance each other so that no one branch could usurp the power of the other two.

The Evansville Bar Association in its annual recognition of Constitution Day in 2015 summed it up well;

Although the terms “Separation of Powers” and “Checks and Balances” are not found in the Constitution, these principles are key to its vitality. As George Washington wrote in February of 1788, the two great “pivots upon which the whole machine must move” are: (1) “the general Government is not invested with more Powers than are indispensably necessary to perform the functions of a good Government[,]” and (2) “these Powers are so distributed among the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, that [the Government] can never be in danger of degenerating into a monarchy or any other despotic or oppressive form, so long as there shall remain any virtue in the body of the People.” As recently as 2011, the Supreme Court affirmed that these principles were “intended, in part, to protect each branch of government from incursion by the others. The structural principles secured by the separation of powers protect the individual as well.”

Congress has abdicated its powers to unelected bureaucrats and the courts have decided that is the order of the day.  Generation Opportunity covers this well when they say;

One of the reasons that elections are such so important is because legislative representatives are responsible to create federal laws that impact every one of their constituents.

This is not a task to be taken lightly, which is why voters must dedicate time to research candidates before heading to the voting booth. But few people realize that there are unelected individuals who create regulations that govern everything from what type of light bulb you are allowed to use, as well as how much water your toilet may flush. According to an article published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), no one is entirely sure how many government agencies actually exist, not even the government knows the exact number.

For instance, in the appendix of the Administrative Conference of the United States, there are 115 agencies listed with a disclaimer saying, “[T]here is no authoritative list of government agencies.”
The federal government has grown so large that no one can even keep track of it anymore. Worse still, each of these agencies are filled with unelected people who take on legislative authority to interpret laws passed by Congress.

Although Congress is prohibited from “delegating” its legislative function to another branch of government, Courts have consistently held that federal agencies may create their own rules as long as an “intelligible” principle can be discerned from the original statute in question.

In other words, if Congress passes a law that regulates a particular industry or action, unelected federal bureaucrats are given almost unchecked power to create whichever rules (or crimes associated with the conduct in question) that they please.

Here’s an example: When Congress passed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1977, it mandated that certain environmental standards must be imposed on the states, but it hardly clarified what those standards were, or how they were to be enforced.

One of the components of the Act mandated states to establish a permit program that regulates, “new or modified major stationary sources” of air pollution. That seems simple enough, except that Congress never properly defined what qualified as a “stationary source.”

Therefore, the Environmental Protection Agency was left with the task of defining what a “stationary source” meant. Additionally, the original legislation never detailed what the penalty would be for breaking any of the statutes created by the new amendments, leaving it open to interpretation by the EPA.

This predicament led to the 1984 landmark case of Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., where the Supreme Court held that federal agencies have authority to interpret statutes which they are in charge of administering.

This meant that the EPA now had legal authority to determine what would be considered a “stationary source” of air pollution.

Since the Chevron Doctrine applies to all government agencies, the opportunities for abuse are endless. Government is only legitimate when it derives its powers from the consent of the governed. When we give legislative powers to unelected government officials we completely disregard the core American belief of consensual representation.

In other words we elect legislators to make laws and they make general laws like, “We want clean water,” and then they let unelected bureaucrats fill in the blanks with the force of law.

Here is how it works.  Everyone wants clean water so the legislators pass their “We want clean water,” law and they come back to their constituents and campaign on “I brought you clean water.”  Then the EPA issues a regulation that says you can’t build on wet lands.  The EPA gets to decide what wet lands means which consequently gives them De Facto control over any piece of property they say is a wet land.  Then when voters complain to their congressional representative, who voted for the law and bragged about it, that they can’t build their house on a lot that is obviously dry the legislator becomes indignant.  They tell their constituents, “We’ll just see about this!” Then they have an aide send a strongly worded letter to the EPA that makes no difference whatsoever.

Problem solved.  Pat the denizens from fly-over country on the head and leave the matter in the hands of the commiczars who have inherited the rule of what was once a representative republic.  This way the hack can get back to his real job of raising money and getting re-elected.

This abdication of responsibility on the part of the legislature is the root cause of our problems because it has led to or facilitated the rise of the imperial presidency wherein many presidents have expanded the power of the executive until today we have an elected monarch who rules by decree unchallenged by Congress and unfettered by the will of the people.

Although the imperial presidency by no means began with the present occupant of the White House, to many Barack Obama has pushed the envelope beyond any discernable constitutional limits and has become the prime example of this phenomenon.

According to the Christian Science Monitor;

President Obama’s use of executive action to get around congressional gridlock is unparalleled in modern times, some scholars say. But to liberal activists, he’s not going far enough.

Obama, a former constitutional law lecturer, was once skeptical of the aggressive use of presidential power. During the 2008 campaign, he accused President George W. Bush of regularly circumventing Congress. Yet as president, Obama has grown increasingly bold in his own use of executive action, at times to controversial effect.

The president (or his administration) has unilaterally changed elements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA); declared an anti-gay-rights law unconstitutional; lifted the threat of deportation for an entire class of undocumented immigrants; bypassed Senate confirmation of controversial nominees; waived compliance requirements in education law; and altered the work requirements under welfare reform. This month, the Obama administration took the highly unusual step of announcing that it will recognize gay marriages performed in Utah – even though Utah itself says it will not recognize them while the issue is pending in court.

Early in his presidency, Obama also expanded presidential warmaking powers, surveillance of the American public, and extrajudicial drone strikes on alleged terrorists outside the United States, including Americans – going beyond Mr. Bush’s own global war on terror following 9/11. But more recently, he has flexed his executive muscle more on domestic policy.

In the process, Obama’s claims of executive authority have infuriated opponents, while emboldening supporters to demand more on a range of issues, from immigration and gay rights to the minimum wage and Guantánamo Bay prison camp.

To critics, Obama is the ultimate “imperial president,” willfully violating the Constitution to further his goals, having failed to convince Congress of the merits of his arguments. To others, he is exercising legitimate executive authority in the face of an intransigent Congress and in keeping with the practices of past presidents.

It also leads to the tyranny of the courts.  Unelected lawyers with life tenure decide what is and what is not constitutional often with the vaguest references to the Constitution itself.  Disregarding what are clearly enunciated rights such as the one to keep and bear arms while finding such nonexistent rights such as the right to dispose of unborn children.  The Justices of the Supreme Court have abrogated unto themselves unlimited power to turn our Constitution which was supposed to be written in stone into a living letter written in sand.  Or as one Chief justice said, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes once said, “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.” Or as the website Western Journalism describes it;

Our federal judiciary has become, arguably and disturbingly, an oligarchy. When they rule on the “constitutionality” of an issue, it is assumed to be the final say in whether a vote of Congress or the vote of the people via referendum or initiative is legitimized or annulled. This is not how the Supreme Court and its substrata of appellate courts were intended to operate, nor is it de facto the way it should be.

The federal judiciary, as it has evolved, has unchecked and unlimited power over the nation by either of the other branches–the executive or the legislative–or even the people. Its members are not accountable to the citizenry, since most of their appointments are for life, and they cannot be removed from the bench by a vote of the people they purportedly serve. Their ruminations and the results of their decisions are insular, and they often trump the will of the people with regard to key social issues. Their decisions are presumed to be final, even though they may be at odds with the democratic majority of our citizens.

Herein lies the fundamental problem about the present construct of our federal judiciary as it has evolved since the founding. If, as stated in the 10th Amendment, all “rights and powers” not specifically itemized in the Constitution are held by the people collectively or by the states, what right does a court have to negate the will of the people? As it relates especially to key cultural issues like abortion, public religious displays, and definitions of marriage, should not the final court be the court of public opinion, rather than an oligarchy of judges insulated from, and not accountable to, the citizenry? In most of these cases, state courts have ruled, and appeals are then made to the federal judiciary.

Thomas Jefferson portended this judicial despotism: “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.”

These situations exist because Congress abdicates its authority to unelected bureaucrats of the federal nomenclature, it refuses to stand up to the runaway executives and refuses to reign in the Supreme Court.

The first could be accomplished by passing a law rescinding the ability of bureaucracies to issue regulations that have the force of law without congressional approval.

The second could be accomplished as they were with President Nixon, hearings which could lead to impeachment.

And the third is constitutionally provided for in Article 3, Section 2, Clause 2 which states, “In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”  Congress should exercise its power to limit the jurisdiction of the courts. The Constitution provides that Congress is authorized to establish those federal courts subordinate to the Supreme Court and set forth their jurisdiction. Congress also has the power to limit the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and regulate its activities. Accordingly, Congress should exercise this authority to restrain an activist judiciary.

If Congress would step up and be what we elect them to be We the People could once again become more than just an empty phrase from History in a discarded document that once sought to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.  If our representatives will represent us instead of themselves and their cronies we would find that the solutions to our broken institutions are in the Constitution.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2016 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

A Government of Fallible Men to Rule Fallible Men

In America today a debate rages concerning the legitimate role of government. Currently the Federal Government is controlled by a group of politicians who consider themselves the ideological descendants of the Progressive Movement.

Beginning in the 1890’s the Progressives led by Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson championed the idea that it was time to progress past America’s old ways of doing things. They felt the traditions, forms, and style of American governance and society should break-out of the mold provided by the Constitution by casting it as a “living Breathing Document” that could be remolded to meet the desires of every generation.

They believed, and their descendants still believe, it is the behavior of men that defines who they are. This contrasts with our Founders who believed that it is instead the nature of men that provides this definition. Our Founders expressly stated that they believed humanity has been endowed by the Creator with rights.

They felt that these rights are inalienable, meaning they are humanity’s by virtue of existence. In other words, these rights have not been earned by man they’ve been given by God and since they haven’t been given by government, government can’t legitimately take them away. Instead of existing for its own right, the reason for government is to protect these natural rights. It’s the need for the order, security and liberty for the pursuit of happiness, which justifies the establishment and continuation of government.

Thus, a government of the people, by the people and for the people should be one based upon the nature of man. It’s in this context that the voice of the people could almost be called the voice of God for if the Creator implanted this nature and these rights within humanity the collective expression freely arrived at and freely expressed should bring to the fore those who will respect and guard these rights.

If this is true then the will of the majority should always be the surest way to ensure the continued existence of man’s natural rights. If we had a nation of perfect people this would be true; however, in establishing and maintaining government we don’t deal with perfect people we deal with people as they are with all the imperfections and prejudices nurture superimposes upon nature. People who don’t educate themselves enough to exercise self-leadership become the pawns of demagogues and the voice of God is perverted into the voice of the world.

Even the Founders, a grouping singular in the history of men concerning the brilliance of their intellects and the purity of their motives knew they couldn’t trust themselves to form or maintain a government of fallible men to rule over fallible men.   They knew that history is filled with examples of charismatic leaders who’ve proven that while you can fool all of the people only some of the time it’s possible to fool enough people to take over a country. Then once you’ve fooled a plurality of voters to take over you can make fools of everyone doing whatever you like for as long as you like. This is why the protection of freedom is a limited government.

Power must be concentrated enough to provide order, security and liberty; however, if unrestrained power is given to a majority the opportunity exists for a faction to gain control and use it for purely partisan ends. Thus our Founders rejected direct democracy in favor of the federal model of divided sovereignty and the republican principle of both direct and in-direct representation. That the source of authority emanates from the people and the constituent States is demonstrated in several ways.

The Constitution itself was referred to delegates chosen by the States. In the American government as initially designed the people were represented directly by the House of Representatives and the States by the Senate. The executive was elected indirectly by the people and the states through the Electoral College. The members of the judicial branch are appointed by the executive with the advice and consent of the Senate.

This process of allowing democratic choice within a framework of restraint was designed to create a government based upon the premise of inalienable rights yet cognizant of the fallible nature of mankind. A government powerful enough to ensure the security necessary to guarantee those rights, yet retrained enough not to trample them. Many of the Progressive innovations of the last 100 years have upset this delicate balance moving us from the government envisioned by the founders to the one we have today.

The Seventeenth Amendment mandates the direct election of the Senate. This left the States without any voice in the Federal Government. It also opened the door for a combination of factions acting as an unrestrained majority seeking the benefit of some at the expense of others. Often those who take the limits off government seek unlimited power for themselves. We must follow the guide of our ancestors for the good of our posterity. We must resist the temptation to seek security through government rather than security from government.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2016 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens. Dr Owens’ first novel is coming soon; America’s Trojan War.

 

Does the Sun Set in the West

I have taught the history of Western Civilization for many years. I praise God that I have taught at institutions that allowed me to teach this history without the disdain that is often heaped upon what some call Eurocentric culture. Personally I believe that Western Civilization which may have peaked before the beginning of our current Long War, brought humanity to the highest point so far attained.

Of course I am prejudiced. Of course my prejudice is informed and shaped by my heritage, my education, and my faith. Having made that disclaimer I still stand by my previous statement. Why? Because I believe that personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity which have been the hallmarks of Western Civilization created the only framework in which man could become what man is meant to be. A child of God who freely chooses to be so and is able to develop his God given talents to their fullest extent.

For the vast majority of human history humanity has been in chains. They were crushed by oppressive governments and exploited by centrally-planned collectivist economies. They were trodden down by the rapacious descendants of barbaric conquerors who established plunder empires. They were uneducated, unarmed and unable to resist the power of the government.

Beginning with the Magna Charta and the evolution of English Common Law which flowered into the clearest expression of Enlightenment thinking in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States limited government was born. Suddenly it was the government in chains so that people could be free. Suddenly there was a new dawn and a fresh wind. Within the short span of 150 years 13 struggling colonies grew into the greatest, richest and most powerful nation the world had ever seen. All fueled by the release of humanity from the chains of oppression.

Today this 239 year old experiment in personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity is in jeopardy. This is not a new development. It is the culmination of a long series of events that stretch back to our nation’s founding. From the beginning the forces of reaction have sought to re-forge the chains of oppression and regain their privileged positions with the whip hand driving humanity back into servitude.

This nation was founded upon and has stood upon the Constitution. It was the Constitution that limited government so that people could expand. It was the Constitution which set the limits for government and ensured the protection of the personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity which the Declaration of Independence had proclaimed were the endowed upon humanity by God. Then came the Progressives and their concept of a living document that had made the Constitution a dead letter.

I have said in the past and I say again The Constitution Failed. People often ask me, how can you say the Constitution failed?

The short answer is:

If the Constitution was written to ensure a limited government and if today we have an unlimited central government my question is, “How can anyone contend that the Constitution hasn’t failed?”

The longer version explains that:

For the last 100 years the Progressives have sought progress by changing the Constitution, which was written to establish unbreakable boundaries for government, without recourse to the amendment process. The Framers knew that without these boundaries government would grow into a millstone around the neck of the American people. Instead of a document establishing solid limits the Progressives say it is a living document that can be re-interpreted with each passing year evolving into whatever the current leaders may desire.

Our twin headed Progressive party of power expands and twists the General Welfare, the Commerce, and the Supremacy clauses to sanction any executive, legislative, judicial, or regulatory action they wish to impose whether it’s a welfare state, energy policies, or the mandatory purchase of insurance. However, nothing is more symbolic of the current irrelevance of the Constitution to our leaders than the utter contempt they hold for the 9th and 10th Amendments.

Back during the original debate to ratify the Constitution these two sentinels of limited government were forced upon the proponents of a strong central government by those much maligned patriots the Anti-Federalists. The Constitution never would have been ratified without an assurance that the first order of business for the new government would be the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The capstone of these sacred rights is the 9th and the 10th Amendments which state:

The 9th Amendment, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The 10th Amendment, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

I present the following examples of how our Progressive central government infringes upon the rights of the States and the people:

Term limits:

While in almost every instance that voters have had an opportunity to voice their opinion they have overwhelmingly approved term limits, and the courts have just as consistently overturned the will of the people. Through ballot initiatives and Constitutional amendments to State Constitutions the people have spoken, but instead of the voice of the people we hear the commands of the elites.

The Supreme Court in a classic five-to-four decision in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (1995) said the states don’t have the authority to limit the terms of their own congressional delegations. They further ruled that unless the Constitution is amended neither the states nor Congress has the power to limit the number of terms members of Congress can serve. Dissenting Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that the majority ignored the clear meaning of the Tenth Amendment. Since there is no explicit denial of the power to limit terms to the States in the Constitution the 10th Amendment clearly states this power is reserved to the States.

Immigration:

When the Governor and legislators of Arizona attempted to address the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who are pouring over their border with Mexico each year they first had to admit that the Federal Government was not enforcing their own laws.   After the central government ignored their petitions and pleas for help for years the government of Arizona acted to protect their citizens.

Immediately, the Justice Department sued to block the law, contending it violates the U.S. Constitution. The Arizona law was subsequently struck down by the Federal Courts using the Supremacy Clause for their justification. Judge Richard Paez, said, “By imposing mandatory obligations on state and local officers, Arizona interferes with the federal government’s authority to implement its priorities and strategies in law enforcement, turning Arizona officers into state-directed [Homeland Security] agents.”

When it reached the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a three judge panel said, “Congress has given the federal government sole authority to enforce immigration laws, and that Arizona’s law violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution” The Federal Government has abdicated its responsibility to protect Arizona from invasion and in their opinion a law that requires law enforcement officials to enforce the law goes too far.

The intrusive actions of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):

Legislators in Texas decided to take action to protect their citizens from what many considered to be overly aggressive pat-downs. The reaction of the TSA to Texas attempting to protect their citizens from the molestation the Federal Agency calls a pat-down is indicative of the attitude our central government has towards any infringement of their absolute power. On their website The TSA Blog the gatekeepers of the air said, “What’s our take on the Texas House of Representatives voting to ban the current TSA pat-down? Well, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article. VI. Clause 2) prevents states from regulating the federal government.” This says it all. As far as our Federal masters are concerned there is no limit to their power.

Obamacare: Mandating action and penalizing inaction:

The Federal Government is attempting to enforce the mandatory purchase provisions of Obamacare alternately as authorized by the Commerce Clause and as a tax, depending on which argument they think a judge will uphold. This massive invasion of personal liberty is currently being challenged by 28 States as being beyond the bounds of the Constitution. Two judges have ruled it unconstitutional and three ruled it constitutional.

The Supreme Court upheld the right of the Federal Government and so this provision wherein not taking an action is considered either engaging in commerce and thereby subject to regulation or if a non-action is taxable what is left of our precious freedom? What other non-actions will now be under the power of the government. If a government can control our non-actions what does that say about their power over our actions?

By ignoring the unambiguous meaning of the 9th and 10th Amendments and by stretching and twisting the meanings of a few vague clauses the Progressive leaders of our Federal government have interpreted our Constitution to mean anything needed to do anything desired. Once the words lose their meanings, once the sentences can mean anything the Progressives want, what power does the Constitution have to limit government?

Ultimately this is a message of hope because I trust in the ability of the American people to solve any problem they confront. However, we have to admit there is a problem before we can solve it, and if we refuse to admit there is a problem we have no chance of solving it. The problem is our limited government has become unlimited and does whatever it wants. How can I say, “The Constitution Failed”? What I am saying is our system is broken, it is no longer functioning as designed, and we need a re-set button.

I believe that the United States represented the Apex of Western Civilization, the vanguard and the protector of that civilization among the varied expressions of humanity. However, Western Civilization without personal liberty, individual freedom and economic opportunity will become another example of what today we call State Capitalism, a system that has gone by other names in the past when governments rule and people obey.

The West began committing suicide in the two act disaster we call World War One and World War Two. He have swallowed the poison of political correctness. We have allowed contraception and abortion to lead us to a declining population. We have allowed unregulated and uncontrolled immigration to submerge the West in a rising tide from the South made up of people who have neither experience nor appreciation of our civilization.

If we aren’t dead already we certainly qualify for a suicide watch as we stick our head in a demographic noose, deny our own values and allow a minority of central planners to plan our own funeral and send our grandchildren the bill.

Every day must eventually end and we may be witnessing the sun setting in the West.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

 

How Do We Get Back to Where We Were?

It’s hard to be a conservative when there’s little left to conserve. The increasing pace of America’s progression from free markets to a command economy has reached such a pace and become so obvious that way back in 2009 the Russian Prime Minister used his spotlight time at the World Economic Forum to warn America not to follow the socialist path. The Russian newspaper Pravda, once the leading communist voice on earth published an article entitled, “American capitalism gone with a whimper.” People around the world can see the individual decisions of producers and consumers are being replaced by the form letters of a faceless central-planning bureaucracy even if the Obama boosters still haven’t swallowed the red pill and watched the matrix dissolve.

Pushed by the breathtaking speed of America’s devolution into a command economy some conservatives have entered the ranks of the radicals. They’re beginning to think about how to cure the systemic political problems precipitating the November Revolution of 2008. One solution some are embracing is known as the Sovereignty Movement. This is a movement of citizens and state representatives attempting to right the listing ship-of-state by appealing to the 10th Amendment which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The 10th Amendment addressed one of the most hard-fought points in the establishment of a central government. The States even though they surrendered some of their sovereignty didn’t want to lose it all. Specifically they didn’t want to lose the power to make internal decisions. They did not want to be powerless before a distant national bureaucracy. So as the cap-stone of the Bill of Rights the 10th Amendment was meant to reassure the States they would remain sovereign within their borders. However, since the 1830s, court rulings have garbled the once universally accepted meaning of the 10th Amendment as the Federal Government extended its authority from roads to schools to GM to Health Care to whatever they want.

Now some are turning to a resurrection of the straightforward meaning of the 10th Amendment as a way to mitigate the ever expanding power of centralized-control and social engineering combined with perpetual re-election and runaway pork-barrel deficit spending. But, is this enough?

As a Historian I always believe even a little history might help push back the darkness swirling around us.  In 1787, at the close of the Constitutional Convention, as Benjamin Franklin left Independence Hall a lady asked “Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy.” “A republic” replied Franklin “if you can keep it.”

Many have the mistaken idea that the United States is a democracy. It’s not. It’s a representative republic. The Framers distrusted unfettered democracy therefore they inserted several mechanisms into the Constitution which added some innovations between direct democracy and the power to rule.

One of the great innovations the Framers built into our system is the federal concept. Since this is an important component of our political legacy that has been overlooked in our contemporary education system let me define what is meant by federal. A federal system is a union of states with a central authority wherein the member states still retain certain defined powers of government.

According to the Constitution the Federal Government cannot mandate policies relating to local issues such as housing, business, transportation, etc. within the States. At least this was how the Constitution was interpreted by President James Madison, the Father of the Constitution. He expressed this clearly in a veto statement in 1817. In that there has never been anyone more qualified to address the original intent of the framers I believe it is important to bring his entire statement into this article:

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

Having considered the bill this day presented to me entitled “An act to set apart and pledge certain funds for internal improvements,” and which sets apart and pledges funds “for constructing roads and canals, and improving the navigation of water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and give security to internal commerce among the several States, and to render more easy and less expensive the means and provisions for the common defense,” I am constrained by the insuperable difficulty I feel in reconciling the bill with the Constitution of the United States to return it with that objection to the House of Representatives, in which it originated.

The legislative powers vested in Congress are specified and enumerated in the eighth section of the first article of the Constitution, and it does not appear that the power proposed to be exercised by the bill is among the enumerated powers, or that it falls by any just interpretation within the power to make laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution those or other powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States.

“The power to regulate commerce among the several States” cannot include a power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses in order to facilitate, promote, and secure such a commerce without a latitude of construction departing from the ordinary import of the terms strengthened by the known inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial power to Congress.

To refer the power in question to the clause “to provide for the common defense and general welfare” would be contrary to the established and consistent rules of interpretation, as rendering the special and careful enumeration of powers which follow the clause nugatory and improper. Such a view of the Constitution would have the effect of giving to Congress a general power of legislation instead of the defined and limited one hitherto understood to belong to them, the terms “common defense and general welfare” embracing every object and act within the purview of a legislative trust. It would have the effect of subjecting both the Constitution and laws of the several States in all cases not specifically exempted to be superseded by laws of Congress, it being expressly declared “that the Constitution of the United States and laws made in pursuance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges of every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.” Such a view of the Constitution, finally, would have the effect of excluding the judicial authority of the United States from its participation in guarding the boundary between the legislative powers of the General and the State Governments, inasmuch as questions relating to the general welfare, being questions of policy and expediency, are unsusceptible of judicial cognizance and decision.

A restriction of the power “to provide for the common defense and general welfare” to cases which are to be provided for by the expenditure of money would still leave within the legislative power of Congress all the great and most important measures of Government, money being the ordinary and necessary means of carrying them into execution.

If a general power to construct roads and canals, and to improve the navigation of water courses, with the train of powers incident thereto, be not possessed by Congress, the assent of the States in the mode provided in the bill cannot confer the power. The only cases in which the consent and cession of particular States can extend the power of Congress are those specified and provided for in the Constitution.

I am not unaware of the great importance of roads and canals and the improved navigation of water courses, and that a power in the National Legislature to provide for them might be exercised with signal advantage to the general prosperity. But seeing that such a power is not expressly given by the Constitution, and believing that it cannot be deduced from any part of it without an inadmissible latitude of construction and a reliance on insufficient precedents; believing also that the permanent success of the Constitution depends on a definite partition of powers between the General and the State Governments, and that no adequate landmarks would be left by the constructive extension of the powers of Congress as proposed in the bill, I have no option but to withhold my signature from it, and to cherishing the hope that its beneficial objects may be attained by a resort for the necessary powers to the same wisdom and virtue in the nation which established the Constitution in its actual form and providently marked out in the instrument itself a safe and practicable mode of improving it as experience might suggest.

This is an eloquent expression of how the Constitution was meant to be understood. However, through expansive interpretations by activist judges this gradually morphed into almost limitless Federal control of the domestic affairs of the States.

Another vital component of our Constitutional heritage is the protection provided by a system of “Checks and Balances” wherein each level or branch of government acts as a barrier to other levels or branches of government from acquiring too much power. The most important check on the power of the Federal Government in relation to the constituent States was the Senate. In the Constitution the people directly elected the House of Representatives to represent their interests, the various State legislatures elected the members of the Senate to represent the individual states.

The adoption of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913 mandating the popular election of Senators fatally damaged this system. Since then, the States have been reduced from equal partners with the Federal Government to a group of individual lobbyists. Before this amendment senators remained in office based upon how they upheld the rights of their state. The hot-and-cold winds of populist considerations didn’t compromise the Senator’s ability to serve. This freedom to vote against populist sentiment allowed the Senators to balance the directly-elected House.

Now we have two houses of Congress trying to spend enough of other people’s money to make political profits for themselves. So what do I propose? Resurrect the 10th Amendment, repeal the 17th and while we’re at it we should drive a stake through the heart of the 16th which allows progressive taxation and all that’s still on the conservative side of radicalism.

Restore the balance and save the Republic!

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Would We the People Ratify the Constitution Today?

We the People are the opening words of the preamble to the Constitution.  Many patriots glory in that name, “We the People” holding it aloft as a banner against the encroachments of an ever expanding central government.   In the minds of many it is connected somehow to Lincoln’s famous description of America’s government, “Of the People, by the people and for the people.”

Both of these were revolutionary terms when first spoken.

The people of the founding generation did not think of themselves as “Americans,” instead they saw themselves as citizens of their respective States.  The thirteen colonies, with the singular exception of North and South Carolina, were each founded as separate entities.  Each had its own history and relationship with the crown.  They banded together for the Revolution during which they established the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation.  This established a confederation composed of thirteen independent States.

When the secretly drafted Constitution was finally revealed to the public many of the leading lights of the Revolution were enraged by what they saw as a counter-revolution seeking to supplant the legally constituted Confederation of States in favor of a consolidated central government.   Some of them say the truth was revealed in the first three words, “We the People.”

Every school child can recite the most famous words of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty or give me death.”  You probably said those words in your head before you read them once you saw his name.  He is synonymous with America’s defiance to tyranny.  While these famous words ring in the heads of all, few know his opinion on the Constitution.

At the Virginia Ratification Convention in 1788, Patrick Henry said,

And here I would make this inquiry of those worthy characters who composed a part of the late federal Convention. I am sure they were fully impressed with the necessity of forming a great consolidated government, instead of a confederation. That this is a consolidated government is demonstrably clear; and the danger of such a government is, to my mind, very striking. I have the highest veneration for those gentlemen; but, sir, give me leave to demand, What right had they to say, We, the people? My political curiosity, exclusive of my anxious solicitude for the public welfare, leads me to ask, Who authorized them to speak the language of, We, the people, instead of, We, the states? States are the characteristics and the soul of a confederation. If the states be not the agents of this compact, it must be one great, consolidated, national government, of the people of all the states.

Ever since the Civil War fatally warped the original federal structure and We the People became a reality the central government of the United States has assumed more and more power until today totalitarianism appears to be within its grasp.  I am not referring to the crude overt totalitarianism of a Nazi Germany or a Soviet Russia instead I am referring to a soft totalitarianism, a kind of nanny state smothering of individual freedom, personal liberty and economic opportunity.  After the complete subjugation of the States to the central government by the Lincoln administration combined with the increased mobility of the modern era, we the people actually became the way most people think of themselves.

In America today we have a president who in a 2001 interview expressed his inner most thoughts about the Constitution,

If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

That is as clear a statement of the way our Progressive leaders view America’s founding document, a charter of negative liberties.  A charter that they believe needs to be expanded with a second bill of rights first proposed by FDR in his 1944 State of the Union Address,

  1. A realistic tax law—which will tax all unreasonable profits, both individual and corporate, and reduce the ultimate cost of the war to our sons and daughters. The tax bill now under consideration by the Congress does not begin to meet this test.
  2. A continuation of the law for the renegotiation of war contracts—which will prevent exorbitant profits and assure fair prices to the Government. For two long years I have pleaded with the Congress to take undue profits out of war.
  3. A cost of food law—which will enable the Government (a) to place a reasonable floor under the prices the farmer may expect for his production; and (b) to place a ceiling on the prices a consumer will have to pay for the food he buys. This should apply to necessities only; and will require public funds to carry out. It will cost in appropriations about one percent of the present annual cost of the war.
  4. Early reenactment of the stabilization statute of October, 1942. This expires June 30, 1944, and if it is not extended well in advance, the country might just as well expect price chaos by summer. We cannot have stabilization by wishful thinking. We must take positive action to maintain the integrity of the American dollar.
  5. A national service law—which, for the duration of the war, will prevent strikes, and, with certain appropriate exceptions, will make available for war production or for any other essential services every able-bodied adult in this Nation.

According to Cass R. Sunstein, the former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, President Obama not only believes in FDR’s Second Bill of Rights he seeks to implement them,

As the actions of his first term made clear, and as his second inaugural address declared, President Barack Obama is committed to a distinctive vision of American government. It emphasizes the importance of free enterprise, and firmly rejects “equality of result,” but it is simultaneously committed to ensuring both fair opportunity and decent security for all.

In these respects, Obama is updating Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Second Bill of Rights.

We are in the grip of the Federalists on steroids bent on redistributing their way to total power.  The question before us today is, “Would we the people ratify the Constitution today?”

Even Conservatives believe in a safety net.  Everyone contributes to and hopes to receive from Social Security.  No one wants people dying in the streets because they can’t get medical care so Medicaid is available to the uninsured.  Of course Medicare is considered a right for anyone over 65.  Unemployment is an accepted part of the safety net as are food stamps.  If you add up what is already accepted and expected then throw Obamacare into the mix and you see we have become a society addicted to entitlements all of which would fail the test of a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

The 10th Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  The power to do any of these entitlements is not delegated anywhere in the document as it is written, only as it is interpreted.

So would we the people ratify the Constitution as it is written today?  I think not.  A living document has turned the Constitution into a dead letter and the entitlements we have all accepted have turned the descendants of the Founders, Framers, and Pioneers into supplicants standing before the federal throne waiting for a check.

Only a re-birth of self-reliance, a renaissance of historical perspective and renewed political activity have a chance to bring about a rebirth of liberty in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Alabama Supreme Court Ruling Could End Legal Abortion in America

AFTER YOU HAVE READ THE B.S. - DIRTY HARRY REID IS BEHIND THIS -Harry Reid, Son's Solar Power Scheme Linked to Bundy Ranch Standoff

Follow the money and you’ll inevitably find out what’s really going on.
In the case of Clark County, Nevada, rancher Cliven Bundy’s standoff with federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management, the leading explanation has been that he hasn’t paid grazing fees and his cattle threaten endangered desert tortoises in the Gold Butte area.

Harry and rory
But the fact of the BLM bringing in hundreds of armed rangers with trucks and helicopters seemed over the top for protection of a tortoise that has clearly survived despite more than a century of ranching by the Bundy family, and which the BLM had previously been slaughtering with the excuse that it lacked funding to care for the animals.
As reported by the Associated Press in August, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Southern Las Vegas, funded by the BLM, was looking at killing half of its 1,400 tortoises because it could not afford to keep its doors open since the housing collapse resulted in less income from developers.
So why does the BLM profess to care so much about the fate of tortoises, who seem to be doing fine, in the Gold Butte area?
Certainly it’s not all of the answer because the BLM dispute with Bundy goes back to 1993, but part of the answer may be that Gold Butte also lies inside what the BLM has called the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone, part of the federal government’s plan to put solar power plants and factories on BLM-controlled lands in six Southwestern states.
As part of the plan for the Dry Lake solar zone, any solar developers are expected to pay into a fund to “mitigate” the Gold Butte area. However, the “mitigation” activities can’t take place with cattle grazing in the area. If the mitigation doesn’t take place, no money for the BLM.
One of the companies interested in building a solar plant on BLM-controlled land is the Chinese firm ENN Energy Group, which wants to build a $5 billion solar facility in the Nevada desert near Laughlin. ENN is represented by lawyer Rory Reid, Sen. Harry Reid’s son. The Chinese firm also wants to build on a 9,000-acre plot in Clark County, where rancher Cliven Bundy is holding off the BLM, and where Rory Reid used to be the chairman of the County Commission.

According to Reuters, the County Commission voted to sell ENN the public plot of land for $4.5 million, a fraction of its appraised value of $38.6 million.
Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid has been one of ENN’s most prominent supporters. According to Reuters, he recruited the company for the project during a trip to China in 2011. Reuters also reports that Reid has tried to pressure the state’s largest power company, NV Energy, to become ENN’s first customer.
Sen. Reid has had other links to dubious power projects, including Amonix, a company with no record of success that received huge tax breaks then collapsed. There was also Nevada Geothermal, which received $98 million in federal loan guarantees but in a recent filing with the SEC revealed that it is undergoing substantial problems that threaten its ability to continue as a company.
Both Reids have denied ever discussing the ENN project or working together in any way on it, but the paper trails suggest otherwise.
A Clark County commissioner recently said that supporters of Cliven Bundy “better have funeral plans,” and the situation seems primed and ready for violence, with hundreds of federal rangers on one side, and ranchers and militia members on the other.
If blood ends up being shed over a desert tortoise, the trail of gore may lead straight to Harry Reid’s desk in the Senate chambers.

Read more at http://godfatherpolitics.com/15161/harry-reid-sons-solar-power-scheme-connected-bundy-ranch-standoff/#mHSVdchd0cMU08Gk.99

You Say You Want a Revolution

Our revolution changed the world.  Our Declaration of Independence proclaims self-evident truths.  That all men are created equal, they’re endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  These words shook a world held in the vise-grip of hereditary privilege inspiring people around the globe.  Our Constitution established a representative republic with a limited government of the people, by the people and for the people.

We’ve watched as our constitutionally limited government grew until today it’s a leviathan running amok like Godzilla in Tokyo smashing things and scaring boy scouts.  Today the Federal government is the largest employer in America, states are the largest employers in the states and counties are among the largest employers in the counties get the picture?  Government is on a rampage and unless Mothra is going to fly in to save the day we’ll have to deal with Frankenstein-on-the-Potomac ourselves.

Such brazen power-plays as the Executive branch issuing the Legislature an ultimatum, either pass Cap-N-Trade or we’ll impose it administratively through command-and-control make the dramatic changes in our political culture shockingly apparent.   Has our balance of powers melted away under the glare of executive orders, signing statements and now ultimatums?   Some people say this is evolution.  To others it’s devolution.  Our hard-won and dearly-paid-for Republic is devolving into a command-and-control all-encompassing central-state.

With political dynasties bequeathing congressional seats like hereditary fiefdoms it’s becoming hard to explain why we left the British Empire.  Today we not only have taxation without representation as congressional party-line voters ignore their constituents we also have representation without taxation as the perpetually re-elected Lords and Ladies represent the illegal immigrants and the professional welfare hammock-riders.

These big government social planners may believe they’ve achieved their community organizing goals fulfilling Historian Will Durant paraphrase of Lincoln’s famous quote, “It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.”  They may believe their revolutionary administration will fundamentally change America however, if they’d step 20 miles outside the Beltway obviously there’s a counter-revolution brewing.  The Tea Party is overtaking the Republican Party in popularity.  It has already supplanted them at the grassroots of the conservative movement.  By 2010 an avalanche of voters thronged the polling places demanding their country back.

Following the tactics of Saul Alinsky brought the ObamaAcornSEIU coalition control of the Democratic Party and the country but following the Cloward/Piven Strategy for overwhelming the system to impose an alternative system is going to lead to a complete repudiation of this radical departure from traditional American politics and economics.  We aren’t Venezuela.  Even after decades of legislative efforts to progressively create a permanent underclass of government dependents who’ll follow the leader to the next looting of productive members of society the majority in this country still want freedom and opportunity not cradle-to-grave mediocrity.

We can and should stage a counter-revolution against this growing tyranny.  A peaceful, lawful revolution at the ballot box and if you’re talking about destruction, you can count me out.  The last thing we need in this crowded theater full of combustible emotions is either a match or someone shouting fire.  Any incident right now would trigger a massive response.  Just as the executive is using the EPA to impose the onerous restrictions of a Cap-N-Trade style economy stunting strangulation of regulations he’s also using ICE to change the enforcement of immigration policy and cook the books without any messy debate.

Ruling by decree, “I have a pen and I have a phone,” is hardly compatible with constitutionally-limited government.  We’re told the administration has solutions.  They sold us a solution to heal the greatest health care system in the world “If you like your plan you can keep your plan. Period” lik e a pig-in-a-poke.  They claim to have a solution to save or create jobs while we lose jobs every month, a draconian solution for the man-made global warming hoax, a solution for endless wars for elusive peace.  You say you have a solution.  We’d all love to see the plan.

They say they want a contribution.  Back in the good old change we could believe in days the dialogue of class warfare repeated that no one making under 250,000, or was it 150,000, or was it …anyway only the evil rich would have to pay a dime of new taxes.  Watch out!  You might find out you’re rich come next April 15th.

Everyone has known since at least that tax-cutting wild man JFK that cutting taxes increases revenue to the government and raising them lowers revenue.  Since the government knows raising taxes lowers revenue and since they’re raising taxes to increase revenue what are they trying to do?  Complicated tax codes are used as a way to incentivize and de-incentivize behavior.

If you want more widgets give tax breaks for buying widgets.  If you want less widgets tax widgets.  Using that for a guide notice what’s being pushed and what’s being pulled?  Taxes on producers and tax breaks for non-producers imagine tax cuts for people who don’t pay taxes and tax increases for those who do.  Taking the money of producers to bailout the greedy, reward the cronies and support the lazy.  It’s time to tell the statists at the ballot box if they want money for things we hate they’re going to have to wait.

Executive orders and signing statements have been used in Republican and Democrat administrations for years to change the constitution without changing the Constitution.  Now sweeping new powers by regulators threatens to make Congress irrelevant as an all-powerful executive branch grows like a malignant tumor.  Don’t lose heart, don’t despair, don’t you know it’s going to be all right?  Keep the faith, keep the peace, organize and win the day.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

Companies Can't Fire People Because of ObamaCare Costs - HUH?

by Gary DeMar

“Obama officials made clear in a press briefing that firms would not be allowed to lay off workers to get into the preferred class of those businesses with 50 to 99 employees. . . . Firms will be required to certify to the IRS – under penalty of perjury – that ObamaCare was not a motivating factor in their staffing decisions. To avoid ObamaCare costs you must swear that you are not trying to avoid ObamaCare costs.”
Once again, power has been deferred to the IRS where the Fifth Amendment does not apply and the agency is lawless with the tacit approval of the President. Try pleading the Fifth when you sign your tax return.
Then there’s the EEOC, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. People who are fired for whatever reason will have cause to appeal to the EEOC. I can tell you from personal business experience, it’s an expensive and time consuming enterprise, even if you win like my company did.
You know it had to happen. Once the government got control of our healthcare (we were warned), there wouldn’t be any area that it would not be involved in. Once people get used to the idea of government regulating their lives in small areas where they do not believe the law will adversely affect them, they will acquiesce in more significant areas where they will be negatively affected.

“The paternal state not only feeds its children, but nurtures, educates, comforts, and disciplines them, providing all they need for their security. This appears to be a mildly insulting way to treat adults, but it is really a great crime because it transforms the state from being a gift of God, given to protect us against violence, into an idol. It supplies us with all blessings, and we look to it for all our needs. Once we sink to that level, as [C.S.] Lewis says, there is no point in telling state officials to mind their own business. “Our whole lives are their business.”[1]
“The paternalism of the state is that of the bad parent who wants his children dependent on him forever. That is an evil impulse. The good parent prepares his children for independence, trains them to make responsible decisions, knows that he harms them by not helping them to break loose. The paternal state thrives on dependency. When the dependents free themselves, it loses power. It is, therefore, parasitic on the very persons whom it turns into parasites. Thus, the state and its dependents march symbiotically [in close union with one another] to destruction.”[2]
It was President Obama who said, “That’s the good thing about being president. I can do whatever I want.”

Read more at http://godfatherpolitics.com/14334/companies-cant-fire-people-obamacare-costs/#URJ5uc2ULCxPpP7e.99

Why Can’t We Change?

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