My Thoughts on the Aftermath of the Parkland Shooting

Once again we have experienced another tragic shooting in one of our schools; this time at the Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Almost immediately the cry went out for tougher gun laws; as if ONE MORE LAW would have prevented this shooting from happening.

I think that, for the majority of Americans, it is far easier to blame an inanimate object, such as a gun, for the crimes an individual commits with them than it is to take a good long look at the root causes of the crime itself.

Every time there is one of these mass shootings I hear so much regurgitated rhetoric and hyperbole, and people never want to discuss what caused this person to bring a firearm to a location and open fire upon innocent people. It’s always pass tougher gun control, make it harder for people to get guns, or ban this type gun; as if all the other gun laws in the past have had any effect on preventing these shootings from occurring at an ever increasing frequency.

If I didn’t know better, I’d be tempted to believe that these shootings are being orchestrated to push society to a tipping point where they call for the complete disarmament of the American people. (And that was sarcasm for those of you who didn’t notice)

It doesn’t help matters that the news media beats these stories like a dead horse, instilling the fear of guns every deeper into the American psyche. It almost seems that they are working in conjunction with those whose agenda is the total deprivation of our right to keep and bear arms. You never hear them report on stories where guns actually helped prevent crime; only the times when guns are used by people in mass shootings. Is it any wonder so many people fear anyone who owns more than one gun? From what they hear on the news they must think every gun owner in America is seconds away from losing it and going on a shooting rampage.

I have a few guns, not a whole lot, but a few. I know quite a few people who own far more than me. In fact I know a couple people who could outfit a small militia with the number of guns they own. But I’m not talking about them I’m talking about me and my guns. I think I need to return mine to the manufacturer; for they certainly must be defective. After all, not one of my guns has ever taken a human life; and if all guns are bad and kill people, then it follows that mine must be broken or defective.

If you own a gun, and it malfunctions, can you scold it, saying, “Bad gun, don’t do that again!” I suppose you could, but it wouldn’t do any good, because a gun can’t hear you; a gun has no mind of its own. It is the person holding it that has the mind, and THAT is where the problem lies; not in the gun, or the availability of guns. When I went to high school in the 70’s there were shotguns and hunting rifles in almost every pickup truck in the school parking lot. If guns kill, why weren’t there any mass shootings like the ones we are witnessing today?

I’m truly sorry to have to tell you this, but the problem isn’t that there are too many guns; the problem is that we are producing damaged children who think it is okay to USE A GUN to solve all their problems.

Going back to the 60’s there has almost been this commune type attitude towards raising children. While serving as First Lady, Hillary Clinton published her book It Takes a Village about the challenges and influences society has in raising children. People today seem to have forgotten that there are two sides to having rights; one side being the right itself, and the other side being the responsibility one must accept if they exercise that right. If my neighbor does something stupid, am I to blame simply because I live next door to him? No, he is. Society is NOT to blame, at least not directly, for the actions of children; parents are for not raising them with any sense of good and bad, of decency and morals.

When I was growing up, if a kid did something terribly wrong they were punished for it; typically by a good spanking. Nowadays that’s considered child abuse and a child can be taken from its parents if word gets out that the child is being spanked. How are children supposed to grow up knowing that there are consequences for bad choices if they aren’t disciplined from an early age?

Every time one of these shootings appear I see an internet graphic which shows a child asking God why He didn’t prevent the shooting at school, to which God answers, “I’m not allowed in school anymore.”

I can almost see your heads now, eyes rolling, saying, “But what about the separation of church and State?” Are you aware that the Supreme Court itself once, (a long time ago when they still had a certain sense of what justice meant) ruled, “Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in [schools] – its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained and its glorious principles morality inculcated? … Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” (Source: Vidal v. Girard’s Educators, 1844) Oh, and there was no dissenting opinion in the Court’s ruling, it was a unanimous decision.

So, you take away a parents right to discipline their child, and you remove any teachings regarding morality or virtue, and you expect our children to grow into adults without some serious issues?

Then to make matters worse the media is flooded with violence; it’s in the song lyrics they listen to, it’s in the movies they watch, and it’s in the video games they play. So not only do our kids grow up not knowing right and wrong, they are being bombarded with images of violence on a daily basis.

When I was growing up I watched movies in which cops shot it out with the bad guys, and cowboys and indians shot at each other; I even watched the 3 Stooges beat the crap out each other. But I never copied them. Could that possibly be because I was taught to distinguish between fiction and reality, that I was taught the difference between good and evil? Sure, I did some stupid things growing up, but I grew up in a house where there were guns all over the place and I NEVER considered taking one to school to solve my problems. I took the bullying and occasional ass kicking I got like a man and went on with my life.

And finally there is the fact that the American Psychiatric Society has come up with all these mental illnesses our children supposedly suffer from. And if you ask me it is only so that they have a market for all the drugs that their buddies over in the pharmaceutical industry can be sold to. (And we cry about the war on drugs when psychiatrists are the worst when it comes to pushing drugs on our kids)

Have you ever listened to the ads on TV, or read any of the possible side effects for these drugs that treat things like ADD or ADHD? Suicidal and violent outbursts are common amongst those taking these drugs to make our children more docile so that they can be handled by parents and teachers.

What we’re doing is creating ticking time bombs that, from time to time, go off; leaving us with places like Parkland, Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Virginia Tech, just to name a few. And it’s going to keep happening until we stop blaming the guns and start looking at the reasons why these shootings keep happening.

Why is it that whenever a drunk driver plows into someone and kills them we don’t hear cries for the banning of whatever type vehicle they were driving, or for a ban on whatever they were drinking prior to the accident; yet whenever there is a shooting the cry immediately goes out for tougher gun laws? If guns are to blame for shootings, then cars are to blame for drunk drivers.

I’ve been hearing news stories about high school students going to our nation’s capital to protest in favor of tougher gun laws. While I could see one high school organizing such an event so soon after a tragedy like Parkland, I cannot see a nationwide event like this being organized on such short notice. Someone is behind it; someone is putting this together to focus media attention on our youth crying for tougher gun laws. And I’d be willing to bet that whoever is has an agenda of the total disarmament of the American public.

You see, there’s one other thing our children ARE NOT being taught. They are not being taught about the nature of our rights, and our 2nd Amendment right in particular. They think that just because society demands it, the people must give up a right. Well, if you have bad breath can I demand that YOU stop breathing?

Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson once said this regarding rights, and the Bill of Rights in particular, “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

I’m sorry, but my rights are mind, they do not depend upon whether you like me exercising them or not, and they certainly do not need permission from my government for me to exercise; END OF STORY!!!

But the important thing about the 2nd Amendment is why it was included in the Bill of Rights. It was not so we could hunt deer. It was not so that we could go skeet or target shooting. It was not so that we could defend our homes from those who would attempt to take our belongings. All those are secondary and inconsequential side effects of the right to keep and bear arms.

No, the 2nd Amendment exists so that we might have the means of defending ourselves, and our other rights, from our government should it ever become tyrannical and oppressive. And I hate to tell you this, it is well past that point right now. But what are the people doing; they are calling for government to pass another law which further restricts the rights of good, honest, law abiding gun owners across the land.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I’m sick and tired of people saying that I must surrender my rights because someone doesn’t like me having guns; or speaking what is on my mind for that matter. My rights don’t require that you like them for me to be able to exercise them; and if you can’t handle that then maybe you need to grow a pair of balls.

Those of you who are calling for tougher gun laws need to take a lesson from history. There was a time when the people of America saw their government come after their guns. They were faced with allowing their government to confiscate them, or standing their ground and fighting those who would deprive them of one of their most sacred of rights. They chose to fight, and the date was April 19, 1775, and the place was Lexington and Concord.

So if you really want my guns, how about coming to my house yourself and try to take them from me; I’ll be here waiting for you..

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When the Government Breaks the Law

“The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!”
~Frederic Bastiat~
(1850)

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines liberty as: the power to do as one pleases. But liberty is not absolute, it is bound the equal rights of those around you. If someone likes your car, can they just come up and take if from you? No, that would be theft. So liberty does have its bounds; and those bounds are defined by the equal rights of others.

Thomas Jefferson defined liberty thusly: Liberty then I would say that, in the whole plenitude of it’s extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will: but rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’; because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual.

Some will tell you that the purpose of the law is to ensure that justice is served. I don’t necessarily agree with that; I believe the purpose of the law should be to ensure that everyone enjoys the fullest extent of liberty possible. The idea of crime is that there must be a perpetrator and there must be a victim. Who am I harming if I ride down the highway not wearing a seatbelt? Yet I can be issued a citation for doing so, and if I refuse to pay, I can be arrested, and if I resist arrest I can be shot and killed.

That is the premise for an article written by Stuart Hayashi, entitled The Invisible Gun; which, after I read it, inspired me to sit down and write this. In his article, Hayashi states, “It should be understood that, in order to prevent democracy from becoming a tyranny over minorities, individual rights must supersede all democratic voting and all regulations. Rights must come first. Laws should come second, and only to protect those rights; nothing more.”

Have you ever heard of victimless crimes? A victimless crime is when someone commits an offense which is punishable by law, but when there is no victim other than the laws passed by society. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is one such law, as is the recreational use of marijuana. Whose rights are violated if someone climbs on their Harley and rides down the road without wearing a helmet? Yet they can be cited for doing so, and if the refuse to pay, arrested, and if they resist arrest, killed…all because they chose not to wear a motorcycle helmet.

I think that is exactly what Jefferson was getting at when he said that law is often but the tyrants will. Yet how many laws are there in which there is no clear victim, yet we can be fined or imprisoned for if we violate?

Yet our government was established when a written Constitution was put into effect by the consent of the people. This Constitution is not just a handbook, it is A LAW!!! If government has all these bureaucracies and agencies to enforce the laws they enact, where is our ability to enforce the Supreme Law of the Land upon those we elect? After all, a police officer may arrest any of us while we are in the act of committing a crime, correct?

Well why can’t we just march into Congress as they are voting upon a bill which is unconstitutional, and arrest every single one of them who votes YES on that bill? And what if they resisted our attempts to arrest them, what then? Would we then be permitted to use the same deadly force that their law enforcement officers are authorized to use against us?

This was Patrick Henry’s biggest fear about the government proposed by the Constitution, that there was no responsibility; no means of punishing those within it should they become tyrannical or oppressive. In his 7 June 1788 speech to the Virginia Ratifying Assembly, Henry stated, “Where is the responsibility — that leading principle in the British government? In that government a punishment, certain and inevitable, is provided: But in this, there is no real actual punishment for the grossest maladministration. They may go without punishment, though they commit the most outrageous violation on our immunities. That paper may tell me they will be punished. I ask, by what law? They must make the law — for there is no existing law to do it. What — will they make a law to punish themselves? This, Sir, is my great objection to the Constitution, that there is no true responsibility — and that the preservation of our liberty depends on the single chance of men being virtuous enough to make laws to punish themselves.”

In 1785 a bill was introduced in Virginia which would have allowed Virginians to select which religious denomination their taxes would go towards. Yes, you read that right; in 1785 Virginia a portion of the taxes, or assessment, was to go towards religious instruction. James Madison opposed the bill, and wrote A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments to explain why.

A memorial is a written statement of facts in the form of a petition, and a remonstrance is a protest, objection, or disapproval. Therefore, Madison was protesting the Religious Assessment, and listing his reasons why. It’s interesting to note that Madison wrote this anonymously, not admitting to being its author until 1826.

In his Memorial and Remonstrance, Madison states, “The preservation of a free government requires, not merely that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power be invariably maintained, but more especially that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great barrier which defends the rights of the people.

The rulers who are guilty of such encroachment exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are tyrants. The people who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves nor by an authority derived from them and are slaves.” (MY emphasis)

If we have not given government the authority to legislate upon an issue, then it turns around and does so anyway, making something a crime, then that law is tyrannical; and if we obey it without protest, we are slaves because we refuse to stand up and defend our liberty. It does not matter how well intentioned the law may be, if it is unconstitutional, they cannot enact it without violating the law.

Can you not grasp that simple principle?

You cannot believe how angry I get when I hear people say that they know their rights, then in the same sentence turn around and say they support our government in its attempts to do this or do that to make America safer, better, or whatever justification they provide for the laws they pass. If the authority to enact such laws are not specifically listed in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, IT DOES NOT EXIST; it is a figment of their imagination, or an unlawful interpretation of imaginary hidden, or implied powers.

But if you do not know the law, then there is no law; because it is YOUR duty to hold your elected representatives accountable for sticking to the specific powers granted them. If you keep voting for the same criminals over and over, such as those who live in California have done with the Wicked Witch of the West; Dianne Feinstein, then they have no one to blame but themselves when laws are enacted which violate their rights.

Even if we could just waltz right in to Congress and handcuff those who violate the Supreme Law of the Land, what lawyer would try them? Lawyers have not been taught true Constitutional, or Common Law for decades now. Instead the law classes they attend prior to taking the bar exam base all their teachings upon Supreme Court rulings which have interpreted the Constitution in so many ways that the limits it imposed upon government are no longer in existence.

You have to remember, the Supreme Court is part of government; it is not an independent and unbiased judiciary whose only concern is justice and the preservation of liberty. If it can, it will always vote to expand its, or government in general’s power beyond that which was intended when the Constitution was first written.

So what lawyer would act as prosecuting attorney, what judge would allow the case in his court?

And now, because the news media has instilled such a fear of guns in the overall mass of the people, they want to take away our last defense against tyrants.

On June 5, 1788 Patrick Henry also warned the Virginia Ratifying Assembly, “The Honorable Gentleman who presides, told us, that to prevent abuses in our Government, we will assemble in Convention, recall our delegated powers, and punish our servants for abusing the trust reposed in them. Oh, Sir, we should have fine times indeed, if to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people. Your arms wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone; and you have no longer an aristocratical; no longer democratical spirit. Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation, brought about by the punishment of those in power, inflicted by those who had no power at all?”

The law has been perverted, and the people have remained, for the most part, silent because it has been perverted to their benefit, or to make them more comfortable or secure. But what if it began being openly tyrannical and oppressive; what would YOU do then? Who would you turn to for justice?

Our government exists in name only, it’s soul; the reason it was established, long ago passed away; leaving us with but an empty shell of what purposes our government was supposed to serve. It calls those who resist its laws criminals, while they are the true criminals because the majority of the laws they have passed are not within their power to legislate upon. Yet the people do nothing.

As long as the two party system is alive and well, liberty and the Constitution are of no importance when people make their decisions whom to vote for; and that right there is at the root of all our problems.

You can keep flip flopping back and forth between a government controlled by Republicans or Democrats, but until you decide that you want a government that is controlled by the Constitutional limits imposed upon it, and stands for defending your liberty, not a damned thing is going to change.

And you can take that to the bank…

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The Town Crier

It was June 7, 1776 and Richard Henry Lee had been given instructions by the Virginia Legislature to declare itself in favor of a separation from England. It was on this day that Lee proposed the following, which would forever alter the course of American History, “Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

Although Virginia had finally sided with those seeking independence there were still those, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York who had still not received word from their State Legislatures which gave them the authority to vote in favor of independence. Even with that obstacle still to be surmounted, a Committee of Five was established to produce a formal declaration of independence, and Thomas Jefferson was chosen to be its primary author.

Before I continue there a crucial point I’d like to address regarding Lee’s Resolution to the Continental Congress. In his declaration Lee states that the Colonies are free and independent States. He began by saying these United Colonies, but ends by saying free and independent States. That is crucial because under English rule they were united under one government, but what he was saying is that this was no longer to be the case, that each Colony was to become an independent nation/state unto itself.

When the Revolution ended and delegates arrived at a treaty of peace between England and the United States, they signed an agreement which states, “His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States; that he treats with them as such…” This is also crucial because the King, although he called them the United States, recognized that each State was a free, sovereign and Independent State.

Prior to the end of the Revolution and the signing of the peace treaty the Colonists had also ratified a document which created a formal system of government to manage the joint affairs of all 13 of the Colonies. This document was called The Articles of Confederation.

Article I of this document declares the name, or style, by which the confederation should be known as: The United States of America. However, it is Article II that I’d like for you to pay close attention to, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”

Although they had created a centralized form of government to manage the affairs of all 13 States, that government did not consolidate all 13 States into a single entity known as the United States of America; rather it stated that each State remained sovereign and independent.

Four years later, when the Constitution was written, the framers would write in the preamble to their proposal, “…in Order to form a more perfect Union…” That statement presupposes that a union of some sort already existed, not that they were establishing a new principle that would forever bind the States together as a single entity. All they sought to do was to improve the existing Union, or Confederacy if you will. The style of government they created may have changed from a Confederacy to a Republic, but nothing in the Constitution itself declares that the States had, for a moment, surrendered their sovereignty and independence; aside from the specific powers granted government within the document itself.

As sovereign entities there are two vital facts you need to know about the States. First, if they created government, then they also had the power to abolish it. The second point, and this is even more important, is that if they had entered into a Union by their own consent, then should they revoke that consent the power and authority of any government they had consented to would no longer be binding upon them.

You probably haven’t been taught this, but prior to the Civil War the idea of seceding from the Union was discussed many times; by both Northern and Southern States. For instance, in 1798, after President Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, John Taylor of the Virginia House of Delegates called for Virginia to secede from the Union.

In 1804, after President Jefferson had made the Louisiana Purchase without the consent of Congress, Timothy Pickering, and a few other Northern Federalists considered secession as an option to oppose the policies of the Jefferson administration.

Just a few years before this, Fischer Ames, a Founding Father, as well as a Northern Federalists, suggested secession and the creation of a Northern Confederation because he disliked the policies of the, soon to be Democratic-Republican party.

Going back even further, in 1794 another prominent Northerner, Oliver Ellsworth, argued in favor of Northern secession when it became clear that the more populated Southern States would control government for the immediate future.

Have you ever taken the time to read any of the declarations by the State Legislatures regarding their decision to ratify the Constitution? Did you know that many of them included in their declaration a statement which reserved to them the right of removing themselves from the federal authority should it ever become oppressive?

For instance, Virginia’s declaration states, “We the Delegates of the People of Virginia duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly and now met in Convention having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us to decide thereon Do in the name and in behalf of the People of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression…” New York, a Northern State, had a similar statement, “That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness…”

Therefore, when South Carolina issued its Declaration of Secession on December 24, 1860, it was only acting on what was universally accepted to be the right of ANY State. However, the federal government which was created by the joint consent of the States, and more specifically, Abraham Lincoln, declared that the States did not have that right, that they were forever bound to the Union, and any attempt to leave it would be met with force.

Although it may have come as a shock to some Northerners that some of the Southern States had actually gone ahead and exercised their right to secede, there was still a great deal of support for the principle that it was within any State’s right to do so.

Horace Greeley was a prominent Northern newspaper editor and a Republican to boot. However, in his paper, The New York Tribune, he wrote, “If the Cotton States decide that they can do better out of the Union than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace.” In another edition of the same paper Greeley writes, “The South has as good a right to secede from the Union as the colonies had to secede from Great Britain. I will never stand for coercion for subjugation.”

Days before Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 troops to suppress the rebellion in the South, Greeley also wrote, “Whenever a considerable section of our Union is resolved to go out of the Union, we shall resist all coercive measures to keep them in. We hope never to live in a Republic when one section is pinned to another by bayonets. Those who would rush on carnage to defeat the separation demanded by the popular vote of the Southern people would clearly place themselves in the wrong.”

Greeley was not alone in his sentiments; even the Brits sided with the South; at least in the press. In an 1861 edition of the London Times the following was written in regards to the burgeoning conflict between the North and South, ” [T]he contest is really for empire on the side of the North, and for independence on that of the South, and in this respect we recognize an exact analogy between the North and the Government of George III, and the South and the Thirteen Revolted Provinces. These opinions…are the general opinions of the English nation.”

Hell, even Abraham Lincoln had argued in favor of secession before he was faced with it as a real scenario as acting President. In his War With Mexico Speech, given in 1848, Lincoln himself stated, “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, most sacred right- a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to excercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize and make their own, of so much territory as they inhabit.” (My emphasis)

So why didn’t Lincoln just let the South go in peace; why did he have to raise an army and use it to try and force the South into adhering to the Union? Was it because slavery was such an evil institution and he wanted to wipe it off the face of the Earth? Well, what did Lincoln himself have to say on the issue?

In the 4th paragraph of his Inaugural Address, Lincoln is directly speaking to the South when he says, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

Later in his address Lincoln states, “I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution–which amendment, however, I have not seen–has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.”

This amendment, the Corwin Amendment had already passed both houses of Congress and only needed to be ratified for it to become binding upon both the North and the South. So what exactly did this amendment say? Well, it said, “No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.”

So, not only did Lincoln say he had no intentions of interfering with slavery in the South, he also said he supported a constitutional amendment which would have made slavery a permanent institution in the United States. You have to remember, Lincoln made his Inaugural Address on March 4, 1861, and the attack upon Fort Sumter would not occur for another month. If slavery was all that the South was fighting for, why didn’t they just ratify the Corwin Amendment and avoid the horrors of war?

Could it possibly be that your American History textbooks withheld information from you regarding the real reason why the Civil War was fought? Now I’m not saying slavery did not play a role in causing some of the Southern States to secede; but was it the ONLY reason? It would appear that it was NOT the ONLY reason; otherwise they would have accepted the Corwin Amendment and revoked their declarations of secession and rejoined the Union without a drop of blood being shed.

On August 19, 1862 Horace Greeley published an open letter to President Lincoln in his newspaper. In it Greeley states, “I do not intrude to tell you for you must know already that a great proportion of those who triumphed in your election, and of all who desire the unqualified suppression of the rebellion now desolating our country, are sorely disappointed and deeply pained by the policy you seem to be pursuing with regard to the slaves of rebels.”

Lincoln responded to Greeley with the following, “As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.”

There could possibly be many reasons why Lincoln felt it was his duty to hold the Union together, but I think one played a much larger role in his decision to engage in war than the others; the loss of revenue into the federal treasury by the withdrawal of the Southern States. This is supported by numerous newspaper articles published in the North. For the sake of brevity I will provide only one of them. In March of 1861 the New York Post published the following in one of its editorials, “… either the (federal) revenue from duties (protective tariff) must be collected in the ports of the rebel states or the ports be closed to importations from abroad… If neither of these things be done, our revenue laws are substantially repealed; the sources which supply our treasury will be dried up; we shall have no money to carry on the government; the nation will become bankrupt before the next crop of corn is ripe… Allow railroad iron to be entered at Savannah with the low duty of ten percent, which is all that the Southern Confederacy think of laying on imported goods, and not an ounce more would be imported at New York; the railways would be supplied from the southern ports. What, then is left for our government?”

Had Lincoln allowed the South to leave in peace, he would have been faced with the choice of allowing the federal treasury to run dry, or begin taxing those who supported his election to keep government in operation; neither option could have been very appealing to him. Yet there was another thing which may have been revealed about Lincoln’s decision to engage in war, and it is found in his response to Horace Greeley.

In his letter to Greeley, Lincoln stated, “The sooner the national authority can be restored…” Lincoln could very well have just been mad as hell that anyone would question the authority of the federal government. Maybe Lincoln was just thinking, “How dare they question MY authority? I’ll teach those rebels a lesson they won’t soon forget.” Now there is no proof of this, but knowing the egos of those who seek political office, it would not come as any surprise that Lincoln might have reacted that way when the authority of the federal government was questioned or threatened.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the geography of our nation’s capital, but Washington D.C. was carved out of the States of Virginia and Maryland. Are you aware that Maryland was also a slave holding State, and that there was talk of secession in Maryland? Are you aware that Abraham Lincoln suspended the Writ of Habeas Corpus in Maryland; a clear violation of his constitutional authority. Are you aware that he had 1,000 federal troops seize Federal Hill and train cannons upon downtown Baltimore; threatening its destruction. Are you aware that those same federal forces arrested all State Legislators who leaned towards secession? Are you aware that Lincoln imposed martial law in Maryland, although the State was not in open rebellion against the government?

Are you also aware that at the onset, Virginia, a slave holding State, had chosen to remain in the Union? However, in mid-April of 1861 President Lincoln sent out a call for those States still remaining in the Union to provide troops to form an army of 75,000 to suppress the rebellion in the South. As secession was almost universally accepted to be a State’s right, this call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion did not sit well with some States.

Governor Letcher of Virginia responded to Lincoln’s Secretary of War’s call for volunteers as follows, “In reply to this communication, I have only to say that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States, and a requisition made upon me for such an object — an object, in my judgment, not within the purview of the Constitution or the act of 1795 — will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited towards the South.” Virginia seceded within days of Lincoln’s call for them to provide volunteers.

Arkansas made the following statement in their declaration of secession, “Whereas, in addition to the well-founded causes of complaint set forth by this convention, in resolutions adopted on the 11th of March, A.D. 1861, against the sectional party now in power in Washington City, headed by Abraham Lincoln, he has, in the face of resolutions passed by this convention pledging the State of Arkansas to resist to the last extremity any attempt on the part of such power to coerce any State that had seceded from the old Union…”

Did you know that Missouri was of divided loyalties throughout the Civil War; sending delegates to both the Congress in Washington D.C. and the Congress in the Confederacy? Those in Missouri who pledged their loyalty to the Confederacy issued their own declaration, stating, “Whereas the Government of the United States, in the possession and under the control of a sectional party, has wantonly violated the compact originally made between said Government and the State of Missouri, by invading with hostile armies the soil of the State, attacking and making prisoners the militia while legally assembled under the State laws, forcibly occupying the State capitol, and attempting through the instrumentality of domestic traitors to usurp the State government, seizing and destroying private property, and murdering with fiendish malignity peaceable citizens, men, women, and children, together with other acts of atrocity, indicating a deep-settled hostility toward the people of Missouri and their institutions; and

Whereas the present Administration of the Government of the United States has utterly ignored the Constitution, subverted the Government as constructed and intended by its makers, and established a despotic and arbitrary power instead thereof…”

So Lincoln’s calling upon the States for volunteers to suppress the Union ended up causing the Confederacy to swell from 7 to 11 States. Can you imagine what would have happened had Maryland chosen to secede; thereby surrounding Washington D.C. with enemy forces? Can you even begin to wonder what would have happened had other States chosen to take offense that a sitting president would call forth an army to violate the sovereignty of another State? What do you think would have happened if, instead of 11 States, the Confederacy had contained 19 or 20 States? What could Lincoln had done had 20 States chosen to leave the Union? Not very damned much, that’s what.

Are you aware that Abraham Lincoln issued an arrest warrant, which he later rescinded, for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because he ruled against Lincoln’s suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus? Are you even aware of what habeas corpus is? Habeas Corpus is a legal principle which gives one the right to face their accusers in court. It is a means to prevent unlawful detention…kind of like we do now to suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

A writ of Habeas Corpus allows a person to let the court decide if their detainment is lawful or not. Without Habeas Corpus the authorities can just pick people off the street for all manner of suspected violations of the law, and hold them indefinitely without ever bringing charges against them; and Lincoln suspended it.

Well, Chief Justice John Taney held that Lincoln’s suspension of Habeas Corpus was unconstitutional, that only Congress could do so after debating the issue. Lincoln took offense that a Supreme Court Justice, even the Chief Justice, would rule against him; so he issued an arrest warrant for him. Of course it was never executed because he rescinded it. But it goes to support my belief that Lincoln allowed his emotion to rule his decision making, and which may support the fact that he chose war over peace simply because the South had the audacity to question HIS government’s authority.

After the Civil War the Supreme Court heard the case of Texas v White in which the court basically ruled that secession was both illegal and unconstitutional. If secession was illegal, then what does that say about our Founders who chose to secede from the British Empire? If the court got it wrong, and secession was legal, what does that say about a government that would use force to deny any State its legal right to leave the Union?

The Civil War was not about slavery, it was not about tariffs, it was about whether or not a State must forever be bound to a system of government which violates their rights. By raising an army to invade the seceded Southern States, Abraham Lincoln murdered the principle of consent of the governed. By using military force against the seceded Southern States Lincoln was effectively saying, “We no longer need your consent to govern over you; we have guns, and if you resist our authority we will use them against you.”

Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens said it best when he said, “The talk of restoring the Union like it was, and the Constitution as it is, is one of the absurdities which I have heard repeated until I have become sick of it. There are many things which make such an event impossible. This Union never shall, with my consent, be restored under the constitution as it is … The Union as it was and the Constitution as it is–God forbid it.”

We no longer have a free government founded upon the principle of liberty; we have a government which allows you a certain amount of freedom, and if step too far out of line, or push for all your rights then you are put down like a rabid dog. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has attempted to stand up to federal authority; ask the Branch Davidians, ask the Weaver’s, ask the Bundy’s, ask the family of LaVoy Finicum, ask Edward Snowden.

You think you’re free; you’re not. You are a free range slave who has certain privileges, but who is bound by invisible shackles to serve your government as a producer of revenue to keep itself in business. The first step to achieving true freedom is by recognizing that you are not free. We’re so conditioned for servitude that we now call for the measures that more firmly enslave us to government.

But, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “None are so hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” As long as the people think that freedom means they are not behind bars, that real freedom means having a roof over their head, three square meals a day, a job, and cable TV or wifi access, they will never free themselves from those who hold them in bondage.

And, as for your precious elections, Lysander Spooner once said, “A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.” You can either open your eyes and face the truth, or you can keep your head buried in the sand and believe the lies you have been taught about when it all went wrong; The American Civil War. The choice is yours; I’m only a modern day Town Crier who warns you of danger and offers you the truth; it’s up to you to either accept or reject it.

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US Government 101 Part 1

I would like to begin by asking you a question, but before you just blurt out an answer I want you to take a few moments to really think about what I’m asking. The question is: Why do Americans bother going to the polls every couple of years to select the candidate they think will do the best job in the particular office for which the election is being held? Remember, I want you to think about it for a few moments before answering.

I have no way of knowing how you answered, or if you even bothered to answer, but I’d hope that if you did you came up with something along the lines of: because they represent us. While that was not the exact answer I was looking for, it’s close enough and it shows you were at least looking in the right direction.

Now what does it mean if you say that they represent us? If they represent us, or are our representatives, does that not mean that they derive their authority from us; that we are their employers; or a better way of saying it, their superiors and it is we who tell then what to do and what not to do; not vice versa?

This may come as a surprise to you but you hold more political power than your government does; and this applies from the mayor of the smallest town to the President of the United States. Sure they have the power to enact laws and have these huge bureaucracies at their control, but all their power and authority is delegated power given them by the consent of the people; which means that those that created government hold more power than those who occupy the seats of power within government.

What I have been skirting around is the matter of sovereignty. Sovereignty is defined as the supreme or absolute political power in a state or country. I suppose another way of saying it is that sovereignty is the well from which all political power flows; and in our system of government that well is the people.

I’m going to be getting ahead of myself here, but we created government in America; we tell it what to do and upon what areas it may enact laws upon. When our government passes laws in respect to those specific areas which we have delegated authority to it, the laws they pass are supreme and binding upon us. But when government passes laws that overstep its delegated authority those laws are effectively null and void; and no one is bound to obey them.

That’s why there is this little thing in our Constitution called the Supremacy Clause; found in Article 6, Clause 2, which states, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof….shall be the supreme Law of the Land…” (My emphasis) Now if you tie that in with what the 10th Amendment to the Constitution says, then maybe you’ll see why the laws passed by our government which are not in accordance with their specifically delegated powers are null and void. The 10th Amendment states, “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.”

So if the powers not delegated to the government are reserved to the States or the people, and if the Constitution only grants supremacy to the laws which are passed in accordance with the specific powers granted it, what is the status of any law passed by our government which exceeds those specific powers? Well for one thing I would say it is criminal; because the Constitution is, in fact, a law, and each person holding office takes an oath to support and defend it. Secondly, if they are not in accordance with the specific powers granted government, then they hold no force over us; unless you want to admit that by using force to compel our obedience to them our government has become tyrannical.

But as I said, I was getting ahead of myself. So let’s get back on course and let me explain a few things.

To understand political power in our system of government you need to have a basic understanding of two things; what state men are in when no government exists, and what state the Colonists were in prior to the Revolution.

Let’s begin with a short discussion of what state men are in when no government exists. It can safely be assumed that if there is no form of government, then there are no laws being passed which restrict the actions of the individual. In his Second Treatise, John Locke speaks of this state of nature as follows: TO understand political power right, and derive it from its original, we must consider, what state all men are naturally in, and that is, a state of perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons, as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave, or depending upon the will of any other man.

However, Locke goes on to explain how this is not a state of total freedom to do whatever we please, that we have the Law of Nature which governs our actions, “But though this be a state of liberty, yet it is not a state of licence: though man in that state have an uncontroulable liberty to dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as any creature in his possession, but where some nobler use than its bare preservation calls for it. The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions…”

However, man is not a perfect creature and we do not always respect the rights of others. I think this is what Madison was getting at when he said, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” (Source: Federalist 51) If men were, in fact, angels, there would be no murder, men wouldn’t steal from one another, and man would be happy and enjoy all their natural rights. But, since men are not angels, there is a need for some governing body to ensure that the rights of all are protected. That is the purpose for which our Founders believed government should serve; to protect the rights of those it governs; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” (Source: Declaration of Independence)

Now let’s touch upon what state the Colonists lived in prior to the Revolution. The earliest States began as English Colonies; in which those under British rule were given charters, granted them by the Crown, to establish settlements of English subjects in the New World. Although they were removed from the Crown by an ocean they were still subject to the laws enacted by Parliament and the King.

Now if you work for an employer you are subject, at least to a certain extent, to their will. They may tell you to go do this, or go do that, and you are required to do those tasks if you wish to keep your job. But slaves are also subject to the will of their masters, and the only thing which differentiates the two is the extent to which your rights are violated by those whose commands you are subject to.

As long as government respects the rights of those it governs, then government is good. But if government begins denying, or limiting the free exercise of your rights government becomes tyrannical. It goes against all the laws of nature to even suggest that man must submit to tyranny; that he must sit back and allow his rights to be violated without seeking a means to restore them.

Such was the case of our Founders; they felt that the Crown had enacted laws which violated their rights as freemen. They tried petitioning the King to restore those rights; all to no avail. They actively resisted the laws which they felt violated their rights; only to have more laws enacted which further restricted their rights. Therefore, they were left with a choice; either submit to tyranny or sever the bonds which tied them to a government that refused to respect their rights. They chose the latter when they declared their independence.

Once the Colonists had defeated the British, the ties which bound them to English rule had been irrevocably severed. So, what state did the Colonists exist under at that point in time? To answer my own question, I offer you a portion of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Chisholm v. Georgia, Chief Justice John Jay presiding, “…at the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people, and they are truly the sovereigns of the country…”

Now we get to the point where I have a discussion over the difference between a democracy and a republic. You believe we have a democracy as that is what you read in your textbooks, it is what you hear on the news, and it is what comes from the lips of those you elect to represent you. But we DO NOT have a democracy!!!

A pure democracy is a system in which the people gather together to enact that law that is binding upon all; with a simple majority being all that is required for a law to go into effect. Then there is a representative democracy in which we select people to represent us, but with the same simple majority being the only thing needed to enact law. I think it is this latter form of democracy that the people of America believe we have today; but again, they would be wrong.

What we have is a Republic. A republic differs from a democracy in that there are written laws, or constitutions, which give the government the authority to enact laws upon certain specific areas. When James Madison was arguing in defense of ratification to the delegates chosen by the Commonwealth of Virginia to either adopt or reject the constitution, he made the following statement, “[T]he powers of the federal government are enumerated; it can only operate in certain cases; it has legislative powers on defined and limited objects, beyond which it cannot extend its jurisdiction.”

I would read that as many times as required for it to sink in as James Madison’s words ought to carry great weight in deciding how much power you allow your government to exercise on your behalves. After all, he is the so-called Father of our Constitution; so if anyone knows what limits it imposes upon our government it would be him.

There is something else; if you are unable to accept that the Constitution imposes limits upon what our government does, then you cannot complain when one of the laws it passes affects you adversely; for you yourselves have accepted the premise that the limits imposed by the Constitution do not apply to our government. If that ever happens, you will have to accept that you are just a victim of your own beliefs and have no one but yourselves to blame.

That is probably my biggest gripe with the two-party system in America. When the Democrats hold a majority in Congress and the Presidency the Republicans scream bloody murder about their abuses of power. But when the tables are turned and they hold a majority in Congress and the Presidency, they go deathly silent when their party abuses the power given them. The reverse is also true, the Democrats scream about abuses of power by the Republicans, but then go silent when their party violates the Constitution and abuses the power given them. It makes me sick to my stomach to watch the hypocrisy from both sides of the political spectrum.

Now I’d like to ask you another question: If our government truly is a representative form of government, then who was it established to represent? If you had bothered to read the Constitution you would have seen, that as it was originally established, it represented two distinct sovereign bodies; the people and the States.

During the convention which produced the Constitution a great deal of discussion was given to whether or not the States should be represented by this form of government. Some felt that by representing the States it would limit federal authority and not be a truly republican form of government. Others felt that if the States were not represented it would amount to a consolidation of the individual States into one single nation; of which the government they were in the process of creating would be at the head.

It was finally realized that without some form of State representation in this new system of government, there was no chance that the States would even accept the finished document once the convention convened. So the Congress was established as a bicameral body; with one house representing the people and the other representing the States.

The reason I bring this up is because there is a political concept that states, “all politics begins locally.” If we truly are sovereigns, meaning that all political power ultimately resides with us, then it must flow upwards in government. A group of people may combine into a community and elect a mayor, or some other person to manage the affairs of their community. The authority given that mayor only extends to those who chose him; he/she cannot pass laws or ordinances which affect others in another city or town.

The next step up on the rung of political hierarchy is the County. Cities then unite together under a County Government, which has the authority to enact laws and ordinances which affect who? Why, the cities.

The Counties then combine and establish a constitution which creates a State government. See where I’m going with this?

Therefore, who was it that came together to establish our federal government; it certainly wasn’t due to a large outcry of the people. No, delegates were sent to Philadelphia on behalf of the States they represented; therefore it can be said that the federal government was established to enact laws which applied primarily to the States as sovereign entities. Even though it was ratified by Assemblies chosen from among the people, those people were chosen by the various counties and represented their State. A delegate from Virginia did not speak for the people or the State of Pennsylvania or Massachusetts; he spoke only for HIS State.

I’ve read most of the ratification statements issued by the States and they all declare that they are acting on behalf of their State, or the people of their State. The State retained all power and authority which was not directly delegated to the federal government by the Constitution. In fact, it was commonly accepted that if the government created by the Constitution ever made a tyrannical use of its power, that the power given them by any State may be revoked; with it returning to those who had originally granted it. The ratification statement for the State of New York expressly states, “That the Powers of Government may be reassumed by the People, whensoever it shall become necessary to their Happiness…”

You do see where I’m going with this, don’t you? And since this is turning out to be much longer than anticipated, I suppose this is as good a place as any for a break. So I’ll be back tomorrow with the conclusion. Till then, stay tuned…

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I Refuse To Shut Up

I honestly think that most people do not understand the concept of pure and absolute freedom; or liberty if you will. A quick search of the web finds the following definition for liberty: the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views. Using that as your definition, can you honestly say that you enjoy true liberty right here and now in the US of A?

Can you strap on a sidearm and walk outside your home without fear of being hassled by law enforcement? Can you build an addition onto your home without obtaining a permit, and then having every step of your progress inspected and monitored by some government flunky? Can you hunt or fish to provide sustenance for your family without first obtaining a license to do so? Can you openly speak your mind without someone telling you that what you are saying is hurtful or offensive?

Tell me again how much freedom you enjoy; I’d really like to hear how you justify your position.

When I speak of rights, most people assume I’m talking about the biggies; freedom of speech and religion; freedom to enter my home and be safe and secure against unreasonable searches and seizures; and the right to keep and bear arms. But people seem to have forgotten the 9th Amendment, which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Do you believe that you have the right to eat, to sleep, and to go out and work? If so, then why are not those rights also protected by constitutional amendment like the more commonly known rights are? Well, you see, they are…by the 9th Amendment; the catch all amendment that covers all the other rights which were not specifically mentioned by the previous 8 amendments.

The thing about rights is that they require no permission to exercise, and they cannot be abridged or restricted because others find the exercise of them offensive. My rights end where your rights begin; not where your feelings begin, or where your need is.

You cannot tell me that I must donate a portion of my pay to fund your existence; and if you cannot do that, then government has no right to enact a law which says I must either. You cannot tell that I cannot say this or that simply because you find the things I say offensive. You cannot deny me the right to arm myself for my own personal protection simply because you have been conditioned to fear guns.

All of our civil rights, as people have taken to calling them, are derived from Natural Rights. In his treatise The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine states it thusly, “We have now to consider the civil rights of man, and to show how the one originates from the other. Man did not enter into society to become worse than he was before, nor to have fewer rights than he had before, but to have those rights better secured. His natural rights are the foundation of all his civil rights.”

Our Founding Fathers understood their rights far better than the average American does today; and they were willing to defend them against any and all attacks. That is primarily because our children aren’t taught about them in school, but it can also be attributed to how much more we value comfort and security over freedom and liberty. If we do not value our rights, we are more likely to see them taken from us.

Samuel Adams once said, “Among the Natural Rights of the Colonists are these First. a Right to Life; Secondly to Liberty; thirdly to Property; together with the Right to support and defend them in the best manner they can–Those are evident Branches of, rather than deductions from the Duty of Self Preservation, commonly called the first Law of Nature.”

So you see, not only do we have the rights of Life, Liberty and Property, we also have the right to DEFEND those rights in the best manner we can. And, if I might be so bold to ask, how can you defend something if you are unarmed; or if those seeking to deprive you of your rights are better armed?

If liberty is the ability to fully exercise your rights; including the complete control over how you wish to spend the fruits of your labor, [your income], then what would you call the state we find ourselves in where almost every aspect of our lives is taxed and regulated? I sometimes think that if government could find a way to measure the oxygen consumption of people, they’d come up with a tax upon it and create an entire bureaucracy to regulate it.

How familiar are you with the events which led our Founders to declare their independence from England? You probably have heard of the Boston Tea Party in response to the tax imposed upon tea, and you may have heard about the Stamp Act which imposed a tax upon all printed material; but have you ever heard of the Declaratory Act? The Declaratory Act was an act of Parliament to save face. Boycotts over the Stamp Act had hurt British trade with the Colonies, and in an effort to save face the taxes imposed by both the Stamp and Sugar Acts were lessened, while at the same time Parliament affirmed that it, “…had hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America … in all cases whatsoever.”

To bind them in all cases whatsoever seems to me like Parliament was telling the Colonists that they enjoyed only those rights Parliament felt like bestowing upon them. If you ask me that sounds a whole lot like bondage and servitude; not liberty and freedom. In The American Crisis, Thomas Paine writes about it as follows, “Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared, that she has a right (not only to TAX) but “to BIND us in ALL CASES WHATSOEVER,” and if being bound in that manner is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth.”

Are people today that blind, that obtuse, that they cannot see that the America we live in is just as oppressive? Can they not see that we are taxed to the point where it has become theft? Can they not see that our government has sought to bind us in all cases whatsoever; from the height of a cyclone fence in our yards to how much water our toilets can use when we flush them? There is hardly a thing we can do that is not somehow regulated by our government; and as Paine said, if that isn’t slavery, then there is not such a thing as slavery upon earth.

This system of government we suffer under today is NOT what our Founders fought to secure for us in 1776. Mather Byles, the prominent Boston clergyman who opposed the war for independence, once said, “Which is better – to be ruled by one tyrant three thousand miles away or by three thousand tyrants one mile away?” While we may not have 3,000 tyrants, we certainly have 546 of them; if you include all of Congress, plus the Executive and Judicial branches. Not to mention that this government has erected a multitude of bureaucracies whose sole purpose is to ensure that we COMPLY with the laws our government passes.

Tell me again that you’re not a slave.

Yet the vast majority of people in this country are only concerned that someone from their party sits in the Oval Office. They don’t care that they are taxed for things the constitution does not authorize their government to do, nor do they care that their rights are slowly disappearing. All they care about is whether or not there is a Republican or a Democrat residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Lysander Spooner once said, “A man is no less a slave because he is allowed to choose a new master once in a term of years.” Just because you are allowed to choose who will increase or lower your taxes, or take away more of your freedom does not make you free; regardless of what name you give to our system of government. You can call it a Republic, a democracy, whatever you want, but if it does not secure your liberty it is tyrannical.

If you were a true patriot you would see this, and you would be just as angry about it as I am. But, as Patrick Henry bemoaned when he addressed the Virginia Ratifying Assembly, “I am fearful I have lived long enough to become an fellow: Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man, may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old fashioned: If so, I am contented to be so: I say, the time has been when every pore of my heart beat for American liberty, and which, I believe, had a counterpart in the breast of every true American.”

If slavery and servitude is what you want, then fine, put on your shackles and I hope you find contentment in it. But don’t you dare expect me to follow suit; I will oppose it with all that I am until my last dying breath; and the more oppressive our system of government becomes, the more outspoken I will become. And this applies just as equally to those who, by their ignorance and apathy, consent to slavery as it does to those who actually forge the chains which bind you to it.

In other words, I’m not going to shut up until they kill me, or you wake up to the fact that you are not free, and you take measures to regain the freedom you have allowed to be taken from you.

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Your Ignorance Will End Up Biting You in the Ass

“Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they
think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”

The above quote has been attributed to Thomas Alva Edison, although no record of him ever saying that exists. There is also another version of it attributed to Bernard Shaw in which the percentages are slightly different, but the sentiment remains the same. Whether or not either of them actually made that statement is irrelevant; someone at some point in time did. I actually wish I was the originator of that quote, for I think it is a pretty accurate representation of the people of this country.

Nowhere is the sentiment expressed by that quote in more evidence than in what people think are the things the constitution authorizes their government to do on their behalf. It doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you align yourself with, you most likely support the things your party does while it holds a political majority that are blatantly unconstitutional.

I constantly see and hear people make comments about how the Democrats, or liberals in general, violate the Constitution and are eroding the principles this country was founded upon. While their claims are true, these people are unwilling to take a deep look at what their party stands for and how IT is equally guilty of eroding the principles America was founded upon.

Either the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, or it isn’t; either you care about what it says are the powers given our government, or you don’t. You cannot justify your party’s repeated violations of the Constitution simply because it is YOUR PARTY doing the violating!

The problem is getting people to actually think about whether or not what the government is doing is constitutional or not; and you can’t hope to achieve that if the people themselves don’t know what the intent of the Constitution was when it was first ratified in 1789.

People have this ridiculous belief that because they attended a 36 week civics course in high school, (if it’s even that long), that they have a thorough understanding of our Constitution. I’ve been studying the damned thing for the past 20 years and I’m still learning things about it that shatter previously held illusions.

The thing about the truth is that it is often buried under layer upon layer of lies, and to get to it you have to uncover one lie, only to find that you’ve encountered another lie. You keep peeling away at the lies like you peel away the layers of an onion; until finally you arrive at the illusive entity known as THE TRUTH. But just as peeling an onion can be uncomfortable, and make you cry, seeking out the truth can also cause you a certain degree of discomfort as you find your entire belief system rocked to its core.

I honestly believe it is the measure of a person’s integrity whether or not they allow their beliefs to get in the way of the truth; whether or not, when presented with incontrovertible evidence which shatters their beliefs, they go on believing the lies anyway. I also find it a measure of the character of a person how much value they attach to knowledge. I can’t count the people I know who place more value upon sporting events than they do knowledge; and as James Madison said, “And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

The more knowledge one acquires the less ignorant they become. People have this mistaken belief that when someone calls them ignorant they are calling them stupid. To me, stupidity is knowing that you’re ignorant, but not doing anything about it. Then again, I also believe it is stupid to continue to hold on to beliefs when the facts prove those beliefs to be based upon lies.

Had you taken the time to actually sit down and read the Constitution, you would find that there are only around 17 powers given to our government. (See Article 1, Section 8) Is it just me, or have you ever stopped to think that after almost 230 years of existence our government may have pretty much passed just about every possible law the Constitution authorizes them to? Of course the answer to that question is based upon whether or not you believe the Constitution to be a law which clearly defines what our government can, and cannot do.

In Federalist 45 James Madison wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” I can’t speak for you, but that sounds awfully straightforward to me. To me that sounds like Madison was saying, “The federal government doesn’t have a whole lot of power, and what power it does have is clearly identified.” But then again that whole precept is based upon whether or not Madison was lying; that he sought to deceive those he was trying to convince into accepting a Constitution which held hidden, implied powers.

If that is actually the case, Madison wouldn’t be the only one who said whatever was convenient to get people to accept what he was proposing. Alexander Hamilton switched positions numerous times to support certain measures and proposals. During the Constitutional Convention Hamilton said that “The general power whatever be its form if it preserves itself, must swallow up the State powers.” Then during the Ratification Assembly for the State of New York he did an about face and declared, “I insist that it can never be in the interest or desire of the national legislature to destroy the state governments.” But then when Hamilton became Secretary of the Treasury for George Washington, he reverted back to his original beliefs, and everything he did was designed to undermine State Sovereignty.

During the administration of President Washington the question of whether Congress should charter a national bank came under discussion. The question of whether Congress had the power to create corporations became a focal point of the discussions; with one side saying it was within the authority of Congress to do so, and the other side saying it wasn’t.

It was during these debates that James Madison laid down what would become the concept of original intent, or originalism. From notes on the debates over a national bank we read, “After some general remarks on the limitations of all political power, he [Madison] took notice of the peculiar manner in which the Federal Government is limited. It is not a general grant, out of which particular powers are expected; it is a grant of particular powers only, leaving the general mass in other hands. So it had been understood by its friends and foes, and so it was to be interpreted.” (Emphasis added)

If the Constitution is, in fact, a law, then it means the same thing today as it did when it was first put into operation in 1789. The only way by which the powers exercised by our federal government can legally be expanded are by the amendment process found in Article 5.

I used to think George Washington was one of the best Presidents America had ever produced; that is until I began digging into some of the things he did while President. While he is, by no means, as bad as some of the more recent presidents we’ve had, he certainly has dropped down a notch or two in my own opinion of him.

Nonetheless, in his Farewell Address to the people of America he did say something I fully agree with, “If in the opinion of the People, the distribution or modification of the Constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.”

In January 1918 enough States had voted in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to ban the production and sale of intoxicating liquors. Although the 18th Amendment was repealed in 1936, that was the proper way by which more power can be bestowed upon the federal government. Now, I ask you to find a copy of the Constitution, and all of the ratified amendments, and find the one which gives government the power to criminalize the possession or use of marijuana.

I could save you the trouble and tell you that there is no amendment giving the federal government that authority; but that hasn’t stopped them from doing just that. That, my friends, is usurpation; exactly what Washington warned was the means by which free governments are destroyed.

Aided and abetted by the 9 black robed tyrants of the Supreme Court our government has amassed a whole list of powers which are not ‘few and defined.’ Mandatory health insurance, no problem, the SCOTUS calls a penalty for not having it a tax; twisting the meaning of taxation to justify another assumption of federal control and authority.

How many other laws has our government passed because of its refusal to adhere strictly to those ‘few and defined’ powers found in Article 1, Section 8? I can pretty much tell you that almost every law passed over the course of my 60 yrs of existence have exceeded the ‘few and defined’ powers given our government by the framers of our Constitution.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m picking on Republicans, because the Democrats aren’t really any better, but at least they don’t go around masquerading as conservatives; they are open about what they stand for. Yet the Republicans go around espousing their so-called conservative platform, and the party faithful get in line behind them and cast their votes for candidates who couldn’t tell the difference between the Constitution and a roll of toilet paper.

That same goes for those of you who continue to stand behind Donald Trump. While he may truly have America’s best interests in mind that should not be the standard by which his actions as President are judged. Rather his actions should be judged based solely upon whether the Constitution authorized him or the government in general, to do these things.

I’m not a huge fan of the statesman Daniel Webster; in fact I pretty much despise the man. Yet he did say something that I find to be quite true, “Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions.”

Yet because an overwhelming majority of the people of this country don’t know, or don’t care, what the Constitution says, they allow their government to violate it at will; assuming all manner of power that it was never intended it possess. All the justification the need is that it is in the general welfare, or the Supreme Court has given it their stamp of approval; as if the Court cannot also be guilty of twisting and perverting the original intent of the framers!

In 1816, speaking for the Court, Justice Joseph Story took Madison’s originalism and deposited it in the trash can, to be replaced by the belief that the Constitution is a living breathing thing which can be interpreted at will by the people of any given generation. In his ruling in the case of Martin v Hunter’s Lessee, Justice Story states, “Hence its powers are expressed in general terms, leaving to the legislature, from time to time, to adopt its own means to effectuate legitimate objects, and to mould and model the exercise of its powers, as its own wisdom, and the public interests, should require.”

Mould and model the exercise of its powers? Whatever power our government has is because it was delegated to them by those who ratified the Constitution, and they are not to be increased by the entity created by the Constitution without the grossest of violations of our trust.

Story’s ruling goes against everything Madison stood for when he argued against the chartering of a national bank, and what Jefferson argued against in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Acts, “…that the government created by this compact [the Constitution for the United States] was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers…”

Yet it seems that no matter how hard I try, I can’t get people to stop playing the two party paradigm or casting their votes for the lesser of two evils. If you cannot admit that your political party is just as corrupt as the other one then you’ll never free your mind enough so that you can see the depth of the corruption that pervades every nook and cranny of our entire government.

If you can’t see that, then honestly, I’m wasting my time talking to you; go bury your head back in the sand and everything will be just hunky dory…after all, isn’t that what your party says; that if you trust them and their policies, then everything will be just fine.

You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what caused the problem in the first place; and if you keep on trying the same solutions that have already proven to be failures in the past, then the problem is gonna be there when you wake up again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and…

But that’s okay, your party is right and the other party is wrong, and eventually your party will figure it out and fix all of America’s problems. Well, here, I dug a hole just for you; place your head in it and all will be well in America…trust me.

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Black Robed Tyrants

When one mentions the words tyrant or tyranny people usually picture a cruel and oppressive king or a dictator like Hitler Mao or Stalin. Rarely do those words come to mind in reference to a government which consists of people chosen in open democratic elections, and those words apply even less to the branch of that government which is supposed to proved justice; the Judiciary.

Yet if you want my honest opinion, the Judicial Branch of our government is the most dangerous, and has caused the most erosion to our constitution than both the Legislative and Executive combined. Sure, from time to time they get things right in their rulings, but they rarely hesitate to use their authority to expand both their power, and that of the government in general.

The problem with the Judicial Branch is that people believe it to have the final say in what laws are constitutional and which aren’t; which simply isn’t why the Judicial Branch was written into our constitution. In fact, in a letter to Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson wrote of his opposition to that belief, “BUT THE OPINION which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.”

The Supreme Court is supposed to provide justice within the sphere defined by the powers constitution authorizes government to touch upon in its day to day operations. For example, if the constitution does not specifically say that the federal government has the authority to enact a national speed limit, but it does anyway, the SCOTUS cannot, without extending its jurisdiction beyond what it was intended it be, hear a case revolving around an unconstitutional law such as a national speed limit.

Such a law, if enacted, would be the purview of the State Courts to hear, and it is within their authority to declare a federal law in violation of the constitution, and render a decision that no crime has been committed when a citizen violates an unconstitutional law.

This principle is affirmed by 16th American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 256 137, 180, where it states, “The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it. No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law, and no courts are bound to enforce it.” (My emphasis)

In Federalist 48 James Madison writes, “It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it. After discriminating, therefore, in theory, the several classes of power, as they may in their nature be legislative, executive, or judiciary, the next and most difficult task is to provide some practical security for each, against the invasion of the others.”

Madison was not only speaking of power in a general sense as it applies to government, but to the individual branches of a government; such as the Judicial Branch. Each branch of government has their own sphere of authority; the Legislative makes the laws, the Executive executes them, and the Judiciary hears cases involving them. They cannot decide whether or not the laws are constitutional; that is for the people or the States to decide.

Again referencing Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Judge William Johnson Jefferson writes, “This case of Marbury and Madison is continually cited by bench and bar, as if it were settled law, without any animadversions on its being merely an obiter dissertation of the Chief Justice … . But the Chief Justice says, “there must be an ultimate arbiter somewhere.” True, there must; but … . The ultimate arbiter is the people ….”

Since I’ve broached the subject of Marbury v Madison, let’s spend a few minutes discussing this landmark case in which the Chief Justice set the precedent for the concept of judicial review; the courts determining whether or not a law violates the constitution.

Near the end of his administration, President John Adams sought to stack the judiciary with Federalist judges in vacancies within the federal court system. One of these judges, William Marbury, had been appointed Justice of the Peace over the District of Columbia by President Adams; however his commission had not been delivered when incoming President Jefferson assumed office. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court in an effort to get Secretary of State Madison to deliver his commission; which Madison refused to do.

The Supreme Court, under the leadership of Chief Justice John Marshall, first declared that Madison had acted illegally by withholding Marbury’s commission. However, the Court also declared that a provision within the Judiciary Act of 1789 which allowed Marbury to petition the Court was, in and of itself, unconstitutional, and the Court would exceed its jurisdiction by hearing the case.

This was the first time that the Supreme Court had issued a ruling in which it declared a law passed by Congress was unconstitutional; thereby setting a precedent for future panels of Justices to follow. Although Marshall had declined to hear Marbury’s petition, he accomplished something, which for him, was far more important; a huge expansion of the power held by the Supreme Court.

The next case of any importance comes 16 years after Marbury v Madison when the Court heard the case of McCulloch v Maryland. The federal government had chartered a national bank, much like the Federal Reserve today, and the State of Maryland had sought to oppose it by levying a tax upon all bank notes that were not issued by banks chartered by the Maryland Legislature. In effect, they were taxing the money being produced by decree of the federal government.

The head of the Baltimore branch of the Second Bank of the United States, James McCulloch, refused to pay the tax. He was then sued, with the case making its way to the Maryland Court of Appeals. The prosecution’s argument was that the constitution is silent in regards to the federal government’s authority to charter a bank, therefore the act which gave the Second Bank of the United States its authority was, itself, unconstitutional.

That is the Jeffersonian understanding of how to nullify unconstitutional law; by allowing the people, or the direct representatives of the people in the State Legislatures, to determine whether or not a law is constitutional or not. However, the case was appealed to the Supreme Court; whereupon it waved its magic wand and came up with the view that the constitution held ‘implied powers’; powers that were not specifically mentioned, but existed nonetheless.

Although the Court had not given itself any new power by their ruling in McCulloch, they did open the Pandora’s Box of implied powers which has led to far reaching interpretations of the General Welfare, Necessary and Proper and Commerce Clauses of the Constitution; which coincidentally are the foundation for almost every single unconstitutional law that has been passed since 1819.

But it was not only the fact that the SCOTUS had opened Pandora’s Box in regards to implied powers that makes the McCulloch case so important; it is the fact that the Supreme Court held the federal authority was superior to that of the States; thereby eroding the ability of the States to resist unconstitutional laws.

But the assault upon the constitution came when the Supreme Court heard the case of Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee. The case revolved around the ownership of land in the State of Virginia wherein land owned by a British Loyalist, Thomas Fairfax, who had fled to England during the American Revolution. In the meantime, the Virginia Legislature had passed a confiscatory act which declared that land within Virginia could not be deeded, or given away, to foreign nationals. However, Fairfax had deeded his land to his nephew, Denny Fairfax, who was also a British National.

The Treaty of Paris which had ended the American Revolution required that all land owned by British Loyalists was to be returned to the rightful owners. The case remained pretty much in limbo in the Virginia court system for almost 20 years before it reached the Supreme Court in its first incarnation; Devisee v. Hunter’s Lessee, where Justice Joseph Story utilized the Supremacy Clause to declare that Virginia must abide by the terms of, not only the Treaty of Paris, but the Jay Treaty which had recently been passed; respecting ownership of land of British Loyalists.

However, the Virginia Court of Appeals refused to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling, stating that it did not have the authority to issue a writ of mandamus to execute its order that the land be returned to Denny Fairfax.

In 1816 the Supreme Court revisited the case; this time under the title of Martin v Hunter’s Lessee. The Supreme Court fully understood the gravity of this case. If they allowed the Virginia appellate court ruling to stand, their power over the State Courts would be severely weakened; something they simply would not allow to happen.

In his ruling Judge Joseph Story built upon the previous cases and expanded the interpretation of the constitution to new uncharted territory. For instance, the belief that our constitution is not a fixed law, that it is a living constitution subject to change as times change, can directly be attributed to Joseph Story and his ruling in Martin v Hunter’s Lessee.

Story argued, “The constitution unavoidably deals in general language. It did not suit the purposes of the people, in framing this great charter of our liberties, to provide for minute specifications of its powers, or to declare the means by which those powers should be carried into execution. It was foreseen that this would be a perilous and difficult, if not an impracticable, task. The instrument was not intended to provide merely for the exigencies of a few years, but was to endure through a long lapse of ages, the events of which were locked up in the inscrutable purposes of Providence. It could not be foreseen what new changes and modifications of power might be indispensable to effectuate the general objects of the charter; and restrictions and specifications, which, at the present, might seem salutary, might, in the end, prove the overthrow of the system itself. Hence its powers are expressed in general terms, leaving to the legislature, from time to time, to adopt its own means to effectuate legitimate objects, and to mould and model the exercise of its powers, as its own wisdom, and the public interests, should require.”

The first time I read that I literally dropped the book I found it in and said, “Holy shit!” I know that passage is long, and for those who aren’t used to reading lengthy legal passages, may be a bit confusing. So allow me to put it into simpler terms; basically was Story was saying is, “The Constitution can mean whatever the present generation thinks it means.”

In any case, by invoking the Supremacy Clause, Joseph Story placed the federal judiciary above the State judiciaries; one more step towards that despotic branch of government that Jefferson feared it would become.

The final assault, or coup de grace if you will, came in the 1821 case of Cohen’s v Virginia. At the time the case was heard lottery ticket sales; which had been approved by Congress, but were illegal in the State of Virginia. Two Virginians, P.J. and M.J. Cohen were arrested and fined for violating Virginia’s restriction on the sale of lottery tickets.

The legal team which represented the Cohen brothers did not wait to hear what decision the Virginia Court of Appeals would render; instead they directly petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case; which the SCOTUS jumped at due to the opportunity to expand federal supremacy over the States.
Among those chosen by Virginia Governor Thomas Mann Randolph to defend Virginia’s position was Philip Pendleton Barbour; and he came loaded for bear.

Among the arguments offered by Barbour was the following:

“…a two-fold system of legislation pervades the United States; the one of which I will call Federal, the other municipal. The first belongs by the Constitution of the United States to Congress, and consists of the powers of war, peace, commerce, negotiation, and those general powers, which make up our external relations, together with a few powers of the internal kind, which require uniformity in their operation: the second belongs to the States, and consists of whatever is not included in the first, embracing everything connected with the internal police and economy of the several States.”

If you are a long time reader of my articles, that may sound strikingly familiar. It ought to, it is almost the exact same thing James Madison said in Federalist 45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.

The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”

Not only had Barbour reiterated what Madison said, he included that basic premise of the 10th Amendment into his argument, “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 other member of Governor Randolph’s defense team was Alexander Smyth, who delivered his own assault upon the federal position, “If you correct the errors of the Courts of Virginia, you either make them Courts of the United States, or you make the Supreme Court of the United States part of the judiciary of Virginia. The United States can only pronounce the judgment of the United States. Virginia alone can pronounce the judgment of Virginia.”

One of the lawyers for the Cohen brothers, David Ogden, scoffed at the idea of State sovereignty, stating, “We deny, since the establishment of the national constitution, there is any such thing as a sovereign State, independent of the Union.”

Two weeks after hearing arguments, Justice Marshall delivered the Courts ruling; spending much of the time condemning Virginia for their having the unmitigated gall to oppose the federal court system. Marshall, as was to be expected came down on the side of the federal government, just one more assault upon State’s rights and State authority a fait accompli, [a thing that has already happened or been decided before those affected hear about it, leaving them with no option but to accept].

I could go on and discuss Justice’s Hugo Black’s introduction of the concept of incorporation as it refers to applying the Bill of Rights to the States, or Justice John Roberts twisted interpretation of taxation in upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare, but I won’t bore you.

Just know this, the Supreme Court of the United States has done more damage to the fabric of our Constitution than the government itself could ever have hoped to do. Not only did the Supreme Court open the door for all manner of laws which violate the constitution, it rolled out the red carpet and sent out invitations for corruption and vice to enter into our political system. In short, Jefferson’s worst fears became the reality we live under today.

In closing I’d like to leave you with three more quotes from Jefferson regarding the federal judiciary. The first comes from a letter to Thomas Ritchie, dated September 1820, ”The judiciary of the United States is the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working underground to undermine our Constitution from a co-ordinate of a general and special government to a general supreme one alone. This will lay all things at their feet. … I will say, that “against this every man should raise his voice,” and, more, should uplift his arm …”

The next comes from a letter to Judge Spencer Roane, written a year earlier, “If [as the Federalists say] “the judiciary is the last resort in relation to the other departments of the government,” … , then indeed is our Constitution a complete felo de so. … The Constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they may please. It should be remembered, as an axiom of eternal truth in politics, that whatever power in any government is independent, is absolute also; in theory only, at first, while the spirit of the people is up, but in practice, as fast as that relaxes. Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law …”

The final comes from a letter written to William Jarvis in 1820, “You seem to consider the judges the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges … and their power [are] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and are not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves … . When the legislative or executive functionaries act unconstitutionally, they are responsible to the people in their elective capacity. The exemption of the judges from that is quite dangerous enough. I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves.”

And this concludes your history lesson for today..

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Neal’s Tax Rant For 2018

The 1920’s saw the rise of notorious Chicago gangster Al Capone from a bouncer in a brothel, (where he coincidentally developed syphilis) to Public Enemy No. 1 after the Valentine’s Day Massacre where seven rival gang members were murdered. Capone eventually was arrested, and spent 8 years out of an 11 year sentence before being paroled. But Capone never served any time in prison for his racketeering enterprises; he was tried and convicted for….TAX EVASION.

Yes ladies and gents, as April 17 slowly draws near, it’s time for Neal’s annual rant on taxation. So buckle your seat belts and enjoy the ride…
Do you remember when the actor Wesley Snipes was arrested and tried for tax evasion? What were your sentiments when he was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years in federal prison? Were you happy that someone who had attempted to defraud the government was brought to justice? I can tell you how I felt; I felt sad because I do not support our government’s right to tax the earnings of the people of this country; no matter how legal they say that right is.

When talking about taxation there are basically two types; indirect and direct. Indirect taxes are those in which the consumer does not directly pay to the government. A perfect example of an indirect tax is the sales tax. When you purchase an item at a store, the sales clerk adds the tax to the price of the item you are purchasing, and they then pay the taxes owed to the government.

A direct tax, on the other hand, is paid directly to the government by the person who owes it. A perfect example of a direct tax is the income that is withheld from your pay to fund the operation of our government.

I don’t think most people fully realize the extent to which they are taxed; I really don’t. Do you have a cell phone? Have you ever closely examined your monthly bill? Did you fail to notice that you are taxed for using the airwaves? How about your cable bill; ever stop to look at the taxes you pay for having hundreds of channels of garbage to watch on your TV? Well all drive, right? Well when you fill your tank you are also paying taxes; and in California where I live that tax is $.41.7 cents per gallon.

Of course we’re not the only ones who are taxed; businesses and corporations are taxed as well. You don’t think they are going to shoulder the burden of paying those taxes when they can easily pass them on to consumers by raising the price of the goods they manufacture, do you?

Almost from the moment we enter this world we are bombarded with taxes; and death passes those taxes on to our posterity in the form of inheritance taxes. So we pay taxes upon the goods we acquire throughout our lives, then when we die our children are taxed simply because they obtain ownership of what had belonged to their parents.

In 1966 the Beatles released their seventh studio album Revolver. The first song on that album was written by George Harrison and is entitled Taxman. Read the lyrics, paying close attention to the last lines, and then I’ll get back with you.

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
Cos I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

Taxman!
Cos I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

Don’t ask me what I want it for (Aahh Mr. Wilson)
If you don’t want to pay some more (Aahh Mr. Heath)
Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
Cos I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

And you’re working for no one but me
Taxman!

The first time taxes are mentioned in the constitution is in Article 1, Section 2, where it states, “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective numbers…” So basically, if our government needed $1 million to fund its operations, it would take that one million and divide it according to the numbers taken during the most recent census; with the people of the more heavily populated States paying a larger share of the tax bill than those living in the less populated States.

Although there are only two primary types of taxes, there are many ways in which taxes can be collected within those categories. Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution mentions a few of them as ways by which our government can raise revenue, “The Congress shall have the Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States…”

Let’s look at those types of taxes more closely. A duty is a tax which is typically associated with customs; such as tariffs on imported goods. An impost is pretty much the same thing. However, an excise tax is something different altogether. An excise tax is a tax which is levied upon consumption, with the more you consume meaning the more you pay in taxes. If you have a gas guzzling SUV and your neighbor has a hybrid that uses less gas, you are going to end up paying more in excise taxes on gas because your vehicle consumes more gas than your neighbor’s hybrid. If there is an excise tax upon liquor and you are a non-drinker, then you won’t pay any excise taxes for that particular item; but if your neighbor drinks a fifth of whiskey a day, he will.

If you know your American History you will remember that the subject of taxation played a major role in the Colonies deciding to seek their independence from England; you know the whole taxation without representation thing. I find it hard to believe that they would fight a war to free themselves from oppressive taxes, only to replace their old system of government with one that had the authority to levy oppressive taxes of its own. That just doesn’t make any sense to me; but then again I see a lot of things happening today that defies reasoning.

I want to kind of veer off course for a moment to ask you a question. Who do you think would be the best source to turn to when trying to understand the meaning and intent of the constitution? Do you think the text books you learned from in high school are your best resource? Do you think it is whatever your elected officials believe the constitution means to them? Or could you possibly believe that the best way of learning what the constitution means is by actually reading what those who wrote and ratified it said about it?

In 1969 the Supreme Court heard the case of Powell v. McCormack. In their ruling they state, “The values of the Framers of the Constitution must be applied in any case construing the Constitution. Inferences from the text and history of the Constitution should be given great weight in discerning the original understanding and in determining the intentions of those who ratified the constitution. The precedential value of cases and commentators tends to increase, therefore, in proportion to their proximity to the adoption of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any other amendments.”

To put that in simple English, the closer one gets to the ratification of the constitution, the more importance one should place upon what was said as to how it was to be interpreted, or understood.

But there’s another thing I’d like for you to give a great deal of thought to. The constitution, when presented to the States, was merely a suggestion for a system of government; it had no authority over the States or the people. They had to agree to what the constitution said before the government it outlined could go into effect.

The thing was, it wasn’t an easy sell for those who wrote the document in the first place; there were many important figures from the revolution who opposed its ratification. The arguments which took place between the Federalists, (those who supported ratification), and the Anti-Federalists, (those who opposed ratification), make for fascinating reading; at least for me it does.

But the fate of the proposed constitution was not left to a vote of the people in general; it wasn’t put on a ballot measure like things are today. Instead, the fate of whether or not we would adopt the system of government proposed by the constitution rested upon those who attended the various State Ratifying Assemblies. As it were the delegates to these Assemblies who had the final say in whether or not we would implement the government being discussed, don’t you think it is how that document was sold, or presented to them that should be used as the final say in how to interpret the constitution?

Notes from the various State Ratification Assemblies are few and far between, and even harder to find for the average person. But, the writings of the Federalists, known as the Federalist Papers, aren’t. Although the Federalist Papers were a marketing campaign designed to get people to support ratification, they also can be taken to be promises that how they explain the constitution is how it was actually to be interpreted; that is of course unless they were flat out lying; which is totally within the realm of possibility.

All that aside, in Federalist 12 Alexander Hamilton states, “It is evident from the state of the country, from the habits of the people, from the experience we have had on the point itself, that it is impracticable to raise any very considerable sums by direct taxation. Tax laws have in vain been multiplied; new methods to enforce the collection have in vain been tried; the public expectation has been uniformly disappointed, and the treasuries of the States have remained empty. The popular system of administration inherent in the nature of popular government, coinciding with the real scarcity of money incident to a languid and mutilated state of trade, has hitherto defeated every experiment for extensive collections, and has at length taught the different legislatures the folly of attempting them.” (Emphasis added)

He then goes on to say, “In so opulent a nation as that of Britain, where direct taxes from superior wealth must be much more tolerable, and, from the vigor of the government, much more practicable, than in America, far the greatest part of the national revenue is derived from taxes of the indirect kind, from imposts, and from excises. Duties on imported articles form a large branch of this latter description.

In America, it is evident that we must a long time depend for the means of revenue chiefly on such duties. In most parts of it, excises must be confined within a narrow compass. The genius of the people will ill brook the inquisitive and peremptory spirit of excise laws. The pockets of the farmers, on the other hand, will reluctantly yield but scanty supplies, in the unwelcome shape of impositions on their houses and lands; and personal property is too precarious and invisible a fund to be laid hold of in any other way than by the inperceptible agency of taxes on consumption.”

Yet as soon as our constitution went into effect, and Hamilton was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Treasury, he supported an excise tax on whiskey, which led to the Whiskey Rebellion in which Washington marched federal forces into Pennsylvania to suppress.

Up until 1913 the primary source of income for our government came from tariffs and excise taxes; there was no tax upon the income of the people of the United States prior to 1913; although Abraham Lincoln did sign into law the Revenue Act of 1831 which implemented a flat tax of 3% upon anyone earning more than $800 per year.

The following year that was repealed, to be replaced by the Revenue Act of 1862 which gave us our first graduated tax scale; with 3% on incomes over $600, and 5% on incomes over $10,000. Even back then the Congress, although it consisted mostly of Northern Republicans, was clearly not concerned that it was levying a direct tax that was not apportioned; as per Article 1, Section 2 of the constitution.

But it was the year 1913 that saw us become slaves to our government via their ability to decide how much of our earnings they got to take from us to fund their operations. It was the ratification, (although there are those who claim it was never lawfully ratified by the States), that made the taxation of our income possible.

Although it took a few years, it was probably the Supreme Court’s ruling in Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan and Trust Company that probably led them to propose the 16th Amendment. In 1894 an amendment was attached to the Wilson–Gorman Tariff Act that sought to impose a 2% tax upon those earning more than $4,000 per year. The Supreme Court ruled that to be an unconstitutionally un-apportioned direct tax.

In his dissenting argument, Justice John Harlan stated, “When, therefore, this court adjudges, as it does now adjudge, that Congress cannot impose a duty or tax upon personal property, or upon income arising either from rents of real estate or from personal property, including invested personal property, bonds, stocks, and investments of all kinds, except by apportioning the sum to be so raised among the States according to population, it practically decides that, without an amendment of the Constitution – two-thirds of both Houses of Congress and three-fourths of the States concurring – such property and incomes can never be made to contribute to the support of the national government.” (Emphasis added) I don’t see what Justice Harlan’s problem was, for that is how the constitution was written, and how it was understood by those who agreed to implement it; no direct taxes without them being apportioned; and if they wanted to change that, then a constitutional amendment would be required to do so.

In any case, in 1913 they got their constitutional amendment in the form of, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” (16th Amendment)

Why this was adopted still boggles my mind. I can understand the reasoning, at least partially so. Many States were being excessively hurt by excises and tariffs and felt that an income tax upon the people would lessen that burden. But still were they so naive that they thought that if they stopped having to pay so much in tariffs or excises that the government would then just turn around and start collecting what it needed directly from their earnings? Maybe that just goes to show how people, even back in 1913, had forgotten how oppressive direct taxation could be.

Almost immediately after the 16th Amendment was ratified the Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1913; re-imposing an income tax while at the same time lowering the tariff rate from 40% to 25%; thereby beginning the process by which a large portion of our government’s revenue would come from direct taxes upon the people.

The validity of the Revenue Act of 1913 was decided upon by the Supreme Court in the 1916 case of Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, where the court held, “…subject only to such exemptions and deductions as are hereinafter allowed, the net income of a taxable person shall include gains, profits, and income derived from salaries, wages, or compensation for personal service of whatever kind and in whatever form paid, or from professions, vocations, businesses, trade, commerce, or sales, or dealings in property, whether real or personal, growing out of the ownership or use of or interest in real or personal property, also from interest, rent, dividends, securities, or the transaction of any lawful business carried on for gain or profit, or gains or profits and income derived from any source whatever….”

Read that again, very carefully, to see what the court held was taxable income; it pretty much covers every way possible by which income may be derived.

The Revenue Act of 1913 laid out the first government sanctioned graduated tax brackets upon the entire country. Those earning up to $20,000 would pay a 2% tax; those earning up to $50,000 would pay 3%; with the process capping out at those earning over $500,000 at a 7% tax rate.

Compare that to today’s tax rates, with the lowest being 12% for heads of households earning up to $13,000 and the maximum being 37% for those earning more than half a million dollars per year.

Doesn’t it strike as just a bid odd that our government was in operation for 124 years without the need for an income tax? Don’t you find it even the slightest bit disturbing that, no matter how much those blood sucking leeches take from you, that they cannot seem to pay down the debt they continue to accumulate?

The constitution does not specifically require that Congress pass an annual budget, however it is the House of Representatives which controls the purse strings, so to speak. They are the ones who decide how much money our government will spend upon the various programs our government initiates.

We, as individuals, are required to live within our means; although there are those who overextend themselves and end up declaring bankruptcy. Sure, we have credit cards, but when we reach our max we can’t just call Visa and ask for them to raise the amount we are allowed to put on our credit card.

Yet that is exactly what our government does; it asks for, what is known as a raise in the debt ceiling, allowing them to borrow more money just to keep its doors open for business. Right now, as I sit here typing this, the federal deficit; the amount our government spends beyond what it takes in from taxes, stands at $716 billion; that’s BILLION! Our national debt, the debt which we are on the hook for, stands at $20.6 TRILLION!!!

If the government were to up and tell every taxpaying American that they had to cough up the money to pay off the debt, each of us would have to write Uncle Sam a check for $170,377. But still, people vote for candidates who promise to lower the tax rate, while at the same time expect government to keep on running, while adding more programs to the list of programs they don’t have money to fund in the first place.
Excuse the language, but are we fucking insane?

I could go into the fact that this was all by design, an insidious plan to reduces us from freemen to serfs working on the federal plantation; but you wouldn’t believe that even if I provided incontrovertible evidence supporting the claim. All I can hope to do is prove to you that we cannot continue along the path we’re currently on without our system eventually imploding. Our government cannot continue to borrow at the rate it is, and expect the well to not run dry some day. And you can bet your ass that they won’t stand trial or face the consequences of the mistrust we have placed in them.

No, it will be you and I who suffer most. The thing is, I am aware of this impending crisis of Biblical proportions, and you aren’t. So at least I won’t be to blame; because I tried warning you. But you, because you continue to play your silly game of two party paradigm, never stopped to wonder when the bill will come due for all the unconstitutional bullshit you expect your government to do for you.

Believe me, I’m going to derive a great deal of enjoyment rubbing your faces in it when it all comes crashing down around us.

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Breaking Down The Gettysburg Address

(One of the only photo’s in existence of Lincoln
at Gettysburg before delivering his address.)

I don’t know what the name Gettysburg conjures up in your mind, if anything, but in my mind I get an overwhelming sense of sadness at the loss suffered by the Confederacy; for Gettysburg, along with the fall of Vicksburg probably turned the tide, which had been decidedly in favor of the Confederate Army, and eventually led to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

But it is not the town of Gettysburg, nor the battle which saw over 50,000 men die that I wish to talk about; it is the speech given by Abraham Lincoln after the battle that I wish to discuss. I can’t speak for most of the younger generations, whose history teachers have eliminated, or distorted much of our nation’s history, but anyone over 40 probably could tell you where the words, ‘Four score and seven years ago…’ come from; Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

History books tell us that Lincoln scribbled of the words to this famous speech while on a train heading to the site of the wars deadliest battle; yet that is not the case. The copies still in existence show that the surface upon which he wrote was firm, and not subject to bounces and vibration as would be the case had he written them while aboard a train. It’s also interesting to note that, of the five remaining copies in Lincoln’s handwriting, there are slight variations of the text. But all this is just filler material; it is the text of Lincoln’s address that I would like to discuss.

I once read somewhere that the best way to tell a lie is to cloak it in partial truths. I think Lincoln did that quite effectively in his Gettysburg Address. Lincoln begins by saying, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

For those of you who don’t know what a score is, aside from the total points scored by football teams that is, it represents 20 years. So what Lincoln was actually saying was, 87 years ago our fathers brought forth…which is essentially true. However, when Lincoln says that they brought forth a nation, he is being somewhat misleading.

When our country first gained its independence it was not a nation; not as we know it today anyway. A nation, back then, was considered to be a single entity under one system of government. However, America, at the end of the Revolutionary War was a confederacy of individual nations. There was the nation of Massachusetts, the nation of Virginia, etc; each with their own system of government; fully autonomous and independent from each other. If we were a nation in 1863, when the Battle of Gettysburg was fought, we didn’t become one until the constitution was ratified in 1789; not in 1776 as Lincoln claims.

Lincoln, as much as I despise the man, was a masterful speechwriter, and he cloaked his lies in truth very well. He then completes the lie sandwich, as I have taken to calling it, between another truth; ‘…conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.’ Those words are almost directly taken from the Declaration of Independence, a document he was trampling upon with his war against the South; but I’ll get to that in more detail in a moment.

Lincoln then states something that is also a bit misleading, or if not that, then at least a bold change of position from comments he made at the onset of this bloody war. Lincoln next states, “Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

First of all, this was not a civil war as Lincoln claims. Civil wars are typically wars in which one segment of a country rise up and try and overthrow the existing government; replacing it with a government of their own choosing. That is not what happened in 1861! The South seceded from the Union, they DID NOT attempt to overthrow the government of the North, nor did they seek any conquest; they only wanted to be left alone; free to govern themselves in the best manner they saw fit.

But it is the next few words that lead me to believe that Lincoln was slowly changing his position on why this conflict was being fought. Originally he claimed that the war was being fought to preserve the Union; not to end slavery. I have provided ample evidence in previous articles to back that up, so I won’t waste your time by providing quotes you have already read.

So what did Lincoln mean when he said, “…testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” Was he talking about the Liberty this country was conceived upon? If he was, why was he trampling upon the liberty of the States who chose to leave the Union? Or, was he subliminally inferring that since slavery still existed in America that all men were NOT considered equal? If he was implying that, then it would be a drastic change of position from his earlier statements on why the war was being fought.

Lincoln’s next words are probably basically true, “We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”

Lincoln then goes on to say that the men who fought at Gettysburg have already consecrated the ground with their sacrifice. He then goes on to say something which history has proven wrong, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”

How many of you can name more than one or two of the commanding generals who faced off against each other at the Battle of Gettysburg? How many can name of few of the key sites which were bravely fought over or defended during that battle? You see, unless you have taken the time to study what happened during those 3 days of fighting, you won’t know any of that; which proves that history HAS forgotten what those men did there. But I’ll bet that your history books at least mention Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Continuing, Lincoln then says, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” Well he must have been speaking about those left alive on the Union side of the battle, for he certainly couldn’t have been speaking about advancing the cause for which the brave Confederate soldiers fought and died. I wonder if he even gave a damn about those who died for the Confederacy?

Lincoln’s final words sound more like a locker room pep talk than they do the dedication to a memorial site for those who had died during the battle, “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

It is the last words, after the double hyphen that I would like to focus the remainder of my discussion on, “… that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Again Lincoln uses the word nation; which I have already discussed. Lincoln’s war pretty much obliterated most of what our Founders believed to be the rights of the States, or the people, up to that point in history. Our Declaration of Independence states that “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” Did Lincoln allow the South to do that? Of course not, he raised an army and said, “Rejoin the Union or else!” (My words)

He then said that this ‘nation’ shall have a new birth of freedom. To what was he referring? Was it to the eventual emancipation of the slaves; which was a complete turnaround for him, or was it for his idea of freedom for all the people of his ‘nation’? How can he claim to care about freedom when his war was using military force to compel the South to do something against their will? Is that his definition of freedom? Could Lincoln have actually meant freedom from free will and self governance, replacing it with the freedom to live under a system of government that uses force to coerce the people into obedience?

However, it is Lincoln’s final comments which irritate me the most, “…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” I know most of you don’t know the difference between a federal system of government and a national one, but our system was designed primarily to be a federal government; meaning that the States retained their sovereignty and all powers not specifically delegated to the central government by the constitution.

Lincoln’s words make no mention of State sovereignty or authority, and along with his use of the word nation again, imply that he didn’t give a rat’s ass about State sovereignty; that all he cared about was nationalizing the country under one system of government. In fact, the words ‘… government of the people, by the people, for the people…’ can almost define what is meant by a national form of government, as there is no mention of the States in any capacity.

The South did not rebel against the government instituted by our Founders in 1789; they revoked their agreement to be a part of a union in which the government established by our Founders had overstepped its just authority and was making a tyrannical use of its powers to their detriment. Had the government remained true to what the constitution said there would have been no need for secession, and there would have been no Civil War.

You may not be aware, but the Confederate States of America wrote their own constitution after they seceded from the Union. You may also not know that it was basically the same thing as the constitution which established our government in 1789, with a few minor changes that is. They felt that the constitution itself outlined a good system of government, but that it was lacking in sufficient guards against the usurpation of power by the government it outlines. So they modified their constitution to prevent such abuses of power.

Maybe now the quote from Confederate President Jefferson Davis will make a bit more sense to you, “I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it.” What he was saying in a roundabout way was that the government of the Union no longer adhered to the limits the constitution imposed upon it, and that he would rather leave the union than remain in it, subjugated and oppressed by its government.

The problem, as I see it, is that you cannot have a rational discussion with people these days regarding the Civil War without most people’s minds zeroing in on the subject of slavery. Slavery has been pounded into their heads as the sole cause of the Civil War, and any attempt to get past that with the truth is doomed to fail.

If a person is blind and cannot see the sky, does that change the fact that the sky is blue? Well it’s the same way with the truth; simply because people cannot see it, or won’t open their eyes to it, doesn’t change the fact that the truth remains the truth.

It is your choice as to what you ultimately decide to believe about the Civil War; you can choose to believe the lies you have been taught, or you can seek out the truth. It is out there, just waiting for people to find, and embrace it. All you have to do is get off your ass and go looking for it.

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When A Long Train of Abuses…

Many years ago, in a time long forgotten by most, there were a people who sought this illusive quality known as liberty. Among the people of this land were those who refused to bow down and submit to a government that had declared that it had the authority to ‘bind them in all cases whatsoever.’
At first, liberty was spoken of only in whispers. Then others joined the cause that those whispers became a roar that could not be ignored. Liberty became the subject of discussion across the land; it was spoken of in their homes; their correspondences with others; their taverns, and in their churches. Liberty was written about in the press and preached from the soapbox until it had become almost a living, breathing thing unto itself.

The people of this land held meetings; some locally, some with delegates from each of the Colonies, where they discussed the laws being passed which violated their rights, and what they might do about these laws. Some sought to petition their government; begging it to restore what it had taken from them. Others sought a more drastic approach; a complete and irrevocable separation between themselves and those who ruled over them.

On July 2, 1776 the more radicals among them carried the day when 56 men committed treason by voting in favor of a measure which declared that their government no longer had any authority over them, or their lives; that they would be free from tyranny or die in the effort.

It was inevitable really, as tensions had been strained between government and those who were governed going back more than a decade. One could say it all began when their King imposed a tax upon all printed goods; known as the Stamp Act of 1765. The King’s reasoning was that those who are governed must pay for the services their government provides; right? (Sound familiar?)

However, these impudent Colonists had the audacity to refuse to pay these taxes levied by their government; going so far as tarring and feathering tax collectors and ransacking the home of the duly appointed governor of Boston. How dare they!!!

So, government did what all governments do when the people resist its authority; it sent in law enforcement. This time law enforcement came wearing bright red uniforms and operated under the full authority of King George III. We know these law enforcers as the Redcoats. Unfortunately, this did little to quell anti-government resistance among the Colonists. In fact, it may have led to more joining the underground movement and resisting the authority of King George and Parliament.

It all boiled over on April 19, 1775 when the agents of the government, dressed in their finest attire, marched upon Lexington and Concord; with orders to confiscate the weapons of the underground movement and arrest its leaders; Samuel Adams and John Hancock. The trouble came when those arrogant Colonists refused to surrender their weapons to legal authority and had the audacity to actually open fire upon them. How dare they fire upon those simply following the orders given them by their government!

All this happened while their makeshift Continental Congress couldn’t agree whether to declare their independence or send another petition to King George. Those unruly damned Bostonians sure made a mess of things by actually standing up for their rights; and now the Continental Congress had to find out a way to fix what they’d started.

However, down the road in Virginia word of the assault upon the King’s law enforcers made its way to the ears of a man named Patrick Henry, who then spoke of them to the Virginia House of Burgesses in an emotionally charged speech, “It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

So it was that on July 2, 1776 the delegates from the 13 Colonies came to the realization that there was no going back to the way things were; that King George III had made his intentions clear. The only path now was forward; so on this day these men bravely chose to declare that the government, of which King George III was at the head of, no longer held any authority over them or their lives; that they would have liberty, or die in the pursuit of it. After five long years of war, in which victory was never a sure thing, they finally obtained that liberty that was so valiantly sought after, and America became free and independent of British rule.

It could easily be said that the American Revolution was not a war fought between the U.S. and England; rather it was a war fought between the forces of liberty and those who sought to tyrannize; and in 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed, liberty was officially declared to be the victor.

Your history books may tell you that men then gathered together to form a system of government that best suited the needs of this young new nation; but that’s not how I see things as having transpired. Here is what I see as happening…

Around the same time our Founders were declaring their independence from England they also ratified a document known as the Articles of Confederation which created a loose confederation of States; united for certain specific purposes. Once the war for independence was over the States went back to being fully autonomous entities and the Congress was left with little power over them.

I think that there were those who had, at some point or another, gotten a taste of power or glory and had visions of a mighty American empire; and that couldn’t come to pass with a weak Congress as the central form of government. What they needed was a much stronger, more vibrant central government that could rule over an empire. Of course they would cloak their justifications for the need of such a government in hyperbole, and lie if they had to, but that would come later. First they had to convince the States that for the ‘UNION’ to survive a much stronger form of central government was required.

They tried in Annapolis, Maryland in 1786, but not enough States sent delegates for them to achieve much, other than to agree to meet again next summer in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. By this time more States had come around to their way of thinking and enough sent delegates to attend a convention to propose amendments to the Articles of Confederation.

Of course amending the Articles of Convention was the furthest thing on the minds of some. James Madison had been scheming behind the scenes for quite some time about the need for a stronger system of government than a simple confederation could provide. In April of 1787 he wrote a letter to George Washington outlining his plans…a month before the convention would convene! So whatever transpired behind the doors during the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia was a preconceived and deliberate attempt to weaken the authority of the States by delegating more power to a central government.

One passage from Madison’s letter to Washington ought to be sufficient to prove that he deliberately planned to undermine State authority by transferring more power to a stronger centralized government, “Having been lately led to revolve the subject which is to undergo the discussion of the Convention, and formed in my mind some outlines of a new system, I take the liberty of submitting them without apology, to your eye.

Conceiving that an individual independence of the States is utterly irreconcileable with their aggregate sovereignty; and that a consolidation of the whole into one simple republic would be as inexpedient as it is unattainable, I have sought for some middle ground, which may at once support a due supremacy of the national authority, and not exclude the local authorities wherever they can be subordinately useful.”

Well we all know what happened; or at least I hope we do. A constitution was written to replace the Articles of Confederation. That constitution then made its way to the States for their consideration. Conventions were held and arguments ensued, but eventually the constitution was agreed to and the system of government it outlined went into effect in 1789; of course that’s only the nickel version of what happened, but I want to keep this part short.

The question we should be asking ourselves right now is; did this constitution make the liberty of those who had fought in the revolution more secure, or did it put it on shaky ground? Did this constitution threaten the sovereignty of the States, or did it protect it sufficiently so that they had nothing to fear from a strong central government?

The only way to really answer that question is by looking at the actions of the government created by the constitution in the first few years of its existence; only then can we see whether the government created by the constitution would respect the sovereignty of the States and the liberty of the people.

One of the things George Washington did as President was to institute a sales tax upon whiskey with 25% being added on to the purchase price and to be used to fund the government. This angered a great many, none more so than those in the western regions of Pennsylvania. Just as in the years leading up to the American Revolution, tax collectors were hassled, and one had their home shot up by 500 angry tax protestors.

It got so bad that, at Braddock’s Field, east of Pittsburg, there was actual talk of seceding from the Union and an alliance between the countries of Spain or Great Britain. The problem Washington had was his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, who from the onset of these tax protests had urged Washington to send federal troops in to quell this little ‘rebellion.’ Hamilton even went so far as publishing essays in Philadelphia newspapers under the pseudonym of Tully, advocating for military intervention to quell the protests.

For federal troops to be used to put down insurrections, a Supreme Court Justice had to declare that the insurrections were beyond the ability of the State to handle without federal intervention. Well, in 1794 Justice James Wilson did just that; giving Washington a green light to send federal troops into Pennsylvania to put down this rebellion and restore order.

Washington called upon volunteers from the State militias, numbering well over 10,000 men, to march into Pennsylvania to put down this rebellion. The problem was, his call for volunteers fell upon deaf ears. What did he do? Well, he instituted a draft. But draft evasion was rampant as well, and riots ensued in many places; such as in eastern Virginia were armed men protested conscription.

Eventually though, Washington got his numbers, with over 12,000 militiamen ready to march upon a few protestors. Washington himself traveled west to lead the troops; the first and last time a sitting president has led U.S. military forces; either domestically or abroad.

Once the troops reached the regions where the rebellions were heaviest they found that many had fled the advancing federal troops and arrests were few. Those sentenced to hang for treason against the U.S. were later pardoned by Washington himself. But it did establish a precedent in which the federal government could use force to compel the people of a State to obey the laws it passed; even if no federal assistance was asked for by the State Legislature.

As a side note, even though Washington may have put down the actual rebellion, it still remained difficult to collect the tax upon Whiskey in some regions in the west. The Whiskey Tax was later repealed during the administration of our 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson.

Now this may seem to some a legitimate use of force by our government to put down resistance to the laws it has passed; but I want to share something with you. During the debates over ratification of the constitution, the subject of taxation often took center stage. The States, and the people were promised that the need for excise taxes would only be used in extreme emergencies; such as in times of war. This whiskey tax showed the people that the government could, and would, enact oppressive taxes whenever it felt the urge to. Taxation played a huge role in rousing the Colonists towards independence; and the memory of that was still fresh in the minds of many when they began protesting a 25% excise tax upon whiskey.

Then of course there was the Alien and Sedition Acts, signed into law by His Rotundity himself, John Adams. Adams picked up that nickname after Washington was sworn in and he felt the position of the president deserved an honorable title. Among the suggestions made were His Excellency and His Majesty; which struck some as leaning towards monarchy. As Adams was rather bulky around the midriff, he picked up the nickname His Rotundity. A little bit of historical trivia you may not have known.

Getting back to the Alien and Sedition Acts, it was during the Washington administration that the French Revolution began in earnest. There were those in the U.S. who sided with France, while others felt repelled by the viciousness and violence being displayed by the French against their government. To compound matter, the English; longtime foes of the French, had taken this opportunity to engage the French in war. So there were also those in the U.S. who sided with Britain, which led to heated debates between the people of the U.S. over who to side with.

Congress had enacted a series of laws which made it more difficult for foreigners to become citizens, and to imprison and deport those who the government deemed were dangerous. But the most offensive of the laws was the Sedition Act, which criminalized any statements which were critical of the actions of the federal government.

These laws were so offensive, that when President Adams signed them, his sitting Vice-President went behind his back and anonymously published the Kentucky Resolutions, which in part state, “Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General Government . . . . and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force. . . . that the government created by this compact [the Constitution for the United States] was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers…”

Although the U.S. never officially became entangled in the conflict between the French and the British, the Alien and Sedition Acts showed that the government created by the constitution would stifle certain freedoms when it was found to be in conflict with what they were doing; particularly the freedom of speech. So, once again it seems that government was not that concerned with preserving the liberty which it was established to secure.

To move forward with this little historical narrative you must understand the differences between the various regions that formed these States united. The West was basically untamed land which settlers moved into to begin a life of their own as far removed from the hubbub of the big cities and the influence of the federal government; leaving the North and South to its controlling influence.

The North was steadily growing into an industrialized and manufacturing based economy, while the South remained largely agricultural. The South did not require much from their government, only that it protect them from foreign attack and otherwise leave them free to manage their own internal affairs.
However, with the expansion of business and industry in the North also came the opportunity for federal funds to be used to expand the wealth of the United States by helping businesses grow. This went against what one of the foremost opponents to ratification of the constitution, Patrick Henry had warned the Virginia Ratifying Assembly, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”

However, the money to pay these subsidies had to come from somewhere; and guess who got to shoulder the lion’s share of it? Of course, it was the South. The government had begun enacting protective tariffs to protect Northern manufacturing interests. However, those tariffs were mostly being paid in Southern ports and levied upon Southerners; these tariffs also harmed their economy as they could no longer sell as much of their goods. So it was a double whammy for them.

The fact that the South was paying a large portion of the funds to finance the operation of our government, along with the fact that little of that money was being spent to make improvements in the South, led the South to feel that they were once again being taxed, but not represented by their government. Does that sound remotely familiar? It should, taxation without representation was the call to arms for those seeking independence in 1776.

This crisis almost boiled over into open conflict during the 1830’s in a period known as the Nullification Crisis, when South Carolina sought to nullify the tariffs imposed upon them by the federal government. It did boil over when Abraham Lincoln was elected President and the South felt that there would be no holding the government back from oppressing them beyond levels they were willing to tolerate.

So, on December 20, 1860 South Carolina formally issued a Declaration of Secession from the Union. Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Texas soon followed suit; each issuing their own Declarations of Secession. President Lincoln saw his Union dissolving right before his eyes; and along with it a huge chunk of the funds needed to keep his government afloat. He had to do something, so taking the lead set by George Washington he called for 75,000 volunteers to put down this rebellion against federal authority.

On April 15th, under orders from President Lincoln, the Secretary of War, Simon Cameron sent a message to the governors of all States that had not yet seceded, informing them to raise regiments to form a military force to invade the South and put down any resistance to federal authority.

That was all it took for Virginia to decide it would no longer remain a part of any Union that sought to use military force to subjugate another State.

In response to the Secretary of War’s message for raising troops the governor of Virginia, John Letcher, sent this message in response, “In reply to this communication, I have only to say that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States, and a requisition made upon me for such an object — an object, in my judgment, not within the purview of the Constitution or the act of 1795 — will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the Administration has exhibited towards the South.”

Virginia seceded two days later, quickly followed by Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Furthermore, an ordinance of secession passed the Missouri Legislature, but it was never submitted to the people for their vote; so Missouri remained a part of the Union, although during the ensuing Civil War battles were fought on Missouri soil between those loyal to both sides.

Whether you believe slavery was the sole cause for which the Civil War was fought; either the perpetuation of that cruel and inhumane practice, or it’s total abolishment, is not relevant to the fact that our country was founded by men who felt that whenever any system of government becomes oppressive, it is their right to sever the bonds which tie them to that government and establish one which they feel with best secure their liberty. And that’s exactly what the South did.

Your history books teach you that the Civil War was fought over slavery, but I bet they don’t include the words of Abraham Lincoln himself, who in a letter to Horace Greeley wrote, “As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored; the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union, unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.”

Yet Abraham Lincoln took it upon himself, without a formal declaration of war by Congress, to raise an army, march it into the South and use military force to compel them to bend to his will and keep the Union intact.

So, it could very well be said that the Civil War was a second American war fought between those who sought liberty for themselves and those who sought to tyrannize and oppress. This time around, however, the cause of liberty lost. So the scorecard remains tied with liberty having one victory and tyranny having another.

What they teach you today about the history of this country and the establishment of our system of government is probably less than 1% truth; with the rest being modern day interpretations of what those who participated in establishing this system of government understood to be its powers.

The powers exercised by our government today are the result of one generation establishing precedents which overstep the powers given our government, and then the next generation overstepping the powers held by government based upon the precedent set by the previous generations. The cycle just goes on and on and on until the truth is obfuscated behind so many layers of lies that it is next to impossible to discern without a concerted effort on the part of those seeking it.

To get at the truth one must peel away the layers of lies as one would peel away the layers of an onion. Congress is guilty of passing laws they have absolutely no authority to enact legislation upon. The Executive is guilty of usurping legislative authority from the Congress, and the Supreme Court is guilty of twisting and molding the meaning of the Constitution to justify laws enacted by both Republican and Democratic Congresses. It’s a huge mess, but it won’t get any better if we stay on the same path and keep repeating the same mistakes made by previous generations.

There is a quote I’d like to share with you with which I just stumbled across while reading last night. This quote comes from an article published in the Richmond Enquirer, published on March 30, 1819 in rebuttal to Chief Justice Marshall’s ruling in McCullough v Maryland. The quote states, “Every government, which has ever yet been established, feels a disposition to increase its own powers. Without the restraints which are imposed by an enlightened public opinion, this tendency will inevitably conduct the freest government to the exercise of tyrannic power. If the right of resistance be denied, or taken away, despotism inevitably follows.”

How willing are you to seek out the truth in regards to what really happened over the course of the past 242 years since the signing of our Declaration of Independence? How willing would you be to stand up and resist the unconstitutional assumption of powers which have been assumed by our government?
In short, how much value do you place upon liberty, or do creature comforts and the security promised by all these laws which restrict that liberty mean more to you than does your freedom?

In closing I’ll once again leave you with a quote from Samuel Adams which fits the occasion perfectly, “If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”

There’s a storm brewing, one in which the final outcome of the battle between liberty and tyranny will be determined. It may be a ways off still, but mark my words it’s coming. The question you should ask yourself is which side of the battlefield will you be on; will you fight for your liberty, or will you bow down and admit that you’re a slave? Believe me, if those who love liberty lose this time, you’re going to be the ones who suffer most, because we’ll all be dead and you’ll be left alive under the thumb of tyrants.

Ponder that, and I hope I don’t cause you to lose any sleep over my final words…

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