Can I Get You To Think (Or Is That Asking Too Much?)

Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.
~Samuel Adams~

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations,
or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

~John Adams~

We Americans place a great deal of value upon a good education. It seems that wherever I go, I seen these cars with bumper stickers on them boasting how the driver of that vehicle is the proud parent of an honor student. For 13 yrs we send our kids off to the public school system to obtain an ‘education.’ Afterwards a great many of them move on to college to obtain a degree in the hopes that it will help them get a good paying job somewhere.

I know that this is not the thing to say right out of the starting gate, but I’m gonna say it anyways: with all this education going on, why are there so many stupid people in this country?

People mistakenly believe that being smart means knowing lots of things. Our education system crams all kinds of information into our children’s heads; much of which is a distortion of the truth, and some of which are outright lies. Does that make our children smart? Pick up any volume in a set of Encyclopedias and they are chocked full of information; does that make it smart?

Being smart is not simply the ability to store massive amounts of information in your head; it also entails being able to think. What good is all that information if a person is unable to think about it? On the flip side, what good is thinking if you are only listening to, or have only been provided with one side of the data?

It would be a safe bet to say that every American has an opinion on the issues that face this country. My concern is the basis upon which these opinions were formed. Are people just repeating things they’ve heard the news media say; recalling tidbits of things they learned back in school, or chanting the slogans of some movement they believe in; which has a specific agenda?

Why is it that so many people in this country are loathe to consider any evidence which contradicts their existing beliefs and opinions? How can people claim to have truly thought things over when they refuse to consider ideas which prove their beliefs wrong?

Our modern ideas of what constitutes a good education are quite different from what was considered a good formal education back in the time when our nation was in the throes of its struggle for independence. I remember when I was attending the public indoctrination centers, (as I have taken to calling our schools); the primary focus was on reading, writing and arithmetic. History and civics were also taught to a lesser extent, but even back in the 70’s, before my son ever set foot in a public school, what we were taught was but a fraction of the knowledge bestowed upon those who participated in establishing our Republic.

Jefferson is best known for being the author of our Declaration of Independence, but he also wrote many other articles and treatises which contain a treasure trove of information regarding how he viewed everything political; from the nature of our rights to what we should do when government abuses its power and authority.

Did you know that by the time Jefferson was 17 he had mastered the English language, as well as learned Latin, Greek and French? He was also exposed to a great many political thinkers which helped him in forming a well rounded, (and fact based opinion I might add), upon the purposes for which government should exist, and the balance between liberty and tyranny.

In 1962 President Kennedy hosted forty-nine Nobel Prize winners at the White House. While they were there, Kennedy remarked, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent and of human knowledge that has ever been gathered together at the White House ― with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”

If one were to compare the vast gulf of difference between the education of a man like Jefferson and the one our children receive today; is it any wonder why the principles of liberty and self-reliance are so difficult to people to understand. Or, to put it another way, the education Jefferson received provided him with the ability to write the most amazing document ever written regarding our rights, the nature of government, and what right the people have when government exceeds its power. Compare that to today when the average high school graduate cannot even grasp the principles enshrined within that document.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the brightest lamp in the room as it pertains to my formal education. Maybe that’s what sets me apart from everyone else though; I sucked at school and that is why I am more able to take the knowledge I glean from the writings of our Founders, and then turn around and use it to form my own opinions without being influenced by partisan ideology, or what I hear on the news.

Maybe the truth is that I have not been conditioned, indoctrinated, brain-washed, (call it what you will), into accepting that the system of government we have right now is the one outlined by our Constitution. Maybe that is why every time I hear someone, be it an elected representative, or a member of the public, say something which is blatantly wrong, warning bells go off in my head and I have to say something in an attempt to present them with the facts.

The problem is, people today don’t know what to do with the facts when they are presented with them. There is an outstanding quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe which states, “Knowing is not enough; we must apply.”

What good are facts if you do not utilize them to form an educated opinion? What good are contradictory facts if they do not lead to a change in your opinions on a subject? The two words I despise most in political conversations are; Yeah, but… When I hear that I immediately know that whatever I had just said has gone in one ear and out the other without registering with the brain of the person I’m talking to. The people who say that to me are living proof that Sam Adams was right; Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.

When I write I attempt to use a simple train of thought which provides one indisputable fact; which then leads to another, and another, until I reach my conclusion. But what good is it when nobody gives any of the facts I provide any credence?

For instance; there is the old saying: What came first; the chicken or the egg? Now if you apply that to governments it would read; What came first; governments or the people? The answer to that should be obvious; people came before government. Therefore any system of government must be a creation of the people. It must also be true that any power held by these systems of government was either granted it by the people, or it was assumed by those who decided to assume the name of ‘government.’

In either case, man existed before government. I think it is safe to say that is a point which cannot be disputed. Therefore, if man existed before government, then what about our rights? If you are of the belief that rights are things that government gives you, then does that mean prior to the formation of any kind of government that man had no rights whatsoever?

There are certain things which, at the time our nation was being founded, our Founders believed to be self-evident truths. I don’t know if you understand what self-evident means, so I’ll explain. Self-evident is something that does not need to be demonstrated or explained; something that is obvious.

When our Founders declared their independence from Great Britain, they affixed their signatures to a document which declared, “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.” They didn’t need to be told that, they already knew it in their hearts; it was part of their core belief system.

But then the very next sentence in that document states, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Therefore, according to them, the purpose of government is to secure those rights which the people had prior to the creation of that system of government. It also means that whatever powers held by that government come from the true fountain of all political power and authority; the people. That is the nature and definition of sovereignty; the absolute political power within a society. In our country it resides with the people; not with the government we established.

This fact is affirmed in the next sentence found within the document under discussion, “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.” If the people were not the sovereigns, how could they alter or abolish a system of government?

But there is also a hidden meaning in there that very few people seem to even notice. That sentence also means that it is not within the power given government to determine what the extent of its own powers; and when government does overstep those powers it is within our rights as the true sovereigns to completely dismantle government and rebuild it in whatever form we deem is best designed to secure our safety and happiness.

The government we created has no say in whether we the people decide it should continue to exist, or even if a portion of the country chooses not to suffer under what they consider to by the tyranny of that government.

Prior to the formation of our system of government each State was considered a nation unto itself; with all the power and authority of any nation in Europe. The only part of that sovereignty they surrendered by agreeing to the Constitution was that which is specifically mentioned in the Constitution; they kept the remaining power and sovereignty. This is the concept behind a confederation; a group of nations, or States, that have a centralized government which was established for certain specific purposes in regards to the interactions between the States and for the common defense of all of them.

On the other hand, there is a consolidation; where all the States merge into a single entity; in this case the United States of America. In a consolidation, all State authority is usurped by the central government, and it may pass laws that directly affect, or benefit the people within the component States.

The question is, which does the Constitution create?

According to James Madison, who is considered to be the Father of our Constitution, we have a limited central government; whose powers are for specific purposes and limited to certain objects.

In Federalist 45 Madison writes, “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.”

When James Madison addressed the Virginia delegates chosen to decide whether to accept or reject the Constitution, he said, “[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 don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty clear cut to me; if the Constitution does not say it is within our government’s power to do something, then our government cannot do it without violating the Constitution, and the oath of office of every single person who supported such a measure.

Why is it then that we tolerate so many abuses of power by our government? Why do we support so many things which violate the rights our government was established to protect? Why do we call radicals, or traitors, those who decry these abuses of power, or expose the crimes our government is guilty of committing?

I find it a truly sad commentary on the America people that something historian Charles A. Beard said is true; that “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.”

Yet people today call themselves true America patriots because they support our government when it sends our fighting men and women off to die in the ‘supposed’ defense of all our country stands for. Yet at the same time, on the home front, they support measures designed to keep them safe which obliterate all this country stands for. We proudly wave the flag and vote for candidates whose campaign promises are clear violations of the Constitution.

You can choose to remain ignorant if you so desire. You can choose to continue following partisan platforms instead of the principles upon this once great nation was founded. You can choose to accept slavery as the terms for your safety and security. What you cannot do is force that slavery upon those who wish to remain truly free. Your choices, whatever they may be, must only affect you as an individual, and the moment you begin imposing your views and beliefs upon me, then we are going to have a problem.

There is an old saying that I wish more people would adhere to, “Live and let live.” If you do not like guns, fine, don’t buy one; but don’t try to take mine away. If you do not like what I say or write, fine, don’t listen to me or read what I write; but don’t deny me the right to speak my mind.

I could list a thousand things about you that I do not like, but I respect your right to do or say those things. Why can’t you do the same for me?

But that’s the problem with many today; their belief system requires that I sacrifice mine so that theirs will work. Those of you who support Socialist programs to appease your guilt complex that we aren’t doing enough for the poor or needy require that I have a portion of my earnings taken from me and given to others. For your beliefs to work I must sacrifice my rights so that you can feel secure. For your system, or beliefs to work, someone has to give up a portion, if not all, of their liberty. And did not Patrick Henry declare, “… liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government”?

Therefore, according to Mr. Henry, your beliefs are in complete opposition to liberty; and that is something I have a problem with. I will not surrender my liberty just to appease your conscience, or see your dream of a Utopian society where everyone is taken care of and provided with all their needs.

One of the most repulsive things to liberty that I’ve ever heard is this mantra chanted by these social justice warriors, “The rich need to pay their fair share.” In an 1816 letter to Joseph Milligan, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”

In his first inaugural address as president, Jefferson described his views on what constitutes ‘good’ government, “A wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”

If that is the correct definition for good government, then what would you describe our government today as being? But to answer that would require that you think; and that apparently is something most people are incapable of doing.

And, in closing, I’d like to leave you with one final thought from James Madison. This was written in 1785, four years prior to our Constitution being written, “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.”

Again, I’ll ask you to try to think one more time. If what Madison says is true, then which are you; a free man, or are you a slave?

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How Hard Is This To Understand?

The very first settlers to what we now call America came here under a charter granted them by the King of England; allowing them to establish English Colonies in the New World. The first wave of settlers may have brought supplies with them to help in establishing these Colonies, but make no mistake about it they faced hardships many of us today could hardly even imagine. For instance, out of those who first arrived at Jamestown, only 20% were still alive three months after arriving here. Despite the hardships faced by those first waves of settlers, more settlers continued to make the journey across the Atlantic to the point that, by the time Parliament enacted the Stamp Act in 1765 there were roughly a million and a half people living in the English Colonies in the Americas.

Although they may have been separated by an ocean, although they may have done all the hard work in establishing these Colonies, make no mistake about it, they were still, for all intents and purposes, British subjects. Although they may have been separated from the mother country by an ocean, the King of England was still their sovereign, and the laws enacted by Parliament were still binding upon them.

For almost a century and a half the Colonies had a peaceful relationship with the mother country; with England pretty much leaving them alone to govern their own internal affairs. It wasn’t until England imposed a direct tax upon the Colonists in 1765 that things began to go sour between those who were governed, and their government.

I could describe every Act of Parliament and the Crown which led the Colonists to make the decision to sever ties with England and declare themselves to be an independent nation, but that would only bore you and is not really relevant to what I need to say. Let it be sufficient to say that in 1776 the thirteen Colonies agreed to a Declaration of Independence, and after years of war against agents of their government, they obtained the independence that document declared.

Now we come to the first point of real importance in this article; the condition the 13 Colonies, or States, found themselves in after the Revolution came to an end. Each State was treated as a sovereign independent state of its own; a fact attested to in the peace treaty signed by both sides after the Revolution, “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, and for himself his Heirs & Successors…” For all intents and purposes, each State was a nation unto itself; each with its own system of government established by the people of the States.

Now we come to important point number two; who was considered the sovereign now that the King of England was out of the picture? I know I’m jumping ahead a little bit, but to answer that I will need to quote from an early Supreme Court ruling dated February 18, 1793, “…at the Revolution, the sovereignty devolved on the people; and they are truly the sovereigns of the country, but they are sovereigns without subjects…with none to govern but themselves; the citizens of America are equal as fellow citizens, and as joint tenants in the sovereignty.” (Source: Chisholm v. Georgia)

I use certain words time and time again, but I often wonder if those for whom these articles are intended understand the meaning of those words. Sovereignty is such a word. Do you really know what sovereignty is, or is it one of those words you just breeze over without giving it much thought?

Black’s Dictionary of Law defines sovereignty as: The possession of sovereign power; supreme political authority; paramount control of the constitution and frame of government and Its administration; the self-sufficient source of political power, from which all specific political powers are derived. Sovereignty is the power from which all systems of government originate; it is the fount of legal power from which those who govern derive their authority; and in America that sovereignty rests with the people, whose agents in government act on their behalf.

At the same time I discuss sovereignty, I would be remiss if I did not also discuss the origin of our rights. If sovereignty in America rests with the people, then governments are creations of the people, and not their superiors except in the specific areas where the people have given government the authority to act.

In his book The Rights of Man, Thomas Paine states, “It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of Freedom to say that Government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with.”

Therefore, if there was a time when government, of any kind, did not exist, does that mean that prior to the establishment of any kind of government that man had no rights whatsoever? From years of listening to others discuss their rights, I have come to the conclusion that there is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what rights are, and from whence they originate.

A right, simply put, is something you can do without requiring permission to do from another. Our rights predate our government. In fact, it was because we had these rights to begin with that men gathered together and established government.

What are constitutions if they are not laws which govern the actions of a government? It was because the sovereigns of our country decided that they needed government that our system of government was established; it owes its existence to those who created it, not vice versa.

The authority to create a system of government is a natural right of the people; as is their authority to dismantle that system of government should it cease serving the purposes for which it was established. These are principles dating back to the Declaration of Independence, which states, “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…”

But the Declaration does not stop there, it continues by saying, “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.”

Whether James Madison and his cohorts at the Constitutional Convention produced a Republic, a Democracy, or a Monarchy for that matter, it does not take away from the underlying principle that our system of government was established by the will of the people for certain specific purposes, and if it oversteps the limits placed upon its powers, then the people have a right to ignore the laws it passes as if they had never been passed in the first place.

Our government is not our master; it’s will is not above ours, except in regards to the specific powers given government by the Constitution. Article 6 of the Constitution declares, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof shall be the supreme Law of the Land…”; the key phrase being, ‘in Pursuance thereof’. The laws enacted by our government must be in pursuance of the specific powers granted government in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. If they are not, then it is usurpation, and that makes the laws they pass unlawful.

It does not matter that a majority of the people may call for such measures, the law says that their actions are confined to the specific powers granted them by the Constitution. The fact that most do not resist these unconstitutional acts does not take away from the fact that they are…well, unconstitutional.

Our government was established to represent, not only the people of this country, but the States as well. That is why those who wrote the Constitution established a bicameral Congress; with the House being the voice of the people, and the Senate being the voice of the States. Where, if I might ask, is the voice of the States now; and more importantly, with all the partisan politics, would it even matter if the States still had a say in what laws the federal government enacts?

On January 26, 1788 Federalist 45 was published in the Independent Journal in New York. In it James Madison declares, “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.”

That was a crucial point when deciding how much power to give this system of government; how to best separate the powers held by the States and those held by the federal government. If the States no longer have a say via the choosing of Senators, then how can that balance of power and authority still exist?

Within a decade of going into effect, the government created by this Constitution sought to enact laws which some felt overstepped the legitimate authority granted government; and in so doing violate State sovereignty. In response to this usurpation of power Thomas Jefferson had this to say, “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…” (Source: Kentucky Resolutions)

The problem in America today, at least as I see it, is not that we’ve had too many Republicans in control of government, or that we’ve had too many Democrats in control. The problem is that the voters place their causes above the legitimate powers given government. Each of us, when considering whom to cast our vote for, has a mental checklist of things which we feel strongly about, and we compare each candidate against that checklist and usually end up voting for the one who comes closest to our own personal beliefs.

The problem is that, no matter if you are Republican or Democrat, keeping government to the specific powers granted it by the Constitution is not on your mental checklist. We don’t care if government grows bigger; we only care that it grows bigger in ways which benefit us, or in ways that we think are best for the future of America. Limiting government to the few specific powers granted it, or securing your liberty is way down on your list of priorities; if it is on it at all.

Yet all the time I’m told that I lose my right to complain about the state of our nation if I do not vote. I might vote if there were candidates worthy of my vote; but my vote does not come cheap; it comes with the solemn promise to support and defend the Constitution; not sell it out for political expediency.

You may think that these things you want government to do are in the best interests of the country. Well, if you think that government should have the authority to do those things, then go about it the proper way; by amending the Constitution to give government the power to do those things.

In his Farewell Address George Washington said, “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.”

Our free government has been dead for a long time; going back to the day Lee surrendered at Appomattox if you want my honest opinion. Since then we’ve had a government that was beholden to special interests, and who only enact laws which further expand their control over our lives.

The purpose of our government was to secure the liberty of the people in this country. How well has it done so; and be honest. People today are divided over issues such as immigration, job creation, the war against terror, or a thousand other issues that keep us from focusing on the fact that our liberty is being taken away from us one slice at a time. Patrick Henry warned, “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.”

Even Woodrow Wilson, the s.o.b. who signed the Federal Reserve Act, making us all debt slaves, had this to say about liberty: “Liberty has never come from Government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of it… The history of liberty is a history of limitations of governmental power, not the increase of it.”

I sit here and watch Americans go at each other over the recent election of Donald Trump and it is all I can do not to scream. Some support Trump for the things he has promised to do, and others hate him for those same things. Neither side asks themselves about the legality of his keeping those promises. Neither side seems to realize that it is Congress that makes the laws in this country and although the president may make recommendations to them, they are under no obligation to act upon those recommendations.

People want their hope for the future; they need it to sustain themselves. I’ve lost all hope as long as people throw away their liberty for the illusion of security provided by all the violations of their most fundamental rights.

In his Summary View, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

I keep seeing these God Bless America stickers on cars and I have to ask myself, why would God deem to bless a nation that allows for practices which violate His laws? Why would God bless us when we allow our government to deprive us of the liberty He gave us without even a whimper of protest?

But that’s okay; you go ahead and keep playing your game of two party paradigm for as long as you want. Just don’t expect me to join you. One of these days you’re going to find out how stupid you’ve been, how much you’ve been played.

Then again maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll just go on playing the game and blame the other side when it all falls apart around you. Maybe you truly are so stupid that you can’t see the truth, as explained by Carroll Quigley, “The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies… is a foolish idea. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can throw the rascals out at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy. Then it should be possible to replace it, every four years if necessary, by the other party which will be none of these things but will still pursue, with new vigor, approximately the same basic policies.”

Keep believing in hope for as long as you want. My hope for the future of this country will come on the day a the sitting directors of the CIA and NSA are found guilty of violating the law, and the day that all charges against Edward Snowden have been dropped and he can return home to a hero’s welcome.

Maybe then my hope will be rekindled; but until then I see only ignorance and stupidity.

And if you can’t tell, I’m angry again…

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Consequences

There will come a time when we will sit
down to the banquet of our consequences.

~Robert Louis Stevenson~

The other day I read an article which piqued my interest. It seems that San Francisco 49er Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is angry that no teams have made him an offer since becoming a free agent. While I enjoy watching a good football game I’m not what you would call a fan of football. But this story piqued my interest for another reason. I feel it is representative of a problem that permeates society today; the fact that a great many people do not accept the fact that there are consequences to their actions.

Whether I personally agree or disagree with Mr. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem is irrelevant, I support his right to protest whatever cause he chooses to support by remaining seated during the playing of that song. But it seems he has forgotten that he is not only an employee of the 49er franchise, he is also a representative of the National Football League, and his actions caused a tidal wave of angry responses from patriotic football fans who felt the he had disgraced and dishonored his country. No one wants to be the one who hires someone who could blemish their reputation or bring discredit to their franchise.

While I personally wish no harm to the guy, he is learning the painful fact that there are consequences to pissing off a lot of people; people whose support your team needs to fill stadiums. Above everything else, the NFL is a business, and no one is going to hire someone who they believe will harm their bottom line. Mr. Kaepernick, as well as a great many others in this country, when faced with the consequences of their own actions, often seek to shift the blame to others, or get angry that they are expected to pay the piper for their actions. And if you ask me, that is a serious problem in America today.

When I was growing up my parents set limits upon what was considered acceptable behavior. If I crossed those limits I was punished; often by spanking. I remember one time my father hit me with a closed fist when I uttered the F word in front of my mother. I didn’t grow up hating my parents; even though my father and I butted heads all the time. I didn’t grow up to be a social misfit, or cry that I was a victim of abuse. I learned that there were consequences to my actions, and if I did something wrong that I would pay them. As long as I stayed within the limits of what my parents considered acceptable behavior, life was good. However, the moment I crossed the line and did something wrong, life could go from good to bad in a New York minute.

Could this be why, nowadays, that crime is so prevalent; because people have not been taught that there are consequences for violating the laws society expects people to adhere to? While I am the first to stand up and decry laws which violate my rights, I also understand that certain actions people take violate the rights of others, and that it is for this purpose that civil societies form together in the first place; to protect the rights of all their members.

Yet when some miscreant violates a law and brings harm to another, or attempts to deprive them of their property, and the system, or the individual having harm done to them, ends that miscreants life, a good portion of society cries foul. They come together and protest; saying he was a good kid and didn’t deserve to die. NO! Good kids do not rob others. Good kids do not attempt to steal from others. While it may not be their fault, the fact is that these miscreants, and those who protest their demise when the commit a crime against society, have seemed to forget that there are consequences to your actions, and if you attempt to steal, or bring harm to another you may find out the hard way that those consequences can be life ending.

What is even a worse statement upon how society views the consequences of people’s actions is how they often treat those who are only standing up for their rights. One of the most fundamental rights people have is the right of self-defense. Self-defense is not only the right to protect oneself from harm; it also includes the right to protect your property, and your liberty as well.

As Samuel Adams wrote in 1772, “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.” (Source: The Rights of the Colonists, 20 Nov. 1772)

To pass laws which dictate when and where a person can use force to defend themselves or their property, or to take away their ability to do so by not allowing them the means to defend these things, violates the most fundamental right human beings have; the right to defend what is theirs.

Since I have already mentioned the word protest, let me continue on in that vein for a moment. I’m all for protesting whatever perceived slights you may believe government, or society to be guilty of. But the First Amendment clearly states, “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the … right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The key word there that people seem to have forgotten is peaceably. When in the course of protesting you bring harm to others, or cause destruction to the property of others, that is not a peaceable protest; that is rioting. You have the right to voice your displeasure over almost anything, but the moment you cause destruction, or bring harm to another, you have crossed the line and should be punished. Those who attack Trump supporters are not protesting; they are committing assault, which is a crime.

Our country was founded by men who protested the actions of their government; the most notable of these protests being the Boston Tea Party. While the participants did cause damage to property, it was not the property of their neighbors or local businesses. I find it just a tad bit ironic that those protesting the election of Donald Trump got plenty of positive news coverage, yet they were not truly protesting in a manner that would bring about the kind of change they wanted; they were simply whining that someone they didn’t like won the election.

Compare that to the actions of LaVoy Finicum, who took his protest straight to the enemy, (The Bureau of Land Management) and how the news portrayed him and his associates as threats to society, and you’ll see that protesting has become a way in which people are allowed to voice their displeasure over whatever issue, or cause they oppose, yet keeps them from focusing on the real enemy; an abusive and unconstitutional government.

I know this is kind of off track, but just look at how a large number of people view Edward Snowden. His way of protesting the spying upon the American people was to leak the actions of the NSA to the press. In doing so he was labeled a traitor and forced to flee the country to avoid prosecution. Yet who was the real criminal; Snowden for telling us, or the government for actually doing the things he tried to tell us about?

That’s the same way I feel about the whole Wikileaks thing with the Clinton e-mails. Wikileaks, along with the supposed ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin are now viewed as the criminals, yet the people ignore the content of those leaked e mails as if they are irrelevant.

But these consequences are not confined to local, and even national issues; they span our actions as a nation on a global scale. If you had a beehive or a hornet’s nest in your back yard you probably know that those things can sting you. Therefore, the prudent course of action would be to not antagonize them.

Yet across the globe, particularly in the Middle East, there are people whose religious beliefs differ from ours, and whose cultural beliefs run counter to the freedoms we take for granted in America. Instead of being a free society, theirs is often a theocracy in which the laws they must obey in society are based upon their religious belief system.

They may, nor may not hate us because of the freedoms we enjoy. But you can rest assured they hate us because our government is constantly meddling in the internal affairs of their country. We orchestrate coups to oust duly elected leaders; we support rebels who bring war and destruction to their lands; we seek to replace those leaders who are not friendly to our business interests and replace them with those who are.

And people don’t expect any consequences from all this meddling? Just look at how a large portion of American society is upset over allegations that the Russians somehow influenced a single US Presidential election. How would we feel if things like that had been going on for decades? And we wonder why we see them retaliate with terrorist acts. After all, it is not like they have an army or a navy that they can send to America to fight us; so they use whatever means they can to inflict fear, or damage, to our country.

And then, the politically uninformed want to allow those whose lands we have bombed into the Stone Age immigrate to our country and live among us. That’s like bringing the beehive into your home AFTER you have hosed it down with water; you’re just begging to get stung. It’s bad enough that their religious views and our belief in freedom are incompatible with each other; but we want to piss them off even more, then allow them to come live among us.

Have we lost our minds?

In 1821, while serving as Secretary of State under President James Monroe, John Quincy Adams delivered a speech celebrating America’s independence in. In his speech Adams states, “America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity. She has uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless and often to disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and of equal rights. She has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a single exception, respected the independence of other nations while asserting and maintaining her own. She has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings, as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. …Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

The consequence of our nation not adhering to the beliefs expressed in those words is that many nations, and peoples, despise, or hate America. They hate our government for meddling in the affairs of their countries, and they hate the American people because we continue to elect candidates who continue to do so.

Yet our misguided understanding of what it means to be a patriot does not allow us to see that. We believe that patriotism is standing behind your country, and its government, whenever they tell us it is in the name of national security that they do these things. For crying out loud, what threat does ISIS or Syria pose the US? They are over 6,000 miles from us. If we would leave them alone and stop trying to topple Assad, maybe they would leave us alone. How would we feel if China or North Korea sent arms to the opponents of Trump to topple him? But our sense of self-righteousness blinds us to the fact that there is a very good possibility that much of this so-called terrorism is the direct consequence of our government’s foreign policy towards other nations.

And finally, returning to the home front, there is one more consequence I’d like to discuss. It’s almost universally accepted by the people of this country that there is something wrong in government today. It is why a good number of Democrats fell in behind Bernie Sanders, and why Donald Trump was elected; the belief that the problem is too many career politicians, or insiders, are in control and that someone from the outside was needed to fix America.

That is a misguided belief; the problem is not that there are too many career politicians, it is that the government no longer follows the guidelines for how it was to be structured, or the limits imposed upon its actions.

The government was established, primarily to manage the affairs of the nation as they related to the interaction of the States between each other. The States, on the other hand, were to see to the needs and desires of the people. In Federalist 45 James Madison explained it like this, “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.”

While the States may pass some laws which directly affect the citizens of each State, how many laws does the federal government pass which directly affect us? It was never intended to be that way, the federal government was supposed to stay out of the lives of the people.

On top of all that, over time, the federal government began to exert control over the States, placing it above the States. Yet prior to the above quote from Madison, he had also said, “The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former.”

The States were part of the federal government in that they chose the representatives in the Senate. When the Civil War happened, it was not so much a war between the North and the South as it was a war between those who still held to the belief that the States were sovereign, and the federal government, which had come to belief that is was above and superior to the States. With the loss of the Confederacy, the federal government became almost omnipotent in its exercise of power; and with the ratification of the 17th Amendment the States lost all say in the actions of the federal government.

The consequence here is that, because people no longer understand how our system of government was structured in its original form, or the powers which were given it, it has become far more tyrannical and oppressive than the one our Founders fought to free themselves from.

Yet we go about our lives, voting every couple of years for Democrats or Republicans, thinking that our respective political parties have the answer to all the problems this country faces. The answer to our problems lies not in giving government more power, but seeking to turn things around and begin taking much of the power it has away.

But we cannot do that until the people put aside their ridiculous faith in party ideologies, and begin studying what the Constitution and Bill of Rights say. We cannot begin to understand what those documents mean until we begin studying the thoughts and views of the men alive at the time they were written.

And I simply don’t see that happening. Americans have become used to fast in almost everything. Instant messaging; microwave ovens that can heat your food in seconds, and TV shows that have a resolution to situations in half an hour. We want things done now, quickly and with as little exertion on our part as possible. People, for the most part, are not going to take time from their entertainment to study like others have. They care little for cracking open a book containing the writings of men like Locke, Jefferson, Samuel Adams, or Patrick Henry.

So, until the people change their attitudes and start learning what our Constitution says and means, America will continue to suffer the consequences of their ignorance.

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There Are No Qualifiers In The Bill of Rights

Preamble to the Constitution of the United States and American Flag

Language is the tool by which human beings communicate with each other. Without language all music would be instrumental pieces. Without language all films would be silent movies. Without language we wouldn’t have amazing literary pieces to read. Without language history would be lost to the ages.
But language is more than just words; it is grammar too. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best when it comes to the usage of grammar, but I have gotten better over the course of nearly two decades of writing these commentaries of mine.

Grammar, in the simplest of terms, is the instructions for putting words together to form a coherent thought or statement. Grammar, if used incorrectly, can change the entire meaning of the words in a sentence. Take for instance a headline found on the cover of a magazine which read, “Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.”

Really, Rachel Ray cooks her family? The proper way of formatting that sentence would have been, “Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking, her family, and her dog.” The simple use of commas between the three items Ms Ray finds inspiration in makes a world of difference in the way the sentence is read.
But grammar is much more than the use of periods, commas, question marks, and all the other things we insert into our sentences to form them. If you want to dig really deep into grammar, there are other things that dictate the meaning of a string of words; such as qualifiers.

A qualifier is a means of writing by which the words of a sentence, or a particular phrase, limit or enhance the meaning of the words that precede, or follow it. Qualifiers are/were used extensively by our nation’s Founders; especially within the documents that concern our system of government.

I do not expect you to become experts in grammar; especially if I am to be the instructor. What I wanted to do was to bring your attention to the fact that the particular way words are strung together can make a big difference in their meaning; and if you don’t understand the purposes for which they were written that way, you won’t understand what the writer had intended you to understand.

Take for instance the meaning of the words general welfare found in the Constitution. Today people, (as well as the Supreme Court apparently), believe those words imply a whole host of powers not specifically mentioned within Article1, Section 8 of the Constitution. The same can be said of the Commerce and Necessary and Proper Clauses of the Constitution.

However, according to James Madison, that is not the case. In an 1831 letter to James Robertson, Madison writes, “With respect to the two words “general welfare,” I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.” The phrase general welfare, according to Madison, is qualified by the list of particulars found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, listing the ‘specific’ powers granted government.

Another of our Founders, Thomas Jefferson, spoke on the qualifying of the general welfare in his Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank, 1791, “To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, ‘to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.’ For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union.”

I know this was a roundabout way of getting to the main point of this article, but I wanted to make sure you had, at least, the inkling of an understanding of what qualifiers were before I got to the matter at hand.

My job as a writer is to try to make things as easy for you to understand as possible. Therefore, what I am about to say may seem like a violation of that cardinal rule by making you confused. But by the time I’m finished I hope to have clarified any confusion the following statement might created.

The statement I would like for you to consider is this: “The Bill of Rights contains no qualifiers, but in, and of itself, is a qualifier.” There, I’ve said it. Are you shaking your heads in disbelief? Are you sitting there slack jawed, asking what the hell I’m talking about? If so, let me try to explain what I just said.

I don’t know how many of you reading this have ever sat down and read the Bill of Rights, but did you know that it also contains a Preamble? I think there is a great deal of misunderstanding as to what a Preamble is. A preamble is, merely, an introductory statement regarding the intent, or purpose of the document that follows.

Since I just spent a great deal of time discussing grammar and language, allow me to provide a short sentence as an example of how a preamble works. If I were to say to you, “I want to tell you something about your car; it has a flat tire.” In that sentence the part where I say that I want to tell you something about your car would be considered a preamble, of sorts, as it explains the intent of the words that follow.

While not always the case, typically preambles are only found in legal documents, or charters. Joseph Story said the following regarding the Preamble to our Constitution, “And, here, we must guard ourselves against an error, which is too often allowed to creep into the discussions upon this subject. The preamble never can be resorted to, to enlarge the powers confided to the general government, or any of its departments. It cannot confer any power per se; it can never amount, by implication, to an enlargement of any power expressly given. It can never be the legitimate source of any implied power, when otherwise withdrawn from the constitution. Its true office is to expound the nature, and extent, and application of the powers actually conferred by the constitution, and not substantively to create them.”

Therefore, the Preamble to the Bill of Rights only declares the purpose for which the actual amendments that follow it were written. And what does this Preamble say? Well, it says, “THE Conventions of a number of the States having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best insure the beneficent ends of its institution.” (My emphasis)

Therefore, the Bill of Rights is actually a qualifier upon the powers granted our government; restricting it from interfering with, or violating the specific rights mentioned in the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

Yet the actual amendments themselves contain no qualifiers, no limiting features which could be construed to restrict the specific rights they protect. If you’ll note, I did not say these amendments grant us any rights; those rights existed long before the Bill of Rights was ever written. The Bill of Rights was simply written to place restrictions upon our federal government from violating those rights.

When discussing rights, there are two words that pop up frequently in regards to them, those word being inherent and unalienable. Your eyes may see those words, they may travel along the optic nerve and make their way into your brain, but I’m guessing that is as far as the thought process goes in regards to what they actually mean; and that is one of the reasons why so many people care so little for their rights.

The dictionary defines the word inherent as: existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute. When they say your rights are inherent, they are saying that they are as much a part of your being as your DNA. Can you give up a small portion of your DNA without losing who you are? Of course not; nor can you give up even a portion of your ability to freely exercise your rights without losing the title of a free man/woman.

The next word I’d like to discuss is unalienable. According to Black’s Dictionary of Law, 2nd Edition, (1910), the definition of unalienable is: Not subject to alienation; the characteristic of those things which cannot be bought or sold or transferred from one person to another such as rivers and public highways and certain personal rights; e.g., liberty.

The 18th century English jurist William Blackstone, had this to say about the word unalienable, “Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and therefore called natural rights, such as life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolable. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture.”

The only time a person can forfeit an unalienable right is when, in the exercising of that right they abuse it, restrict someone else from exercising their rights, or bring harm to another. As an example, a man may own 100 firearms and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, but if he never uses those weapons to commit a crime, he has violated no one else’s rights, nor has he brought harm to anyone; therefore his right to own them cannot be restricted or taken away from him.

I believe I have proven, to a satisfactory extent, that our Bill of Rights is a qualifier upon the powers given the powers given the federal government. I also believe I have proven that the Bill of Rights itself contains no qualifiers; if it says those rights are not to be violated, then they are not to be violated–under any circumstances.

Justice Hugo Black said it best when he declared, “It is my belief that there are ‘absolutes’ in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be ‘absolutes.'”

Our Bill of Rights was written because there were those alive at the time who felt the Constitution did not do enough to protect the rights of the people; that over time government could seek to infringe upon some of them, and take others away entirely. They agreed to ratify the Constitution only if a Bill of Rights was written to secure certain inherent and unalienable rights.

In 1943 Justice Robert H. Jackson ruled, “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.” (Source: West Virginia Board of Education vs. Barnette)

You cannot restrict a person’s unalienable rights because the exercising of those rights make you feel uncomfortable. You cannot ask your lawmakers to enact laws which restrict a person’s unalienable rights because you do not like it when they exercise them. You cannot restrict a person’s unalienable rights because someone else abuses them and causes harm to others. If someone says something that brings harm to another person’s reputation, or hurts their feelings, how would YOU feel if Congress passed a law banning ALL SPEECH? If you did nothing wrong, how would YOU like government to restrict one of your rights?

Those who abuse their rights, or bring harm to others by exercising them irresponsibly should be punished; but those who have done no harm should not see their rights restricted due to the actions of others.

I know this is already pushing the limits as to how long I can write before I lose my audience; but I would like to take a few minutes discussing each of the first ten amendments to the Constitution which make up our Bill of Rights, and how they have been violated.

The First Amendment states: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
There are 5 distinct, and separate, rights which the First Amendment protects; the freedom of religion, of speech, of the press, of the people to peaceably assemble, and finally to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

Much ado has been made in regards to the separation of church and state; banning prayer or any religious discussion in places that are funded by tax dollars. If you were to sit down and think about what the First Amendment actually says, you will see that by banning prayer anywhere you are violating the First Amendment. Does the amendment not say that one of the rights it protects is the free exercise of religion?

The restrictions intended by the First Amendment were not upon religion itself, but upon the government sanction of any one particular sect, or faith. Yet at the same time it left the people free to exercise their religious beliefs when, and where they chose. Prayer in school, if it is by a voluntary act of the students, harms no one. Your being offended by it does not matter. I am offended by much I hear coming out of the mouths of artists and so-called musicians these days, but for me to say they cannot speak those words, or sing those lyrics violates their right to freedom of speech. And is not prayer but a person speaking to their god? How can you ban one without banning the other?

In his Kentucky Resolutions, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “One of the amendments to the Constitution… expressly declares that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,’ thereby guarding in the same sentence and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press; insomuch that whatever violates either throws down the sanctuary which covers the others.”

Way back in 1844, with a unanimous decision I might add, the Supreme Court delivered the following ruling, “Why may not the Bible and especially the New Testament be read and taught as a divine revelation in school? Where else can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament?” (Source: Vidal v. Girard’s Executors)

Anything which restricts what words a person may utter, be it prayer, speech, or the written word, cannot be banned or restricted simply because it offends; to do so undermines the entire First Amendment and is a violation of an unalienable right. All this talk of political correctness, hate speech, is a means of restricting what a person cannot say because it offends others, and is a violation of the right to speak freely. I am deeply offended when I hear people discuss politics and government, when they don’t know the first thing about what they are talking about. That does not give me the right to make them shut up! Nor does the fact that the things I say offend someone else give them the right to tell me that I must remain quiet.

I could write 3 more pages on the First Amendment, but I think I’ve made my point, so let’s move on to the Second Amendment now. The Second Amendment reads: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The Second Amendment protects two separate rights; the right to form militias and the right to keep and bear arms. Up until recently it was held by many that the right to keep and bear arms was tied to membership in a militia. Fortunately, in D.C. v Heller, the Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right; as they well should have I might add.

The purpose of a militia, as explained by the Second Amendment, is the security of a free state. Now that can be read two different ways. First, it could be read to mean that the states themselves are to remain free; from foreign invasion, or whatever else that may put them into a state of non-freedom. On the other hand, it could be read to mean that membership in a militia was to secure a state of freedom for the people…possibly from their government???

The fact that so many laws have been enacted which restrict the right of the people to peaceably own, and carry, arms for their defense shows that far too many people are not aware of why this right was felt to be so important.

In his Commentaries on the Constitution, Justice Joseph Story writes, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

In a letter to a William Smith, Thomas Jefferson said, “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms….The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants…”

The defense of one’s home, of one’s property, of one’s life, the ability to hunt and target shoot are but inconsequential side benefits of the right to keep and bear arms. The Second Amendment was written so that the people would have the ability to rise up and shake off the yoke of tyranny if it every raised its ugly head in America again.

And how can you protect yourself from your government if you do not have the same arms that they do?

In 1846 the Georgia Supreme Court ruled, “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’ The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.” (My emphasis) (Source: Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251)

This was not an isolated ruling; in Wilson v. State of Arkansas, (1878), the Court ruled, “To prohibit a citizen from wearing or carrying a war arm . . . is an unwarranted restriction upon the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of constitutional privilege.” (My emphasis)

Although the Bill of Rights was written to apply only to laws passed by the federal government, I want you to consider something. If our rights are, as our Founders believed, inherent and unalienable, then they existed long before any government came into existence; including the State governments.

The Bill of Rights was written because at the time the people of each State enjoyed the full exercise of their rights, and it was believed that any violations of them would come from the newly established federal government. Yet the fact that these rights existed before the establishment of any system of government, should be sufficient to prove that even the States are prohibited from enacting any law which restricts the right to keep and bear arms.

How is it that creatures of our own creation can carry arms that we, the people who established government, are prohibited from owning or carrying? If the purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure OUR state of freedom, then how can we do so if those we are supposed to be able to protect ourselves from are better armed than we are?

And I haven’t even gone into the laws which require I obtain a permit to exercise my constitutionally protected right…

If you can answer that question logically I will give you $100; and I don’t want to hear a single word about, “But think about the children who have been killed by lunatics on shooting sprees.” I want clear concise arguments with plenty of evidence to back up your position. As with the First Amendment your sense of comfort or security does not come into play. So leave my right to keep and bear whatever arms I choose alone!

Next up is the Third Amendment, the only one of the first ten amendments to the Constitution which has not yet been violated. The Third Amendment states: No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Next on the menu is the Fourth Amendment, which states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fourth Amendment was written to prevent what, at the time, were called Writs of Assistance. Writs of Assistance were broadly worded search warrants that gave authorities the power to search anywhere, anytime, did not specify what was to be searched for, and did not expire.

Unless you have been living in a cave you have heard the name Edward Snowden. His release of classified information which proved the extent to which your government monitors you caused him to flee to Russia to avoid prosecution. Some call him a traitor and say he deserves punishment; I call him a hero for showing us the extent to which our government has violated our right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

You may ask, what has been seized? Well, how about every phone call you make, every text message you send, every keystroke you make on your computer? All of these are collected and stored in massive data banks run by the National Security Agency, and recently proven, the CIA as well.

You might say that if I don’t have anything to hide why should I worry that they are watching me, to which I reply if you don’t have anything to say why should you care about being free to open your mouth and speak whenever you do? It is the principle of being able to retreat into my home and be free of prying eyes and ears that is the point here. If they can turn on my phone and listen in to my most personal conversations with my wife, where has my right to privacy gone?

Where is the warrant stating probable cause that gives them the right to spy upon you or I? Or does government consider every citizen their enemy now?

It is ironic that we send our U.S. fighting men and women abroad to fight for others freedom, yet we readily give ours away back home to make us feel safer and more secure. This sentiment was echoed by the Court in U.S. v Robel, “It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of one of the liberties … which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile.”

As recently as 1961 the Courts upheld that our homes were places of sanctuary, free from unreasonable intrusion, “The 4th Amendment and the personal rights it secures have a long history. At the very core stands the right of a man to retreat into his own home and there be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion.” (Source: Bartkus v. Illinois, Justice Potter Stewart)

For all intents and purposes, the Fourth Amendment no longer protects anything.

Then there is the Fifth Amendment: No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

I could write a treatise on the violations of the Fifth Amendment. I can’t count the times I have read about violations of a person or family having their lives upturned, their property taken, and their liberty threatened by the IRS alone. But I am trying to keep this within tolerable reading levels, so I’ll move one.

The Sixth Amendment states: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Let me pose you a question. Let’s say I am brought on charges of treason based upon information collected by the government from my correspondence and writings. If I were to go to trial would I be allowed to face the person who collected that data? Would I be allowed to use the unconstitutional collection of that data in my defense? Would the trial be held within the district where I live, or in some federal courthouse that may be unfriendly towards me? Where is the right to a free and impartial trial when the judge will not allow the jurors to know the names of the accusers or the constitutionality of the means by which the evidence against me was collected?

Nuff said about this, so let’s move on to the Seventh Amendment: In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Let me ask you another question. Let’s say you are some John, or Jane Doe, working a minimum wage job and you find yourself wronged, or harmed by some multi-million dollar a year corporation. How can obtain a trial by jury and be provided with the justice you deserve if you cannot afford the cost of hiring a lawyer experience enough to do battle against a whole team of lawyers that company bring to bear against you?

Yet the Seventh Amendment declares that trial by jury in suits exceeding $20 the right to a jury trial shall be preserved. Could this be why many settle out of court for far less than their case was worth?

What about Tort Reform laws which seek to put caps on how much a person can sue another for? Are those not restrictive upon the right of a jury to decide if the amount asked for is fair compensation? What about laws seeking to restrict how much many of these lawyers, who will take the case and only receive payment if you win, can charge as commissions? Does this not limit your ability to find competent legal representation?

While this is not so much a direct frontal assault upon this right by the government, they are participating, to an extent, in the deprivation of this right.

The Eighth Amendment reads: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Need I say more than water boarding?

The Ninth Amendment reads: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

This is a catch all amendment that safeguards a whole list of others not specifically mentioned. When the time came for an actual Bill of Rights to be written, a long list of suggestions were sent to the federal government by the States. James Madison culled through them, rewording some, to come up with 12 he thought were worth submitting to the States for ratification. Ten of them were, and that is how we got our Bill of Rights.

But do you not have the right to breathe the air, to eat, to sleep? Yet those rights are not specifically mentioned. The Ninth Amendment covers them.

How has this been violated? Try seatbelt laws, helmet laws, or laws which regulate whether you can grow and sell produce from your home? I could provide a shopping list of rights you have that have been violated by both federal and state laws.

And finally, we get to the Tenth Amendment, which declares: 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.

A perfect example of how this has been violated is federal law criminalizing the possession and use of marijuana. Where in the Constitution does it give the federal government the authority to decide what a person may put into their body? If that power is not specifically given, it is reserved to the States. Yet I can be fired from my job for using marijuana on my off time because it is a violation of federal law; even though the State of California recently passed a law legalizing is recreational use.

Our Founders fought a war against their government to secure their liberty. The Preamble to the Constitution says that the job of the government it established was to secure that liberty. Yet it has actively sought to restrict it–across the broad spectrum of rights protected by the Bill of Rights.

Yet we the people, and I’m speaking primarily to you, still support this government? I no longer support it in any actions it takes; not only because of these infractions, but upon the litany of infractions upon the other violations of the Constitution itself.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a quote that echoes the sentiments I feel today, “But 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.”

Oh, in case you’re interested, that quote was uttered by Patrick Henry in 1788. Imagine how he’d feel today.

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Let’s Be Honest With Ourselves (If That’s Even Possible)

Let’s be truthful, you hate it when someone lies to you, don’t you? When someone lies to you their trustworthiness goes down quite a few notches, and you find everything they say after the lie suspect. Sometimes, if the lie is serious enough, it can break apart relationships and friendships.

Why is it then that you continue to believe in lies? Why is it that you lie to yourself all the time? Why is it that when someone brings you evidence of these lies, you become angry and refuse to accept it? If the truth is so important coming from others, why do you refuse to be truthful with yourself?

I recently read an article which stated that the Millennial Generation does not believe so much in political parties, but in political causes. The article also said that Millennial also have a high level of distrust in government.

While I am all for a healthy dose of distrust in government, I am leery of letting causes, or issues, become the deciding factor in whom you cast your votes for. Unfortunately, I do not believe that causes are confined to Millennials when deciding whom to vote for; I think most voters have a mental checklist of causes in their heads, and they compare how a candidate stands in regards to these causes, or issues, and votes for the one who comes closest to their own personal beliefs.

I can almost hear your voices now; “What the hell is wrong with that Neal?” Well, if you’ll bear with me, I will tell you what is wrong with that. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with believing in a cause, there is something wrong in casting your votes for those to fill seats of power in the federal government who promise to support, or push forward your particular cause.

People have grown up being taught that America is a democracy…it is not! We are, or we were anyway, a Constitutional Republic. An absolute democracy is where the great body of the people come together to legislate; and a simple majority is all that is required to enact law. A representative remocracy is where we elect representatives to meet together to enact laws on our behalf; but the same simple majority rule applies.

A Constitutional Republic, on the other hand, is similar to a representative democracy but differs in that the government established by the people is bound by law as to what it can and cannot do. Causes should not even enter into the equation when casting your votes; all that should matter is how well you believe that candidate will adhere to the limits imposed upon the powers granted the office they seek by the Constitution.

People today believe that the government exists to benefit them; that could not be further from the truth. At the time the Constitution was written, each State was a nation unto itself and the Constitution was written to establish a government that would serve the purposes found within the Preamble to that document, “… form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

The Constitution was not written to be a panacea for the ills of society, or to provide for the specific needs of the people; it was established to manage to overall needs of the nation as a whole. The State governments were already in existence, and it was their function to provide for the needs of the people; the federal government was just there to ensure that the nation was defended, commerce was regulated so as to flow smoothly from point of manufacture to point of sale, and that the liberty of all were secured. Everything else was left to the States to accomplish.

In Federalist 45 James Madison explained that principle as follows, “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.”

History teaches that government, under whatever shape it takes, is of an encroaching nature; that is to say that no matter the intentions of those who establish a system of government, over time that government will seek to expand its power and control over the people it governs.

IT DOES NOT HELP THAT YOU ACTIVELY SEEK TO HAND MORE POWER TO THEM BY ASKING THEM TO SUPPORT YOUR CAUSE!!!

On June 5, 1788 Patrick Henry stated something I wish more people took to heart, “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.” In seeking whom to cast your votes for, the preservation of your liberty should be the ONLY cause you seek to push forward.

James Madison is known as the Father of our Constitution. It was his idea to hold the convention which threw the Articles of Confederation onto the trash heap and replace them with the Constitution. It was his original outline for our system of government that forms the foundation of the system found within the Constitution. It was he, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, who wrote the Federalist Papers in support of the Constitution.

Although his motives may be questionable, his words, or promises regarding the nature, structure, and powers given the government by this Constitution should be given a serious amount of consideration when deciding whether the things our government currently does are allowed by the document he is responsible for.

In a speech on the House of Representatives in 1794, Madison said, “The government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. It is not like the state governments, whose powers are more general. Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”

In a letter to James Monroe he declares, “There is no maxim in my opinion which is more liable to be misapplied, which therefore needs elucidation than the current one that the interest of the majority is the political standard of right and wrong…In fact it is only reestablishing under another name and a more specious form, force as the measure of right…”

In an 1830 letter to A. Stevenson, Madison warns, “As the people of the United States enjoy the great merit of having established a system of Government on the basis of human rights, and of giving it a form without example, which, as they believe, unites the greatest national strength with the best security for public order and individual liberty, they owe to themselves, to their posterity and to the world, a preservation of the system in its purity, its symmetry, and its authenticity.”

And, as president, he declared the following when he vetoed a bill granting bounties, [subsidies] to the cod fisheries, “If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, everything, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress… Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”

I can’t count the discussions, or arguments if you wish to call them that, I have had with people on both sides of the political spectrum on the limited authority granted government. Just the other night, (and I’m not criticizing this individual), someone said that Bernie Sanders would have been a better president than Trump because he ‘cares about the people.’ Sanders could be Mother Theresa for all I care, that does not give him the authority to exceed the specific powers granted government by the Constitution!

The same can be said to those on the other side of the aisle who are Trump supporters. Ya’ll claim that he is a whole lot better than the other option you had; Hillary. Yet how much of how he is getting these things done and what he is attempting to do violates the Constitution?

It doesn’t seem to matter, and this goes for both Republicans and Democrats, that the things their side is doing violates the Constitution. The only thing that matters is the causes their side is fighting for. My question is, which party fights to defend the liberty of the people which government was established to secure?

Listen, we either have a Constitution, which limits governmental power, or we don’t. You cannot cherry pick the parts you want to see upheld and ignore the rest; it either applies in its entirety, or it is null and void in its entirety. But, if it is null and void, then so is the government as well, for without the Constitution that government would not exist.

And, since one of the purposes for which that system of government was established is to secure liberty, then we either have rights in their entirety, or we have lost them and are slaves. Again, you cannot cherry pick which rights you wish to see limited and which you wish to see fully protected.
I either have freedom of speech or I don’t. I can either say things which others find offensive, or the freedom of speech is dependent upon the shifting tides of political correctness.

I either have the right to keep and bear arms or I don’t. I should not be limited as to what type arms I choose to keep, or be required to pay for a permit to carry them for my personal defense.

I either have the right to privacy or I don’t. Either I can retreat into my home and be free from prying eyes and ears, or the government can look and listen in on everything I do in the name of national security.

You might say that this is too harsh; too black and white; that it leaves no leeway for interpretation. You’re damned right I’m saying that; my rights are absolute; they weren’t gifts given me by my government, and therefore subject to their interpretation as to the extent I can enjoy them. As Jefferson so perfectly said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

Judge Hugo Black also said, “It is my belief that there are ‘absolutes’ in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be ‘absolutes’.” So you see, my black and white outlook, while uncommon today, is not without support.

In his Farewell Address to the people, George Washington warned, “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.”

If you think government should have the power to enact laws which further your cause, then the only legitimate way they could do that is if the Constitution were amended to grant them the power to do so. However, as the Constitution has not been amended; granting government a wide array of powers, to exercise those powers violates the Constitution; which just happens to be a law, “The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.” (Supreme Court, Ex parte Milligan, 1866)

And what do we call those who break the law? It does not matter that they are acting upon the wishes of a majority, we are not a democracy; we are a Republic where the rule of law dictates what our government can and cannot do.

And this is the lie you keep telling yourselves; that your party is right and the other party wrong when it comes to what is best for America and for we the people. What is best for America is for government to do the things it was supposed to do, and return the authority and sovereignty back to the States where it belongs.

But we all know that ain’t gonna happen, don’t we? After all, that same government led our nation into a bloody war which saw more than half a million Americans die, (more than World War II), just to establish its supremacy over the States.

And as long as people still place their causes over their liberty, not a damned thing is going to change in this country. It may get better or worse from your perspective as it pertains to your causes, but from the aspect of how much personal liberty you enjoy, it will only get worse.

And THAT is the truth which you refuse to accept.

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The Right of Suffrage

We Americans take for granted the fact that, upon our 18th birthday, we become entitled to go to the polls and participate in the selection of those who will fill the seats of power within our government. Yet can these same people who take the right of suffrage for granted find the exact location in the Constitution which grants them that right? (Note: this is a trick question).

Nowhere in the Constitution is your right to vote mentioned…NOWHERE! Nowhere in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is your right to vote mentioned; although it is implied in 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.”

The fact of the matter is, that up until immediately after the Civil War, the right of suffrage, or voting, was never even specifically mentioned in either the Constitution, nor in any the amendments to it. Prior to 1870 it was pretty much left up to the States to decide who could, and who could not, vote.

It was not until the ratification of the 15th Amendment that an amendment was passed which removed restrictions upon a certain category of people which had prohibited their being allowed to vote. In 1870, after the ratification of the 15th Amendment, a person could not be denied the right to vote based upon race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

You might find it interesting, particularly those of you who believe the Civil War was a just war fought to free the slaves in the South, that in our nation’s early years certain Northern States had passed laws which prohibited freed former slaves from voting; Pennsylvania and New Jersey being among the States which had passed such laws.

The next change came in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment; removing prohibitions on a woman’s right to vote. That’s right; it wasn’t until the 1900’s that women were given the right to vote.

Still, even after the ratification of these two amendments, the States found ways to prevent those these constitutional amendments applied to from voting. For instance, they could impose a poll tax; a tax which each citizen was required to pay prior to being allowed to vote. If you did not pay, or simply could not afford it, you were not allowed to vote.

Then in 1964 the Constitution was amended once again; for the 24th time, removing the requirement of paying a poll tax prior to being allowed to vote. The final time the Constitution was amended in regards to voting rights came during the Vietnam War era; when protestors argued that people were old enough to be drafted and sent off to fight for their country were not allowed to vote. Therefore, in 1971 the 26th Amendment was proposed, and ratified; which lowered the voting age to 18; where it remains until now.

As voting laws stand now, if you are over the age of 18, are an American Citizen, and not serving time in prison, you have the right to vote. This is both good and bad. It is good in that I believe that no one should be denied the right to vote based solely upon their race, gender, or age; as long as they have reached what we consider to be adulthood.

But it is bad in that it gives the right to vote to an unlimited number of ignorant people who don’t know the first thing about how our system of government was designed to work, nor the nature of their rights.

Prior to the Constitution being ratified, James Madison wrote, “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” The kind of government we have, and by that I mean whether it is virtuous and moral, or universally corrupt, is a reflection of the overall attitudes and principles held by the citizenry who choose those to fill the seats of power within it.

In 1877 President James Garfield explained this concept as follows, “Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.”

Many of those who either directly participated in our struggle for independence, the establishment of our system of government, or were simply alive in our country’s early years, spoke of the importance of an informed and virtuous citizenry when it came to voting.

For example, in an 1822 letter to W.T. Barry, James Madison wrote, “A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. And a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the Power that knowledge gives.”

Noah Webster, whose name is synonymous with the American Dictionary, once said, “If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted …. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.”

Samuel Adams reflected on the solemnity of choosing wise and virtuous men for our leaders when he said, “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote….that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

Far too often in this country I hear people crying about their rights; but never do I hear them discuss the responsibilities associated with those same rights. If I were to come up and tell you that you should not be allowed to vote, you would cry that it is your right. Yet were I to mention that it is your RESPONSIBILITY to be knowledgeable about the Constitution and Bill of Rights prior to being allowed to vote you would say that is an infringement upon your rights; that you need not be knowledgeable about those things to have the right to vote.

Yet to repeat Madison’s quote, “A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance. And a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the Power that knowledge gives.”

You may choose to remain ignorant regarding how our system of government was designed to function, but that only opens the doorway for those you elect to exploit that ignorance and do things it was never intended they be allowed to do.

Therefore, although I still believe no one should be denied the right to vote, if I were in a position to do so, I would require that before being allowed to vote every U.S. Citizen would be required to pass a 10 question quiz on American History, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. These tests would not be easy; they would be designed to prove you have a thorough understanding of the subject matter.

Like I said, no one should be restricted from voting due to age, gender, race, or any other identifying factor which distinguishes you from everyone else. The ONLY thing which should restrict people from voting would be ignorance of our system of government and our country’s history. But were these tests a requirement, I am certain people would complain and there would be some sympathetic judge out there who would rule that they violate the people’s rights.

In any case, I have prepared one such test just to see how much YOU know, and whether in Neal’s world you would be allowed to vote. So go ahead, try to pass this test if you can. Oh, by the way a passing score is 100%, there are no multiple choice answers, and no cell Phones allowed when you take it. Don’t want you Googling these questions now, do we?

1) What is a Writ of Assistance, what are similar to them in today’s world, and which Constitutional Amendment did they inspire our Founders to add to the Constitution?

2) What is meant by the following phrase, and where is it found? “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land…”

3) Explain how our current political parties came into existence and evolved over the course of our nation’s history.

4) Where is this quote found, who authored it, and what is meant by it; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press”: thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press: insomuch, that whatever violated either, throws down the sanctuary which covers the others…”

5) Explain what sovereignty is, and who has it in the United States.

6) Describe the difference between a federal and a national form of government.

7) Explain the method by which our Constitution can be modified.

8) The Constitution grants government how many powers? Name 5 of them.

9) Who said this and what is meant by it; “In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.”

10) Why did the Founders create a bicameral Congress; what purposes were both houses of Congress supposed to serve, and name a few powers held by each one which weren’t held by the other. Also explain how the purpose for a bicameral Congress was altered and when.

Well, how did you do; would you be voting in the next election or would you be brushing up on your history and civics? I know this dream would never happen; the last thing they want are educated voters. Besides, someone out there would cry that it was a violation of their rights that we required them to actually understand the system of government which they wanted to vote for people to occupy positions in it.

I mean, that’s simply too much to ask, too mean, to expect people to make truly informed decisions at the voting booth. Unfortunately, that right there is the problem; too many people making uninformed decisions when we hold our elections. Too many people voting for party over principle, over what a candidate can best do for them, or their cause, rather than how well they will adhere to the Constitution.

My test would not eliminate that problem entirely, but it would sure weed out a lot of people who are not deserving of the right of suffrage.

Unfortunately it will never happen; and that is why the following quote by H.L. Mencken still rings true today, “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”

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You Want To Know How I Really Feel?

If you are a Christian, you know that the first Chapter of the Bible deals with the creation of the Heavens and the Earth, and the creation of man. I don’t recall ever reading a passage in the book of Genesis that says, “And God created government to rule over man and take care of his every need.”
If you do not believe the Biblical version of how man came into existence; if you believe man evolved from the apes, or from something that crawled out of some primordial swamp, the fact that man came into existence long before any forms of government also applies. In both instances; whichever version you choose to believe; man came first.

What is government? I know, it may sound silly of me to ask, but bear with me. The dictionary defines government as; “the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the members, citizens, or inhabitants of communities, societies, and states.”

It is, therefore, a logical conclusion that, in whatever form government takes, it is a creation of man. Thomas Paine discusses this principle in great detail in his book, The Rights of Man, “It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principles of Freedom to say that Government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as man must have existed before governments existed, there necessarily was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with.

The fact therefore must be that the individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.”

I think it is fair to say then that I have established the fact that government is something that man created; not vice versa. Yet in his earlier work, Common Sense, Paine wrote, “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one: for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries BY A GOVERNMENT, which we might expect in a country WITHOUT GOVERNMENT, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

Why would Paine say that government, in any state, is an evil? The answer is quite simple really; it is because when government exists a portion of the freedom of the people it governs has been relinquished and given to government. The degree to which that freedom has been surrendered determines the extent to which government is considered evil.

If man existed before government, then how did government acquire the power it holds over man? To answer, I must once again quote Paine’s book, The Rights of Man, “All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must either be delegated or assumed. There are no other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.” Of the two, which do you believe gives OUR government the power it has over our lives? I would hope that you at least get this one right, and answer that the power government holds is delegated power; not assumed.

The Constitution which outlines our system of government was written in 1787, yet the first settlers who arrived at Plymouth did so in 1620. That is over a century and a half that the Colonies existed without our Constitution; so who or what ruled over them?

Although separated by an ocean, the Colonies were technically possessions of the King of England, and the Colonists therefore Englishmen who were subject to the laws passed by government back in England. How did we get from point A to point B?

The short answer is that the government which ruled over the Colonists passed a series of laws the Colonists felt violated their Natural Rights as Englishmen. Add to that the fact that they were not duly represented in that government, and you ended up with a growing belief that the only means by which they could retain their rights was to sever the ties that bound them to England and become a free and independent nation of their own.

Of course the King, (or government if you choose to look at it from that perspective), was not so ready to just relinquish the power he held over the Colonies. So war ensued, and had we lost the Revolution we would have remained British subjects for quite some time afterwards; and those men we call our Founding Fathers would have been hung for treason. But we won, and the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence had been given life by that victory. It could be said that the American Revolution was the period of labor which gave birth to America, and the Declaration of Independence is our nation’s birth certificate; although in this instance the issuing of the certificate came before the labor was complete.

Yet what was born when the Colonists obtained their independence from England? The status each Colony held upon the conclusion of the American Revolution is critical to understand if we are to realize how far we have strayed from what our Founders fought so hard to secure for themselves, and for us.

Upon the conclusion of hostilities, the two warring sides met in Paris to hammer out a treaty of peace between the newly established United States of America, and their former sovereign, England. On behalf of the United States, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens, participated in, and signed the finished treaty of peace, which declares, “His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and independent states…”

Not only did the King view each Colony as a free and independent STATE, but the Colonists did too; as affirmed by the signatures of those who represented the Colonies in the writing of the treaty. I know that in today’s modern world it is hard to look at things from that perspective, but the best way to think about it would be to stop calling the State you live in a State and start calling it a nation. For instance there would be the Nation of Texas, the Nation of Virginia, the Nation of California, etc etc.

Each of the original 13 Colonies, upon obtaining their independence from England, became a sovereign nation unto themselves; capable of establishing their own systems of government, and regulating the internal affairs of their Nation/State. It is critical that you understand this concept before I continue.

At the time all this was happening our Founders had written, and later ratified, a document which outlined a system of government to manage the affairs of the Colonies as a whole; the Articles of Confederation. A confederation is defined as, “A group of nations or states, or a government encompassing several states or political divisions, in which the component states retain considerable independence.”

Yet there were certain people who felt that the government which was created by the Articles of Confederation was weak and ineffective; and that a system of government much stronger was needed if the States were to survive as an independent nation. Under the guise of holding a convention to amend the Articles of Confederation, a new plan was written which abolished the old system, and replaced it with an entirely new system of government.

The result of this subterfuge and fraud is our Constitution. Although there is not an American alive today who has lived under a system of government other than the one outlined in the Constitution, at the time it was written the system which it outlines was a huge topic of discussion and argument.

Of great concern to those who opposed ratification of the Constitution was the fact that it did little to protect the rights of the people, and most importantly, those of the States. Did it leave them as a loose confederation or create a consolidation of the States into one nation with a centralized government?

On June 5, 1788, Patrick Henry arose in the assembly of delegates chosen to debate the subject of ratification and began a lengthy speech with the following words, “I rose yesterday to ask a question which arose in my own mind. When I asked that question, I thought the meaning of my interrogation was obvious: The fate of this question and of America may depend on this: Have they said, we, the States? Have they made a proposal of a compact between states? If they had, this would be a confederation: It is otherwise most clearly a consolidated government. The question turns, Sir, on that poor little thing-the expression, We, the people, instead of the States, of America.”

A little known, and ignored fact, is that when the Constitution was being argued over in the various State Assemblies, the Articles of Confederation were still in effect. They were, for all intents and purposes, still the law of the land; much as the Constitution is now the law of the land.

In Section XIII, or 13 for those of you who can’t read Roman Numerals, the Articles of Confederation state, “Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.” (My emphasis)

Yet the Constitution was ratified, not by means outlined in the Articles of Confederation, but by means outlined within the Constitution itself found in Article 7, “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.” So, instead of requiring that all 13 States agree to the Constitution, only 9 votes in favor would be needed to implement the system of government it established.

So, not only was our Constitution written in subterfuge and by fraud and deceit, it was ratified by means found within the very document they were arguing over, not the law as it existed at the time. Whether the document be good or bad, the fact that it was both written and ratified by such deceitful means is abhorrent.

I would like to believe that the intent of those who established this system was to secure the rights of both the people and the States. However, after much time and a great deal of thought, I have begun to question whether that was, in fact, their objective. I have begun to believe that their whole intent was the eventual obliteration of State sovereignty and the formation of a consolidated nation, or American Empire if you will.

One of my biggest gripes with people is that when they read things they glance over the words without giving them any real thought as to what those words actually say. A perfect example is as follows. Ronald Reagan is known as the darling of the conservative party, the bastion of conservative American principles. In his Inaugural Address Reagan said, “We are a nation that has a government–not the other way around.”

At first glance that seems innocent enough; that it implies that our government works for the nation, not the other way around. But if you examine his choice of words; such as the word nation, one might ask, why didn’t he say we are a group of States with a government instead of lumping us all together as a nation?

The same examination of words could be then focused on our Constitution itself. Upon first glance it appears to establish a relatively sound system of government with limited powers and which is designed to safeguard the liberty of the people which make up this nation.

But where in that document does it describe how those in government shall be punished should the violate the trust of the people and overstep their authority? You say, “But we can vote them out of office.” To which I reply, “Well whoop de doo! They break the law that governs their actions and they get kicked out of their job. We break the laws they pass and we get fined, jailed, or killed if we refuse to pay the fine or resist arrest.” That’s a real fair trade, wouldn’t you say? And if you do not recognize sarcasm, that was a perfect example of me being sarcastic.

Tell me, in recent history can you name one elected official who has been sent to jail for violating the Constitution…just one? How many Americans, on the other hand, have been sent to prison for violating laws which our government was NEVER given the authority to enact?

Then there is the uncomfortable fact that people call those who enforce these laws heroes. I would agree with that if ONLY they would choose NOT to enforce laws which violate the rights of the people they serve. Sure, they have got a shitty job; dealing with idiots and the underbelly of society…but they can always choose another job if they don’t like it; and when they serve the public they should be a bit more mindful that the laws they enforce are not always in accordance with the powers given legislators by both the federal and state constitutions. As Thomas Jefferson said, “… law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

For the system of government established by our Constitution to be considered good it must strictly adhere to the few specific powers given it. The moment it exceeded those powers it took its first step down the pathway to tyranny. Were we to turn around and look back to the freedom and liberty the Constitution was supposedly designed to protect, it would be so far in the distance that we would be unable to see it; that is how far we have strayed from the limited government outlined within that document.

For our system of government to be, as Paine said, nothing more than a necessary evil, and not an intolerable one, the people MUST know what the powers originally granted government are, and then hold their representatives strictly to those powers. The moment the people lose sight of the limits imposed upon government, and begin asking that it do things for them that it was never intended government do, we lose a bit more of our sovereignty and independence and become further enslaved to government; (and if you believe in conspiracy theories; enslaved to those behind the scenes who pull the strings for our elected representatives).

James Madison, in Federalist 51, declared, “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Our Constitution places the responsibility of ensuring we choose virtuous and honest people to fill the seats of power within government firmly upon the shoulders of the American public. Yet it provides no means of punishing those representatives when they abuse their power or overstep the limits imposed upon their power.

As Patrick Henry feared, “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.”

I know this is getting kind of lengthy, but one more point and I will wrap it up.

In the early to mid 1800’s the government enacted by the Constitution began passing laws which affected one segment of the nation, and benefitted another. One segment, after suffering under these laws without any redress for their grievances, chose to secede from the union and form their own system of government; just as our Founders had in 1776.

These were not traitors to America; they were simply men who had become fed up with the way their government treated them, and their States. Whether you choose to believe the Civil War was about slavery, or some other issue, the real reason it was fought was to impose Lincoln’s view of a consolidated union with the government at the center, over the belief that the individual States could, and should, be allowed to leave a voluntary union of States which just happened to be governed by a central government on one side.

I know most won’t do it, but I highly recommend that you find copies of both the original Constitution; ratified in 1789, and the Constitution written by the Confederate States of America. Place them side by side and read them article by article, comparing the differences between the two documents.
You might be surprised to find that they are very similar; with only a few modifications which were put into place to prevent the Confederate government from becoming as oppressive as the one in Washington D.C. had become.

The unfortunate fact now is that we have become a consolidated empire with a central government at the helm. Sure, we have boundaries which separate our States from each other; we have State Legislatures and governors, but federal authority, in most instances, is absolute and infringes upon powers that were meant to be those of the States.

It all boils down to the fact that, as time progressed, the people of this country have lost sight of what functions our government was established to perform. The less knowledgeable we became about the purpose for which our government was established, the more powerful that government became.

Nowadays we shrug our shoulders at the grossest violations of our rights, and the most oppressive of laws without even a peep of resistance. What has become of that spirit of liberty that led our brave founders to pick up arms and resist tyranny in the face of impossible odds? Today we believe that because we still have the right to go to the polls and pull a lever, or mark a ballot, that we are participating in democracy. Rarely does it cross the minds of the American voter that the person whom they cast their votes has no intention of adhering to the powers given them by the Constitution.

But that’s okay with most people; as long as their candidate wins it is okay if the Constitution is violated, if we are deprived of our rights; as long as it is our side doing it.

I may have become too cynical, too pessimistic, but I see no hope for the future; not as long as people continue to settle for the lesser of two evils, and as long as people remain ignorant as to the nature of their rights and the limited powers our government was supposed to exercise on our behalf.

So don’t expect my mood to change anytime soon. I will make you a deal though; if you can prove to me that you have begun to understand the purpose for which our government was established, or start proving to me that you understand the nature of your rights, then I will promise to start being a bit more optimistic.

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Have You Made A Deal With The Devil?

Have you ever heard the expression he sold his soul to the devil? It refers to someone who has made a deal with the devil in which in return for their soul after death the devil grants them something during life. Musical mythology and legend has it that the great blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for his musical skills and that is/was the inspiration for his song Crossroads.

However, the saying has a subtext that I would like to take a few minutes discussing. Saying that someone has sold their soul to the devil can also imply that for a few paltry benefits someone may have made a deal that they will later regret. That is how I personally view all those who put all their trust and faith in government to solve all the problems in this country.

Can you honestly assume the title of a free man or woman when you rely so heavily upon some form of government for a portion of your needs? If I were to pose the question of what would you do were someone to break into your home, the answer you give might be indicative of whether you actually understand what it means to be free.

If you were to answer dial 911 and wait for the police arrive to protect you, or your belongings, then you are relying upon a government entity for your safety and security. Is that freedom, or is it dependence? If you live your entire life anticipating the day you can retire and begin collecting your Social Security, are you truly free when your survival depends upon the arrival of that monthly check?

True freedom means that you are not dependent upon anyone but yourself for your needs. I realize, as did our Founders, that in forming a system of government some power and authority must be ceded to government for it to have any legitimacy and authority, but the moment any form of government exceeds the specific grant of power which created it, it becomes tyrannical; the only variable is the extent of the tyranny and the level to which the rights of the members of the society see their liberty restricted.

Liberty is the single most important thing our Founders fought to secure for themselves, and preserve for posterity. The word liberty is found in the Declaration of Independence as one of the three unalienable rights; “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.”

It’s preservation is one of the primary purposes for which our system of government was established; as found in the Preamble to the Constitution, “We the People of the United States, in Order to … secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Patrick Henry felt so strongly about liberty that he preferred death to the loss of it, “Give me liberty or give me death.” He also declared it to be the sole purpose for which governments are established, “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.”

If our Constitution is, in fact, a written law which binds our government to certain acts, and restrict it in regards to others, then it can be said that when our government oversteps the limits to its delegated authority, (no matter whether it be an arbitrary assumption of power or by majority consent of the people), government has taken a step towards destroying the liberty it was instituted to secure.

When this happens it is as Frederic Bastiat wrote in 1850, “But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect.”

When Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence he did not guarantee anyone success or happiness; only that it was our right to pursue it. Far too many people today are of the belief that if they are not as successful in life as others that government should be there to provide for their needs. This not only exceeds the original authority granted government, it means people willingly relinquish their liberty for the benefits provided by whatever government run program provides for them; selling their souls to the devil, so to speak.

When John Adams was away from his family in Philadelphia attending the Continental Congress he often wrote home to his wife Abigail to apprise her of the progress, or lack thereof, and to share his thoughts and ideas with her. In one such instance Adams wrote, “But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.”

It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs in this country today that those of us who decry the abuses of power by our government, and the subsequent loss of our liberty, are considered dangerous by an overwhelming majority of our fellow citizens. It is, as famed historian Charles Austin Beard said, “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the great struggle for independence.”

It truly boggles my mind how ready some people are to surrender their rights for the supposed security doing so would provide. Gun control laws are but one instance of how ready people are to surrender an unalienable right for the supposed protection the idea of a gun free society would provide.

Thomas Jefferson, aside from being our nation’s 3rd President, author of our Declaration of Independence, and inventor, was an avid reader and collector of quotations. Whenever he found a quote worthy of remembering he copied them down into what is known as a Commonplace Book. One such quote Jefferson copies is as follows: “It is a false idea of utility to sacrifice a thousand real advantages for the sake of one disadvantage which is either imaginary or of little consequence; this would take fire away from men because it burns, and water because it drowns people; this is to have no remedy for evils except destruction.

Laws forbidding people to bear arms are of this nature; they only disarm those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.” (Translated from On Crimes and Punishment, Chapter XL, 1764 ~Cesare Beccaria~)

Another such instance is our total lack of concern over our loss of privacy which has been sacrificed in this so-called War on Terror. I hear the most ridiculous comments when I discuss the extent to which our government spies upon the people of this country. That fact that every electronic communication people make, from e-mails to text messages to phone conversations, to Facebook and Twitter posts is captured by the NSA and stored in a databank seems to be of no concern to people. The fact that the government has the ability to use your cell phone, your personal computer, and your smart TV to watch and listen to your private conversations in your home also seems to be of no concern to people.

The most ridiculous comment I often hear is that if you have nothing to hide you should have nothing to worry about. Really? I suppose then that it would not bother you if I installed bugs in your house and listened to every conversation you had? I suppose it wouldn’t bother you if I installed cameras inside your home and watched you 24/7. I suppose that if you have nothing to hide you should not worry about privacy, then if you have nothing to say you should not worry about the freedom of speech.

I suppose the best example of how little people care for their loss of privacy is that when Edward Snowden released documents showing the extent to which our government monitors them, they called him the bad guy and not our government for shredding the 4th Amendment. Instead of being labeled a true American hero for exposing the level to which our government has violated our rights, he was forced to flee his country and seek refuge in Russia.

How is it that people can still support a government, that when proven to be guilty of a crime they still support it, and condemn the person who exposed the extent of the crimes being committed by their government? How is it that people can call themselves patriots, yet call for measures which limit their ability to resist tyranny in their government? How is it that people can call those who enforce unconstitutional exercises of power heroes, and those who resist these unconstitutional laws criminals?

In his book, A Voice Crying in the Wilderness: Notes from a Secret Journal, author Edward Abbey writes, “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country from his government.” Yet those today who even mention standing up to the almighty power of government are considered dangers to society, radicals, or domestic terrorists. It’s absolutely insane how upside down and backwards things have become in America today.

On July 5, 1788 Patrick Henry stood on the floor of the Virginia Ratifying Assembly and argued against the ratification of the proposed Constitution, saying, “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force: Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”

We have not heeded Mr. Henry’s warning to jealously guard our liberty. In fact, we have offered it up willingly for the promise of benefits and security from supposed threats. In doing so we have made a deal with the devil, with the devil being a corrupt government that no longer cares about the limits imposed upon it by our Constitution; the rights it was established to safeguard as found in the Bill of Rights, and the Liberty it was supposed to secure as found in the Preamble.

I’m almost certain that, in most instances, the things I have just said will go in one ear, and come out the other, without even registering in the brains of most people. People do not want to hear about preserving their liberty as that entails constant attention to it, and a willingness to fight to protect it. That entails sacrifice, and people would rather surrender their liberty and enjoy comfortable servitude, than face the hardships of defending it. It means that one must, often, stand alone, surrounded by others who do not understand what it is they are fighting to preserve, or why they are doing so.

It is, as Mark Twain once said, “In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”

Those of us who attempt to warn you of the dangers of an all powerful government; providing for your every need, are shunned and you continue supporting new measures which, under the guise of providing you with more benefits, hide the real purpose of increasing the size, and scope of power government wields over you. You care not that your liberty has all but vanished; only that your team, your political party are the ones in charge when it happens.

You have forgotten, or perhaps never been taught, what it means to be a free man/woman, or a patriot. You are content to believe you still are free, while the truth is you have lost most of your real freedom. The sad thing is you don’t want to hear anything the shatters the illusion you live under.

But make no mistake about it, as with all deals with the devil, when the time comes for you to pay the price for your reliance upon government to do the things which were your responsibility to do, you will regret your decision.

It is only then that those of us who tried to warn you will be vindicated; but it will be a bittersweet consolation as we will suffer the consequences of your ignorance and apathy alongside you; that is if we haven’t been killed by our government for posing a threat to its power and authority.

You may call yourselves patriots and lovers of liberty, but if you were you would be as upset as I am about the loss of that liberty. As Mark Twain so eloquently said, “Patriotism in supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.” Well, our government hasn’t deserved my support for quite some time now, and by you still trusting in it, by your still voting for whichever candidates you choose to elect to the various positions with that corrupt entity, you have proven that you do not love your country, you love your government.

And, as Samuel Adams once said, “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.”

Enjoy the benefits your deal with the devil has given you; the time to pay the piper quickly approaches, and I hope you don’t suffer too badly when you realize the mistake you have made. For, as Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Summary View of the Rights of British America, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”

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How Do You Think? (Or Do You Just React Emotionally?)

I have never given much thought to the actual process of how I think; until now that is. I don’t know if there is a technical term for how I lay my ideas out, but I like to think of it as a logical, linear progression; where I establish one fact, then based upon that fact I prove another fact; ultimately leading to a provable conclusion. In some ways it is like the old math formula which says if A equals B and B equals C, then A must equal C.

That is how I lay my ideas out when I put them down for others to read; but it is NOT what is going on inside my head at any given moment. That, on the other hand, is absolute chaos as I may have hundreds of little snippets of ideas, or thoughts, pinging around inside there. It is my job as a writer to bring order to that chaos and take those thoughts and lay them out in an orderly manner for you to read.

However, the transfer of ideas requires that the transmitter, (me), and the receiver, (you), be dialed in to the same frequency. In many ways it is like a short wave radio; if I transmit on one frequency, and you receive on another, then the message gets lost. If I think logically, basing all my beliefs upon provable facts, and you think emotionally, basing all your beliefs upon emotional, or knee jerk as they are sometimes called, reactions to the issues, then there will be a disconnect between the sender and receiver of ideas, and the message will get lost; or unintelligible upon receipt.

The problem is, I don’t speak knee jerk; or to be more precise; I don’t think in a knee jerk fashion. I can’t lay my ideas out in such a manner as to influence a positive emotional reaction from my audience; I deal only in facts and evidence. So what happens is that I send these little commentaries out and they fall upon deaf ears because most people have stopped thinking the way I do. Oh sure, there are still some out there who think like this; but they are becoming an increasingly small minority. Think of it like this; imagine being plunked down into a teeming mass of people who speak a different language and you are unable to communicate with them; and you’ll get an idea of how I feel when I try to talk to most people about the issues that are of importance to me.

So what happens is that I get frustrated; then I get angry, when I cannot convince people of the flaws in the way in which they view certain issues. The result is that I end up writing articles such as the one I wrote the other day; full of anger and resentment. I don’t mean to do it, take out all my frustration upon my readers; it just comes boiling out of me sometimes. I often think that my writing is therapeutic; it is a way for me to release my feelings so I don’t blow a gasket, or take my frustration out upon my family.

It is just that sometimes the logic that people use is…how do I say this without being too insensitive? Ridiculous? In my political discussions with people I often encounter a great many double standards and contradictions. In other instances I hear people say the damndest things; things that have absolutely no basis in provable fact; and when I try to correct them with facts I am treated as if I am a criminal.

I’ve read articles which have spoken of the two halves of the human brain; how one half is the reasoning side and the other the emotional side. I truly think that most people have let the logical side atrophy; almost like a person who goes to the gym and only exercises one arm; letting the other side grow weak and ineffective. I can be as humorous as the next guy when the time calls for it. I can tear up during scenes in movies that tug on my emotional heartstrings. But when it comes to discussing issues of such great magnitude as the crimes being committed by our government, or the history of this country, I deal solely from the logical side of my brain; and you should too.

I’m not saying you can’t get emotional about your beliefs or values; you can, but your beliefs or values should be based upon logical conclusions drawn from facts and evidence; not just how you feel things should be.

Take for instance the powers you think government should wield; upon what do you base your position? Do you base your position on what you hear from the news media or the politicians who seek your votes? Or, do you base your position upon the things the people who actually established our system of government believed? Whose beliefs do you think hold more weight in a political discussion; those who established a system of government or those who may seek to overstep the powers outlined within a constitution?

The thing is, I hear these people talk about the two differing parties in America today; the Democrats and the Republicans, and I hear them say that one side is conservative and one liberal. Those are just titles these parties have assumed to present a supposed position on how government should function. But the truth is, if you care to consider it, that both parties are liberal.

The problem lies in a basic misunderstanding people have of the terms conservatism and liberalism. If you mention either of those two terms people automatically associate them with the political party which has assumed that title for themselves; when this is not actually the truth of the matter.

If you were to research what is meant by the terms conservative and liberal, you might be surprised at what you find. A true conservative is one who holds to traditional values, or is reluctant to change existing institutions; such as government. A liberal on the other hand is one who has a loose adherence to traditional values and is open to rapid and frequent changes in values.

If our Constitution is the guideline which establishes what powers our government shall hold, and if you then compare the actions of both political parties to that document, you would be forced to admit that both parties are liberal in their interpretation of the powers government should wield over the people of this country. There are very few true conservatives who run for political office; and when they do they are shunned and ridiculed by both parties. This is not to say that Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders, who were both shunned by their respective parties, are conservatives; they aren’t. It is just that there is a hidden power behind the scenes that controls both political parties, and those two men threatened their hold on government. Trump just happened to be the one who grabbed hold of the brass ring and made it to the Oval Office.

There has not been a true conservative running for President since Ron Paul, and even then I had doubts about him when he refused to address the ineligibility of Barack Obama to hold the office of president due to his not being a Natural Born Citizen. People today are outraged that there exists accusations of tampering in our election process by Russia, yet they refuse to consider the fact that for 8 years we had a man acting as president who did not meet the standards established for the position he held.

The history of conservatism and liberalism dates all the way back to the administration of George Washington. The schism between the way Thomas Jefferson, (Washington’s Secretary of State), and Alexander Hamilton, (Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury), viewed the powers government should hold led to the formation of the first political parties in America.

The very first political parties in America went under the names of Federalists, and, ironically, Democratic-Republicans. The Federalists were those who shared Hamilton’s views on government, and the Democratic-Republicans were those who shared the views of Jefferson and James Madison.

Those who shared Hamilton’s views were primarily the business interests in the Northern States; the bankers and the industries that grew up in the North. Those who shared the views of Jefferson and Madison were primarily from the South in the agricultural areas; which just happened to be where the majority of slave labor also lived.

Although an abolitionist movement began in the North to free the slaves, it was not the primary reason which led to a schism between the two reasons which led to civil war. The power in Congress had gradually increased by the industrial North; yet the chief administrator, or President, had, for the most part, been a follower of Jefferson’s line of thinking; a true conservative.

With the election of Abraham Lincoln, a liberal Republican, the South feared that the Republicans in Congress would have free reign to enact all their policies and force the South to comply. The faced but two choices; submit to rule by a government they felt violated their State sovereignty, or severe the ties which bound them to the Union.

It does not matter that slavery was but one of the many issues which the South felt the Lincoln administration might tamper with, the true reason for the Civil War was a States right to voluntarily leave a union and sever the ties which bound it to a system of government established by consent of the people. If the government was created by an act of the people, did it have the power to force those it governed into remaining in the Union, or could the member States of that Union sever the ties which bound them to it at any time? The South, believing that the principles contained in the Declaration of Independence, “…when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security…” were still theirs to exercise.

Lincoln believe otherwise and raised an army to force their obedience to the will of the entity known as government. It is said that the attack on Fort Sumter was the reason we went to war; North against South, but the South’s hand had been forced, and had Lincoln not attempted to resupply a fort on the sovereign soil of South Carolina, the North would clearly have been seen as the aggressors in this conflict.

As outsiders, set apart from this conflict by the Atlantic Ocean, the British were not engulfed in the sentiments of the two regions of America engaged in fighting for their beliefs. Their view may, therefore, be enlightening as to the true nature of the Civil War. In a November 7th issue of the London Times, published in 1861, we read, ” [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.”

Historians, the textbooks we use in our schools, all teach us that the Civil War was fought to end the institution of slavery, or hold the Union together. These are bold faced lies, and there is ample evidence to prove them to be untruthful representations of why that conflict was fought.

In 1864, Confederate General Patrick Cleburne wrote the following, “Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision… It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.” (My emphasis)

Thirty some odd years after the Civil War ended, former president Woodrow Wilson wrote a set of books on the history of America, entitled A History of the American People. In his books he states, “It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery…and the world, it might be hoped, would see it as a moral war, not a political; and the sympathy of nations would begin to run for the North, not for the South.”

What the Civil War accomplished was not the ending of slavery, nor the saving of the Union, it was the end of the belief that the Sovereignty of the States was anywhere close to the sovereignty of the central government; that the federal government could, and would, exercise absolute dominion over the States, and the people. It was the end of true conservatism in America; the belief that our Constitution set forth limited powers our government was to hold and that any exercise of powers not described by that document were to be challenged.

People all the time tell me that our Constitution is outdated, that it is no longer relevant in today’s modern society. If that is the case then our government is no longer relevant either; for without the Constitution our government would not even exist.

When George Washington had finished serving 8 years as our nation’s first president, he wrote a lengthy letter to the American people which formed the basis for future presidential farewell addresses. In his letter he stated, “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.”

Our free system of government was destroyed when the North won the Civil War. The victory of the North was an end to State’s rights and State sovereignty, and the beginnings of an all powerful and centralized government which has led us to where we are today.

In 1821 Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Charles Hammond, predicting with trepidation, what would occur, if and when the central government became all powerful, “When all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the centre of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated ….”

It may be of little concern to you, but I find it interesting to note that the Constitution written by the Confederate States of America after they had seceded from the Union was very much like the one which established the government located to the North in Washington D.C. The basic structure of the government was the same; with a president and a bicameral Congress. However, the president was to serve a term of 6 years, and was afterwards ineligible for re-election. There were also some modifications to how Congress could legislate. For instance, no moneys would be drawn from the treasury of the central government created by this constitution to promote the internal improvement within any of the Confederate States. They also included a section which said “All bills appropriating money shall specify in Federal currency the exact amount of each appropriation and the purposes for which it is made; and Congress shall grant no extra compensation to any public contractor, officer, agent, or servant, after such contract shall have been made or such service rendered.” This was done to prevent the rampant crony capitalism that had been so rampant in the North.

What the Confederate States effectively did was to take the Constitution which had been ratified in 1789 and improve upon it to ensure that it would not lead to the kind of government which had led to their having no other choice but to leave the Union and form their own nation. The victory of the Union over the Confederacy was a victory of big government over States Rights and limited government. That’s all it was. It was not a victory of those who sought freedom for the slaves, or a continuation of the Union as it existed before any State had declared secession.

The facts are there for those of you who have the courage to seek them out, and accept them when you find them. But that goes right back to my opening comments; people don’t think logically today, they prefer to base their beliefs and ideals upon emotions instead.

That is why, no matter what I say, I will never be able to convince you of the true consequences of the outcome of the Civil War, and the true problems we face in this country today. That is why you will continue believing in a system that is not functioning as designed, and that no matter who you put into office, government will continue to increase in size, power, and with a corresponding loss of your liberty.

It is also why you will continue believing that Republicans are conservative and that Democrats are the only liberals under this system; when the truth is they are both liberal in their interpretation of the powers the Constitution grants government. It is just that they abuse their power for differing reasons.

So once again I will send this out into the ethos; hoping beyond hope that something I have said will cause a light to go on in someone’s head and they will say, “Damn, I never thought of it from that perspective.” If that happens then I will not have wasted my time. But I’m not counting on it either.

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Can’t Make Chicken Soup Out of Chicken Shit

This morning I awoke with a question tossing and turning in my mind that I would like to ask you. But before I do I need to preface it with something else; so bear with me if I seem to take off on a different course right out of the starting gate.

How many of you know how much importance our Founders placed upon trial by jury? In a letter to Thomas Paine, dated 11 July 1789, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor, ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”

Those are some pretty strong words; the ONLY anchor ever imagined by man? C’mon, isn’t voting important? Not according to Jefferson, who felt that trial by jury was the only means of tying government down by the restrictions placed upon it by written constitutions.

The Kings refusal to allow for trials by a jury of their peers was one of the reasons listed in the Declaration of Independence as why the Colonists sought to separate themselves from England, “For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.”

How can a body of 12 people wield so much power against the might of the government, or the criminal justice system? I wonder, have you ever heard the phrase jury nullification? Probably not, as it is not something they teach in school, and judges certainly are not going to tell you about it if you are ever called into service as a juror.

Yet jury nullification is not only your right, it is your duty. Jury nullification, and I am paraphrasing here, is simply the fact that if a juror, or group of jurors, decide that a written law violates a person’s unalienable rights, or was written in regards to areas in which the government is not allowed to legislated upon, a jury is not required to convict a defendant…even if the evidence clearly proves that the accused violated the law as written.

Yeah, that’s right; if you are on a jury and you feel the law violates a person’s rights, you are not required to render a guilty verdict…even when the evidence proves that the person violated the law as written. In short, as a juror you have the power and authority to render laws null and void.

In 1789, John Jay, the very first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court stated, “The Jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy.” What he means is that you, as a juror, have the right to judge the lawfulness of the law.

This wasn’t a one time off the cuff statement by John Jay either. Harlan Stone, who served as the 12th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court reaffirmed those sentiments when he said, “If a juror feels that the statute involved in any criminal offence is unfair, or that it infringes upon the defendant’s natural god-given unalienable or constitutional rights, then it is his duty to affirm that the offending statute is really no law at all and the violation of it is no crime at all, for no one is bound to obey an unjust law.”

Judges won’t tell you this; their job is to see that the laws, as written, are upheld in their courtrooms. That does not mean your right to nullify the laws they are sworn to uphold diminishes in the least. As recently as 1969 the concept of jury nullification was upheld.

In United States v. Moylan, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, “If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence… If the jury feels that the law under which the defendant is accused is unjust, or that exigent circumstances justified the actions of the accused, or for any reason which appeals to their logic or passion, the jury has the power to acquit, and the courts must abide by that decision.”

So, you are on a jury and someone is accused of murdering someone who had broken into their home. If you feel that it is a person’s God-given right to defend their home and property, even if the written law says that they are guilty of murder, you have the power and authority to render a not guilty verdict. The same can be said for persons brought on charges from a whole manner of crimes for which you feel the written law violates an individual’s rights, or exceeds the powers given government by the Constitution.

Now do you see why Jefferson thought that trial by jury was the BEST and ONLY anchor devised by man to hold government to the principles contained within a constitution?

Now, as to that question that was in my head as I awoke this morning; if we believe that we are entitled to a fair and impartial trial by a jury of our peers, how can we expect such a trial when the average person knows so little about the principles upon which our Constitution and Bill of Rights rest?

How can we as a nation keep our government to the few specifically enumerated powers granted them in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution if we don’t even know what those powers are? How can we protect our rights from violation by government when we do not know the reasons for which those specific rights were chosen to be protected by Constitutional Amendment? How can we prevent abuses of power in government when we cry and bemoan the abuses of power by one presidential administration, but turn blind eyes to the crimes of those who enact laws which we agree with due to party loyalty?

People today tell me that I have lost my right to complain about the problems this country faces because I choose not to participate in the fraud of choosing which criminal will obtain a particular office within the criminal organization you call government. You going to the polls and voting is like you trying to legitimize the Mafia by holding democratic elections to determine which man will lead a particular crime family.

What good is voting when the entire entity that is government routinely violates the law which binds its power and authority? What good has voting done to preserve and protect your rights? Yet you tell me that I’M the one who is screwing up because I do not choose to participate in choosing who will be my master for the next 4-8 years? You see, I value my vote; it is not something I give to another unless they have met certain qualifications. I will not cast it simply out of partisan loyalty; whether a criminal chooses to play for the Elephants or the Donkeys. If you want my vote you are going to have to prove that you are worthy of it; that you WILL uphold the Constitution; no matter how much you come under attack for doing so.

That is why this quote from John Quincy Adams means so much to me; “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” I do not cast my vote for political parties, or for the lesser of two evils; I vote for principle, and if there are no candidates who have any principle, I will not vote. It’s that simple.

I listen to people talk a lot more than they realize. I may choose not to engage in their conversations; but I hear what they are saying; and what they are saying, more often than not, proves to me that they have absolutely no understanding of how our system was designed to work; the purposes for which it was established, and the things it was established to safeguard for us.

I hold the educational system somewhat to blame for this; as they have not done the job of teaching our children the truth. But then again in this modern day of internet access; where information is at their fingertips, I hold the people of this country accountable for being willfully ignorant. I blame them for choosing to stick to things they have been conditioned to accept as truths, when the real truth is within their grasp, but they choose to reject it when confronted with it.

If you cannot see that government as an entity is corrupt and that voting one or two bad apples out every couple of years is like trying to make drinking water out of arsenic by adding a drop or two of distilled water, then you are part of the problem.

If you hold up on pedestals those who enforce the laws written by this band of criminals; calling them heroes, while they, and our criminal justice system routinely deprive people of their lives and their liberty for things which NEVER should have been made a crime, I hold you accountable as part of the problem.

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend of mine, which, in a way, continued again early this morning. We were discussing how people are able to deny the facts when they are right there, ‘in their faces’, as my friend said.

I can’t see any solution to the problems this country faces when they still hold out all this hope that the solution lies in selecting just the right batch of people to positions within government. For our country to have any hope, and even then it is doubtful, government would have to all but shut down to fix all the damage that has been done to our Constitution. Even then, there is the little issue of the loss of State sovereignty that occurred around the mid 1800’s; with the final nail in the coffin being the ratification of the 17th Amendment. Without the States as co-equal players, alongside the American people, government will still be a centralized entity with all power and authority over our lives.

Even were that problem to be ratified, the people of this country would still remain loyal to their respective political parties, and their ideologies; rendering the State Legislatures prone to the same partisan control that infects our nation’s capital.

Change, and effective change, will only come when the people, in large numbers, return to constitutional principles, and demand that government pass no law which oversteps the power given them, nor pass any law which violates a single unalienable right. Anything other than that is an exercise in futility, a continuation of business as usual.

If you can’t see that, then I don’t know what else I can say to convince you. Then again, I never held out much hope of changing your minds in the first place. I’ve been in enough arguments over these issues to have come to the realization that you don’t want to hear the truth; you would rather accept a comfortable lie; because accepting the truth would also entail accepting part of the blame for what is wrong in this country.

So you choose to go on putting your faith in a broken system and hoping that by changing out one criminal for another you are going to fix what is wrong.

That is why I ask if we can ever obtain a fair and unbiased trial when the people are so reluctant to hear truths that conflict with their existing beliefs.

My friend also told me one thing, and it is something I have come to accept as an unfortunate reality. We were discussing how unable both of us have been in getting people to see the truths we write about, and my friend said, “You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit.” If a person’s brain is unwilling to accept ideas which conflict with existing beliefs, if a person is unwilling to accept the truth when it is presented to them with undeniable evidence; then what good is arguing with people like that? If their minds are made of mush, there is no fixing that.

I know I’ve been told not to insult my readers as it causes them to disregard what I say; so I’m sorry if I’ve offended you.

I take that back, I’m not sorry, I’m angry that I’m surrounded by people who chose to believe lies rather than the truth. I’m angry that people still trust in a system that is entirely corrupt. I’m angry that people would willingly obey laws which violate their most sacred rights.

People today call people like me radicals, and that we pose a danger to society because our ideas as they pertain to government are, how’s the best way to say this? Revolutionary? Damn, weren’t our nation’s founders just as radical in their beliefs and in the things they did to obtain their independence from a tyrant.

Why is it that people are so willing to condemn tyranny and oppression when they hear about it in other countries, but refuse to turn that microscopic glance inwards and look at their own government?

So yeah, I’m angry…real angry. I see the country I love going to hell in a handbasket and all people care about is their Reality TV, their sporting events, their Facebook likes, and which crook gets to sit in the Oval Office for 4 years.

So in closing, if you can tell me who won the last 4 Superbowls, but not who our first 4 Presidents were, YOU are part of the problem. If you can tell me who won the Academy Award for best picture last year, but not what Article 5 of the Constitution says, YOU are part of the problem. If you can name all the Kardashian sisters but not tell me what rights the 4th Amendment protects, YOU are part of the problem.

Oh, if you’re interested, the first 4 presidents were; Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison; Article 5 outlines the process by which our Constitution shall be amended; and the 4th Amendment protects our right to privacy and to not have our persons, personal effects and belongings searched without a warrant issued stating probable cause.

And I didn’t have to look any of that up…

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