How to Sum up Betrayal in Two Paragraphs

036

See, here’s the long and the short of it. I’ve used the word “fiat” a few times in previous articles. We need to talk about that some more, because it fits in with everything else we’ve discussed. In fact, it’s really the heart of everything else.

“Fiat” is just another word for “worthless”; a thing of no value. Unless it’s referring to one of those cute little Italian cars – then it’s got value. Otherwise, nada. Zip. Zero. A thing of no value.

Federal Reserve Notes, like that dollar bill in your pocket, are “fiat” currency. They have nothing of value behind them. They don’t represent a dollar’s worth of any real thing, like gold or silver. They’re “notes”. They’re commonly referred to as FRNs.

The only way fiat currency can exist is if the people (that’s us, you and me) are forced, at gunpoint, to use it. The most important way D.C. forces us to use FRNs is to demand we use them to pay our mandatory income taxes. Here’s an experiment for you: Next year, come April 15th, saunter into your local IRS office and offer them a few bushels of new string beans out of your garden as payment on your taxes. See how far that gets you. Or maybe you just got back from your annual European vacation and still have some Swiss francs you’d like to get rid of. Try paying your taxes with them. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Good luck with that.

The sneaky way they get around giving most of us a chance to think about this is the W4; the “Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate”. By stealing it from you a little at a time – in FRNs – you don’t get sticker shock come April. Also, since most people are deathly afraid of the IRS, we tend to over-pay on that W4, so we have a “refund” due at the end of year. And we get paid in……FRNs.

We cannot escape using fiat FRNs (okay, that’s redundant. I won’t do it again.) because every interaction we have with D.C. requires us to use them. Taxes, of course, license fees, permits, services, anything that we have to buy from them has to be paid for in FRNs. And they only pay out in FRNs. Welfare of any description, Social Security checks, government payroll, contracts with businesses, all of it. Anything in or out of D.C. has to be FRNs. So that means that everybody – you, me, the grocery store, your employer, even your paperboy (do we still have paperboys?) has to collect FRNs so they can do their business with D.C.

“Well, yeah, because that’s ‘our’ money” you say. Got a news flash for you: that ain’t “our” money at all. We don’t own it. We don’t print it. We don’t control it, in any way, shape, or form.

It. Ain’t. Ours.

We’re just forced, literally at gun point, to use it. Hell, we can’t even barter amongst ourselves unless we declare the values of the bartered items in – you got it – FRNs.

I repeat: it. ain’t. ours.

That money belongs to a private central bank. Every green piece of paper in your pocket is the property of the banks behind the Federal Reserve. Every digital 1 and 0 in your bank account is the property of the banks behind the Federal Reserve. You have temporary custody, but it belongs to the Fed. That’s because every one of them, every bill, every byte, is your copy of an IOU, a loan, made by the Fed to “our” government. Add them all up, all the pockets, all the piggy banks, the penny jars, the bank accounts, the loan balances, all of the little pieces (and the big pieces, like the trillions of dollars “our” government gives to other countries) — and they exactly equal the national debt. They ARE the national debt. That dollar bill in your pocket is a certificate of debt. Our debt. Your debt. My debt. Our children’s debt.

Debt created for us, without our consent, by Congress.

Debt owed to a cartel, an international corporation of bankers, who do business with “our” government via a storefront named The Federal Reserve System. We don’t even know who those bankers are. I’m not sure anyone in Congress, or in the President’s Treasury Department know who they are. We have a pretty good idea who some of them might be, but not every one of them. The storefront, the Federal Reserve, shields them, hides them, protects them from view.

This was all arranged back in 1913. (Funny how we keep going back to that year, isn’t it?) The 16th Amendment, authorizing a direct income tax, superseded the two articles of the Constitution expressly forbidding this kind of taxation. It was absolutely necessary that Congress control your taxes directly, instead of having to deal with the States as go-betweens. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to force us to use FRNs.

Hand in glove with the 16thA, the 17thA was ratified a few weeks later, taking away the States power in D.C. (we talked about that in our last article). Then later that year, with Senators now clamoring for reelection donations they had never needed before, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act. The act set up the structure of exactly how Congress and the bank cartel would do business, and delegated Congress’ Constitutional duty to issue and control our currency to the new central bank owned by the cartel. And the deal was done.

Rereading that last bit, I realize that I just summed up the core of “our” government’s greatest betrayal of us all in just two short paragraphs.

If you aren’t pissed yet, I don’t know what else to tell you.

I can though, very, very strongly, urge you to read G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island. You may not agree with his conclusions in the later parts of the book, but he researched the actual history of the plot behind creating the Federal Reserve so well that no one, absolutely no one, can argue the truths he uncovered. It is a fascinating read and WILL piss you off. Please, read it. Please. I’m begging you.

Madison, and The Chicken Farmer

we the people

So, you might have noticed that we’ve made mention of State sovereignty and it’s demise, a few times.

Okay, more than a few times.

The reason we’ve mentioned it is because it’s really, really relevant to what’s going on today. Bear with us and this long post. This is just too damned important.

A lot of people, especially a lot of people involved in State governments, deny that there’s any truth to the rumor that State sovereignty is dead. That’s because they’re in denial. Not surprising; they’d be out of a job if they admitted the truth to their residents.

And a lot of otherwise lucid, logical people, will get all kinds of bent up if you even hint that their particular geographic unit, be it New York, California, Missouri, or even Texas, is really only a province of The District. Okay, maybe we can exclude Texas. Special case, and I don’t want to piss them off. You know how Texans get.

But it’s the truth. States, today, and ever since, like, almost forever, are only around for conveniences like issuing drivers licenses and parceling out money from The District. Money that was taken from the people in that province in the first place, usually. They get to manage some of their own affairs (unless The District forbids it), and the residents get to vote on issues in The District (for all the good it does them), but the State itself has no real power. Not any more. Not for the last 100+ years.

But they used to. The States used to be proud of the fact that they were independent and had voluntarily entered into a kind of marriage, a collaboration, with all the other independent States. United, as equal members, who agreed to use one set of rules among themselves, and to present a unified (there we go with that “united” thing again) a unified front to the rest of the world. Other parts of the country were tickled pink to join up. Bragging rights belonging to the original thirteen colonies, of course.

Here’s a little aside: to become a member of this union of States, even today, a geographic area has to unite itself, identify itself, form its own government (and that has to be a constitutional republican form to qualify), and then create and enact its own constitution. Simply put, it has to become a country, an independent nation. Then it can apply for membership, for Statehood. That’s what all fifty of the States were: sovereign nations, however briefly, who voluntarily joined the Union.

That was before Abe Lincoln so rudely disagreed with their notion that an independent, sovereign State that had voluntarily joined could just as voluntarily decide to un-join, to separate. To secede. Silly States. What were you thinking? That you were sovereign or something?

So Abe broke the dozen or so upstart States to prove his point. I mean, he smashed them. It’s like the Cosa Nostra, the Mob: once you’re in, you’re in. There’s only one way you leave. You don’t get to change your mind.

So much for State sovereignty.

But the Constitution (of the United-whether-you-want-to-or-not States) still left all the States some leverage. James Madison was smarter than Abe Lincoln. Jimmy knew all about how rulers tend to not want to be over-ruled, so he set things up to so that there was a three-way balance: The Executive – the Prez – was in charge of overseeing the running of the government. The Judicial – the Supreme Court – is supposed to be where all the lawyers hang out; lawsuits, interpreting the thorny issues with laws, yada-yada. The House of Representatives was the direct voice of the people. But people are fickle, and change their minds a lot, and get distracted a lot – admit it; you know it’s true. So he made sure their spokesperson was only on board for a short time. Too short to cause much damage. And he let the general population of each State pick their new reps, so they’d have a voice that echoed whatever it was they thought was important that day. And he set the minimum age to be a Representative low enough that a relative kid could get in there. And he made the House flexible in size, so that, as the country grew, so would the House. This means that the House of Representatives is controlled by the States with a lot of people. The only really important job Madison gave the House is called “the power of the purse”. (They haven’t been doing a great job at handling that, lately, but we’ll wait for another episode to talk about that debacle.)

James Madison knew that the House, so large and so disorganized (think “Animal House” and you won’t be far off base), couldn’t stop the President. He knew the Supreme Court couldn’t stop the President because it takes, like, frickin’ forever to get those dudes (and dudettes) to even consider doing any work, and when they do, nobody understands what the frick they’re saying anyway, senile old farts that they are. So Madison, on the third day, created the Senate, and Madison looked upon the Senate, and it was good. I mean, it was really, really good. Madison knew that the States, who considered themselves sovereign equals in a solemn compact, were jealous of their own power, and wouldn’t stand for being dissed by some Supreme Ruler. So he made the Senate their voice. The States, by any method they wanted, appointed two Senators each, so every State, no matter their size, would have an equal voice in whatever went on. That meant that the Senators weren’t subject to being micro-managed by the people of their State and could focus on what was good for their States, long-term. He set it up so the Senators were older, presumably wiser, heads – think Council Elders – and gave them the longest terms of anyone so they could balance out the hot-heads in the House, and, more importantly, so they were there longer than the Prez. And the States, if they didn’t like the way either of their Senators was handling their business, could recall themfire thembefore their term was up, and replace them with someone who would follow orders.

Is that a beautiful thing, or what? I mean, seriously. The dude was a genius. (And a cynic about human behavior, but we won’t go there.)

And then the railroad came to town. And corrupt/corrupting corporations were born.

Well, not exactly, but close. Corporations had been around, but they were pale weak little things, compared to today. The States saw to that. After the debacle with the King’s East India Company and the revolution, powerful corporations were not welcome here. No, sir.

But, people being people, and memories being short, and money being the root of, and all that…

Railroads, as you can imagine, aren’t cheap to build or to run. State-of-the-art technology never is. Only groups of rich people could afford to do it. (This was back before the government thought it was okay to dabble in private enterprise, of course.) So they formed corporations. And those corporations became very powerful, and financial politics was re-born in the United States. We never learn. Sigh. The bigger the corporations got, the more powerful they got and the richer they got. And the more powerful and richer they got, the bigger they got. They branched out. They ran amok. Completely, gob-smack, amok. And big corporate banks were born. Born, and invested in by both now uber-rich Americans, and uber-rich Europeans. With very little regulation, the corporations did pretty much as they damned well pleased, buying and selling politicians and political influence included.

At the same time, average literacy levels were on the rise. Colleges and Universities were springing up, under every other rock, it seemed. Universities, like railroads, aren’t cheap to build, or to run. Guess who invested in them. (Note: we’re not talking about the land-grant, State-run universities. We’re talking about the private, liberal arts kind.)

And in those private liberal arts colleges, bought by the uber-rich, incubated the First Progressive Era. Those first progressives, had no respect for their elders, or what their elders had built. Typical frat boys, they knew they could change the world, if only they were in charge.

And the mega-corporations and their mega-rich stockholders quietly supported them, and eased their paths, and helped them to prominence. Now, you have to realize: in the 100-plus years since the Constitution was adopted, only 5 amendments had been ratified, and 3 of those were right after Lincoln won his war, and dealt mostly with establishing the rights of the former slaves (for all the good THAT did them. Another story, another time.)

But these Progressives, needed only a couple more amendments, and some extra legislation, to change the world. It had been over 100 years since Madison’s time. The world had changed, you see. People were “evolving”. Things were more complicated. Bullsh*t like that was everywhere those days. So, with the mega-corporations funding and fueling their efforts from behind the scenes, they pushed the 16th Amendment, establishing a new, collectivist-friendly way of taxation that only needed one more new department to manage it – the Infernal Revenue Service. And they got it, and the Devil smiled.  Oh, and while we’re at it, the country had grown too much to be bogged down with something as pesky and limiting as a hard currency, and they had this nifty new idea about how they could pay for things by just letting this international bank print paper money as they needed it, giving government issued IOU’s to that international bank to keep it propped up. That way they could save the world. And so the Federal Reserve Act was created, and the Devil chuckled. And then, because letting the States appoint Senators just wasn’t democratic, they pushed the 17th amendment. And they got it, and the Devil laughed and laughed and laughed.

And that, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, is how the First Progressive Movement, in 1913, destroyed our republic and turned our States into nothing more than provinces.

We’ll get into the 16th Amendment and the Federal Reserve Act another time. Right now we’re looking at what the 17thA did to us.

Before the 17th, if you were, let’s say, a chicken farmer in Arkansas, and you read something in the paper about a Representative from California, up in DeeCee, submitting a bill that says chickens must have so many square feet of space per chicken in their growing pens, you could march down the street to the local drug store, pick up that new-fangled telephone thing, and call your district representative down in Little Rock, and say “Hey! George! I want you to tell the Governor that I don’t like this crap those morons in California are trying to pull! I want it stopped, you hear? How’s your momma ‘n them?” And George, being your neighbor, would tell the Governor. And the Governor would pick up the phone and call DeeCee and get the senior Senator from Arkansas on the line and say, “Listen, Bob, our people don’t like what that California dunderhead down the House is trying to pull. When that Chicken thing comes up for a vote in the Senate, you will vote No. Got it? Good!” And Bob, liking his job and wanting to keep it, would dutifully vote “No”. Because, if he didn’t, the next time he came up for re-appointment, the State legislature would count how many times he didn’t follow their orders and decide to replace him with someone who would. Or, maybe they wouldn’t even wait that long, if he turned out to be a really crappy Senator.

After the 17th, that chicken farmer in Arkansas could pretty much do the same thing, and his local representative to Little Rock could do the same thing. But when it came time for the Governor to call the Senator…well, that’s where the rub comes. Because the Governor can’t fire the Senator anymore. The Governor, in fact, has nothing to do with the Senator’s job. He gets elected by “the people” now, just like the Representatives down in the House. Which means the Governor isn’t his boss. His boss is the people who help him get re-elected, and we all know who they are. So, now, when the Governor calls old Bob, up in DeeCee, Bob’s secretary tells him that Bob is out having lunch with a lobbyist from General Dynamic Chicken Coop Mfg Corp., and can’t be disturbed, but he’ll get back to him “real soon”.

James Madison would be furious. I know that I am.

Because He Can, That’s Why.

033

We’re continuing our responses to Judge Napolitano’s “What If” speech on his Fox News show, questions that strike at the heart of what’s happening to our nation. The Judge asked many questions that are so closely related we’re lumping some of the together. Here are six that we can do that with:

“What if the President, meant to be an equal to congress, has instead become a democratically elected, term-limited, monarch? What if the President assumed that everything he did was legal, just because he’s the President? What if he could interrupt your regularly scheduled radio and tv programming for a special message – from him? What if he could declare war on his own? What if he could read your emails and your texts without a search warrant? What if he could kill you without warning?” And here’s our opinion on them:

Some presidents rule like a dictator because … he has that power. Because he can. And, honestly, sometimes – only sometimes – because he has to. Which kind of makes sense. In an emergency, Congress can’t respond quickly. Hell, they aren’t even on the job half the time. They recess, adjourn, go home. And when they are there, they aren’t, a lot of the time. They’re on the phone or on the run, drumming up campaign funds and support to get themselves re-elected into their cushy spots. Or they’re creating sound-bites and posturing for their up-coming run at the cat-bird seat. And when they really are there, it takes them so long to come to any kind of consensus we’d be toast before they could react. In an emergency, they’re like an entire flock of Chicken Little’s, running in panicked circles squawking like….well, like chickens.

Executive Orders are how a president gets things done, just like the boss of any organization. A president is in charge of running all these dozens, maybe even hundreds of departments, and agencies, and bureaus, and offices, and what-have-you, and Executive Orders are how he does it. Most EO’s are humdrum, everyday housekeeping notes to lower management. A lot of it – a LOT of it – depends on the management style of the particular president. And a lot of it depends on the crises he faces.

But the real issue is the way the presidents can and do use executive orders to forward their personal agendas and rule, if they want, pretty much as absolute monarchs. Since they can do whatever they want, who’s going to stop them? Unless Congress howls loudly enough, or someone gets the judiciary involved, they get away with pushing whatever agenda they want; and they have been known to ignore both legislative and judicial censure for their acts. The only two weapons Congress has is the House’s “power of the purse”, and impeachment. The problem with the purse-strings, other than the obvious political issue of getting a divided group to reach consensus on refusing to fund something a president has done that some of them don’t agree with, is the time interval involved. Even if the House censures a president’s executive action by refusing to fund it, that takes time to take effect. There’s already plenty of money in the pipeline; by the time the supply dries up, the damage is, in most cases, already done. Impeachment is the only real threat, and that, rightfully so, isn’t an easy – or quick – thing to do.

In 1861, when Lincoln issued the executive order authorizing military commanders to suspend the writ of habeas corpus at their discretion, it was immediately struck down by a supremely pissed off Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. (See what I did there? I’m so funny…) Lincoln simply ignored him. And Congress, cowering, was too scared to force the issue. “Just do what you need to do to keep us safe.” It was the first time a Supreme Court justice found an EO unconstitutional. And the first time a president ignored them.

Non-relevant historic sidenote: Lincoln issued that EO to prevent Maryland from seceding and joining the Confederacy. Take a quick look at a map. If Maryland had seceded, as it looked like they were headed for, the District of Columbia would have been completely surrounded, cut off. The Confederacy would have chopped off the head of the snake before it could strike. The war would have been over, the Confederacy triumphant, before another shot was fired. In fact, among the first casualties of the war were Union troops moving to reinforce D.C. and rioting Marylanders trying to stop them. But I digress.

The worst offenders of EO abuse were Lincoln (of course), Hoover, Truman (almost as bad as Lincoln), FDR (worse than Truman, not as bad as Lincoln), Clinton (almost as bad as Hoover), Bush (almost as bad as Truman), and (also, of course) Obama (who is FDR-bad and working diligently on surpassing Roosevelt, and is blatantly, stupendously arrogant about it). Bush has to take at least part of the blame for the Patriot Act, but since it’s legislation, he doesn’t get the “credit” for control by fiat. If the Patriot Act had been an executive order, he’d have out-gunned even Lincoln.

And again, to be fair, excluding his signature ACA debacle, Obama hasn’t really “gotten away with” much more than Clinton did. Possibly, if you compared the details, even less, actually. But Clinton was sneaky. Devious. Clever. Subtle. Obama is just clumsy and ham-handed. Or arrogant and ham-handed. Take your pick. Throw in his ACA shenanigans and agenda to “fundamentally transform”, and he’s shooting for the moon. Get out of the way, Bush. Move over, Lincoln.

Clinton didn’t announce to the world that he was going to defy Congress. He didn’t tell them, to their faces (think, State of the Union address), that he was going to damned well do as he pleased, and they better just fall in line, or else. Clinton simply and quietly went about doing whatever the hell he wanted to do, and if it came to light, waved it off as a misunderstanding – and kept on doing whatever the hell he wanted to do.

Bush drummed up war and patriotic fervor to distract the masses (Google “jingoism”), kept Congress cowering like the famous three monkeys: squatting in denial, their hands over their eyes, their ears, and their mouths – and got what he wanted. “Don’t tell us, we don’t want to know. Just save us.” The Bush dynasty has always been in bed with the industrio-military complex; that’s how they made their fortunes, all the way back to before WWII and before, and to this day see no reason to get off a winning horse, even if now they’ve been forced by circumstance to call on the thinner blood of the dynastic line.

Obama is foolish, simple, and such an arrogant sociopath he doesn’t think he needs to be subtle. And not even a Great Pretender like him can fake it realistically enough to drum up a Girl Scout cheer, let alone patriotic fervor. Socialist, progressive, collectivist fervor, oh yeah. Plenty of that. So he’s left with what he’s totally comfortable with: megalomania that rivals the world view of a three-year-old.

How is all this possible? Why is it able to happen? I hate to bad-mouth something I adore, but the reason is because the Constitution is too vague. Evidently the Founders, back when they were creating this wonderful but humanly imperfect document, were worried about setting up a situation where Congress could micro-manage the chief executive. They knew that wouldn’t be good, but it seems they never figured out any way to avoid it and still keep a reasonable rein on the president. Because of the way the Constitution is written, so vaguely and so briefly covering the duties of the president, and with little language about exactly how he’s supposed to do his job, there’s so much latitude for abuse that an impatient president can easily abuse his powers.

Or a less-than-scrupulous one.

Or a less-than-honorable one.

Or a power-mad megalomaniac.

Or a total incompetent.

Or all of the above.

And get away with it.

And too, because of the Constitutionally built-in adversarial roles of the branches of government, that whole checks-and-balances thing, the president, no matter who he is, Bush, Clinton, FDR, or Joe Blow, is never in agreement with the other branches. (Unless they kowtow to him – usually when his party has a clear majority across both chambers, but sometimes because it’s getting difficult to tell the difference between the two major parties.) So he’s almost always in a position of using his authority to skirt theirs.

The Supreme Court isn’t much help, either, since it’s damned difficult to even get a protest before them, and once you do you discover that the benches have been packed with do-nothing, special interest corporatist whores and progressives. Senile progressives, at that. You’d think that when they slam back a few too many glasses of wine, and start nodding off and drooling on their bibs at official functions somebody would “encourage” them to retire, but nooooo…..

So the answer to these six questions the Judge asked about the president is; “But he CAN. And he does, because he CAN.” If you are naive enough to believe that presidents ordering the death of American citizens without benefit of trial began with Barack Obama ordering the killing of citizens, on foreign soil, with drones, then… I have a bridge for sale I’d like to talk to you about. Obama is just the first one arrogant enough to think he doesn’t need to keep it a secret.

The President – not just THIS president – can read your texts and your emails and eavesdrop on your phone conversations, and bug your home, and incarcerate you indefinitely, and all those other evil, evil things, because the Constitution gave him implicit permission, and Congress gives him explicit permission, to do it. They’ve done it, for the most part, since Day One, and they’ll continue to do it as long as this Republic keeps struggling along.

Size Does Matter; Just Ask Uncle Sam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Do you know how many federal agencies there are? Does anybody know? In the research that I have done, I can’t find a list of all the government agencies. I’m not even sure the government knows how many there are.

Do you know how many pages there are in the Federal Regulations Code? I do know the answer to that. Well, kind of. From what I have been able to research, it is almost 200,000 pages long. Yes, you read that correctly. If you printed the thing out and stacked it, it would be taller than a three story building. Do you even think for a moment that they even know what it says?

In our continuing coverage of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s five minutes worth of questions, we are now at questions number three and four. “What if the whole purpose of the Constitution was to limit the government?” “What if Congress’ enumerated powers in the Constitution no longer limited Congress but were used as a justification to extend Congress’s authority over every realm of human life?”

Well?

Let me see… The Founding Fathers were so adamant about protecting the people from their government that they wrote the Constitution, and specifically limited the roles of that same government. They believed that the more government that existed, the less liberty the people would enjoy.

Today, we have regulations that tell us what light bulbs we can and can’t buy, how much water our showers are allowed to sprinkle over our heads, what tests our children take in school, what licenses you have to have to be just about anything and… well, you get the idea. There is no part of our personal lives that is not affected by some kind of regulation. It’s like a cancer that has been caught in the late stages. It has spread and spread to the point that there is nothing we can do to stop it. Surgery, at this point, is not an option. Just like cancer cells are immortal, so is this invasion of bureaucracy. The only thing left to do is to keep the patient comfortable until her time comes.

How did this happen? How did we go from a nation based on liberty to living under this behemoth of a government? You would think that there is some long drawn out story about it all. But sadly, there isn’t. Of course there are exceptions, but if you just want to know, then follow the money. Do you really think that Congress just up and decided one day to ban incandescent light bulbs? Do you really think that they just decided that incandescent light bulb was a energy sucking monster and must be done away with? If you believe that, then you and I have nothing to talk about. Instead, let’s imagine that the corporations who made the incandescent light bulb saw that they could make much more money producing and selling LED light bulbs, but couldn’t get people to buy them because they were so much more expensive. Let’s imagine that they then went to Congress and said, “Psst. We need you outlaw incandescent light bulbs for us. Here is some money.” If you believe that, then I see a great future for our friendship. Don’t just take my word for it. Please, do your own research.

I’m only using the incandescent light bulb as an example because it is quite recent and has affected A LOT of people. And, it was all about the money. You can’t do anything in this country without having to pay money. You can’t get a driver’s license. You can’t get a fishing license. You can’t get a copy of the Federal Regulations. Hell, you can’t even renounce your U.S. citizenship without paying them money.

The government tells us we have to wear seat belts. It tells us we have to have health insurance. It tells us we have to follow their rules, or pay the price. It should be the other way around. We should be telling them what they can and can’t do. That is, after all, what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution. 

This is a Biggie.

028

You know about the Constitution, right? That document written all those years ago, when our country was just a babe, meant to enumerate and protect the rights we were all born with? Well, the Judge’s second question was, “What if the Constitution no longer applied?”

The thought alone should terrify anyone who knows anything about the Constitution. But what if I were to tell you that the Constitution has not applied for years now? Decades even. What would you say then?

Let me give you an example. You all know what happened on September 11, 2001. But what happened after that was, in fact, an ever bigger tragedy. I know, I know. More than 3000 people lost their lives that day. What could be worse than that? It was a terrible thing. I agree completely. Don’t yell at me just yet.

Less than a week after the attack, bills were introduced in Congress designed to combat terrorism. Those bills morphed into the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001. It should have been called the “Let’s gut the Constitution because a bunch of crazy people attacked us” Act, but I digress.

This final bill was introduced to the House of Representatives on October 21, 2001. It passed the House 357-66 on October 24, passed the Senate 98-1 on October 25, landed on the president’s desk that same day and he signed it into law on October 26. The bill was 363 pages. 57,896 words. Yep. Now, considering that there were fewer than 30 working days between the attacks and the day the bill was introduced, that was some pretty fast writing. But, again, I digress.

Moving on. Let me give you the shotgun version of what the “Patriot Act” accomplished. Listen up.

“To assist in terror investigation”, the “Patriot Act” allows for:

  • The monitoring of religious and political institutions without suspecting criminal activity. (Translation: wire taps without warrants.)
  • The removal of once public government information, the closing of once public hearings, and the resisting of public information requests. (Translation: what you don’t know can’t hurt you.)
  • The prosecution of librarians or keepers of public records for revealing information about records that have been subpoenaed. (Does this really need a translation? Prosecution of librarians? Really?)
  • The monitoring of conversations between attorneys and their clients, and denying Americans legal representation. (Translation: that pesky little Miranda thing? “You are entitled to an attorney…” Ha.)
  • The search and seizure of Americans’ papers and effects without probable cause and without a warrant. (Uh, there are not words.)
  • The imprisonment of Americans indefinitely without a trial and without being charged or being able to face their accusers. (This just gets better and better, right?)

Well, actually, no it doesn’t. I could go on and list more, but I think you get the idea. If you would like to read further, you can always go here: http://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/3162.

My point here is that the Constitution really doesn’t apply any more. Sure, we can moan and groan and say they are violating our rights, but, seriously, who is there to stop them? The government decided, long ago, that they controlled what and which “rights” they wanted to let us have, and when they care to let us have them. The rights our status as human beings gave us, and the framers of our government tried to protect for us, are now only privileges, dispensed by the autocracy at their convenience, revoked at their whim.

So, what if the Constitution no longer applied? We are already there, people. We are already there.

Are We Citizens or Subjects?

027

In 2011, Constitutional scholar Judge Andrew Napolitano spent five minutes of his Fox News show asking a series of questions, one after the other, that strike to the heart of the issues facing our nation. You know, bringing up things that make people think. It doesn’t matter if you agree with him or not. Or even if we agree with him or not. What matters is that every question he posed deserves attention.

That’s where we come in. The Judge’s first question was, “Does the government work for us, or do we work for the government?” Here’s our take on it.

In order to address this question fully, we have to revisit 1861, when that Great Emancipator, Ole Abe, decided to completely ignore the Constitution of the United States and invade the Confederacy. The outcome of Lincoln’s War of Aggression decided that question. The government works, not for us, but for itself. It does not work for the people, and hasn’t for a long time.

Abraham Lincoln’s decision to revoke the ultimate right of the people as stated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to give, or to withdraw, their consent to be governed, reduced the states to nothing more than administrative provinces, and their citizens to subjects of the central authority. Before 1861, the government was truly a servant of the people. Even though it was sometimes reluctantly, from the beginning, to an ever-lessening degree, the government worked for the good of its constituent states and their citizens. It was by no means a perfect Union, just as no large family is perfectly content with its siblings – or with its parents. But each member of the family knew that, if conditions became too intolerable, if compromise or accommodation finally became impossible, it could divorce itself from the family and go its own way.

What? Wait. Are you saying…? Yes, that’s exactly what we are saying. The states that seceded from the Union had every right to do so, and Lincoln did violate the Constitution many times. Those states seceded individually, as a truly sovereign State had every right to do. They then voluntarily joined with the other sovereign states to form a new Confederation – dissolving their ties with their former association –  just like the colonies did, and like the Declaration said they had the right to do. All of this was embodied in the principle of State sovereignty, of the concept that the States had willingly and voluntarily entered into the compact as free agents, and could withdraw if they believed the conditions warranted. (No, we are not saying that the states that seceded had a right to keep slavery alive. Besides, anyone who has seriously studied history knows that slavery was not the real reason for that war, so put that argument away. Put it away.)

Lincoln, with his egregious violations of the Constitution, his willingness to force brother to kill brother to achieve his purpose, accomplished his goal of negating the principle of State sovereignty. His ruthless campaign set us on the inevitable path to where we are today: a centralized, autocratic, self-serving ultimate authority. That authority is an amoral, infinitely avaricious behemoth that treats its subjects no better than it must to maintain its own existence and progression. The 17th Amendment, ratified less than 50 years later, was merely the final blow, silencing the states’ last feeble voice in their, and their citizens’, own destinies. On May 31, 1913, the rulers in the royal province, the District of Columbia, declared itself the unlimited, absolute authority of its subjects. From that day until this, and for the foreseeable future, the government works, not for us, but for itself.

“Stripped of all its covering, the naked question is, whether ours is a federal or consolidated government; a constitutional or absolute one; a government resting solidly on the basis of the sovereignty of the States, or on the unrestrained will of a majority; a form of government, as in all other unlimited ones, in which injustice, violence, and force must ultimately prevail.” – John C. Calhoun

But will it keep you out of Heaven?

022

Yesterday I spoke to the LGBT community. Today, I’m talking to the Christians.

Sigh. I’m so tired of having this conversation. I’m so tired of Christians using the Bible as an excuse to be assholes. I’m so tired of arguing with my family members about this. I’m just tired of it. But here goes.

I know by now I shouldn’t be, but I am constantly amazed at the hatred and intolerance I see every day when it comes to gays and lesbians. If you are a Christian, your number one rule should be NOT TO JUDGE. Period. You should worry about your own “sins” instead of damning others.

At no point should yours or anyone else’s religious beliefs dictate legislation in this country. No one, and I mean no one should be kept from having a marriage ceremony simply because your religious book says it is a sin. If we allow religion to dictate public policy, where does it stop? When people of the Islamic faith start demanding Sharia law be implemented? Hmm?

A gay couple pledging their love for one another with a ceremony and a ring IN NO WAY infringes on your right to be straight. They aren’t hurting you. They just want to live their lives and be happy like everyone else.

At no point will anyone in the LGBT community keep you from going to heaven. Them being gay should be no skin off your nose. It doesn’t affect you. They aren’t hurting you. In any way. Hell, you could even choose to be friends with one of them. GASP. What a concept. Imagine what you could accomplish by treating every one with the same respect that you treated your friends from church. You can attract a lot more flies with honey. Ya know?

I was raised in a Christian faith. I know what the Bible says. I know that it says homosexuality is a sin. An abomination. See, though, here’s the deal. The Bible says a lot of stuff that you don’t pay any attention to. Why is the LGBT community such a target for you?

Let’s talk a little bit about what else the Bible says. It says that if you marry, you are married to that person for the rest of your lives. It says that if you divorce that person, and remarry someone else then you are committing adultery. When you are screening customers in your place of business, do you ask if they are divorced? If you own a florist, and refuse to do flowers for a same-sex wedding, do you also refuse to do flowers for a couple who are both divorced? No? Why the hell not? They are all sinners in the eyes of the Lord. According to you. 

While I still support you right to deny service to whomever you choose, I feel that your reasons for choosing are quite hypocritical. If you are going to deny service to gays based on your religious beliefs, then shouldn’t you also deny service to other sinners? You could even deny service to barefoot child in search of an ICE E if you choose. If their money isn’t good enough for you, they can always go somewhere else. But my question to you is this: why? Will it keep you out of heaven? Will it damage your relationship with your god?

Actually, if you were truly a Christian, you would treat all sinners with the same respect you would someone from your church. Did Jesus treat sinners any differently? Aren’t Christians supposed to be emulating Jesus? Trying to be like Him? Well, if you are trying to be like Him, some of you are failing miserably.

Let’s talk about those pesky little religious freedom bills. I get the premise behind them. I get that you shouldn’t be sued for being assholes and denying service to someone simply because they are gay. You already had the right to deny service in your business to whomever you pleased. The courts seem to have forgotten what the Constitution says when they allowed some of those lawsuits. I get it. But do you understand what a storm those laws are going to start? Do you?

Let’s say that I owned a place of business and beside my “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” sign, I decide to put a “No Methodists Allowed” sign. Let’s just say I’m doing it because I’m Church of Christ and everyone knows the C of C believes they are the only ones going to heaven. So in my opinion, everyone else is going to hell and I shouldn’t have to serve you. Makes perfect sense, right? Right?

Would you put a sign in your window that says:

“No Catholics allowed”

“We do not do business with Protestants”

“No Muslims”

“Blacks not allowed”

“Absolutely No Gays”

It wasn’t too long ago that there were signs that said “Whites Only” or “Dogs and Irish Not Allowed.”

When and where does it stop?

Please tell me, because I’m really sick of having this conversation. Some Christians are acting decidedly UnChristian-like and it makes Christians everywhere look like a bunch of hate-mongers. Yes, I said it. What are you prepared to do to change it? Because, like I said, making a cake for a gay couple will not jeopardize your place in heaven if you indeed have one. 

I know that all Christians aren’t like this. I know that the majority of Christians are more tolerant, more humane — and most Christian business owners are more intelligent — than the vocal minority that helped start this whole uproar.
But to the moralistic bigots in the crowd that insist on being bigots, here’s your sign.

“…But the greatest of these is love.” 

Shouldn’t we all just love one another?

You can’t have it both ways… And this is still America.

021

To the LGBT community:

Disclaimer: I love y’all. One of my best friends is a gay man who I completely adore. My uncle is a gay man who looks at me as the daughter he never had, and I adore him as well. I have no ill thoughts against anyone who identifies as LGBT. If I owned a flower shop and a gay couple came in to buy flowers for their wedding I would be all over that shit. I would make the most gorgeous flowers they had ever seen. I don’t care who you marry, as long as you are happy, and pay the bill.

Do I think you should be discriminated against? Of course not. Do I think you should have the same rights as hetero couples and be allowed to marry and carry each other on your respective insurances? Absolutely. Do I believe that you have the right to live the life you choose, without any interference from a church or the government? You damn skippy. You can have as many husbands and/or wives as you want. You mind your business and I’ll mind mine.

There. We got that out of the way. Now, here comes the hard part. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t expect to be free to do what you want with whomever you want and not give a person with religious convictions the same courtesy. You see, I don’t believe that a person who owns a florist should be forced to do the flowers for your same-sex wedding if their religious convictions are such that they believe what you are doing is wrong. This is still America. Religious freedom and all that. The government doesn’t tell us that we have to worship in a certain church. The government doesn’t tell us which god to worship. The government doesn’t tell you who you can and can’t sleep with.  You shouldn’t expect to go into a bakery and force that person to make a cake for your wedding just because you are gay and you say he or she should. You shouldn’t be allowed to sue said baker because he or she refused to make a cake for you based on their religious convictions. Get over it. Go to another baker. It’s that simple.

Let’s play a game, shall we? Let’s say that there is a Jewish photographer. He is a really good photographer and people hire him all the time to take pictures. Let’s say that there is going to be a Neo-Nazi rally in that photographer’s town and the “event coordinators” (I know this is a stretch, work with me here) call the Jewish photographer to hire him to take pictures of the rally. Do you think that Jewish photographer should be forced to cover that rally? No matter what he believes? Well, hell no, he shouldn’t. Jeezus. Come on, people. Be reasonable. You can’t expect the government to force him to take pictures at that rally any more than you can expect the government to force a baker to bake you a cake for your same-sex wedding, any more than you can expect the government to tell you that you can’t have sex with your partner. Whomever he or she may be.

If a baker refuses to bake you a cake, or a florist refuses to do your flowers, you have another recourse. You can go to another bakery, and another florist. You can post a rant on Facebook and tell all your friends. Your friends can then decide if they want to continue giving those businesses their patronage. It’s called a free market for a reason. The government can’t tell you what florist to go to. If you don’t like one, go to another. It’s just common sense. Like I said, get over it.

Now, here’s the rub. These religious freedom laws that are being passed are ridiculous. We are already supposed to have religious freedom. We are already supposed to have free speech. They are little things called natural rights, granted to us because we are human beings and protected for us by the Constitution. I don’t agree with devil worshipers, but they damn well have a right to worship whoever they damn well chose. Another law will not make religious freedom any more established or secure. Another law will only give the government more power!

To those who are comparing the religious freedom laws to Jim Crow laws that were in effect before the civil rights movement, hear me out. Those laws were put in place to force businesses to discriminate. The fact that the businesses agreed with the laws was and is irrelevant. There was a law on the books that said blacks had to sit in the back of a bus. That blacks couldn’t sit at lunch counters or use public facilities deemed for whites only. These religious freedom laws allow for businesses to refuse service to anyone for whatever reason without repercussions. If a overly obese man goes into a Chinese buffet, and grazes for four hours, that Chinese restaurant can say, “You go home now” if they so chose. They should be allowed to do so without having to worry about the obese man filing a lawsuit.

You walk up to the door of a business and it says “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” Gasp. They are discriminating against barefoot people. I spent a great deal of my childhood walking to the 7-Eleven down the street from my grandma’s house in Florida barefoot as a yard dog to get an ICE E. The guy that owned the 7-Eleven never told me get out because I didn’t have any shoes on. He knew I was there to buy an ICE E and he wanted my money. If a business wants your money, they will make that cake for you. If they don’t want your money, if your money isn’t good enough for them, then go your ass to a bakery who has better sense. It’s that simple.

Yes, this is going open doors that we wish we hadn’t opened. It is going to open the doors for all kinds of discrimination. It is going to allow people to show their true colors as the bigots they are. As repugnant and distasteful as I find that, this is America. Warts and all. The fact that the Ku Klux Klan still exists in this country is deplorable to me, but the fact that they have a right to exist if they so choose is not. As much as their existence disgusts me, there’s not a thing I want the government to do about it. Therein lies TYRANNY.

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.      -Evelyn Beatrice Hall

Until next time.

The 17th Amendment to the Constitution: The beginning of the end

we the people

Now hold on a minute. I know what you’re thinking. 1913 was the worst year ever? The 17th Amendment was the beginning of the end? Well, yes. On both accounts. 1913 was the worst year ever for several reasons, and we are going to cover those reasons in the next few blogs. The 17th Amendment is only ONE of the reasons. Hear me out.

We have heard a multitude of people who keep clamoring for term limits for legislators. The term limit proponents say that if legislators were not allowed to stay in office for more than, say, two terms, then they would be less likely to be in the pockets of the big corporations. Term limits are not the solution because term limits are not the problem. Term limits is like taking aspirin for a brain tumor. You might feel a little better but you are still going to die.

Originally the Constitution provided for the citizens of a state to be represented by their members in the House of Representatives, directly elected by the people of that state for a two year term. The senators were selected according to state law, (appointed by vote in the state legislature or appointed by the governor with advice and consent of the state legislature) for a term of six years. The senator might be selected from the state legislature’s membership, from a list maintained by the governor or from completely outside government, as frequently happened. Did you get that? The senators were appointed, NOT ELECTED by the public. 

Article 1, Section. 2.The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States,

Article 1, Section. 3.The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof [Modified by Amendment XVII], for six Years;

Essentially, the Senate was designed to represent the interests of the state governments in Washington while the House represented the interests of the citizens of the states.

That all changed with the ratification of the 17th Amendment in May of 1913. It provided for the direct election of senators and effectively left the governors and legislatures without a voice in D.C. The Senate no longer answered to the states but to the citizens. State laws, prior to 1913, allowed governors or legislatures to change their senator at the end of the senator’s six year term. If the governor’s office or the legislative majority changed party then the change in the states senators was essentially guaranteed. That was a true bicameral government. If the bicameral system still existed, then the state governments could put a stop to any type of insanity Washington D.C. might come up with.

Unfunded mandates (a decree from the feds without any funding to pay for it) such as Obamacare would not happen. The governors could say “not just no, but hell no!” The tax rates and IRS would not be out of control. The governors could say “not just no, but hell no!” All the abusive acts by the federal government would not have happened. Governors and state legislatures can be easily changed by the voters. (I could go on and on, but I won’t. Use your imagination.) Alexander Hamilton noted in Federalist [paper] No. 59 that, “The interest of each State, it may be added, to maintain its representation in the national councils, would be a complete security against an abuse of the trust.” That representation ended with the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment.

Equally importantly, since senators would not be elected by the general population then term limits of either federal legislative body would be moot.

It should be noted that Progressives in the early 1900s stated on more than one occasion that the states’ power to appoint senators stood in the way of implementing their agenda. The direct election of senators became the primary goal of William Jennings Bryan and other influential Progressives. They succeeded in 1913 with the ratification of Seventeen. It has been downhill for the American Dream since then. Woodrow Wilson and William Jennings Bryan led the charge to water down our bicameral system. The progressives knew their agenda would never happen if the states had the ability to stop it. I won’t go into the reasons for the 17th other than to mention that corruption in the appointment process was used as one of the primary argument in favor of the amendment.  Even though reforms at the state level could have corrected the corruption issues, that would not have facilitated the fundamental change in the government that the Progressives were seeking. They used high explosives to solve the problem when a surgical solution was really all that was needed.

Also, importantly, the rise of the influence of lobbyists in D.C. can be traced directly to the direct election of senators. Power abhors a vacuum and something had to fill the power vacuum left when the states were cut out of the federal government. This played right into the hands of the lobbyists working for the big corporations who were flush with new power (thanks to the 1886 Supreme Court ruling about corporate personhood), allowing them to only have to worry about “buying” two senators for each state rather than hundreds of representatives in the state legislatures. The fundamental change the Progressives were seeking happened in a big way. Sound familiar?

Until next time.

Who is this “They” everyone keeps talking about?

12a

Who the hell is “They”?

Seriously. We hear it all the time. We use it all the time. Who is this “They” we’re always bitching about?

“They” are gonna come take our guns! “They” are watching all of us! “They” control the government. “They” think we’re stupid. “They” are too powerful. “They” want to take away our rights.

“They” ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

So, again, who the hell is “They”?

“They” are the 537 elected plus 12 appointed-for-life asses polishing chairs in DC, and the thousands of elected and appointed asses polishing chairs in the state governments. And “They” are the seven-plus million federal and state employees who work for them, and the countless thousands of county and city officials and the people who work for them. “They” are your local school board and your Home Owners’ Association, and the rent-a-cop at the mall.

“They” are anyone who has taken the power to tell us “You can’t do that” and/or “You must do this”, and can lock you up or even shoot you if you fail to comply.

“They” are also the same ones we mean when we say “Somebody”, as in “Somebody should do something about <insert topic here>.”

Ooops! Ain’t that just a kick in the head? We’re real good about crying over losing our rights, and the big bad “They” stealing from us but “They” are the first ones we invoke when we don’t like something that’s going on.

You don’t get it both ways, people. No cake and eat it too available here. If you want “They” to stop trampling all over your rights, you’ve got to let go of “Somebody” too. And you know how to do that – but you won’t do it. You haven’t done it yet, I don’t think you’ll do it now. To let go of “Somebody” and to kick “They” out, you’re going to have to do things yourself, for yourself.

That’s the price of having a nanny state, y’all. If you want the government hand-outs and the government protection, and government telling other people what they can or can’t do, then you have to accept the government control of your life, too. You can’t have it any other way.

If you want liberty, if you want freedom, then you have to pay for it with actual work. With being involved in your own damned destiny. Get up off your lazy ass and go find out what’s going on at your school board meeting, at your city council meeting. Go meet your state representative. Find out if he’s really as big an asshole as you think he is, and let him know you don’t trust him and have your eye on him.

Vote, fergawdsake! If you don’t want to take the time to do your homework and figure out WHO or WHAT to vote for, I’ll give you the short course in exercising your civic duty. The incumbent is usually listed first – so vote for whoever is listed second, on anything else, vote ‘no’.

There.

Simple as that.

Oh, you don’t vote because if you register they’ll call you for jury duty? First off, that’s part of getting up off your lazy ass and getting involved. But, if you really want out of jury duty, it’s easy: show up the first day with a Fully Informed Jury Association pamphlet in hand. They’ll send you home so fast it’ll make you dizzy.

If you aren’t willing to get involved, to live some other way than as a sheep, then just settle into your recliner with the remote control holster and beer can holder, crank up Duck Dynasty and the football game, and accept the fact that you’re no better than all the welfare mooches you’re always griping about.

I’m just totally fed up with all of you.