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• Editorial - Jimmy Shirley and Betty Thomas 

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• Jimmy Shirley, Commentaries

Last updated: 10/08/2014

As I See It ...

Commentary by Jimmy Shirley

 

(10-1-14)

Use DNA to Reinforce Death Penalty

In the September 22nd issue of the Palm Beach Post, Darryl Burton, wrongfully convicted of murder in Missouri and exonerated in 2008 after DNA evidence proved him innocent after 24 years in prison, rants against the unjustness of the death penalty, citing "so many wrongful convictions."

OK, fair enough. All people of conscience who support the death penalty want just the guilty deserving of this extreme punishment to be executed. So, since it seems it is mostly DNA evidence that solidly exonerates the "wrongfully convicted", why not introduce it in the trial phase so as to solidly convict the guilty?

In his article, Mr. Burton says, "... executions have no place in an imperfect system that sometimes convicts the innocent." Well, NOW with DNA evidence, there can be no doubt as to the proof of "who dunnit?"

Would then those who oppose the death penalty based on the possibility of a wrongful conviction, then support it, based on the same DNA evidence used to exonerate? Then if so, why should the convicted languish on Death Row for decades waiting out ridiculous appeal after appeal. Was the murder victim given the chance to make their appeals? For Mr. Burton talks about, "the importance of humility in our criminal justice system." This humility teaches us it is wrong for a man sentenced to be executed, should outlive the families of his heinous act of cruelty. Or, as mentioned earlier, he should languish in prison all his life.

With this in mind, seems to me the verdict could be carried out within five years, at most, and one year, at best. Justice delayed is justice denied. And a just State should show its people it hears the cry for justice from those thrown into an early grave and from the families of the victims.

 


(9-3-14)

Voting is more than American — It is a moral imperative!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 came and went with a whimper. Did hardly anyone notice? In the case you wonder what that was, it was the election day for the primary. It was the day for all Americans, great and small, to make their ideals known through the ballot box. Regardless of your political persuasion, your chance to make the selection of the candidate of your choice, the issue of your choice has come and gone.

So? Well, according to the Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher, barely 10% of the county’s registered voters bothered to show up to cast their vote.

With all this talk of honoring the American veterans, especially the passing World War II veterans, and the sacrifices they made so that this American republic might not disappear from the face of the Earth, that but for them, some say we might be speaking either German or Japanese today, only 10 % of the registered voters thought enough of their sacrifices to honor them by voting??!!

Voting, the way we make our voices heard in order to effect change, or maintain the status quo, is the bedrock foundation of these United States of America. Remember the saying we learned in school regarding the reasons of secession from Great Britain? "Taxation WITHOUT representation is tyranny!!"

The sad, tragic fact is, not voting when you can is worse than just ceding your voice to others who can round up enough votes to support their cause. It is saying that those American soldiers who died in battle, who were mortally wounded, died in vain. It makes mockery of those who came back, but wounded in spirit, bodies hacked away (like my son was) or in some way, shape, fashion or form are unable/paralysed in life and spirit, unable to enjoy the simplest of life’s joys such as picking up your young child and toss them into the air and catch them, to play catch with them, etc.

 


(8-6-14)

Unions in Government

All forms of government supposedly exist to be a servant of the people. It does this through the goodwill of the people as well as through certain delegated powers of authority over the people, powers agreed to by the people for the greater good and general protection of all. The police are a prime example of this.

There have to be places for all these government entities to conduct their business, so buildings are built. There has to be someone to help keep them organized, so more people are "hired." As we know, there are millions of government employees in these United States. 22 million as of March of 2012, to be exact. All these people MUST be paid, all these buildings MUST be maintained. And this can only be accomplished by using one of those delegated powers, the power to tax.

To illustrate the importance government places on their power over the people’s money, consider Al Capone finally was sent to prison because of income tax evasion. Not for murder, extortion, bribery, racketeering, etc.

Why then do government unions exist? After all, being a government employee is one of the cushiest jobs there are. According to the 2012 census report this writer is referencing, nationwide the average monthly salary of State full time employees was $4,838. For county and city employees, it was $4,419 per month. Additionally, many of these States pay for their employees’ pensions separately with no help from the employees. This was so in Florida until recently, when they were made to start withholding a mere 3% from their paychecks to help fund the pensions.

Additionally, benefits ranging from paid days off to medical, dental, etc. are generally much superior to the private sector. Why then do government unions exist? After all, without us the American taxpayer, government ceases to exist. What would happen if we, in mass, decided we were going to withhold our tax money until all governments in the States reined in their expenditures to affordable levels? And most importantly, brought an end to corruption and the incentives for it.

Government employees DONT NEED unions. If anything, the American public needs a union to protect us from the local, State and national government’s abuses, overburdening us with heavy taxation in order to pay for the corruption they know is going to be. Wasn’t there a revolution back in 1776 in part because of that? Hhhhmmmmm!!

 


(5-28-14)

A Comment About Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a day to commemorate those who have passed on. They either died in battle, were mortally wounded and passed on a little later, or died late in life. Either way, even if they never left the States, even if they were never in combat, they served in the armed forces of these United States.

So as such, given this day is set aside for them, it is entirely inappropriate to party. This is NOT a day of celebration. On the contrary, it is a somber day for reflection. Reflection upon the costs of keeping us civilians safe and as relatively free as we are nowadays. Reflection upon those family members previously so described. Reflection upon friends we knew, or people we only read about, or reflection upon those many dead American servicemen we never knew.

In contrast, 11 November is Veterans Day. THIS is the day to celebrate!! For in this, there are living veterans who are to be thanked for their service.

Respect is earned, not given, and not everyone deserves it. Courtesy is given, not earned, and everyone deserves this.

Our veterans have earned our respect and deserve our courtesy. They have earned this day for most folks to halt and thank a veteran for their service, for businesses to close this one day as a tribute to them, for schools to close as a tribute to them, for the school kids to spend portions of the previous week learning about what Veterans Day is all about, for there to be parades and picnics, and parties and celebrations. This do to honour the living veterans so they can see it, acknowledge it, feel it, and be proud or humbled whichever is their disposition. This do whilst yet they live.

Then somberly commemorate the deceased on Memorial Day.

 


(12-11-13)

The "Law of the Land" Not Written in Stone

To those who urge all Americans to just accept the so-called "Affordable Care Act" only because, in their words, "it is the law of the land."

Back in 1896, racial segregation became "the law of the land" based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling. Shouldn’t all Americans have simply accepted that based on the same principle? If they had, it would still be "the law of the land".

In more modern times, the pro-traditional family law, the Defense Of Marriage Act, is "the law of the land." Yet, there is a small minority of people who are challenging this law at this very time. Should they not just accept it as "the law of the land"?

Point is, laws can be changed upon the whims of the people and their prevailing mood. Once this train wreck known as "obamacare" crashes and burns, the people will demand real "change we can agree with", to paraphrase the current White House occupant.

 


EDITORIAL

By 

Betty Thomas and Jimmy Shirley

(8-22-12)

"Write-in Candidates" — Disfranchising the Voters, a Threat to Democracy?

Disfranchisement (also disenfranchisement): the revocation of the right to vote 

The State Senate race between Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens turned into another one of those cliff hangers, one of those elections where "ONE VOTE MAKES A DIFFERENCE." You know how it is, so many people say, "Why should I vote? My vote makes no difference." After the 2000 Presidential election one would have thought we all would be disabused of that irresponsible notion. In the 2012 State Senate race so mentioned, we have yet another example of the fact that "EVERY VOTE COUNTS."

At first glance, the District 27 State Senate race, between Democrats Jeff Clemens and Mack Bernard, should have appeared on the Republican ballot, but it did not. Why should it, you ask? Because the race had no Republican challenge, it should have fallen under the, and most importantly, I quote from the sample ballot sent out by the Elections Office - "UNIVERSAL PRIMARY CONTEST: If all candidates have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the general election, all qualified voters, regardless of party affiliation may vote in the primary election for that office." This is directly from Article VI, Section 5(b) of the Florida Constitution.

On Wednesday, August 15th, the day after the election, Jeff Clemens had a razor slim lead of 45 votes out of 23,506 votes cast, not a clear and present majority. By Thursday, after counting provisional ballots, his lead was narrowed to 34 votes. Changes in Florida election law last year requires the Florida Secretary of State to call for a recount. Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher did advise a recount to the State officials, and soon, the process was begun. By Saturday night, Clemens was declared the official winner by the slimmest of margins - 17 votes. He goes on to the general election. But he faces no opponent of note. How is that, you may ask?

A little-known loophole in the election law allows for a write-in candidate. The spirit of the law is that in a primary election, when one party faces no partisan opposition in a race, then all registered voters in that district get to vote for the candidate of their choice. If Republicans have no opposition, then registered Democrats also get to vote for their choice of candidate. And vice versa. But, suppose someone does not wish for one side or the other to cast their vote and possibly swing the election to their either more moderate or more extreme opponent, then they can have someone file for a write-in candidacy. All that is necessary to do this is to file the proper paperwork by the deadline, and they do not have to pay a huge filing fee. The upside is no filing fee. The downside? The name does not appear on the ballot and the primary election becomes a closed election. Another downside is only the registered voters OF THAT PARTY get to choose who will represent everyone else in that district. So, in District 27 for the State of Florida Senate, if you are a Republican, you had no choice but to accept a Democrat, chosen ONLY by Democrats, to represent you in the Florida Senate.

In 2000, the state Elections Division issued an "advisory opinion" which said that a write-in candidate would be enough to limit a party’s primary to its voters, claiming the nominee would technically face an opponent in the general election. Specifically, it responded to this 2nd of two questions: "If two or more people of the same party qualify for the same office and a write-in candidate also qualifies for this office, do all registered voters participate or does this become a closed party primary?" This particular question was answered thusly: "The language in section 5(b) does not qualify the type of opposition required in a general election to prohibit all qualified electors, regardless of party affiliation, to vote in the primary election, nor does it require that the opposition be viable or have a realistic chance of success. If the framers of Revision 11 had wished specifically to exclude write-in candidates as opposition in the general election, they could have done so. Thus, it is the opinion of the Division that a write-in candidate constitutes opposition in a general election. If a write-in candidate will participate in the general election, the first and if necessary, the second primary will remain closed."

According to Susan Bucher, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections, the only other State primary race in Palm Beach County that was closed due to a write-in was State House: Dist. 82 (Republican Party).

In one central Florida county commission election, 60% of the county’s 250,000 registered voters were disfranchised by this insane loophole. If there is alarm that the State’s recent purge of fraudulent voters lists might accidentally remove 2,600 eligible voters, where is the outrage that effectively removes many hundreds of thousands of voters every election cycle because of this loophole? Former State Senator Dave Aaronberg started trying to close this loophole soon after taking office in 2003. What he found was great opposition from the status quo, because in this way, the elections can be manipulated to the benefit of those in office, or, to whichever party is trying to gain the office. As in the case of redistricting where there is a new office with no incumbent. Mr. Aaronberg called this "write-in scam" one of the biggest threats to our democratic way of choosing our political leaders. One thing he did get accomplished was legislation requiring the "write-in" to be a resident of the district he/she filed in at the end of qualifying time, June 8. Another thing he suggested is to require the "write-ins" to pay that filing fee. This would certainly halt most frivolous "write-ins" that serve only to disfranchise the voters. The other, absolute surefire way to correct this egregious error is for the fine people of the great State of Florida to amend their State Constitution accordingly and close this atrocity to democracy once and for all. THAT, the will of ‘we the people’, no politician will oppose.

 


Letters to the Editor

Heed the Warning that Sandy Left in Her Wake Before it is Too Late

(12-12-12)

Madelyn Greenberg is to be commended for her column on the devastating effect which Tropical Storm Sandy wrought on our coastline. Once again, the clarion call is being sounded, and as with previous such warnings, this, too, will undoubtedly be ignored to our peril. Now that the storm has passed, everyone will go back to complacency......until the NEXT such event. 

We in South Palm Beach have been exceedingly fortunate over the years insofar as storm damage is concerned. It is only a matter of time, however, before we get battered, with shoreline beach communities such as ours taking the brunt. One need only look at the walloping that Sandy delivered to Staten Island and communities along the Jersey shore. 

Back along our shore, the subject of beach restoration has been endlessly discussed and argued. The time for such back and forth speechifying is long past. It is high time for local municipalities to act decisively....AND NOW!...... in the best interests of beachfront communities and its residents, whose lives are impacted by the potentially disastrous effects of a future tropical storm or hurricane. 

Ms. Greenberg correctly takes to task coastal management "reviews and studies," and calls for local government officials to fulfill their responsibility. A

ll too often, sad to say, it is some residents themselves who impede the job of getting something done because they are obsessed with the potential COST of such a project. This "penny wise, pound foolish" attitude often prevails in local condominiums when work projects are proposed on the property. We can ill-afford to allow this illogical thinking to interfere with the much-needed and long-overdue measures needed to protect our investment, and quite possibly, our very lives! 

Thank you, Ms. Greenberg, for focusing attention on the problem.

 

Sincerely,

DAVID SHAPIRO,

South Palm Beach


Readers Respond to July 11, 2012 Commentary

(7-25-12)

Dear friends:

I’ve written my column for quite a few years for Condo News and truly enjoy doing so. I have never offered comment to our readers on any other subject but fishing until now but Jimmy Shirley’s rants about our president in the last issue really got my goat and I feel that I must reply.

Until now, I often agree with his thoughts even though they do seem a bit slanted to the right. Hey, I’m a "lefty" in more ways than one so I sure can’t agree with him always.

But to simply call our president a liar and come up with some convenient bits and pieces out of history and call them facts is another thing altogether. I don’t want to get into a debate about who has the longer nose but clearly, I really do think that candidate Romney has one that can stretch clear across the street and pick up peanuts with it.

As for our prior president, the one that told us the biggest lie ever about "Weapons of mass destruction", that stands alone as what clearly was the top lie of the century. It killed my wife’s nephew and damaged Jimmy’s family life to the extreme!

So, Jimmy, and readers too, please examine the facts when you consider who to vote for in November. If you do, there really is no one else to vote for. That is unless you are filthy rich, a woman hater and bigot and then the choice would be to vote against my guy.

Scuze me, gone fishin’

— Manny Luftglass


(8-8-12)

Obama Struck Out?

I did not happen to read the Jimmy Shirley column (The Presidential Oath of Office — Worthy of Fealty?, July 11, 2012) to which Manny Luftglass refers in his "Letter to the Editor," (Condo News, July 25, 2012) so I cannot make comment on it. However, I CAN comment on Mr. Luftglass’s admittedly "lefty" viewpoint, which seems to place him squarely on the side of President Obama.

The facts regarding the Obama record of performance are out there, and they are deadly plain, even though Mr. Luftglass is apparently unwilling or unable to see them clearly.

When he ran in 2008, the economy was tanking, and the country turned in desperation to an untried and inexperienced politico who promised "hope and change." Much to the disappointment of millions, this turned out to be little more than an empty, meaningless campaign slogan.

President Obama has clearly failed to deliver in his first term in office. He has failed utterly in his attempt to revive the economy, the real estate market is still in a slump, and unemployment remains at record levels, higher than when Obama took office. These facts beg the question made famous by another candidate of the past, Ronald Reagan, who asked, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

The answer must be a resounding NO! In his quest for re-election, Mr. Obama should be pointing with pride to a record of accomplishment, which would merit his re-election. It is as simple as that, and there simply IS no such record!

I cannot say that Romney will succeed either, but Obama has HAD his chance at bat, and struck OUT!

And so, to Mr. Luftglass, I say, yes, by all means, let’s "examine the facts." And by the way, Mr. Luftglass would do well to live by Mr. Obama’s words after the Gifford shooting that we begin to tone down the rhetoric and engage in "civil discourse." I hardly think that calling Mr. Romney "filthy rich, a woman hater, and bigot" rises to that high standard of discourse, do you?

—  David Shapiro

South Palm Beach, Fl.

(8-8-12)

President's Not So Good

What part of "America is in decline" do the liberals not understand? Manny, you talk about Bush lying about WMDs, when all of America and Congress believed the intelligence reports (Letter to the Editor, July 25, 2012). The majority voted to go after Iraq and that is the reason the U.S. acted. Even though there were no WMDs found in Iraq, a homicidal dictator was removed from power and thousands of lives were saved. Does making Bush a scapegoat ease your conscience?

When is this president going to be held responsible for some of his failures we are going through now, along with broken promises he made. And he is still held in high esteem by the liberal left. What a shame.

The Left talks and agrees to raising taxes on the working class to pay for the free loaders handouts (some people do need help), but his spending spree has to be the definition of stupidity and arrogance. Will the capitol of China now be the USA because of all the money we borrow from them? They own us now!

Over 8% unemployment for over two years, trillions of dollars in debt, businesses on the decline, and these are only some of Mr. O’s accomplishments. Is there anything else we can blame on Bush? Maybe the weather ?

Now let’s not forget the illegal aliens. Maybe you can share some of your pension check with them.

Mr. O is trying to change our country to a socialist country where all people are dependant on the government. How blind are some people not to see this? He is half way through his agenda. Thank God, there are still some people that are rational enough and will try and put a stop to his "supreme being" attitude. And then we will be the greatest country on earth again.

Romney may not be the best candidate the Republicans have, but it would be better to vote for Mickey Mouse than keep this guy in office for another 4 years. He is shredding our constitution.

— Tony Senzamici

West Palm Beach, Fl.


(8-8-12)

Nevada "hears" the Condo News

Bravo, Jim Shirley!

You are a sane voice in the sea of insantiy. (The Presidential Oath of Office — Worthy of Fealty?, July 11, 2012)

Thank you for having the courage to always tell the truth.

Your wise words are shared here in No. Nevada.

Keep up the fight.

Warmest regards and Shalom,

— Sabra Isaacs

Gardnerville, NV


 

Opinions/Letters to the Editor are welcome. Please send your items to the Condo News, P.O. Box 109, West Palm Beach, FL 33402, or E-mail to: info@condonewsonline.com.

Please note: Please limit articles/letters to 350 words or less. All articles submitted are subject to editing for space or rejection for material judged to be ultra inflammatory or in bad taste. Opinions expressed remain those of the author only.

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As I See It ...

Commentary by Jimmy Shirley

 

The Presidential Oath of Office — Worthy of Fealty?

(July 11, 2012)

Barack Obama swore an oath before God and the entire world, and I quote, "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Next consider Article II, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution - "...he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed..."

Back on June 15, President Obama announced a shift in immigration policy, saying his administration would stop deporting illegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children but are now productive and law-abiding residents. "These are young people who study in our schools, they play in our neighborhoods, they’re friends with our kids, they pledge allegiance to our flag," Obama said. "They are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper."

Obama said the policy change is "the right thing to do for the American people." But does this excuse him from fidelity to his oath of office? The overriding question is, does the President of the United States have the license to ignore/trample on his oath of office? To simply ignore the rule of law just because he thinks he is righteous? Then what good is the Constitution at all if the President can simply choose to ignore it. If he can, cant we all? This IS a fair question.

This is not the first time he has lied under oath. He also said certain provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would not be enforced.

He swore to faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States and to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is supposed to have no option but to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Let’s consider the point of illegal immigration and the concept of dropping babies. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in part:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside."

In 1866, Senator Jacob Howard clearly spelled out the intent of the 14th Amendment by stating:
"Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country."

This understanding was reaffirmed by Senator Edward Cowan, who stated:
"[A foreigner in the United States] has a right to the protection of the laws; but he is not a citizen in the ordinary acceptance of the word..."

The phrase "subject to the jurisdiction thereof" was intended to exclude American-born persons from automatic citizenship whose allegiance to the United States was not complete. With illegal aliens who are unlawfully in the United States, their native country has a claim of allegiance on the child. Thus, the completeness of their allegiance to the United States is impaired, which therefore precludes automatic citizenship.

So the fact is, even the so-called "anchor babies" are NOT automatic citizens and, as heartless as it is, neither they, nor the children brought here by their parents should be allowed to stay but all should be immediately deported back to the land of their birth, their homeland.

And by breaking his solemn oath of office he has demonstrated again his unworthiness for high office and his utter contempt for his own honor by lying. Obama is a liar and aught to be impeached for this. He swore to protect the Constitution and faithfully execute his office. He has utterly failed and worse, he has lied under his oath. For this, he should be impeached.


Oath of Office of the President

(April 4, 2012)

Every four years, the President of the United States (POTUS) is inaugurated into office, amid much pomp and ceremony. The crucial part of the ceremony, the whole reason for it being at all, is the Oath of Office of the President .. The Oath is as follows, "I (name) do solemnly swear to faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." Article II, Section 1, para. 8. As is plainly seen, the attention/focus of the President is supposed to be the Constitution, not the will of the people, per se, not his "promises", nothing else but the Constitution of the United States.

Now, in this Constitution, which he has given his "solemn" word to "preserve", his duties and responsibilities as President are found in Article II, Sections 2 & 3. And in Section 3 are found these words, "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed." But first, consider the words "solemnly swear." According to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed., an oath is "a solemn formal calling upon God or a god to witness to the truth of what one says or to witness that one sincerely intends to do what one says." According to Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary, "solemn" is defined as "Affected with seriousness; impressing or adapted to impress seriousness, gravity or reverence; sober; serious." "Swear" is also defined by Webster as "To utter or affirm with a solemn appeal to God for the truth of the declaration." So now it is seen that when the POTUS recites the Oath, he is agreeing to be held accountable before God, and all the American people, to his word, that he will abide Article II, Sections 2 & 3 of the Constitution. He has no choice in the matter. "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed,".

On 23 February 2011 the POTUS directed the Attorney General to no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman. Now whether or not the POTUS or the AG agree with a law, once it is the law, they have given their "solemn oath" that the laws be faithfully executed. No president has the right or authority to decide which laws to be executed or not. It is one thing when a proposed law makes it to his desk. Then, he can veto it as, in his opinion, it is unConstitutional. But once any of his predecessors have signed anything into law, the POTUS MUST take care that the laws be faithfully executed. After all, did he not swear before the American people and God Almighty that he would? And that if he did not, God and we may hold him accountable, as having broken his Oath? Section 4 of Article II describes the method by which he can be held accountable - impeachment. The other way is to vote him out of office.

Obama is not the first POTUS to break his Oath in our lifetime. In 1989, the George H. W. Bush administration refused to defend the constitutionality of federal affirmative preferences in the Metro Broadcasting case. In 1982 the Reagan administration refused to defend an IRS policy denying tax exemptions to a university that practiced racial segregation for religious reasons. Significantly, both policies were ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court, as other extremely able lawyers were found to defend them. But it matters not if there is precedence in breaking their Oath. It matters not if in the breaking the Oath it finds popular support from the American people. He gave his solemn word that "he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed," end of story.

In this day and age, it is harder and harder to find popular support to do the right thing for the only reason that it is the right thing to do. In Presidential politics, it is nigh near impossible because of so many conflicting interests. But ideally, that should not matter because, as American voters, it is our responsibility to have learned long before we can vote just what is required of the POTUS through his Oath He can promise us the moon, but we should know better. He can promise us $1.00 per gallon gasoline, but we should know better. When former President George Bush referred to the Constitution as a scrap of paper, I know that the Founding Fathers cringed that their hard work and toil had so disrespectfully and disdainfully been referred to.

So when we go to the polls to cast our votes for our choice of POTUS, we must know that our choice "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."

 


Presidential Campaigns and the U.S. Constitution

(January 11, 2012)

"I [name] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

This is the oath of office of the President of the United States. The Constitutional duties of the president can be found in Article II, of which he swears, or affirms, to faithfully execute. Of all the candidates for this office I can remember, dating back to my first national election I could vote in, 1972, only Ron Paul seems to actually get it. He has been making statements, based on his understanding of the Constitution, that the national government has been usurping its authority, that most of the things it does has NO Constitutional cover. In other words, "whatever the Constitution does not authorize the Federal Government to do, it cannot, on its own authority, do."

In an article in the local daily on 3 January of the new year, Michael Gerson wrote a lot about some of Paul’s positions. Listening to the pundits, of both sides, and reading the opinions of many of these noted "journalists" would lead one to believe Paul is a foe of government, a fan of anarchy. And this is just not so. Paul simply wants the national government to abide according to the rulebook, i.e., the Constitution.

For example, Gerson criticizes Paul’s stance regarding Mr. Lincoln’s war of 1861-65 that devastated the South at the cost of over 1 million Americans dead, wounded and missing. According to Gerson, he quotes Paul as saying that Lincoln purposefully brought about the war to "get rid of the original intent of the republic." When one compares the limited nature of the republic throughout the antebellum years to the growing "federal behemoth" that began with the defeat of the Confederate States, one must agree Paul has a point.

Gerson also cites Paul’s disagreement with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Paul’s contention is that the national government had no legal right to interfere with personal liberty, which surely has been one of the by-products of that sweeping unConstitutional legislation. People have been forced to hire those they might not otherwise hire, forced to go to schools they would not have gone to, forced to do business with people they would not choose to. Among other things. But Paul’s position is that this is the States purview and not the national governments. Just like homosexual rights. If Massachusetts wants to give them all sorts of "rights," or privileges actually, then fine. But then if Florida did not want to, fine. Refer back to the 10th Amendment. But the national government is not supposed to have any say in a State issue. This is exactly what transpired with the Civil Rights Act and this is where the Constitution is very clear. From my personal research in reading the debates which took place at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Penn. in the summer of 1787, it was a bit of a shocker that there were quite a few gentlemen whose ideal for the fledgling United States was to abolish the States and set up regional provinces which would be governed by appointees from the seat of the national government, thus setting up a strong, centralized form of government. Alexander Hamilton was the champion of this cause. During the years the United States functioned as a Confederacy, Thomas Jefferson who was the champion of "the States" was away as the foreign Minister to France, thus was not able to attend the Convention. So, the "rule book" drawn up was a compromise of several competing ideals.

The first U.S. Congress operating under this "rule book" met from 4 March 1789 to 3 March 1791 and by 25 September 1789, twelve proposed amendments to the Constitution were passed and sent to the States for ratification. Ten were declared ratified on 15 December 1791 as "The Bill of Rights" thus fulfilling the promise of the centralizers to take up the concern of the "States Righters". And it is in this area of the Constitution that many Americans, including Michael Gerson, want to ignore, run roughshod over in their quest to an ever more powerful central government which will have control of individuals to an absolute degree through central planning. And it is here where Mr. Paul differs with most Americans because he says that, according to the "rule book" the national government can not do that. Yet, to hear the pundits speak, Mr. Paul does not represent what most Americans think. I believe this to be true and I know that if most Americans DID understand the restrictions on the national government and that it ought to be so, because they want all the "gimme’s" that have been given them all these years, even though it never was meant to be so, they would probably express ideas of having a new Constitutional Convention, drawing from the old one as seems wise to do, and write a new one which would more accurately reflect on the modern times and make allowances for clearly expressed language. A case in point about that would be the 2nd Amendment and the first part of the 1st Amendment dealing with religion.

Bear in mind, this is NOT an endorsement of Mr. Paul for President. It IS a case made for a better understanding of the Constitution. In my life, from what I have seen, not one man has actually dealt fealty to his Oath of Office. They seem to think the Oath a mere formality, a ceremony to go through, rather than having to actually adhere to the Constitution and to make Congress and the Supreme Court also do. Mr. Paul seems to be the only one in this field, and the first one in my life, who actually seems to believe the document worth vowing fealty to.

James Madison said, "Democratic communities may be unsteady, and be led to action by the impulse of the moment. Like individuals, they may be sensible of their own weakness, and may desire the counsels and checks of friends to guard them against the turbulency and weakness of unruly passions." He must have had a window into the future of his country when he uttered these words. He was among those counsels and friends who sought to "guard them...".

 

Time to Repeal the 17th Amendment?

Part 1

(August 24, 2011)

In recent times, the so-called "Tea Party" movement has attracted a lot of attention. This in and of itself is an indictment of the American political landscape. Because, there was a time not too long ago, that this WAS the political norm. And that beyond this, either to the right or left, was considered "RADICAL".

A year or so back, I took a lot of heat from some of the readers because I wrote an article that maybe it was time to reconsider the present state of the United States of America and that maybe it was time to consider the United Socialist States of America. This column was pulled as a result from the firestorm it created. Never mind the time honored thinking of "I may not agree with what you said (wrote) but I will defend your right to say it". Apparently, in this day and time, the only thing that matters is that you follow the "party line". American liberty be damned!

So now, the thought has resurfaced that the time has come to repeal both the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States (COTUS). The 17th Amendment to the COTUS has to do with the selection of Senators to the Congress and the 16th Amendment of the COTUS has to do with taxing income. And, the "tea party" is given credit for the resurrection. You see, during the convention of 1787-89, among the things bated and debated, was the issue of "States Rights". Every State, all 13 of them, jealously guarded their respective "State’s interests" with great zeal. As this column noted back on 12 August 2009, the great State of Massachusetts barely voted 187 to 168 to ratify these "rules" of governance, which is really what the Constitution is. Laws are laws, but the Constitution are the "rules" by which the "laws" must be measured against.

The Constitution, as was given to us, was the result of a great compromise. There was a large faction that wanted a very strong centralized government, ready to do away the States altogether and draw the lines of provinces all over the map, to be ruled from afar where ever the national government decided to "seat" itself.

There was another faction that stood its ground against an already intruding, overreaching national government that was only wanting to change where tribute monies (taxes) were sent to, instead of London, to New York City, which is where the seat of government was at the time.

One of the many issues discussed at the Constitutional Convention was the representation of the several States versus the representation of the people of the several States – Representatives and Senators. The House of Representatives were to represent the interests of "the people", whereas the Senate was to represent the interests of the several States. So it was determined that the several States’ legislatures were to choose amongst themselves who their representatives were to be (Senate) This was designed to be part of the checks and balances against an already overreaching federal government. For as Luther Martin, attorney-general and a delegate from Maryland to the Constitutional convention, wrote: "that it is the State governments which are to watch over and protect the rights of the individual, whether rich or poor, or of moderate circumstances, and in which the democratic and aristocratic influence or principles are to be so blended, modified, and checked, as to prevent oppression and injury; that the federal government is to guard and protect the States and their rights, and to regulate their common concerns; that a federal government is formed by the States, as States, that is, in their sovereign Capacities, in the same manner as treaties and alliances are formed; that a sovereignty, considered as such, cannot be said to have jarring interests or principles, the one aristocratic, and the other democratic; but that the principles of a sovereignty, considered as a sovereignty, are the same, whether that sovereignty is monarchical, aristocratical, democratical, or mixed". Excerpt from SECRET PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE CONVENTION ASSEMBLED AT PHILADELPHIA, IN THE YEAR 1787, FOR THE PURPOSE OF FORMING THE CONSTITUTION, page 33.

***

Part 2

(September 7, 2011)

Why did the 17th Amendment become part of the Constitution? Why would the States’ legislatures vote AGAINST their self-interests? What was going on in the country that brought this to be? After all, this did not "just happen." No one woke up one day and said, "Hey! I have a great idea!" No, there were reasons that this Amendment came to be. It sort of began after The War Between The States, after the ten years of humiliation and military occupation ended in the South, and all the States were subjugated (please refer to Part 3 -last of States’ Right series — Modern Application September 9, 2009 also on this page.

For it was after this that the country began to develop a stronger "national identity," which reached a high point after winning the war with Spain in 1898 and has not let up since. Additionally, the "populist" movement was gaining steam to push through all sorts of reform, among them the popular selection of Senators to Congress. It was thought to be one way to curb the power/influence of strong party bosses who could singularly influence who the Senator would be. Also scandal was part of the fuel used to push the reform.

"In his bid to become Illinois’ Senator, William Lorimer (1861-1934) was found to have bribed members of the Illinois state assembly. At a time when progressive 'muckrakers' like Lincoln Steffens were writing about urban corruption, the Lorimer affair added ammunition to Progressive charges of elitism, the role of moneyed interests, and election fraud." ~ Dec 7, 2008 Michael Streich American History@Suite 101

There were earlier attempts to reform the process via States Rights. Nebraska enacted a "preferential primary law" in 1875 which mandated the State’s legislature to follow the will of the people, to send to the Senate men who had been directly selected by the voters instead. By 1912, twenty-eight States had similar laws enacted.

Now on the one hand, it appears incredible that the several States’ legislators would act against their own, Constitutional, self interests. But remember, most of those of the "populist" persuasion were idealists and, in order to enact reform, they had to run for office and get elected in order to push through their respective "reforms," one of which was the selection of U.S. Senators. But remember too, the "checks and balances" of government is not strictly at the federal level, i.e. executive, judicial, legislative. It is also State versus federal. Whereas the federal government has a check on the several State governments because of the supremacy clause of the Constitution, the State governments effectively lost their check on the federal government because of the 17th Amendment. The selection of Senators by the State legislatures provided a link between the federal government and the several State governments and could be recalled by the State’s governor just like any foreign ambassador could be recalled as a symbol of deep, profound protest of any governmental action.

So, it was not a light thing the reformers contemplated by changing "the system" as it were. With profound actions, would come profound changes.

— To be continued.

***

Part 3

So, did the Amending of the Constitution achieve its stated goal? Yes, the deadlocks ended. So what!? Was it worth upsetting the balance of power, the venerated "checks and balances" of the national government? No! Did it solve the problem of corruption, of moneyed interests, of corporate interests attempting to buy votes via "campaign donations?" No! Especially when considering the fairly recent Supreme Court ruling of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010), which was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited—because of the First Amendment.

This has opened the door wide for far-flung corporate corruption into the Senate, and don’t think otherwise. Because my meager $5.00 contribution to the Florida senate race wont mean squat when measured against the $$thousand$ rich corporations can donate. And while I am at it, I really don’t bemoan corporations from having a voice in government because laws and regulations do affect them. After all, is this not exactly what we, the common folk, do not want from the national government, to over regulate us?

Then how do we, the people, prevent our national Senators from being influenced by the corrupting influence of corporate money, or from lobbyists representing "we the people" for that matter? What is fair for one is fair for the other. The Senate is supposed to be the representatives of the State and the House of Representatives is supposed to represent "we the people." We do this by being responsible citizens, by keeping up with the votes of the Senators, by INSISTING that the press, the media, be absolutely free to report on what the States’ "ambassadors" as well as the people’s "ambassadors" are doing and how they are spending their time and from whom they are receiving campaign donations and how much. An informed citizenry is absolutely necessary/essential for a REPUBLIC to thrive and prosper. Else, we should devolve into a "banana republic" with only the form of a republic when in reality, the moneyed interests actually rule.

***

 


The 14th Amendment ... A Constitutional Crisis 

(September 8, 2010)

Sometimes, the Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS), will try to find out the "Original Intent" of the Framers of the Constitution in order to make a ruling on particular issues before them. Such as they did when they dredged up an obscure letter Thomas Jefferson had written to a Baptist church in Danbury, Connecticut in 1802. In it, he meant to assure the church that there would be no national church in this new government, as there had been in Europe and had been the cause of so much trouble and grief. Instead, the SCOTUS has been using the phrase Jefferson used, "separation of church and State," to remove God from the public sphere. Justice Scalia has criticized the metaphor as a bulldozer removing religion from American public life. Never mind that there were numerous letters, records, journals that stated the new nation was founded upon the Christian principles of justice, fair play and deference.

Now we come to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, declared ratified 9 July 1868, which has been the object of much misinterpretation even by the SCOTUS. But first consider that the 14th aught to be considered null and void but especially illegal and unConstitutional. It was conceived in the heart of vengeance, and born of dishonesty and hypocrisy. How?

The Constitution states "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State...." Article I, Section 3. And, "...that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate." Article V. Yet, when Congress assembled on 5 December 1865, the 25 northern members of the House and Senate voted to deny the 11 Southern States their rightful seats. This removed 22 Senators and 58 Representatives but it still left a quorum so that by parliamentarian rules, they could still conduct business. This required only a simple majority vote. (Article I, Section 5). Never mind that these same Southern States had already taken part in ratifying the 13th Amendment, which would be declared ratified the next day, 6 December 1865.

But now the Amendment would have to be ratified by a 3/4ths majority vote of the several States, which in this case meant 28 of 37 States. So between 27 October 1866 and 24 March 1868, 15 States rejected it. Humiliated, the Radical Republicans moved to get their revenge. They passed in both Houses, over the President’s veto, the so-called "Reconstruction Acts," which declared the existing duly elected, Constitutional Southern State governments a nullity, divided the South into five military districts (can we say military occupation?), each district to be ruled by a general of the US Army with absolute authority (can we say a dictator?), that each State had to convene a sham/pretend State government and ratify the 14th and 15th Amendments in order to get back into the Union.

Can you see the naked dishonesty and hypocrisy? The position of the US government during the war years was that they did not recognize the Southern States as out of the Union but in rebellion. So now they declare the Southern States out after all. Had those 370,000 plus Federal soldiers died in vain? They fought, and died, to preserve "the Union as it was." But the Radical Republicans had something else in mind all along. And now we are stuck with an illegal, unConstitutional 14th Amendment. Several cases have been brought up against it, to get it declared a nullity, invalid, void, etc. which the SCOTUS refuses to rule on, based on the merits of the cases. They call it a moot issue, a "fait accompli."

Today, a hot button issue is illegal immigration and the depositing of so-called "anchor babies" on US soil as a way to insure the illegals can not be deported. The thinking is based on the wording of the 1st section of the 14th Amendment. It reads thusly, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside." In order to properly understand just what this means, we have the words of the Framers of this illegal Amendment to draw on, from such primary sources as the Congressional Globe, which was the keeper of Congressional records for 40 years from 1833-73. Senator Jacob Howard (R. - Michigan) was one of the Framers of the 14th. He served on the Joint Committee on Reconstruction which drafted the 14th Amendment. He had this to say about illegal citizenship, "This amendment which I have offered is simply declaratory of what I regard as the law of the land already, that every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons. It settles the great question of citizenship and removes all doubt as to what persons are or are not citizens of the United States. This has long been a great desideratum in the jurisprudence and legislation of this country." Source: (Congressional Globe, 39th Congress [1866] pg. 2890) And there are others on record who concurred with him. Therefore, the SCOTUS aught to make a ruling on the issue declaring all people born in this country of illegal aliens to be foreigners, not citizens, and are subject to deportation, no matter how long they have been here. They are illegal.

The 14th Amendment has been utilized by the SCOTUS for many years to bring about social change, which is not in the purview of the courts. Consider: in 1896, in the case of Plessy versus Ferguson, the SCOTUS ruled that racial segregation, the famous "separate but equal" phrase, was the Constitutional law of the land, based upon the 14th Amendment. However, in 1954, in the famous case of Brown versus Board of Education, the SCOTUS ruled "separate but equal," racial segregation to be unConstitutional, based on the very same unrevised 14th Amendment. How can two, opposing rulings be handed down by the SCOTUS based on the same words? Then it begs the question of which ruling is the correct one? I am sure Americans of today and Americans of 1896 would disagree on that question.


States' Rights — 

• Part 1, The Founding Principle

(August 12, 2009)

Few people realize the United States started out as a Confederacy. Beginning in March 1781, two years before the end of the Secession War with Great Britain, the United States began functioning under the Articles of Confederation (AOC) as an independent nation. Quite a gamble, given the outcome of that war, which ended in September 1783, was far from assured.

In the Preamble, they declared themselves, in this Confederacy, to be a "perpetual Union." So, from 1781 on, they functioned under the idea that this would be the only form of government that would ever exist in this newly independent nation. All their hopes and dreams for the future prosperity of themselves and their descendents rested on this "perpetual" Confederacy.

After naming this Confederacy "The United States of America", the next item on their agenda was to secure for the States the right to govern over their own domestic affairs as they saw fit. To wit, Article II. "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled."

And it only makes sense that this would be so, since they had just expended much blood and money to extract themselves from the world’s greatest superpower of its day. These learned colonists were very aware of the dangers of central control. Sadly, it seems most folks in these United States, today, think that to be a quaint notion. Most folks, it seems, are very enthusiastic about surrendering their individual rights for security. Consider these wise words from a Massachusetts man, "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!" - Samuel Adams

Or this gem from a man from a Pennsylvania man: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

For various reasons, it came to pass that the Confederacy was deemed to be insufficient for the needs and wants of the fledgling nation. And so, on May of 1787, selected delegates from the several States convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the purpose of overhauling the AOC. For the next few months, much debate took place in the convention. All of the States were charged from those who sent their respective delegates, to jealously guard their own States interests. And they did as they argued passionately over what each State, and its people, wanted and expected from this new government-to-be.

To be fair, there were a lot of people who saw no problem with how things were. Even today, there are learned people who maintain that given more time, the kinks of the AOC would have settled themselves.

And as raucous as the debates had been in the Convention, they were just getting started in the States. Consider the words by Sam Nason of Massachusetts who voted against ratification: "Can it be supposed that a Constitution so pregnant with danger could come from the hands of those who framed it? Indeed, sir, I am suspicious of my own judgment, when I contemplate this idea — when I see the list of illustrious names annexed to it; but, sir, my duty to my constituents obliges me to oppose the measure they recommended, as obnoxious to their liberty and safety."

Massachusetts barely voted FOR ratification 187 to 168. Additionally, the ratifying convention in Massachusetts carried with it a set of resolutions, recommendations for the Congress to consider, if when they convened again. For my purposes, I am staying on the States Rights theme. Consider that this was at the top of their list:

First. That it be explicitly declared, that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.

Next, consider what Maryland drafted and sent: 1. That Congress shall exercise no power but what is expressly delegated by this Constitution. 21 April 1788. But North Carolina rejected the Constitution soundly 184 to 84. They also had some recommendations. Think about these: "1. That each state in the Union shall respectively retain every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Constitution delegated to the Congress of the United States, or to the departments of the federal government." And these declaration of rights: "2. That all power is naturally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates, therefore, are their trustees and agents, and at all times amenable to them." And this: "3. That government ought to be instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the people; and that the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive to the good and happiness of mankind."

Lastly South Carolina, who did vote soundly for ratification 149 to 73. And consider the words of Mr. CHARLES PINCKNEY:

"The advantages of a republic are liberty, exemption from needless restrictions, equal laws, public spirit, averseness to war, frugality, above all, the opportunities afforded, to men of every description, of producing their abilities and counsels to public observation, and the exciting to the service of the commonwealth the faculties of its best citizens.

"The evils of a republic are dissensions, tumults, faction, the attempts of ambitious citizens to possess power, the confusion and clamor which are the inevitable consequences of propounding questions of state to the discussion of large popular assemblies, the delay and disclosure of the public councils, and too often the imbecility of the laws."

Woefully, today we have not men of wise council. Instead, we have partisan politics of the worst sort. We have long had men who sold their States to the fedgov, as Sam Adams and Ben Franklin spoke about. All of the Amendments to the Constitution, after the 13th Amendment, are lasting examples of what our Founding Fathers tried to warn us about. "Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it."

"Danger lies not in some speaker’s ideas. Danger lies in teaching students that ideas they don’t agree with are not important."
— T.K. Wetherell, President of Florida State.

 

• Part 2, Early Uses of 

(August 26, 2009)

In the early years of the late republic, the States better understood the function of the Constitution, the relationship between the "common government," as it sometimes was referred to, far better than do the present States. The brave souls who survived the revolution lived on to put the new form of government into action. And, definitely, they were not all of one mind as to how this was supposed to work. But most of them did know this. They were not about to let the federal government dictate to them about their own domestic policies. And, if they believed new federal legislation would be injurious to their welfare and happiness, they would make loud noises about it.

New England was the first to test the viability of the new government in 1804 because of the Louisiana Purchase. There were two major issues they brought up. One, the Constitution had no provision for acquiring new territory and two, and much more importantly, New England stood to lose a lot of money through commerce and the clout that comes with prosperity. The Southern States were agrarian and were setting their eyes on all that new land. New England was about mercantilism and the maritime industries: shipping, fishing, etc. Additionally, its leading men of the day met to discuss secession, Federalists Timothy Pickering, Uriah Tracy, and Roger Griswold. They had a vision of "a new confederacy, exempt from the corrupt and corrupting influence and oppression of the aristocratic Democrats of the South." The ambitious Aaron Burr was all for this. He wanted to be the head of the nation, any nation it seems, in the worst way.

New England exercised States’ Rights again in 1808, after Thomas Jefferson declared an embargo on exporting goods to any foreign port in the world. When a federal district court ruled, in the case of United States v. The William, the embargo to be Constitutional, the Massachusetts legislature begged to differ. Both houses declared the embargo acts to be "in many particulars, unjust, oppressive, and unconstitutional." "While this State maintains its sovereignty and independence, all the citizens can find protection against outrage and injustice in the strong arm of the State government," they said. The embargo, furthermore, was "not legally binding on the citizens of this State." Giving his assent to the actions of Massachusetts, a Connecticut Congressman said, "If any State Legislature had believed the Act to be unConstitutional (sic), would it not have been their duty not to comply?" The General Assembly furthermore declared: "Resolved, that to preserve the Union, and support the Constitution of the United States, it becomes the duty of the Legislatures of the States, in such a crisis of affairs, vigilantly to watch over, and vigorously to maintain, the powers not delegated to the United States, but reserved to the States respectively, or to the people; and that a due regard to this duty, will not permit this Assembly to assist, or concur in giving effect to the aforesaid unconstitutional act, passed, to enforce the embargo." So, as can be seen here, Massachusetts was one of the first States to put into practice the Constitutional rights of the 9th and 10th Amendments and nullify federal law.

It was during the War of 1812 when secession fever reached its highest pitch in New England. Even though they had fought a war to be free of British control, New England had always been sympathetic towards them because much of their heritage, customs and ancestry came from there. Upon reading Madison’s war speech, Governor Caleb Strong of Massachusetts called a fast to protest a war "against the nation from which we are descended, and which for many generations has been the bulwark of the religion we profess." As a consequence of this war, States were called upon to call out their respective militias for the purpose of defending the coast. The call derived from the federal government’s authority to call the state militias into service "to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions." Massachusetts and Connecticut were not going to abide this. Massachusetts Governor Caleb Strong maintained that the states reserved the power to determine whether any of these three conditions held. At Strong’s request, the Massachusetts Supreme Court offered its opinion. To wit: "As this power is not delegated to the United States by the Federal Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, it is reserved to the states, respectively; and from the nature of the power, it must be exercised by those with whom the states have respectively entrusted the chief command of the militia."

Finally, in late 1814, the New England States held a convention in Hartford, Connecticut for the purpose of secession. Exhilaration was in the air. People were excited at the prospect of forming a new Confederacy. But, can the central government constitutionally use military force to coerce a non-complying State against its will? Alexander Hamilton said absolutely not. He said, "by the very nature of the Constitution, it could not coerce a sovereign political society that refused to comply."

In the end, the leaders of the Hartford Convention decided not to propose secession but instead nullified certain acts of the central government, and sent commissioners to Washington to propose constitutional amendments.

This installment of "As I See It..." has drawn heavily from the works of Thomas Woods, Ph.D., Columbia University and New York Times best-selling author, and Donald W. Livingston, Ph.D, Washington University, and Professor at Emory University's Dept. of Philosophy.

 

• Part 3 (last of States' Right series) — 

Modern Application

(September 9, 2009)

 

So far, we have seen how, in the early years of our republic, it was the New England States who led the way in asserting the right of the State to keep federal usurpation in check and nullify federal legislation deemed harmful to the State. They made it clear during their ratification of the Constitution and when it became operational.

This was the precedence the Southern States drew from in 1860-61 when they believed the federal government was preparing to violate the Constitution, specifically the 9th and 10 Amendments. Two quotes from the Governors of Florida and Alabama, respectively, in November 1860 reflect the political philosophy of the times: "What is that Government? It is but the trustee, the common agent of all the States, appointed by them to manage their affairs according to a written constitution or power of attorney. Should the sovereign States, then — the principals and the partners in the association — for a moment tolerate the idea that their action must be graduated by the will of their agents? The idea is preposterous." M.S. Perry

"She is a Sovereign State, and retains every right and power not delegated to the Federal Government in the written Constitution. That Government has no powers, except such as are delegated in the Constitution, or such as are necessary to carry these powers into execution. The Federal Government was established for the protection, and not for destruction or injury of Constitutional rights. A Sovereign State has a right to judge of the wrongs or injuries that may be done her, and to determine upon the mode and measures of redress." A.B. Moore

And as we now know, the U.S. federal government did indeed force the Southern States back into the fold and, therefore, turned the Constitution upside down. The agent now tries to force the client to do the will of the agent.

There are many issues this writer believes the federal government has no place in, under the Constitution. Ever since the subjugation of State sovereignty, the federal government has been gradually usurping its Constitutional authority. They became their own judge of what it can and can not do. For example, under Article I, Section 8, paragraph 5, only Congress has the power "To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, ...". Yet without even the cover of amending the Constitution, they delegated that authority to a private institution, the Federal Reserve, in 1913.

One of the more controversial issues of this time is same sex unions and/or marriage. This is an issue which solidly belongs within the purview of the several States. As the Founding Fathers could, nor would, never have foreseen this becoming an issue, there is no Constitutional allowance for the federal government to act on this. Therefore, the 9th and 10th Amendments come into play.

However, the right of gun ownership IS a Constitutional issue as per the 2nd Amendment and is not reserved for the States.

Illegal immigration is another current hot topic. Article I, Section 8, paragraph 4, "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization," and Article IV, Section 4, "...and shall protect each of them from Invasion;" places immigration within the federal sphere. But since it seems the federal government has seen fit to abdicate its Constitutional obligation and duty, it falls on the States to exercise its duty to their respective citizens, to protect them from this invasion of illegal immigrants.

THE HOT topic of the day is national healthcare, socialized medicine. No where is it provided for in the Constitution. It would be one thing if the several States tried to pass the legislation to fit their own respective needs. But not at the federal level. As the controversy on this continues to rage, this writer sees two means by which to remedy the situation. One is to amend the Constitution so as to allow for national healthcare. The second is, for those States who oppose this, to opt out of submitting to what they see as onerous. Nullify the act within their State. And to stand tall against the sure to come efforts of the federal government to force compliance by withholding federal monies, which belong to the people of the States to begin with.

And for those States who are in favor, fine. Let them be. It should be their right to allow what seems right in their eyes. But that should not be forced on those States that disagree.

 


 

As I See It

By Jimmy Shirley

• Duty to Criticize the President

January 27, 2010

Being an American patriot used to be an easily defined phrase, I think. But more and more, it is not so, I think. During the Bush II years, lots and lots of people proclaimed anyone who opposed his policies were unpatriotic, un-American, no doubt about it. But nowadays, anyone who opposes Barack Obama (BO), are the ones who are the patriots. This writer has never been one of those who blindly followed the President, regardless of who he was. He was anxious about Bush II’s declaration of war on Iraq, very agitated about his Patriot Act, totally opposed to his bailout of the banks and Detroit - among other things.

With BO, this writer is no different. Except the policies of BO, as President, are almost all diametrically opposed to the basic, fundamental philosophy so cherished by the writer. Some folks reading this may be old enough to remember several auto makers no longer around doing business because they failed and were allowed to. That is as it should be. The United States was not set up and established as the United Socialist States of America. When Nikita Khrushchev said "We will bury you", his wording was wrong but his intent was Communism would win. A moderate amount of research of Communism on the Internet will show many of the basic tenets of Communism are already well established in the "land of capitalism". A partial list of these tenets will show what this writer is writing about: Destroy Religion by distorting religion, destroy morals, destroy family life with State control of children and against discipline, establish a heavy progressive or graduated Income Tax and a central bank, disarm the people, form armed homeland defense units and police to control the people, and so on.

To this writer, BO’s domestic policies smack so much of communism that it cries out to patriotic Americans to oppose them. As President Theodore Roosevelt wrote in the Kansas City Star on 7 May 1918, "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."


• Partisan Politics

October 8, 2008

Does anyone realize that there will be thirteen candidates for President listed on the Florida ballot? Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning has certified 13 candidates. Why, then, is it that the Main Stream Media (MSM) constantly ignores them? Is there some sort of conspiracy to deny to the American people the right of choice? How can we pick and choose who we think should be our elected officials if we do not know about them? Does the MSM think We The People are so stupid and lazy that we will accept whatever they put before us? Or is it true and we are but one election away from a dictator?

In the past two general elections, I did not cast my vote for either of the two major party candidates (MPC). I believed that neither of them were worthy of my confidence. And to me, earning my confidence is no small matter. Still, I have had people tell me that I wasted my vote, that only one of the two MPC had a chance of winning. But to me, that choice was a choice of the lesser of two evils. But folks, that is still choosing to vote for evil. Why should my vote be reduced to such a choice?! There are other options, you know. Thirteen of them will be on the Florida ballot. But you know why none of them will receive enough votes to be a factor, right?! Partisan politics.

Partisan politics is truly the path to ruin. At least in this day and time. Time was when the major political parties were mostly interested in the good for the nation, not party. To be sure, there has always been petty concerns, for after all, parties still consist of human beings with all their strengths and weaknesses, the high road and the low road. President George Washington, in his Farewell Address on 17 September 1796, warned us about partisan politics, though not in plain language which we would easily understand today. To wit:

"All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

Which brings us to, us. How many people relinquish their duty to vote for the best candidate by voting a party ticket? Are we really so lazy, so disingenuous so unwilling to study the candidates and issues that we give over our authority to partisan politics? As though we have no real interest in the activities of our government? If this has been the way of some, or the many, it is to the ruin of our nation. This is what we must turn from, consider all the candidates and, someday, WE THE PEOPLE ought to throw a wrench in the works, express our deep, abiding dissatisfaction with the status quo by electing a third party candidate for President, vote out all the incumbents, truly take back the nation for WE THE PEOPLE.

Lastly, read the words from the 1838 Florida Constitution, ARTICLE I, Section 2. That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and established for their benefit; and, therefore, they have, at all times, an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter or abolish their form of government, in such manner as they may deem expedient. (Emphasis mine)


• Human Nature and the Elections Office

Sept. 24, 2008

All the recent gaffes at the Elections office, the exposés of corruption in local county and city government has made it necessary for legislation and ordinances to be enacted to attempt to restore public faith in their government. I view these attempts as temporary and futile because the effects will not last.

For there to be any meaningful, long lasting reform in governmental integrity, there needs to be a fundamental change in how government is viewed by the average citizen. And, this must begin at birth and how the child is raised.

By whatever name He is called, when man rejects God as his final judge, he inevitably succumbs to his base nature. Man without God is lost. Hence, if he aspires to elected office, he begins to view government, not for any high-minded purposes, not for any noble-minded ideals, not to improve the lot of his fellow man, not as a way to serve the public, but as a way to enrich himself.

By trying to control and regulate human nature through government legislation and ordinance, man is once again showing how ultimately futile his attempts are. Prostitution is probably the oldest example of government attempts to control human nature. In spite of this, it continues and thrives.

Until people recognize their folly in abandoning God, again by whatever name He is called, corruption will continue. Until we return to the faith and ways of our fathers, faith in government will continue its downward spiral.

The Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections office has embarrassed us yet again. This time, they have shown to be lacking in the one most basic, yet the most important, aspect of every election - counting ballots. Incredibly, they lost ballots in a local judge’s election. During the campaign season of the previous election four years ago for the Elections Supervisor’s office, the battle cry was "a paper trail!".

So, at the urging of a local favorite son Congressional Representative, the Elections Office received a new Supervisor, who promised this much demanded "paper trail." So, now when he finally delivered on his promise, they lose track of thousands of ballots.

To try and combat this incompetence, one of the County Commissioners has suggested the office be turned into an appointed position. To do this is to expose Palm Beach County to the same sort of debacle we experienced with the hiring of Joan Kowal. Does anyone remember her? The School Board fired Monica Ulhorn, bought out her contract, and started advertising for a replacement. They stated what their financial compensations were and resumés from all over the country started pouring in, finally settling on Joan Kowal. Then Mrs. Kowal started with her list of new demands for additional financial compensations and benefits. After a few contentious years, she, too, was fired and her contract bought out. The last I heard, she was spreading her brand of misery over on the west coast of the U.S. with that school board buying out her contract.

Is this the sort of potential problem the county government wishes to impose on us? It would be one thing if they would buy out a contract gone sour with their own personal money. But, when they do this with my money, taxpayer money, then they need to re-examine their position.

I have a suggestion. Why not lower the filing fee for the office, which is $5,377.40 dollars to something like $1,200 dollars and require the candidates have experience with elections. The salary of the Supervisor of Elections is $134,435.00 per year. Such an arrangement ought to attract a number of qualified individuals. Lowering the filing fee ought to attract those who work in Elections office. We require that those running for judge to be lawyers. Why not tack on a requirement for the Supervisor of Elections Office?


• Presidential Duty 

Sept. 10, 2008

Article II, Section 1, paragraph 8 of the U.S. Constitution contains the oath of office all Presidents have sworn before God and the whole country, to wit, "I,________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

There it is. This is what the President promises to do. Just two things. To preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and faithfully execute the office. And those duties and responsibilities are all found in Article II, Section’s 1 & 2. So, with this in mind, the only question which should be presented to both of the major party presidential candidates is this, "With all that you promise to do, with all of your programs you say will help this country, your whole political platform - please tell us how does it pass Constitutional muster?" It is known that the Constitution has not been fully adhered to for more than one hundred and forty-five years now. This still is not an excuse to refuse to consider this line of reasoning. Every Presidential candidate’s platform should follow the Constitution. 

The simple equation is this - if it is not found in the Constitution, the federal government can not do it. This would be where the 9th and 10th Amendments come in. According to the Constitution, the several States CAN do what the Federal government can not. Amendment X - " 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." (emphasis mine) 

So, there it is. We must make our presidential candidates accountable to the Constitution. The Constitution can be amended so that some concepts, such as universal health care, have the cover of law, but this is not in the Presidential purview. Article V.


• Disclosure in Government

Aug. 13, 2008

There has been corruption in government ever since man first organized the very first one. Someone needs a favor, and because he knows someone and this someone is slipped some money or agrees to exchange favors, hence we have corruption.

Originally, our system of government set up safeguards so that there was fundamental honesty, integrity, dignity in government. But, especially since the Lincoln government at the federal level, corruption has been rampant. U.S. Grant, who was inaugurated President just four years after the War Between The States, presided over one of THE most corrupt administrations in U.S. history. As this writer understands, Grant himself was not the corrupt one, but was extremely naïve/gullible and trusted all the wrong people. Nevertheless, corruption had already been given a foothold in Washington by the two previous administrations.

By contrast, Jabez Curry, who had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Alabama before the war, was back in Washington in the autumn of 1865 to visit old friends. He recounted a conversation he had with Elihu Washburne, a Representative from Illinois and who also served as Secretary of State for 12 days in 1869.

Washburne had commented that his friend’s side had given them a lot of trouble during the past four years and many in Congress had missed them. The former representative remarked that was mighty high sounding, given the past four years. The northern friend said yes that was true but the fact was that they (meaning the Southern delegation) never stole. Even James G. Blaine, hardly a Southern sympathizer, commented in his two volume book Twenty Years In Congress that "the Southern leaders … throughout their long period of domination guarded the treasury with rigid and increasing vigilance against every attempt at extravagance and every form of corruption."

So now, corruption in all government has become an almost expected function. Why else has government developed walls and barriers between us, the private citizens, and them, the governmental officials, whether elected or appointed or hired? One of these I refer to is the infamous telephone menu. How many times have we, the citizen, sought to speak to someone in the city or the county or the State or the federal government, just to be intimidated by the countless menu selections in our attempt to speak to a warm bodied voice. This is just one of my pet peeves.

Not quite a year ago, in the City of West Palm Beach, our water was declared unsafe. A boil-water order was in place for nearly a month. It turns out, according to a very recent news story, that one of the city water lab technicians had alerted the water official that the water was unclean, with fecal matter floating around. In order to make it appear everything was OK, this lab tech was made to alter the official report. After being interviewed by the feds, this lab tech was subjected to an increasingly hostile working environment. Then this same lab tech was fired, even though there is a "whistle-blower law" in Florida for the protection of those who would sound the alert that something was wrong in their workplace, whether it is the water department of some governmental agency or if it is the quality of the steel beams manufactured to be placed in buildings.

Somehow, government must be disabused of the notion that they must lie to us, the citizens who are in fact their bosses. We are the ones who pay their salary. How would government react if everyone in the whole country decided not to contribute money towards their government? It is not like the government could place more than 150,000,000 people in jail. Not here in the country that touts "liberty and justice for all."

We, the American citizen, are a strong people. We CAN handle the truth and must DEMAND that government always tell us the truth. At the local level, there is no such thing as "national security" so they do not have that excuse. Neither is this true at the State level. At the federal level, that excuse, or reason, does not always hold up either. We accept at the federal level that there are times when this is true. But I think it would be so at probably only about 15-25% of the time. Remember this, my fellow Americans, we can vote them out of office. This is our trump card and it must always be held over them so that they in government know, with finality, that they serve at OUR pleasure. We are not here for them, they are there FOR US.


 

An Historical Perspective of The Pledge of Allegiance

 By Jimmy Shirley, Jr.

Allegiance is defined by the Random House Collegiate Dictionary, Unabridged Edition Copyright 1984, as 1. "the loyalty of a citizen to his, {or her}, government or of a subject to his, {or her} sovereign and 2. "loyalty or devotion to some person, group, cause, or the like."

In recent months, this has become a hot topic amongst war veteran groups, among others. Recently, according to the 3 June 2006 edition of the Palm Beach Post, U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp ruled, in a lawsuit filed by a Palm Beach County teenager, that "the State could not force students to stand during the pledge nor could they require students to obtain parental permission" to abstain from reciting the pledge. The judge based his ruling on a couple of factors. One, portions of a 1942 Florida law and the Palm Beach County School Board policy based on the law, violated the student's 1st and 14th Amendment rights. Two, he cited precedence in a "1943 U.S. Supreme court ruling striking down a West Virginia law requiring students to salute and pledge to the flag."

It might shed some light, and smoothe over some rankled feelings, to take a look at the history of the pledge. It was the inspiration of two avowed socialists/Marxists, FRANCIS BELLAMY-1855-1931, and his cousin EDWARD BELLAMY-1850-1898. For more information about these men, for those who are internet savvy, go to the website http://members.ij.net/rex/pledge2.html.

In the early days of the pledge, God was not even part of it. Here is how it was originally worded in August of 1892, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." When the Founding Fathers established this Republic of republics, most of them had in mind a Republic of sovereign republics and, in fact, some of the writings of the Republic's early statesmen oftentimes referred to "our confederacy" when referencing the U.S.A. I suspect that these great men of the United States' early years would have never favoured any kind of national patriotism. Had they not fought a war with England to free themselves from that sort of strong central government — that arbitrarily imposes its will on its citizens?

After The War Between The States and heading into the new century, there was a new sense of nationalism. But there also was a growing sense that big government had the potential to solve the problems of mankind. To many in this country, this notion found favour and had been reinforced by the book, "The Communist Manifesto" by Karl Marx. This idealism found favour with the Bellamy cousins, inspiring cousin Edward to write the totalitarian socialist novel Looking Backward. In the book, society has become one giant socialist monopoly. Men are treated as military draftees, from the age of twenty-one until the age of forty-five, in society's industrial army. Bellamy's glorification of the military includes government assignment of all jobs. Everyone is issued ration cards which are used to draw goods from government storehouses. By force of government, no one may have any more than anyone else. The entire education system is only a government-school system and it creates the industrial army and the entire socialist monopoly system. Edward Bellamy portrayed it as Utopia.

In his original articles concerning the Pledge of Allegiance, Francis Bellamy promoted government schools and sniped at the many better alternatives, and urged that education should come only from government. Such are the minds that gave us the "Pledge".

But, there is more. Originally, the "Pledge" was recited with the right arm straight out and stiff, more reminiscent of the "Nazi salute". It was because of this "salute" that the Supreme Court made its 1943 ruling in the West Virginia case. Pictures of this may be seen at the previously mentioned website.

And, to gain a better perspective about this, consider the words of President Theodore Roosevelt when he said, "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does NOT mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country."

And, "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

 

-- Theodore Roosevelt - "Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", May 7, 1918

 

Now that you have read "the REST of the story", you may better understand that patriotism and pledging allegiance is not defined by blind loyalty. If the individual feels moved to always recite the "Pledge" whenever called to do so, then it is right for him, or her. And, when someone feels strong enough about it not to do so, the act can not be misunderstood for disloyalty to the country. The blood shed to purchase today's brand of American freedom also purchased the right to dissent, a most inviolate trust. Where would we be today without the dissent of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, George Washington, et al when they dissented with the British government?

 



The Case for the Electoral College — 

a Closer Look

By Jimmy L. Shirley, Jr.

The Electoral College (EC) comes under scrutiny from time to time, as it should. It is within the purview of the American people to examine the very essence of the form of government we live with. The USA of 2004 bears little resemblance to the USA of 1800 — geographically, politically, ethnically. The overwhelming majority of Americans today would find living in 1800 extremely difficult, maybe even bizarre. They would be astonished to find out that they really did not elect the President of the USA.

Electors were chosen from the several states to convene in their respective states to choose a President. It was thought this arrangement would prevent deal making, corruption or foreign influence. The person who had the most votes, provided that they had at least one more than half of the total, became the President; the second most votes was the Vice-President.

Back in that day, men did not campaign for the office because it was considered unseemly, undignified, dishonorable.

Andrew Jackson changed that. Angry for losing the 1824 election, he tried again in 1828, taking his case to the people, holding parades and rallies to encourage the voters to vote for him. It worked and presidential campaigns were forever changed. The 1824 election was the first time a candidate won the election without the greatest popular vote. Because no one received the necessary majority to become president, according to the 12th Amendment, the election fell upon the House of Representatives who narrowly selected John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, the second president. This was the first father and son presidential team. It was also the last presidential election that was decided in the US House of Representatives as provided for in the 12th Amendment.

One of the reasons the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College, instead of a direct, popular vote, was that they feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to power. Thus, did Alexander Hamilton write in the Federalist Papers:

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. A small number of persons, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations. It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. This evil was not least to be dreaded in the election of a magistrate, who was to have so important an agency in the administration of the government as the President of the United States. But the precautions which have been so happily concerted in the system under consideration, promise an effectual security against this mischief.

Also, it was meant to be a concession of extra power to the smaller states. Obviously, the smaller states (those that have the smallest number of electoral votes), such as Vermont (3), Delaware (3), Rhode Island (4), New Hampshire (4), would be left out of the loop if there were no equalizer. Consider this, the state of Wyoming cast about 240,500 votes, and thus each elector represented 80,160 votes, while in California approximately 9,830,550 votes were cast for 55 electoral votes, thus representing 178,737 votes per electorate. Obviously, this creates a counter-balance to voters in the small states whose votes actually count more than those people living in medium and large states.

It encourages people to vote in those states where the law is winner take all. It does not matter if a candidate wins by 50.1% or by 80%. So, when a race is very close, this is where minority votes become important in direct contrast to their population percentage. It compels candidates to appeal to all voters, where they might not ordinarily do so. In Florida, President Bush won by 376,923 votes, or, by 5 percentage points. Florida has 7,241 precincts in which to vote. If 53 more people per precinct had voted for Kerry, he would have had Fla.'s 27 electoral votes, and the election. But, then he would be President without carrying the popular national vote, if everything else had been the same.

So, if one is for or against the Electoral College really depends on if the favorite candidate won or not. The Electoral College stands as a guard between 'mob rule', which is a democracy, and, representative democracy, which is a republic. The United States of America was established, by our Founding Fathers, as a republic, and for good reason. Before we go tampering with the Electoral College, we must first define ourselves as a nation of the new millennium. Are we satisfied with representative democracy (republic), or do we want mob rule (democracy)? Or, are we ready to go the way of ancient Rome? Rome went from being a republic to an empire — from representative rule to being ruled by Caesar. The people handed over its responsibilities as Roman citizens to the ruling elite, in exchange for the welfare state. And eventually, Rome fell, and, as history shows, all empires do.

 


As I See It ...

 

The Case for Freedom OF Religion ... 

Not FROM Religion

By Jimmy L. Shirley, Jr.

 

On 4 July 1776, the representatives of the 13 British colonies, then in rebellion against the British government, made a truly revolutionary statement in the Declaration of Independence. "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,..." In history, it had always been held that any "rights" one may have had always been dispensed, or taken away, at the pleasure of whoever was the ruler, king, emperor, etc. That we had "God-given rights" was truly a revolution in thought.

"Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"...

There are four other issues covered in the 1st Amendment after this wording. This focus is on religion and how it pertains to Americans and their expression of their religious beliefs on public property.

The Founding Fathers knew very well from history how 'State Religions' had wreaked havoc, waged wars, suppressed scientific research, and killed people — all in the 'name of God'. And they were determined that that would not happen here.

As to how the 1st Amendment addresses the issue of religion and government, the first sentence is a direct quote. From this quote, the United States Supreme Court ruled many years ago that it means 'a wall of separation between church and State', based on a letter by President Jefferson written 1 January 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut. The Supreme Court disregarded 145 years of tradition when it ruled, in 1947:

"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a State nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State'."

It seems to this writer that 'Congress shall make no law...' was overlooked. In the early years of the Republic, it was understood that the 10th Amendment held sway, i.e. '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.' In other words, in this writer's opinion, whatever the Constitution does not authorize the Federal Government to do, it cannot, on its own authority, do. Notice that here the word State is capitalized. The framers did that on purpose to show where the importance was. Therefore, it was understood by the framers of the Constitution that religion fell under the purview of the States, not the 'Common Government', as the Federal Government use to be referred to, or the Congress, as in Congress shall make no law. These first ten Amendments, or the Bill of Rights, were always meant to limit the power of the Federal Government, not the States.

For years and years, Manger scenes, around Christmas time, were placed on court house squares, public right of ways, public parks, etc. because the religion of most Americans was Christianity. Again, it was understood that this fell under the purview of the several States. In the meantime, Congress had made no law. It was one thing if the States made a law. It was a whole 'nother matter if Congress did. And it had not.

Since the late 1940s the trend has been toward 'freedom from religion', not the free exercise thereof, on public places. This seems, to this writer, to be a wrong headed approach. The two major religions in this country are Christianity and Judaism. The way I see it, there is room enough in this country for all of us to celebrate our religious beliefs, respectfully. I respect yours and you respect mine. And we respect theirs. All on public grounds, the courthouse square.

Just so the readers know, "separation of church and State" is not to be found in the Constitution, nor is there a federal law to that effect. It is in the wording of the U.S. Supreme court rulings. One might note, though, that the 10 Commandments are carved in stone on the Supreme Court building. As it should be, those being the basis of all law in the Western civilizations.

 

 
 

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