Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Jefferson’

Gun control – the wrong discussion

“Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.”

~ Thomas Jefferson, 1781

A Connecticut man murdered 20 children and 6 adults, gun control proponents again advocating that disarming law-abiding citizens will solve the problem. And though I believe their logic is folly, we still need a reasoned debate on the issue.

But, lest we forget, gun ownership is still a constitutional right; it is not a constitutional privilege; it is not a governmental privilege; it is not a presidential privilege. The Constitution does not allow the federal government to “evolve” the Constitution to address perceived changing times and needs. It must have the permission of “We the People” in the form of an amendment for change to occur.

The beginning of the end – Part II

Three Supreme Court rulings changed our lives, making our Constitution near irrelevant. One gave the Supreme Court unlimited, unchecked power; the other two gave Congress unlimited power.

The first ruling created the concept of judicial review, which is the claimed power by the Supreme Court to have the final voice in all issues concerning the United States Constitution. This power is not granted it in the Constitution; moreover, it is not granted to any branch of the federal government. Why might that be? Why would such a critical power not be assigned to one of the three branches of the federal government?

Are they asking the right questions?

The constitution . . . is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please.”

Thomas Jefferson

Why is a Supreme Court nominee so important? According to their only constitutional requirement, justices “shall hold their Offices during good Behavior,” allowing them to serve for life and affect generations to come. And knowing a nominee to the Supreme Court usually survives the “advise and consent” of the Senate, selecting a nominee to the court is one of the most important things a president does.

Government economics and free markets

Can our free market economy survive the federal government? The president and Congress may get to learn what C.S. Lewis meant when he defined experience as “that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

Hopefully, you do learn, but not always, which leads us to the economic theories of Vice President Biden. With sincerity, he claims that even though the stimulus package failed to do what the administration promised, it was still a success because it created jobs and slowed the rate of job losses. The same Joe Biden also advanced the revolutionary economic theory that the only way to prevent bankruptcy is to spend huge sums of money.

What is public and what is private?

Does the public have a right to know everything?  Does freedom of the press have any limits?  Is anything private?  Is everything fair game?  How might Tiger Woods answer these questions?   “Yes, no, no, yes.”  Moreover, these questions have little to do with any claimed right to privacy, and all to do with the Constitution. 

As it turns out, most anything the media reports is constitutionally protected by “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press.”  You would assume this scrutiny is reserved for a public figure, whatever that is.  But public figure is a legal term used when suing for defamation of character.  Moreover, if the court decides you are a “public figure,” proving defamation is not enough, you must also prove the media acted with “reckless disregard for the truth,” acted with malice.

To be President of the United States

There are only two constitutional requirements to be president of the United States of America.  You must be a natural born citizen of the United States and at least 35 years of age.  That is all that is needed for the most important job in the world.  Although considered enough in 1787, is that enough today; or should we set more criterion for the office?

 

Today’s presidential races have entered the rock star media age of politics, an obvious difference between pre- and post-television presidential campaigns.  Candidates now have image consultants and are “packaged” for public appearances just like actors and actresses, even including $400 haircuts.

Robert Gibbs is a verb

The most entertaining moments of this presidency are watching Robert Gibbs explain the ramblings of Vice President Biden.  With a straight face, a feigned sincerity and accompanied by the laughter of the press corps Gibbs says, “I understand what he said and I’m telling you what he meant to say.”  He invented a new verb — “gibbsing,” a verb that well describes earlier rulings of the United States Supreme Court.

In 1803 with a 4-0 ruling in Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court used the question before them to expand their powers beyond what the Constitution enumerated.

Who has the power – government or “we the people”

“I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article
of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress
of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money
of their constituents.”
                   –James Madison, 4th U.S. President
                   father of the United States Constitution

 

How does Congress constitutionally justify spending money on anything it chooses?  What happened to Article V of the Constitution which requires agreement of 2/3 of each House of Congress and approval by 3/4 of the states to change the Constitution?  In fact, why would we even need Article V if Congress has unlimited powers?

How to finance the U.S.S.A.

What did the Founding Fathers design our government to provide?  Did they design a limited federal government to provide safety, freedom and opportunity?  Or did they design a socialist welfare government to take care of our every need with unending entitlement programs?

The Constitution of the United States calls for a limited, subservient federal government, leaving to the individual the responsibility of what to do with their freedom and opportunity.

For decades, often with Supreme Court sanctioning, our government has quietly and methodically transitioned us ever closer to socialism.  The current government is doing nothing new; they are just accelerating the process.

The czars of the U.S.S.A.

In his inaugural address of 1801, Thomas Jefferson near-prophetically described our current government saying, “Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.”

President Obama has appointed about 30 czars, claimed advisors who report to him and do his bidding; none appearing before the United States Senate with its constitutional role of advice and consent.

Is the government the new “company store?”

How well does the government manage our money?  Do our elected leaders spend it responsibly and frugally, as they should?  Sen. Charles Schumer answered these questions saying, “Let me say this to all the chattering class that so much focuses on those little, tiny, yes, porky amendments:  ‘the American people really don’t care.'”  He was speaking about the wasted spending, the pork, in the $787 billion stimulus package.  How much of the $787 billion actually stimulates the economy?  According to the Wall Street Journal, only 12 percent “is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus.”

What should we ask Congress?

Last week President Obama reprimanded Wall Street CEOs’ for their outrageous salaries and spending, saying they must show “restraint and responsibility.”  Should he have admonished Congress instead, because it puts Wall Street executives to shame with irresponsible spending?  Moreover, Congress displays righteous indignation toward companies going on extravagant junkets and sponsoring lavish conferences, while it does the very same thing.

Perhaps writer P. J. O’Rourke was correct saying, “Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”  But, this is probably an unfair statement because it insults teenage boys. 

“to provide for the…general welfare of the United States”

Our Founding Fathers fought the Revolutionary War to free us from a government that controlled our lives.  They created the United States of America with a Constitution granting specific, limited powers to the government, guaranteeing that “We the people” controlled the government.  So how does Congress regularly circumvent the Constitution, expanding their power without “We the people” consenting?  Remember, our Constitution begins with “We the people,” not “We the Congress.”

Congress deceptively takes power from “We the People,” knowingly interpreting the Constitution differently than the Founding Fathers intended.  And how do they justify this?  Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the limited powers of Congress, beginning with an overview of their role which contains the phrase “to provide for the…general welfare of the United States.” 

Roosevelt or Reagan?

Our country’s leaders believe President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal ended the Great Depression and saved the economy.  Are they right?  Did his New Deal end the depression or even shorten it?  Take a moment and consider the Roosevelt logic Congress is using with our current situation.  They believe they can fix the economy if they interfere with market forces and spend unprecedented sums of money.  But, if all that is needed to end a recession is government meddling and spending, how could we ever get into a recession in the first place? 

How do we fix the economy?  Two former Presidents.  Two choices.   

God bless America

Is the day coming when we must say “In nothing we trust,” or “So help me nothing,” or “Nothing bless America?”  Educators in Woodbury, Vermont cowered to such demands and make students who want to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to do so away from the classroom, so no one can hear the word God.  In 2002, the ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional under the First Amendment, because it mentions God.  This was followed by a 2004 Supreme Court decision reversing the ninth Circuit Court, affirming that “teacher-led Pledge of Allegiance recitals in public schools are constitutional.” 

What really happened November 4th?

What really happened on November 4th?  Whom did we elect as President?  Did we elect a liberal, leftist, socialist President; a gun control President or a welfare President? 

Maybe we elected an African-American President, a hyphenated President that Theodore Roosevelt expressed displeasure with in a speech in 1915 saying, “There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism … This is just as true of the man who puts ‘native’ before the hyphen as of the man who puts German or Irish or English or French before the hyphen.  Americanism is a matter of the spirit and of the soul.  Our allegiance must be purely to the United States.” 

We need to return to a citizen government

Our Founding Fathers believed serving as President or in Congress was a duty to country, a sacrifice for country, a calling. They did not anticipate Congress becoming a career choice with members subservient to the power of the incumbency and the money it attracts. Rather, the Founding Fathers intended a weak federal government, subservient to much stronger state governments that served a powerful citizenry.  Thomas Jefferson resisted all attempts to foster a strong federal government, adamant the power must rest with the people.  What went wrong?  Does the power rest with the people, as it should?  Does Congress do the peoples’ work?  The movie Charlie Wilson’s War explains how well Congress tends to the people.  Asked by a political activist, “Why do congressmen talk so much and do nothing,” Charlie Wilson responded, “Tradition mostly.”  The Founding Fathers intended a citizen government, run by people like you and me, serving our country, doing the peoples’ work, and then going home.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident” – July 4th

The birth of a nation, the realization of a dream, an eloquently simple statement:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”  During June and July 1776, the Continental Congress was debating the future of the Colonies.  King George III continued his abuse of the Colonies with over a year of armed conflicts between the British army and the Colonists’ militias.  The King seemed deaf to the Colonies’ concerns. For the first time in history a people were considering creating a new nation with the people designing their own form of government.  This new government would get its power from the people, not vice versa.

Civility in presidential politics

Will civility ever return to presidential campaigns?  Is it reasonable to hope for respectful debating?  Or, are we obliged to accept the mudslinging as a given in politics?  What would our founding fathers think if they were to witness one of today’s presidential campaigns?  Would they be impressed or would they be embarrassed?  Can we ever return to the ethical debating they so prized? 

ABC declared 2008 the “dirtiest presidential campaign in history.”  With estimates of the cost of this year’s election exceeding $1 billion, will the candidates see a choice other than negative campaigning?  There is no second place.  “The art is to damage your opponent without getting caught doing it,” said Rob Shealy, a campaign strategist who was convicted for violating campaign laws.

Taps for the fallen brave – MEMORIAL DAY

Today we remember those who died in our nation’s service. Today we proudly display the American flag, a small flag in the living room window or a huge flag on a flagpole, the size is irrelevant. The flag is flown at half-staff until noon to honor the fallen brave, and then flown at full staff the remainder of the day. At 3:00 P.M. offer a moment of silence, remembering those who died for us. Memorial Day is the day we are not republicans or democrats, we are Americans, united honoring our war dead.