Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Moment a Prof. Warned that America Is at a 'Constitutional Tipping P...


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Open discussion on the Founding. (2/9/2014)

I am a huge Hockey fan, and one of the discussion boards for my team, at times the conversation goes sideways and needs a more appropriate venue for further discussion, so Hockey can be the main topic where it should be. This post is made to be a more appropriate setting to continue this and other founding discussions.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Quick thoughts (Duck Dynasty)

This Duck Dynasty issue is NOT a Freedom of Speech issue. Freedom of Speech means you can say whatever you wish without fear of prosecution or reprisal from GOVERNMENT, it does not mean you can speak without consequence. They are not in fear of persecution from Government, they were free to say what they did. The Duck Dynasty guys are employees, and just like any employee at any place of work has terms of employment and an almost universal one is when you speak in a manner for your employer, you must follow their wishes. The Duck Dynasty guy was giving an interview about life, but also the show, meaning he was acting as a voice for A&E. He must then abide by the terms the employer sets, and if they do not follow them the employment can be rightfully terminated or suspended. In order to have order in a society, these are things that must occur, you cannot have employees screaming at bosses or not doing their job expecting no consequence under the guise of freedom of speech, that is not how it works. They signed a contract as employee-employer, it was violated by the employee, pure and simple.


You most certainly do not have to agree with the Duck Dynasty Guys or A&E, but it is not a suppression of Freedom of Speech. He was able to speak as he wished and is not in fear of prosecution. It is a matter of how A&E is wishing to protect its name on the conduct of one of its employees, that is the real issue, not Freedom of Speech.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quick Thoughts: Do not desire power you do not want your opponents to use against you

These past couple weeks, Washington has been rocked by numerous reports of potential improper use of power by the Government at the IRS targeting certain political ideologies, Department of Justice seizing records of the Press, the admittance that drone strikes have killed US Citizens without due process or were accidental and accusations of false reports to the People and Congress in regards to these and others events.

I am working on a couple of these and how they relate to the Constitution so I will not go into detail about them at this time, rather I do want to make a quick point about one other troubling aspect to me. It is those who are defending the accusations themselves as being "legitimate", not denying that they occurred. In other words it is "okay" for Government to target certain political positions it does not agree with or government sees as a threat, it is "okay" for government to seize records with out the required due process the press is safeguarded under by the First and Fourth Amendments because of "National Security". It is "okay" for Government to deceive or mislead the people to protect information, regardless if the revealing of that information has any actual effect in policy or safety.

My question to those who contend it IS "okay" for Government to do this, would you feel confortable to have the opposing side in power and use those same powers tactics or methods against those it opposes, being you? For me this is the simplest and most effective way to determine what the limit of ANY government power should be. Would you feel at ease, or under duress if those who oppose you had that power to use against you? If you cannot answer yes, then it is a power NO GOVERNMENT must ever have. If the power is available to Government, those in power may not use it today against the people or its adversaries, but history has proven someday someone will come along who will. The goal for a free people should be, to NEVER let government have that power in the first place, and when it tries to seize it, NOT defend those actions, but even if you oppose who it is being used against, speak out against those who wield it. Because if you do not, one day you will be on the other side of the table and by not speaking when it first happened, you have already condoned not only the power, but that acts to come at your expense.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What is the Constitution? What does it do and what does it not do?

The United States Constitution is a basic framework of government, primarily at the national level but also with requirements or prohibitions at the state level.

The initial premise of the Constitution is that of defining and limiting Federal Government power, that is to say if an act does not fall within the limits of the Constitution, the Federal Government does not possess that power. This is reaffirmed by the Tenth Amendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The Tenth Amendment in clear and conscience terms layout the Constitution is a limiting document, the power not specifically granted to it are reserved to the two powers who created the Constitution, the States (who created it in the Convention of 1787) and the People (who ratified it causing it to go into effect on March 4, 1789).

 

The focus here will be on the Constitution as it was in 1788 chiefly. Amendments will be cited when it has changed aspects of the text or provisions of the Constitution and how it has changed those provisions, but the Amendments themselves are not a focus topic in this article.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012 Election Poll

Who are you voting for President and Vice President?
 
pollcode.com free polls 

This is a non-scientific poll to let readers here have their vote heard.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A More Powerful Government (Quick Thoughts)

This is an article I plan on diving much more deeply into in the future. In many of my discussions I have with people about the Founding Principles of the Constitution, one of the most common things I hear is something along these lines,

“The Founders wanted a strong central government because the Article of Confederation proved a weak one can’t work”.

With the exception of one word in this context, I happen to fully agree with the statement, the word “strong” instead of '”stronger”. No matter how you word it or state it, it is this concept and the difference between Strong and Stronger in this context that makes the World’s difference in the discussion. To often in my opinion, many who favor a very strong Federal Authority are the ones who use the word strong and use it with the Founder’s in this context to justify their position of a more absolute Federal power.

Voter Rights and Checks (Quick Thoughts)

For starters I have to apologize to all for not having posted anything in some time. I do hope to post more often again, life as we all know at times can get rough. But now onto the point of this post.

Much has made the news in recent months about voting rights and voter verification as many states have adopted or are enforcing Voter ID checks to the dismay of many. This is not going to be so much as a complete Constitutional analysis or opinion but rather from the perspective of Liberty and Integrity, and is something I touched base on a couple years back.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Shot Heard round the World (Concord, MA; April 19, 1775)

237 Years ago, the American Colonist began armed resistance to the British crown, in two small towns west of Boston, Massachusetts, well over a year before the Declaration of Independence was even debated.

By April 1775, tensions between the British and Colonist in New England, Massachusetts in particular had reached the boiling point. On April 14, 1775 British General Thomas Gage received orders to disarm the rebels, and arrest the main Colonial Leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. General Gage proceeded with plans to march on Concord, Massachusetts west of Boston where a cache of arms was believed to be stored.

On April 18, 1775 Gage sent about 20 troops into the countryside west of Boston to intercept anybody on Horseback who may be able to pass word of the impending British Forces movement to Concord. Having received word of General Gage’s order, by April 8, 1775 most of the Colonial Leaders had already left Boston, with two prominent exceptions being Paul Revere and Joseph Warren. British troops had been noticed scoping out the roads and country side by Concord, but not a larger cache site in Worcester further South West, and the townspeople of Concord decided to distribute the weapons to other near by towns.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The United States is not a Democracy

3 Wolves 1 SheepOften we hear about the United States being a “Democracy”, or let “Democracy” decide. We see it in many places; the United States Navy Sailors Creed has the term Democracy

“…to protect freedom and democracy around the world.”

But the United States is not a “True Democracy”, rather we are a democratically elected Republic, and the difference between that and democracy is significant.

Democracy vs a Republic

Democracy

Majority vote prevails. The majority of a vote on a given subject decides the course of law, generally without any predefined limits on what law can be, since the majority of the people decide what law is.

Republic

A system where members are chosen for the purpose of representing a larger body (in the US the People or the States), generally in part or in whole chosen directly by the people. That body or bodies are usually constrained by some sort of contract (Constitution) with the people normally directly voting for at least one part of the body.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Role of the Supreme Court (Quick Thoughts)

Role of the CourtToday I was watching a news show, and the discussion was the potential retirement of Justice Ginsburg in 2015. During the commentary, one comment from a pundit really caught my attention in regards to the Supreme Court. He was discussing how the 2012 Presidential Election will have a significant impact on the Court pending the winner in the General Election in November. It was the comment at the end, not so much the philosophy or jurisprudence that struck me. He said, "One of the most important things an Executive will do is nominate to the Supreme Court", this I do not disagree with. It was the reasoning that I do, because he stated after this, "The Supreme Court decides who gets equal Rights", and then proceeded to state how one candidate should "Scare the hell" out of the people if he were to win, the latter being besides the point.

The role of the Supreme Court is NOT to decide who gets equal rights, this is already addressed in multiple places on who does.

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; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

14th Amendment

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Origins of the First Amendment, Freedom of Religion: Early writings to 1787 (Part 7)

Freedom of ReligionAs discussed in part one of the origins of the Bill of Rights British tyranny had a lot of influence on what would eventually become the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. Partially out of this tyranny and partially out of philosophy. Many writings occurred in the decades, even centuries before the American Revolution that expressed opinions which are found in the First Amendment.

A sample of these will be discussed since are well too many to going to depth on all of them, but a sample across decades and centuries will be explored here into the American Revolution.

We will look at the First Amendment in four different areas, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, freedom of Association and freedom to petition. The reason for this is these can be distinctly referenced to in their specific areas though in all writings they may not be combined together.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Whose liberty comes first?(Quick Thoughts)

Much news has been made in regards to the recent policy of requiring all employers to provide health insurance covering contraception, including religious organizations who may have faith based objections to such services. This presents the question of "whose liberty comes first"? Does the Church’s freedom of religious expression come before the individual?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

United States vs Jones (Unwarranted GPS tracking of an individual)

4th AmendmentI touched on this decision in Quick Thoughts as a victory for the Fourth Amendment (Fourth Amendment Victory (Quick Thoughts) in regards to unwarranted GPS tracking of an individual. Now I want to dive a little bit deeper into it, in regards to the Founding influences and how they were applied to this case. You can read the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) opinion and additional concurrence opinions here1 (Cornell University Law School).
The Supreme Court's opinion was written by Justice Scalia and is the main one of focus here. Additional concurrence opinions were also written by Justices Sotomayor and Alito who had differing reasons based on precedent however, reaching the same conclusion.

Synopsis
The Government obtained a search warrant permitting it to install a Global-Positioning-System (GPS) tracking device on a vehicle registered to respondent Jones’s wife. The warrant authorized installation in the District of Columbia and within 10 days, but agents installed the device on the 11th day and in Maryland. The Government than tracked the vehicle’s movements for 28 days. It subsequently secured an indictment of Jones and others on drug trafficking conspiracy charges. The District Court suppressed the GPS data obtained while the vehicle was parked at Jones’s residence, but held the remaining data admissible because Jones had no reasonable expectation of privacy when the vehicle was on public streets. Jones was convicted. The D. C. Circuit reversed, concluding that admission of the evidence obtained by warrantless use of the GPS device violated the Fourth Amendment. (sic from SCOTUS ruling)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fourth Amendment Victory (Quick Thoughts)

Today the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) rules law enforcement agencies may not track your privately owned vehicle with a GPS device, unless authorized by a warrant. The decision was unanimous and correct. For starters the Fourth Amendment was designed as a method to prevent the government from intruding into the private matters or property of individuals or groups unless proper cause could be justified BEFORE hand in a warrant, not the other way around.

To often the Bill of Rights has been viewed as the limit of individual or group rights, defining the limit up to what government can do, but it was not designed to do this. The Bill of Rights was designed to specifically prohibit certain actions to further limit what government may do. The Federal Government was bound by certain limits in the Constitution, and a strong argument against the Bill of Rights was that it may end up expanding Government powers, by claiming what was not specifically protected, such as this case. (see Bill of Rights or limitations).

Even though the exact specification of tracking citizens is not specifically prohibited by name in the Fourth Amendment, the concept of it being prohibited is. A person or group CAN NOT be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects if every move that person or possession is tracked. You vehicle is your effect, and you are guaranteed to be secure in it from unwarranted searches or seizures. By monitoring its every move in such a manner it is to make the effect and person unsecure from the government, effectively a search of the effect and person.

Not only is government prohibited from warrantless searches and seizures specifically in the Fourth Amendment, but this also has Ninth Amendment implications as well, that to be free from government monitoring is one of the "other rights retained by the people". This Amendment was designed to prevent such a move by the government that usurps the intention and motivation of the Bill of Rights, to protect every right retained by all people not just those specifically cited in the previous eight Amendments.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

British Tyranny, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, The Origins of the Bill of Rights (Part 6:)

John Locke KnellerThe ninth and 10th amendment to the Constitution of the United States have very deep roots. Roots that go back to the principal of what the structure of power is. The belief of the founders was a structure power went from the creator, to the people, to government in that order. A lot of world history and specifically Western history influence founding fathers, from the Greek and Roman empires Socrates and Aristotle, to John Locke and Charles Montesquieu. Though British tyranny did have influence in the development of the ninth and 10th amendments you have to go back to philosophy to understand the meaning behind the motivation of the ninth and 10th amendments. It can be summed up with natural rights and the proper order power. These basic values are the principal motivators behind the ninth and 10th amendments.

Here we will look at specifically natural rights and the order of power, without going through the entire genesis of human history, this will start with John Locke and his Second Treatises of government, and also Spirit of Laws by Montesquieu. Both authors and philosophers influence can be seen on founding fathers pre-revolutionary colonial history and writings, revolutionary history writings, early state governments, early charters, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States. These philosophers had a profound impact on the founding fathers just in themselves, and British tyranny and oppression only made these beliefs stronger.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

British Tyranny, the Seventh and Eighth Amendments, The Origins of the Bill of Rights (Part 5:)

Both the seventh and eighth amendments to the United States Constitution deal of trials, one criminal and one civil. Just like the previous amendments to the Constitution the seventh and eighth amendment could also find their legacy in the British monarchy and how it dealt with the American colonies. Just as with each of the previous amendments the Genesis can directly be traced to tyranny, and are listed as grievances in the Declaration of Independence against King George.

The Seventh Amendment:

In suits at Common Law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

As mentioned in Part 4 in regards sixth amendment, the right to trial the jury has a long history. But the seventh amendment deals lawsuits where the value of the dispute is greater than $20, not criminal trials. The Constitution ensures the right to trial by jury in criminal cases in Article  III Section 2 and is reinforced sixth amendment to Civil cases. But no guarantee had been given that trial by jury would also be guaranteed in civil cases.

The seventh amendment carries two parts, one in regards to trials by jury in civil suits, and the second the decisions of the jury shall not be dismissed other than to the rules of common law.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Corporations are not people, but that is irrelevant: (quick thoughts)

As we all know there is a new set of protests going on throughout the country the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now I will not get into the politics of these protests, but there is one sign in particular that caught my attention "corporations are not people". The reason this one caught my interest is the implications that it appears to be presenting, that corporations do not deserve the same protections as an individual. While they are not an individual they do have protections.

In regards to Constitutional rights  whether  we are talking about individual or corporation is irrelevant. The reason for this is the Constitution makes no distinction between an individual or a corporatio in the protection of rights. The Constitution, mainly the Bill of Rights, only list prohibited actions by government, not who or what is protected it lists  and this is what is of  importance. For example the First Amendment states the following "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the   government for a redress of grievances". The First Amendment makes no distinction or even specifically says who speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble or grievances are protected, it only states Laws cannot be made to limit it. tThe one thing that needs to be kept in mind is the Bill of Rights is not listing what people's rights are, it is listing additional  prohibitions to government specifically Congress. The Bill of Rights is not a list of what people's rights are, it is a list of very specific protections, it is a list of further limitations on government.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Is Speech always Free? (Quick Thoughts)

As an unapologetic proponent of Natural Rights which includes the inherent right to Freedom of Speech, it may be a surprise to learn that this is not a 100% Freedom in all situations, it does in fact have limits. But where and when those limits occur must and can only be finite and very limited themselves, and are only on location and not context.

Recently in California 10 students were found guilty of "disruptive speech" (from Foxnews.com), when they attempted to speak over the Israeli Ambassador to the United States while speaking at California University. The charge and court decision here are correct in this case. The main reason why these students did not have protected speech is the forum. Even though the Ambassadors speech was open to the public, the speech itself was not in the public domain, rather a controlled area or setting. This distinction is where the line of Freedom of speech ends, the Public Domain and NOT the Public Domain.

The Public forum is where Freedom of Speech is and ought to be absolute, the town square, parades, assemblies outside or around government facilities, the press or other writings, this is the public forum. What is not the public forum is privately controlled or reserved for another purpose, such as your house, your yard, a sports stadium, or another facility that distinctly separates it from the open public, such as a lecture room at a college. It does not matter who owns the property, it CAN be government owned but still not be in the public domain, meaning freedom of speech can be limited.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Perception should not mean a rush to judgment (Quick Thoughts)

For anybody who knows me, they would certainly know I am a huge Hockey Fan, and an avid follower of my team, the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, I probably spend too much time following the NHL and the Blackhawks, I can routinely be found chatting about the Blackhawks or watching their games, even during the hot month of July.

But it was an incident away from the Hawks, but on the ice that catches my attention today, or really the aftermath of the event more so. On Thursday September 22, 2011 a preseason exhibition game took place between the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers in London, Ontario, a neutral site not uncommon in preseason action. The game was tied at 3-3 after the end of regulation and through a 5 minute overtime period, resulting in the game finishing with a shootout. The shootout consists of one skater trying to score a goal against the goalie, with no other defending players on the ice, it is a penalty shot, one shooter and one goalie. The team that scores the best out of three attempts wins the game, or sudden death if extra rounds are needed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

More than just a Declaration of Independence

July 4 is a day of celebration in the United States, it is the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, even though the actual vote for Independence took place two days before (July 2, 1776: The United States decides to Declare Independence). It is noted as the day the United States declared it will decide its own course, make its own rules, govern itself and would no longer hold or honor any allegiances to Britain or its crown. This was done with a magnificent piece of work written primarily by Thomas Jefferson with the assistance of  Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman (June 11, 1776 the Committee of Five), the Declaration of Independence.

Besides declaring, “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES dissolving the bonds between the United States and Great Britain, the Declaration states so much more, on the nature or power, the role of government and rights of the people. These declared principles in regards to each, will have a direct influence on the structure and power in the Articles of Confederation and Constitution (Declaration of Independence influence on the Constitution).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 2, 1776: The United States decides to Declare Independence

July 4th is the day Americans celebrate the Declaration of Independence, but it was two days earlier on July 2, 1776 that the Second Continental Congress actually voted to declare Independence.

Independence had been debated in June 1776, and June 11th it was decided to postpone a vote until July 2, 1776 in order for states to ensure they favored such a vote. Also on June 11, 1776 the Committee of Five was formed, consisting of Thomas Jefferson,  John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston, to draft up a Declaration of Independence.

On July 2, 1776 debate proceeded and a vote for independence took place. The Continental Journal recorded the following in that day's session of the Continental Congress1 (emphasis added).

Journals of the Continental CongressThe Congress resumed the consideration of the resolution agreed to by and reported from the committee of the whole; and the same being read, was agreed to as follows:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them, and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Agreeable to the order of the day, the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole; ∥and, after some time,∥ the president resumed the chair. Mr. [Benjamin] Harrison reported, that the committee have had under consideration the declaration to them referred; but, not having had time to go through ∥the same,∥ desired leave to sit again:

The Committee of Five had yet to finish a final draft, and requested leave to sit and finish their work, but the decision was made, Independence from Great Britain had been decided. No fanfare or celebration followed, only the orderly business of the rest of the day. However, it was not lost on these men what they had done, they became traitors to the crown punishable by death, but they knew they sewed the seeds for an entirely new way of government, self government man would not rule man, man would rule himself.

On July 3, 1776 John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail a letter and wrote the following;

Yesterday the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states, and as such they have, and of right ought to have, full power to make war, conclude peace, establish commerce, and to do all the other acts and things which other states may rightfully do." You will see in a few days a declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man. (morning letter)2

The second day of July, 1776, will be memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations, as the great Anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp, shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever. (evening letter)2

Page 3John Adams was right, the day of Independence would in fact be a day of celebration with, "with pomp, shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other". John Adams only had the actual date wrong, the day the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was approved resulting in that day being penned on the document.

But make no mistake, it was this day July 2, 1776 the Founding Fathers in the Continental Congress decided to Declare Independence, the die was set. The United States was born, as it decided to cut off it bonds with Great Britain and set their own path and future for themselves.

 

 

 

 

1: http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/hlaw:@field(DOCID+@lit(jc00523))

2: http://www.founding.com/founders_library/pageID.2145/default.asp

Friday, June 24, 2011

British Tyranny, the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, The Origins of the Bill of Rights (Part 4:)

Unlike the first four amendments, the Fifth and Sixth Amendment is constructed of numerous parts. The First Amendment also contained several aspects, but is centered on protecting freedom of expression, and government interference in the right of conscience. Both the Fifth and Sixth Amendments are designed to protect the rights of a person accused of committing a crime, however the Fifth Amendment includes a clause concerning eminent domain.
Many of the aspects of both Fifth and Sixth Amendments have direct ties to tyrannical practices of the British during Colonial rule, just as the other amendments in the Bill of Rights. The lack of due process in Colonial times has a long history and affects more than just the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. The lack of due process also is apparent in the Fourth Amendment as a result of the Writ of Assistance to broad unspecific search warrants (The Origins of the Bill of Rights (Part 3: British Tyranny, the Fourth Amendment)).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What are the Federalist Papers?

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John JayI'm sure most, if not all of you have heard of the Federalist Papers, and most probably know they deal with and talk about the Constitution. But beyond that I find fewer people know what the Federalist Papers are.

After the Convention of 1787, also known as the Constitution Convention, the future of the proposed Constitution was anything far from certain. In fact, the future of the drafted Constitution was very much in doubt, and had fierce opposition from the outset, including from delegates who participated in the Convention. Some states were fairly quick to ratify the Constitution in their respective State Conventions, but several, including New York were not so fast to act.

The Constitution required nine States to ratify it, to cause it to go into effect for those states that ratified, meaning it could take just five State to reject it and prevent it implementation. The times were desperate for the young nation, the Articles of Confederation were failing (Why the Articles of Confederation failed) and without the problems under the Articles of Confederation fixed, the economy, dignity and governments of the United States would almost certainly fall. The proposed Constitution was written to address these issues and complete the American Revolution.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Original Argument (Quick Thoughts)

I really do not like endorsing or encouraging people to purchase things, I would prefer them to choose on their own, and most references I use are free on the public domain. But this one I will, Glenn Becks "Original Argument".

This book takes the Federalists or more commonly called "The Federalist Papers" and adapts them from the 18th Century to the 21st Century. The Federalists were written by James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton from 1787-1788 to the people of New York in support of the proposed Constitution. This was the first and original complete argument for the Constitution from beginning to end.

Two of the three authors, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were delegates and signers at the Constitution Convention of 1787. John Jay were New Yorkers while Madison was from Virginia and was asked by Hamilton to assist in this project. They used the pseudonym "Publius" in their writings to the people of New York, with 85 essays being printed over the course.

The Federalists explained the Constitution, its objectives, what the meaning of nearly every part was meant to be, what powers belonged to what body, the Federal or State Governments or the People. They countered arguments against the Constitution, and in the end helped persuade the New York Convention to ratify the Constitution on July 26, 1788.

The Federalists are one of the most important pieces in understanding the Original Intention AND Meaning of the Constitution during the era of ratification and the granting of power to form this Federal Government. Various papers and resources exist from the era which also contribute, but perhaps none are more widely known than those of the Federalists. They are cited in Supreme Court opinions, are cited by scholars, historians and Constitutionalists. Even though written over 220 years ago, their value has not diminished, because very documents have such a direct and complete connection to the Constitution and what it meant to the people, then the writings of the Federalists.

But the contemporary problem with the Federalist Papers is to fully understand them, it requires a lot of cross referencing or prior knowledge to understand some of their analogies or how they relate them to certain situations. With out understanding all these parts, some of the argument can easily be lost and even confusing.

This book takes the Original Argument, and adapts it using today's references and language so the cross referencing and prior knowledge is not as required, but the goal is the same. It makes the argument for supporting the Constitution as it was understood in the 1780's. This is a good read, but do not substitute it for not reading the actual Federalists, use it as a companion, and make up your own mind if the Original Argument was correct.

Amazon link to the Book

http://www.amazon.com/Original-Argument-Federalists-Constitution-Adapted/dp/1451650612

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 11, 1776 the Committee of Five

Drafting the Declaration of IndependenceJune 11, 1776 is a significant date in the path toward the Declaration of Independence. On this date a Committee of Five was formed to prepare a draft declaration for the Continental Congress to vote on.

Earlier on May 15 Virginia voted to declare itself Independent of Great Britain. This ultimately set the stage for a similar vote in the Second Continental Congress which was seated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On June 7, 1776 Richard Henry Lee of Virginia submitted the following resolution to the Congress.

"Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation."

Monday, June 6, 2011

American Protections of the accused (Quick Thoughts)

A series being run by the National Geographic Channel is called "Locked up abroad". Perhaps you have seen an episode or two, and if you have not I would encourage you too. It is not necessarily the often harsh conditions seen in foreign penal systems, even by other modern western countries, but it more the stark differences between the protections we afford to the accused compared to these stories.

Whether the story is taking place in Peru, Japan, Spain or some other nation, I often find myself while watching these hour long episodes focusing on what we take for granted here in the United States, and experiences of others who are not protected like we are here. Many times the individuals the subject of the show are actually guilty of some crime, but some happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is often times too easy to condemn people we see on TV accused of heinous crimes, with what we are shown by the media. But even in these instances these people the public condemns have the same protections as any other person in our criminal system, regardless if they are guilty with massive evidence against them or the wrongfully accused.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

British Tyranny, the Fourth Amendment The Origins of the Bill of Rights (Part 3:)

Much like the first three Amendments, the Fourth Amendment can be directly related to the conduct of the British during Colonial Rule. Through much of the Colonial time warrants from a judge were required to search a person or their property, similar to today. But this was not always the case, at times a broad warrant would be issued not specifying a person, place or even subject matter for the reason of a search or seizure. The Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent this.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures , shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue , but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

British Tyranny, the Second and Third Amendments, The Origins of the Bill of Rights (Part 2:)

The Origins of the Bill of Rights (Part 1: British Tyranny, the First Amendment)
During Colonial rule, the British Crown and Colonial Governors were not shy about using the British Army or Navy against the Americans. The British Army was used to intimidate, seize property, enter homes or be quartered among the populace to present a posing threat. It was not only the Army that was used against the Colonists, but other Government forces or powers that were used against the Colonists, but Police, Tax Collectors, Justice of the Peace and on. The British Army or the other British Government Forces use against the populace is not short or limited even if not by direct force, just intimidation, and eventually led to the fighting to begin in 1775. This use of the Armed Forces directly led to two Amendments to the Constitution, the Second and Third.
Second Amendment
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No one instance can be pin pointed as the need or desire for the Second Amendment, rather it is the entire scope of the American Revolution itself. The abuse of power by government against the people, the use of the military against the people, and the desire and unalienable right of the people to control their own destiny are at the root of the Second Amendment. This view is expressed in the Declaration of Independence;
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day 2011 Letter

The exact origins of Memorial Day are lost to history, with numerous stories and claims to its beginning. But the known facts surrounding Memorial Day have its origin in the Civil War, and was first officially declared on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan. The first State to officially recognize Memorial Day was New York in 1873, and over time various types of Memorial Days were established by different States. Northern States typically had a Memorial Day in May, while Southern States had Confederate War Dead Day. In 1971 Memorial Day finally became a National Holiday as the last Monday in May.

Originally the purpose of Memorial Day was to honor the War Dead of the American Civil War, but just like how Armistice Day for World War I became Veterans Day for all Veterans, Memorial Day became a Day for remembering all who have fallen, not just the Civil War. Most Holidays are for celebration of our past, Memorial Day is honoring and mourning those who gave all for our future, in the defense of Freedom and Liberty.

The Price of Freedom and Liberty is high, in times of peace we measure the costs in Dollars, which annually is in the Hundreds of Billions. But it is the true price of Freedom we remember on Memorial Day, a price in blood which is beyond what can ever have a Dollar sign fixed to it. In order to protect freedom and liberty, the cost is the most important treasure we have, which is life. It costs us Sons and Daughters, Brothers and Sisters, Mothers and Fathers, and Husbands and Wives. The sacrifice of so many is what keeps us free today.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

British Tyranny, the First Amendment, The Origins of the Bill of Rights (Part 1:)

The Bill of Rights when submitted to the States in 1789 contained 12 approved Articles by Congress, 10 of which would be ratified by the required States on December 17, 1791, and an additional one would eventually be ratified in 1992 and is now the 27th Amendment. But it is the first 10 Amendments that will be explored here.

Why where these specifics things chosen to be protected? What caused them to be so important? Who and what where the driving factors in having a Bill of Rights at all? These things and more will be explored through the course of this discussion.

The first thing to look at is the root motivation of the clauses. What happened in the past that caused it to be so important to specifically protect these rights? What lessons in history were learned leading to the inclusion of these Rights. To answer these questions we need to go back to even before the American Revolution even started, to when the British Ruled the continent.

Each amendment will be broken up into individual components for analysis.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Signing with Autopen: Quick Thoughts

Today the President signed an extension on the Patriot Act using a device called autopen (the merits of the Patriot act are not of concern here, only the circumstances of its signing). The reason for this is, the President was in Europe at the time the bill was approved by Congress and ready for a the Presidents signature. According to Article I Section 7 regarding the passage of bills into Law it states:

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.

Article I Section 7 also states:

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Who are the Founding Fathers? George Mason IV

georgeMasonLife: December 11, 1725-October 7, 1792

Wife: Wife: Ann Eilbeck (Wed April 4, 1750, Died March 9, 1773)

            Wife: Sarah Brent (Wed April 11, 1780, Died 1805)

Children:

Son: George Mason V (April 30, 1753)
Daughter: Ann Eilbeck Mason (January 13, 1755)
Son: William Mason (April 16, 1756-August 4, 1757)
Son: William Mason (October 22, 1757)
Son: Thomson Mason (March 4, 1759)
Daughter: Sarah Eilbeck Mason (December 11, 1760)
Daughter: Mary Thomson Mason (January 27, 1762)
Son: John T. Mason (April 4, 1766-March 19, 1849)
Daughter: Elizabeth Mason (April 19, 1768)
Son: Thomas Mason (May 1, 1770)
Son: Richard Mason (December 4, 1772- December 5, 1772)
Son: James Mason (December 4, 1772- December 5, 1772)

Home State: Virginia

Place of Birth: Stafford County (now Fairfax County), Virginia

Died: Gunston Hall, VA

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Natural (unalienable) Rights

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These are words every American is probably familiar with and something every child reads in school. But what are “unalienable rights”?  The Declaration of Independence provides some insight to them in the text that follows, that among them are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, but if these are only part among others, what are the rest?

Perhaps the first best place to look is the primary author of the Declaration of Independence itself, Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson said, “Bacon, Locke and Newton. I consider them as the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception, and as having laid the foundation of those superstructures which have been raised in the Physical and Moral sciences”1. Francis Bacon influenced on separating religion and philosophy, Isaac Newton influenced him in science, but it was John Locke who influenced Thomas Jefferson on the Natural rights most.

So what is “Unalienable”? It simply means it cannot be alienated, or separated. These Rights can not be taken or separated from a person. They always belong to the individual, and never to anybody else. So what rights cannot separated from a person?

John Locke: Two Treatises of Government

John Locke discussed Natural Rights most predominantly in his books Two Treatises of Government, with the second treatises on Civil government in particular discussing Natural rights. It was Chapter II of Book II, the State of Nature that Locke talks about Natural Rights in 11 parts, this what Thomas Jefferson would later call the unalienable rights in the Declaration of Independence. Locke starts off with this statement,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Quick Thoughts: The Bill of Rights does not enumerate the People’s Rights!

 

On May 17, 2011 a Federal District Court Judge made a ruling that caught my interest, not the subject itself completely (though the subject still did catch my interest) but rather the rationale in the decision made. This decision was not based directly off of the Constitution itself for what it says, but rather off of previous courts decisions alone, using stare decisis. As I discuss in an article of stare decisis, stare decisis is prudent provided it used properly and in the correct manner and this is not a situation in which it was, by the Judges own admission in his opinion.

The background of this case concerns concealed weapons, the actual subject of the case is of actual little matter to my opinion here, rather it is his jurisprudence that I will examine. Yolo County CA banned concealed weapons, and a challenge was brought against the County citing 2nd Amendment protections.

The plaintiffs (contending the ban was unconstitutional) argued the same manner of interpretation should be applied to the Second Amendment as is the First Amendment (it is to protect maximum freedom of the subject). The Judges response to this was,

The Court sees no reason to analogize rights under the Second Amendment to those under the First, as plenty of case authority exists to provide a clear framework of analysis to facial challenges, without poaching precedent from another Amendment’s framework.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Quick Thoughts: Government run Anti-Rumor Agency

Recently Former President, Bill Clinton suggested their should be a United States or United Nation run agency for the purpose of debunking malicious rumors. This may sound good too some, but may also present a very troubling scenario. A Government run anti-rumor Agency would be one where the State is set up to be the sole source of “legitimate” information, and other sources or information that may be counter to this would be by default, treated as non-credible to the public. Leaving Government as the sole holder of what “truth” is regardless of the situation or scenario can only result in the State declaring what is valid and what is not. When Governments do this regardless of the motivations, this IS nothing more than propaganda.

If a story or source or information is critical of the government, and the government has declared itself as the final legitimate holder of truth, this presents a ways and means for governments to prevent and disregard potential legitimate concerns, ideas or questions of any subject. It would be nice to be able to trust a government to be prudent and proper with this responsibility, but history has a long dark history of this NEVER being the case, including the United States.

No one person, group, organization, government or nation should ever be able to declare a monopoly on what truth is. It is fine for government to present its facts or information in the public discourse, but these facts and information should ALWAYS be subject to public scrutiny, with no one place having the power to declare any questions regarding it as “rumor” and that to carry the public confidence in the form of a government agency.

The free flow and scrutiny of information from all sources and places must never be inhibited, and NONE should ever have a monopoly or the power to have a final say in “truth”. In a free society, there will be rumors, there will be misinformation, and there will be twists of what facts are to suit a specific purpose. But as long as all the information is available to all the people, with no single place having ANY authority to declare what “fact and truth” is, the people are better informed and are much better suited to decide on their own what the actual truth really is.

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/dpps/news/clinton-wants-internet-rumor-debunking-agency-dpgonc-km-20110514_13204832

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Declaration of Independence influence on the Constitution

I have heard more than a few people say the Declaration of Independence has no impact on the Constitution. While from an absolute government can do and government can’t do aspect this is not false, it does undermine the fact the Declaration of Independence does in fact have significant relevance to the Constitution.
 
declaration_of_independence_The Declaration of Independence was more than just the title proclaims in declaring Independence from the United Kingdom it was an indictment against tyrannical rule and what the role of a government should be. The Declaration went beyond merely stating the Colonies would no longer have any ties with Britain, the Founders also stated what the rights of the people are, and that government operates at the beckon of the people, not the other way around.
 
So how does this relate to the Constitution? The comparisons between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, go beyond the most famous words of the Declaration that most of us learn in grade school, “We hold these truths to be self evident…”. It is almost a cause and effect between the two, with the Declaration being the cause or stating the purpose of government and the Constitution being the effect of those beliefs in creating a government. Though the Constitution does have many influences, the direct impact of what the Declaration states is clearly evident.
The first place we will look is the second paragraph of the Declaration.