Federalist Paper XXXIX part 2 – A National or Federal Government

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, History | Posted on 09-04-2010

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In the first part of Federalist Paper XXXIX, Madison talked about what a republic is, and I posed the question “Are we a republic?” While in the first part Madison talks about what a republic is, in the second part of the paper he discusses whether our government is a national (democracy) government, where states no longer hold power, or whether our government is a federal government meaning it is divided into “sovereign States”.

“But it was not sufficient,” say the adversaries of the proposed Constitution, “for the convention to adhere to the republican form. They ought, with equal care, to have preserved the FEDERAL form, which regards the Union as a CONFEDERACY of sovereign states; instead of which, they have framed a NATIONAL government, which regards the Union as a CONSOLIDATION of the States.” And it is asked by what authority this bold and radical innovation was undertaken? The handle which has been made of this objection requires that it should be examined with some precision.

First, one must ask why those who just fought the revolutionary war wanted to preserve the “FEDERAL form”. The reason is individual states knew that their values, ideas, industry, etc were not the same. Just like individuals with different backgrounds value things differently, so did the states. They knew that if the states gave into a national government, they would have outright democracy where the majority rules over the minority. While you would still have democracy on the state level, those within the individual states would have similar backgrounds and interests. If on the other hand it was a national government, meaning a nationwide democracy, the highly populated states could force their values and economics on a larger number of lesser populated states. Quickly the more heavily populated states would control the government, and you would have tyranny. By keeping the “CONFEDERACY”, states could govern the way their people wanted to be governed. Southern states could have low tariffs to help export tobacco, while northern states could raise tariffs hoping to boost domestic industry. If the government is national, it would favor the populated states at the expense of lesser populated states.  It would and unfortunately it did raise tariffs, which was one of the reasons for the civil war. The southern economy suffered under tariffs that were put into place to support northern industry.

Without inquiring into the accuracy of the distinction on which the objection is founded, it will be necessary to a just estimate of its force, first, to ascertain the real character of the government in question; secondly, to inquire how far the convention were authorized to propose such a government; and thirdly, how far the duty they owed to their country could supply any defect of regular authority.

First. In order to ascertain the real character of the government, it may be considered in relation to the foundation on which it is to be established; to the sources from which its ordinary powers are to be drawn; to the operation of those powers; to the extent of them; and to the authority by which future changes in the government are to be introduced.

On examining the first relation, it appears, on one hand, that the Constitution is to be founded on the assent and ratification of the people of America, given by deputies elected for the special purpose; but, on the other, that this assent and ratification is to be given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong. It is to be the assent and ratification of the several States, derived from the supreme authority in each State, the authority of the people themselves. The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will not be a NATIONAL, but a FEDERAL act.

That it will be a federal and not a national act, as these terms are understood by the objectors; the act of the people, as forming so many independent States, not as forming one aggregate nation, is obvious from this single consideration, that it is to result neither from the decision of a MAJORITY of the people of the Union, nor from that of a MAJORITY of the States. It must result from the UNANIMOUS assent of the several States that are parties to it, differing no otherwise from their ordinary assent than in its being expressed, not by the legislative authority, but by that of the people themselves. Were the people regarded in this transaction as forming one nation, the will of the majority of the whole people of the United States would bind the minority, in the same manner as the majority in each State must bind the minority; and the will of the majority must be determined either by a comparison of the individual votes, or by considering the will of the majority of the States as evidence of the will of a majority of the people of the United States. Neither of these rules have been adopted. Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.

Here Madison highlights that it is the states as “distinct and independent States” that are ratifying the Constitution. It is not automatically ratified by a majority, but it must be unanimous, meaning that is it not democratic. States, if they did not want to ratify the Constitution, would not be compelled into membership by the majority. It would appear that membership into the union is voluntary, which would mean that it is not democratic. Democracy is not voluntary for those who disagree with the majority.

The next relation is, to the sources from which the ordinary powers of government are to be derived. The House of Representatives will derive its powers from the people of America; and the people will be represented in the same proportion, and on the same principle, as they are in the legislature of a particular State. So far the government is NATIONAL, not FEDERAL. The Senate, on the other hand, will derive its powers from the States, as political and coequal societies; and these will be represented on the principle of equality in the Senate, as they now are in the existing Congress. So far the government is FEDERAL, not NATIONAL. The executive power will be derived from a very compound source. The immediate election of the President is to be made by the States in their political characters. The votes allotted to them are in a compound ratio, which considers them partly as distinct and coequal societies, partly as unequal members of the same society. The eventual election, again, is to be made by that branch of the legislature which consists of the national representatives; but in this particular act they are to be thrown into the form of individual delegations, from so many distinct and coequal bodies politic. From this aspect of the government it appears to be of a mixed character, presenting at least as many FEDERAL as NATIONAL features.

The difference between a federal and national government, as it relates to the OPERATION OF THE GOVERNMENT, is supposed to consist in this, that in the former the powers operate on the political bodies composing the Confederacy, in their political capacities; in the latter, on the individual citizens composing the nation, in their individual capacities. On trying the Constitution by this criterion, it falls under the NATIONAL, not the FEDERAL character; though perhaps not so completely as has been understood. In several cases, and particularly in the trial of controversies to which States may be parties, they must be viewed and proceeded against in their collective and political capacities only. So far the national countenance of the government on this side seems to be disfigured by a few federal features. But this blemish is perhaps unavoidable in any plan; and the operation of the government on the people, in their individual capacities, in its ordinary and most essential proceedings, may, on the whole, designate it, in this relation, a NATIONAL government.

Here Madison is just saying that the government powers will be exercised nationally, because they ultimately are laws on individuals. They would not be applied to individuals in one state and not another. Also, they would not be laws on the States.

But if the government be national with regard to the OPERATION of its powers, it changes its aspect again when we contemplate it in relation to the EXTENT of its powers. The idea of a national government involves in it, not only an authority over the individual citizens, but an indefinite supremacy over all persons and things, so far as they are objects of lawful government. Among a people consolidated into one nation, this supremacy is completely vested in the national legislature. Among communities united for particular purposes, it is vested partly in the general and partly in the municipal legislatures. In the former case, all local authorities are subordinate to the supreme; and may be controlled, directed, or abolished by it at pleasure. In the latter, the local or municipal authorities form distinct and independent portions of the supremacy, no more subject, within their respective spheres, to the general authority, than the general authority is subject to them, within its own sphere. In this relation, then, the proposed government cannot be deemed a NATIONAL one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects. It is true that in controversies relating to the boundary between the two jurisdictions, the tribunal which is ultimately to decide, is to be established under the general government. But this does not change the principle of the case. The decision is to be impartially made, according to the rules of the Constitution; and all the usual and most effectual precautions are taken to secure this impartiality. Some such tribunal is clearly essential to prevent an appeal to the sword and a dissolution of the compact; and that it ought to be established under the general rather than under the local governments, or, to speak more properly, that it could be safely established under the first alone, is a position not likely to be combated.

Here Madison lays out some great points about a national versus a federal government. In a national government, the national government is the ultimate power. It rules over all other governments, including local governments. It would have the power to abolish those governments and tell them how to operate. Under a federal government, the federal government is not all powerful. It cannot exercise power over states, municipalities, or even the local school board. This is why you see our government use other measures. It long ago found a way around this limitation. By stealing our incomes through the income tax, it is now able to to use that money to bribe states and local governments. If states and municipalities want federal funding, they have to submit to the federal government’s will and do what they tell them do to. If they don’t, they basically have their money stolen and handed to the other governments who bow down to their master. They are then bribing the other states to participate in what they disagreed with.

If we try the Constitution by its last relation to the authority by which amendments are to be made, we find it neither wholly NATIONAL nor wholly FEDERAL. Were it wholly national, the supreme and ultimate authority would reside in the MAJORITY of the people of the Union; and this authority would be competent at all times, like that of a majority of every national society, to alter or abolish its established government. Were it wholly federal, on the other hand, the concurrence of each State in the Union would be essential to every alteration that would be binding on all. The mode provided by the plan of the convention is not founded on either of these principles. In requiring more than a majority, and principles. In requiring more than a majority, and particularly in computing the proportion by STATES, not by CITIZENS, it departs from the NATIONAL and advances towards the FEDERAL character; in rendering the concurrence of less than the whole number of States sufficient, it loses again the FEDERAL and partakes of the NATIONAL character.

Lastly, Madison goes into how the government is changed. The amendment process is not federal, because it does not require each state to ratify it. It is not democratic either, because it requires more than a simple majority to ratify an amendment. Also, it is not ratified directly by the people. It is ratified by the states.

I think Madison points out in most instances it’s federal with some national hues to it. Unfortunately, I think he thought it would remain this way. We have moved further and further toward national government where every issue now becomes national. Every law, idea, etc is pushed to the national level and implemented on the whole of the people. We are no longer more federal than national, and while Madison’s argument was compelling at the time, I think those who opposed the Constitution were more prescient.

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Federalist Paper XXXIX part 1 – Are we a republic?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, History | Posted on 29-03-2010

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Over the weekend, I was reading some of the Federalist Papers. In particular, I was reading Madison’s Federalist Paper XXXIX, which discusses whether the proposed Constitution would create a national government, basically a democracy where the majority rules, or a federal government, where the government in broken down into a “confederacy of sovereign States”. He begins by discussing whether the proposed government is a republican government.

The first question that offers itself is, whether the general form and aspect of the government be strictly republican. It is evident that no other form would be reconcilable with the genius of the people of America; with the fundamental principles of the Revolution; or with that honorable determination which animates every votary of freedom, to rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government. If the plan of the convention, therefore, be found to depart from the republican character, its advocates must abandon it as no longer defensible.

After highlighting how many other nations claimed to be republics, while at the same time having all or parts of their government ruling over the people without the people bestowing those powers unto them, Madison explains that the Constitution is not just claiming to be a republic in words but in action.

If we resort for a criterion to the different principles on which different forms of government are established, we may define a republic to be, or at least may bestow that name on, a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is ESSENTIAL to such a government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic. It is SUFFICIENT for such a government that the persons administering it be appointed, either directly or indirectly, by the people; and that they hold their appointments by either of the tenures just specified; otherwise every government in the United States, as well as every other popular government that has been or can be well organized or well executed, would be degraded from the republican character.

So, how are we stacking up as a republic these days? Do we have people administering the offices for a limited period of time and good behavior? Does Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd ring a bell as to if our officials serve for limited time periods and good behavior? Madison explains what happens when you do not have time limits on those serving, when he says it “would be degraded from the republican character”, meaning those serving would no longer represent the people.

Also, does our government get it’s powers from the “great body of society” or from “inconsiderable proportions, or a favored class”? Between Wall Street and the enslaved entitlement recipients, I’d say it now gets it’s powers from the latter. What does Madison say that leads to? If it’s the latter “a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” Sounds about right to me. While our government still claims to be a republic, it does not represent the people. It now has structured privileged classes that do not look out for the “great body of society” but enslaves a large enough portion to maintain the appearance of a republic, while at the same time favoring those who grease the palms of elected officials.

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Democracy is a horrible system says….Founding Fathers

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Video | Posted on 09-03-2010

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Following up on an earlier post about democracy, here is a great find from The Daily Paul. I constantly hear about us being a democracy, even by conservatives. It’s considered taboo to say anything bad about democracies, but we were not founded as a democracy, which is why our government was supposed to be extremely limited in what it could do. Our founders knew that democracy was a horrible system.

Democracy is …

…the majority turning their guns on the minority.

…the majority enslaving the minority.

…the creation of human sacrifices for the majority.

…the destruction of the individual.

…constant growth in government as the majority votes more to themselves.

…the road to absolute tyranny.

YouTube – Democracy is not Freedom!.

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Health Care Nullification

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, Health Care | Posted on 29-12-2009

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Here’s a great post I found by way of The Daily Paul.

For the past few days, I’ve received loads of emails urging me to get active regarding the healthcare vote – most of which had a subject line similar to: “Last Chance to Stop National Healthcare!”

Well, if you believe the only way to protect your rights is by begging federal politicians to do what you want, then these emails are certainly right. The vote went as expected, and so will the next.

So if you think marching on D.C. or calling your Representatives, or threating to “throw the bums out” in 2010 or 2012 or 20-whatever, is going to further the cause of the Constitution and your liberty – you might as well get your shackles on now. Your last chance has come and gone.

But, those of you who visit this site regularly already know that the Senate’s health care vote is far from the end of things – and you also know that even when it goes into effect (which I assume some version will), it’s still not the end of the road for your freedom.

The real way to resist DC is not by begging politicians and judges in Washington to allow us to exercise our rights…it’s to exercise our rights whether they want to give us “permission” to or not.

Nullification – state-level resistance to unconstitutional federal laws – is the way forward.

When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as that state is concerned.

It’s peaceful, effective, and has a long history in the American tradition. It’s been invoked in support of free speech, in opposition to war and fugitive slave laws, and more. Read more on this history here.

Regarding nullification and health care, there’s already a growing movement right now. Led by Arizona, voters in a number of states may get a chance to approve State Constitutional Amendments in 2010 that would effectively ban national health care in their states. Our sources here at the Tenth Amendment Center indicate to us that we should expect to see 20-25 states consider such legislation in 2010.

20 States resisting DC can do what calling, marching, yelling, faxing, and emailing has almost never done. Stop the feds dead in their tracks.

For example, 13 states are already defying federal marijuana prohibition, and the federal government is having such a hard time dealing with it that the Obama administration recently announced that they would no longer prioritize enforcement in states that have medical marijuana laws.

Better yet, in the last 2+ years more than 20 states have been able to effectively prevent the Real ID Act of 2005 from being implemented. How did they do that? They passed laws and resolutions refusing to comply with it. And today, it’s effectively null and void without ever being repealed by Congress or challenged in court.

While the Obama administration would like to revive it under a different name, the reality is still there – with massive state-level resistance, the federal government can be pushed back inside its constitutional box. Issue by issue, law by law, the best way to change the federal government is by resisting it on a state level.

That’s nullification at work.

Over the years, wise men and women warned us that the Constitution would never enforce itself. The time is long overdue for people to start recognizing this fact, and bring that enforcement closer to home.

The bottom line? If you want to make real change; if you want to really do something for liberty and for the Constitution…focus on local activism and your state governments.

Thomas Jefferson would be proud!

via Health Care Nullification: Things have just gotten underway | Tenth Amendment Center.

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The States Can Check Washington’s Power (You mean used to be able to)

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 22-12-2009

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In today’s Wall Street Journal, there is an op-ed by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey about giving the states the ability to propose constitutional amendments.

For nearly a hundred years, federal power has expanded at the expense of the states—to a point where the even the wages and hours of state employees are subject to federal control. Basic health and safety regulations that were long exercised by states under their “police power” are now dominated by Washington.

The courts have similarly distorted the Constitution by inventing new constitutional rights and failing to limit governmental power as provided for in the document. The aggrandizement of judicial power has been a particularly vexing challenge, since it is inherently incapable of correction through the normal political channels.

There is a way to deter further constitutional mischief from Congress and the federal courts, and restore some semblance of the proper federal-state balance. That is to give to states—and through them the people—a greater role in the constitutional amendment process.

The idea is simple, and is already being mooted in conservative legal circles. Today, only Congress can propose constitutional amendments—and Congress of course has little interest in proposing limits on its own power. Since the mid-19th century, no amendment has actually limited federal authority.

But what if a number of states, acting together, also could propose amendments? That has the potential to reinvigorate the states as a check on federal power. It could also return states to a more central policy-making role.

via David Rivkin and Lee Casey: The States Can Check Washington’s Power – WSJ.com.

While the authors have a good idea and a great point, they completely leave out what happened “nearly a hundred years” ago that allowed federal power to expand. Several things happened, but one thing in particular happened that if it had not happened would given the authors what they are asking for and would have prevented the massive expansion of the federal government. In 1913, the 17th amendment was ratified. That amendment changed Senators from being elected by state legislatures to being elected by the people via the popular vote.

The original point of the Senate was to represent state interests and to keep the Federal government from infringing on states rights. Once that barrier was removed, there was no longer a check on the federal powers. You get what we have now.

Prior to the 17th amendment, states could do exactly what the article is proposing. States could propose amendments via their state’s senators, who were accountable to the state legislators. Now, senators aren’t accountable to state legislators, so all they care about is the popular vote of the people, which is easily manipulated.

Come to think about it, do you think Senators could be as corrupt as they are if they were accountable to state legislators? Could corporations buy off US Senators at the expense of their citizens if they new that the state legislators could kick them out of office? While I’m sure there would still be corruption, I don’t think you would have it on the scale that we do now. I also don’t think you would necessarily have these career politicians and the rotating door between government and lobbying.

As time goes on, the great intellect of our founders avails itself more an more. They put controls in place knowing what would happen without those controls. Unfortunately, we allowed Woodrow Wilson, who was a “progressive” to undermine so much of what the founders put in place. Under Wilson, we got the 17th amendment, ending state rights. We got the federal reserve act, which allows the federal government to spend by printing money, robs the middle class and poor through inflation, and creates boom bust cycles. We got the progressive income tax, which punishes productivity and instigates class warfare. The list of Wilson’s destructive acts could go on with drug laws, antiwar suppression, etc.

If we ever want to take the country back towards more liberty, states without a doubt need to start reasserting themselves. It does seem to be happening underneath the surface. There is a growing 10th amendment movement. There are even discussions on some websites and TVs shows about secession. While I don’t see secession ever happening with everyone being programmed that the south was evil for seceded, I can see states voiding federal laws if the people get loud enough. Ultimately, it comes down to people rising up against these federal laws. The first chance at this will be this enslaving health care bill. The people need to get extremely loud about it and tell their state legislators to ignore the federal law. If states ignored the law, as some have ignored the drug laws, they can in effect void the laws.

Maybe it will happen. More likely it won’t. One can only hope that states reassert themselves. If they do, we have a fighting chance at re-establishing our country. If not, Rome will continue to burn until it is no longer.

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Federalist Papers – Hamilton argues for a free market

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government, History | Posted on 03-11-2009

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In the Federalist Paper No. 12, Hamilton is arguing for the Constitution and the Union by discussing the benefits of the Union to raising revenue for the government. Quickly, Hamilton highlights something modern day socialists somehow forget, that through self interest, what they call greed, all members of society benefit.

Hamilton writes, “The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen,” except for modern day socialists, “to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly become a primary object of their political cares.” What Hamilton is saying is all enlightened (educated) men of this time period recognize that commerce (free trade) is the best way to build national wealth. Because this is known to be true, enabling free trade has become the object of their policy.

He continues, “By multiplying the means of gratification, by promoting the introduction and circulation of the precious metals, those darling objects of human avarice and enterprise, it serves to vivify and invigorate all channels of industry and to make them flow with greater activity and copiousness.” Here Hamilton is stating the government should encourage trade by “multiplying the means of gratification”. He talks about precious metals as “those darlings objects of human avarice and enterprise”. Basically, he is saying money and the want of more money (avarice or as socialist like to say, greed) drives people to work more and to produce more for society (enterprise).

“The assiduous merchant, the laborious husbandman, the active mechanic, and the industrious manufacturer – all orders of men look forward with eager expectation and growing alacrity to this pleasing reward of their toils.” What? You mean all these men look forward to earning profits? Those bastards! Hamilton recognizes that it is the reward of profits that causes the merchant, the farmer (husbandman), the mechanic, and the manufacturer to be productive, and the more reward the more productive they will be. He uses words such as assiduous (unrelenting) merchant, laborious (extreme effort) husbandman, active (involving physical effort)  mechanic, and industrious (working energetically) manufacturer.  He uses these words to emphasize it’s the profit motive that creates these behaviors. With no profit motive, you do not have the productiveness of these men.

Next Hamilton discusses how everyone benefits from the free market, even those who think they don’t. “The often-agitated question between agriculture and commerce (basically labor and businessmen) has from indubitable experience received a decision which has silenced the rivalship that once subsisted between them, and has proved, to the entire satisfaction of their friends, that their interests are intimately blended and interwoven.” Notice that Hamilton basically says that the interest of both labor and businessmen are interwoven. Government cannot benefit the laborers by punishing the businessman. In doing so, he also punishes labor.  He continues, “It has been found in various countries that in proportion as commerce has flourished land has risen in value. And how could it have happened otherwise? Could that which procures a freer vent of products of the earth, which furnishes new incitements to the cultivators of land, which is most powerful instruments in increasing the quantity of money in a state – could that, in fine, which is faithful handmaid of labor and industry in every shape fail to augment the value of that article, which is the prolific parent of far the greatest part of the objects upon which they are exerted? It is astonishing that so simple a truth should ever have had an adversary;” Apparently, it still has it’s adversary in modern day politicians, socialists, and labor unions, who believe that free markets don’t help everyone. But Hamilton explains, how could you increase the value of one without increasing the value of the other? You can’t increase the value of what labor produces without increasing the value of labor. Both parties benefit.

Lastly, “and it is one among a multitude of proofs how apt a spirit of ill-informed jealousy, or of too great abstractions and refinement, is to lead men astray from the plainest paths of reason and conviction.” Wow, Hamilton points out that jealousy leads men astray from reason and conviction. How true is this in modern society? While everyone truly knows that government produces nothing, many today still want the government to intervene in the free market because of jealousy. They are jealous of the rich. Because of their jealousy, they are blinded to reason which would highlight the errors of their ways. Does this remind you of the tax the rich argument? They need to pay their fair share! Who cares if they have benefited society more by creating jobs, services, products, etc. They don’t deserve that much more than the poor. Low and behold though, when government takes more of their money, they don’t create as many jobs, services, products, etc, and we are all worse off because of it. These are simple truths, but jealousy, as Hamilton points out, leads us astray from reason.

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Reining in the czars – Now the constitution matters? Where have you been?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 02-11-2009

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In an op-ed in the Washington Times, Senator Susan Collins calls into question the constitutionality of the czars. While I completely agree, I’d ask the senator where she has been all this time?

When it comes to accountability and transparency, who is actually in charge and making the policy decisions? Is it the secretary, whom the Senate confirmed, or is it the czar, whom the president unilaterally appointed? These czars operate outside the established structure of checks and balances.

As ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, I also am concerned about the management dysfunction that so many czars create. They duplicate or dilute the statutory authority and responsibilities Congress has conferred on Cabinet officers and other senior officials.

Unfortunately, because czars can circumvent the constitutionally mandated process of “advice and consent” and because the president’s advisers have informed me that no White House czars will be allowed to testify before Congress, we cannot ask them for the answers.

Czars bypass the constitutional oversight authority of Congress, tipping the balance of power in favor of the executive branch.

via Reining in the czars – Washington Times.

The czars without a doubt undermine the constitution. If I was President and wanted to become a tyrant, one of the things I would do is put my select people in places and positions where they could seize control at the right time. While I am not saying this is Obama’s intent, although everyday I wonder, once the precedent is set,  it allows future Presidents to do the same thing. If one of those Presidents has the intention of becoming a tyrant, he’ll have precedent on his side.

While I agree with Collins on this issue, I would hope she’d be consistent in her concern for the constitution. The congress violates the constitution with almost every bill they write. Will we see an op-ed about the constitutionality of health care reform, cash for clunkers, bailouts, etc?

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If grownups were as smart as this 17 yr old

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, History | Posted on 24-10-2009

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While chatting on twitter, one of my tweeps posted this blog. Because his name has Federalist in it, @Federalist84, I decided I should check it out. To my surprise, the blog is from @SoccerSeal, a 17yr old girl, and she has one of the most straight forward criticisms of President Obama that I’ve heard. Here’s the argument.

The role of a President is not to “Transform” the nation. The role of the president is clearly stated in the Presidential Oath, “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. So help me God.” Nowhere in that oath do I see change or transform. Your job is to protect, preserve and defend. Not change, dismantle, and control. And right now I get the feeling that you are doing the latter.

via Red, White & Conservative.

The Constitution was setup for a reason. It was setup to ensure human freedom. It was not setup for continual transformation. Nowhere does it say the government should give you any rewards. It is only there to protect your earned rewards and your liberties from force. Until we all realize what this 17yr old has already realized, we will continue our steady decline, and we will always have the least of us governing.

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Federalist Papers – Hamilton asks why we think we can ignore history?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government, History | Posted on 21-10-2009

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While reading the Federalist Paper No. 6, I came across another great Hamilton quote that we should keep in mind.

In No. 6, Hamilton was arguing that in order to prevent unnecessary wars both internally between the colonies and externally between the colonies and foreign nations, they should ratify the Constitution to form the Union. With the Union, there would be rationality in calming the fervor for war with other nations, because one area of the country may be hurt by the war that another part of the country was calling for. With seperate colonies or three or four confederacies, one confederacy or colony could start a war without regard to the others. This would lead to more wars.

Internally, he was arguing with separate colonies or confederacies, there would more than likely be wars between them. He used examples of Britian’s wars with Scotland.

After laying out the historical proof, Hamilton was calling for the dismissal of the arguments to remain separated. He started by asking what would make us think that despite the history of similar nations’ experiences with inter-quarreling we would be able to have peace with separate confederations or colonies.

To shut down the claims from the anti-federalist, Hamilton wrote the following quote to ask why we think that we are different.

“Have we not already seen enough of the fallacy and extravagance of those idle theories which have amused us with promises of an exemption from the imperfections, the weaknesses, and the evils incident to society of every shape? Is it not time to awake from the deceitful dream of a golden age and to adopt as a practical maxim for the direction of our political conduct that we, as well as the other inhabitants of the globe, are yet remote from the happy empire of perfect wisdom and perfect virture?”

Hamilton is basically saying. We aren’t  different. These human traits that have led to war for other nations will not forgo us simply because those who want to maintain the separate colonies say so.

While, Hamilton was talking about war, I think the quote fits perfectly into our modern context. It fits in respect to the our further slide towards socializing as much as possible in our country. Surely, history has laid out the disaster of socialism whether it be the famine in China that killed countless millions, the never ending impoverishment of Cuba, or the horror stories of health care in Britain and Canada. If Hamilton was writing about our governments taking over banks, car companies, possibly newspapers and health care, I am guessing he would say what makes us think we are different? Why do we think we can ignore history?

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Response to Thomas Frank: From John Birchers to Birthers

Posted by Jason | Posted in Economics, Government | Posted on 21-10-2009

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Today, the columnist Thomas Frank of the Wall Street Journal wrote a column in which he basically says modern day conservatives are bizarrely paranoid. From reading his article, he’s talking about those conservatives who believe in capitalism, are against government propaganda, and are against government social engineering. Here’s a snippet of his piece.

Back in Hofstadter’s day this sort of thinking at least had something supremely rational going for it: The existence of the Soviet Union and its desire to bring the West to its knees.

But take that away and the theories become something far more remarkable. Consider, by contrast, the widespread belief that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was forged. What could have been his parents’ motives for committing such a bizarre deed, or his home state’s motive for colluding in it, or the courts’ motives for overlooking it?

Or consider the widespread conservative conviction that we are being marched secretly into communism or fascism. Why would someone bother? It seems equally likely, given today’s circumstances, that conspirators would trick us into becoming a colony of Belgium or the imperial seat of the Bonaparte family.

The paranoid pattern persists regardless. It is impervious to world events; a blurting of the American subconscious that has not changed since Hofstadter analyzed it 45 years ago. Consider the recent wave of fear that the hypnotic Mr. Obama was planning to indoctrinate schoolchildren. In “The Paranoid Style,” Hofstadter wrote, “Very often the enemy is held to possess some especially effective source of power: he controls the press; . . . he has a new secret for influencing the mind; . . . he is gaining a stranglehold on the educational system.”

via Thomas Frank: From John Birchers to Birthers – WSJ.com.

Let me start off by saying, I agree to some extent on the birth certificate issue. I don’t know whether the issue is valid or not, so I don’t claim that it is. It’s a distraction, and it let’s people like Mr. Frank lump all conservatives together and say they are nuts.

With that said, I do have a problem with the remaining arguments in Mr. Frank’s article. To say that conservatives are claiming we are marching secretly to communism or fascism, and that somehow that is nuts, should highlight how the intellectuals among us are so blinded by their supposed brilliance. Apparently, the government take over of our largest financial, automotive, and soon to be newspaper institutions is of no concern to Mr. Frank. That is just silly talk. So what if the government controls them, and they say what is going to happen in the market place. How is that communism or fascism?

In addition, I think Mr. Frank doesn’t realize that this isn’t a new march. Surely the government permanently impoverishing a large population with welfare and using Medicare and Social Security to induce fear when needed on another large segment of our population could be considered something other than just crazy, paranoia.

I guess, Alexander Hamilton was paranoid when he wrote in the Federalist Papers, “.. that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidding appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of goverment. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants” What kind of crazy is Alexander Hamilton warning us about those tenderhearted politicians?

We all know Jefferson was a loony, paranoid, nut case when he said, “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government.” What a weirdo.

Don’t worry about the government trying to take over the 1/6th of our economy via health care. They would never use your health care to make you behave in a certain way. They would never hold it up at election time to scare people into voting for them. Why would you think that?

Surely, this “paranoia” that Mr. Frank so arrogantly puts down is nothing new. What most people would call skepticism has been with us since our founding. It is what led our country to revolution and then to form our union under a constitution.

As far as the school children, the media may have blew it out of proportion, but that was before the post speech exercise assignment was revised to not make it sound like the student had to do something that the President asked. I think it also went hand and hand with the video from Hollywood asking students to pledge allegiance to the President.  Surely, that’s just a little disturbing is it not? Surely, if this video and this homework assignment was from Bush, Democrats and the left would have rightfully went nuts. Oh wait, but that’s not paranoia. When Bush was in, he only purposefully let a couple thousand  New Orleanians die. Maybe I should go back and read Mr. Frank’s article on those crazy lefties.

Lastly, in part of the article that I don’t have sited here, you can read it at the Journal, Mr. Franks poo-poohs Glenn Beck as the master conspirator. Glenn Beck must be a lunatic questioning the Federal Reserve, oh along with all Austrian economists. Surely, the Federal Reserve had nothing to do with the tech bubble, followed by the housing bubble and who knows what bubble they are creating now.

Mr. Frank’s complete lack of historic and conceptional perspective is an embarrassment for my paper of choice. While, he’s entitled to his opinion, maybe he can keep his head in ground. We’ll pull him back out once we take our country back.

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