Why I’m Cheering Actions by Liberal Democrats

I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d ever be pleased by anything that Jerry Brown, aka Governor “Moonbeam” of California, did, but I am now.  I never thought the leftists in Seattle and Chicago would give me reason to cheer them on, but they have.

No, I’ve not lost my constitutional moorings.  Democrats have been for more and more expansive government intrusion into our rights and constricting our freedom and liberties, and by and large they still are.  However, recent (and some not so recent) actions taken in these local areas has given me reason to cheer.

Two weeks ago, Governor “Moonbeam” announced that the state of California would embrace and abide by the so-called Paris Climate Accords even though President Trump pulled the US out of them.  California is going to sell carbon tax-credits to industries that cannot meet the environmental standards the state will be imposing in order to abide by these accords.  All-in-all, this move is going to make it even harder and more expensive to do business in California.

Moving up the coast to the Peoples’ Republic of Seattle, they have done several “great” things of late.  First, they raised the minimum wage to a ridiculous level, forcing many businesses to either shut down, move out of the city, lay off employees, and/or raise prices for their services and products.  Then they cracked down on the right of Seattle citizens to own firearms and to purchase weapons and ammunition, again with the same result as with restaurants and other service-type businesses.  Now they are imposing a 2.5% tax on individuals earning over $250,000 or $500,000 for couples.

Like Seattle, Chicago has some, if not the most restrictive measures on gun ownership by its citizens.  Yet, despite that, it has the highest murder rate among major US cities.  However, Seattle seems to think Chicago presents an outstanding role model for them to follow in this regard.

So, what makes me applaud these moves?  Simply the fact that liberals have finally embraced the concept of federalism as espoused by our founders and how they envisioned the states would operate under our federal constitution.  We are a country composed of what is supposed to be fifty independent, somewhat sovereign entities who are free to exercise all those powers not delegated to the federal government (which powers are few and defined as Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers).  We have fifty free incubators to test measures to see what works and doesn’t work in the realm of governance.

So you want to limit your citizen’s access to guns for protection?  Look how well that’s doing in Chicago.  You want to impose draconian measures and taxes on businesses?  Watch and see how many of them look to relocate to more business-friendly states.  You want to force businesses to pay more than market rates in the labor force?  See how many of your formally employed citizens come knocking on your city hall doors asking for welfare assistance.  Watch your tax base dwindle as more wealthy individuals along with businesses more out of your city/state limits.

Yes, federalism is a fantastic concept!  It teaches us what works best in preserving freedom and liberty, or in the cases I’ve cited in this essay, the absolutely worst and stupidest policies to pursue.

-July 28, 2017

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To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part IV

In the previous installment in this series (To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part III), I established the fact that, based upon James Madison’s arguments in an essay dated August 24, 1793 under the pseudonym “Helvidius”, the constitutional authority to “declare war” was reserved to the legislature as this action was tantamount to the passage of a law.  Consequently, the president is not authorized to “declare war” on his own any more than he has the authority to enact any other piece of legislation.  His role, Madison argued, is strictly that of execution, and unless he is given something to execute (i.e., law), he has no authority.

This being the case, how then does Congress “declare war”?  The Constitution is silent on the procedure, but if we proceed from Madison’s supposition that declaring war is a legislative act, then we can safely assume it would follow the course of any other passage of legislation.

As I closed last week’s essay, I pointed out that to declare war requires the action of both houses of Congress, just like the passage of any other law.  However, unlike the requirement that all bills relating to raising revenue (i.e., taxes) must originate with the House of Representatives (Article I, Section 7, Clause 1), no mention is given concerning in which chamber such a declaration must originate.  This being so, we can assume that it can originate in either chamber.  An argument could be made, again extrapolating from Madison’s argument, that since the conclusion of a war via treaty requires action on the part of the Senate, meaning that war cannot be ended without Senate approval, we could say that a bill to commence war would then originate in the Senate, but I believe that might be stretching a little too far.  After all, the independence of the States might be at risk in the going to war, but it will be the citizens who will bleed and die, so an equally strong argument could be made that it should originate in the House.  However, the safest conclusion is that a bill to declare war can originate in either chamber of Congress.

Once a bill to declare war is passed according to the rules set forth in each chamber, to be official it would then, like any other act of legislation, require the signature of the President.  Once signed, then – and only then – would he, as the Commander-in-Chief, have the authority to lead the military forces of the country into war.

But, what if the President said that in his opinion, Congress was full of a bunch of hot-headed war hawks, and that to go to war would be foolish and dangerous and he refused to sign the bill or follow its directives?  Could he do this?  Would that become an act of treason and be an impeachable offense?  The answers are yes he could, and no it would not be an impeachable offense.  If the act of declaring war is just like any other piece of legislation, then he can veto it like any other bill, which would then require a 2/3 vote of both the House and the Senate to become law.  Once his veto was overridden, then yes, he would be obligated to follow through or be in violation of his oath of office.

Herein we see the wisdom of our founders in their ingenious insertion of checks-and-balances in our system of government.  One individual, the President, cannot put the country at risk by declaring war on his own, but neither can a foolish bunch of Senators and Representatives unless the one who will be in command of the battles agrees.  More on this next week.

-May 26, 2017

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To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part III

As I set forth last week (To Declare or Not to Declare, that Is the Question – Part II), free societies should only go to war when they have been attacked or there is the threat that their lives, liberties and property are in danger of being attacked and destroyed.  The follow up question for us then becomes, “Why is the power to ‘declare’ war vested by our Constitution in the Congress and not left up to the President as he is the ‘Commander-in-Chief’ of our military?”

To answer this question we need to return to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and understand the mindset of those who were framing our Constitution.  If you read Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence you will see where several of the charges levied against King George III was his absolute control of Britain’s military and his abuse of that power.  One of those charges was the fact the army was not under civil control.  Repeatedly throughout the debates in the convention n 1787 the delegates expressed deep concern over the danger of having a standing army.  They wisely did not want to vest in the hands of one individual the power to commit the country to war.  Instead they chose to vest it in the legislature.

Why the legislature?  In his essay of August 24, 1793, writing under the pseudonym “Helvidius”, James Madison made the case in this fashion:

“The natural province of the executive magistrate is to execute laws, s that of the legislature is to make laws.  All his acts therefore, properly executive, must pre-suppose the existence of the laws to be executed….Another important inference to be noted is that the powers of making war and treaty being substantially of a legislative, not an executive nature….There can e no relation worth examining between this power” [making war] “and the general power of making treaties.  And instead of being analogous to the power of declaring war, it affords a striking illustration of the incompatibility of the two powers in the same hands those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of tings, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded.  They are barred from the latter functions by a great principle in free government, analogous to that which separates the sword from the purse, or the power of executing from the power of enacting laws.” [“Helvidius” No 1]

Madison’s argument, summed up, is the President, as the chief executive, is charged only with executing that which has been authorized by the legislature.  Consequently, the President cannot, on his own, execute a condition of war – only when authorized to do so by the legislature.  He supports that argument by stating that since a treaty which would conclude a war cannot take effect unless ratified by the Senate (Article II, Section 2), then neither can the commencement of the war without consent of the legislature.

This raises one final question, namely, does “declaring” war, based upon the foregoing argument by Madison regarding the conclusion of a war by treaty, only require the consent of the Senate, or does it require the House’s consent as well?  Article I, Section 8 states that “The Congress shall have the power to…declare war.”   Since Article I, Section 1 defines Congress to “consist of a Senate and House of Representatives,” then yes, both houses must agree on a declaration of war.  But, why both?  The answer is simple:  if a war is engaged, it will be the people who will suffer the cost and pain of the war (not to mention their liberty and property being put at risk), and the sovereign states whose existence could be put in jeopardy, should have the decision-making power as to whether to put themselves in peril.  Since the House represents the people and the Senate originally was to represent the interest of the states, both must concur on such drastic action.

Having now answered the questions of “Why”, “When” and “Who” in respects to declaring war, we will next turn our attention to answering the questions “How” and “What” when war is “declared.”

-May 19, 2017

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Three “Fixes” to Restoring Freedom and Federalism – Part 3

We’re all familiar with the adage that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  This adage is one that applies to the third “fix” I wish to address, namely the 14th amendment.  The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments compose the trio of “reconstruction amendments” that were necessary to ensure that the newly freed slaves in the South were acknowledged to be citizens and entitled to the full rights of white citizens (although there had been a huge number of non-black slaves in the South as well, and these amendments would also have applied to them).

The need for the amendments arose when President Andrew Johnson vetoed as being an unconstitutional overreach of federal power, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that acknowledged these rights as being afforded to the slaves.  The former slaves were not being accorded their due rights as citizens and it was determined that it was best to amend the Constitution as that would nullify the president’s veto argument and could not be overturned by a future Congress as easily as a piece of legislation could be.  This logic is sound.

However, as well intentioned as this action was, because it was not more clearly defined, the courts over the years have been able to expand upon it and make applications that have led to a major issue with our illegal immigration problem.  It was never intended by the authors to grant citizenship to anyone simply because they were born on US soil – that language was inserted to make it clear that the former slaves who had been born on US soil were now to be considered as citizens; futuristic application to those who had not been slaves was never intended.  Such is an application of constitutional originalism.

 Congress attempted to exercise its power vested in Section 5 of the amendment when Harry Reid of Nevada introduced the Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993 in an effort to correct the misinterpretation of Section 1 of this amendment:

“TITLE X—CITIZENSHIP 4 SEC. 1001. BASIS OF CITIZENSHIP CLARIFIED: “The Congress has determined and hereby declares that any person born after the date of enactment of this title to a mother who is neither a citizen of the United States nor admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident, and which person is a national or citizen of another country of which either of his or her natural parents is a national or citizen, or is entitled upon application to become a national or citizen of such country, shall be considered as born subject to the jurisdiction of that foreign country and not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States within the meaning of section 1 of such Article and shall therefore not be a citizen of the United States or of any State solely by reason of physical presence within the United States at the moment of birth.”

A second issue with this amendment is the abuse that has been made over the decades of the so-called “Due Process” clause.  It was unfortunate that this was inserted as the Constitution in the 5th amendment already guaranteed this right.  Because it was joined in this 14th amendment with the use of the word “person” in conjunction with this clause, it has been interpreted by the courts to mean that all those on US soil are entitled to the rights of citizens in this regard.   Again, that is taking this amendment out of its historical context, and as we see has contributed to several of our ills today related to immigration and the attending failure to assimilate into our culture.

So was this amendment necessary?  Yes, unfortunately it was.  Yet the amendment clearly illustrates the law of unintended consequences and needs to be rectified, not by statute or court rulings as these can be overturned by future legislation and court rulings, but amended to clarify the meanings that it was originally intended to set in place.

-April 7, 2017

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Three “Fixes” to Restoring Freedom and Federalism – Part 2

“Daddy/Mommy – Why do we have a Senate in the Congress?”  If/when your child asks you this question, you will know that you have a very perceptive and intuitive child on your hands, for this is a question that gets to the heart of how we have lost an important bulwark against the intrusion of our national government into our lives.

In The Federalist Number 28, Alexander Hamilton asserted that the States were to be guardians against the national government encroaching upon the rights of the individual citizens:

“It may be safely be received as an axiom in our political system that the State governments will, in all possible contingencies, afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority.  Projects of usurpation cannot be masked under pretenses so likely to escape the penetration of select bodies of men, as of the people at large. The legislatures will have better means of information. They can discover the danger at a distance; and possessing all the organs of civil power, and the confidence of the people, they can at once adopt a regular plan of opposition, in which they can combine all the resources of the community. They can readily communicate with each other in the different States, and unite their common forces for the protection of their common liberty” (emphasis mine).

Yet how were the states to accomplish this?  Originally, according Article I, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution, the state legislatures were to choose the two individuals who were to represent the interests of the states in the national legislature.  This concept was a fusion of the concepts of federalism and republicanism.  Just as the House was to be composed of individuals chosen by the people to represent their interests as individual citizens, the Senators were to be representatives of the states to safe guard the sovereignty and retained powers of the states.

However, the same progressives (Democrats led by Woodrow Wilson and Northeastern Republicans led by Teddy Roosevelt) who brought us the income tax via the 16th amendment (see part 1 of this series – Three Fixes to Restoring Freedom and Federalism – Part 1 ) also brought us the 17th amendment which changed the selection of Senators from the state legislatures to the direct election by the people as we see today.  In doing this, it destroyed the power of the states over the Senators and left them free to the influence of others outside of their respective states.

This also dealt a severe blow to state legislatures in that many people are not as knowledgeable of or interested in their state representatives and senators.  If these were the men and women who selected the national Senators, then there would be a greater interest in and attention paid to those we elect to our state legislatures.

Consider how different the outcome would have been when the Socialist Democrats under the direction of President Obama and Nancy Pelosi foisted the so-called Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) upon us.  Over 30 of the states sued to thwart this monstrosity of a law and lost.  If the Senators had been answerable to the State governments, then those states could have put pressure on those they had appointed to the Senate to vote against the bill and the ACA would never have seen the light of day.

A repeal of the 17th amendment would return us to this bicameral form of legislation in which the interests of individuals and states would both be represented in a balanced form.  As it is now, we have two “houses of representatives”, which makes the Senate duplicative and thereby unnecessary.  It is true that there could be corruption within the state legislators in appointing senators as there was prior to the passage of the 17th amendment, but now we know the dangers of the direct election of senators and will hopefully be more vigilant in who we elect to our state legislatures.

Next week, how an unnecessary amendment and its misapplication has wrought havoc on our immigration problem and devalued American citizenship.

-March 31, 2017

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Health Insurance, Obamacare and Government

Congress and our new President are pushing to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.  I wholeheartedly applaud the goal of repealing Obamacare.  However, the greater issue surrounds its passage to begin with and the follow up notion of “replacing”.

Obamacare is a clear violation of the statement laid down by James Madison in Federalist 45 that “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”  Nowhere in the Constitution’s enumeration of the federal government’s powers is there any hint of a reference to its operation in the realm of health care.  Consequently, from this basic truth, Obamacare is unconstitutional and on that ground demands repeal.

However, that same principle also demands that Congress and President Trump not seek any kind of “replacement” by the federal government.  The proper role of the government in healthcare from the standpoint of the Constitution is no role at all.  If anything, it could be argued that the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several states would authorize it to pass legislation which would allow insurance companies located in one state to “sell” its services in all other states.  This commerce clause in Article I Section 8 was inserted to prevent the states from charging tariffs on goods sent into them from other states, and in a sense insurance services could be likened unto an importation of a product from one state into another.  Hence, Congress legislating that all states allow insurance companies in one state to sell in another would be within its constitutional purview.  (It seems such action should be unnecessary as Congress didn’t have to pass legislation requiring states to allow Chevrolet or Ford to send their products from Michigan and other locations to all of the other states, so why should it be required to force states to allow insurance companies to “sell across state lines”?)

Those who oppose this move of repealing the so-called “Affordable” Care Act claim that access to health insurance is a “right”.  I have addressed this matter in previous essays in more detail, but simply put, a “right” is something that has always been and will always be – something neither created nor granted by man.  Obviously, a cursory examination of the history of health insurance indicates that it fails this basic premise of “rights.”  The concept of health insurance is less than 100 years old and has changed and been modified considerably since its introduction into our society.  Therefore, access to health insurance cannot be a right in the same vein as the right to life, liberty and property.  There is a reason why companies that provide health insurance coverage options to their employees style it as a “benefit”, administered by their “Benefit Department”.  Benefits are something that can be given and taken back, unlike rights which cannot be.

I would hope that Congress and President Trump will indeed repeal Obamacare in its entirety and then butt out and allow the free market to provide a variety and innovative options from which we can choose coverage that is both affordable and appropriate for our individual needs.

-January 27, 2017

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Article IV and the Antiquities Act of 1906

President Obama just used his “pen” again to nationalize large swaths of federal land in the western states, removing them from development, as well as hundreds of millions of acres of the ocean from exploration.  This action raises a number of constitutional issues.

First is the issue of just who has the constitutional right to these lands and seas?  Laws have been passed regarding federal authority over these areas, but the larger question remains, are they constitutional?  Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution lists the properties that the federal government has the authority to own, and all of these areas addressed by President Obama (and many presidents prior to him) are not included in that specific list.  So if the federal government has no right to these lands/seas, then it has no authority to dictate to the states how the land may or may not be used.  The lands belong to the states within whose boundaries they lie; to argue that they ceded ownership to the federal government and therefore legitimizes federal ownership does nothing to change the fact that the Constitution says nothing about such ownership rights.

When President Jefferson sought to acquire what came to be known as the Louisiana Purchase, he had such grave misgivings about the constitutionality of such an acquisition that he pushed for a constitutional amendment that would grant federal ownership to such properties.  In 1803 Jefferson wrote “The General Government has no powers but such as the Constitution gives it… it has not given it power of holding foreign territory, and still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this.”  The land belongs to the states.  The ocean shore out to the international limit belongs to the states.  It is they who have the constitutional authority over those areas and not the federal government.

This brings us to Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution.  It states that “The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.”  Furthermore, Article VI, clause 2 goes on to state that “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof;…shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”  Any law, therefore, which the enforcement of or granting of powers is in conflict with the Constitution is not “in Pursuance of” the Constitution, and must of necessity be null and void.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was passed to preserve archeological sites on public lands from looters.  It gave the President absolute authority to single-handedly designate any federal public lands as national monuments, and thus protect it from looters.  This Act is the basis for President Obama’s actions, and yet this law clearly flies in the face of the Constitution’s granting to Congress and Congress only the “Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.”

The states should stand together and nullify this unconstitutional Act and take back those lands and seas that rightfully belong to them, with the exception of those few constitutionally authorized properties that Article I, Section 8 grants to the federal government.

-December 30, 2016

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Federal Overreach into State Territory

On August 26, 2016, President Obama created the largest ocean reserve in the world off the Hawaiian Islands.  He did this without the consent of Congress, but simply with the flourish of his signature on a presidential proclamation.  His proclamation expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument by over 400,000 square miles (that’s right, miles), increasing the total size of the preserve to 582,578 square miles!  This means that this region is now off-limits to commercial fishermen and mineral exploration, which will, in a statement released by the White House, “allow scientists to monitor and explore the impacts of climate change on these fragile ecosystems.”

This action will adversely affect those whose livelihood depends upon fishing or exploring that part of the ocean as well as prices for their products, all in the name of the bogus concept of “climate change”.  Furthermore, American citizens who violate this “protection” will be subject to prosecution; but how will this be enforced against foreign fishermen and companies?  582,578 square miles of ocean is a lot of ocean to “rope off!”

The bigger question, though, is does the general government have the constitutional power to make such a land grab (or in this case, ocean grab)?  The answer would be a definite ‘NO’!  I realize the argument is made utilizing the “Property Clause” in Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution that Congress has the authority to do as it wishes with federal territory:

“The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.”

 However, this does not address the issue as to whether or not the federal government has the right to this property in the first place.  Turning to our Constitution and reading what properties it authorizes the general government to “own” we see that it strictly limits the kinds of property it may constitutionally acquire.  Article I Section 8 lists the “enumerated powers” of the general government, and within those powers are given the kinds of properties it may possess:  (1) Post offices and post roads, (2) the District of the seat of the government, (3) Forts, (4) Magazines,  (5) Arsenals, (6) Dockyards, and (7) other “needful” buildings.  All of these properties were to be purchased by the general government upon the consent of legislature of the state from which the property was to be acquired.  The Union of the States did acquire property by other means, namely purchasing land from foreign countries (e.g., the “Louisiana Purchase”, Alaska) or as a result of war (Arizona, New Mexico, California, etc).  However, once these territories were divided into states, those states became as much a sovereign entity as the original thirteen.

Nowhere in those enumerated properties will you find national parks, preserves, etc authorized.  So for President Obama to annex such a huge swath of ocean to the control of the general government is an act outside the bounds of his constitutional authority.  As former Hawaiian governor George Ariyoshi (a Democrat by the way) stated in July at a rally regarding ownership of the ocean, “The ocean belongs to us.  We ought to be the ones who decide what kind of use to make of the ocean” –  a statement echoing the words of the ninth and tenth amendments:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

  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.”

 So remember – if a president or group of legislators can with the stroke of a pen or passage of a piece of legislation seize control of 400,000 square miles of ocean that it has no constitutional right to, what can they do regarding your and my property?  This is precisely why we have a constitution to limit the power of government; it’s time we returned to it.

-September 2, 2016

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This Land’s NOT Your Land, This Land’s NOT My Land…

I remember singing “This land is your land, this land is my land”  in elementary music classes, but my how the sentiment has changed from “is” to “not”!  We have witnessed some startling developments as related to our Constitutional rights this past week in the confrontation between rancher Cliven Bundy and the Federal Department of the Bureau of Land Management.  You can read the news stories and blog essays about what happened there but I want to take a few paragraphs to delve below the surface of these events.

(As an aside, in the standoff between armed citizens and those armed members of this government agency, we have witnessed the precise reason why we have the second amendment right to bear arms – to resist the tyrannical overreach of the central government as well as the further trampling upon our Constitutional right of free speech when these government agents limited such speech to only certain restricted areas.)

There are some basic Constitutionally-related issues that need to be addressed.  First, who controls the land that is in dispute, and the corollary to it, who should control that land, Nevada or Washington DC?  Second, should any government entity control the land to begin with?  Third, if the land is “owned” by the state of Nevada, under what Constitutional authority does the federal government have in interfering with how the land is used?

Let us begin by turning to our Constitution and reading what properties it authorizes the general government to “own”.  Article I Section 8 lists the “enumerated powers” of the general government, and within those powers are given the kinds of properties it may possess:  (1) Post offices and post roads, (2) the District of the seat of the government, (3) Forts, (4) Magazines,  (5) Arsenals, (6) Dockyards, and (7) other “needful” buildings.  All of these properties were to be purchased by the general government upon the consent of legislature of the state from which the property was to be acquired.  The Union of the States did acquire property by other means, namely purchasing land from foreign countries (e.g., the “Louisiana Purchase”, Alaska) or as a result of war (Arizona, New Mexico, California, etc).  However, once these territories were divided into states, those states became as much a sovereign entity as the original thirteen.  Further, Article IV, Section 3 states that Congress shall have the power to either dispose of its territory or property as well as “make all needful Rules and Regulations” regarding said territory.

The general government owns approximately 85% of the state of Nevada, which pretty much destroys any notion of state sovereignty as far as the citizens of Nevada are concerned.  There is a dispute in this case as to whether or not the grazing range used by Mr. Bundy is federal or, as he alleges, land properly belonging to Nevada.  It appears that the property is technically federal land.  So the question is, does the property in Nevada at the heart of the dispute fall into any of those seven categories of property listed in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, and if not, then even though Nevada may have at some point ceded the land to the general government, such would be an unconstitutional exchange.  The federal government has no business being in possession of that land.  It should belong to the citizens of Nevada to either sell to private individuals/companies or lease to ranchers such as Mr. Bundy.

Therefore, since the “federal” government has no constitutional right to own that land, the land should revert back to the state of Nevada, and as Nevada is a sovereign entity, the “federal” government has no right to interfere in how the land is used.  This is why I advocate for the return of all lands and property currently owned by the general government that do not fall within those above listed categories of the Constitution back to the states wherein such property is located.

-April 23, 2014

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Study Guide/Handbook on the US Constitution

At the bottom of this newsletter you will see the cover to a new book, “The Handbook for We The People: A Primer on Strict Construction of the Constitution”.   Originally, the book was written with the intent to serve as a study guide to the fundamentals of our Constitution and the principles of the government it created for high school students, but it is an excellent tool for anyone who would like to have an understanding of the original intent of the authors of the Constitution.

The author, a good friend of mine, used several sources in putting this guide together.  The principles covered were based upon the writings of a retired attorney who is a devoted student and lecturer on the Constitution who writes under the pseudonym “Publius Huldah” (whom some of you may be acquainted with) along with writings of the founders including the Federalist Papers and Webster’s 1828 Dictionary which gives the meanings of the words as understood at the time of the writing of the Constitution.

The book is an easy read and contains seven chapters.  The first chapter covers the basics of the principles behind the Constitution such as a brief description of Federalism, republican government, etc.  The next three chapters cover in brief the enumerated powers of each of the three branches of government and touches on topics that are much in the news today such as  the major clauses of governmental power (Welfare, Commerce, Necessary and Proper) and how they were intended to be understood by the founders.

Chapter six builds upon the principle of federalism and republicanism and delves into the topic of nullification – a tool, as explained in the chapter, the founders put in place for the states to use in keeping  the federal government within its constitutional boundaries.  Chapter seven focuses on the issue hotly debated today in regards to the relationship between religion and the state.  The final chapter covers the concept of making amendments to the Constitution, including a brief look at the idea of what some are calling an “Article V Convention of the States”.

At the end of each chapter there is a list of questions and assignments to encourage the reader to delve deeper into the subject matter presented in the chapter.  In the appendix is a list of references such as the text of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and a glossary of terms that are critical to understanding the original intent of our founders.

The prophet Hosea of ancient Israel, speaking for the Lord, declared “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge.”  It is the intent of this book to help our youth, citizens, and yes, even government officials at all levels, gain a basic knowledge so as to keep our republic from being destroyed.  I highly recommend the book and would encourage anyone interested to look into it and use it for your children, grandchildren as well as any teachers and government officials you can convince to read it.

As a disclaimer, I did help in the early proofing of the book and making suggestions regarding the chapter questions; yet I have no financial interest at stake in the proceeds of the sales.  My only concern is to get an excellent primer into the hands of those who wish to gain a firm grasp of the original intent of our Constitution.

Handbook for We the People

-June 17, 2016



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