Loose Constructionism and the United States Constitution

Posted on March 26, 2014. Filed under: Government, Politics, United States Constitution | Tags: , , |

A couple of weeks ago, Justice Antonin Scalia gave a speech about the Constitution (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/03/15/justice-scalia-constitution-is-not-living-organism/) in which he claimed that the Constitution is not a living document. There are those who argue that it is, referred to as loose constructionism. We live in a day and age where the Constitution is constantly under fire, and the interpretation is based on whim, depending on the agenda.

Take Obamacare, for instance.

The whole purpose behind universal healthcare, or Obamacare, is constitutional, supporters claim. It falls under the General Welfare Clause:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

The Founders did not mean the government should provide for healthcare, only they should provide for the general welfare. By general, they meant general health (making sure the food supply isn’t making people sick, etc), general happiness, and the ability to work, be educated, be as safe as we can and to live free. It is not, as some have suggested, the concern of the government for us to be moral. You want to be moral? Go to church. Leave it out of the government.

One of the key phrases in the Constitution is whether a bill is Necessary and Proper, something that is never debated today. The President has taken to issuing executive orders in place of law passed by Congress to try to move his agenda forward. The Constitution not does not give him this power, but doing this would be considered, as James Madison put it, unnecessary and improper. Does it become an impeachable offense? Probably not, and it needs to be challenged in front of the Supreme Court to put a stop to it.

For example, is Social Security necessary? Is it Proper for the Federal government to be behind this program?

Medicare? Medicaid?

If we already have these programs in place for the elderly and the poor, why do we need Obamacare? Aren’t most of the people signing up being sent to Medicaid anyway? So why do the rest of us have to purchase health insurance if we don’t want to?

The problem stems from this concept that the Constitution is a living document, a document that changes in meaning as society changes. I had a long discussion with a local radio personality about whether the Constitution was a living document or not. It was his contention that since the Constitution could be amended, that makes it a living document.

In reality, that is not what it means when someone refers to the Constitution as a living document.

Take the Second Amendment, for example.

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.

Today, schools are trying to teach that you have the right to keep and bear arms, only if you are in a militia, only if you register them, only if you have not been in prison, and it restricts you to only certain types of weapons.

Wow. Does anyone else see all that in those words?

As I pointed out in my section on the Second Amendment (under the Meet the Constitution tab), the States feared that the Federal government would stop funding the State militias, leaving them defenseless against invaders, and the government itself, not these crazy stories about fearing slave revolts or squads of men hunting fugitive slaves. After all, New York, a State that had abolished slavery, was one of the primary forces behind this amendment. Yes, it means that people in each State can keep and bear arms for defense, self defense; defense of the community, defense of the State, and if needed, defense of the nation. That the State militias were evolved into the National Guard does not render this amendment invalid. The key words are shall not be infringed.

I’ve argued before that the Second Amendment does not limit the types of arms you may own, arguing that it includes cannon, aircraft, tanks, and explosives. Of course the government disagrees with that, but they have their own agenda. I found this interesting website that explains the Constitution to kids, and found this under the Second Amendment:

Bear arms: When the Second Amendment was written, arms meant weapons. [Editor’s Note: It still does] The word arms did not necessarily only mean guns, but it definitely included guns. The Second Amendment did not specifically explain what categories or types of arms nor did it list what weapons were considered arms. When you bear arms, this means you physically carry weapon. You may have arms in your home as well as on your person.

Shall not be infringed: The Second Amendment does not grant any right to bear arms. Furthermore, the rest of the Bill of Rights does not describe any right to do so. These rights are thought of as natural rights or God-given rights. In the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment is just a reminder to the government that they should not try to stop people from having this right. 

What they said is true, to a point, but they stopped short. The Second Amendment does not categorize weapons, because there are no categories. A weapon is a weapon, this goes for a rifle as well as a cannon. Plus, they are incorrect about their definition. To bear does mean to carry, but it also mean to bring, to possess, to have and to use. And the Second Amendment is not a reminder to the government, it is a prohibition upon the government to keep them from taking the arms from private citizens.

This is the idea of a living document. The notion that we can change the meaning of the words by parsing commas and semicolons, or in the case cited above, by leaving out certain definitions. That we can sit here and say that the Founding Fathers only meant muskets, which is an absurd notion, considering, by that logic, the First Amendment does not apply to social media, the internet, television, radio, etc.

Is not the FCC, government controllers of the airwaves, an anti-First Amendment agency? Does it not say that there are certain things you cannot say on broadcast television, or on the radio, and fines you if such things are said?

I know people who say that the Second Amendment should be abolished, that if we take all of the weapons from law abiding citizens, then somehow, criminals and murderers will never get them. This too, is absurd and naive.

As with most things, people don’t ask “is this Necessary? Is it Proper?” They just jump on the party bandwagon and off they go.

People spend too much time parsing the words on the paper that they tend to forget that the Bill of Rights is not a be all, end all list of rights, and those rights are not subject to the whims of the government.

We tend to forget the Ninth Amendment:

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

Just because it is not listed in the Bill of Rights does not mean that other rights do not exist.

But it isn’t just those on the left who do things like this. I have friends on the right who do this sort of thing as well.

Let’s go back to the Second Amendment.

California is putting several gun control laws into place. My friends on the right are screaming “California is violating our rights!”

Here’s the problem. The Second Amendment applies only to the Federal government, unless otherwise specified! If you look at Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution, the States are specifically forbidden from doing certain activities:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

The Bill of Rights are a set of guarantees that the Federal government shall not do certain things. In other words, the States are not required to guarantee your right to bear arms. Why not?

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 problem extends back to the Warren Court of the 1950s and 60s, when they began to apply the whole of the Constitution to the States. This is a gross misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the United States Constitution. They took the concept of the living document to a whole new level.

While I think that what California is doing is wrong, I think the government is well within its power, until such time as California’s constitution is amended. If the United States Constitution applies to all of the States, what is the point of each State having its own Constitution?

Connecticut, on the other hand, is violating its own Constitution by even threatening citizens who don’t register their arms with confiscation and imprisonment. Connecticut does guarantee the right to keep and bear arms.

The Constitution is not a living document, to be interpreted as we see fit. There is no need to divine the Founders intentions, it is all right there in plain English.

But it is also not a document of convenience, that it somehow does not apply when it doesn’t fit our world view.

 

 

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Government Entitlements and the General Welfare

Posted on November 21, 2013. Filed under: Government, United States Constitution | Tags: , |

Secretary of State James Madison, who won Marb...

James Madison,  Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At what point did this nation fall under the control of the junkies, stoners and the lazy?

In the late 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson created the dual programs of welfare and Medicare. FDR created food stamps. Clinton created the “Obamaphone”.

There are those who feel that the government should provide everything for us. They call it “basic income”.

The government gives everyone a certain amount of money every month, and there is no requirement to work, find work, or do anything, really. It’s a stoner’s dream come true.

The problem is, where do these people think this money comes from? Well, they don’t care. It is yet another income redistribution scheme. Tax the rich, and give it to everyone else. They really don’t care where it comes from, as long as they receive it.

Why would one want to work if the government gives them everything they need; rent, clothes, food, healthcare, and ultimately, free weed!

While the idea is that this income is paid unconditionally, there are always strings attached.

The idea that people would willingly enslave themselves to any government escapes me. I know people who are all for this idea, and they don’t see themselves as becoming enslaved. Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

What happens when the rich run out of money, or disappear with it and no longer pay to support the rest of the population?

People will have to go to work to earn what the government pays them. Will the government then determine what jobs they go into?

Most people on the left cite the General Welfare clause of the Constitution as the basis for this idea.

From Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; (emphasis mine)

But what does that mean, exactly?

In the Anti-Federalist #6, Brutus wrote:

But it is said, by some of the advocates of this system, “That the idea that Congress can levy taxes at pleasure, is false, and the suggestion wholly unsupported: that the preamble to the constitution is declaratory of the purposes of the union, and the assumption of any power not necessary to establish justice, &c. to provide for the common defence, &c. will be unconstitutional. Besides, in the very clause which gives the power of levying duties and taxes, the purposes to which the money shall be appropriated, are specified, viz. to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare.” I would ask those, who reason thus, to define what ideas are included under the terms, to provide for the common defence and general welfare? Are these terms definite, and will they be understood in the same manner, and to apply to the same cases by every one? No one will pretend they will. It will then be matter of opinion, what tends to the general welfare; and the Congress will be the only judges in the matter. To provide for the general welfare, is an abstract proposition, which mankind differ in the explanation of, as much as they do on any political or moral proposition that can be proposed; the most opposite measures may be pursued by different parties, and both may profess, that they have in view the general welfare; and both sides may be honest in their professions, or both may have sinister views. 

The prevailing anti-Federalist view was that the term “general welfare” would mean different things to different people, and that Congress was the sole arbiter of what constituted the “general welfare”. Brutus was correct in his assessment.

Federalist James Madison (who later became and anti-Federalist) disagreed. In the Federalist #46, Madison wrote:

But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural nor common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars. But the idea of an enumeration of particulars which neither explain nor qualify the general meaning, and can have no other effect than to confound and mislead, is an absurdity, which, as we are reduced to the dilemma of charging either on the authors of the objection or on the authors of the Constitution, we must take the liberty of supposing, had not its origin with the latter.

What Madison is saying is that the powers of Congress are being related in general terms, and specifics follow. Consider this. Article I, section 8 says that Congress has the power to levy taxes to provide for the common defense. A pretty general statement, but as one continues reading, restrictions begin appearing:

  • Define and punish piracies and felonies on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations (international law/relations)
  • Declare war
  • Grant letters of Marque and reprisal
  • Make rules concerning captures on land and water (Congress makes the rules on what to do with prisoners)
  • Raise and support armies, but appropriation of money for that use can’t be longer than a term of two years
  • Provide and maintain a navy
  • Make rules for the government and regulation of land and naval forces
  • Provide for the calling forth of the militia to execute the law of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions
  • Provide for the organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and governing those that may be employed in the service of the United States; however, it is reserved to the States to appoint the officers and train the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress

All of the above is providing for the common defense. So it follows that other items within this article pertain to the general welfare. Nowhere do I see that the Federal government is responsible for feeding people, clothing them, providing them with money if they are not working, or giving the healthcare in any form.

In other words, there is no constitutional basis for food stamps, social security, medicare, medicaid, Obamacare, or Section 8 housing.

I’m not saying these programs should not exist, but they should be left up to the states. Let the states find their own way.

It has often been said that Obamacare was modeled after Romneycare in Massachusetts. Oregon had it’s own healthcare plan (called the Oregon health plan). What do these two have in common with each other that they don’t have with Obamacare?

They are both run by their individual states.

I believe that the general welfare clause refers not to the general welfare of the populace, but to the nation as a whole, as in establishing post roads, regulate commerce, coin money and establish rules for naturalization. Anything beyond what is laid out in Article I, Section 8 is prohibited to the Federal government. Let the states decide how to take care of their own people. 

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The President Tries to Become the Messiah Again

Posted on June 26, 2013. Filed under: Global Warming, Government, Politics, United States Constitution | Tags: , , , |

It's a lame duck! It's a man without a brain! It's SuperObama!

It’s a lame duck! It’s a man without a brain! It’s SuperObama!

It seems like this President just can’t get enough of his own power, at least, the power that he perceives that he has.

He seems to think that Executive Orders are just as good as any law that Congress has passed. He has issued orders for ICE to cease and desist enforcing the law, to stop deporting illegal aliens because, you know, they have as much right to be here as we do. After all, we evil bastards took the American southwest from them in a war.

What is it with politicians these days? They go to Washington, or any state capitol and do as they please, rather than the will of the people. Then they quote bullshit statistics to justify what they do. “90% of Americans agree with me!”. Oh, horseshit.

We have a governor in Salem who refuses to execute a man on death row, a man who sued him to try to force the State to kill him, because the governor “doesn’t believe in the death penalty”. Yet he’s perfectly okay with doctor assisted suicide and abortion.

Who gives a fuck what you believe? Enforce the damn law!

As promised in the 2008 campaign, the president is about to declare war on the poor. I mean, coal.

He is going to attempt an end run around Congress and issue Executive Orders to the EPA to cap the amount of carbon emissions coming from coal fired power plants. What this will do is drive the price of energy up, making it more difficult for lower income workers to afford electricity.

You have to ask yourself, is this really about saving the planet, or is it about making it so people can’t afford their utility bills demand that the government do something, so the government forms yet another entitlement to take care of everyone’s electric bill, while our taxes go up yet again.

The IPCC, the UN’s climate change arm, has finally admitted that global warming has slowed down over the last 16 years, and they don’t know why their computer models failed to show this.

I’ll tell you why it failed. A computer program, or model, only knows what it is told. It only knows how to calculate what it is told to calculate.

I see the weatherman every morning touting how his FutureCast (the name of their computer model) really nailed the forecast. The truth is, it’s wrong more often than not.

But I also find it funny when the IPCC says there is warming going on, all the envionmentalist libtards get behind them and say “see? we told you so!”, but just as soon as the IPCC says something other than the sky is falling, they jump back and say the IPCC doesn’t know what they are talking about.

With the president having as much trouble as he is, he is trying to become the world’s messiah once again.

He intends to have the EPA cap power plant emissions, and push for more government use of renewable energy sources.

In other words, he is going to “invest” in failing green energy companies by subsidizing them with our tax dollars.

How about you fix our damn roads and bridges first?

Obama says that he “lacks patience for anyone who denies that this problem is real.”

Of course, we lack patience for any president who denies that his domestic spying programs and agenda of murder domestically and abroad are a threat to our liberty and a form of tyranny.

“We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society,” Obama said. “Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.”

Well now.

We may not have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society, but you certainly have time for a meeting of the Flat Head Society.

Plus, sticking your head up your ass is not going to make you any smarter.

I always thought this was fairly obvious, but summers are hot, winters are cold. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out, so if you can’t figure that out, then you must be below average intelligence, probably somewhere at the level of drooling idiot.

Back in the 1970’s, we needed laws to clean up air pollution, because the earth was cooling off. Why? Because all of the pollution was reflecting the light and heat from the sun back into space.

So we created all these laws to cap emissions and clean up air pollution.

So where did we end up?

The skies are clearer, and the planet is heating up. I wonder if there is a correlation there.

The president thinks it is his job to make laws that Congress won’t. It isn’t. It isn’t in his power to do so.

Let’s review what his powers are. From Article II of the US Constitution:

  • He is the Commander in Chief of the armed services & State militias when they are called into Federal service
  • He can require written opinions from his officers concerning their respective departments and duties
  • He can grant reprieves and pardons, except in cases of impeachment
  • He can make treaties with foreign nations, subject to the consent of the Senate
  • Nominate and appoint ambassadors, Supreme Court judges, ministers and consuls, and any other officers for departments that have been set forth by law, with the consent of the Senate
  • He can appoint inferior department officers if the Senate allows him to
  • Can make recess appointments, if the Senate is in RECESS, not on vacation. The president has tried to argue that vacation or holiday is being in recess, but has been shot down by the Federal courts
  • Make State of the Union addresses
  • He can call special sessions of Congress, or he can dismiss them. This is not the same as being in recess
  • He can receive ambassadors and other foreign officials
  • He can commission all officers of the military
  • He makes sure the laws of the United States are faithfully executed
  • He may sign legislation into law, or veto it (Article I)

When you look at that list, which is very limited, much of what the president is allowed to do is subject to the consent of the Senate.

When the Constitution was first written, this meant that the representatives of The States held him in check. The office of the president is not this all powerful office that we have been brainwashed into believing it is.

The biggest problem with this president is that he violates his oath and powers every time he issues an executive order saying that there are certain laws he won’t uphold. If a law is wrong and unjust, set Congress to deal with it, don’t rule by fiat, because the president is not our king, dictator or tyrant.

Nowhere does the Constitution allow him to issue an edict, which is essentially what his war on coal is.

Just as Obamacare is driving up the price of healthcare (even though liberals contend the exact opposite), trying to put coal companies and coal fired power plants out of business will not only increase unemployment, it will drive our energy costs up.

It is not the job of the government to pick winners and losers in the business world, but that is precisely what this president is trying to do, using the EPA as a hammer.

Don’t we have bigger fish to fry?

Like putting people back to work instead of trying to force the companies they work for under?

Like paying off the debt instead of spending and borrowing more?

In the minds of environmentalists, the whole global warming/climate change debate is settled. Not so for the rest of us. I don’t know about them, but I would rather not live in a cave.

 

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Are We Truly Free?

Posted on June 20, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, Government | Tags: , , |

Washington DC - Capitol Hill: United States Ca...

Washington DC – Capitol Hill: United States Capitol – East front (Photo credit: wallyg)

A facebook friend posted this last night:

I wish our lives could be lived super simply and spending each moment making memories with the ones we love most. If only it was legal for me to find a plot of land and build a home and grow what I need. How are we free again?

In fact…I am free to work any job i can and or want to in order to pay my government. Free to follow its laws. Free to live anywhere legally deemed. Free to get an education that is illegal for me to refuse up till college which is free only to those who illegally exist here. I am free to raise my food under restrictions. I am free to hunt my food with a permit…again how am I free?

It’s a very good question, one often posited by anarchists (I’m not saying this person is an anarchist).

Anarchists say the reason we have government is because we fear that people will misbehave if left to their own devices.

Well, history is replete with examples of people being left to their own devices.

Look to Seattle where the anarchists destroy private property simply because they don’t believe that anyone should own property. Look to Afghanistan where most regions are run by local warlords. Look at Africa which has pretty much the same problem. Look to Somalia, to be more specific.

If there is a power vacuum, some warlord will step in and fill it.

Since around 1900, maybe a little before, this country has moved steadily to the left. By left I mean more towards totalitarian government. We have moved from a constitutionally limited government to a governmentally limited society.

I’ve argued before that anyone who wants more government, in any form, is a leftist. Those who want less government are the ones to the right.

Don’t get me wrong. Government is a necessary evil, but big government is not. Our ancestors threw off the chains of oppression because they were tired of a government that meddled in their lives, raised their taxes, and if they asked the government to repeal a law, or not pass a law, it only got worse.

The constitution was designed to limit the Federal government, to give it certain powers and responsibilities. One of the most common misconceptions is that the Federal government has rights. Well, it doesn’t. It has powers, and there is a big difference.

A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have.

While the Federal government was given the power of creating laws that would supersede State laws, the idea was that the States would decide for themselves. The Federal government was to take care of the common defense, and diplomatic issues with foreign nations. If States had disputes between them, the Federal government was to settle it. The Federal government was to prevent the states from warring with each other.

The States, while not being completely sovereign, were left autonomous, to decide what laws worked best for them, and what issues they needed to address. After all, who would know better what the State of West Virginia needs, for example; West Virginia or the Federal government?

There are certain things we need the Federal government for. There must be a certain amount of regulation for food safety, making sure that there isn’t lead in our paints, or that corporations aren’t dumping chemicals into our rivers.

Of course, why can’t the States make those decisions themselves?

The FBI, Homeland Security, the National Security Administration, and agencies such as the US Forest Service are not Constitutional. Nowhere is the Federal government allowed to have its own police forces. Nowhere is the Federal government allowed to own forests. The National Parks and National Forests are unconstitutional. The Feds are allowed, according to the Constitution, allowed to purchase land from the States for the following purposes:

for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;

Is a National Forest a needful building? No.

Unfortunately, there are parts of the Constitution that were left vague, and we suffer for it.

Welfare, food stamps, section 8 housing, Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Education, all unconstitutional.

I realize that the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare legal under the taxing authority of the constitution, but that doesn’t make them right.

The Declaration of Independence says we have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are no guarantees to happiness, but we have the right to pursue it.

Article One of the Constitution states that Congress must

…pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;

Strictly speaking, the Constitution does not say that Congress is to provide for the general welfare of the people, just the States. The Constitution was not written with the idea that the people are subservient to the Federal government. Just the opposite.

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 does not mean that we can do as we please, but that the people retain ultimate power. The idea was that the States know their business and needs better than a central government, so whatever power the Federal government has not been granted has been retained by the States. The States, being the smaller, more local government is in touch more with the people than the Federal government, so they should be allowed to make their own decisions.

James Madison said, in a speech on the House floor,

If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may establish teachers in every State, county, and parish, and pay them out of the public Treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post roads. In short, every thing, from the highest object of State legislation, down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare. – James Madison in remarks on the House floor, 1792

It’s been said that once the people discover that they could vote themselves money from the public treasury, that would be the end of this Republic. That’s usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but I’m not sure if that’s a spurious quote or not. Assuming that Franklin did say it, he was slightly off.

Since the late 1800’s and into the early 20th century, people discovered that they could use the government to make laws to force people to live their lives as others thought they should. They use various disguises: “public safety”, “public health”, “national security”, and more recently, “terrorism”.

For the public safety, we need to require that people wrap themselves in bubble wrap before leaving the house, getting into a car or riding a bicycle.

Second hand smoke is deadly, so we must ban it everywhere, including the outdoors. 

Just because you can smell cigarette smoke doesn’t mean you are getting second hand smoke.

We need to require everyone to wear a seatbelt, every motorcycle rider to wear a helmet, every bicycle rider must also wear a helmet. 

We have to spy on you, because national security demands it. We will watch your phone records, your internet postings, your financial transactions and your private emails. We will watch you with cameras, fly drones over your house, because there are terrorists who want to kill you.

In the meantime, you should not insult Islam and accept Sharia into your life, and we’ll grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, because there are terrorists out there who want to kill you, so it’s a national security issue, you see? We have Congressional oversight and a transparent secret court that has all of its proceedings classified Top Secret. Trust us, and reject those voices that would say that government can become tyrannical.

Give us your guns, because you really don’t need them, and public safety demands that we no longer allow people to have semi-automatic weapons because someone might shoot up a school or a mall. If you don’t, we’ll just create background checks and have gun owners declared mentally ill and we will deny your right to weapons based on that.

For the public safety.

The Constitution spelled out exactly how Congress could lay taxes, but in the early 1900’s, progressive Republicans put forth the 16th Amendment which changed all that. It allowed them to collect an income tax on the people. Why? What happened that the Federal government suddenly needed all this money? To pay for World War I? No, the war started a year after the amendment was ratified, and the US was only involved for 8 months; five years later.

Congress has, at various times, tried to impose income taxes, but they were found to be unconstitutional, except in the case of the Civil War income taxes, only because Congress rescinded them before they could go before the Supreme Court.

As the 20th Century approached, the parties began to demand an income tax. Why?

To stick it to the rich, who they felt had too much economic power.

1913. The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments were passed giving Congress the power to tax incomes, and stripping away the representation of the States in the Senate (because of the “fear” of corruption, rather than actual corruption) and giving it to a vote of the people. What the Seventeenth Amendment did was allow the political parties to get their hooks into the US Senate as well as the House of Representatives.

Of course, these people went on to amend the Constitution to prohibit alcohol, which is a silly thing to add to the Constitution. It was later repealed in 1933. In the meantime, it created a black market for alcohol, and a violent gangster subculture, which in turn led to the first Federal gun control laws. For the public safety.

The 1930’s and 40’s saw the rise of the welfare state in the wake of the Great Depression. Social Security food stamps, and section 8 housing were created under FDR.

The 1960’s saw an increase in the welfare state with the creation of welfare, Medicare and Medicaid under LBJ, who declared war on poverty. Nixon declared a war on drugs shortly after.

As a society, we have an obligation to take care of the poor and those who aren’t as well off, right? Yes, and no.

Thomas Jefferson believed that the States should take care of their own poor. In fact, he felt that each state should be subdivided into wards of about 24 square miles, and each ward should take care of its own poor. Not the Federal government.

Like Madison above, some of the Founders believed that the Federal government should keep its nose out of the States business.

Again from James Madison:

Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government. – James Madison speech to the House of Representatives, 1794

The key word in providing for the general welfare, is general. Health, happiness and prosperity. That does not mean providing healthcare for the masses. That means things like regulating paint to make sure it doesn’t have lead in it, to make sure drinking water is clean. General welfare does not mean the massive spending of taxpayer money.

From 1940 through the 1980’s, we have seen the greatest expansion of a standing army, than any other time in this nation’s history.

With the attacks of 9/11, we changed direction. The government declared war on terrorism, and established the Department of Homeland Security and the spying programs we are dealing with today.

War without end. War on poverty, drugs, terrorism. By any means necessary.

It’s ironic that those like Michael Moore and Bill Maher who decry the eroding of our civil liberties are among those at the front of the line saying we should abolish the Second Amendment.

So, what’s my point? What am I trying to say?

I have been trying to point out where and how the Federal government has been slicing off more power, and by doing so, eroding our freedoms, slowly over time.

Are we truly free?

Never trust a government that says “trust me”.

Since the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, we have seen a slow erosion of our freedoms. It started with the 16th and 17th Amendments, and the Federal government, over time, has effectively neutered the State governments and the people in turn. Taxes are used to coerce and “nudge” people in the direction the government wants them to go.

There seems to be a tax for everything today. A tax for hunting, a tax for fishing. A tax to drive, a tax to attend a concert or sporting event.

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

– George Harrison – “Taxman”

Through taxes, government manipulate us, nudge us, push us in this direction or that.

That was never the true purpose of government, but it is the nature of humans to grab for more power. They don’t do it all in one fell swoop, they do it slowly, just as you turn the heat up slowly to boil a frog. He doesn’t realize that the water has been heating up until it is too late.

Are we truly free, or is the government bringing the water to a boil so slowly that our grandchildren will be slaves to the government?

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The Federal Government Scandal Du Jour

Posted on June 6, 2013. Filed under: Government, Police State, Politics | Tags: , , , |

dark helmet

Dark Helmet (from the movie Spaceballs) (Photo credit: Joits)

Today’s scandal du jour: A top secret court order granted to the NSA by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court went into effect on April 19, 2013 and ordered Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of Verizon customers.

You’ve never heard of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court?

Most people, including myself, never heard of it before.

Apparently it was established under the Carter regime, the regime that brought us the Education Department and FEMA.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about secret courts before, but I kind of just shrugged them off. After all, that could never happen in this country, right?

Apparently I was the one who was wrong.

By confiscating everyone’s phone records, the government is not looking for terrorists. They are spying on everyone.

This should come as no surprise on the heels of the Department of Homeland Security saying that they don’t need probable cause to search your laptop, phones or other electronic devices if you are entering the country. They only need a hunch.

Who’s in charge of the government now?

Apparently Darth Holder and Darth Napolitano.

“We have altered the terms of your rights. Pray we don’t alter them any further.”

What is going on?

This is not freedom. This is intimidation, and a government that feels we are guilty until proven innocent.

Don’t give me the garbage about how they are trying to protect us, that it is for our own good.

I would rather take my chances, thank you very much, than to have to live under this government oppression.

To top it off, you have South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham saying that bloggers should not have the same First Amendment protections like “real” journalists.

“Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves,” he said. “Is any blogger out there saying anything—do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times.”

I blog for fun. I don’t consider myself a journalist.

I do, however, consider myself a loudmouth who was not blessed with the wisdom to shut my mouth.

There are those, however, who do consider themselves journalists. I didn’t realize, especially in the digital age that you had to have a license or work for a media outlet to report on news stories.

Obviously I need to sign up for a license as soon as I sign up for my Second Amendment gun permit.

Of course, as soon as he started receiving flack for this, he tried to take it back:

Just to be clear, every blogger is entitled to constitutionally-protected Freedom of Speech.

No shit? I have First Amendment rights even though I’m not a journalist?

Thank you for granting me those rights, Senator.

And this man is part of the “greatest deliberative body in the world”.

The man couldn’t debate his way out of a wet paper bag.

And, in light of all the scandals, MSNBC host Martin Bashir has to throw gas on the fire.

“Republicans are using [the IRS scandal] as their latest weapon in the war against the black man in the White House,” he suggested. ”IRS” is the new “N****r.”

According to Bashir, obviously, Obama should be given a pass on everything because he’s the first black president, and if you are upset with the IRS intimidating you, then you are racist.

I wonder if these idiots realize how ridiculous they sound?

These government agencies are out of control. The IRS, the NSA, the secret court of FISC, the State Department, the Federal Reserve, the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. All out of control.

Was Obama aware of everything that was going on in these agencies? I believe he had some clue, but was never told the full story to protect him.

That does not really matter. The man is in charge of these agencies, and if he cannot keep them under control, then it shows that he is a) weak and ineffectual, and b) the government has grown way too big and must be reduced in size.

But, if we lay off government employees, won’t that make unemployment go up?

So what?

Republicans and other right wingers are calling for Obama’s impeachment.

Slow down. There has to be enough evidence to convict. Watergate took place in 1972. The impeachment hearings were gearing up in 1974, two years after. It takes time to gather irrefutable evidence, so be patient while the evidence is gathered.

However, much as I hate to say it, not all of this is Obama’s fault.

Homeland Security and the Patriot Act were Bush’s handywork. He shares some of the blame for the bloating of government.

And in response to the Facebook posts floating around asking if we miss Bush yet, I say, no, not really.

I miss Reagan. I miss the booming economies of Reagan/Bush/Clinton, although I don’t miss Clinton per se but I miss the economy.

The Constitution specifically limits the government, but this is what happens when the government chooses to ignore it in the name of “national security”.

We must do whatever it takes to downsize this bloated and out of control government before it is too late.

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Is Healthcare a Right?

Posted on May 8, 2013. Filed under: Obamacare, Politics | Tags: , , |

, member of the United States House of Represe...

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee,(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Twist, twist, twist. That’s what politicians do with our founding documents. They scrutinize every clause, every punctuation mark looking for some way to justify what they are going to do or say.

Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas has come out and said that healthcare and education should fall under the provisions of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” declared in the Declaration of Independence.

She asserts that “the opening phraseology [of the Constitution] indicates that we have come together to form a more perfect Union”.

The opening phraseology?

Really?

Was Preamble just too difficult?

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”

What does this mean?

It means that the Articles of Confederation sucked, and this was their attempt to fix it. It is a reference to the Articles of Confederation, not a reference to healthcare, public education, welfare or foodstamps!

The problem that we are having in Washington is not that our representatives are stupid, but instead that they interpret our founding documents in a way that makes it say whatever they think it should say, including taking from the rich and giving to the poor.

We have certain unalienable rights. We have a right to be healthy, but that does not mean that we have a right to healthcare.

Women like to claim that they have a right to determine whether or not to carry a baby to term, regardless of whether they are trampling on the rights of the baby, or the fathers.

Following that logic, I have the right to put whatever I want into my body, be it sugar, transfats, saturated fats, or Drano.

Granted, I won’t live long on a diet of Drano, but it should still be my right. My body, my choice.

I have the right to be healthy, but I also have the right to not be healthy if that is what I choose.

But that still does not equate to the right to healthcare. We do not have the right to demand that someone provide a service to us for free and by free, I mean something that someone else, namely the government (via the taxpayers), is paying for.

That also does not bestow upon someone else the right to determine that my eating habits are bad, and to “nudge” me in the direction that they think I should go. Nanny Bloomberg’s attempts to ban sugary sodas, for example.

We have a right to an education, but that does not mean that the government should be involved. Education has been sliding downhill as the Federal government has inserted itself more and more into the middle of it.

The government does not have the right to determine that they are only going to feed your kids vegetarian meals.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who often crows about maintaining a fit lifestyle, said the launch of the vegetarian food-fest should be duplicated in schools across the city and country.

“I don’t eat fried foods. I don’t drink soda. I try not to have sweets too often,” said Walcott, who tested the veggie victuals. “And that’s what we want for our students … to make sure they eat healthy both at home and school.”

Good for you, sir! You eat the way you want to eat, but it is none of your business what the children eat at home.

This is called government creep and indoctrination. There is nothing wrong with eating meat. It’s called protein, a basic building block of life.

The Federal government is by offering incentives to diagnose our kids with ADD/ADHD.

So, if we have expanded background checks for the purchase of weapons, would being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD be considered a disqualifying “mental illness”?  The government has already determined that if you are returning from a war zone that they can trample on your rights because you may have PTSD.

See how this conveniently fits together?

Just because you can do something does not mean you have the right to do so.

We have the right to work, but I do not agree that we have the right to demand a certain amount of pay from an employer. Not happy with how much you are paid? Increase you skills or apply for higher paying jobs.

Democrats believe that the Constitution means whatever we want it to mean. It’s a “living document” that changes meanings with the generations. This goes far beyond even Alexander Hamilton’s theory of “implied powers”.

They seem to believe that most rights are granted by government, to be taken away whenever someone abuses their rights.

I think if you asked James Madison if the Constitution were a living document, he would say, “not at all.”

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Has the Constitution Failed, or Have We?

Posted on April 26, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, United States Constitution | Tags: , |

Constitution of the United States of America

Constitution of the United States of America (Photo credit: The U.S. National Archives)

I get upset, nay, I get pissed whenever someone comes along and proclaims that the Constitution has failed. Especially when they offer no evidence to support their claim.

Were the Founding Fathers infallible? No.

Is the Constitution perfect? No.

Does it need amended to address issues that have popped up over the years? Yes.

Those of use who believe that we need to go back to the original interpretation of the Constitution do not for one second believe that the Constitution is infallible. The Founders didn’t, either. That’s why they gave us the ability to amend it.

However, we do not believe that the Constitution is a “Living” Document. By declaring the Constitution a living document, politicians justify changing their “interpretations” of that document. It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

Alexander Hamilton is the one responsible for this trouble. He’s the one who started the whole “implied powers” business, and used it to justify a national bank to George Washington. Of course, Washington approved it, so he is partly to blame.

But the author of the piece is mostly complaining about having to pay taxes. Taxes are a necessary evil, No one likes to pay them, but the way they are being spent is ridiculous, especially when we have a government that refuses to acknowledge that they are misusing the public’s money.

The author says we are in denial about the “failure to achieve the ends proclaimed for it by the founding generation”.

Those aims would be, per the preamble:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Which of these the Constitution has failed to deliver escapes me, and the author never elaborates on it. This is the closest hint that he gives:

Americans tend to idolatrize the Constitution as sacred and infallible rather than recognizing it for the stumbling, trial-and-error experiment in self-government that it is, created by flawed human beings who acknowledged their frailties and never expected their experiment in constitutionalism to succeed.

I’ve seen this said by more than one person, that the Founders never expected this “experiment” to succeed. If they never expected it to succeed, then why bother? If it was doomed to failure, then it was a waste of everyone’s time. It’s easy enough to say that it failed, but what evidence is there in the historical record?

The only evidence that I have been able to find was this single quote from John Adams:

Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.

That quote doesn’t mean Adams thought the experiment would fail, but I think we are dangerously close to that phase.

The major changes that we have experienced have been within the last century. More amendments to the Constitution were proposed and ratified in the early 1900’s than at any other time: the adoption of taxing authority by the Federal government, prohibition, the selection of senators taken from the states and given to the people, and women’s suffrage.

Of these four amendments passed in a flurry of seven years, only one was a good idea, and I’m not talking about the tax amendment.

The author believes that the government is tyrannical purely because it has the ability to enforce taxation. There are those who believe that all taxation is okay because the reason for the Revolution was “taxation without representation”, and we have representation today. Yes, we have representation, but that does not mean the government has carte blanche to tax us into the poorhouse. The ability to enforce taxation came about because under the Articles of Confederation, the states were not paying the taxes required to pay off the war debts, especially those owed to the French. Tensions were escalating, and something needed to be done.

Taxation is a necessary evil. We need to pay for fire departments and police. We need to pay for roads and bridges. We do not, however, need to pay foreign countries bribes.

The Constitution has not failed. Instead, we have had 200+ years of politicians, lawyers and judges twisting and perverting the words of the Constitution, each adding their own interpretations to the pile instead of learning what the Founders intended. That would be too much work.

Has the Constitution failed? No.

Does it need some amendments? Certainly.

Still, as the politicians, lawyers and judges pervert the meaning of the Constitution, we have done little to stop it.

Would our Founding Fathers be surprised that the Constitution still stands? Without question.

Especially considering that it is we, the People who have failed, not just the Constitution, but the Founders ideals as well.

It takes effort to do what they did. It requires that we learn, that we make an effort to be informed, that we do that which is hard.

That’s why we’ve failed, because doing what we need to do to support our rights, our way of life might get in the way of the latest episode of the Kardashians.

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The Second Amendment, Part One Has Been Added!

Posted on April 24, 2013. Filed under: Founding Fathers, History, United States Constitution | Tags: , , , |

I finally finished the part one of my series of articles about the Second Amendment. In it I attempt to address how the amendment came into being and the links between the Second Amendment and slavery.

I hope you find it interesting and helpful. I will be posting part two as soon as I am able, covering the Congressional debates, and how Congress viewed the meaning of the Amendment.

The article is here:

The Bill Of Rights: The Second Amendment

Just follow the link on the page.

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The Most Dangerous Man in America

Posted on April 23, 2013. Filed under: Police State, Politics, Terrorism, United States Constitution | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Michael Bloomberg - Cartoon

Michael Bloomberg (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

It never fails that whenever an attack happens on our soil, those out there waiting in the wings to take more power for themselves, and rob us of our liberties start coming out of the woodwork.

Michael Bloomberg is one such person, and he is nothing less than a tyrant and a despot.

The man known for arbitrarily and capriciously banning sugary drinks in New York said yesterday that the people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry, but we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.

You have a legitimate worry about privacy, but tough shit. We’re going to eliminate it anyway.

We need more cameras to watch over us and protect our public safety.

Cameras didn’t stop the bombing. Cameras didn’t stop hijackers from flying airplanes into buildings.

Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11.

You mean like the choice to buy a Big Gulp or a Super Big Gulp?

Clearly the  Supreme Court has recognized that you have to have different interpretations of the Second Amendment and what it applies to and reasonable gun laws … Here we’re going to to have to live with reasonable levels of security.

But you don’t want to take away our freedoms.

Note how he smoothly slipped gun control in there. I wasn’t aware that the bombers killed and maimed people with guns. Oh yeah, they didn’t have permits for the guns they used to shoot at police. If only we had a law that would require them to obtain permits. Wait, Massachusetts does have such laws! And they weren’t followed? What a surprise!

It really says something bad about us that we have to do it. But our obligation first and foremost is to keep our kids safe in the schools; first and foremost, to keep you safe if you go to a sporting event; first and foremost is to keep you safe if you walk down the streets or go into our parks. We cannot let the terrorists put us in a situation where we can’t do those things. And the ways to do that is to provide what we think is an appropriate level of protection.

It’s really for your own good that we curtail your freedoms and rights, because there are those out there who want to take your freedoms and your rights from you.

What we can’t do is let the protection get in the way of us enjoying our freedoms. You still want to let people practice their religion, no matter what that religion is. And I think one of the great dangers here is going and categorizing anybody from one religion as a terrorist. That’s not true … That would let the terrorists win. That’s what they want us to do.

Says the man who has stepped up surveillance of the Muslim Community.

We cannot categorize anybody from one religion as a terrorist, yet over and over, these acts are perpetrated by people of ONE SINGLE RELIGION! I don’t see the Jews blowing themselves up. I don’t see Christians blowing themselves up. I don’t see Buddhists blowing themselves up (they are more into self immolation). I don’t see Hindus or Sikhs blowing themselves up.

ONLY FRICKIN’ MUSLIMS!

Bloomberg is a benevolent tyrant. He doesn’t want to do these things because he wants to, he has to do these things, because if we retain out Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment or Fifth Amendment rights, then the terrorists win!

He wants to take care of us because we can’t do it on our own.

There is very little in the Constitution that can be interpreted differently. The only thing open for interpretation is our rights.

As much as I loathe to use Alex Jones as a source, this video is chilling. This was during the house to house search for the terrorist suspect who had fled Friday. Because the police are looking for a suspect, they toss out everyone’s Fourth Amendment rights.

It is NEVER okay, under ANY circumstances to violate the rights of the citizens. These people didn’t do anything wrong, yet they are being treated like criminals.

Is that what it looked like when the Japanese Americans were rounded up and taken to internment camps?

Is that what it looked like when the Nazis rounded up the Jews?

When they come to confiscate your weapons, I expect it will look like this.

December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor. End result: Japanese Americans rounded up (while German Americans were left alone), and we were left with a much larger standing army.

September 11, 2001: World Trade Center/Pentagon. End result: Homeland Security and Patriot Act. More government watchdogs.

April 15, 2013. Boston Marathon bombing. End Result: ???

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The Right of the States to Regulate Firearms

Posted on April 15, 2013. Filed under: Politics, United States Constitution | Tags: , , |

Cover of "The Second Amendment"

Cover of The Second Amendment

Whenever you do a lot of research and a lot of writing, every once in awhile, you run across information that completely contradicts your beliefs.

I believe that the Constitution applies only to the Federal government, and not to the states as the Supreme Court has held that it does for the past 100 or so years.

The Constitution specifically prohibits the states from performing certain actions, but says in the Tenth Amendment that anything not any power not given the Federal government, or prohibited to the states, is reserved to the states.

Thus, the First Amendment, expressly stating that Congress shall make no law, is not applicable to the states. The implied notion is that the States could create a state religion if they so chose to.

As I’ve been researching the Second Amendment, I’ve learned that it was not written as a compromise with the south to ensure that they would ratify the Constitution (it was already ratified). New York and New Hampshire (along with Virginia) requested the amendment.

I’ve learned that it was not meant to cover just muskets, or weapons that they were familiar with. Breech loaders had been introduced at the time and were starting to change warfare. Also, Article I, section 8 implies that warships may be owned. And for you out there making the airplane argument, that’s just silly. The average person doesn’t have the resources to maintain an airplane.

I’ve also learned it does not apply simply to the militias. The militias were a concern at the time, because they were the primary defense of the state. State legislatures were concerned that Article I, section 8 would allow the Federal government to disarm the states by neglecting to arm the militias. In order to allay that concern, the Founders wrote what essentially said, “okay, since you are so concerned with us not funding or arming you militias, we will let you keep and bear your arms for training and defense”.

People were allowed by the Federal government to keep their arms for defense and for training purposes. I have found no evidence that they were meant for overthrowing the government. There are hints and suggestions, but no one came out directly and said it. That does not mean that it isn’t there, but I have yet to find one single debate from one of the Founders or Congress that debated this that mentions overthrowing the government.

Where does this clash with my beliefs?

It clashes because we complain that Connecticut, New York, California and Oregon are trying to pass laws restricting gun rights.

It clashes, because the Second Amendment is a prohibition on the Federal government, not the states.

Even though the Supreme Court has held for the past 100 or so years that the Constitution applies to the states, I believe that this is incorrect, and a usurpation of states’ rights by the Supreme Court.

The Constitution enumerates a list of powers prohibited to the states, but the Tenth Amendment states that any power not delegated to the Federal government, nor prohibited is reserved to the states (or the people).

Gun rights advocates cannot have it both ways. Either the Second Amendment does not apply to the states, or the states have no power.

I lean to the former. The Federal government cannot prohibit arms, but the states can, if they so choose. Then it would be an issue for the state supreme courts, not the Federal courts.

The Oregon Constitution states that the people have the right to bear arms for their defense and the defense of the state, but that the state militia is subordinate to the state. It is important to note that the state Constitution does not guarantee the right to keep arms.

The Connecticut constitution also guarantees the right to bear arms, but not the right to keep them:

Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state

In California, there is a petition going around that people are signing calling for the banning and confiscation of firearms.

California would be well within its legal rights to ban and confiscate any weapon. The California constitution holds no provision for guaranteeing the right to arms, at all.

The closest it comes is saying that individuals have the right to defend their property, and that the US Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land.

As much as we complain about the individual states, I believe that they do have the right to ban arms if they so choose.

That does not mean that I think it is a good idea, or that people should not fight to protect their rights. The Bill of Rights must be applied evenly and consistently. If it applies to the states, then the states’ constitutions are null and void.

We need to reverse that nationalistic tendency that we’ve fallen into the last hundred or so years. Let the states decide what’s best for them, not the Federal government. Let things be handled on the state level and make the Federal government do what it was originally intended. Let them deal with North Korea and China, while we worry about our schools and our rights.

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