What We Want – Part II

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

One of the most important things we want is to destroy the doctrine that the US Constitution is a ‘living document’. This doctrine was established by the early progressive movement in the US. Like Dracula, feeding on the life blood of a person, this doctrine sucks the strength of the constitutional limitations on government out of the constitution and is draining the life from the republic. And like dealing with any other vampire we must drive a stake through its’ heart and expose it to the light of day, destroying it.

The early progressives, like Teddy Roosevelt, wanted to do much more to change the country when they found themselves in power in our government but were constrained by constitutional limitations. Though they could argue for change and use the amendment process to change the constitution they felt they could not get the public to agree to the changes they wanted. At that time in our history we were better educated in the constitution and our civic duties than we are today. It would be very difficult for the progressives to overcome this and it was cumbersome and slow. They needed a way to circumvent the limitations on governmental power placed by the US Constitution, and in the ‘living constitution’ doctrine they found it.

For those unfamiliar with the concept it is described in Wikipedia as follows:

The Living Constitution is a concept in American constitutional interpretation which claims that the Constitution has a dynamic meaning. The idea is associated with views that contemporaneous society should be taken into account when interpreting key constitutional phrases.

While the arguments for the Living Constitution vary, they can generally be broken into two categories. First, the pragmatist view contends that interpreting the Constitution in accordance with long outdated views is often unacceptable as a policy matter, and thus that an evolving interpretation is necessary. The second, relating to intent, contends that the constitutional framers specifically wrote the Constitution in broad and flexible terms to create such a dynamic, “living” document. Opponents of the idea often argue that the Constitution should be changed through the amendment process, and that the theory can be used by judges to inject their personal values into constitutional interpretation.

I’m sure that most of you will agree that, as described in the last sentence of the above, the opponents of this doctrine are correct, based on the federal court decisions of the last 100 years.

Now academia has gone to great lengths to support this doctrine since it was first proposed in 1937 in the book ‘The Living Constitution’ by Professor Howard McBain.. Many noted Americans like Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Louis D. Brandeis, and Woodrow Wilson have supported the concept. Many authors have written scholarly tomes on the subject praising our founders in their brilliance at creating such a document. And at the same time, these same authors were telling progressive political leaders how to further undermine the republic.

Many of you may remember, as I do, our teachers telling us that the constitution was a living document, made to change with the times thus indoctrinating us into believing the government can do anything it wants.

In my not so humble opinion the answer to all of their arguments in favor of this doctrine, and the stake to be driven through it’s heart, is found in Article VI, paragraph 2 of the US Constitution which states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Contrary notwithstanding.

My argument is simply the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land and a law has to say what it means and mean what it says. This does not allow for ‘changing interpretations based on the times and societal needs’.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at the simple law that requires us to stop at a stop sign when we are driving. We all know that if we are caught by a police officer driving through instead of stopping we will be ticketed and fined, in other words, punished for breaking the law. If we do it enough times we will lose our license to drive because we broke the law. The law says what it means and means what it says.

Now, let us make our stop sign law a ‘living document’. What does that mean? Does it mean that on Monday you must stop but on Tuesday maybe you should stop but you really don’t have to? What about Wednesday? Can you zip on through if your name starts with an R but you have to stop if your name starts with a P? What about Thursday, Friday, next week, next year or the next century? How can you punish anyone if you do not know how ‘society’ will interpret the law from one moment to the next? Obviously, this law does not say what it means and mean what it says.

To further the argument, if the constitution is a ‘living document’ then any law made under it must be ‘living’ as well. This means the entire US code is a living document, and means something different from one moment to the next, and is unenforceable. If we follow this argument one could say that every person that was convicted in a federal court, and is in a federal prison would have to be released if we all work up one morning and decided that our ‘living’ constitution, and the code of law created under it, had changed meaning.

No society can exist under such a system. Therefore, the ‘living Constitution’ doctrine is a fallacious argument and with out merit. So let us finish driving this stake through it’s heart and drag it into the light of truth so it will turn into the dust it truly is and be blown away by the winds of change.

What We Want – Part I

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

Many of us in the TEA Party and 9/12 movements have clearly stated what we don’t want such as government controlled health care, cap and trade, bailouts etc. And some of us have expressed what we do want, a restoration of constitutional limited government, free markets, restrictions on the power of congress and limits on how long some one can serve in congress. I find from the discussion online we all are in general agreement on these but I wonder how many of us are in agreement on the details of the actual implementation of restoring constitutional limited government or the return to free markets.

For that reason I’ve chosen to keep the focus of my web-journal on how I view what the restoration of constitutional limited government, free markets, and restrictions on the power of congress and limits on how long some one can serve in congress actually means. These are my opinions and anyone is free to agree or disagree as they see fit. It is important to get this dialogue out in the open so we can come to a general agreement on what we want implemented and how we want it to work.

On restoration of constitutional limited government you’ll find I insist on an ‘original intent’ implementation. I know that many out there view original intent as ‘quaint’, ‘archaic’ or irrelevant. I strongly disagree with those views. In my opinion the only way to achieve restoration of constitutional limited government is to understand and follow the arguments made for, and against, the adoption of the constitution. If we do not have a firm understanding of how the creators of this magnificent document intended things to work we cannot achieve this goal.

For these discussions I will quote heavily from the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers. I find the concerns of the Anti-Federalists are becoming reality today. Therefore, the arguments of the Federalists on how the federal government was to work are the solutions to those concerns. I will quote James Madison, recognized as the father of our constitution, primarily as his writings best describe how the government was supposed to work. To a lesser extent I’ll use quotes from Alexander Hamilton and others where appropriate.

It is my intent and hope that what I write here stimulates a spirited debate among us and anyone else that chooses to join in the discussion.

What We Want – Part XI

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

It is hard to determine which clause of the US Constitution is the most abused. The masters of the federal behemoth seem to take the most obscure parts of this great document and twist them so much it is almost impossible to understand what the original purpose of them was. However, if one is looking for the most misinterpreted and abused clause of the constitution surely the interstate commerce clause would be in the top ten.

As we are no longer taught that the United States of America is a compact between free and independent nations which created an agent to represent them as a whole to the rest of the world, and an impartial ‘referee’ to settle disputes among them, we no longer view the constitution from the correct perspective. Because of this it has been easy for the activist (progressive/socialist/Marxist) judges to manipulate the meaning of the interstate commerce clause into a license for the federal government to do things within the states that it has no real authority to do.

The interstate commerce clause is Article I, section 8, clause 3 of the constitution and reads as follows:

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes

It is the clause in the constitution that gives congress the power to make laws, lay tariffs and import quotas for the imports from other nations. The last two segments of it, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes, exist so congress can keep the trade between the states fair and unbiased and to regulate what people within the states are allowed to trade with the Indian tribes.

We scarcely think about it today but before the constitution each state had laws that laid tariffs on goods manufactured in a different state that were ‘imported’ into it. They also levied taxes and established quotas on goods coming into them from the other states to give locally manufactured goods an advantage over the ‘imported’ goods with the buying public. Add in other regulations not germane to our discussion and it made it very difficult for goods made in Massachusetts to be sold in Connecticut.

The ratification of the US Constitution changed all of this. Under it selling the goods made in one state in all the others became a simple process that allowed the economy of all the states to thrive and the entire union prospered resulting in the economic superiority these United States enjoyed until the 1980s.

It should be noted here that all governments seek to control all levels of the lives of the people that live under them. It is the natural tendency for this to happen not for evil intent, but for the good of all. The argument is simply ‘we’ll be able to protect you from ‘X’ if you give up a little of your freedom so the government can do ‘Y’’. The state and federal governments of these United States are no exception to this rule. A good example is the provision in the Patriot Act that allows the NSA to monitor all private international phone calls. ‘Just give up a little of your right to privacy and we’ll be able to catch the terrorists before they can hurt you’.

The problems with this are:

1)    When you give up some of your rights to solve a problem, once the problem is solved the government does not give back what you gave up

2)    Once agents of the government have this power they will abuse it to protect you from yourself

3)    If you keep giving up a little of your rights when ever there is a problem to solve eventually you have no rights left

So whenever the politicians in the state or federal government say ‘give up this little piece of your rights and we’ll be able to save you from ‘X’’ remember what Ben Franklin said:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.1

But I digress.

Today, thanks to activist judges and a congress that only respects the parts of the constitution which they can misuse to enhance their own power, the interstate commerce clause has been ‘mutated’ into a virus that affects the day-to-day activities of all of us. Sadly, we have become so used to this we don’t even question the constitutionality of the decisions made by these judges or the ‘laws’ passed by the congress. The absurdity of this boggles the mind.

For example, in 1941 Mr. Roscoe C. Filburn, a farmer in Ohio, exceeded his ‘quota’ the federal government set on him for his winter wheat crop. Mr. Filburn used the wheat to feed is farm animals, to make bread and other consumables used by his family and to sell locally. The Department of Agriculture levied a fine on Mr. Filburn of $117.00 because he had exceeded his quota of wheat. Mr. Filburn refused to pay the fine so the Department of Agriculture put a lien on his farm. In reaction to the governments’ actions Mr. Filburn filed a lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Claude R. Wickard in federal district court. Mr. Filburn won his case in the district court, so the federal government appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

In its’ ruling the Supreme Court stated:

The maintenance by government regulation of a price for wheat undoubtedly can be accomplished as effectively by sustaining or increasing the demand as by limiting the supply . . . That [Filburn’s] own contribution to the demand for wheat may be trivial [very small] by itself is not enough to remove him from the scope of federal regulation where, as here, taken together with that of many others similarly situated, is far from trivial . . . Home-grown wheat in this sense competes with wheat in commerce . . . Congress may properly have considered that wheat consumed on the farm where grown if wholly outside the scheme of regulation would have a substantial effect in defeating and obstructing [the act’s] purpose to stimulate trade . . . at increased prices.2

The court further stated:

Whether the subject of the regulation in question was ‘production,’ ‘consumption,’ or ‘marketing’ is . . . not material for purposes of deciding the question of federal power . . . But even if [Filburn’s] activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.3

The Supreme Court overturned the lower courts ruling and ruled in favor of the government. In essence, the court ruled that the federal government can dictate how much of anything a person can grow on their own property for their personal use and, if carried to the logical conclusion, keep a person from growing anything for personal use on their own land.

The most recent ruling on this matter is as distressing as Wickard v. Filburn. Though it concerns the growing of marijuana for personal use the logic of how the court got to its’ decision is important to the discussion.

When California passed its’ medical marijuana law in 1996 Diane Monson began growing marijuana to alleviate a medical condition she had. She was following her doctors recommendation and as far as can be determined abiding by the laws of the state of California. The DEA raided Ms. Monsons’ property and seized her marijuana. In October of 2002 she filed suit against then Attorney General John Ashcroft and former DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson in federal district court. Though the plaintiffs lost in the district court they appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals which decided in their favor, 2-1 on December 16th, 2003. The federal government appealed to the US Supreme Court which ruled on June 6th, 2005 that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution the Congress may ban the use of marijuana even where states approve its’ use for medicinal purposes. What makes this particularly disturbing is the following ‘analysis’ by the court:

Even respondents acknowledge the existence of an illicit market in marijuana; indeed, Raich has personally participated in that market, and Monson expresses a willingness to do so in the future. More concretely, one concern prompting inclusion of wheat grown for home consumption in the 1938 Act was that rising market prices could draw such wheat into the interstate market, resulting in lower market prices. Wickard, 317 U.S., at 128. The parallel concern making it appropriate to include marijuana grown for home consumption in the CSA is the likelihood that the high demand in the interstate market will draw such marijuana into that market. While the diversion of homegrown wheat tended to frustrate the federal interest in stabilizing prices by regulating the volume of commercial transactions in the interstate market, the diversion of homegrown marijuana tends to frustrate the federal interest in eliminating commercial transactions in the interstate market in their entirety. In both cases, the regulation is squarely within Congress’ commerce power because production of the commodity meant for home consumption, be it wheat or marijuana, has a substantial effect on supply and demand in the national market for that commodity4

If you follow this line of reasoning to it’s logical conclusion the congress can pass a law, which the executive branch will enforce, that prevents you from knitting sweaters for your family because you might give one to a neighbor which interferes with interstate commerce. Or, the congress can make it illegal for you to do your own tune-ups on your car because you might help a neighbor tune-up his car which would have a negative impact on interstate commerce.

If this sounds to absurd to you remember it was under the interstate commerce clause that congress passed the ban on possession of a firearm within a ‘school zone’ denying those that live near a school their second amendment rights. The argument used for this law was that a child being intimidated by someone possessing a firearm, or injured, or killed by that someone, has a negative impact on interstate commerce which makes it legitimate for congress to pass, and the executive branch to enforce, such a law.

One may legitimately ask ‘do these Supreme Court decisions adhere to the principles espoused by the founders’? In Federalist number 45 James Madison said:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined.5

It appears that the Supreme Court, by way of its’ arguments, is in opposition to the father of the constitution. This is a situation that can only come from a progressive view of the constitution.

Alexander Hamilton also addressed the idea of federal encroachment on the internal authority of the states in Federalist number 17:

The administration of private justice between the citizens of the same State, the supervision of agriculture and of other concerns of a similar nature, all those things in short which are proper to be provided for by local legislation, can never be desirable cares of a general jurisdiction. It is therefore improbable that there should exist a disposition in the Foederal councils to usurp the powers with which they are connected; because the attempt to exercise those powers would be as troublesome as it would be nugatory; and the possession of them, for that reason, would contribute nothing to the dignity, to the importance, or to the splendour of the national government.6

It is clear from Hamiltons’ above statement that the idea the federal government would extend its’ reach to this level of control of the people is completely foreign to the intent of those that wrote the constitution. Hamilton also wrote of a self correcting condition built into the federal system. In the same essay Hamilton wrote:

But let it be admitted for argument sake, that mere wantonness and lust of domination would be sufficient to beget that disposition, still it may be safely affirmed, that the sense of the constituent body of the national representatives, or in other words of the people of the several States would controul the indulgence of so extravagant an appetite. It will always be far more easy for the State governments to encroach upon the national authorities, than for the national government to encroach upon the State authorities. The proof of this proposition turns upon the greater degree of influence, which the State governments, if they administer their affairs with uprightness and prudence, will generally possess over the people; a circumstance which at the same time teaches us, that there is an inherent and intrinsic weakness in all Foederal Constitutions; and that too much pains cannot be taken in their organization, to give them all the force which is compatible with the principles of liberty.7

From this it is clear that the founders intent was that if the federal government should usurp this much power that the sates, supported by the people, would redress the imbalance and restore the power stolen by the federal government to where it belongs, in the hands of the states and the people.

Thomas Jefferson said in a statement on this topic:

To make a thing which may be bought and sold is not to prescribe regulations for buying and selling. Besides, if this were an exercise of the power of regulating commerce, it would be void, as extending as much to the internal commerce of every state, as to its external.

So it is clear that the federal government, in particular the congress, was never to be able to attain this level of control. The US Supreme Court has granted to the Congress power they have no authority to give. This means they have stolen that power from the states and the people.

It is almost impossible to say how much better off you would be if this had not happened. The myriad horde of federal regulation that imposes themselves on our lives would certainly be less if we the people stood up to the federal beast and empowered our state governments to stand with us so we could rein in this abuse.

What do we want? We want the US Supreme Court to correct these misinterpretations of the power entrusted to it and to the congress, and we want the congress to cease legislating in areas it has no authority to legislate in. It is long past time for the federal government to behave itself.

1 Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 175, US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 – 1790)

2&3  Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942)

4 Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ahscroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1 (2005)

5 James Madison, Federalist, no. 45, 308—14

6 & 7 Alexander Hamilton, Federalist, no. 17, 105—8

8 Quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson source unknown.

What We Want – Part X

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

Most Americans are completely unaware of this nation’s Civil Asset Forfeiture laws, and those that are aware of these laws usually became aware of them after the government has seized an item of property belonging to them for a crime that was never committed. In Civil Asset Forfeiture actions, the owner of the property is not charged with a crime, but the property is seized for either “hosting” an illegal activity or being the proceeds of an illegal activity, mostly for drug related activities. Once seized it is up to the property owner to prove the alleged activity did not happen and therefore the property should be returned to the owner (or, in the event the activity did take place, that the owner had no knowledge of the alleged activity and therefore is an innocent bystander). These laws are such a violation of our rights under the US Constitution that it has to be said again, THE PROPERTY OWNER MUST PROVE THAT THE PROPERTY WAS NOT THE SCENE OF AN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY OR THAT THE PROPERTY IS NOT THE PROCEEDS OF AN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY; the government is not required to prove anything.

The majority of these seizures go uncontested because of the value of the asset seized. As stated on the webpage of Forfeiture Endangers American Rights, “The average vehicle siezed is worth about $4,000,” states FEAR president Brenda Grantland, Esq. “To defend a case, especially when you’re out of state, they’ve pretty much made it cost prohibitive.

Under these laws the mere possession of cash can be considered evidence of criminal activity though no crime has been committed and the person holding the cash is not in possession of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. All this is being done in the name of the “War on Drugs,” with complete disregard of the victim’s constitutional protections. In some cases, people have been killed or imprisoned though they never violated any law. Some of those killed were shot by law enforcement officers serving a seizure warrant, but they had gone to the wrong address.

This activity is clearly in violation of the IVth Amendment to the US Constitution which states,

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

the Vth Amendment to the US Constitution which states,

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

though the federal courts have ruled this process meets the due process clause, and section 1 of the XIVth Amendment to the US Constitution which states,

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Jennifer Abel wrote in an October, 2007, article published by the Hartford Advocate. “Even if you’re a law-abiding citizen who’s never been convicted of a crime, local police are allowed to confiscate your property and money and keep up to 80 percent of it for themselves, with the legal stipulation that this windfall be spent only on programs likely to result in additional confiscations where the police can keep up to 80 percent of the booty for themselves,

These laws have changed our local police departments from agencies charged with enforcing our laws to highway robbers and invaders of peoples homes for the sole purpose of looting their victims and enriching the department.

The most egregious of these laws is the federal law which allowed the US Department of Justice to set up its “adoption’ program.” Under this program a local law enforcement officer can claim to be acting as a “federal deputy” at the time the officer seizes property. As most of the states have greater restrictions on asset forfeiture and returns smaller amounts of money to the police agency that made the seizure, claiming to make the seizure under the DoJ’s “Adoption Program” allows the local police agency to keep 80% of the money made by the auction of the seized property, circumventing the states’ laws, while the US Federal government keeps the remaining 20%, a win-win for everyone except the US citizen who has been robbed by this process.

In their twelve month study “Drug Enforcement’s Double-Edged Sword: An Assessment of Asset Forfeiture Programs”1 sociologists Mitchell Miller (University of Tennessee) and Lance H. Selva (Middle Tennessee State University) described forfeiture as a “dysfunctional policy” that forces law enforcement agencies to subordinate justice to profit. The researchers “covertly” observed form within drug enforcement agencies. The researchers observed the agencies they studied routinely abandon investigations of suspects they knew were dealing in large amounts of contraband because the case was not “profitable.” The researchers also observed the agencies target low level dealers rather than the large traffickers because they did not “protect” their assets as well as the “big” traffickers. The report states, “Efficiency is measured by the amount of money seized rather than impact on drug trafficking.

In one case when the researchers asked why the police had not served a warrant on a drug dealer known to have large quantities of contraband for sale an officer replied, “Because that would just give us a bunch of dope and the hassle of having to book him (the suspect). We’ve got all the dope we need in the property room, just stick to rounding up cases with big money and stay away from warrants.”

In another case the researcher was told to “observe the suspects” daily transactions so the police could wait until the cocaine the drug dealer was selling had been “converted” to cash so making the arrest would be “profitable.”

The information in the report leads to the inevitable conclusion that the anti-narcotics efforts of the agencies observed were not to stop the inflow of illegal drugs, but to maximize the profit made by the law enforcement agencies under study.

In an article written by John Worral titled Addicted to the drug war: The role of civil asset forfeiture as a budgetary necessity in contemporary law enforcement” he stated, “A conflict of interest between effective crime control and creative fiscal management will persist so long as law enforcement agencies remain dependent on civil asset forfeiture.”2

In the early 1990’s the US Forestry Department became interested in acquiring the “Trails End Ranch,” which abutted the Angeles National Forest in Malibu, California from its owner, Donald Scott, a local millionaire. Mr. Scott did not wish to sell the property and the matter would have ended there except for two enterprising LA County sheriff’s deputies. After conducting some “over flights” of the property, the deputies falsely reported that Mr. Scott was growing marijuana on his property for sale.

In the early morning of October 2, 1992, LA County Sheriff’s deputies and agents from five federal agencies entered Mr. Scott’s home to serve an asset seizure warrant that was based on the false report of the sheriff’s deputies. The Scotts were awakened by the police smashing in their door. Mrs. Scott ran down stairs to be faced with several heavily armed men, dressed like ninjas, entering her home. When her husband heard her scream, “Don’t shoot me,” Mr. Scott, who was recovering from recent cataract surgery, exited their bedroom carrying a gun and came to the top of the stairs of their home. The police ordered him to lower his weapon and as he did so they shot him, killing him.

Mrs. Scott fought to recover their property and for justice over the killing of her husband. Because the government seized all of their property and money, she lived on the tennis court of the property, refusing to leave but unable to stay in her own home because the government locked her out.

In a report by the Ventura County District Attorney, Michael Bradbury, stated that the police lied to get the warrant, that no illegal activity had taken place on the property, and the incident was motivated by the desire to forfeit the multi-million dollar property. Despite this, no law enforcement officer was disciplined for this action in any way.

A number of articles on the topic have also appeared in many newspapers and magazines over the years, and yet the public remains mostly ignorant of these laws. In an article titled “Guilty Until Proven Innocent” by Randy Fitzgerald3, five instances of abuse were cited where the government was proven to be “wrong” in seizing the property, but the property owner had to go through great expense to recover their property, sometimes having to sell the recovered property to pay their legal expenses.

For instance, in December 1995 Cheryl Sanders was driving on US Interstate 10 when she was stopped for speeding. Instead of getting a ticket, the police arrested her and took her to the Sulphur, LA jail. There she had to submit to a strip search. After searching her and her car she, was released but the police seized her car stating it had a secret compartment for transporting drugs. She hired an attorney and after seven months, a judge ruled the police had to return the car; however, by then she had to sell the car to pay her attorney fees.

Is any of the above the way you want your local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to work? Do you want the police basing their law enforcement decisions on how profitable they may be? Do you want them ignoring criminal activity because it is hard to get a good payoff for the effort? Do you want them to get away with falsifying reports so they can get warrants to take your property when no crime has been committed? And when they kill an innocent person, should they get away with it?

How did the founders of this nation view the right to property and the government’s responsibility in that regard? In the Federalist # 10 James Madison said,

The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

In the same document he further stated,

The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice.

And, in the same document, when speaking of the advantages of a republic over a democracy he stated,

Such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

John Adams stated it this way in the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights,

“All men are born free and independent, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.”4

Thomas Jefferson said,

I believe .. . that a right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings; that no one has a right to obstruct another exercising his faculties innocently for the relief of sensibilities made a part of his nature . . .” 5

From the above it is clear that what the federal, state and local governments have implemented in these civil asset forfeiture laws are antitheses to what the founders of this nation intended. The governments of these United States are stealing the property of law abiding citizens, in violation of all constitutional principles, based on hearsay and falsified evidence without having to prove in a court of law the alleged crimes the government says give them the right to seize the property. These laws turn upside down the whole concept of innocent until proven guilty.

For those that have never been affected by these laws the repeal of them would not be noticed except, perhaps, for a slightly increased sense of security. For those that have been the victims of these heinous statutes, the repeal of them would provide some small measure of vindication that their loss was not in vain, and that their travail was instrumental in restoring some of our lost liberty.

So what do we want? We want the government of these United States, and their associated law enforcement agencies, to cease using these odious statutes as an excuse to steal from us and the national and state legislatures to immediately repeal the offending “laws.”

1 Sociologists Mitchell Miller (University of Tennessee) and Lance H. Selva (Middle Tennessee State University) Drug Enforcement’s Double-Edged Sword: An Assessment of Asset Forfeiture Programs
2 John L. Worrall, Department of Criminal Justice, California State University, San Bernardino, Addicted to the drug war: The role of civil asset forfeiture as a budgetary necessity in contemporary law enforcement, Journal of Criminal Justice Volume 29, Issue 3, May-June 2001, Pages 171-187
3 Randy Fitzgerald Guilty Until Proven Innocent Readers Digest March 2000
4 G A Peek, Jr, (ed) ‘The Political Writings of John Adams ‘(New York, 1954) p 96
5 E Dumbauld (ed) ‘The Political writings of Thomas Jefferson’ op cit p 49

What We Want – Part VII

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

As the TEA Parties have called for the federal government to return to fiscal responsibility there is one aspect of this that has received little attention, funding for the IMF and World Bank. Of course it is implied that this area of the federal budget must be reformed along with all other aspects of federal spending, but most of the public is unaware of what is really happening in this slice of the US budget. And, as seems to be the case wherever we scrutinize our governments’ largesse, it is far worse than anyone realizes.

While the TEA Parties, the 9/12ers and the rest of us highlight our opposition to TARP and the bank bailouts most are completely unaware that the American taxpayer has been on the hook for the bad loans made by international bankers and financiers. Nor do they know that they have been bailing out these bankers since the inception of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which were created shortly after World War II.

Few know that these banks, like the US Federal Reserve bank, the Bank of England etc., are owned by private investors, and have made these investors rich beyond imagination. Nor do most of us know that these investors have their investments protected by the wealthy nations of the world, led by the United States, which have pledged to make good on any loans that go into default. Because of this pledge the US taxpayer has paid these bankers and their investors hundreds of billions of dollars to keep the pledge made by the politicians that were in office at the time the pledge was made.

The most recent episode of this scam was in the form of legislation that was before the US Congress, HR 1302, called the ‘Global Poverty Act of 2007’, an 845 billion dollar looting of the federal treasury and another millstone on the necks of working Americans. Conceived to support the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, it was nothing more than a bailout of bankers that made bad loans to third world dictators and the text of the bill states this clearly.

The bill, introduced in the US House of Representatives on March 1, 2007, and, according to govtrack.us, was passed by voice vote on September 26, 2007. No record of the positions of the representatives was kept. The bill was cosponsored by 84 members of the House of Representatives, including 5 republicans. It was supported by President George W. Bush as a part of his commitment to the G-8 nations in response to the UNs Millennium Development Goals.

HR 1302, Sec 2 Findings, paragraph (8) states:

At the summit of the Group of Eight (G-8) nations in July 2005, leaders from all eight countries committed to increase aid to Africa from the current $25 billion annually to $50 billion by 2010, and to cancel 100 percent of the debt obligations owed to the World Bank, African Development Bank, and International Monetary Fund by 18 of the world’s poorest nations.

The good news is that this bill was not passed by the US Senate so it has not become law, yet. As govtrack.us points out ‘Members often reintroduce bills that did not come up for debate under a new number in the next session’. So will this bill be reintroduced in the congress? Perhaps a look at the sponsor and cosponsors of the senate version of the bill and a little history may shed some light on this.

The senate version of the bill, S 2433, was sponsored by Barack Obama. The cosponsors were:

Joseph Biden [D-DE]

Jeff Bingaman [D-NM]

Barbara Boxer [D-CA]

Sherrod Brown [D-OH]

Maria Cantwell [D-WA]

Benjamin Cardin [D-MD]

Robert Casey [D-PA]

Hillary Clinton [D-NY]

Susan Collins [R-ME]

Christopher Dodd [D-CT]

Richard Durbin [D-IL]

Russell Feingold [D-WI]

Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]

Charles Hagel [R-NE]

Thomas Harkin [D-IA]

Tim Johnson [D-SD]

John Kerry [D-MA]

Based on this list of elite’s it’s a good bet this beast will be resurrected.

At this point it should be noted that the Congressional Research Office has released a report titled “The Global Financial Crisis: Increasing IMFResources and the Role of Congress” which states in its summary page and again in the table on page 11 that President Obama has committed the United States to allow the IMF to ‘borrow’ 100 billion dollars. As loans to the IMF are never paid back we should consider this a ‘grant’ of 100 billion dollars. That is in addition to our annual commitment to the IMF, originally 8.8 billion dollars.

The following examples of how the IMF and World Bank, as well as reckless US banks, are supported by the US taxpayer are extracted from “The Creature from Jekyll Island” by G. Edward Griffin.

Brazil

Brazil became a major player in 1982 when it announced that it too was unable to make payments on its debt. In response, the U. S. Treasury made a direct loan of $1.23 billion to keep those checks going to the banks while negotiations were under way for a more permanent solution through the IMF. Twenty days later, it gave another $1.5 billion; the bank of International Settlements advanced $1.2 billion. The following month, the IMF provided $5.5 billion; Western banks extended $10 billion in trade credits; old loans were rescheduled; and $4.4 billion in new loans were made by a Morgan Bank syndication. The “temporary” loans from the U.S. Treasury were extended with no repayment date established. Ron Chernow comments:

“The plan set a fateful precedent of ‘curing’ the debt crisis by heaping on more debt. In this charade, bankers would lend more to Brazil with one hand, then take it back with the other. This preserved the fictitious book value of loans on bank balance sheets. Approaching the rescue as a grand syndication, the bankers piled on high interest rates and rescheduling fees.”1

By 1983, The Third World governments owed $300 billion to banks and $400 billion to the industrialized governments. Twenty-five nations were already behind in their payments. Brazil was in default a second time and asked for rescheduling, as did Rumania, Cuba, and Zambia. The IMF stepped in and made additional billions of dollars available to the delinquent countries. The Department of Agriculture, through the Commodity Credit Corporation, paid $431 million to American banks to cover payments on loans from Brazil, Morocco, Peru, and Rumania. At the conclusion of these arrangements, the April 20, 1983, Wall Street Journal editorialized that “the international debt crisis … is, for all practical purposes, over.”

Not quite. By 1987, Brazil was again in default on its monstrous $121 billion debt, this time for one and a-half years. In spite of the torrent of money that had passed through its hands, it was now so broke, it couldn’t even buy gasoline for its police cars. In 1989, as a new round of bailout was being organized, President Bush (CFR) announced that the only real solution to the Third-World debt problem was debt forgiveness.

Argentina

By 1982, Argentina was unable to make a $2.3 billion payment that was due in July and August. The banks extended their loans while the IMF prepared a new infusion in the amount of $2.15 billion. This restored the interest payments and gave the Argentinean politicians a little extra spending money. Seven months later, Argentina announced it could not make any more payments until the fall of 1983. The banks immediately began negotiations for rollovers, guarantees, and new IMF loans.

Argentina then signed an agreement with 350 creditor banks to stretch out payments on nearly a fourth of its $13.4 billion debt, and the banks agreed to lend an extra $4.2 billion to cover interest payments and political incentives. The IMF gave $1.7 billion. The United States government gave an additional $500 million directly. Argentina then paid $850 million in overdue interest charges to the banks.

By 1988, Argentina had again stopped payment on its loans and was falling hopelessly behind as bankers and politicians went into a huddle to call the next bailout plat. Somehow, the payments had to be passed on one more time to the taxpayers-which they were in the form of new loans, rollovers, and guarantees. As summarized by Larry A. Sjaastad at the University of Chicago:

“There isn’t a US bank that would not sell its entire Latin American portfolio for 40 cents on the dollar were it not for the possibility that skillful political lobbying might turn up a sucker willing to pay 50 or 60 or even 90 cents on the dollar. And that sucker is the US Taxpayer.”2

An unbiased assessment of this reveals it to be just another scam to transfer wealth from the American people to others, in this case the tinhorn dictators and crooked politicians of other countries. To get a better understanding of how the scam works and the mechanism put in place to make it possible read ‘The Creature from Jekyll Island’, it will be a revelation.

While most people understand the absurdity of trying to solve any nation’s debt problem with more loans with more fees and higher interest rates, for the international bankers and financiers it couldn’t be sweeter. Make a loan, extort interest rates out of the borrower you know are going to send them into default, and when it happens the US Taxpayer pays you back the loan principle and some of the interest the borrower can no longer pay.

Can you envision how low your tax bill would be and how much better off your family would be if we just stopped allowing this to happen. Couldn’t you put this money to better use by putting it in your children’s college fund, taking the vacation you’ve had to put off because it is too expensive, or the home improvements you’ve been trying to save for?

With the federal government now generating trillion dollar deficits would it not be prudent to stop these policies and apply the savings against our debt?

Of course the politicians will say that these institutions are too big to fail.

So what, they’re the ones that made the bad loans, not us.

So what do we want? We want an immediate end to this looting of the federal treasury.

1 Chernow, p. 644

2 “Another Plan to Mop Up the Mess,” Insight, April 10, 1989, p. 31

What We Want – Part VI

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

I want the XVIIth Amendment to the US Constitution repealed. This is the amendment that makes the ‘popular’ election of US Senators possible.

But wait a minute; shouldn’t the people be able to elect their senators? Isn’t it the right of the people to elect their legislators? Don’t we live in a democracy? Why, this would be undemocratic!

Yes, it would be undemocratic. But the United States of America isn’t supposed to be a democracy. It’s supposed to be a constitutional republic that uses a democratic process to select its’ leadership.

Some of you might say ‘If we can’t elect or senators wouldn’t that violate what you just said the United States does to select its’ leaders?’ No, it wouldn’t.

Our grandfathers and grandmothers would have understood this but, because of the stranglehold the progressives have on our public education system, we don’t. We’ve never been taught the truth about the founding of this nation and the convention that brought into existence the magnificent document that is the supreme law of this land. And few are alive today that remember when US Senators were ‘appointed’ by the state legislatures. And few of us know why we have a House of Representatives and a Senate when most of the other ‘democracies’ in the world only have a single legislative body

Always keep in mind the United States of America is the great experiment in Liberty. Also remember that each ‘state’ in this union is an independent nation state, with its’ own government, that has chosen to band together with other like minded nation states to create an ‘agent’ to represent them with the other nations of the world and to arbitrate disputes that may arise among them. If you do this you will see our federal government in its’ proper perspective and gain a better understanding of how our federalist system is supposed to work.

One of the most difficult issues to work out at the Constitutional Convention was the issue of representation. The large states like New York and Virginia (remember that at this time West Virginia was still a part of Virginia) wanted representation based on population. This would give the large states an advantage in the new federal legislature. The smaller states, like Rhode Island and Connecticut, wanted each state to have an equal number of representatives, thus gaining an advantage over the larger states. Neither side would give ground on this.

Out of this dispute came one of the many compromises that made the constitution possible, the bicameral legislature. A bicameral legislature is:

a governmental body with two houses or chambers, such as the US Congress or British Parliament.

Once the convention got to this point it was pretty easy to determine how the House of Representatives would be selected, one representative per ‘X’ number of people (a topic for another discussion). Each state would have a number of congressional districts equal to the population of the state divided by ‘X’ and the people living in those districts would vote for the representative from that district.

But how would senators be elected?

Shouldn’t the people elect their senators too? Well, the will of the people (supposedly) was already represented in the House of Representatives, does it make sense for the people to also DIRECTLY (again, supposedly) express their will in the senate?

Also, our founders were among the best educated men of their time in the world. They had studied the ancient democracies of Greece and Rome in depth (a classical education that the progressives and liberals scorn) and had learned that the people are fallible. They often make decisions based on the emotion of the moment and not based on reason. They choose actions that seem to give ‘immediate gratification’ and not on what is best for the nation in the long run. They also learned that the will of the majority of the people can be an oppressive and wicked tyrant to the minority of the people as any king or emperor. And it was these passions that were as responsible for the destruction of these classical civilizations as any of the other factors that were involved.

So how do we elect senators, and, more importantly, how do we imbue the Senate with a reason to be a check on the passions of the people as expressed by the House of Representatives?

The solution was that the senators would be appointed (in other words elected) by the state legislatures and they were to represent the state governments in the legislature, not the people. So the founders wrote in Article I, Section 3:

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.

Many people will argue that the people of a state elect the state legislature so why have them elect the senators instead of the people doing it directly. My easiest answer to that is the Medicaid program. If the office of US Senator was tied to the state legislators being happy with the job you’re doing do you really think the US Senate would have passed a program run by the federal government that required the states to DIRECTLY pay up to 50% of its’ cost? Does anyone out there believe that any senator that voted for the federal government to place an ‘unfunded mandate’ upon the state governments, causing those state legislators to have to increase taxes in their state, thus jeopardizing their chances of staying in office, would be kept in office by his/her state legislature? Does anyone believe there would be any unfunded federal mandates upon the states if US Senators were appointed by the state legislatures instead of being elected by popular vote?

What the XVIIth Amendment to the US Constitution has done is removed all representation of the state governments in Washington thus destroying one of the most important checks and balances of the federalist system designed by the founders of this country. It has done exactly what it was designed to do and is a key ‘nail’ in the coffin of the US Constitution.

So what do the founders say on the subject. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist 59:

So far as that construction may expose the Union to the possibility of injury from the State legislatures, it is an evil; but it is an evil which could not have been avoided without excluding the States, in their political capacities, wholly from a place in the organization of the national government. If this had been done, it would doubtless have been interpreted into an entire dereliction of the federal principle; and would certainly have deprived the State governments of that absolute safeguard which they will enjoy under this provision.

James Madison said in Federalist 62:

If indeed it be right, that among a people thoroughly incorporated into one nation, every district ought to have a proportional share in the government, and that among independent and sovereign States, bound together by a simple league, the parties, however unequal in size, ought to have an equal share in the common councils, it does not appear to be without some reason that in a compound republic, partaking both of the national and federal character, the government ought to be founded on a mixture of the principles of proportional and equal representation.

In the same document he also said:

In this spirit it may be remarked, that the equal vote allowed to each State is at once a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States, and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty. So far the equality ought to be no less acceptable to the large than to the small States; since they are not less solicitous to guard, by every possible expedient, against an improper consolidation of the States into one simple republic.

He further stated in Federalist 62:

Another advantage accruing from this ingredient in the constitution of the Senate is, the additional impediment it must prove against improper acts of legislation. No law or resolution can now be passed without the concurrence, first, of a majority of the people, and then, of a majority of the States.

And:

It is a misfortune incident to republican government, though in a less degree than to other governments, that those who administer it may forget their obligations to their constituents, and prove unfaithful to their important trust. In this point of view, a senate, as a second branch of the legislative assembly, distinct from, and dividing the power with, a first, must be in all cases a salutary check on the government.

And though Federalist 62 contains a lot more this will be my final quote from that document:

The necessity of a senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions. Examples on this subject might be cited without number; and from proceedings within the United States, as well as from the history of other nations.

So, if we are truly asking for the restoration of constitutional rule in these United State then repeal of the XVIIth amendment must happen.

What We Want – Part V

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

In my opinion, to restore constitutional rule in these United States, the repeal of the XVIth and XVIIth Amendments is of paramount importance. I’m sure all of you are familiar with the XVIth Amendment, the infamous income tax amendment. Many of you are probably not familiar with the XVIIth Amendment which changed how US Senators were ‘elected’, a change that took the power of the state governments away and replaced it with ‘two houses of the people’ in congress, effectively eliminating one of the most important checks and balances in the US Constitution. Both these amendments, along with the XVIIIth Amendment, prohibition, were ‘gifts’ to us from the early progressives. One might say ‘gifts that keep on giving’.

For the record, repealing the XVIth Amendment does not prevent the federal government from implementing an ‘income’ tax. The federal government has always had the authority to do so and has done so from time to time in our nation’s history. Abraham Lincoln had congress implement an income tax to pay the debt incurred by the Civil War, well before the XVIth Amendment was ratified. Once the war debt was paid the tax was repealed. The same pattern was followed for WWI even though the XVIth Amendment was in effect. It was at the end of WWII that this pattern was ‘broken’ and the tax was not repealed.

Before continuing I’d like to point out that many people (myself among them) believe that income in the sense of the income tax is money earned from investments (stocks, bonds, real-estate etc.) not wages. Research I did some time ago showed that all the Supreme Court cases on the XVIth Amendment were related to investment earnings not wages. And after the XVIth was ratified people paid income tax on their investments, but not on their wages. As far as I can tell (and if anyone out there has research to the contrary please let me know) the only time wages were taxed was in time of war, until the end WWII. As a matter of fact I recently saw a ‘Donald Duck’ cartoon that was shown in all the movie theatres in the US during WWII asking people to ‘voluntarily’ start paying taxes on their wages. But I digress.

The real evil in the XVIth Amendment is in the words ‘without apportionment among the several states’. What does that mean? Blacks Law Dictionary defines apportion ‘to divide and distribute proportionally’ and, in regard to taxes states ‘the apportionment of a tax consists in a selection of the subjects to be taxed, and in laying down the rule by which to measure the contribution which each of these subjects shall make to the tax’, and Wiktionary defines:

to apportion (third-person singular simple present apportions, present participle apportioning, simple past and past participle apportioned)

  1. (transitive) To divide and distribute portions of a whole.

The controlling party had apportioned the voting districts such that their party would be favored in the next election.

  1. (transitive) Specifically, to do so in a fair and equitable manner; to allocate proportionally.

The children were required to dump all of their Halloween candy on the table so that their parents could apportion it among them.

From the above, and the second most evil part of the XVIth Amendment ‘and without regard to any census or enumeration’ (the restriction on how taxes were to be determined across each state), I conclude that the XVIth Amendment was deliberately designed to allow congress to institute a progressive/socialist/communist/marxist graduated income tax. In other words, the XVIth Amendment allows congress to punish the successful by stealing the fruits of their labors and to buy off the unsuccessful, making it easier for the thieves to stay in office. Also, it is the tool they used to establish class warfare in the USA.

A side note, it is clear that the members of congress are in the category of ‘the rich’. They either start off rich and get richer or enter congress with little and leave with a lot. So when people you know start complaining that the rich don’t ‘pay their fair share’ of taxes ask them if they really believe that the members of congress are going to raise taxes on themselves without a loophole so they don’t have to pay.

How would the founders view this? James Madison said:

A just security to property is not afforded by that government, under which unequal taxes oppress one species of property and reward another species.

James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792

Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government which impartially secures to every man whatever is his own.

James Madison, Essay on Property, March 29, 1792

The apportionment of taxes on the various descriptions of property is an act which seems to require the most exact impartiality; yet there is, perhaps, no legislative act in which greater opportunity and temptation are given to a predominant party to trample on the rules of justice. Every shilling which they overburden the inferior number is a shilling saved to their own pockets.

James Madison, Federalist No. 10, November 23, 1787

And Thomas Jefferson said:

Taxes should be proportioned to what may be annually spared by the individual.

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1784

Taxes on consumption, like those on capital or income, to be just, must be uniform.”

Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Smith, 1823

Excessive taxation… will carry reason and reflection to every man’s door, and particularly in the hour of election.

Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798

And Alexander Hamilton said:

When avarice takes the lead in a state, it is commonly a forerunner of its fall.
A Letter from Publius, October-November 1778

They [taxes] will in the end be borne by all classes; yet it is of the greatest importance that no one should sink under the immediate pressure. The great art is to distribute the public burdens well and not suffer them, either first, or last, to fall too heavily upon parts of the community; else distress and disorder must ensue. A shock given to any part of the political machine vibrates through the whole.

The Continentalist VI, 1782

Experience will teach us that no government costs so much as a bad one.

The Continentalist VI (LOA, p. 115)

There is a lot more from these and other writers but I think I’ve made my point, the XVIth Amendment is not a friend to liberty.  We want it repealed.

I’ll discuss the XVIIth Amendment in my next offering.

What We Want – Part IV

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

Throughout history the one thing that separates freemen from slaves and citizens from subjects is the individual right to arms. It is important to note here that the term ‘arms’ includes more than just weapons. According to Blacks Law dictionary, 6th Edition the term ‘Arms’ means:

Anything that a man wears for his defense, or takes in his hands as a weapon.

So when I speak of arms I am talking about firearms and ammunition, bows and arrows, crossbows and bolts, body armor, helmets, gas masks, load carrying equipment, boots, protective clothing (uniforms etc.) swords, knives, hatchets, shovels and entrenching tools and all other equipage, medical supplies and rations an individual would need to be effective in a ‘close combat’ situation or for extended military/emergency situations. I define a ‘close combat’ situation as any struggle between two or more human beings that by its’ nature will result in the death of one or more human beings. I know some of this may not ‘sit well’ with some readers but it has been my experience from over twenty years of military service that almost all armed struggles result in some ones death, and I’m sure the readers that have military, law enforcement or emergency services backgrounds will agree with this statement.

Since the founding of the republic the Federal Government, the State Governments, and county and city governments have placed restrictions, some of which are legitimate, on the people’s right to bear arms. To some it seems that as soon as the IInd Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified the various governments have set out to restrict to the point of violation the right to arms. But, it has been in the last one hundred years that the truly egregious violations of this right of the people have taken place. To some it seems to be some sort of conspiracy.

It is clear from the tone and bitterness of the debate that, and the actions of some governments that have come under that the control of, the progressives/socialists/communists/fascists believe that no right to arms exists for the common citizen and only entities directly under the control of the government should be armed. At the same time it is clear that these very same people believe what Mao Tse Dung said ‘political power comes from the barrel of a gun.’ It appears they want the state to be the sole decision maker on who has political power and who is powerless. And dare I say, we TEA Party members and 9/12ers etc. are convinced that our congress is determined to ensure we have no political power despite our growing numbers.

As they continue to ignore us and provide special privileges to their friends and supporters and use our money against us, as well as give it to organizations that actively work to subvert our constitutional republic, for many of us our right to arms becomes an issue of the greatest concern.

So the question(s) to be answered, and in my opinion it has been answered for more than two hundred years, is(are) do we have the right to arms or does the IInd Amendment only give the states the right to arm the National Guard as the progressives would have us believe? And if we lowly citizens do have a right to arms can the Federal, State or municipal governments restrict what arms we have access to and deny us access to others? Because of the seriousness of the issue I will defer to the US Supreme Court and a few of the founders to clarify the issue instead of using my own opinion.

The source of the argument is the IInd Amendment to the US Constitution which states:

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.

To all sensible citizens it is clear from the underlined portion of the IInd Amendment that this is a right of the people. The progressives ‘authoritatively state (as they know better than we common cretins)’ that ‘A well regulated Militia’ means this is a right of the state. They arbitrarily dismiss the underlined portion of the amendment even though they scream and holler about any possible government infringement of any other portion of the US Constitution that contains the same words, only they do it to protect those that commit crimes against the citizens of this country.

Many progressives state that the US Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Miller that there is no individual right to arms. Nothing can be further from the truth.

For those unfamiliar with the case, Miller was a moon shiner during prohibition. After prohibition was repealed he continued to practice his chosen profession. He was targeted by the federal tax collecting agency that today we know as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Enforcement. ATF is the same agency that Elliot Ness was an agent of. Two federal agents caught Miller and a friend at an old still that had obviously not been used for years. They had gone there to recover sacks of sugar that had been stored on the site. The agents did not have a case or a reason to arrest the two but they searched them and their vehicle anyway. In their truck they found a sawed-off shotgun which the agents felt was a violation of the new federal firearms act and arrested them for crossing state lines with an illegal weapon. The case went before the district federal court where the judge, who coincidentally owned a FULLY AUTOMATIC Browning Automatic Rifle, ruled in favor of Miller, right after the federal prosecutor told the judge he’d never bring charges against him for violating that law, which the judge apparently had violated by owning his BAR (the transcript was incorporated in to a book titled ‘Unintended Consequences’ which the ATF tried to block publication of claiming it was a ‘manual on how to murder federal agents’, I guess they don’t believe in freedom of the press).

Upon his release Miller and his friend did what you might expect, they disappeared. However, the federal prosecutor appealed to the US Supreme Court which decided to hear the case. Millers’ attorney forwarded a brief but had no client to represent so he didn’t go to DC for the hearing. So the Supreme Court heard the case with no defendant or attorney representing the defendant so as one might expect they overturned the ruling of the lower court. But their decision was not about whether individuals have a right to arms but what arms are protected by the IInd Amendment.

After stating the IInd Amendment, and addressing the militia aspect of it, they stated:

[w]ith obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted with that end in view.

And it is this statement most often used by progressives to deny the existence of an individual right. But the court further stated the significance of the militia was that it was composed of:

civilians primarily, soldiers on occasion.

The court went on to say that the states were able to call upon this force of civilians to defend the state and secure its’ laws which:

comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense

Who:

when called for service . . . were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.

This clearly supports the individual right aspect of the IInd Amendment. In the courts decision they stated:

[i]n the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than 18 inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense.

Had a veteran of WWI been present in court he could have told the court about the armys’ use of “trench brooms”, short barreled shotguns used by soldiers in securing an enemy trench line, very close combat indeed. However it is clear from the above that the IInd Amendment protects the right to poses weapons of military usefulness in common use at that time. So it not only protects your right to own an AR – 15 or a Semi-auto AK – 47 but it actually protects your right to own an M – 16 or a Full-auto AK – 47.

The way the federal government gets around this for automatic weapons, silencers (they are in common use today) and sawed-off shotguns (son-of-a-gun) is the national firearms registry and the licensing scheme set-up by ATF. You can own these weapons but you have to pay an annual tax (quite steep for most people), give up your right to privacy and accept that ATF will put you in federal prison for any paper work mistake that they make so fast your feet won’t touch the ground. It is important to know that the national firearms registry is riddled with ‘errors’, although any ATF agent will swear it is perfect in a court of law (in other words commit perjury) and during the Reagan years an amendment was added to a gun rights law AFTER it had gone through reconciliation and been voted on (meaning the amendment was NOT voted on) that prevents any more firearms being added to the national firearms registry. So the weapons on it get more expensive but no new weapons or new technology will be added to it.

So it is clear that arms can be owned by individuals. Now some will say only by individuals that are in the militia. So who makes up the militia? According to the US Code Title 10, Subtitle A, Part 1, Chapter 13, Paragraph 311 (no wonder you need a lawyer to understand this stuff or find anything in it) the militia is made up of:

“§ 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the

National Guard or the Naval Militia. ”

So by law all male citizens from age 17 through age 44 are members of the unorganized militia of the United States. That’s pretty good but I find this definition too restrictive and in conflict with the founders. So I go with what George Mason said at the Virginia Ratification Convention:

I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.

So according to George Mason everybody is in the militia except for our elected officials and government bureaucrats (I wonder if that means they can’t own arms?). If you dig into the Debates on the Constitution this is the commonly held belief. It was good enough for them and it is good enough for me.

However, the US Supreme Court has resolved the individual right issue in recent times in favor of the private ownership of arms. In District of Columbia Et Al. v. Heller the court held:

The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

Also, there are literally tons of statements by the founders on the subject which make it clear that the intent of the IInd Amendment was to guarantee an individual right to arms for the protection of self, family, home, or to defend the state the individual lives in. As the paper is already longer than I intended I leave it to the reader to verify the veracity of this statement.

From this we can conclude that the IInd Amendment is an individual right and it protects our right to poses ‘arms’, as defined by Blacks Law Dictionary, in common use by the military (no you can’t own a nuclear weapon or poison gas) for all lawful purposes of self defense, and protection of our families and homes. But the right to arms carries a responsibility with it. If needed we are to band together as local militia to assist local authorities and the governor of our states to maintain order and to repel invasion, and if a severe enough national emergency exists we can be called up by the president (drafted) to assist in the common defense. There is one more ‘final’ responsibility the founders place on us which I leave to the reader to research on their own as it is not germane to this discussion.

So what do we want? We want the Federal Government to stop infringing on this right, and all of our other rights, immediately.

What We Want – Part III

By: Richard A. Correa Sr. SGT RIARNG, Retired

One of the most dangerous issues of today is the progressive view that a treaty with the UN is law superior to the US Constitution and that we should make interpretations of our law based on this and how foreign courts have resolved cases of a similar nature to cases before courts in the United States. Nothing can be further from the truth, but many people in the national government believe this and are even enforcing treaty provisions for treaties that have not been ratified by the US Senate. This view is based on the ‘Dulles Doctrine’:

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles promulgated what some call the “Dulles Doctrine” that treaties, executive agreements, and votes in the United Nations, could effectively amend the U.S. Constitution and expand the powers of the federal government without limit.

Further, this ‘doctrine’ is supported by the current administration as seen by the opinions expressed by individuals appointed by it to high government offices.

All of this is based on the ‘supremacy clause’ of the US Constitution, which we know from our last discussion is Article VI, paragraph 2 which reads:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby; any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The argument of the progressives is that the supremacy clause of the constitution makes the provisions of a treaty law ‘superior’ to the constitution. Many scholars have expounded this point of view. However, it is obvious to anyone with a degree of common sense that it is an argument without validity.

A logical argument against this doctrine is simply how can the law that allows for treaties to be made ‘under’ it be replaced by such a treaty. A treaty cannot be made without the law that gives the government the authority to make the treaty and no where in the US Constitution does it state that a treaty made ‘under’ it becomes law superior to it. However, let us not base our insistence on the supremacy of the constitution over a treaty on my humble argument; instead let us see what the US Supreme court has to say on the subject. In ‘Reid v. Covert, October 1956, 354 U.S. 1, at pg 17’ the Supreme Court held that:

There is nothing in this language which intimates that treaties and laws enacted pursuant to them do not have to comply with the provisions of the Constitution. Nor is there anything in the debates which accompanied the drafting and ratification of the Constitution which even suggests such a result. These debates as well as the history that surrounds the adoption of the treaty provision in Article VI make it clear that the reason treaties were not limited to those made in “pursuance” of the Constitution was so that agreements made by the United States under the Articles of Confederation, including the important peace treaties which concluded the Revolutionary [354 U.S. 1, 17] War, would remain in effect. It would be manifestly contrary to the objectives of those who created the Constitution, as well as those who were responsible for the Bill of Rights – let alone alien to our entire constitutional history and tradition – to construe Article VI as permitting the United States to exercise power under an international agreement without observing constitutional prohibitions. In effect, such construction would permit amendment of that document in a manner not sanctioned by Article V. The prohibitions of the Constitution were designed to apply to all branches of the National Government and they cannot be nullified by the Executive or by the Executive and the Senate combined.

There is nothing new or unique about what we say here. This Court has regularly and uniformly recognized the supremacy of the Constitution over a treaty. For example, in Geofroy v. Riggs, 133 U.S. 258, 267 , it declared:

“The treaty power, as expressed in the Constitution, is in terms unlimited except by those restraints which are found in that instrument against the action of the government or of its departments, and those arising from the nature of the government itself and of that of the States. It would not be contended that it extends so far as to authorize what the Constitution forbids, or a change in the character of the [354 U.S. 1, 18] government or in that of one of the States, or a cession of any portion of the territory of the latter, without its consent.”

This Court has also repeatedly taken the position that an Act of Congress, which must comply with the Constitution, is on a full parity with a treaty, and that when a statute which is subsequent in time is inconsistent with a treaty, the statute to the extent of conflict renders the treaty null. It would be completely anomalous to say that a treaty need not comply with the Constitution when such an agreement can be overridden by a statute that must conform to that instrument.

There is nothing in Missouri v. Holland, 252 U.S. 416 , which is contrary to the position taken here. There the Court carefully noted that the treaty involved was not inconsistent with any specific provision of the Constitution. The Court was concerned with the Tenth Amendment which reserves to the States or the people all power not delegated to the National Government. To the extent that the United States can validly make treaties, the people and the States have delegated their power to the National Government and the Tenth Amendment is no barrier.

It is clear from this decision that the US Supreme court has ruled against such an interpretation of the US Constitution and that a treaty cannot change our constitution and is null and void when the treaty, or a provision of a treaty, is in conflict with the constitution.

To further clarify the issue, what did the founders of the nation say on this subject? Well, James Madison, the father of the US Constitution, said:

I do not conceive that power is given to the President and the Senate to dismember the empire, or to alienate any great, essential right. I do not think the whole legislative authority to have this power.

Alexander Hamilton wrote:

A treaty cannot be made which alters the Constitution of the country, or which infringes any express exceptions to the power of the Constitution

And Thomas Jefferson said:

I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty-making power as boundless. If it is, then we have no Constitution

So it is clear that the doctrine that a treaty is law superior to the US Constitution is not true and never will be. The supreme law of this nation is the US Constitution and the only way to change it is to follow the amendment process of Article V.

So what is it that we want? We want the federal government of these United States to cease immediately enforcing any treaty, or portion of a treaty, that contradicts the US Constitution and to immediately quit enforcing any treaty or provision of a treaty that has not been ratified by the US Senate because it is NOT law in these United States of America and it’s territories.

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