Monthly Archives: February 2013

My Testimony in Support of House Bill 558 – Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013

My name is Scott Strzelczyk and I am a Maryland citizen and resident of Carroll County.  My testimony today is in support of House Bill 558 – The Liberty Preservation Act of 2013.

This issue is not a Democrat or Republican issue.  It is not a conservative or liberal issue.  It is not a right or left issue.  It’s a wholly American issue just as mom and apple pie.

Throughout the history of our Union, States have interposed and nullified federal laws and acts that are not made in pursuance of the federal Constitution.

When Congress passed the Sedition Act making it a crime to criticize the federal government, and President John Adams signed it into law in 1798, James Madison argued that “in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers” not delegated by the Constitution, the States “have the right, and are duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil”. 

In Federalist 28, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “it was an axiom of the American system of government that the state governments will in all possible contingencies afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by national authority.”

Likewise Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The several states comprising the United States of America are not united on the principles of unlimited submission to the general government.” Jefferson also wrote in the Kentucky Resolution of 1798, “that whensoever the General government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force:  that to this compact each state acceded as a state, and is an integral party, its co-states forming, as to itself, the other party:  that the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the constitution, the measure of its powers; but that as in all other cases of compact amongst parties having no common judge; each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measures of redress.”

Jefferson along with the entire founding generation was mostly concerned with their rights as Englishmen.  Due process was not established under the Constitution.  Due process was not a novel idea in the 1700s nor is it novel today.  The English have a long and distinguished history dating back to the Magna Carta signed at Runnymeade in 1215.  The concept of due process was established in the Magna Carta.  Chapters 39 and 40 of the Magna Carta state:

39. No freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way harmed–nor will we go upon or send upon him–save by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.

40. To none will we sell, to none deny or delay, right or justice.

These rights enshrined in the Magna Carta are part of English Common Law.  We know that Common Law was adopted as of July 4, 1776 and is codified in the Maryland Declaration of Rights, Section 5a, subsection 1.  The American Revolution should remind us that sovereignty is left in the hands of the people, and if the federal government should exceed its constitutional authority, abridge or deny our unalienable rights, the people and the States are duty bound to resist any and all arbitrary power and oppression.

The Constitution of the United States forbids the federal government from denying due process rights to any person for any reason.  The 5th amendment reads:

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.

Today, you have the opportunity to stand proudly among some of the greatest state legislators in the history of the Republic. In the 1850s, northern state Senators and Representatives stood up for the due process rights of their black citizens and passed Personal Liberty Laws, blocking implementation of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

This act counts among the most evil pieces of legislation in American history. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 made a farce of due process, allowing for the arrest of a suspected runaway slave based on the word of the “property owner.” He simply had to swear an affidavit attesting to his “ownership” of the person in question, and he was allowed to drag that man or woman back South into slavery. The accused wasn’t even allowed to present evidence in his own defense. The act was meant to protect the “property” of slave holders, but many free blacks found themselves accused of escaping slavery and faced the prospect of living out their life on a plantation. And northerners understood that even an accused runaway should remain innocent until proven guilty, and enjoy basic due process rights.

Instead of simply submitting to federal authority and quietly participating in constitutionally dubious and morally repugnant fugitive-slave roundups, northern lawmakers aggressively resisted the fugitive slave acts. Officials in these states did everything within their power to thwart enforcement, including denying federal agents the use of jails, and even impeaching state officials who lent support to fugitive-slave claimants. The Michigan legislature passed a law guaranteeing habeas corpus rights and a jury trial to any accused runaway, all in defiance of federal “law.”

Would you comply with the Fugitive Slave Law or would you resist it, and interpose on behalf of your citizens?

This week marked the 71st anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066.  The order authorized the Secretary of War and the U.S. Army to create military zones “from which any or all persons may be excluded.” The order left who might be excluded to the military’s discretion.  Roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans were rounded up and sent to internment camps.  Of those 62% were American citizens. Roughly 11,000 German Americans and 3,000 Italian Americans were also rounded up. 

Recently, Washington State Senator Bob Hasegawa shared his emotional and traumatic story of how his parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles were detained and spent three years living behind barbed wire and armed guards at the Minidoka Internment Camp in Idaho.  They were all U.S. citizens and they were all denied due process.  They were detained solely for being of Japanese descent.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford rescinded E.O. 9066 and said, I call upon the American people to affirm with me this American Promise – that we have learned from the tragedy of that long-ago experience forever to treasure liberty and justice for each individual American, and resolve that this kind of action shall never again be repeated.”

Certain sections of the National Defense Authorization Act empower the federal government to indefinitely detain citizens without due process, without being charged with a crime, and without a trial by jury.

How are these parts of the NDAA any different than the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850?  How are these parts of the NDAA any different than the Executive Order President Roosevelt signed?

In nothing more than a stroke of the pen, a thousand years – a millennium – of due process rights are obliterated.  You either believe in due process for all persons or you do not.  It is unjust and discriminatory for legislators, executives, or the judiciary to deny due process rights to any person.

It is up to each and every one of you, at this moment in American history and the history of the State of Maryland, to leave your mark in defense of every persons’ right to due process, and to do precisely what James Madison said, “you have the right and are duty bound to interpose for arresting the progress of evil.”


Filed under Constitution, Public Policy

Mother Should I Trust the Government

Where does one begin after the President’s State of Confusion speech this week?  What is up is down, what is in is out.  If you’re successful you’ll be punished.  If you’re lazy or unwilling you’ll be rewarded.  Smarter government means more government programs and intrusion.  Due process means government will duly process requests to assassinate American citizens.  The rules that govern government – the Constitution – are ignored and government does whatever it desires.  There are no limits to the powers of government.  This should scare the hell out you.

It has truly become a mad, mad, mad, mad, world.  After some personal encounters this week I have been scratching my head thinking about the Orwellian world we live in.

George Orwell said, “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”.

Orwell’s statement made me think.  If things were so bad and there was truly no way to fix the real problems, would government tell us?  It also reminded me of a line from a Pink Floyd song; “Mother Should I Trust the Government?”

In 2011, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg met with European Finance Ministers.  When the press questioned him he denied it though the Finance Ministers confirmed it.  When confronted with this he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “when things get this bad you have to lie to the people, you cannot tell them what’s really happening”.

Most of what we read and hear from the government or the media is lies, deceptions, and half-truths.  Narratives and ideology trump truth, facts, and empirical data.

If things are truly orderly, lawful, open and transparent then why are the following true:

  • A mayor bans soft drinks but approves of giving abortion pills to twelve year olds.
  • Millions are killed every year from abortion, yet people are outraged if a child is killed by someone using a gun.
  • A thousand years of due process rights are erased by the swipe of a pen when the DOJ approves of the assassination of American citizens without due process.
  • People can be kidnapped in broad daylight under NDAA provisions, detained indefinitely, and without trial.
  • The constitution is ignored or violated because people posit the idea it is a living breathing document and requires interpretation; which can only be done by nine politically connected and motivated people in black dresses.  That we cannot possible know what people meant over 200 years ago.
  • Money has no intrinsic value.  The government can print money at will which allows them to devalue the currency and destroy lives and livelihoods.  What government doesn’t tell you is the entire system is set up against us.  The global monetary system is debt based and requires a doubling of the total debt-credit market every seven years.  There is no way to repay the outstanding debt or meet the unfunded liability obligations.
  • You are forced to buy a good or service against your free will or face a fine or imprisonment.  Government says it’s a tax, then it’s not a tax, then exempts favored political constituent groups, then fines people for not purchasing health care, that it turns out will cost $16,000 annually for a family of four.
  • Since 2007, the working age population increased by 12 million yet there are 4 million less people employed.  Yet, we are in a recovery.
  • The labor participation rate is 63.6%.  There are 101 million working age people that are unemployed.  Yet, we are in a recovery according to the government.
  • The $800 billion stimulus has been repeated for 5 years now.  That is $4 trillion of so-called stimulus.  Yet, there is no economic recovery, the debt has risen by 65% over that time, the purchasing power of the dollar is being destroyed and there are 100s of millions of people on food stamps.
  • The real inflation rate the past twelve years has been between the range of 5 and 12%.  Yet, the government tells us inflation is only 1-2%.
  • There is no incentive to save only to consume.  Real interest rates are negative (interest rate less real inflation rate).  Purchasing power is destroyed.  The middle class is begin systematically destroyed by fiscal and monetary policy.

If the government and the media actually disseminated facts, truth, and empirical data with us at least we’d know where we stand.  Instead, people want to believe the narrative, the propaganda, and the lies.  People prefer to live in a land of rainbows and lollipops.

Aldous Huxley said, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

For centuries Rome was the most powerful nation-state in the world.  Nobody could defeat them militarily.  Yet, Rome did fall.  Rome rotted from the inside out.  Moral decay, debt, and debased currency brought down the mighty Roman Empire and discarded it onto the ash-heap of failed nation-states.  Like a cancerous tumor that spread to every organ in the Empire, Rome could no longer sustain itself.  The host was destroyed slowly and painfully until there was nothing left but a hallowed out carcass.

In Germany, everything Hitler did was legal.  Just because the government declares something to be legal does not make it just or moral, much less lawful.  General warrants, indefinite detention without due process, assassinating American citizens without due process , gun registration and/or confiscation, etc. are the acts of tyrants and despots.

The truth is the country is broke and broken.   The debt, spending, and unfunded liabilities are unsustainable.  That is a mathematically certainty.  By its very definition something that is unsustainable must, at some point, end.  The only question is when.  Do you think the government will tell you this?  Would they tell you they are debasing the currency and destroying wealth and productivity?  Would they tell you decades of government planning and programs have failed?  Would they tell you this knowing what is coming?

Government is becoming more desperate and divisive which makes government that much more dangerous.  Laws are stricter and more punitive.  Enforcement is more rigorous and brutal.  “We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.” – Ayn Rand

Mother should I trust the government.

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Filed under Constitution, Philosophical

First Responder or First Victim: Who is Responsible for Your Protection

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics there were 794,300 law enforcement personnel employed in 2010.  Law enforcement encompasses a variety of professions including state and local police officers, sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, transit and railroad police, detectives and criminal investigators, and fish and game wardens.  At the federal level this includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Secret Service, Air Marshals, Border Patrol, and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Law enforcement personnel are generally categorized as first responders along with fire fighters and emergency medical personnel.  State and local police have a general responsibility to enforce laws and maintain the peace.  Federal law enforcement personnel have specific areas of responsibility.

The label, first responder, is misleading and inaccurate.  Law enforcement personnel are usually the second responder when it comes to a crime.  If an intruder breaks into your home at 3am the homeowner is the first responder to the situation.  If someone in the home is able to place a 911 call and law enforcement responds, law enforcement officers are the second responders.

Homeowners have an individual responsibility to protect their life and property.  The choice is whether the homeowner is the first responder or the first victim.  Individuals must decide whether to protect themselves or to subjugate themselves to protection by law enforcement personnel.   This raises a moral question.  Whose responsibility is it to protect your life?  According to your conscience, if you decide to abrogate the defense of your life or property to law enforcement, is it a morally superior decision to ask someone else to risk their life to protect your life?

There are other considerations in choosing to rely on law enforcement for your protection.  First, is law enforcement required to protect you?  Secondly, are you willing to subject yourself or your family members to becoming a crime victim as you wait for law enforcement to respond to your request for protection?

A recent American Thinker article referenced a study done by the Atlanta Journal Constitution on police response times to 911 calls.  The average time for the police response to a high-priority crime is eleven minutes and eleven seconds.  When a home invasion occurs at 3am there is no law enforcement officer waiting in your home to respond.  Using a standard six round revolver, conservatively we’ll assume six shots are fired in thirty seconds and it takes another thirty seconds to reload.  The home invader can fire sixty-six shots with a standard revolver in eleven minutes.   What if there are two, three, or more armed invaders.  That’s hundreds of rounds fired in eleven minutes.

When law enforcement arrives they are often armed with weapons that have twenty round (or more) magazines and look similar to what is colloquially called an assault weapon.  Though the federal government and law enforcement refer to these as personal defense weapons when owned by civilians they are magically transformed into assault weapons.  That point aside, law enforcement officers are the second responders not the first.  To repeat, are you willing to become a crime victim because you’ve abrogated your personal responsibility to others that can’t be present to help you for at least eleven minutes on average?  If you answered yes, you’ll really appreciate the irony of the remainder of the article.

The most significant fallacy is the first question I asked; are law enforcement personnel required to protect you?  Most people answer this question incorrectly.  Police have no legal responsibility to protect you.  Read it again.  Police have no legal responsibility to protect you.  If the police witness a person pull you out of your car, beat you senseless, and steal your car they are not obligated by law to protect you.  You are probably thinking this is preposterous and I have no idea what I’m talking about.

There are two federal court cases you should become familiar with; DeShaney v. Wisconsin and Warren v. District of Columbia.  The DeShaney case details can be read here, but the case reached the Supreme Court and the court ruled:

The constitution is not a source of any affirmative obligation on the state or its subdivisions to protect its citizens. Since “the Due Process Clause does not require the State to provide its citizens with particular protective services, it follows that the State cannot be held liable under the Clause for injuries that could have been averted had it chosen to provide them.”

Likewise, in Warren v. District of Columbia the plaintiffs filed suit against the District of Columbia for negligent failure to provide adequate police services.  The case details can be read here.  The case was appealed to the Circuit Court of Appeals and it was dismissed based upon “the fundamental principle that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.”  In other words, law enforcement personnel have a general duty to protect the public at large and not any individual citizen.  Law enforcement is not obligated, legally or otherwise, to provide anyone with police protection.

These crimes occurred under normal circumstances.  Consider emergency situations like the L.A. riots, natural disasters like Katrina, or whenever there may be shortages of food and water, or disruption to the economy.  If it takes the police eleven minutes to respond in normal circumstances how long will it take to respond under emergency conditions?  It is inconceivable to believe law enforcement can protect you under any emergency conditions.

If law enforcement is not obligated under law to protect you and government wants to restrict or deny firearm ownership, precisely how would a citizen protect their life and the lives of their family?   Inquiring minds want to know.

Furthermore, for those who decide to abrogate their responsibility to protect themselves to law enforcement how do you reconcile that decision knowing law enforcement has no obligation to protect you?  Will you sleep better knowing the police may not respond to your call for protection or may not respond in a timely manner?  Can you live with the fact that you failed to prevent the killing of a family member, the kidnapping of a child, the rape of your wife, or the theft of your property?

If individuals are restricted or denied the ability to be first responders and law enforcement are only responders when they chose to be, it’s reasonable to conclude the government is setting the stage for a subjugated society.  What else could government do knowing the citizens are unarmed?  The answer:  just about anything they want.  The possibility of further infringements or invasions upon rights and liberty are increased tremendously under these conditions.

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Filed under Constitution, Philosophical, Public Policy