Category Archives: Constitution

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.”

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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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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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Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign

Our lives are full of signs; little signs and big signs, signs telling us how we should or should not behave or act.  Signs are supposedly for our benefit.  Some signs are meant to replace common sense.  Signs warn us the road may freeze or the coffee may be hot.  Some signs are meant to warn us to behave a certain way or a fine, penalty, or other unpleasant thing may be coming our way.  Yet other signs are warnings of impending danger.

Consider a light comes on in your vehicle and a beeping sound ensues that indicates your oil is low.  The sign is useful in one sense and meaningless in another.  It’s useful because the warning sign provides you information.  The warning is meaningless if you choose to ignore it.  You choose how to act given the warning provided to you and you live with the consequences of your decision.  Most people have the common sense to take action to add oil to avoid consequences such as the vehicle breaking down or damaging the engine.  Ayn Rand said, “you can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality”.

Moreover, there aren’t politicians, government bureaucrats, or the media to interpret the warning sign when your oil light comes on, trying to persuade you how to act , and promoting a narrative to fit an agenda.  At least not yet!  However, if these people were involved and the narrative was; it is an environmental hazard to refill your oil, or that oil and gas companies are collaborating with automobile manufacturers to produce faulty warning signs.  Instead, many people would conform to the politically acceptable narrative promoted by the ruling class and their abettors in the media.

People succumb to and are mesmerized by narratives peddled by the media and the ruling class as though it represents truth and fact.  History is replete with examples of despots and tyrants using narratives to exploit people for their own gain.  Children are exploited for political, personal, or economic gain.  To what depths must the ruling class sink when they cannot compete in the arena of rational thought and ideas and resort to immoral and ignoble exploitation children?

The point is the ruling class and the media use narratives to propagandize, program, and persuade people to act and behave contrary to the warning signs all around them.  Individual judgment and discernment is replaced by group think and normalcy bias.

The warning signs regarding the economy and the government are all around us.  The signs are visible.  The lights are flashing.  The buzzers are buzzing.   I’ve written in detail about many of these subjects but here are some highlights of the warning signs people seem to ignore:

Economy

  • Debt is 16,432,000,000,000 dollars.
  • Unfunded liabilities are estimated on the low end at 60,000,000,000,000 dollars and 200,000,000,000,000 dollars on the high end.
  • From January 19, 2009 through January 18, 2013 the debt increased from $10.625 trillion to $16.432 trillion.  On average, the annual fiscal deficit for the past four years is $1.452 trillion dollars.
  • Using the U.S. Government’s most recent budget prepared by the Executive branch the outstanding debt will increase by $7 trillion dollars bringing the total debt to $23.432 trillion.  Note, this has been underestimated by $600 to $800 billion per year for the past four years and the future budgets assume growths rates between 4% and 6% per year.  It is more likely the debt will increase by $13 trillion in the next ten years bringing the total debt to $29.432 trillion.
  • Today, each person’s equal share of the debt is $52,165.  If we include another $70 trillion for unfunded liabilities each person’s equal share increases to $273,412.
  • Interest payments on the debt are roughly 10% ($250 billion) of federal revenues.  This is based on the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rate policy (ZIRP).  If interest rates returned to their 30 year average of 5.5% interest payments would increase to $925 billion or 37% of federal revenues.  By 2022, the projected interest payments on the debt (at current interest rates) are expected to be $915 billion annually.
  • The currency is being debased/devalued by an increase in the money supply.  The money supply (m0) was $800 billion at the end of 2008.  The money supply today is nearly $3 trillion.
  • From 1800 to 1913 (year the Federal Reserve started) a dollar increased in purchasing power.  What cost $1 in 1800 cost only 65 cents in 1913.
  • From 1913 to 2013 a dollar has decreased in purchasing power.  What cost $1 in 1913 costs $25 in 2013.  The purchasing power of a single dollar has decreased by 96%.
  • Real inflation rates are substantially greater than the figures reported by the U.S. government.  The inflation calculation method has been modified over the past 20-22 years to exclude certain items and weight the basket of goods differently.  Using the same inflation rate calculation that was used in 1980, the real inflation rate from 2000 to 2012 has been bounded at 5% on the low end and 12% on the high-end.
  • Real unemployment rates are substantially greater than the figures reported by the U.S. government.  The real unemployment rate is near 16%.  That government reported unemployment rate of 7.9% reflects a 2.1% drop in the labor participation rate from 65.7% to 63.6%.  In other words several million people are out of the labor force and not counted as unemployed.
  • Exorbitant privilege is given to the government to control a country’s money supply.  This privilege allows a cabal of people to destroy wealth through monetary inflation (which decreases the purchasing power of the currency).  Savers (net producers) are punished by this while borrowers (net consumers) are rewarded.
  • The same cabal controls interest rates (cost of money).  These rates are set to benefit government and manipulate economic behavior to drive consumerism and increase the total credit market debt.
  • Total credit market debt outstanding was $4.3 trillion in 1980.  As of July 2012 the total credit market debt outstanding is $55.3 trillion.  That is an 1100% increase.
  • Likewise, GDP was $2.8 trillion in 1980 and is $15.1 trillion as of November 2011.  That is a 440% increase.
  • Most GDP growth has been manufactured through increased credit market debt (i.e. people buying things on credit and taking on more debt) and through currency debasement (devaluation of the dollar).
  • The total outstanding claims on base money is $70 trillion.  That includes outstanding credit + money supply (m2).  The money supply is levered at a ratio of 25:1.
  • The Federal Reserve’s ZIRP impacts people on fixed income, those savings through traditional savings accounts, certificates of deposit or money market accounts.  The real interest rate is calculated as follows (nominal interest rate less the real rate of inflation).  So, the real interest rate is actually negative for savers.  In other words, due to real inflation/currency debasement every dollar saved loses purchasing power.
  • Under a monetary regime with fiat currency debts are never truly extinguished.  When you pay a debt with a $50 check or $50 federal reserve note the debt is not extinguished it is merely transferred to your bank.  The bank transfers the FRN to the federal reserve bank that issued the note.  It is the U.S. Treasury that is ultimately responsible for all the liabilities of the Federal Reserve.
  • The entire global monetary system is a debt-based system.
  • The total debt of all the countries on earth is $220 trillion and the GDP is $62 trillion.  That is a debt to GDP ratio of 355%.
  • All major currencies around the globe are being debased in a race to the bottom.
  • The use of paper money is unconstitutional.  Moreover, people are forced to use government issued paper money under legal tender laws.
  • Too Big To Fail policy that eliminates moral hazard.  Government bails out financial institutions due to poor decisions and takes the debts onto the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet to be paid by the people.  In other words profits are privatized but risks are socialized.
  • The total outstanding notational derivatives market, as report by the Bank of International Settlements, is over $700 trillion.
  • The Federal Reserve bank now owns over 90% of the long-term bonds (10 year and beyond).
  • Government determines which industries succeed and which fail.  Government takes tax revenues or borrowed money and redirects it to industries, businesses, and groups according to government centric preferences.

Government

  • Government mandated health insurance.  Government forces you to buy insurance or be fined.
  • Governmental regulations over every minute detail of the economy and your life.
  • War on drugs.  Nearly 25% of the prison population is due to some drug related offense.
  • Illegal wars overseas.  There has not been a constitutionally declared war since WWII.
  • Government providing guns to Mexican drug gangs that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people include a U.S. border agent.  The U.S. Attorney General is complicit in this and in the cover-up.
  • Drones over the U.S.
  • Indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without due process.  The government decides who gets due process and who does not.
  • Warrantless searches under the Patriot Act.
  • Assassinations of U.S. citizens can be ordered by one person – the President.
  • Secret evidence and secret courts are used to detain and prosecute people.  Government uses these courts so it doesn’t have to reveal evidence and hides behind national security claims.
  • Extraordinary renditions
  • Asset Forfeiture Laws
  • Government school systems
  • Laws forbidding assembly near elected officials.
  • Control over the internet.
  • Outright disobedience of the Constitution.
  • Outright disobedience of the Bill of Rights.  For instance, the 2nd amendment FORBIDS the government from doing anything that interferes with your unalienable right to self-defense by bearing and keeping arms.
  • Government collusion with private companies, the media, Unions, and other groups.

This was not an exhaustive list, nor did it take long to compile it.  There are hundreds and thousands more that can be added to the list.  These are the warnings signs of a despotic and tyrannical government.  The lights are flashing and the buzzers are buzzing.  The signs are everywhere.  These are danger signs warning you of impending peril.

Why are people ignoring the signs?

Mostly people can’t discern truth and facts from narrative used to distort and obfuscate and further an agenda.  The narrative is peddled like a drug dealer pushing heroin.  Those complicit in the peddling are looking for more innocent customers that will buy into the narrative just as the junkie buys heroin.  People can’t contemplate government is not trustworthy and doesn’t have the peoples’ interest in mind.  People can’t break free of the chains that bind them to the false left-right paradigm and think critically and rationally on their own.  People buy into the incessant narrative propagated by elected officials, government bureaucrats, and the media.  People don’t know nor do they care about constitutional government or unalienable rights.

People are paying attention to the narrative and ignoring the signs.  This must be reversed.  People must pay attention to the signs and ignore the narrative.

As society, our liberty, and our life styles continue to deteriorate will you recognize the signs or will you believe the narrative?  At what point does it become too late to adjust your thinking and take action?  Precisely how far and how bad does it need to get for people to simply say “enough is enough” and take action?

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What is government?

I’ve had many conversations with folks about what is the role or purpose of government.  My answer is, to better secure our unalienable rights.  If we pause for a moment and consider the question:  What is Government?  We know why governments are instituted but, really, have you stopped to contemplate the question..

What is Government?

If we agree that people were on this earth before government then we can readily agree that people without government are truly in a state of Nature.  In a Hobbesian and Lockean sense.  Every person has certain unalienable rights endowed upon them by their Creator.  We often hear of life, liberty, and property.  But there are other unalienable rights such as the right to self-defense, the right to barter/trade, the right to contract, the right to association, etc.

It is the last one I listed that I want to discuss — The Right of Association.  If people are free to associate with whomever they please they may choose many associations.  Some may be related for religious reasons, others may be for work related reasons.  In a modern sense we are free to associate with people in many ways like a chess club, a fantasy football league, a particular religious denomination, etc.  We have many associations in life.  And, all associations directly flow from our unalienable right of association.

There is one particular, one very specific type of association that deserves further discussion.  That is when people freely choose to form a political society.  In context of our history, the people chose to form a political society called a State.  The people of Virginia formed the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The people of Massachusetts formed that State.  The people of Delaware formed that State.  The people in those States chose to form a political society called a State government.

The free and voluntary acts by the people of one State did not and cannot obligate the people of other States.  For instance, the people of Virginia could not obligate the people of Maryland to join Virginia or to force the people of Maryland to abide by what Virginians chose to do.  The people of each State acted independent of every other State.

We find this in our founding documents.  The Declaration of Independence says in the last paragraph, “and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.”

So, back the question, what is government?   Government is simply the free and voluntary act of people choosing to associate themselves with other people to form a political society.  Government is simply a political society.  Its formation is a direct result of our unalienable right to associate.  This is precisely what the Declaration means when it says “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed”.  To rephrase, our political societies are created by people exercising their unalienable right of association.  Thus the political society’s just powers come from the consent of the people.

In our history there have been three secessions.  The first secession happened when the colonies declared independence from Great Britain.  The second secession happened when the ninth State ratified the Constitution.  At the time the 9th State ratified the other four States remained under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.  The third secession happened when the Southern States withdrew from the Union.

The historical record has dozens of documents that prove demonstrably that the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution where both referred to as a federal constitution.  Moreover, documents from the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, from the States authorizing representatives to the federal convention in Philadelphia, from State ratifying conventions, and the State ratification documents provide overwhelming evidence that both Articles of Union were a compact amongst the States.  The contemporaneous understanding during the founding generation was the federal constitutions were social compacts.  Future assertions made by people like John Marshall, Joseph Story, Daniel Webster, Abraham Lincoln, and others in the 20th century that the government is national and was a creature of the whole of the people are simply unfounded and without demonstrable evidence to support their assertions.

As both federal constitutions were made in compact amongst the States which means that each State – political society – acceded to the compact.  If we review the definitions of certain critical words as they were defined in the 1780s it provides insight into the understanding at that time.  The following definitions can be found in Samuel Johnson’s 1785 dictionary:

Accede:  to be added to, to come to, generally used in political accounts; as another power has acceded to the treaty; that is, has become a party.

Society:  1) Union of many in general interest.  2) Partnership; union on equal terms.

Compact:  1) A contract; an accord; an agreement; a mutual and settled appointment between two or more, to do or to forbear something.  2) to league with  3) to join together; to bring into a system.

Confederation:  League; compact of mutual support; alliance.

Constitution:  1) Established form of government; system of laws and customs.  2) Particular law; established usage; establishment; institution.

Federal:  relating to a league or contract.

With these definitions in mind as well as the documented records of the time it doesn’t require mental gymnastics or semantic manipulation to understand each State was a political society formed by the citizens of said State, and each State was free, independent, and sovereign.  The acts of the States – the political societies – was to create a federal constitution which each State assessed, evaluated, and debated its merits before deciding whether to accede – to join – the Union.  The federal constitutions were compacts amongst the States.  The Sates reached agreement on which powers would be delegated to the federal government and which powers would be reserved by the States or the people.  That agreement was the federal constitution, which was acceded to through a ratification process.  In both cases the creators of the federal constitution were the States – the political societies acting independently and in their own capacity as a free State without obligating any other State – political societies – in any way shape or form.    The creation of both Articles of Union was the federal government.

If the States accede to join the Union the states therefore can Secede and leave the Union.  The right to Secede from the Union was exercised when States seceded from the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.  The right was certainly not denied at that time as each State, one by one, seceded from the Articles of Confederation.  If the Union were perpetual as some posit, then the States could not have seceded in 1787 and 1788.  In fact, once secession was established, in act rather than in principle, the right to secede was valid and established or the new Constitution has no effect.

The contrary view is the new Constitution was ratified by the people.  In this context I mean the people of all thirteen states acting as one aggregate, cohesive body.  Two of the better known proponents of the national view of ratification are Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story and Congressman Daniel Webster.  Some of you may have heard of or even read Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution.  Both Story and Webster posit that the people as a whole ratified the constitution and as a result created a national government.  This was Lincoln’s view as well.  And, a view that has gained traction in the 20th century by big government theorists like Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and many more.

However, both Story and Webster concede that if the constitution was indeed a compact amongst the States and not ratified by the whole of the people then States absolutely had a right to secede.  Justice Story said, “The obvious deductions which may be, and, indeed, have been drawn from considering the Constitution a compact between States, are that it operates as a mere treaty or convention between them, and has an obligatory force no longer than suits its pleasure or its consent continues.”  Webster concedes the same point as Story does.

Let’s assume for a moment the Constitution was indeed ratified by the whole of the people.  If true, then the system and form of government established prohibited the people from ever amending the Constitution in the future, as there are no provisions for the people to directly amend the Constitution.  Only the States can amend the Constitution.  Why would the whole of the people create a new form of government yet prohibit themselves from every changing, modifying, or amending the very creature they created?  Moreover, consider, can the Congress pass a law today that obligates a Congress twenty years in the future?  For instance, imagine if a law were passed that said, all Congresses are, by law, obligated to pass in the affirmative any debt ceiling increases requested by the President at that time.  Or, that a law is passed that would never allow for the repeal of some current law.  The current Congress cannot obligate a future Congress.  So, can the whole of the people obligate future generations to the Constitution?  No, they cannot.  If the whole of the people ratified it, then the Constitution would require ratification by future generations.  How could someone 200, 500, 2000 years ago obligate me to a government or set of rules of which I was not a party too.  It’s not possible in any legal or moral sense.

One may ask, how can the people of the state – a political society – do the same thing under a compact?  The answer is they cannot.  The people of each State can independently determine for themselves whether the State remains in the Union or whether the State secedes from the Union.  Any suggestions otherwise are pure folly.

Under the compact when one party – the federal government – becomes abusive of its powers those that created the federal government may either rescind or amend the powers delegated, or if the aggrieved party feels the injustice is so severe as to defeat the purpose, reason, and benefits of remaining in the Union they can leave the Union. The right and duty of the people of each political society — each State — to alter or abolish government is up to them.  Of course, alteration has a proscribed process and requires the agreement from other states to reach the threshold for an amendment to be ratified.  But secession is a form of abolishing government by virtue of simply seceding from the Union, from the compact.  The question of secession is particular to each State.  One State cannot obligate another State to accede to or secede from the Union.

Consequently, secession is merely a political question.  It is not a legal question whatsoever.  It is because political societies are formed as an extension of our unalienable rights and that self-governance and self-determination as well as the consent of the governed are inherent in any legitimate form of government.   If we understand the answer to the question what is government we can proceed to put to rest questions of secession as we’ve resolved them in unambiguous and unequivocal terms.

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Benevolent Despotism

The topic du jour in the mainstream media and other media outlets is the fiscal cliff.  There’s not a single news channel or internet news site that isn’t talking incessantly about it.  In the Dysfunctional City the political kabuki theater is nearing the end of Act I.   The actors portray themselves as upstanding and righteous; defending positions due to Party politics and ideology.  Act II — the final capitulation — will come as we near the date where everyone says we’ll go over the fiscal cliff.

Hogwash.

It’s time to check your premises as Ayn Rand would say.  The premise is whether a deal can be struck to avoid the fiscal cliff.  It’s too late!  Our Wile E. Coyote moment has come and gone.  We are already over the fiscal cliff and free falling towards the canyon floor.  Our dear leaders are lying, deceiving, and evading reality.  In fact, the President is still campaigning.  Democrats are unwilling to discuss spending cuts and entitlement reform.  Democrats are fixated on tax increases.  Meanwhile, Republicans appear disorganized and confused like a deer in headlights.

What the DC’vers won’t state publicly is DC is broke and broken.  It is the quintessential Dysfunctional City.  The masses continue with their herd-like mentality and follow their leaders blindly and loyally.  It is a cult-like devotion to Party and ideology forming a human cohesion that inculcates the individual from critical and independent thinking.  If it is good for the herd it must be good for me.

This is merely propaganda and programming from the two political parties.  They must keep up appearances.  The façade must be beautiful and immaculate while life in America rots from the inside out.  The people must scurry about like mice searching for the crumbs left to them by the government while the house is crumbling around them.

The question isn’t whether the fiscal cliff can be avoided because we’ve already went SPLAT!  The DC’vers are trying to manage the collapse and disintegration of the country, the economy, and civil society.   As conditions deteriorate we should anticipate more laws and regulations, more powers usurped, and an increase in the police and surveillance state.  These increases in government power and activity will be offset with a decrease in liberty; both personal and economic.

The Union was birthed from a system of despotism. What was created was a Constitutional Republic consisting of free and independent states joining together in an Union – creating a federal government – of few and defined purposes.   Over the decades that has slowly changed to a system where the will of the majority is enacted over the rights of the minority.   I refer to this as Managed Socialism.

In my opinion, we will witness the final metamorphosis of the Union.   Act II — final state — is what I call Benevolent Despotism.  We will have a Potemkin government where the façade of legitimacy and freedom is given lip service by those in government and the sycophants in the media.  The people, knowingly or unwittingly, will clamor for more government to keep the system together.  The judiciary will continue to act as the enabler for a government that tramples upon your rights and liberty under the guise of some collective national imperative.  For all intents and purposes the Bill of Rights is a dead letter.  But, more on that later.

The benevolence part of the final state is that government will be generous and caring.  Government will continue spending money.  Government will continue borrowing money until it dries up.  Government will continue printing money.  Government will grow the debt.  Government will expand entitlements.  Government will position itself as the one and only entity that can provide for the needs of 310 million people.  This is the benevolence part.  Sounds pretty good wouldn’t you say?

The despotism part is what has started and will accelerate in the final state.  As the Potemkin government slowly exposes its inner-self the unvarnished truth will be revealed to all.  In fact, this has already started.  Since 9/11 all of this has happened.  And, both Republicans and Democrats are culpable. Note, this list comes from an article written by Professor Johnathan Turley that was published in the Washington Post in early 2012.

1)      Assassination of U.S. Citizens –  Both Bush and Obama claim they have the power to order the killing of a U.S. citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism.

2)      Indefinite detention – Under the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) anyone suspected can be detained indefinitely without due process and trial.  The government decides arbitrarily which citizens it can strip of their constitutional rights and legal protections.

3)      Arbitrary Justice – The president decides who will and will not receive a trial if they are suspected of being a terrorist.

4)      Warrantless Searches – Under the Patriot Act of 2011 warrantless searches were enacted.  Under new powers in the Patriot Act of 2011 the government can “force” organizations to provide information on citizens’ finances, communications, and associations.  The government can use “national security letters” to obtain information on citizens without probable cause and without the order being disclosed to the affected party.

5)      Secret Evidence – Government uses secret evidence to detain individuals. It is also used for dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would result in the government revealing classified information that would harm national security.  Legal opinions under both Bush and Obama have even been classified.  This allows government to use secret legal arguments to support secret proceedings using secret evidence.  The federal judiciary – as the enablers of these crimes – routinely deny constitutional challenges.

6)      Secret Court – The government uses the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to issue secret warrants against individuals deemed to be aiding and abetting hostile foreign governments.   In 2011, these powers were expanded to include secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group.

7)      Immunity from Judicial Review – Both Bush and Obama have pushed for immunity for companies that assist in warrantless surveillance of citizens and they block the ability of citizens to challenge this in court as a violation of privacy.

8)      Continued Monitoring of Citizens – The Obama administration has defended its claims that it can use GPS devices to monitor the moves of targeted citizens without and court review.  Due to technological advances coupled with government acts the surveillance state in the U.S. has far surpassed anything that Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler ever imagined.

9)      Extraordinary Renditions – The government has the ability to transfer both citizens and noncitizens to another country under a system called extraordinary rendition.  This allows for the transfer of citizens or non-citizens to countries where they can be tortured.

These are a handful of the actions government has taken against its citizens in complete violation and contradiction to the Rule of Law, the ideal that the Constitution protects the people from arbitrary and capricious acts by the government.  In addition to the aforementioned violations and usurpations consider the following:

1)      RICO statutes.

2)      There has not been a single constitutionally declared war since WWII.  In fact, we are now in a perpetual state of war with an elusive enemy that transcends any national boundaries.

3)      Asset Forfeiture Laws.

4)      Laws against personal choice — Light bulbs.  Raw milk or cheese.  Shower heads.  Appliances.  Food.  Clothing.  Automobiles.

5)      Forced or compulsory purchases – Health Care.

6)      Unabated printing of money.

7)      Legal tender laws.

8)      Bailouts of private companies and/or industries.

9)      Subsidizing (though grants, loans, tax credits, etc) certain business and industries based on government centric preferences.

10)   Domestic use of drones.

11)   Laws forbidding assembly near elected officials.

12)   Confiscatory taxes.

13)   Unsecured borders and government assistance for those here illegally.

14)   Agenda 21.

15)   Corrupt and fraudulent elections.

The very reason the colonists separated from Britain was due to despotism.  Today we are defined only be the discretionary benevolence of autocratic rulers to take way your rights or your life under their authority.  Rights are not simply abridged, they are obliterated!  Why are people vested with the political right to choose their representatives, yet the people are not capable of making personal and economic choices in their lives.  If people are not capable of making these choices in their everyday lives it is ludicrous to believe that others are capable of making those choices on your behalf.  Just like self-governance, if man is not capable of governing himself then what makes anyone believe that man is capable of governing others?

Benevolent Despotism is the final stage.  I believe it is unavoidable at this point.  Perhaps then we can start anew as the colonists did in the 1770s.  Perhaps then we can rediscover we are all endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights.  That these truths are self-evident, transcendent, immutable, and unchanging.  That the proper role of government is to secure those rights – nothing more and nothing less.  That free people in civil society are responsible for their own personal and economic liberty, and their choices are theirs alone to make and to live with the consequences.  That government is not benevolence or compassion.  Nor is government virtuous.  Government is force.  People are compassionate.  People are virtuous.  People can voluntarily do for themselves and others what government can never do.  This is the creed of a free people and a free society.  This represents the desire to live with dangerous liberty instead of peaceful slavery.

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Rightful Liberty

When you hear the word “liberty”, what does that mean to you?  Below are dictionary definitions of the word liberty.

1.  Freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2.  Freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
3.  Freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.

When we put the word liberty in context of unalienable rights as well as civil society there other important distinctions.  Thomas Jefferson defined rightful liberty as “unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”  Liberty is an unalienable right possessed by every individual, as a matter of their existence, to freely choose and freely pursue whatever they desire in life while recognizing that every other individual also possesses the very same rights.  Rightful liberty distinguishes itself from wrongful liberty or licentious actions.  From an individual perspective, wrongful liberty is the antithesis of rightful liberty because wrongful liberty — in a Jeffersonian context — is obstructed action according to the will of others within limits drawn around us by the superior rights of others.  

Liberty explicitly requires the recognition of every man’s equal rights.  When another person, entity, or thing imposes restrictions upon your liberty your rights become inferior to the rights of others.  I’ve itemized a few examples of how one person violates the equal rights of another:

1)  Restrict a person’s liberty to associate with persons of their own choosing.
2)  Require or force a person to follow a specific set of religious beliefs or prohibit them from religious activity.
3)  Lay claim to or take the property of another.
4)  Require a person to labor for your benefit.

When individuals choose to form civil society it is done for the sole purpose to better secure their unalienable rights.  Our government wasn’t formed under the premises that one person could force another to act against his own will, to allow one person to take the property of another, or violate any unalienable rights. I freely choose to labor to sustain and improve my life and the life of my family.  What I produce as a result of my physical and/or intellectual labor is my property.

Rightful liberty means no person has a rightful claim to another person’s labor, nor does any person has a rightful claim to another person’s property.  Otherwise, rightful liberty becomes wrongful liberty as one person has superior rights over another.  When this happens between two people this is generally defined as slavery.  That is, if I can force or require one person to labor and take the product of their labor then the person is a slave.

Let’s put this into practice.  John doesn’t work and remains home all day.  John expects Bob will go to work and use his labor to produce.  What Bob produces is rightfully his.  However, John lays claim to what Bob produces.  John claims Bob should work to feed him, to pay for his medical care, and to ensure he has a cell phone.  Assume John has the power to compel Bob to participate under these conditions.  John has exercised wrongful liberty as he has violated the unalienable rights of Bob.  In this scenario, John has superior rights over Bob and Bob has inferior rights to John.

This is precisely why labor and property rights are inextricably linked. Every person has the rightful expectation that they are free to labor as they choose.  Every person has the rightful expectation of absolute property rights.  And, nobody has an unalienable right to another person’s property or labor.

As I stated early, people enter into civil society for the sole purpose of better securing their unalienable rights.  As Madison said in Federalist 51, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

Madison is explaining in a state of nature, if all men recognized the unalienable rights of all others there were be no need for government.  But in a state of nature some men violate the rightful liberty of others as I’ve described.  Because men are not angels and man does indeed violate the unalienable rights of others, in a state of nature we cannot have rightful liberty as some men will obstruct the action of other men.  The identical sentiment is echoed in the Declaration of Independence when Jefferson wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Before government is even instituted every man has these rights.  The founders and framers also recognized throughout the history of mankind some men desire to rule over others.  Those rulers exercise wrongful liberty to secure superior rights over other men.  Jefferson continues, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness”.

Jefferson clearly and unequivocally states the purpose of government is to secure these rights.  Nothing more and nothing less.  Moreover, that government is instituted by the people, therefore any powers government rightfully claims are from the consent of the governed.  Lastly, that because it is the people that instituted government in the first place, the people always retain the right and authority to ALTER or ABOLISH it.

As Madison stated, men are not angels.  Therefore, when creating a government how do you empower them and constrain them at the same time.  Madison went on to say, “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

The Constitution not only defines the style and framework of government, it also defines the specific powers delegated to the federal government.  This is referred to as the Rule of Law — where those in government are oath and duty bound to comply with the limits placed upon them in the Constitution.  When government acts outside its constitutional authority then government is exercising arbitrary power.  In context of liberty, government is exercising wrongful liberty because it is “unobstructed action according to the will of the government without limits or within limits drawn around them by the inferior rights of others.”

In this case government acts unobstructed according to their own will without limits or the limits drawn around them by the inferior rights of others.  Therefore, the rights of the people that instituted government in the first place are now inferior to the superior rights of government.  Recall, the example of John and Bob.  Instead of John compelling Bob to labor for him, John turns to the government.  John prefers to use the force and power of government against another person.  John uses government to compel Bob to work for him.  The government then takes Bob’s property and gives it to John.  From Bob’s perspective is there any distinction?  Of course not.  In either case Bob’s unalienable rights have been violated.  This is what Frederic Bastiat called legal plunder.

The term used by the founding generation for this behavior was licentious.  The dictionary definition is:
1.  Unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral.
2.  Going beyond customary or proper bounds or limits; disregarding rules.

In modern society too many people do not understand the proper role of government or simply do not care about it.  Instead, people view government as a means to an end.  That end may be to use government to take what rightfully belongs to others and give it to those that have no rightful claim to it.  That end may be the restriction or elimination of liberty in every manner of daily life; what light bulb you use, what car you drive, how much you drive, what energy you use, what food your produce or consume, etc.

We are at a crossroads, a precipice if you will.  People need to decide whether they want to live as autonomous, self-directed individuals exercising their rightful liberty with equal rights for all.  Or, do people want to live under rulers where the privileged few subjugate people under wrongful liberty.  People need to decide whether government is fulfilling its intended goal of better securing unalienable rights.  People need to decide whether this is a government worth preserving or a government that needs to be altered or abolished.

Note, the idea for the article came from comments I read from an unnamed source.  The last two sentences in bold are from those comments.  Though I cannot provide direct attribution for that, I do want to acknowledge that some unnamed source deserves credit for those two sentences.

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