Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Federalism

Efforts to Pass National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry Focus on Senate

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, December 29, 2017:

Riding the momentum from passage of the National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry bill by the House on December 9, attention of the National Rifle Association (NRA) is now being directed to the Senate’s version, the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, S. 446.

The NRA’s arguments are simple:

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Trump Expands List of Potential Nominees to Supreme Court

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, September 26, 2016:  

English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

The United States Supreme Court in 2010.

In what could turn out to be a shrewd political move, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump expanded his list of potential Supreme Court nominees on Friday. The timing, just before the first debate on Monday night, couldn’t be better. It sets the tone and part of the conversation of that debate and puts his opponent, Democrat contender Hillary Clinton, on the defensive: She has yet to provide voters with her official list of nominees for the high court.

In addition to the 11 nominees announced back in May by the Trump campaign are the following:

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Supreme Court to hear Pennsylvania Poisoning Case with Huge Implications

On Tuesday the Supreme Court will hear arguments from Paul Clement, the lead attorney in Bond v. United States, that the federal government overstepped its constitutional authority in prosecuting a Pennsylvania housewife for attempting to poison a former friend.

If the court rules in favor of the government, implications for federal enforcement by police power of other treaties, those ratified as well as those pending (like the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty) are

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Senate Majority Leader Reid Fast Tracking the Internet Sales Tax Vote

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided last week to push through Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi’s bill, the Marketplace Fairness Act, so that it bypasses any committee debates and thus can be brought to the floor for a vote immediately. A vote on Enzi’s bill, s. 743, is expected this week. The Wall Street Journal noted that in his haste to get the bill to the floor for a vote,

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Constitution Quiz #2: Where Does the Fed Fit In?

John Birch Society – Can You Answer 24 Questions About the Constitution?

Question No. 9: Did the Constitution give the federal government power to create a bank?

Answer: No. It was given power to “coin money,” meaning the power to establish a mint where precious metal could be shaped into coinage of a fixed size, weight and purity.

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are some more questions about the Constitution that initially stumped me:

Question No. 11: Does the Constitution allow a President alone to take the nation to war?

Answer: Absolutely not. The Constitution states very clearly that only Congress has power to take the nation into war.

Question No. 13: Are the Bill of Rights considered part of the original Constitution?

Answer: Many do hold that view because if the promise to add the Bill of Rights had not been made, some of the states would not have ratified the Constitution and it might not have become the “Supreme Law of the Land.”

Question No. 14: According to the Constitution, how can a President and other national officials be removed from office?

Answer: They can be impeached by a majority in the House and tried by the Senate. Impeachment is not removal; it should be considered only as an indictment to be followed by a trial. Two-thirds of the senators “present” must approve removal at a subsequent trial or the person who has been impeached by the House shall not be removed.

Question No. 16: How many amendments to the Constitution are there?

Answer: There are 27. The first ten can be considered part of the original Constitution. And Amendment 18 was repealed by Amendment 21, which means that in 223 years, there have been only 15 amendments. Amending the Constitution is a difficult process, made so by the Founders to keep anything silly or dangerous from being added in the heat of passion.

I’ll look at a few others tomorrow that I couldn’t answer immediately (without looking).

Finish taking the Constitution Quiz here:

Constitution Quiz #1: Where do Executive Orders Fit In?
Constitution Quiz #3: Where Does Democracy Fit In?

Constitution Quiz #1: Where do Executive Orders Fit In?

John Birch Society – Can You Answer 24 Questions About the Constitution?

This testament to American freedom is understood as being the framework of our government, but how many Americans can say they know what the Constitution contains other than the Bill of Rights?

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This Constitution Quiz is a good test for those of us who think we know a little, or perhaps more than a little, about the Constitution. It was a good test for me.

Question No. 1: Has the Constitution Always Guided the Country?

Answer: No. Originally the nation functioned under the Continental Congress and the Articles of Confederation. But after 11 years under the Articles, the U.S. Constitution was written, agreed to, and ratified by nine states (all eventually ratified but only nine were needed to have it take effect). On September 13, 1788, the Continental Congress proclaimed that the Constitution had been properly ratified and it ordered the new government to convene on March 4, 1789.

Question No. 2: Does the Constitution allow the Supreme Court to make law?

Answer: No. The beginning of Article I states, “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States.” Any Supreme Court decision is the law of the case and it binds only the plaintiff and the defendant. The meaning of the word “all” has not been changed.

This corrects the popular misconception that the Supreme Court is the law of the land. It is not. It is the law of the case.

Question No. 3: Does the Constitution allow the President to make law?

Answer: No. Executive Orders issued by the President that bind the entire nation are illicit because, as noted above, “All legislative powers” reside in Congress. An Executive Order that binds only the employees of the federal government is proper because the President should be considered to hold power much like the CEO of a corporation who can issue rules to his employees.

But the entire nation is not in the employ of the President. The President does have a role in lawmaking with his possession of a veto. He can veto a measure produced by Congress (which can still be overturned), sign a law produced by Congress, or simply allow a measure to become law by doing nothing within ten days “Sundays excepted.”

This is critical in understanding Executive Orders. King Obama has issued more than 900 of them, many of them draconian and totalitarian in nature. It’s nice to know, at least in theory, that they are “illicit.”

Now if Congress would just grow a backbone and challenge them…

More Q and A on the Constitution tomorrow!

Finish taking the Constitution Quiz here:

Constitution Quiz #2: Where Does the Fed Fit In?
Constitution Quiz #3: Where Does Democracy Fit In?

President Obama Pokes the Supreme Court … Again

First Floor at the Statute of John Marshall in...

President Obama, commenting on the judicial review being undertaken by the Supreme Court on his premier signature legislation, ObamaCare, challenged the court to uphold his law or be considered “activists” legislating from the bench. Said the President:

Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress. I guess I would remind conservative commentators that for years what we’ve heard is the biggest problem on the bench is judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint. For an unelected group of people to somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law is a good example of that, and I’m pretty sure this court will recognize that and not take that step.

This isn’t the first time the President has directed barbs at the Supreme Court. During his State of the Union address two years ago he looked down on the Justices seated below him and said their recent decision on Citizens United opened the “floodgates” to unlimited independent election spending.

This time the President’s use of the words “unprecedented,” “extraordinary” and “unelected” elicited howls of protest from observers such as Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who responded that “It would be nice living in a fantasy world where every law you like is constitutional and every Supreme Court decision you don’t like is ‘activist.’ ” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) joined in, saying he was “disappointed” by the President’s warning:

It is not unprecedented at all for the Supreme Court to declare a law unconstitutional; they do that on a regular basis, so it’s not unprecedented at all.

What is unprecedented is…the president of the United States trying to intimidate the Supreme Court.

Even the Wall Street Journal excoriated the President over his remarks, chiding him that he “needs a remedial course in judicial review.” How could the President, allegedly a constitutional scholar and professor at the University of Chicago and president of the Harvard Law Review, not remember the pivotal case, Marbury v. Madison, decided 209 years ago and considered as perhaps the singular landmark case in the history of law? That case helped define the constitutional boundaries between the Executive and Judicial branches of the fledgling republic and was the first time in Western history that a court invalidated a law by declaring it to be unconstitutional. As noted by the Journal:

In Marbury in 1803, Chief Justice John Marshall laid down the doctrine of judicial review. In the 209 years since, the Supreme Court has invalidated part or all of countless laws on grounds that they violated the Constitution. All of those laws were passed by a “democratically elected” legislature of some kind, either Congress or in one of the states. And no doubt many of them were passed by “strong” majorities.

The decision specifically ruled that “Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 is unconstitutional to the extent it purports to enlarge the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond that permitted by the Constitution. Congress cannot pass laws that are contrary to the Constitution, and it is the role of the Judicial system to interpret what the Constitution permits.” [Emphasis added.] In writing the unanimous decision, Chief Justice John Marshal said, “The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws and not of men…”

Judge Andrew Napolitano made much the same point in this Fox News commentary:

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul also weighed in on the matter by reminding his readers that not only should the Supreme Court

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Germany’s Merkel Yields More Sovereignty to the EU

EPP Summit Helsinki 4 March 2011

At a joint briefing on Wednesday with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the next step towards the creation of the supra-national European state: “Germany sees the need…to show the markets and the world public that the euro will remain together, that the euro must be defended, but also that we are prepared to give up a little bit of national sovereignty…” It must be done, she said, so that the euro is “strong and inspires confidence on international markets.”

This could be done through changes in the Lisbon Treaty that comprises the basis for the European Union, or more likely through the signing into law the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) by December 31, 2012. Merkel explained that, either way, this would allow for “an intervention and oversight role in respect of the preparation of national budgets…” among the member states.

This would represent the culmination of more than 60 years of efforts by the Bilderberg Group with the help of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), David Rockefeller, and funding of the effort by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations. Joseph Retinger, one of the founders of the Bilderberg Group in 1954, was also one of the principal architects of the European Common Market. As early as 1946, in a speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), the British counterpart of the CFR, Retinger said that Europe needed to create a federal union and that it would be necessary for the European countries to “relinquish part of their national sovereignty” to secure it. As noted by Andrew Gavin Marshall, research associate for the Centre for Research on Globalization, the effort to create the dictatorship of Europe goes back many years and is the creation of many hands: 

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Governor LePage Takes a Page from Governor Christie’s Playbook

An official photograph from the Paul LePage fo...

Image via Wikipedia

Newly elected Governor of Maine Paul LePage appears to be a clone of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, adopting his blunt, in-your-face style of communication.

During his campaign for Governor, LePage was taking questions from some fishermen at a Republican gathering, and some of them complained that their businesses were suffering under excessive regulation by the federal government. As shown in a video of that meeting, LePage responded,

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GOP Uses Flyswatter to Defend Against Incoming Debt Missile

WASHINGTON - MAY 21:  House Minority Leader Jo...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Even with only  modest cuts in the continuing resolution bill offered by the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, it is highly unlikely to see the light of day when the Senate returns from recess, just before the March 4th deadline. Despite strong rhetoric from House Speaker John Boehner who said “When we say we’re going to cut spending, read my lips. We are going to cut spending, ” this reminded one of the identical words (“read my lips”) uttered by Republican Presidential candidate George H. W. Bush in 1988, which cost him his chance for re-election in 1992 when he voted for higher taxes the year before. Boehner’s words also generated a protest of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who accused Boehner of

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“NFL” Means No Free Lunch for Taxpayers

View from an aircraft on approach to Newark-Li...

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When the 82,566 fans of the New York Giants cheer their team at the home opener of the season this Sunday at the New Meadowlands Stadium, they will likely enjoy the game more than the taxpayers of New Jersey who still owe $266 million on the old Giants Stadium which was demolished to make way for the new one. Those taxpayers may also be dismayed to learn that the revenue stream from the old stadium has now all but disappeared, putting them on the hook for $35 million in principal and interest payments each year to service the bonds that built the old stadium as part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex back in 1976.

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SEC Charges NJ With Cooking the Books

Jon Corzine, Governor and former Senator from ...

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Notable in the statement from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week that it was charging the State of New Jersey with securities fraud was the lack of fines, punishment, or names of the guilty. The fraud began in 2001 and wasn’t uncovered until the New York Times exposed it in April of 2007.

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Gun-Control Laws Challenged After Supreme Court Ruling

Pistol Horhe mirror

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On June 28, the day the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. Chicago that individuals have the right to keep and bear armsBob Unruh wrote that the decision “has opened the door for a long list of legal challenges to city, county and other rules and regulations that may now infringe on the 2nd Amendment.”

Although both the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence applauded the ruling by the Supreme Court, they differed in how that long list of legal challenges will play out in the courts.

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Conjuring Magic To Cover States’ Debts

SACRAMENTO, CA - JULY 21:   A sign stands in f...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The first warning about the possible bankruptcy of the town of Vallejo, California, was reported by the Associated Press on February 28, 2008, when Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes said, “Our financial situation is getting worse every single day. No city or private person wants to declare bankruptcy, but if you’re facing insolvency, you have no choice but to seek protection.”

Marci Fritz, vice president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, blamed the action on promises made earlier by the council to the city’s employees concerning salaries and retirement benefits that the city no longer can afford. According to Fritz, these were promises made during economically flush times, and were due to the city council’s unrealistic expectations that those times would continue indefinitely.

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Chicago Shootings and McDonald v. City of Chicago

Cover of "More Guns, Less Crime: Understa...

Cover via Amazon

When it was learned that more than 50 people were shot, some fatally, over Fathers Day weekend in the poorer sections of Chicago, it didn’t even make the front page of Chicago newspapers.

As ABC News put it, “Most of the weekend shootings took place in poor neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides. Those areas are away from downtown and tourist attractions, perhaps one reason much of the city seemed to shrug its shoulders at the violence.” Jim O’Shea, editor of Chicago News Cooperative, said, “I think people just say, ‘Ah, it’s a bunch of gang bangers shooting each other.'”

Police and other officials put the blame on gangs and easy access to guns despite one of the strictest bans on handguns in the country. It is that very ban that is being challenged in a Supreme Court case, McDonald v. City of Chicago, with a decision to be announced very soon.

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$13 Trillion and Counting

Tax Day Debt Protest 2009

Image by eric731 via Flickr

When former Comptroller General Bill Walker, who headed the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said two years ago that the “official” debt of the United States “is only around $10 trillion,” he wryly suggested that since this number was produced by “government accounting, which…allows one to ignore Social Security, Medicare and the new prescription drug benefit [it was like] ignoring rent, food and utilities in your household budget [and] it will lead to a few bounced checks.” However, he added, “Our real debt is about ten times higher,” or about $100 trillion.

At the time this was a breath-taking number, but Walker was just repeating what Richard Fisher, President of the Dallas Federal Reserve, had said just a couple of months earlier.

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Media Calls the Tea Party Patriots “Seditious”

Joe Klein David Shankbone 2010 NYC

Image by david_shankbone via Flickr

When Joe Klein of Time magazine was forced to defend his comments about Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck coming “close to being seditious,” he backed off—a little. His original statement was made on the NBC’s “The Chris Matthews Show” on Sunday, April 18th:

I did a little bit of research just before this show—it’s on this little napkin here.  I looked up the definition of sedition, which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state.  And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious.”

He posted his backpedal on Time’s “Swampland” blog:

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Eminent Domain and the Kelo Echo

Stop Eminent Domain

Image by Angela Radulescu via Flickr

“This is abuse…. It’s [another] case of eminent domain abuse,” said Renee Smith-Ward, owner of Wag’In Tail, a dog-grooming salon in Auburn, New York. As reported by Fox News, the city is threatening to use “eminent domain” to seize her salon and other private property nearby to allow a builder to construct a hotel conference center.

Smith-Ward said, “I don’t believe it’s right to take someone’s property away from them for a hotel, for a private developer.” She said she thought eminent domain was “for power lines, roads, schools, hospitals [but] not for a private developer.” Another property owner, Michael Kazanivsky agreed: “These people just want to come in and steal it from you. They’re trying to take it from me. It’s not right.”

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10,000 Commandments—The Hidden Tax

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

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When the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) announced the conclusions of its annual “Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State” earlier this week, it came as no surprise to learn that the rules and regulations placed on the economy by illicit agencies of the “fourth branch of government” constitute an enormous burden that is largely uncounted.

What was surprising was the horrendous cost of that burden which constitutes an additional tax on the economy.

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The Income Tax and Sovereignty

Portrait of John Locke, by Sir Godfrey Kneller...

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April 15th is the day when American taxpayers must file their income tax returns, and Tea Partiers are protesting those taxes all across the country. One question not being raised is: If these citizens are sovereign over their government, who can explain the income tax? How did this happen? Are the citizens not sovereign after all?

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he clearly relied on the thinking of his mentors, especially including John Locke. According to Jim Powell,writing for The Freeman, Locke “expressed the radical view [at the time] that government was morally obligated to serve people, namely by protecting life, liberty, and property. He explained the principle of checks and balances to limit government power. He favored representative government and a rule of law.”

Locke published two treatises on government in 1689 in which he said:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.