What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
Recently, I submitted several questions to the U.S. Senate candidates for the Republican, Democratic, and Constitution parties. The questions relate to important issues I’ve observed throughout this campaign cycle, having myself served for six months on Republican Mike Lee’s campaign, which either were tip-toed around or altogether ignored. Hoping to get a bit more depth on these issues, and to encourage public debate, I told each candidate that I would be posting their responses on my blog for others to see.
I received a reply from Democrat Sam Granato’s campaign manager, Marla Kennedy, which stated:
We are declining your invitation to participate in your blog posting for the U. S. Senate race.
Read into that what you will. However, lest you be quick to write Mr. Granato off as a political twinkie for declining to respond, Republican Mike Lee, through campaign staff, sent the following:
We are going to decline to participate in this questionnaire.
That leaves us with Constitution Party candidate Scott Bradley. What, you might ask, is so problematic with the questions that they resulted in two candidates for high office refusing to publicly answer? Here are the questions; you be the judge:
- What should be done in regards to our current military engagements in the Middle East, and why?
- What should be done with the Federal Reserve, and why?
- What is your position on the war on drugs, and the legalization of marijuana?
- What is the constitutional authority for our current immigration law? What reforms, if any, do you support?
- Do non-citizen terrorists have any constitutional rights?
- Are you for or against term limits, and if for them, in what form?
- Is a balanced budget inherently problematic, or only because it may possible trigger a constitutional convention?
- How should tariffs be used? How do you define economic protectionism, and do you support it?
So, while this post was initially intended to explore important issues and discern between each of the candidates, it will instead, by default, become a one-sided advertisement for Mr. Bradley.
His responses follow:
1. What should be done in regards to our current military engagements in the middle east, and why?
We launched our military response in Afghanistan in early October 2001. We were told that the effort was to bring to justice the perpetrators of the dastardly deeds of 11 September 2001. We were told that Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (U.S. ally 1979-1989) were responsible and were holed up in the U.S. taxpayer dollar created Tora Bora complex, from which we needed to root them out. Nearly nine years later we are still engaged in Afghanistan, but the mission has changed numerous times (without resulting in any concrete solution). We are told that bin Laden and Al-Qeada have escaped Afghanistan, that we are now rooting out the Taliban and their brutish practices, that we are seeking to eradicate the drug crops which provide a large portion of the cash-flow to this impoverished war-torn nation, that we are “nation building” a new “democracy” in the Middle East, and that we now have a mineral-rich nation that we must help harvest and bring to market their “new-found” wealth (in spite of the fact that during their occupation of Afghanistan decades ago the Soviets carefully documented and mapped these “newly discovered” stores of wealth). Afghanistan now has the dubious distinction of being the longest war our military has been engaged in. Casualties are growing, and the extent of our involvement is masked by the reports of NATO losses. We have approximately 100,000 troops in the country, and now the President is waffling on our disengagement (watch the situation deteriorate and the plea for our continued involvement grow as we decide that we cannot leave the area and its undeveloped mineral wealth and create a vacuum to be filled by China). In addition, the U.S.-installed President of Afghanistan is a war lord with drug lord connections to the former communist regime, and who has suggested he may join with the Taliban if he is disrespected. And still no closure on bin Laden and Al-Qaeda! Remind me why we are there???!!!!
Without taking the time to review our efforts in Iraq, suffice it to say that it has a similar tawdry history of our engagement. We even helped them implement a Soviet-style constitution after toppling a tin-horn tyrant who had (like bin Laden and so many other of our enemies) formerly been our ally and the recipient of largess from Washington. Amazing!
It would seem that there is strong evidence that this nation’s foreign policy is (at best) fatally flawed and ineffective (that is, if foreign policy is supposed to facilitate the peaceful, prosperous, continued existence of this nation; but if it has other, more nefarious purposes which run counter to what one would assume would be the natural purpose of a free nation’s foreign policy, perhaps it is what it is by design).
Thomas Jefferson’s words come to mind, and bear thoughtful consideration. In his day, Thomas Jefferson spoke of actions taken by those in power that were inconsistent with liberty and proper government, saying,
“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.” (Bergh, Thomas Jefferson, 1:193)
In the process of all of this activity in the Middle East we have lost many thousands of our fine warriors while maiming many thousands more (many suffer multiple loss of limbs, severe brain trauma, debilitating spinal cord injuries, loss of eyesight, horrible burns and disfigurements, life-changing emotional trauma, etc.). These warriors have bravely gone to battle in support of policies they were told would insure the safety and continued existence of our nation.
And all of this was done without a shred of constitutional authority. None of these actions were taken in compliance with the constitutional process outlined in the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. The power to make war is perhaps the most onerous of powers held by a nation, therefore the Founding Fathers sought to make the process by which the nation enters war one of the most deliberative of all the processes of government.
War is the crowning evil on earth, the one that spreads the greatest suffering, the one that breeds, or at least fosters and feeds, all other evils. Murder is the most wicked of all sins, and war is mass murder organized and carried out by the most efficient and powerful killing machine ever devised by mortal man: government.
War mocks The Prince of Peace. It mocks His charge that we act as peacemakers. It mocks the hope expressed by the angelic host at His birth that there be “Peace on earth, and goodwill toward men.” And it mocks the commandment that prohibits the killing of our fellow man.
War is a frenzy of murder. Next to murder in the category of personal sins comes immorality — in all of its many and varied forms. And after the abomination of immorality, come all the ills and evils devised by wicked men through all the ages. All of these grow out of and are multiplied by war. Surely war is the greatest evil that has or can spread its soul-destroying power over all the earth.
Yes, there are times when war is forced upon us, and we are compelled to the battle. But we must be certain that we do not enter into war for light or improper reasons. And certainly we are not to start wars. It is the duty of Congress to assure that all of this happens only within the bounds which are Constitutionally set.
But the question begs the answer: “If one would violate the Constitution in so momentous a matter as war, are there any other principles within the Constitution which would be considered so ‘sacred’ that they would not be candidates for violation, also?” The answer is critical, for the Constitution hangs on that thread. If one part may be violated upon a whim, all other aspects may also be violated. Think about it. Are we bound by the words of the Constitution? If we are not, then we have no constitution, and we are in for a terrible consequence.
The war-making power of a nation is an awesome force which holds fearsome destructive power. War, particularly modern war, is institutionalized mass murder carried out by the most powerful mortal force on earth—government. While the founders of this great nation knew that the choice of war would sometimes face the nation, or be thrust upon the nation by the wicked actions of other nations, they wished to constrain and control the natural tendency of human nature to abuse power and exercise it excessively and improperly. The founders had observed the countless times that the destructive forces of war had been unleashed upon humankind by the whim of a monarch or despot, and wished to shield themselves and their posterity, indeed, all of mankind from such a terrible burden, so they devised a marvelous process which would prevent the nation from entering into conflict without a full deliberative process in which the justice, the necessity, the cost, and the facts could be fully reviewed before each member of the Congress solemnly stepped forward and cast their vote in the matter. The founders of this nation fully understood that in matters of war, the blood, the fortune, and the sacred honor of the entire nation is at stake.
For many years now the nation has strayed from these sound principles, and the price of such action is yet to be fully realized. If the liberties which were bequeathed to the nation are to be saved, we must immediately restore the foundation upon which the nation was established and built. Congress must again assume its duty in the matter of war, and wrest the war-making power from the hands, both foreign and domestic, which have usurped the congressional Constitutional responsibility.
Perhaps I may integrate into my response to your question a few lines from General Douglas MacArthur’s “Farewell Address,” which he delivered at West Point on 12 May 1962. Of course, in that address, MacArthur was speaking to those who would serve as the nation’s warriors. In the address, he separated the warrior from the war. We must be careful to always maintain that distinction. Warriors and their families are called upon to make the most direct and personal sacrifices as the nation participates in war. A great (even immeasurable) debt is owed by the nation to those who serve and sacrifice.
Those who are charged with the responsibility to establish national policy, and who hold the power to engage the nation in war hold an awesome power within their hands. They have the power to bring the full force of the nation’s considerable destructive force against other peoples. They hold in their hands the power of life and death over not only those against whom the war-making power will be exercised, but also the power of life and death over our warriors. This is a solemn responsibility! The Founding Fathers of this nation felt that this power must be checked and constrained in such a manner that it could only be exercised after a fully deliberative process occurred, and the full costs, with all options, had been carefully weighed. They put the decision as close to the people who would bear the burdens of the war as they could by assigning the responsibility to the United States Congress. The people of the nation would shed their blood, it would cost the people’s fortune, and it would be the people’s honor which was to be put at risk. The leadership of this nation has not followed the Constitutional requirements associated with the exercise this most onerous power since the declarations of war associated with World War II.
Following is MacArthur’s statement. Consider his distinction between those who determine whether or not we go to war, and the warriors who must fight the wars—particularly the soldier praying for peace and bearing the deepest wounds and scars:
“Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men’s minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the nation’s war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.
“Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government. Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be.
“These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution….
“This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: ‘Only the dead have seen the end of war.'” (General Douglas MacArthur Valedictory Remarks at West Point 12 May 1962)
Those who hold the reins of power in the Nation—in the case of war, that is Constitutionally a power delegated only to the United States Congress—MUST exercise it as intended, and not allow it to be usurped from their hands.
Be assured, that if I were elected to the United States Senate, I would make every effort to make certain that the Nation followed the United States Constitution in every matter—including war. If the nation was willing to abide the principles upon which it was established, the debates regarding entering would be deliberative, the policy would be right, and the nation’s noble and dedicated warriors would not be placed in harm’s way so unthinkingly. A return to the “original intent” is my objective.
A strategic and well-conceived withdrawal of our forces from these conflicts should be our imperative objective. It must be done in a manner that prevents loss of U.S. military personnel. We do not dishonor the dead and wounded by preventing further unnecessary loss of our priceless people. And we must make certain that all future military engagements are entered into justly and via the constitutionally-authorized process!
2. What should be done with the Federal Reserve, and why?
In 1912, Edward Mandell House published his poorly written book titled “Philip Dru: Administrator.” It was his romanticized fantasy of how the United States Constitution would be subverted and destroyed, and the nation subjugated to socialism under an elite leadership. The principle initial tool by which this dastardly deed was to be accomplished was by subverting the economic means of the nation and seizing control of it. Not surprisingly, the fifth point of Marx’s Communist Manifesto advises that it will be necessary to centralize the credit of the nation in order to overthrow freedom.
Woodrow Wilson became President in 1912, and House became his “alter ego,” living in the White House and acting as virtual co-president. Not surprisingly, one of the first efforts of the Wilson/House cabal was to implement the House/Marx plan to subvert and control the nation’s economy. This was accomplished in 1913 by the establishment of the Federal Reserve System. This granted broad power over the national economy to a privately-held banking consortium. This consortium was given the power to create “money” out of thin air and loan it to the nation at a profit for the banking consortium. This facilitates the predilection of Congress to profligately deficit spend to their heart’s content, because their requests to the Fed for more loans are always honored. The Fed manipulates the money supply and sets policy by which the economy of the nation lives or dies. For example, during the reign of Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, seven and a half TRILLION dollars were created out of thin air, thus debasing the purchasing power of all dollars. Greenspan’s policies continue under Bernanke. With trillions of more dollars pursuing finite quantities of goods and services, prices are driven upward (inflation). We should not be surprised as the once-respected dollar plummets against oil and all other nation’s monetary systems.
The Federal Reserve has never been audited. It is autonomous and has virtual free rein, acting above any true regulation. Now, in further fulfillment of the House/Marx dream, the nation’s leadership fosters the notion that the Federal Reserve should be granted plenary regulatory power over the entire United States financial system; and the only published words uttered by our so-called leaders against this outrageous plan express fears that the Fed will not be granted ENOUGH power. How tragic! How pathetic! How utterly stupid!
Sheep are sheared and led to be slaughtered without protest. Unless America awakens to a sense of our awful situation and rejects the tyranny offered in this and virtually all other matters by our globalist-socialist “leadership,” the nation will demonstrate that we are no better than sheep to be sheared and slaughtered.
The Federal Reserve must immediately be audited by a competent independent organization that could perform a comprehensive review and make an honest, complete, and straightforward report of the findings to the American people. Then the Fed must be abolished and the nation returned to an honest money system as originally established at the time the nation was founded (see the Coinage Act of 1792).
3. What is your position on the war on drugs, and the legalization of marijuana?
This is a State and local issue. There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in this matter (other than interdiction at the international border). If we adequately secured our borders, the foreign drug cartels would be locked out of the United States.
St. George Tucker was probably the preeminent constitutional scholar of the American founding era. He wrote a marvelous exposition about the United States Constitution titled: “View of the Constitution of the United States.” Therein he carefully reviews the powers granted to congress. Tucker constantly reminds the reader that the power granted by the Constitution is specific, and that the powers are very selectively granted. In this quotation, he notes that there are only very few offenses which congress may either define or punish. Felonies not enumerated within the United States Constitution are, in Tucker’s view, left within the jurisdiction of the state.
“. . .the very guarded manner in which congress are vested with authority to legislate upon the subject of crimes, and misdemeanors. They are not entrusted with a general power over these subjects, but a few offenses are selected from the great mass of crimes with which society may be infested, upon which, only, congress are authorized to prescribe the punishment, or define the offense. All felonies and offenses committed upon land, in all cases not expressly enumerated, being reserved to the states respectively.” (Tucker, View, pgs. 210-211)
And, of course, Amendments IX and X emphatically also make this point!
Certainly this position applies to the question of drugs, and a plethora of other matters!
4. What is the constitutional authority for our current immigration law? What reforms, if any, do you support?
As they wrote the United States Constitution, the founders of this nation delegated to the United States Congress the authority to deal with the issue of immigration and naturalization:
“The Congress shall have Power… To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization…” (The United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8)
In The Federalist Papers, both Alexander Hamilton and James Madison commented on this power, and the necessity of national uniformity and the wisdom of having the issue regulated at the national level by the national congress. Hamilton makes a brief but important comment that the citizenship regulations must be uniform throughout the United States:
“…found in that clause which declares that Congress shall have power “to establish an UNIFORM RULE of naturalization throughout the United States,” This must necessarily be exclusive; because if each State had the power to prescribe a DISTINCT RULE, there could not be a UNIFORM RULE.” (Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 32)
The “Father of the Constitution,” Madison, makes more extensive comments, pointing out the wisdom of national uniformity for naturalization, and why the various states should not have the power to independently grant the status of “citizen” to those who applied—first pointing out the flaws which arose under the Articles of Confederation, and then tying the issue to the requirement within the Constitution that:
“Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.” (The United States Constitution, Article IV Sections 1 and 2)
“The dissimilarity in the rules of naturalization has long been remarked as a fault in our system [under The Articles of Confederation], and as laying a foundation for intricate and delicate questions…. [under The Articles of Confederation] The very improper power would still be retained by each State of naturalizing aliens in every other State. In one State, residence for a short term confirms all the rights of citizenship: in another, qualifications of greater importance are required. An alien, therefore, legally incapacitated for certain rights in the latter, may, by previous residence only in the former, elude his incapacity; and thus the law of one State be preposterously rendered paramount to the law of another, within the jurisdiction of the other. We owe it to mere casualty that very serious embarrassments on this subject have been hitherto escaped. By the laws of several States, certain descriptions of aliens, who had rendered themselves obnoxious, were laid under interdicts inconsistent not only with the rights of citizenship but with the privilege of residence. What would have been the consequence if such persons, by residence or otherwise, had acquired the character of citizens under the laws of another State, and then asserted their rights as such, both to residence and citizenship, within the State proscribing them? Whatever the legal consequences might have been, other consequences would probably have resulted of too serious a nature not to be provided against. The new Constitution has accordingly, with great propriety, made provision against them, and all others proceeding from the defect of the Confederation on this head, by authorizing the general government to establish a uniform rule of naturalization throughout the United States.” (James Madison, Federalist No. 42, emphasis added)
By having the rights of citizenship obtained in a uniform manner which is dictated by the national government, confusion is avoided, and one state’s “laxness” in granting citizenship frivolously will not result in all states being required to recognize the rights of citizenship which should not have been granted.
In addition, the responsibilities of the national government in protecting the States from invasion are clearly defined within the United States Constitution:
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion…” (United States Constitution, Article IV, section 4)
Thomas Jefferson expressed his concerns with an “open” immigration policy, suggesting that the proper form of government which the United States enjoyed would be polluted by having “foreign/alien” influence injected into the election/legislative process through an immigration policy which had foreign concepts of government made popular and fostered within the United States as large numbers of people entered the United States which were not steeped in the principles upon which this nation was founded, and that it could possibly ultimately destroy the constitutional republic which allowed liberty to prevail in the United States:
“Every species of government has its specific principles. Ours perhaps are more peculiar than those of any other in the universe, It is a composition of the freest principles of the English constitution, with others derived from natural right and natural reason. To these nothing can be more opposed than the maxims of absolute monarchies. Yet from such we are to expect the greatest number of emigrants. They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its directions, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass… Suppose twenty millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here.” (Bergh, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, Volume 2, p.120-121)
By any reasonable definition, the current illegal alien invasion must be considered an invasion, and Jefferson’s statement regarding the dangers of foreign polluting political philosophies being injected into the nation’s policies by immigration supports the possibility that the “Republican Form of Government” of both the States and the nation may be in danger.
The integrity and protection of the international borders of the nation must be maintained. No “right of migration” exists for foreign nationals to enter the nation under terms other than those defined by Congress, and Congress has a duty to establish terms which protect the sovereignty of the nation and its established form of limited Constitutional Government.
History bears solemn witness that any nation which cannot or will not maintain the integrity of its borders will not long remain a sovereign nation. History abounds with numerous examples, both in ancient times, as well as in modern times, of this unequivocal truth. If the United States is to remain a free and independent nation under the United States Constitution, it must immediately secure its international borders.
In addition, it should be a self-evident truth that a nation which has an open immigration policy (even if it is only by default because it refuses to secure its borders against all intruders) and a fully functioning social/welfare state has established a disastrous formula destined for national self-destruction. Such a policy is not sustainable!
My position may be summed up in the following brief statements: Secure the nation’s borders NOW!. No Amnesty (under ANY name, or in any way, shape, or form). No “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” (simply a code-word for amnesty). Enforce the nation’s laws against illegal immigration. Tell all illegals to GO HOME NOW! Allow a brief period for them to liquidate all their assets held in this nation and self deport to their home countries. There they may get in line and go through to process to apply for legal entry into this nation. After the brief “liquidation/self-deportation period,” when those who ignored the order to go home are caught, they will be immediately deported, with no possibility of ever returning to the United States. We are not sending them to a gulag—we are sending them home. There it will be their privilege to seek to create the conditions they so desire here in the United States. Using Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment congress may correct the current false interpretation of Section 1.
5. Do non-citizen terrorists have any constitutional rights?
In the Declaration of Independence we read: “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…” (Emphasis added)
Did the United States Constitution “create” rights, or did it simply define the scope and bounds of power which was being granted to the national government, and which was necessary to perform its assigned task? Did the Bill of Rights “create” rights, or did this marvelous document simply vouch safe pre-existing rights, including all rights not specifically mentioned (see Amendments IX and X)? Relative to the powers granted to the national government within the Constitution, the Preamble to the Bill of Rights states the purpose of the Bill of Rights: “…in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added…”
The Founding Fathers of this nation were not so presumptive as to presume the power to create or grant rights (creating rights for anyone requires creation of another person’s responsibility to fulfill those rights—see, for example, the unconstitutional creation of “entitlements” in recent U.S. history). Neither the United States Constitution nor the Bill of Rights “created” rights. Those rights we have pre-existed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and they were granted to all mankind by God (see, again, the Declaration of Independence). The Declaration of Independence also defines the purpose of government thus: “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”
Throughout history, the argument could be made that justice has only prevailed to the degree that proper government existed. Summary executions (or torture, or plunder, or forcible despoliation, etc.) upon the whim of those in power have been the rule when the limits of proper government and justice are dethroned.
The Founding Fathers of this nation were painfully aware that the power of government could be perverted to the point that it abused individual God-given rights. The desire to obtain, and then, ultimately, to abuse power, has been almost universally recognized by thinking men throughout the ages. The great statesman Lord Acton observed that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” [Lord Acton, letter to Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1887.—Acton, Essays on Freedom and Power ed. Gertrude Himmelfarb, pp. 335-36 (1972).] Daniel Defoe noted: “All men would be tyrants if they could.” [Daniel Defoe, The Kentish Petition, addenda, 11 (1701)]
Indeed, modern megalomaniacs have unequivocally demonstrated both in word and deed the truth of these statements! Two examples from the 20th Century must suffice:
During the 1930’s and 40’s much of the world was engulfed in a conflagration which had its origins in a sweeping power-grab by wicked tyrants. The German National Socialist Party (Nazis) was a major sponsor of the effort to violently gain control of power over broad segments of humanity. The Nazis regime upheld a concept they called the “leader principle” (fuhrerprinzip). In contrast with the foundation principles of the United States Constitution, in which the power of government and individuals (regardless of their position within government) is limited to specific bounds, Nazis doctrine placed no limits upon the power which may be seized, held, and exercised by their “leader” (fuhrer). In a section defining the fuhrerprinzip, the Organization Book of the German National Socialist Party states that the power of the chief executive “is not limited by checks and controls, by special autonomous bodies or individual rights, but it is free and independent, all-inclusive and unlimited…. He is responsible only to his conscience and the people.” [The Organization Book, German National Socialist Party, 1940]
The revolutionary Communist Doctrine of Karl Marx was also at the center of the violent usurpation of power which engulfed much of the 20th Century, including the period of time in which the competing doctrine of the Nazis operated, and continuing even today. The revolutionary Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin summarized his version of the power-mongering leader as follows: “The scientific concept of dictatorship is nothing else than this — power without limit, resting directly on force, restrained by no laws, absolutely unrestricted by rules.” [V.I. Lenin, A Contribution to the History of the Question of Dictatorship (20 October, 1920); Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th English Edition, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Volume 31, pages 340-361]
History testifies of the horror associated with government unbridled by scope and bounds, and which does not recognize and hold sacred individual God-given rights. The “rule of law” and “due process of law” are suspended or non existent under such tyrannical philosophies. Would we follow their diabolical path?
The Nazi and Soviet philosophies (both completely socialist, but “blood-brother” tyrannies competing along with the other less overtly violent though equally poisonous socialist movements for the preeminent world-wide power position) are the antithesis of the form of government established under the United States Constitution in 1787. Individual God given rights, personal liberty, and limited governmental power were at the core of the philosophy which led the Founding Fathers of the United States to bring forth the national charter which they authored. Those who founded the nation were painfully aware of mankind’s natural tendency to garner, then abuse power. They sought to forestall that tendency by safeguards they built into the form of government they created.
The words of the American Founding Fathers, and my religious convictions (as noted in records I consider scriptural) convince me that God is the author of mankind’s rights; that the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights were brought forth to sustain those pre-existent individual God-given rights; that the constitutional law of our land, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before God; and that the laws and constitution which God suffered to be established here in the United States should be upheld and maintained for the rights and protection of all mankind.
Therefore, I believe that this nation must always stand on the high moral ground and uphold the highest standard if it is to be as a beacon of hope and the candle that gives light, as spoken of in the scriptures, to the rest of the world. Why lower ourselves to the debauched level of our enemies when they come under our power? Besides, to do so only gives them excuse to lower the bar even farther as they engage in “one-upmanship.”
Will we torture because they torture? Will we imprison or execute without a fair trial and due process of law because they do? Would we suspend one of the great bulwarks of liberty, the writ of habeas corpus, or implement bills of attainder, or issue writs of assistance, or create ex post facto laws, etc. in deference to the practices of tyrannical and barbaric peoples? We become as guilty as they are when we emulate them.
During the brutal exchanges which occur in the heat of the battle, the calm deliberations of the courts obviously do not prevail, but once the semblance of order is restored and the captives are subdued and in our power, the deliberative process necessary to determine guilt or innocence and subsequent punishment, if warranted, must be allowed to go forward dispassionately and under the rule of law. The power to create special courts in which to try accused non-citizen terrorists and address the issues associated with such actions and accusations is granted to the U.S. House and Senate (see Article I, Section 8, clauses 9, 10, and 11, as well as Article III, Section 1). The executive branch holds no such constitutional grant of authority, nor can congress re-delegate their assigned duty in this (or any other matter) to the executive. Congress should perform their responsibility immediately.
Other standards of accusation and trial which were put in place to protect individual God-given rights are outlined in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (see Article III, Section 2, clause 3; Amendments IV, V, VI, VII, VIII). The Bill of Rights does not attempt to delineate or differentiate between citizens and non-citizens. The amendments speak of “people,” “persons,” and “the accused.” Citizenship is not a qualifier. And, remember, in the United States there is a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven. Many have been accused in the heat of first review, only to have the accusation be discovered as a false accusation as the facts unfold in the deliberative glare of a trial. Many a lynch mob has acted based upon a “knee jerk” assumption.
Perhaps you recall the scene from “A Man for All Seasons” in which Sir Thomas More rebukes his son-in-law for wanting to cut down the laws to get to the Devil (“Oh, and when the last law was down, and the devil turned on you, where would you hide…? …I’d give the devil the benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake.”). I believe that taking a position other than the one I promote herein will, in a very real way, apply to Thomas More’s warning remark. It would seem that we need to consider the very real prospect of what will happen to our individual God-given rights once we cut down any constitutional protections, and we progress down the path that promotes the idea that constitutional protections and individual God-given rights are negotiable base upon some expediency or someone’s idea of a “good” idea. What will we do when the last vestiges of the delicate checks and balances have been abolished, and all power is accrued to Washington?
Let it never be said of the United States that we returned to the days of the Star Chamber when we had the higher law which God has blessed us to live under! We must be careful to never put qualifiers upon God-ordained individual rights which are bestowed upon ALL mankind. Let us be just and magnanimous as we forebear the practices of lesser nations and peoples! May those honorable and noble principles which were established under the United States Constitution by our forefathers be established forever! We can do this and still be assured that justice will be served upon all enemies, foreign and domestic.
6. Are you for or against term limits, and if for them, in what form?
We already have term limits. These limits come by way of the ballot box (ala the recent demise of both Chris Cannon and Bob Bennett). Every two years we, the people, could turn out of office every member of the House of Representatives, and 1/3 of the Senate. Every four years we can turn out the President. A constitutionally sound House of Representatives could regularly bring articles of impeachment to the Senate to try members of the judiciary and other government officials as needed to keep them in line with the scope and bounds defined within the United States Constitution. What is really needed to create such a government is an informed and actively engaged “constitutionally sound” electorate that will not sell their vote to the one who purchases their vote with unconstitutional “pork barrel” largess from the public treasury. One of the problems is that there is always another socialist waiting in the wings to take the place of any socialist term limited out of office. Thomas Jefferson said: “A nation that expects to be ignorant and free…expects what never was and never will be.” We, the People, have been remiss, and have lost the vigilance necessary to preserve the freedoms and proper government which were originally established upon this great land.
Perhaps I should mention a couple of other things. The first American Constitution (the Articles of Confederation) had term limits (see Article V therein). The founders knew of term limits and rejected them in the new constitution they wrote in 1787. Consider the possible reasons: 1. They had had a bad experience with them because as representatives were being term limited out of office in their last term, the electorate had no leverage on them so they ran amuck during their “lame duck” period (see Luke 16:1-7; and Senator Chris Dodd from Connecticut today). 2. Who would want to term limit out of office a representative who completely honored his sacred oath of office to uphold the Constitution and was keeping his actions within the proper bounds as defined in the Constitution? Would you term limit James Madison out of the House of Representatives?
In addition, the Term Limits Amendment process is fraught with risk in that a frustrated/failed effort to obtain term limits through the Article V amendment process (requiring 2/3’s of both houses and 3/4’s of all States) will likely lead to good and caring citizens demanding a constitution convention (which, barring Divine intervention, would certainly lead to the destruction of our current constitution). A term limits amendment is a simplistic solution that will not correct the true source of the problem: an ignorant and apathetic population. Jefferson’s solution was not to take from an ignorant people their proper power and role, but to educate them so they may properly exercise their God-given privilege of self government. Such an informed and engaged electorate would not allow their representatives to stray out of bounds, and would remove them if they did.
7. Is a balanced budget inherently problematic, or only because it may possible trigger a constitutional convention?
The Founding Fathers of the United States considered a national debt to be a great burden that was to be avoided and resolved with the greatest of diligence. They considered it to be a bane to the liberty of the nation, and counseled most emphatically that the nation guard against it.
In his annual State of the Union reports to Congress, George Washington spoke often of the burden of national debt. Thomas Jefferson devoted a great deal of time in each of his annual State of the Union reports to reviews of the nation’s efforts to retire the national debt. The efforts to accomplish that were largely based upon sale of federal lands to citizens of the United States (only). This accomplished at least two great goals: It placed within the power of the people the means to produce prosperity for themselves and the nation, and it removed the debt which burdened the nation. In this we may see an example of the “original intent” of the Founding Fathers.
It is interesting to note that the last time the nation was completely debt-free was during the Andrew Jackson Administration, and that was achieved through the sale of federally-held land.
George Washington on Debt
Washington felt that the national debt should be paid without delay, saying:
“I entertain a strong hope that the state of the national finances is now sufficiently matured to enable you to enter upon a systematic and effectual arrangement for the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt, according to the right which has been reserved to the government. No measure can be more desirable, whether viewed with an eye to its intrinsic importance or to the general sentiment and wish of the nation.” [Fourth Annual Address to Congress. Fitzpatrick 32:211. (1792.)]
“No pecuniary consideration is more urgent than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt; on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable.” [Fifth Annual Address to Congress. Fitzpatrick 33:168. (1793.)]
“The time which has elapsed since the commencement of our fiscal measures has developed our pecuniary resources so as to open a way for a definitive plan for the redemption of the public debt. It is believed that the result is such as to encourage Congress to consummate this work without delay. Nothing can more promote the permanent welfare of the nation, and nothing would be more grateful to our constituents. Indeed, whatsoever is unfinished of our system of public credit cannot be benefitted by procrastination; and as far as may be practicable, we ought to place that credit on grounds which cannot be disturbed, and to prevent that progressive accumulation of debt which must ultimately endanger all governments.” [Sixth Annual Address to Congress. Fitzpatrick 34:36. (1794.)]
“It will afford me heartfelt satisfaction to concur in such further measures as will ascertain to our country the prospect of a speedy extinguishment of the debt. Posterity may have cause to regret if, from any motive, intervals of tranquility are left unimproved for accelerating this valuable end.” [Eighth Annual Address to Congress. Fitzpatrick 35:319. (1796.)]
Washington also advised that the Nation avoid national debt when possible, and quickly repay it when incurred:
“As a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible, avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace, but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden which we ourselves ought to bear.” [Farewell Address. Fitzpatrick 35:230. (1796.)]
Thomas Jefferson on Debt
Thomas Jefferson was no less emphatic in his resolve to extinguish public debt, saying:
“I…place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared.” [Bergh 15:47. (1816.)]
“I am for…applying all the possible savings of the public revenue to the discharge of the national debt.” [To Elbridge Gerry. Bergh 10:77. (1799.)]
“I consider the fortunes of our republic as depending, in an eminent degree, on the extinguishment of the public debt before we engage in any war; because, that done, we shall have revenue enough to improve our country in peace and defend it in war, without recurring either to new taxes or loans. But if the debt should once more be swelled to a formidable size, its entire discharge will be despaired of, and we shall be committed to the English career of debt, corruption, and rottenness, closing with revolution. The discharge of the debt, therefore, is vital to the destinies of our government.” [To Albert Gailatin. Bergh 12:324. (1809.)]
“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” [Bergh 15:23. (1816.)]
In light of today’s profligate national government, one may be caused to ask: “Why did the Founding Fathers overlook the need of some clause in the Constitution which would prevent the nation from going into debt?” The answer is: They knew there would be unavoidable wars. Sometimes it takes all a nation has (and then some) to prevent its destruction and dissolution in a war. They knew that they would have to fight on to preserve the nation even if they were out of money. Wars always cause debt. The founders knew this, and tried very hard to prevent avoidable wars by making the process by which wars were entered into as deliberative as possible. They wrote extensively about their intent in this matter.
An effort to bring forth a Balanced Budget Amendment is fatally flawed on many fronts! In fact, in 1983 (when Missouri became the 32nd State to call for a ConCon in the purported effort to obtain a Balanced Budget Amendment), this effort brought the United States to within two States of calling a Constitution Convention. History will repeat itself if this effort to call for a Balanced Budget Amendment comes to full fruits! We must not promote anything that will be used to bring about a ConCon!
Every Balanced Budget Amendment I have ever read contains a number of additional fatal flaws.
First of all, each version of the amendment allows deficit spending based upon agreement of (in most instances) a 60% approval of both houses of congress (the theory this will receive support under is that this will allow a wartime deficit budget if needed). With this stipulation sixty senators and 261 congressmen may approve a deficit budget. Because most senators and congressmen support the unconstitutional idea of buying votes back home by delivering largess out of the public treasury to their constituents, it is not hard to see how even in non wartime circumstances (if the nation ever experiences a time when we are not at war) most budget votes easily attain the 60% threshold (the practice of adding additional expenditures to buy the votes of reluctant congressmen will continue at an even greater rate than it has in the past). So, we can see that unless representatives are willing to keep their actions within constitutional bounds most budgets will exceed the available funds, the require threshold of votes will be attained, and the result will be further deficits in spite of the Balanced Budget Amendment.
And, if the Balanced Budget Amendment is in place, and when the 60% deficit-allowing threshold is not attainable, but the majority still want to spend the money they feel they need to spend (usually for items and issues not constitutionally allowed, but for such items as entitlement programs, stimulus packages, etc. and which they think are “important” for them to get re-elected), they will wring their hands in impotent despair and bemoan the fact that the Constitution now requires the budget to be balanced, therefore (since these desired items are so critically important and the majority of congress agrees to the importance, but they cannot muster the 60%) they will be required to raise taxes to cover the expenses. Even those who prefer a tax increase to a budget deficit will at some point reach the breaking point where they will no longer be able to sustain themselves because the government has devoured their entire living (“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.” —Declaration of Independence)
In addition, it would be a miracle if the national leadership did not regularly resort to spending “off budget” (which is currently a common practice for “important” expenditures that they do not want to have calculated in the national debt for various reasons).
Today’s politicians have buried the Nation in debt. They have done this by ignoring the constitutional limits of their power, acting as though they have power to tax and spend for any whim that strikes them. They tax trillions of hard-earned dollars each year from the citizens of this land, only to spend hundreds of billions (and even trillions) more each year than they collect. Sadly, most of the spending is not authorized by the United States Constitution.
The solution is a return to the constraints of power on the federal government which exist within the United States Constitution. The problem is not with the Constitution. The Constitution is not flawed. It does not need to be changed. The problem is that we have stopped applying the Constitution. We do not have to amend the Constitution to solve this problem, and we do not have to risk a ConCon to bring things back into proper order. The solution is to begin again to abide within the constraints so carefully defined within the plain English words of the United States Constitution. James Madison stated that the powers of the national government were “few and well defined.” Perhaps, when the people of the Nation again understand that fact, the Nation’s leadership will be compelled to abide by their oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
8. How should tariffs be used? How do you define economic protectionism, and do you support it?
Article I, Section 8, clause 1 of the United States Constitution delegates to Congress the authority to collect “…Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debt and provide for the common Defense…” In Federalist Paper Number 45, James Madison indicated that the primary source of these revenues for performing the responsibilities of the national government would be import taxes collected as foreign goods were brought into this country. That is what tariffs are to be use for:
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.” (James Madison, Federalist No. 45)
Article I, section 8, clause 3 of the United States Constitution specifically states that “Congress shall…regulate commerce with foreign nations.”
Article VI, clause 3 of the United States Constitution specifically states: “The Senators and Representatives…shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.”
In light of the fact that the individual members of Congress have sworn by their oath of office to abide within the bounds established within the Constitution of the United States, the members of Congress are required by their oath of office to uphold the sovereignty and independence of the United States, and act within their duty as assigned within the Constitution.
The United States Constitution directs that the United States Congress is the body that is to regulate commerce with foreign nations. While constantly ignored today, constitutional protocol dictates that authority delegated to a legislative body cannot be “re-delegated” by that body.
Constitutional protocol was well understood by those who founded this nation, and they knew that the authority which was assigned in the Constitution could not legally be delegated to another entity (foreign or domestic). The founders had diligently studied the works of John Locke. John Locke was emphatic in the matter of delegating constitutionally-mandated authority:
“The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands, for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others. The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, ‘We will submit and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms,’ nobody else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can they be bound by any laws but such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen and authorized to make laws for them.” (John Locke, Second Essay Concerning Civil Government)
St. George Tucker, one of the preeminent constitutional scholars of the American founding era agreed with that position, stating:
. . .a delegated authority cannot be transferred to another to exercise. (Tucker, View of the Constitution of the United States Pg. 219 )
In light of this, it is the sole responsibility of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations. Congress cannot constitutionally delegate that responsibility to any other organization, especially international bureaucracies that were not elected by the citizens of the United States!
In violation of this critically important principle, on numerous occasions Congress has unconstitutionally voted to delegate this power to international organizations. In recent years, by their actions in this area, Congress and the Executive branch have consistently and methodically subverted the sovereignty of the United States. By their efforts, power to regulate our commerce with foreign nations has been passed to such organizations as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Other so-called “free trade” agreements are pending and aggressively being fostered, such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), and the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), which would effectively erase the borders between the United States and Mexico and Canada. To add insult to injury, the United States generally provides the bulk of financial resources to these organizations, and has only one vote in these decidedly anti-American forums.
Approval of these agreements by our national leadership has allowed international non-elected bureaucracies to dictate numerous economic and domestic policies of the United States in a manner which should be solely the prerogative of the United States. Additionally, these agreements eliminate U.S. import fees which were Constitutionally authorized as a revenue source to fund the Nation’s legal activities; and as this revenue source is eliminated, additional burdens are placed upon the backs of American taxpayers, either through additional debt, or through higher internal taxes.
In spite of this reduction of U.S. tariffs, these agreements are not about free trade. They are about managed trade. Trade managed not by Congress as mandated by Article I Section 8 clause 3 of the United States Constitution, but trade managed by supranational unelected bodies of bureaucrats which will never have their actions questioned by an electorate that can unseat them from their pompous appointments.
Of even greater concern is the demonstrable fact that these types of agreements lead, ultimately, to merger into regional governments which subvert national sovereignty. These agreements have far less to do with free trade between nations, and far more to do with subverting the sovereignty of the United States to a globalist organization that does not uphold the principles vouched safe by the United States Constitution
Just as the European Common Market has metastasized into a supranational regional government which dictates economic and domestic policy to the European nations which have joined it, these agreements are precursors to a regional arrangement which will ultimately subvert and destroy our inspired Constitution. As testimony of this, we have the European outcome unfolding right before our eyes, as well as the experience our own nation has had with subversive rulings from both NAFTA and WTO. We are foolish to think that these historical facts will not replicate themselves if we follow the exact path which brought about the European Union (EU).
At the beginning of the American Revolution, the great patriot Patrick Henry stated: “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.” [Patrick Henry, speech to the Virginia Convention, Richmond, Virginia, March 23, 1775.—William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, 9th ed., pp. 138-39 (1836, reprinted 1970). Language altered to first person.]
In The Tempest, William Shakespeare observed “…what’s past is prologue,” meaning the experience of the past is but an introduction to that which is to come. [Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act 2, Scene 1]
And in volume one of The Life of Reason we read: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it…. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in whom instinct has learned nothing from experience.” [George Santayana, The Life of Reason, vol. 1, chapter 12, p. 284 (1905).]
In light of this wisdom, our concerns about these sovereignty-destroying agreements are well-founded. We may learn valuable lessons from the glaring example of the history of the European Union, and from that example we may learn how regional governments which subvert national governments are born. We also have the painful history of many examples of where the actions taken under authority of NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO have undermined the ability of the United States to act independently and to our national benefit. We must learn from these experiences. And wisdom would dictate that we modify our path to return to one that is both Constitutionally sound, and also protective of our national interests.
It is imperative that the members of the United States Congress (NOT the executive, or any other branch or department) stand forth and exercise the most vigorous efforts possible within the proper authority of their respective Offices to wrest from the clutches of foreign entities this critically important power, and restore their Constitutional responsibility to regulate commerce with foreign nations.
The United States must again begin to enter into bi-lateral agreements (not multi-national agreements as has become our national practice) negotiated with the best interests of this nation in mind. Tariffs should be uniformly applied and we must cease to grant so-called “most favored nation” status to other nations. Many paragraphs could be cited from George Washington’s monumental “Farewell Address” regarding his advise about foreign relations and trade, but perhaps the following must suffice for now:
“Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand, neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the Government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view that it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that by such acceptance it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favors, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.” (Washington’s Farewell Address, UNITED STATES, September 17, 1796. Messages and Papers of the Presidents, George Washington, Vol 1, Pg. 215)