Most who come here regularly know that I have taken a somewhat unpopular stance on the NSA scandal.
Maybe it is my former work for the CIA…
Just kidding – I’ve never worked for the CIA and if I told you about things that I may or may not have done when I was not employed by Langley, I would have to kill you – or get someone to do it since I don’t know about those things. At all.
My position on the NSA was that based on what we knew at the time, the conduct was legal – and please understand that I make a strong distinction between legality and constitutionality. I was not arguing that it was right for them to do, what I was arguing was that the laws and the system of governance that we all are part of does allow it. This is what happens when we legislate in broad sweeping strokes and don’t fill in the blanks before we do. Just like “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” and “Obamacare” mean that we “have to pass it to see what is in it”, the USA Patriot Act is the Republican version of legislation gone wild.
The NSA is doing what it is not because it is right, they are doing it because they can – and we are letting them.
I also took that position for another reason – to illustrate the hypocrisy in our political system – and it is present in this argument in bushel baskets full.
Some of the strongest detractors of the NSA programs are the greatest supporters of Obamacare even though the information shared through Obamacare will be far more extensive and personal than just a phone number – or for that matter – the content of a conversation. The chart below from FreedomWorks shows that your health, financial and employment data will be washed through no fewer than 6 federal departments and agencies and before it is fed back to the states…and it will all come together in one repository at the Federal Data Services Hub.
But this isn’t a bashing of Obamacare…what it is though, is an illustration of how the words that are written into legislation are implemented and how we cede power to invisible bureaucrats and government agencies when they take the words of a Patriot Act or a Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act and start kneading them into dough.
It also illustrates that if one opposed a thing because of its methods and yet supports another thing utilizing the same methods, it cannot be the methods that are objectionable, and the issue must be the thing.
So, I wonder how it is that liberals in our political system can support Obamacare and its personal intrusions and not support the NSA with PRISM and others? Could it be that it is not the data gathering that bothers them so much because it goes to something deeper – a pathological opposition to the intel community, the military and national defense perhaps? Does it say something that our last strong national defense Democrat president was Lyndon Johnson and every Republican President since Reagan has had military service while no Democrat has?
Why are we not seeing Democrats on the Capitol steps decrying both the intrusive nature of Obamacare alongside the NSA? Why is is unthinkably immoral to capture people’s phone data for the purpose of national security and it isn’t to prescribe them a little Viagra?
Why in the Hell would the assumption be that an agency that practices the tradecraft of secrets, i.e. the NSA, be less trustworthy than a handful of agencies that are proven to leak like a sieve?
Perhaps it is like immigration “reform”, the idea that we shouldn’t be able to protect our borders because there shouldn’t be borders?
Could it be because there are no Democrats and only petit Marxists wrapping themselves in the American flag for cover?
James Madison said:
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. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
If the NSA programs are to be taken down, then for exactly the same reasons Obamacare must be taken down.
These two issues are shining examples of why the federal government should be pruned to its enumerated powers in the Constitution.
Too big to fail is too big to live.
67 thoughts on “Keeping Secrets: Too Big To Fail Is Too Big To Live”
Utah: good point made
“The NSA is doing what it is not because it is right, they are doing it because they can – and we are letting them.”
I agree completely.
“My position on the NSA was that based on what we knew at the time, the conduct was legal – and please understand that I make a strong distinction between legality and constitutionality. I was not arguing that it was right for them to do, what I was arguing was that they laws and the system of governance that we all are part of, does allow it.”
Something is not “LEGAL” because it is allowed to be done. That was my point in arguing against you. I was hoping you were “playing devil’s advocate” and I kept at it. Individual American’s, must realize, they can think individually, and when enough American’s realize, “this ain’t right”, then they can get together and mandate change peacefully. Instead of giving up with “well, it’s legal”.
“Some of the strongest detractors of the NSA programs are the greatest supporters of Obamacare even though the information shared through Obamacare will be far more extensive and personal than just a phone number – or for that matter – the content of a conversation. The chart below from FreedomWorks shows that your health, financial and employment data will be washed through no fewer than 6 federal departments and agencies and before it is fed back to the states…and it will all come together in one repository at the Federal Data Services Hub.”
This is the primary reason I was against government controlling 1/6 of the nation’s economy, and in the process, every individual’s very life.
Some of it was hyperbole, I guess I should have made a finer distinction.
Please note that I always stated that what I was saying was based on what we knew it that point in time. I was very careful to state that based on what we had a that point appeared to comply with standing law and that until the governing law had been challenged, it would remain so. There have been bits and pieces of the Patriot Act upheld and some declared unconstitutional but this hasn’t been touched as far as I know. The FISA courts were established in 1978 and most of the related challenges to it have been denied.
What I was trying to convey was this: say that the state passed a law that says every house has to be blue. I paint mine Royal blue, my neighbor paints his Carolina blue – did either one of us break the law – not under the current law that just says “blue” because both colors are shades of blue. 6 months later, the rest of my neighborhood paint their houses Carolina blue and decide that they don’t like mine and sue me to make me change it?
Do they have a legal leg to stand on – no, they don’t.
Later that year, they go to the state and define shades of blue that are defined in the law. If we are bound by a doctrine of ex-post facto, then they can’t make me change it and even though the current law says something different, I’m still legal – but if I choose to repaint, I have to comply with the changed law.
This was my argument with respect to the NSA to this point.
I do agree that if I drive 75 in a 65 zone, I have broken the law and just because I can do it does not make it “legal” – but I also am not penalized unless and until I am caught doing it by an officer of the law with jurisdiction. You may see me doing it and know that I broke the law but you have no authority to enforce it.
This was part two of the point – until we have evidence that the law was controverted, the assumption is that the behavior is legal. There is a legal standard that known behavior must be matched against to determine which side it falls on…and there must be an entity with jurisdiction there to enforce it. This is why I argues that an individual can’t say “this is unconstitutional” and march up to the building and shut it down. An individual citizen does not have jurisdiction to do so.
My last point was that there is no standard and therefore has been no comparison to that standard. We can assume all we want about the constitutionality but the fact remains is that it has been so secretive that we don’t know everything, nor do we know what legal foundation it was built on – or even if that legal construction was constitutional.
I get it, I do but – claiming that all of this violated the 4th Amendment without understanding what shades of blue are allowed seemed a bit premature. The first step would be to get it stopped via injunction and then work on the constitutionality through a system with the authority to stop, modify or approve it – SCOTUS and/or Congress.
As soon as we admit we are seeing “shades,” we should recognize we have already crossed the line of right and wrong.
This is all I am going to say because I see we are not that far apart in principle: we just differ on supporting and relying on the system as it is now as a means of getting us to where we wish to go. 🙂
But isn’t that always the case?
Without description, what does the Constitutional admonition to “provide for the common defense” mean?
Under a broad interpretation, the NSA program fits because ostensibly, this was what their objective is/was. We are advocating a much narrower definition that limits the activity…
What happens when one provision of the Constitution is in tension with another?
“specific language”, trumps, or overrules the “general language”
“provide for the common defense”
is overruled by
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The key being again, a definition. Is third party data that the individual does not own (i.e. phone numbers) constitute “their persons, houses, papers, and effects”, and does the simple act of acquiring this data meet the definition of a “unreasonable search and seizure”.
I understand that specific overrules general but terms like “unreasonable and in this case, “search” and “seizure”, are general terms themselves and are open to definition. Is it unreasonable for me to get the same information electronically that you throw away in your printed phone bill? Is there an expectation of privacy for who you call? Or is it the amount of data that is “unreasonable”?
Again – DO NOT INTERPRET ANY OF MY STATEMENTS AS SUPPORT OR AGREEMENT WITH THIS INTRUSION. I am only pointing out the path by which such an endpoint can be achieved.
I don’t like any of this but I also don’t know where the balance point is. Are we complaining because they did it or because they did it in secret? How much can the government keep secret and how much do they have to disclose? Who decides?
AS to another point……
Collecting Data on and / or Spying on 320 MILLION Peaceful Citizens to try and stop a few thousand or a few hundred FOREIGN terrorists does not constitute in any way shape or form…”Providing for the Common Defence”.
Even some in the Low-info crowd get that.
Where does the constitution conflict with itself? I’ve yet to see this — except in cases where people are trying to alter the understanding of its original construction — which is why they told us the constitution cannot be severed from the Declaration. If they are kept together, the Declaration provides the guidance necessary to prevent “Internationale conflicts” in the constitutions provisions.
Your last two paragraphs are somewhat contradictory…… IMHO the second to last does “Get it”. The Last Paragraph decontructs the prior and basically says….Whatever the “Law-makers” pass is what’s legal and we have have to abide by their laws even when they go against the intention and letter of the Constitution. Your position elevates Constitutional “Interpretation” over the actual Constitution.
In essence what you argue is ..”the Rule of Law” means following what the Elite Lawmakers tells us to follow based on their Passage of Laws……rather than “the Rule of Law” meaning folowing the very simple recepts in the Constitution. Your remendy for “ill-thought” or UnConstitutional Laws is to follow the prescriptions that the “Rulemakers/Lawmakers” also dictate…..which is decades of Legal wrangling in THEIR courts……..while living a life stripped of the Basic rights quaranteed in the Constitution……all based as I said on this almost religious elevation to the Concept of …”interpretation”.
When they pass their “Law”…registering all Guns……when they pass their Law “interpreting” that since the Info collected by the “Legally” passed ObamaCare already exists in the Federal DataBase, then there is no reason EVERY Federal Agency cannot access and “Interpret” our personal info for that agency’s work in ..”Protecting the Homeland”, When they then “pass a Law” which says that anyone who has ever posted on a site that questions the State’s Holy mission of “protecting the Homeland”, is against the HomeLand and therefore forfiets their right to own Firearms…..
To be consistant you will then have to stand with ..”The Lawmakers” ……. who have been and are now “interpreting” the Constitution into Non-existance……Legally. So your reliance on SCOTUS and or Congress for solution and remedy becomes a Circular excercise were we end up with both of them ultimately saying……..”What we do is “Legal”…and therefore is Constitutional…..because we (SCOTUS and Congress) are the deciders.
The “rule of law” means that for a representative republic to stand, there must be a respect for legislation duly passed by the people we elect, that is all.
To do less is anarchy.
We argue for the absence of laws and to hew to the limited scope of the Constitution but we also must remember that absence of law is as dangerous as too much.
If you truly respect the Constitution, you must also have faith that the corrective methods in it are sufficient for liberty loving citizens to use to curb it.
Don, without getting argumentative…again, the usurpation of any constitution is a risk in a representative democracy. I have pointed out, as many have before me that tyranny can be voted in. This is a consequence of every government that assumed the right to decide what is best for the people rather than the people deciding what is best for themselves.
Tyranny may not be explicitly on the ballot but it’s minions are. Modern liberals are nothing but the reincarnation of the Federalists of early America with a Marxist twist thrown in and we are where we are because they cater to the most base of the instincts of man – sloth, envy, covetousness, greed and a self-serving lust for power over others. Tyranny of the majority, as de Tocqueville called it.
I’m with government as I am with guns, it isn’t the actual system of government that is the issue, it it the people who are using it. When you have 93 million people who don’t vote, that means that there are a full third of voters who don’t care about the Constitution…or evidently their own future. Apathy will kill freedom as quickly as war.
I don’t respect “government” but I do respect the institution of government. In these scandals, I see a historic opportunity to recapture the spirit of the Anti-Federalists.
With all due respect Utah….
Constitutional Government is NOT about Faith….it is about lines drawn in the sand, with respect to Certain unalienable rights. It is not about giving up your rights to a Political Class that you then give “Faith” to. It is about those Representatives acting Constitutionally to protect your rights..especially wrt the Laws envisioned and encacted.
You say you don’t want to be argumentative then accuse me ( or rhetorically imply) that I advocate Anarchy…..when in fact it is the opposite that I am arguing, I am arguing indeed for following the Law Constitutionally…..the Representatives that you say I should have “Faith” in have in fact acted with Anarchy …. enacting laws which benefit them and the Large Monied and/or Special interest groups that support them. Not enforcing the Borders as is the Legitimate Job of the Federal Government…..not increasing the Border security as was passed as one of those “hallowed Laws” you reference. and the Inner sanctum of the Legal Priestly Class…the SCOTUS ruling that Obama doesn’t have to comply with certain laws ( duly passeed Legally) are but 3 examples of the quasi-Legal Anarchy that is the reality today….and that you seemingly support…..on “Faith”.
I say seemingly because as Joe mentioned You do seem to intersect on Principle ……… the system is Broken … and it is Just this reliance and “Faith” on the efficacy of our Legal-Justice system which lies at the heart of America’s deep disfunction…..Cultural Rot lies close as does Apathy as you mention……………..I wonder if some of the apathy is actually disallusionment born of the Futility people see wrt the Larger Legal system though. As I said when the LegalGate-keepers make the rules, enforce the rules and tie up remedy for decades….
The Constitution seems but a vague outline to them …as people are forced to live the Rules put on them by the Washington Elites who we have been tasked to have “Faith” in.
I stated no such thing. I said a government without respect for the law is anarchy – and I also similarly never stated that you should faith in the representatives elected to government, I said that we must have faith in the tools that the Constitution provides us, the institution of government, key to the tools are something that happens by law every 2, 4 and 6 years – elections.
You speak of this as if there is no hope and as if there is no opportunity to change it and we must assume a position of principled defeat…or else revolution becomes the only answer.
If I may ask you sir: how did those representatives get in to a position to commit this offense to the Constitution?
They were elected by the people…and reelected and reelected yet again. Apparently what we have IS the will of the majority, tyrannical or not, as there are many who continue to be elected, indicating a comfort at large with the general direction of the country. Whether that “comfort” is a result of machinations, apathy or simple ignorance, or a combination thereof, is a matter of debate.
How do we break this chain of mischief and disregard for the Constitution? Revolt? Secession? Demonstration? Voting?
Will we not have to elect people who share our views to effect a course correction – and isn’t that utilizing the Constitutional tools before us?
Constitutional interpretation never has been as unitary or as discrete as is contemporarily supposed. In the immediate aftermath of its ratification, the Federalists under Adams and Hamilton sought to position the government as separate and apart from the people – passing the Alien and Sedition Act was an example – in Jefferson’s presidency, he was so deferential to the rights of the citizen that he did not assume that he had the authority to consummate the Louisiana Purchase without a Constitutional amendment…a grand total of 5 years separated these two actions.
Many of them got in by voter Fraud ( Obama, Al Frankin )…..Others Lied ( Rubio, Ryan, Ayotte and etc ) .
All of your suggestions for breaking this Chain of lying, deceit and Criminality are valid except voting it seems….. I would ad Education ( which Sites like RNL go a long way in promoting ). Voting I think is the LEAST effective, because I agree with Levin….the Solution does not seem to be here. The System is Broken and as he says “Washington will NOT cure itself.”
I don’t really understand what you mean by principled defeat. Our principles aren’t defeated….they are being ignored and purposefully undermined. ( The Rubio Amnesty Bill as a Prime example)……..But perhaps I misunderstand what you’re getting at.
By principled defeat, I meant that we hold to our principles while the majority acts counter to them.
Well the LowInfo voters act counter, and the Press act Counter and the Hollywood and other Media and Virtually the Entire Federal Government act counter to Constitutional Principles….. But I think the Majority are Disallusioned NOT acting counter……the Voting Solution has beaten it out of them…….Young and Older.
This is mixed with people having a Muddled knowledge of what their rights are……If they were Told the Truth about their rights and how Redistributive policies actually affect them PERSONALLY on a Daily basis…. they would move toward recapturing their/our Rights and Heritage as a Republic…………This would involve Demontrations, some revolt, insistance on States Rights ( nullification ) with strong overtures to Secession…………THEN Voting will have success as a remedy.
IF, those “no information” voters, become knowledgeable and 1) vote in accordance with American principles, (like the 4th amendment’s plain language), and 2) those who have given up, because the system is so broken, do the same;
We have an entirely new ballgame with a new roster.
Then there is a chance for a grass roots revival, ala’ tea party, before “the government” crushed them.
Average individuals are awakening. THE “news sources” have been “silenced”. Can the Old Media, remain quiet in the face of “silence” forever? The “old media” is the “the walking dead” and will die, untless they begin to do their duty. “the people” already believe “worst case scenario” as reported by the Modern Pamphleteers like us. It does not take a rocket scientist understand and realize “worst case scenario”.
I have NO faith in the NO Info voters….almost no faith in the LOW info voters…..
It is the 93 million that Utah referenced that i was thinking of….applying your scenario and observations to THAT 93 million then yes !!!
The NO /LOW info voters are lost, hopeless and / or Hostile ….ain’t gonna happen there…. ( A combination of the Obama-phone Lady, Union members and those in Academia which is almost ALL college Kids)…..But does NOT include all College-age kids ( outside of College)….they have the potential to see the light.
All we “need” is the 65% who think government should reduce spending…
And ….Obama only won with less than 5 million votes….of which many were Fraudulent in Ohio, Pennsylvania and in Minnesota and Illinois.
And Obama got 3,600,000 LESS votes in 2012 than in 2008….factoring the Democrat vote fraud the real count of folks abandoning Obama was probably closer to 6 million. Romney got about 1 million more than McCain even though he was the Uber-RINO…..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2008
If there had been a real Constitutional Conservative and if the Obama Adminitration’s IRS intimidation of the Tea Party had been STOPPED…..Obama wouldn’t have won……without the IRS Profile / Targeting of TP and Conservative groups…Obama still would’ve lost.
THIS is why they want the AMNESTY BILL !!!
“The “rule of law” means that for a representative republic to stand, there must be a respect for legislation duly passed by the people we elect, that is all.”
I want to ask you something. How does your understanding of the rule of law deal with contradictory laws? What do you do when the law says it can infringe on your right to own and bear a firearm when the ultimate law says the government — ALL government — has no authority to do so?
If you go all the way to the Supreme Court and they say the laws are “constitutional” when the plain language of the Constitution CLEARLY says they are not, and the example and words of the founders stand with the constitutional language, then what do you do?
You see, to me, the rule of law means that there has to be a set understanding of the law, and the Court has NO choice in applying that understanding. In fact, there is NO authority ANYWHERE in our system allowing a Court to make law or direct ANY govt. action other than to strike down a law and send it back to the legislature. So, TO ME, when the Court goes outside this framework, it violates the law. So how can the rule of law involve adhering to illegal activity?
I just do not understand how you can rationalize following illegal activities until those breaking the law agree to stop as being the same as following the rule of law. TO ME, this is like saying “I was just following orders.” That didn’t work so well for Goering, did it? This is the source of our dispute, Utah. I hope — this time — I have managed to state it more clearly, because I sure don’t want to return to that mess again.
Beautifully Stated Joe !
It didn’t work out for the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals ( those not Nazi that is ) nor the Political Prisoners in Germany either !!
Thanks, Don, but PLEASE understand, I am seeking to understand the reasoning here and NOT to rekindle the fuss. Hope it shows this time.
You guys are just as bad as the left with this accusation.
You both wish for a simple answer that doesn’t exist or work outside theory. If we elect people who respect the Constitution, we will get laws that respect it – but it will not change the fact that there will always be unique situations that require some call to be made one way or the other.
You’re right Utah….
It’s all our fault for electing People ….Rubio…Ryan…Ayotte….the every so silly McCain….McConnell….McCarthy….Flake……Dean Heller……Portman…..Deb Fischer…..and on and on …… all who Campaigned on respecting the Constitution…….
You’re right we deserve being Screwed out of our rights because they lied…..we should have known….it’s all our fault…..what’s the saying ?
We deserve the Gov’t we elect…..even if they are liars and Cheats ….it is all our fault. You win….the Lawyers are right and We the People are Wrong. You wore me down ……….You win.
And your clear oversimplification of the situation is what frustrates me.
Who decides what the “set meaning” of a law is?
Using your example, it is unconstitutional to pass a law that convicted felons, can’t own a gun? How about the insane? Minor children or an elderly parson with Alzheimers?
How about this: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”
Does that mean it is unconstitutional to prohibit the printing of troop movements during a war or passing libel laws? What if a new religion crops up that sacrifices babies (I guess we already have one of those – liberalism)?
Who determines what is “illegal” and based on what standard? The Constitution doesn’t say anything about old people, the insane or criminals. It says nothing about troop movements or libel and it sure doesn’t say anything about killing babies for religious purposes, so where does that come from?
I agree with you about “making law” because that is what every judge and lawyer seeks to do..and they can because there are an infinite number of human interactions that can be brought before a court.
Look at us – we are two reasonable people who disagree about this…and here’s the thing – if we strictly adhere to the Constitution’s language, the only thing that changes is that this all moves to the state level where you could have 50 sets of laws, all made to suit the states and tested in their judicial systems.
And here is where you step into reductio.
How is it — to make your case — you have to continuously ignore my stress on the need to keep the Constitution connected to the ideals and principles in the Declaration? Do that, and your objections that involve one person harming another (i.e. infringing on their natural rights) makes it clear that those objections are unconstitutional because they violate natural rights.
But take the case of the felon owning a gun. Did that felon pay their debt to society? If so, then what right does society have to continue to deny the felon his/her natural rights? This would be a violation of the ideals and principles set forth in the Declaration, which is what the Constitution is meant to protect. Hence, your objections are a clear illustration of men “rationalizing” us further down the slippery slope toward tyranny because they substituted their own judgment in place of the ideal for which they were supposed to be aiming.
Utah, you are defending a line of reasoning on this issue that opens a door no free people should ever open. The founders explained exactly what they understood the Constitution to allow and prohibit. It is all found in the Federalists, Anti-Federalists, Congressional records during the ratification, Madison’s notes on the 2nd Convention, the early Court rulings and their letters to each other. It is to the understanding upon which they settled that the law must be pinned unless and until it is ratified. If this is not the case, then the reductio example you gavce of a religion sacrificing babies will be established by judicial decree. In fact, it already has been. We call it ABORTION! But, had the court stuck to the founders’ admonishments, then Roe v Wade would have been over the moment the justices pointed to “All men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among them are the right to life…” The Constitution was meant to protect that right from creation, but we have severed the constitution from the declaration, “interpreted” the law on its head and — now — we do have such a religion, and its sacrament is abortion.
NOTE; At NO TIME did I say or mean to imply that you are defending, advocating or supporting any example or illustration I used. All I have said is that you are opening a door that should remain chained closed. But it hasn’t, and we are currently suffering because of it. I just do not see how more of the same can be the answer to what caused all of this in the first place.
It is no more reductio ad absurdum than the invocation of Hitler and the Jews.
I missed the part where I advocated “more of the same”, I advocated change using the very Constitutional principles that are already in place…and I never advocated going along with laws that are clearly wrong, i.e Hitler and the Jews.
So your solution is to disobey any law that you determine to be unconstitutional?
I’m opening a door? Son, you are living in a fantasy world if you believe that the Constitution has ever been interpreted the way you claim. Perhaps it was intended to be but it never has been and the Declaration has never been used in the way you claim. It is listed as “Organic Law” along with the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance but it has never been used as a vehicle to define rights and duties.
If you want to blame someone for “opening a door”, you are going to have to go back to the appointment of John Marshall as Chief Justice in 1801.
And your proposition that the Founders considered the Constitution was the be all and end all is ridiculous.It is law but it is also a set of guiding principles.
The Framers understood that they were entrusting to future generations the responsibility to draw upon their intelligence, judgment, and experience to give concrete meaning to these broad principles over time.
Why did they include a provision to amend the Constitution if they didn’t envision that it would be needed? How about how it was used to eliminate slavery? That wasn’t part of the original Constitution or the Bill of Rights? Is that absurd, too?
But I guess everything that has happened since 1790 that doesn’t agree with you was wrong as well.
Perhaps it is best that I stop commenting on this subject because we clearly disagree and further discussion is pointless.
“Who decides what the “set meaning” of a law is? ”
Is this NOT the rationale behind the notion of relativism we both profess to hate so much? PLEASE, brother, see that I am NOT accusing you of anything. I am just asking you to look a little deeper: not at the specifics of the issue, but at the principle underlying it.
If the law cannot be set, then how do I even know what these words mean,…or that 2+2 does NOT =5?
Joe: the “law” can only be set in the most general of terms, which is what the Constitution does. We try to be consistent in principal as it applies to an infinite number of different situations.
When we try to apply those principles to each applicable situation, out of that comes a specific legal point that is recognized as law and future cases are based on that outcome because if it was judged to be a just outcome, then it has validity in perpetuity…theoretically. There are millions of decisions that are made in court each year and maybe 30-40 get to SCOTUS during a term, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that this mishmash yields sub-optimal results.
I can’t dispute that the law has taken off in all different directions but that is the result of over 200 years of legislation and court decisions spanning an infinite amount of changes in culture, economics, demographics and international entanglements.
The 30 or so years after ratification were based on a blank slate and everything after that has been influenced, mostly by the Federalist influence of the Marshall Court. Marshall himself authored over 500 opinions during his tenure.
I don’t know what to say. It is what it is because it started out the way it did. I can’t change it and your desire for it to be something different won’t change it either.
The more I read and study, the more I understand that things were a hell of a lot more complicated than a lot of history books and conventional wisdom make it seem. For a full 25 years after the ratification of the Constitution, there was a clear threat of war with Britain and the possibility of national bankruptcy. There was the Whiskey Rebellion in 1791 where Washington had to send 13,000 troops to western Pennsylvania to quell a revolt on an excise tax on whiskey.
The point being that the Constitution was in flux between the Jeffersonian Republicans and the Federalists of Washington and Hamilton. These were men who knew what original intent was because they wrote it – and yet they still fought over what the Constitution meant. There was no “set” law.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave………
By the pricking of my thumbs……………
Those just popped into my mind after looking at your graph.
I saw this as a Comment on another site in regards to the NSA….NDAA and yet another agency created from the NDAA to now ‘Analyze’ all the data collected from the e-mails, Social sites, Google, Yahoo and our Meta-data and YES our recorded phone conversations……
“….Dismantling and Eliminating the Constitution ….one Supreme Court Ruling at a Time….”.
I really think this succinctly says it all !!
The “rule of law” means that for a representative republic to stand, there must be a respect for legislation duly passed by the people we elect, that is all.
To do less is anarchy.”
…. When “the government” follows the “rule of law” and can point to the “foundational document” assented to by “the people” for permission to take whatever action “the government” takes, then the government abides by “rule of law”. Otherwise the government is ignoring the rule of law, Our Constitution. If the government wishes to assume powers not specifically listed in the Constitution, then in order to abide by the “rule of law”, the Agreement, must be amended and ratified in accordance with article 5.
Yep. Now how do we attack it?
As I just posted here:
“We “the people”, we Americans, must educate ourselves to the legitimate and true foundations of our society. We must educate our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and finally our Politicians at every single instance, place and gathering.
At every opportunity we must demand the “rulers” be held accountable to “the people”, our forefathers, and our progeny. Require the government show us in writing, within the founding authority, where the government is allowed to do whatever is at issue.
We Know and Understand you, the government, is acting illegally and we will confound you publicly, as protected by our 1st Amendment, at every opportunity.
Maybe, just maybe, when “warriors” for “the People” know “the People” will support them, more warriors for liberty will take one step forward to help and support “the People” and their Constitution.
We have a friend from Florida who does just that: https://www.facebook.com/krisanne.hall?hc_location=stream
I’m not on Facebook……someone should tell her to Ditch Marco Rubio.
If his bill passes all of our 1st Amendment rights will be worth Nothing in so far as effecting any Governmental change …. you realize that right ??
I have had mixed feelings about Krisanne. She has a tendency to view constitutional issues from the same perspective as most lawyers — which is wrongly (IMHO). The law belongs to the people, NOT the self-appointed elite. If not, then it either is not the law, or we are not a free and self-governing people.
At the beginning of our nation, the common citizen was allowed to challenge the Constitutionality of our Laws without regard to your being injured by the law you question. Later the courts instituted the idea that you had to have been injured by the law you challenged to bring a suit against the law you question. Is this loss of access to the courts, a loss of one of the tools the Constitution granted the common citizen, to question the legislation imposed on us by an over reaching government? Would this access to the courts again, give the common citizen a way to question such poorly thought out laws as being discussed here.
triper57 <– 😉
Another idea that the founders had about the Constitution, and since it is the first law of the land, I assume they meant all laws to follow this idea. The law should be written in the language understood by the common citizen, not language that had hidden meanings or could only be read by a political and legal elite. Maybe we need to remind our overlords now in power of this idea.
The Point is they aren’t listening to us any more. We no longer HAVE a representative Government….which makes a lot of this all Academic.
That is the Lesson of A Paul Ryan….a Marco Rubio and a John Boehner and even Mitch McConnell.
We can’t even muster a serious secession movement so there is no possibility of a rebellion.
The only avenue I can see is for the people to start electing regular citizens outside the two major parties.
How many pages is the Constitution? If things are as complicated as you want us to believe them to be, then what did the founders leave out?
How many pages was the bill that created the interstate highway system? (I think it was like 26 or 28) If things are so complicated, how did they manage to cover such an enormous undertaking with less than 30 pages?
Mt friend, the PRINCIPLES are ALWAYS easy. Show me a complicated commandment. It is living within them that is hard. I can show you MANY complications of the laws created by the Pharisees to get around the restrictions of the commandments, as can you show me.
I say this with love, brother — because I no longer wish to fight with you. But I feel that what you see as complication may be an attempt to look for a solution you should not be seeking. If you look inward and decide I am wrong, then so be it. You know I am not going to move from where I stand on this, and that leaves us with a huge problem: how are we going to ever work together when we “simpletons” insist on obedience to eternal principle in a world where so many are looking to man’s solutions for the problems man caused?
Who says we can’t lead a serious secession movement? Has anyone stoped their objecting long enough to start talking seriously about it and to start making a forceful, reasoned case for such a movement?
This is one of the areas where the system depends on all of us objecting to such talk because “we are serious” and the secessionists are “kooks.” Well, guess what, boys and girls? The elite of our day would have called the founders kooks and conspiracy theorists, too. So, would you ignore Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and Henry if they were alive today?
You best think twice before you answer that because, if you bothered to listen, their voices ARE with us today — and that is EXACTLY how they are being treated….and by some of the very readers of this blog, no less. 😦
Kooks, Joe, then you believe that you can overcome the stigma, where those of us who believe that Mr O is not a Natural Born Citizen, because both parents were not American Citizens at his birth, could not?
I only know this: those who refuse to accept the truth can never hope to be the answer to our problems.
In this case, that of Obama NOT being qualified to be President, it is doubly relevant because this is actually a matter of settled law where we have explanation explaining that Obama is NOT a natural born citizen. yet, some who claim that they are supporting the rule of law are among the very voices trying to isolate and ridicule those of us who are REALLY trying to stand for the truth and rule of law.
How can anyone who dismisses the law because it is not politically expedient then claim to be for the law? I guess I’ll never understand because I do not understand those who can accept and live with inconsistency. 😦
Sometimes the simplest way to solve this problem, removal of the man from the office, by constitutional means (impeachment or through the Courts), is the also the most logical and easiest to accomplish. And then work on setting the Constitution back where it belongs, and our Government in its proper place.
Hey, set the natural born citizen issue aside. I have repeatedly proven Obama is guilty of treason. See how willing people are to enforce that law?
When people admit they will pick and chose which laws they support, then turn and claim they are supporting the law, they contradict themselves. That makes it impossible for the rational to stand with them — because they admit to being irrational and proud of it.
Courts have joined the leviathon
You think the courts can not be swayed. Just why does the Court not take up the question of Constitutional Natural Born Citizenship?
Scalia intimated of the cause when he stated that it took four Justices to get it before the Court. I think we now know who the fourth should have been but was not. Could they be afraid of the backlash if they actually had to make the determination he was not qualified? Can they be swayed? In the words of another crazy, You Betcha. But it will take a very real Majority to step forward.
Utah, are you suggesting that we start a third party? Really? Sounds like a good start to me. But when i suggested it about five years ago I was laughed out of most sites.
Triper – I’ve never been a big third party fan because it is so hard to build at a national level…I’ve supported it at the state and local level – but to expect to have one spring, fully formed is probably not a good hope. They haven’t really done well at the national level in the past and seem to only serve to help elect Democrats.
But I don’t see why there can’t be a “coalition” candidate that has support from disaffected Republicans, libertarians, Tea Partiers, classic liberals and other small factions like the Constitution Party couldn’t be successful. There is one thing that ties all of them together and it is respect for, and a duty to, the Constitution.
So, Utah, We sit here and do nothing? Shoot, Shit, or get off the pot. It has been five years now of just talking. If you think you can elect national officials from this coalition, what makes you think you can not start a party from this same group. As far as power, in either the House or Senate all you have to do is elect enough to to keep either party from gaining 50% plus 1 majority. They then have to give up some of their power to actually appoint the committee leaderships. The true conservatives in the House already cause the Republican leadership indigestion.
When I first started following you guys, I thought you were different from most of the other sites. Guess I was wrong. All talk no action.
Well, Triper, I’m sorry to disappoint you but living out of the country for nearly three years and then moving to a new state has made being politically active a bit difficult.
I am trying to figure out where we are going to end up living because I do want to run for office, maybe in 2016. I’m setting up neighborhood meetings so that people with like minds can meet debate and my wife is working with me, using her years as a teacher, to develop a kit that anyone can use to start their own meetings.
I write letters to the editor and have been published in several papers and am talking about a regular column in a couple of local papers. I used to write for two blogs, this one and Polipundit – but it got too time consuming while living abroad.
Joe has a really good website at The Road To Concord…
What would you like us to do? I’m game to entertain ideas.
I think without People Actively Physically Marching on Washington …. the country is probably lost. These Elites aren’t going to stop unless they are stopped…….It is that simple.
If this kind of Civil Rights action where to take place and was sustained …a Viable 3rd party would probably grow organically from this kind of Citizen Movement…………..Without it we are too separated and fractured.
I called 42 Senators the moring of this Sham Corker Amendment……with detailed info on why the 1200 page bill was bad I started at 7 AM…..And I KNOW I wasn’t the only one……..BUT It was the same as the Bailout under Bush, 87% were VOCALLY against the Bush / Paulson Bailout…..it went through anyway. We all know it was Croney Capitalism……Bailout of the Billionaires……the Tea Party was formed ….had HUGE success then was Killed by IRS Intimidation and by Liars and Trojan Horses Candidates like Rubio, Flake, Ayotte, Ryan even Rand Paul is now on a Chamber of Commerce add now touting the Amnesty Bill………………………..
The System is Broken….Completely Broken…..Voting and Representative Congress has been effectively neutralized………..As Levin says the Immigration Bill is NOW…………NOW….not the next election cycle……..And the Courts have been co-opted like Texas Comment above has noted.
Without large PHYSICAL protest and ongoing Demonstrations…..our Calls…..letters…..even elections will be useless………..they will only be effective again AFTER the Populace has risen………….So I encourage you to think of forming Marches for the Constitution…..Marches for our Civil Rights…..that we can build upon………………Levin is right 10’s of Millions of us have No Representation……….The Battle is NOW and it is this Amnesty Bill.
Very true. In fact, several of the founders told us that, if the laws were too “complicated” or too numerous for the people to know and understand them all, THEN THEY WERE NOT LAW…because they had become the tyrannical enemy of the people One of these founders was Jefferson, another was Madison and still another…HAMILTON! Now, when HAMILTON can get an issue such as this correct, what does it say about ALL of us that we cannot???
Yeah but Hamilton had all them 10 dollar bills with his Picture on it stashed away……Jus’sayin…. ;- ).
Smooth sailing and friendly ports …. Take Care, Don
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I was told to read this thread, as it showed that the mighty Rio Norte Line was falling apart at the seams.
Actually, what i found was a very engaging discussion on a seminal subject, with little of the usual partisan garbage. That is hard to find on the Huffington Post,
The Constitution is a relatively short document, so B thinks its tenets should be understandable to the average citizen, and there should be no quarrel as to the meaning of each provision therein. If that were true, the Supreme Court would be unnecessary.
However, the Constitution was created by a group of people with different viewpoints and philosophies, as evidenced by the two series of editorials( the Federalist and the anti-Federalist Papers) that were circulated during the time of its ratification. So, the Constitution has been as much a source of discord as it has been a unifying and inspirational work.
One thing I have noticed in this discussion, and others along the same lines; some of you want to argue for the Constitution as it was on the day it was signed. Sorry, but the amendments to the document are just as valid as the New Testament is to the Bible. One can no more forget that Senators are directly elected nowadays than a Christian can ignore the Resurrection.
I have to side with Utah; if people can pick and choose which laws to follow sans consequence, then we have anarchy. Civil disobedience is one way to challenge laws, but the civil disobedient must be prepared to face the consequences of his actions or inaction. This is the way of Gandhi and Thoreau, they risked imprisonment for following their conscience instead of the law.
Utah, I don’t have to like you to think that you would be a good representative; you are a real nuts-and-bolts kinda guy, and I think you could keep your inner fiery revolutionary under control.
Not quite. The Constitution should be easy for anyone who knows and understand NATURAL LAW to understand and apply. As for the reason for the court: that is to do as Utah has RIGHTLY pointed out in quoting the founders — to act as a neutral 3rd Party in disputes that are governed by the enumerated powers and other defined provisions of the Constitution. That does NOT necessarily mean “interpreting” the Constitution, but also incorporates the matter of deciding the facts of the dispute and then APPLYING the Constitution to them to arrive at a determination.
Once again, a deliberate misstatement of reality. The Federalist/Anti-Federalists was an exchange that determined the understanding of the Constitution. As this exchange was completed BEFORE the States ratified the Constitution, then the determinations that were reached in this exchange is assumed to be the understanding that was ratified. This applies to Madison’s notes on the 2nd Constitutional Convention, as well. The record is available to us, so it is not for us to change those original understandings through “interpretation.” If we want to change them, we AMEND THE CONSTITUTION!
True, but then, the way the Constitution is applied today would then be UNCONSTITUTIONAL — and by YOUR OWN STATEMENT! Precedence and “interpretation” are NOT Constitutional means of changing or even deciding constitutional issues. As you say, that requires an amendment.
Which means you just argued against yourself when you say you side with Utah.
But then, with you, that should have been expected. Now, Utah, this should ring some bells for you. Melfamy and SBJ are BOTH defending your line of reasoning. 🙂
Actually, the constitutionality is not the point. Rather the question is whether each of us has the right to disobey a law that we find to be unconstitutional.
Yes, and the state has the obligation to arrest lawbreakers. If the lawbreaker is a state official, then we have a conundrum, as he most likely signed a statement swearing to uphold the Constitution. I guess the cops and perps can hash it out before any arrests are made, but keeping the arrest and the trial separate are best effected by not having a constitutional argument every time a policeman wants to run a license plate.
So, if they pass a law saying “All Melafamy’s must submit to being the slave of the nearest conservative,” you are saying you have no “right” to disobey?
OK, well, there you go, conservatives: all you need to do now is pass a law making liberals into slaves and — this time when they claim it is wrong — you can use their own words to “prove” they have no grounds on which to object.
If they passed a law stating that all Joes must refrain from the use of hyperbole, you would be incapable of obeying it.
Your claim of hyperbole MIGHT have merit — had this nation not already made it LEGAL to own slaves and murder Mormons and Germans.
[because I know you do not understand logic, Melfamy, I just refuted your objection. 😉 ]
Point taken, let’s just hope that 1) the lower courts don’t make it legal to own me, and 2) we don’t go backwards over a hundred years to find such uncommon examples ever again