What Did Thomas Jefferson Know About the Internet?

constitution_coverI want to thank everyone for yet another spirited debate yesterday as we discussed the treatment of Christians in today’s America. For the most part everyone was respectful and stuck to the facts rather than going on a religious rant. We were fortunate to have many different views to learn from. I am always awed by the different perspectives and my ability to learn from them all. In particular I want to welcome Chris back because he made some great points today. I imagine he will be able to contribute to tonight’s topic as well.  The debates there were good and one particular one stuck out as I perused the discussions. So I wanted to cover it further tonight. That topic would be the Constitution and its interpretation….

The Constitution is the basis for America as we know it. So a quick history is in order, if nothing else to establish a timeline.:

  • The Declaration of Independence, approved on July 4, 1776, proclaimed and justified the separation of 13 American colonies from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the establishment of a new nation, the United States of America. This founding document includes the criteria by which to determine whether or not a government is good and thereby worthy of support by people living under its authority. The first criterion is that governments are created by the people for the primary purpose of guaranteeing or protecting their God-given rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The second criterion is that a government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, the people. If a bad government is impervious to improvement in terms of the two criteria, then the people have a right to revolution to change it, which is what Americans did through their War of Independence, 1775-1783.
  • The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was the first attempt at a national government. The Articles’ ratification (proposed in 1777) was completed in 1781. Under the Articles the states retained sovereignty over all governmental functions not specifically relinquished to the central government. The Articles set the rules for operations of the “United States” confederation. The confederation was capable of making war, negotiating diplomatic agreements, and resolving issues regarding the western territories.The Articles were created out of a perceived need to have “a plan of confederacy for securing the freedom, sovereignty, and independence of the United States.” A group of reformers, known as federalists, felt that the Articles lacked the necessary provisions for a sufficiently effective government. The key criticism by those who favored a more powerful central state (i.e. the federalists) was that the government lacked taxing authority; it had to request funds from the states. Also various federalist factions wanted a government that could impose uniform tariffs, give land grants, and assume responsibility for unpaid state war debts. Their opponents, on the other hand, considered these limits on government power to be necessary and good. Another criticism of the Articles was that they did not strike the right balance between large and small states in the legislative decision making process. Due to its one-state, one-vote plank, the larger states were expected to contribute more but had only one vote.
  • scene_at_the_signing_of_the_constitution_of_the_united_statesThe Constitution — written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and implemented in 1789 — is a frame of government for the United States that has continued in effect until today. This founding document includes several ideas on government compatible with the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution, for example, provides the rule of law and limited government by consent of the governed to “secure the blessings of liberty” and other natural rights of individuals. Constitutional principles such as separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism are means to constitutional or limited government by which despotism is prevented and the rights of individuals are protected.
  • The Federalist Papers were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to advocate ratification of the 1787 Constitution. Thomas Jefferson proclaimed this work “the best commentary on the principles of government which was ever written.” From 1789 until today, lawyers, judges, politicians, and scholars have used the Federalist Papers to inform their thinking about the great ideas on government in the U.S. Constitution.
  • The Bill of Rights, proposed by Congress in 1789 and ratified by the states in 1791. The great ideas of civil liberties and due process of law are the core of the Bill of Rights. In concert with the main body of the Constitution, Amendments 1-10 exemplify the criteria for good government proclaimed in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. The 1787 Constitution and 1791 Bill of Rights provide a framework for government based on popular consent, which is limited by the rule of law in order to guarantee the rights of everyone in the polity.

So that is how it went down. Now the discussion yesterday seemed to be rooted in whether the Constitution should be interpreted or how it should be done (with the exception of some semantic arguing, BF). I will make one side of the argument here for the sake of starting the discussion. But I have not made up my mind one way or the other just yet. I had it made up yesterday, but some of the comments and challenges that I found were logical and thought out so I am considering them as I try to decide on my answer. My hope is that furthering the conversation here will allow those of you inclined to do so to have more room to debate and thus help me decide where I should fall.

constitution_quill_penAttempting to take the Constitution at its literal interpretation is lunacy at best. There is a whole fraction of the legal field based in constitutional law for a reason. The Constitution is fairly vague on several key points. While some other points seem not vague at all, there are still misinterpretations of even the most straightforward phrases. For example, something as straightforward as the second amendment seems to get bogged down in its reasoning. 

The second amendment states A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. It is only 27 words so it shouldn’t be tough to “interpret”. I see that second part being key. the right of the people to do X shall not be infringed. It doesn’t say shall not be infringed up until the point of automatic weapons or tanks. It says shall not be infringed, period. To me that means zero restriction on the type or amount of guns that are allowed to be kept and beared. Yet the Supreme Court and the government have found an entirely different set of meanings, and the ability to ban automatic weapons and place other restrictions on weapons have been upheld in court as constitutionally permitted. All of the sudden interpretation doesn’t seem so easy.

We have to live in the real world here. There are so many things that are in today’s world that the founders never could have imagined. The internet comes to mind. It is a whole world of information and technology that even our grandparents couldn’t have imagined. So the founders did not address the internet when writing the Constitution. I looked through the Federalist papers for mention of the internet. No Dice. I did a google search for Thomas Jefferson quotes that mention the internet. No Dice. Thomas Jefferson did not know shit about the internet. 

And that is just one complex reality of today’s world that was not accounted for. There are so many others that I could list them all day. So could you. And that is why we cannot take the Constitution as literal today. There are simply too many things that the founders could not foresee. And no matter how brilliant they were, they could not possibly have built a document in the late 18th Century that would provide guidance for every issue in the 21st Century. It just wasn’t possible. No one could have done that, except maybe Nostradamus. 

So they built the Constitution as a living document that had the ability to be changed and modified as the times changed and modified our world. However, the process to change the Constitution is not an easy one. If it were, it would look a lot different today I would think. Therefore we are left with only one choice, and that is to attempt to discern what how the founders would have interpreted today’s world by analyzing how they interpreted the world that was there when they created it. 

And this is where I think that documents such as the Federalists papers come into play. I understand that the Federalist papers are not technically a founding document to guide our government. They are more just thoughts on government and even Thomas Jefferson claimed that they were the best commentary on the principles of government ever written. So I think it is important that we look to the Federalist papers in order to discern what the framers were thinking when they wrote the Constitution. 

The Articles of Confederation were the first attempt at creating a Federal entity that bonded the states together under a single banner. It can tell us a lot about the frame of mind in those times. And more specifically, there were specific reasons why the Articles of Confederation were abandoned in favor of the Constitution. The framers saw the inherent flaws contained and made changed to the Constitution that attempted to reverse the mistakes they made in the Articles. There is much to be learned here, if only in seeing what parts of the Articles of Confederation were specifically NOT brought into the Constitution. 

burning-constitutionAnd for the purpose of this argument we will simply include the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. For all intensive purposed they are simply some additions to the Constitution that were not addressed in the first pass. So for the purpose of interpretation the Constitution is inherently in need of the Federalist papers and the Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence as additional footnotes to help us understand the mindset of the framers and what they meant for the Constitution to be. Without understanding the context, it is difficult at best, impossible at worst, to use the Constitution to be the complete “Idiot’s Guide to Government” that we assume it to be.

I also think that it is important to understand that we cannot look to the Constitution as the end all, be all to thinking in terms of government. It was meant to set the course for government action to serve the people. Suggesting change to the document is not sacrilege. These are not the words of Gods who were never to be questioned again in history. The framers certainly didn’t see themselves that way and I think that we fall into a bad trap when we see them as infallible.

I would imagine that Jefferson would welcome open discussion on changing the document where the people deem necessary. Because the alternative to this is that we attempt to leave it as it is, claiming its perfection, while government shows us how imperfect it is in stopping their tyranny. The alternative is that we cling to it right up until there is a revolution and we have to write a new one. And I don’t think that is what the framers intended for us to do. 

Remember my premise when it comes to government. Both sides of the aisle condemn each other while patting each other on the back in the back rooms. Because by polarizing us from one another they have made it increasingly difficult to amend the Constitution in order to control them. The people have always had the ability to change the Constitution. That was the intent. With the polarization of Americans, getting the consensus necessary for change is impossible. And don’t think the government doesn’t prefer it that way. 

hillary-changing-rulesThat doesn’t mean that I favor radical change to the Constitution. It does mean that perhaps small changes need ot be made now and then to an imperfect document. It doesn’t mean that we change to create economic or social equality. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we change the spirit of the document. The inalienable rights granted to man by their creator (whichever creator that may be) are not subject to change. The form of government is not subject to change. The only way to do that is complete revolution and dismantling the Constitution altogether. Only socialists and anarchists would favor such a move. 

So that leads me to my conclusion. The Constitution not only must be open to interpretation, but must also be open to change when needed. Failure to attempt to interpret the Constitution in order to understand its application in a world that in no way resembles the world of the late 18th century is akin to attempting to go back to those times. Interpretation is not only the right move, but a necessary one. And all of the information we can find on the framers and writers of the Constitution are tools that will help us to better understand their frame of mind and their intentions in crafting it. 

The Constitution and the experiment that is the United States of America are the best attempts at freedom that we have seen in history. And that must be preserved at all costs. When it comes to interpretation I do say that it must always err on the side of freedom and liberty. That is the one aspect of the framer’s mindset that I am 99% sure of. So interpret away, but never forget the underlying principle of what the document was meant to do: Protect the individual freedoms of the people which the government is meant to serve. Nothing more and nothing less. 

That is the stance that I am presenting tonight. As I said, I am unsure at this point of what my actual stance is in terms of interpreting the Constitution, but presenting one side of the argument is a good starting point for the discussion. So tell me where I am wrong….

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Comments

  1. USW,

    As usual, a very good post and subject matter. Having said that, however . . . . .

    You already know my position on how I would cure the ills that this country now is afflicted with, so I shall leave that out of this response.

    To tweak the present Bill of Rights, I would only add a little tidbit that I taught my children when I taught them how to drive;

    “WITH THESE RIGHTS COMES AN AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY!” (The kids learned that driving was not a right but a priveledge, I changed the wording to fit this post).

    The responsibility of the weapons owner is to know how and when to use and safely handle that weapon.

    The responsibility of those who exercise free speech is to think of the outcome of what they deem as free speech will perhaps cause.

    Everyone can see where this is going so I will not bore you all with the whole thing. You all can carry this thought on if you wish, all I wanted to do here is to give an idea on modernization of the thoughts behind the bill of rights.

    As far as the federalist papers are concerned, I have not read them all, nor any of them in their entirety. This could be said of most of the average American of this day and age. I was one who left school early and did not obtain my HS diploma until about the age of 33. Very early on in my military career I was chided by a very good friend who was an immigrant from the Budapest uprising of the mid 1950’s. He actually knew more about the Constitution that we both had sworn to uphold and protect from all enemies without and within, with our lives if necessary. And he wasn’t even born here, nor had he any plans on leaving his home country ever in his life. He and his father only came here to stay alive. That caused me to begin to frequent the base library quite a bit.

    This could be another reason that this country is in such bad shape today. I recently found out that when asked, most HS graduates couldn’t point out their own state capitol on a map. They just don’t care. They just don’t care about who is in office either for the most part. And that is a sad thing.

    So there you have it. Get people to realize that only they have the means to preserve and protect their rights, that is their AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY that should be pointed out in the Constitution’s Bill Of Rights.

    Get people involved in their government and keep them involved and you will have the problem licked.

    Just my humble opinion.

    • GA, you are absolutely correct. People need to get involved. That is the only way a message can be sent to the governing body that the current course needs to be altered, if that is the way you feel (I do).

      It is my feeling that for so long so many people felt that there was nothing they could do that a sense of apathy has permeated the population. It is not right but that is my belief. That said, I am seeing more and more that people are realizing that becoming involved is what it will take. The Tea Parties are a good example. It is high time that a RESPONSIBLE public stand up and have their voices heard.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        Apathy, is what I have seen too. This is what allowed Obama. That and MSM leading the masses around by the nose. We didn’t need another Bush, but we sure as the sun rises didn’t need Obama!

        • Esom, totally concur. Ever feel like this is hanging on a wall somewhere up at Congress:

        • Ray Hawkins says:

          Apathy allowed Obama? You make him sound like a herpes infection. I could not disagree more. You need not like President Obama’s message or campaign to consider that the multiple methods used to get his message out were very successful. Main stream media? Do we consider Facebook or the 1000s of volunteers main stream media?

          • esomhillgazette says:

            Apathy Ray allowed Obama to be elected because too many people were too APATHETIC to get off their butt and VOTE.He might indeed have been elected anyway.

            But considering all the whining I hear now and the fact that when I ask all those same if they voted, I get a negative answer, I am forced to consider apathy before the election one of the causes.

            Remember only about 40% of the Nation voted to begin with.

            Having said that though, I will readily agree that His multiple methods of getting his message out WERE very successful. With those who bothered to vote!

            • TexasChem says:

              Yeah with an organization like ACORN on your team you could just have them pay homeless people to vote, multiple times or even have dead folks voting too…

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                Voter manipulation is an issue on both sides in every election. In 2004 it was the Republicans in Ohio. If Acorn broke the law people should have been arrested.

          • I agree that apathy elected Obama, but not because too few people voted. That may or may not have changed the outcome. Apathy elected Obama because too many people are too apathetic to fix their own problems and they want the easy way out, which is government fixing the problems for them. Apathy also makes people fall into this trap because apathy has kept them from researching history and economics and understanding that we are making mistakes already made in history, and that the solutions being proposed are bad ideas. There is not enough questioning of sources. Apathy has lead to ignorance, and it has lead to escapism and passing the buck of responsibility. Those are the things that made Obama and his ilk popular. A bunch of apathetic ignorant fools passing the buck of responsibility who happen to have enough motivation to actually push a button on voting day are still the product of apathy. If all of our citizens had been motivated enough to vote, I doubt the outcome would have been different. We need to have our citizens motivated to educate themselves and put in the work necessary for electing proper representation.

            • esomhillgazette says:

              I agree with that totally Jon. Those who don’t study the mistakes of History are doomed to repeat them. No Quotation Marks because that’s not exact. But still true.

            • USWeapon says:

              Very well put Jon

          • Disgusted in Cali says:

            Apathy elected him all right. I work about a block from the welfare office here and 80% of the cars in the parking lot have “Obama 08” stickers on them! However, there are 1 or 2 that now have “I’m Sorry” written on them. Maybe there are a few people who are finally getting a clue

          • SFC Dick says:

            Nah, I gotta go with Ray on this one. President Obama had no cake walk into the white house because of apathy. He

            1. Overcame the Hillster ( and the other non sanctioned fighters arrayed against him)
            2. Beat Mccain, whom at the very least pulled in all the anti-Obama votes ( yes, Obama pulled the anti-Bush votes)

            I believe to couch this whole thing as an apathy win really misses the point. There is a considerable movement out there ( I won’t argue whether it is a true majority, majority of voters etc) that wants what President Obama is giving. To think otherwise might lull one into thinking one has a chance to change things, next time, at the polls….Oh, snap!

            I’m feelin’ sassy. i just aplied online for a job that I’m emenently qualified for, but posses absolutely no letters in recognition of the fact, plus, I submitted an ap to this very same agency 2 years ago where I finished up ( upon seeing how weak my credentials appear) with…” I know my resume looks light and you probably think I’m no where near qualified even to submit an application for employment, if so might I remind you that you guys recruited Aldrich Ames and Harold Nicholson”

            “All enlisted men are stupid, but they are cunning and deceitful and bear considerable watching.”

            • USWeapon says:

              I think that perhaps I must side with what Ray and SFC are saying here. I think Jon made a great point about apathy in terms of wanting government to fix out problems. However, to disregard the growing movement in this country towards the way that Obama supporters are feeling is a big mistake.

              I am often quick to point out that apathy in the American voter is present and dangerous. But let us also not forget all of the other bitching that we do about all the steps the left has taken to set up for this moment. We talk about indoctrination in our school systems, hard work by a biased media, etc. These are not the actions of apathy, they are a result of massive mobilization and influence. If those who don’t agree with the current course of government allow themselves to believe that apathy is the root of everything, we are setting ourselves up for a much tougher road than we think.

          • Ray have you ever researched Presiden Barry Soetoro/aka Barack Obamas history?What his influences have been?His mentors?His financial backers? Here be my guest follow this link…oh and the Library of Congress pulls info from this site so it is a legitimate site.

            http://www.theobamafile.com/

            • Ray Hawkins says:

              C’mon TexasChem – this is getting ridiculous.

              First: Did you actually read the link that you sent me? Quit being lazy and actually try and read what you gleefully quote out to others. In this link – http://www.theobamafile.com/LibraryOfCongress.html it is stated that:

              “The United States Library of Congress has selected your Web site for inclusion in its historic collections of Internet materials related to the Presidential Transition during a Time of Crises. The Library of Congress preserves the Nation’s cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library’s traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including Web sites.”

              The Library of Congress is merely trying to serve as a conduit for this information. Somehow you are reading something entirely different from this and for some reason thinking I am not going to call you out on it?

              Second: I don’t proclaim to be a professional political analyst, I only did my undergrad work in it almost 20 years ago, but http://www.obamafile.com is clearly one of the most lopsided non objective sites about President Obama one can find. Mind you, I have spent much of the last 3+ years in post-graduate work so I am required in that type of work to find objective sources for my work. I know we’re not required to be objective here, but I’d die from salt poisoning if I were to try and read the entirety of that garbage.

              Third: Stop with the Barry Soetoro nonsense and try and show a little respect. This man you deride is your President – President Barack Obama. I have this weird gut feeling that someone (Secret Service? FBI? OMB?)had to verify his identity, not only because it is constitutionally required but security clearances would require it as well. You don’t like him that much then renounce your citizenship – the Karl Rovery is getting old.

              Fourth: If you want my Red Rider 8 track I’ll gladly send it to you. I never liked Tom Cochrane anyway.

              Later,
              Ray

              • Ray, that’s a good point about respect for the office. I do wish however that it cut both ways for many of the left out there. I didn’t agree with a lot that Bush did, but the way he was trashed was inexcusable. I don’t like much of what Obama is doing either, but I still think he’s a good and well-meaning man, and he is our leader. His inexperience is showing.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                I have been guilty in the past of not respecting the office 🙂

              • TexasChem says:

                So I suppose you think I am some redneck from Texas that sits around watching Deliverance all day long?

                Ever notice how once Liberals are faced with facts and truth they respond emotionally and with a vehemant attitude to try to belittle someone to take away any meaning from that persons post?

                Lets debate this subject Ray, shall we?I wont try to belittle you although I think you may do that to yourself with your own comments. 🙂

                FIRST:The Library of Congress does pull data from the site and the point I was making is that if it was important enough for them to pull data from, “it will hold water” as we say in my neck of the woods.The data collected there are collected facts about the POTUS.Period.That said I admit that the author has a biased attitude against the POTUS but seriously can you blame the author for feeling biased after actually learning this mans history?Evidently you must not feel that Obama has done anything wrong in his past and you agree wholeheartedly with his doctrines and political motives.That causes me to question your character in general as to what your values, morals and ethics are.

                SECOND:Calling facts garbage is akin to calling education useless.
                Since you have done undergrad work in political science it is mind boggling to me that you would still consider him a viable POTUS without being able to ascertain his current citizenship status, his college thesis “we both know how much light that would shed upon his political beliefs dont we?”his religious background,his political mentors,family background etc…These are qualities that the public has a right to know in order to make a choice when voting for a candidate and the MMS in the US did not hardly cover any of it except for sugar coated versions.

                THIRD:I respect the office of POTUS I just don’t respect the man holding that office at this time.I don’t believe relying on your gut feelings is a good way to know whether something is true or not.Not only has no long record birth certificate ever been released to the public but Obama has spent tens of thousands keeping his public record hidden away.The short form released from Hawaii can be obtained from anyone born anywhere in the world.

                FOURTH:I would read Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky
                if I were you Ray and then take a look around you at the communities in America.Then I would look at Obamas political agenda and what he has done since gaining office.What he has stated his intentions to be.Facts Ray not gut feeling are what should determine the truth.

                These facts I am about to post are all it takes for me to not want him as POTUS simply because he misinterprets my 2nd amendment rights.1st amendment as well but this post is getting too long so I will wait untill you have had a chance to respond before we go further with that course.

                “”I am not in favor of concealed weapons,” Obama told the Pittsburgh Tribune. “I think that creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could (get shot during) altercations.”

                These remarks break from Obama’s previous moderate rhetoric on gun control.

                While campaigning in Idaho in February, Obama promised, “I have no intention of taking away folks’ guns.”

                Obama’s presidential campaign has worked to assure uneasy gun owners that he believes the Constitution protects their rights and that he doesn’t want to take away their guns.

                But before he became a national political figure, he sat on the board of the Joyce Foundation, a Chicago-based foundation that doled out at least nine grants totaling nearly $2.7 million to groups that advocated the opposite positions.

                The foundation funded legal scholarship advancing the theory that the Second Amendment does not protect individual gun owners’ rights, as well as two groups that advocated handgun bans. And it paid to support a book called “Every Handgun Is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.”

                Anyways Ray his history proves he twists the truth, will say whatever it takes to get his way and cares for his personal beliefs and agenda more than he does for the American Peoples.
                Where I come from we call people like that liars.I can post multiple times where he has said one thing and done the exact opposite meanwhile fulfilling his agenda, Need I do that to prove my point?

                FIFTH:Don’t bother sending me your copy of Red Rider I happen to love the song “Lunatic Fringe” and have multiple copies.

                I’ll send ya my Chrome, Smoke & BBQ cd so ya can listen to “Im bad, I’m nationwide.” by ZZ Top.May make ya feel better…

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                TexasChem – sorry if I came across strong – hopefully this will explain why:

                1. As I have deepened more of my learning (this blog has been part of it) – I do not take initial statements or stories or websites on face value. Its not that I think everyone but me is full of shit, its simply that if the source is clearly not objective, not independent, not grounded in fact, or has a political agenda behind it I will dismiss it if it cannot show me original sourced material to support any conclusions drawn. As has been discussed exhaustively, facts can also be interpreted in such a way that benefits an agenda.

                Here is a very specific example of what I mean. In ‘The Obama File” under the link for Obamawife we find the following “fact”:

                “In a February 2008 interview with Newsweek, Michelle revealed that she got into Princeton … not on the strength of her grades, which she admits were unexceptional, but thanks to her brother Craig, a star athlete and gifted student who preceded her to the school. As a ‘legacy’ candidate and a beneficiary of affirmative action, Michelle Obama was granted an opportunity that others more accomplished were denied.” (source: http://www.theobamafile.com/ObamaWife.htm).

                Now, on the surface, this may read to as fact. Heck, when I first read it I thought “did she really say ‘thanks to her brother Craig, a star athlete and gifted student who preceded her to the school’ or is that bullshit?” You should notice that the website author conveniently dropped the ending quotation mark somewhere, that should have ended her supposed actual statement. Investigating further – the website author provides a link, the highlighted word “interview” which in theory should lead me to the actual interview transcript or report thereof. Nope. It leads me to the website “Discoverthenetworks.org” at http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2311 which within less than five minutes reveals itself as another far right website. You see – here is where I call bullshit and I stop searching for Michelle Obama supposedly said or did not say. If I am going to be objective, then I cannot use a site such as The Obama File alone to develop my conclusions. Does that make sense? If the web site author can show me facts then ok, I’ll cut through the rhetoric and commentary and draw my own conclusions.

                As a final example – I often read Paul Krugman’s work in the NYT. He won the Nobel Prize in economics, is a Princeton professor, but is also unabashedly liberal. In his 4/10 op ed piece he draws upon a working paper published through the National Bureau of Economic Research by economists Thomas Phillippon and Ariell Reshef entitled “Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry, 1909-2006”. Since I suppose you could call me a moderate liberal, I could easily say “well Krugman is smarter than me so I should take his op ed piece and conclusions drawn from Phillippon Reshef as gospel”. Nope. No way TexasChem. I am interested enough in the issue to go obtain the document myself and read it (5 bucks hopefully well spent).

                2. Let’s talk Library of Congress – I’ve been there – it is much like any other library. My point was that the LoC is a conduit for that information. They are not endorsing it nor are they saying “we believe this to be fact because the website author says it is”. They are fulfilling an important and vital role in providing as many sides to something as they can. Perhaps there is someone else trying to figure out how they feel about President Obama – The Obama File may or may not help them do that.

                3. On my feelings toward President Obama – I am certain that the guy has done things wrong in his past. I dare suggest we have never in our history had a President or elected official that fit some concept of perfection. What is astonishing, but a clear result of how far the information age has come, is that a mere 30-60 days into his first term, he was being roasted mercilessly. I will always point to the Denny Green rant when he coached the Arizona Cardinals (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_N1OjGhIFc). I spent countless hours researching his record, I accounted for how Washington politics really works, I considered the intangibles he could bring to us and I wholeheartedly voted for him.

                4. The birth certificate non-issue – I guess this would rank right up there with the largest of conspiracies in all of recorded history eh? This is Jerry Fletcher at its best. For now, I guess I will remain one of the many who choses to remain in the dark. When the truth is revealed that President Obama is a Muslim, a foreigner, an alien or whatever I promise to go buy every copy of Catcher in the Rye and give to you. We are not going to agree on this one iota so there is not a point in arguing.

                As to the rest of it – we can forever have the mine is longer than yours back and forth about what politician lied about what. Those liars sit on both sides of the aisle – the good ones have perfected the art of how to use language and perception to shape how people view them. Did candidate Obama lie about some things or present things in different lights to shape how the general populace may feel? Yep. Did John McCain do the same thing? You bet. I’m not here to argue that and I will not be drawn into the tit for tat debate.

                Finally, I don’t know if you do sit around watching Deliverance all day. Personally, my copy of Deliverance sits right next to Brokeback Mountain which is next to Midnight Cowboy. I’m good on ZZ Top – sits on top of the rotation.

                FWIW – thanks for the Alinsky reference. I will read it so long as I don’t end up on a watch list. I get pretty paranoid about those things.

              • TexasChem says:

                touche’ !

    • esomhillgazette says:

      G.A.: Don’t you think it sad that most immigrants to this country (most of the time) are better and more fervent Patriots and more loyal to our Nation than some of the people who were born here and whose family have lived here for years? I knew a couple, and have seen and talked to more who think the way this Nation is turning away from their God given rights as Americans is shameful! I know a Mexican(former), excuse me, LATINO, right here in this town that is more of an American than Obama will ever be!

      • It is also worth noting, that from what I have seen, that most legal immigrants oppose amnesty to those illegal immigrants who the president seems hell bent on granting amnesty to…

        • esomhillgazette says:

          Of course Obama and the Dems want to grant Amnesty to the illegals in this country. That’s 11 Million votes for them. Gratitude can be a powerful thing can’t it?

          • Amnesty will eaqual a SSN# correct? A SSN# will then enable taxation of wages correct? I wonder how many illegals will go back home if/when that happens?

            • I think you have a point, if it isn’t free any longer, they may go back home. Once they have to start having Income taxes and Medicare and Social Security taxes deducted from the pay that they make they probably aren’t going to stick around.

            • Disgusted in Cali says:

              Not alot will leave. A bunch of them are working using forged documents so taxes are being deducted. They just don’t file taxes

            • USWeapon says:

              Dudes99,

              I tend to think not as many as people may think. Many of them came here for the opportunity to earn a living and improve their lives. If paying taxes is a part of that I expect that many will happily do so (at least as happily as the rest of us do, lol)

              • esomhillgazette says:

                Us: see my Comments above. I know some who would happily pay taxes, just to enjoy our life and freedoms.
                I have nothing at all against illegals. I have a problem with the govt not enforcing Immigration Law! Nothing wrong with trying to find a better life. Plenty wrong with using it for Political Gain!

              • USWeapon says:

                Agreed, I just often see a tendency to simply assume all illegals are shiftless and lazy and looking to cheat the system, which I think is a mistake. Obviously your comments say that you aren’t doing so, which I am glad to see. We must be careful to not allow the stereotypes to sway our opinions.

              • esomhillgazette says:

                Most of the Mexicans
                here work hard! The Guatemalans not so much.
                But overall,they are hard working.What really worries me is the Mex Mafia. They are becoming a serious problem here with the meth trade.

            • You are assuming that their employment will then go “on the books”. Somehow, I doubt it.

              • SFC Dick says:

                I absolutely believe they will get on the books. They, as illegals, have no choice now. They can not bitch about low wages, poor working conditions etc because to do so might show that they are illegal.

                Were they legal, and afforded all the legal bennifits of employment, they would demand higher (legal level) pay etc.

    • Robert C says:

      I Agree responsibility is everything. People must take responsibilty for thier own actions.

  2. The Constitution was framed by people from different walks of life.They certainly weren’t all lawyers and politicians.There were also soldiers,a minister,teachers,an inventor,merchants,a farmer,and doctors.They were simpler men from a simpler time.Nine different occupations,the same number that sit on the Supreme Court.

    I don’t believe these framers had a vision or an intention that their words would be interpreted by a group of lawyer/judges chosen by politicians that carefully screened their candidates for exactly the right qualifications to further the views held by their
    own political party,so as to be to the detriment of the opposition.I believe that the framers words and intentions were much simpler than the lawyer/politicians would have us believe.

    The document has held up well since 1776 and along with it’s companion documents and additions still serve we the people.The interpretations of the Constitution by the Supreme court have not served we the people as well,unfortunately.Perhaps we need a reexamination of the population of the Supreme Court with the aim of bringing it closer to the make-up of the origional framers.

    • esomhillgazette says:

      I have heard it said that it takes lawyers and former judges who are steeped in Law to make interpretations to the Constitution. Well, maybe at one time, that would have made sense. Maybe it still does. But I agree Ron, that qualifications for the Supreme Court have become so politicized taht it would be Laughable if it weren’t so disgusting. I think, but don’t know for sure, that maybe it would be better if the Supreme Court were elected by the people. Maybe even have term limits. I would be interested in what you think, as well as anyone else’s opinions.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        “maybe it would be better if the Supreme Court were elected by the people”

        Good old American narcissism.

        • What exactly do you mean by that? I understand what narcissism is, I don’t understand how that applies to the people electing Supreme Court judges.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            Americans have a tendency to want to express extreme narcissism when it comes to their elected officials (who know this and play to our shallowness). We want them to look, walk and talk like us because we perceive that if they were like the ‘everyman’ then things would not be so screwed up. Now, I know not everyone is the extreme narcissist, but there is an undercurrent on this board that seems to push that agenda under the “we the people” banner. Personally, I feel that I am fairly smart guy and sometimes I “get it”, however, I would be the narcissist if I thought the someone with my skills, knowledge and ability could step into President Obama’s shoes, or Secretary Geithner’s or whomever. Maybe when I am laying on the beach I may think that if Justice Roberts were made in my mold and thought like me then the Court would be much better off – that simply is not reality.

            • esomhillgazette says:

              How is it narcissism to want to vote? I myself would have no part of the Supreme Court. I would not have a flippin’ clue what I was doing.

              But voting on them would allow the people to have a say in who served on it. I think it would be better than a self serving Pres picking and a self serve Congress voting them in.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                We’re not even in the same time zone on this – you’re actually proving my point by stating that you’d be a better judge than the Congress who have far more resources to vet the candidates. You’re mistaken if you think that media outlets would cover judicial elections – then, as it does at the other levels, it just becomes a popularity contest.

              • esomhillgazette says:

                How is that different from now with the President’s picking?

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                Completely different – more access to information – people dedicated to vetting the person, researching them, experience with the process and needs/requirements.

              • esomhillgazette says:

                Comment dow a little way

              • SFC Dick says:

                See! See? anybody else see this.

                “Comment dow a little way”

                first it was Black Flagg who threw me because he switched it up and went to the “humor” card…WTF? Black Flagg has a sense of humor?.ok, i get it.

                then it was dude with his “bottom line…aclulegaleas” ? huh? I’m chasing my tail on google looking for what I thought was some reference to some old greek dude named aclutes…no, ACLU legal ease. I finally figured that one out.

                But this….”Comment dow a little way”
                WTF is this.

                I’m going to sleep now, I hope this is sorted out by morning.

                “All enlisted men are stupid, but they are cunning and deceitful and bear considerable watching.”

              • esomhillgazette says:

                Soooorry SFC Comment on 11. Out of room

              • Enlighten me! This was the most non-vetted candidate ever; in fact about the only information out there was his own two books written about himself! (or by Ayers or whoever actually wrote them).

                Sorry to go off topic USW – these comments are just way over the edge to not address.

              • You would make an excellent Supreme Court judge. Almost any of us would. There was a time not too long ago when you could stand for the bar without going to law school. We have become way too specialized. The tip off, for those who didn’t get it was when Clinton (a lawyer) said “It all depends what the meaning of is is.” Now that is about as stupid as it can get yet learned men, stroke their chins and go hmm, hmm’ over it as if the damn moron had said something profound.

                We, all of us here,. know the meaning of: “people” “militia”
                “establishment”
                “prohibited” and similar words yet our educated judges have problems with them. Worse, our fellow citizens defer to them. The whole damn thing is like the fable of “The Emperors New Clothes”. We are so sophisticated and afraid of looking foolish that we let these jerks get away with it.

              • esomhillgazette says:

                SK, Clinton was profound. Profoundly Stupid! LOL

            • I don’t know if I would personally be better qualified than Obama, but I don’t really recognize his personal list of acheivements as evidence that he is more qualified than me. A college education? So what, a lot of people have that, and a lot of them are idiots that I know I am smarter than. Time served on Capitol Hill? Considering the bastion of corruption that place has become, I would say his lack of experience there is more to his benefit than his experience. His eloquence? I am a fair speaker as well, and would be even better if much of my public address was written by an expert team and fed to me via teleprompter, or even given as a speech to follow. I think it is not so much that we would be better, but that we no longer consider the persons in position to be more qualified or better. Those with enough true experience are too corrupt. I would rather have incompetence with honesty than experienced corruption. Seriously, I would want my house guarded by a newbie security guard who is honest any day over an experienced thief. Is that narcisism? I don’t think so.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                You guys keep making my point for me. Use SecTreas as an example. Everyone bitched that we were putting a Wall Street guy in charge of watching other Wall Street guys – sort of the incestuous relationships we feel are ultimately screwing us. What is the alternative? Do I think my local tax accountant would qualify as the next SecTreas? Hell no. The job is far too complex and takes a deeper understanding than many people think. The narcissist in us wants to decompose it into simple problems that can be resolved with bootstrap answers or over-intellectualized diatribe that says to hell with that system, just make it a big happy free market economy with no controls. Cars have breaks to help them go faster as well as slow them down – which brings me, hopefully, to my final report. Much as the retort is violently McCarthyish here, we, as a Nation, are far too smart not to be able to implement reasonable controls and safeguards that can independently watch the chicken coop. I’m a computer security guy – I’ll take the automated controls no one can F with over the human eyes on glass any day – problem is that is seen by most of the folk here is a socialism and Orwellian versus progress. Small doses of Keynes are perfectly okay.

              • Ray,

                Are you sure you want to use the word Narcissism?

                From Wikipedia Online;

                Narcissism describes the trait of excessive self-love, based on self-image or ego.

                The term is derived from the Greek mythology of Narcissus. Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. As punishment, he was doomed to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus pined away and changed into the flower that bears his name, the narcissus.
                Narcissus by Caravaggio
                A Boeotian hero whose archaic myth was a cautionary tale warning boys against being cruel to their lovers.

                In psychology and psychiatry, excessive narcissism is recognized as a severe personality dysfunction or personality disorder. The terms narcissism, narcissistic, and narcissist are often used as pejoratives, denoting vanity, conceit, egotism or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others.

                Sigmund Freud believed that some narcissism is an essential part of all of us from birth and was the first to use the term in the reference to psychology.

                Andrew Morrison claims that, in adults, a reasonable amount of healthy narcissism allows the individual’s perception of his needs to be balanced in relation to others.

              • Thing is, it should never have become so complex. It is the overgrowth of government that created such ridiculously difficult positions to fill to start with. A return to a simpler and more strictly defined government will return us to a government whose positions can be filled by someone who actually wualifies as a representative.

            • Kristian says:

              Ok, I understand what you are saying and I agree with you. I would never presume to say that I am capable of doing their job. On the other hand, they haven’t really shown themselves to be all that capable. I understand the responsibilities of their jobs are tremendous and can honestly say that I wouldn’t want the respnsibility for myself. By the same token I have to question given their performance, how seriously do THEY take that responsibility? I think as far as the supreme court goes a little common sense when interpreting the constitution would go a long way. Am I wrong?

            • USWeapon says:

              This is an excellent point Ray. There are so many things out there that the government officials must do that people don’t understand. I have often tried to explain to people that to think Bush was stupid is to really not understand how difficult the job of President really is.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                USW – I have to agree – much as it may be easy for people like me to lob insults at President Bush, the job is incredibly complex. Just because he may sound stupid does not mean he is – President Clinton proved that.

    • The so called interpretations by the Supreme Court of the Constitution have become so politically slanted that there is no way the people can be served justly. Leaders have been so intent on appointing justices that will uphold the same ideals that they do that the entire system is a gigantic mess…If they would just do what they pledge to do and remain within the framework of the Constitution, perhaps We The People would be better served…

      • esomhillgazette says:

        The Supreme Court, AS A WHOLE, is not interested in the people. Nor is Congress. Or the President for that matter. They are only concerned with their Parties and their own agendas. Some only for themselves. As long as this is the case, there can BE no FAIR interpretation of the Contstitution.

        • Jessie G says:

          I would like to make a point going to the core of what freedom is suppose to be, and how it has been twisted to the point of no return. How do you define freedom? As an example, in this country, I would like to walk from sea to shining sea. Just take a walk. Now I can’t follow the interstates, because that is illegal, I can’t hitch a ride if I get tired, because that is illegal, I can’t just stop by the side of the road and sleep, because now I’m a vagrant, and that is illegal too. It’s just a walk through our “free” country. Food for thought.

          • Frustrating, isn’t it? I took four months off when I was a lad and drove around the country, sleeping in my truck. I got rousted out of a lot of places that didnt make sense to me, but I met enough good people to let me know the good was still out there.

  3. Good morning,
    Thanks, US, for the brief, yet informative lesson this morning. Should be a great discussion today. Will check in later as I have to go finish my taxes now……….

  4. A Blessed Good Friday to all!! Interpretation of historical documents is simply a part of human curiousity, why was it written, what does it mean, etc. As far as our Constitution goes, I feel that interpretation should be the sole responsibility “of the people”. I do not believe our elected officials are qualified for this, nor have they ever been. Our elected officials simply do not act in the best interest of our guaranteed freedoms written in our Constitution. Their interest is self fullfilling.

    I present an example of why elected officials are unqualified for the interpretation of our Constitution: Currently, there is a House Resolution in committee titled The Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 (HR 45) Rep Bobby Rush (D,Ill). The purpose of this act is to establish a nationwide system for PROHIBITING unlicensed gun ownership. In short, this law would require all Americans to purchase a license to own a handgun, or rifle with a removable magazine.
    Obviously, the author of this bill doesn’t understand the difference between “priviledge” and “RIGHT”. It is a priviledge to drive a vehicle on our nations raodways, this priviledge requires a drivers license, and the vehicle to be legally registered in ones state. In this case, Rep. Rush has interpreted the Second Amendment, and equates the Right to Bear Arms the same as driving a SUV, and wants to regulate the “RIGHT” the same way the “priveledge” is regulated. In my opinion, Rep Rush is not qualified to interpret our Constitution.

    G

  5. esomhillgazette says:

    I’ve got a feeling this is gonna be one good and heated debate today!!! I think I will go work for awhile and check in later to give my own comments.

  6. Weapon, if I read it correctly, I disagree with your post (and I realize it is for sake of argument only.).
    The Constitution, while written at a time when todays technology could not be imagined, is a timeless piece, based on timeless principles. Did Jefferson need to know about the internet in order to know that Free Speech must be protected? Did Madison need knowledge of airplanes in order to know that terrorism existed? No, of course not. The more things change……
    The time of the founders must be taken into consideration as, over time, language changes, though still English. A well-regulated militia is the ordinary citizen (important-I said citizen) who knows how to use his rifle and will do so in defense of himself, against all enemies, even the government if it turns tyrranical. (No, I’m not a militiaman and don’t advocate armed insurrection). While many argue that the National Guard is our “militia”, it is under State control, thereby negating the argument. However, who is to determine what is “well-regulated”?
    How can one defend the “No Child Left Behind Act” in the face of the 10th amendment? In fact, why do we have a federal Dept of Education? Unconstitutional. Or the Patriot Act? See the 4th amendment. Unconstitutional. Even Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus.
    I’m sorry, I am mixing two things here, but both are valid; 1)while we do need to interpret their ideas to fit todays society, I feel their intentions are clear when you take the frame of refenence into the equation (murder is murder whether in 2008 or 1789). 2) There have CLEARLY been a number of Unconstitutional things done, and passed willingly, by the Supreme Court or by Congress w/o Supreme courts ruling.
    Sorry for the long post!

    • USWeapon says:

      Long Post? Have you seen a BF post this short in the last, well….. ever? LOL just kidding BF

      I agree that the Constitution is in many ways a timeless document, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is infallible.

  7. The Constitution is not a living document. It’s a contract. I deal with Collective Bargaining Agreements and the Union sometimes will try to use the living document argument with me and I never buy it. I also sometimes hear the argument over “intent” but that requires substantial proof.

    Dr. Walter Williams explains the concept very well in his collection of essays that are free from his web site. The Constitution can be changed by ammendments — not an easy process but designed that way. We have not followed the Constitution, as intended, since the Progressive movement. We’ve evolved from a Republic to a Democracy where majority rule prevails instead of the rule of law. Obama’s first few months in office is an example of how majority rule applies instead of the rule of law. If Obama and Congress had to specifically site the language in the Constitution that gives them the authority to do the things that they are doing, they would find that no such language exists in the Constitution. I’m told that one Congressman will introduce the enumerated powers act every now and then but it never gains traction because Congress doens’t want their hands tied by the Constitution.

    • A perfect example is the questioning of Geithner and Bernanke by Barney Frank’s committee, specifically when Rep Bachman (R-MN) asked them to show where, in the Constitution, they were allowed to enact the programs they have. They both hemmed & hawed, then finally said that congress allowed them too. They had NO answer to her question.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        It was political posturing plain and simple.

        • Ray, whether it was posturing or not, the validity of the question stands. I realize they are not Constitutional lawyers, but if you’re gonna play in the game, you need to know the rules. I have considered the source of the question, and probably don’t like her any more than you, but I like her more than the criminal who heads the committee!!
          (Can we request that Mass. secede ?!?!)

    • Birdman, I also deal with Collective Bargaining Agreements and Administration. Safe to say, we are on different sides of the table. I’ve personnally never used the “living document” arguement, mainly because I don’t feel it has a place in those discussions. I also don’t apply “intent” in any argument as well. The problem with CBA’s, is that they are subject to interpretaion, especially if the language is vague. And it never fails, even the simplest language has a way of being twisted (interpreted) to support one side or the other. That is why I feel that the only “qualified people” available to interpret our Constitution are “We the People”.

      As a note, I am not Pro-Union, however I got involved to change the culture of the relationship between the Union and the Employer.

    • Birdman,

      Well stated. I have similar thought I’ll post below.

  8. For further consideration, please read the following links about some of the States’ actions recently:

    http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/montana_poised_to_buck_federal_gun_control/9392/

    and:

    http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2009/HCR0006.html

    Interested to know all your thoughts on this, especially NH HCR 6, which is where NH Rep Dan Itse took Jefferson/Madison’s Kentucky Resolution, updated it for modern times, and inserted New Hampshire wherever it said Kentucky (in a nutshell).

    • C.Z.

      You rock!!!HRC 06,
      VI. Further infringement on the right to keep and bear arms including prohibitions of TYPE or QUANTITY of arms or AMMUNITION.

      If 2/3 of the states pass similar laws, we will get our free country back!!

      • esomhillgazette says:

        Holy Smokes! Put Georgia in for that as well!

        • Unfortunately, NH House struck it down due to “secessionist” language, even though it was a non-binding resolution. That being said, it has been brought up in, I believe, over 20 states since then.

  9. Ray Hawkins says:

    “That is why I feel that the only “qualified people” available to interpret our Constitution are “We the People”. ”

    I do not disagree G-Man – but this becomes a ‘yes but how’. To my narcissism comment earlier, would you suggest that any person off the street can do what you do? I doubt it – there is probably a wealth of experience that backs up your ability to do your job. Our own narcissism is partly to blame for why we ended up with President Bush.

    • Ray, Not sure elections of anykind would not simply produce the same results (your earlier post), but, if there’s a will there’s a way. Not perfect, but just an example of an idea.

      If Americans would volunteer to serve the country, each state could randomly select 5 willing citizens to work from home through a secured website. There job would be to review new laws that have passed through Congress to determine if the Law is withing the Constitution interpretation of each person on the committee. A vote (250) on each law would take place weekly, 2/3 (167) required to pass or deny the law, stricktly based on Constitutional language. Each member would serve for one year only, and during his/her tenure, would not pay any income tax for that year. Theres alot more I can add to this, but in short, it would provide any American willing to do this with an oppurtunity to control our out of control government. And Yes , there would have to be some strict qualifications, like working for a living and being a registered voter.

      Just some thoughts, with alittle imagination added.

      • G-Man: I often agree with you but NOT on this one. Your method allows changes in meaning based on the whim of the masses, as driven by daily needs and wants. The constitution must remain hard and fast until amended. It is the only thing protecting us from tryanny of govt. It is our compact among us and a contract with those to whom we have delegated power. Kind of like power of attorney. You want your relatives deciding next week what power you gave your cousin with that power of attorney document you gave him so he could pick up your drivers license? (maybe not best example but I think you get the idea).

        I am interested however in how we might use the internet to find out where Americans are today regarding how restrictive we want those federal powers to be.

        And Good Morning By the Way. At least it still is where I sit.
        Be Free
        JAC

        • JAC, Good morning to you as well. My post was an “off the cuff” idea. Wasn’t meant as a solution, but I do think, somehow, “We the People” should have more ways to limit how the “Elite” can disrupt our known freedoms. LOI’s post is also an idea that can be considered.

          PEACE!

          • G-Man: I completely agree with the concept. Life has the answer in a general sense: A Constitutional Convention.

            But this requires 2/3 states to call and 3/4 to ratify the changes. We have work to do first.

            My view is the document must be cast in concrete, a concrete box with a key called amendment.
            It does need to be modernized but it is not necessarily in the meaning of the words, but on eliminating ambiquity crated by the courts and legislatures. We may also need some new powers, very narrowly defined, to allow actions required by modern society. And the internet is not one of them.

            I am thinking more along the lines of environmental regulations, federal ownership of the majority of lands in some states and over 20% nationwide, use of military on foriegn soil, you get the idea. When some of us supported such and effort over the balanced budget amendment we were told a convention would get out of control. The nutjobs would run amok with all kinds of amendment from aboriton to flag burning and rights to medical care. Maybe they would be proposed, but how many would really get adopted. What I heard yesterday was some very religious people defending the judeo-christian foundation of our country also saying they did not want govt telling anyone what religion to practice or not to practice. Yes, there may be a few exceptions but this is one basic “meta-value” still shared by a majority of avg Americans.

            That ought to get things moving a little faster.
            Until later-got to have lunch.
            JAC

            • JAC,

              I posted some rather radical ideas on my blog a while back. They are now in the archives, but in a week or so I am going to post something a little more defined. Trying to attract attention of just about anyone who thinks that the broken wheel in D.C. actually CAN be fixed.

          • G-man, while I find some problems with your idea, my applause for coming up with an original thought, not much in vogue in DC!!LOL
            The idea of electing judges in this thread I find to be a little bit scary. First, we elect representatives and look where that got us. Secondly, the democratic process can lead to mob rule, or at least mob action, which is why we don’t elect them, one of the checks & balances we have.

      • G-Man

        I think we need a constitutional convention to confirm the constitution, including modern meaning of the wording. Next, do the same with the bill of rights. And add a provision to challenge the supreme court. If they rule something that voids a portion of the constitution or bill of rights, either a majority of states or other process should be able to overturn that ruling.

        • Modern meaning of the wording would then, thanks to lawyers, change the next day and we would then be back to where we are.

          Wouldn’t it be easier, to use a late 18th century dictionary or, the “the Federalist Papers” which both spell and argue it out very well.

      • Kind of like a Grand Jury?

        Hard to find anyone who wants to serve, rough to find someone who understands what “law” actually means . . .

        • esomhillgazette says:

          Yeah, G.A., even the durn lawyers who go to school to learn it!

        • GA,

          It could be by the same process for passing an amendment, or if 3/4 of the state supreme courts found the US supreme court was not applying the constitution as it was written.

          It should not be easy and only apply if the court steps out of bounds, like below, and tells you that you cannot eat corn you grew yourself.

          • Life: We specify terms, by amendment, for impeachment due to failure to uphold and defend (treason against) the constitution. We don’t need to change structure or fundamentals, just specify what you will be fired for.
            Same hold for Congress.

            Also give all states authority to recall Sentators and Congressmen (I’m not sure this exists in all states).

            JAC

            • JAC,

              There is no provision for overturning a supreme court decision. The founders did not envision senility, as was evident in Wickard vs Filburn.

              So what I am suggesting is something similar to our amendment process to allow some form of check and balance to the court.

              • My idea on that is to make the U.S. Supreme Court an elected position, ans one that is not affiliated with any political party. The term would be nine years(one term only) and a new Justice elected each year.

                Works for me.

              • Life: My idea here places the threat of job loss on the Supremes if they step on the constitution. If they then act in accordance why would we want to overturn it??

                We can overturn now…with an amendment or with a differently constructed law…which means fire Congress.

                Lets not foret that some of the decisions we hate about the supremes stared in Congress.

                By term I meant specify conditions in the constitution that to fire them.

                Per your idea, we could amend to say a 2/3 vote of both houses could overturn. Is that what you are talking about?

                JAC

              • JAC, Then ratified by 3/4 of the states, yes.
                If they are fired for improper acts, would that law still stand?

              • No!! Becasue the impeachment would have been for supporting a law that was not constitutional or killing one that was. This is a theoretical I came up with this morning by the way. I have never tried to write language that could cover the situation. It might just be easier as you said to identify a congressional threshold to overturn their ruling.

                But then it goes to what congress would be overturning. Some of these Supreme decisions are quite involved its not just a case of thumbs up or down, like the D.C. gun case. Should congress have said we overturn the decision because Scalia was wrong in his majority opinion? That would have left the bad law in place. It all seems simple on the surface but sometimes scratching the paint off reveals termite damage underneath.

                Got go get some dinner. Back later. You’ve got some good ideas there LOI I’m going to cogitate on them for awhile.

                JAC

              • esomhillgazette says:

                LOI, I just googled and read W v F. Holy Smokes! Senility is not a good enough excuse for that one! An that was in the Early 40’s. What do we have to look foward to when Obama has the Majority in the Supremes? I used to think FDR was a great man. Now I know he was a great WARTIME Pres. Not so during the Depression.

    • Ray H:

      I may not be a shrink but it sure looks to me like your misusing that word Narcissism. Re: Bush. How soon we forget, on both sides.

      We got Bush because his opponent was Gore and then Kerry. Gore only got as close as he did because of general good will of Clinton. If the man had carried his own state the rest would never have happened. Kerry had a chance then blew it with the Irag war BS he and the other Dem leaders had concocted. Support the war then hang it around Bush’s neck. Obama won because Bush srewed up and the Repubs stood behind him when they shouldn’t have. Obama also carried a unifying message. Thats what most everyone heard because that is what they craved the most. They missed the rest of the message. Oh and don’t forget he ran against the second worst political opponenet I have seen in my life time. The other was McGovern.

      NOW. Lets not get todays topic off track. I may have already gone to far but everyone is always reading way to much into election results at the national level. Large forces affect them, especially after one party has been in power and things are doing so well. Shit Happens….to both sides.
      JAC

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        President Bush was simply another Rutherford B. Hayes two times over – only Gore and Kerry played the role of Tilden and the Southern electoral votes became Florida for Gore and Ohio for Kerry – but enough about Republican thievery and yes lets not get the topic off track (wink).

        • Let’s not go there. A terrible president he was but thief? Why, I have always asked, was a full recount of all Florida Counties not called for?

          Cherry picking three was stupid from day one.

          • Ray Hawkins says:

            You missed my WINK. Terrible is probably not accurate either. I will add (again – information security / data assurance guy here) again that I simply not convinced that any of the most recent elections were free of integrity issues when it comes to data quality. Yet another problem that Government shows no signs of fixing even though there is technology available.

  10. US,

    As usual, well thought and written. And as I feel you hoped, I SAY YOU ARE WRONG!
    The constitution was not intended to be living and subject to interpretation that allows the meaning and intent of the framers to be distorted and perverted.
    It was meant to be simple enough that those legal word games could not be played with our freedom.

    The living portion or mechanism for change was to be the amendment process. That has been replaced by a proactive Supreme Court that over a period of time has effectively rewritten the meaning of the constitution and the bill of rights. In Wickard vs Filburn (1942) they ruled that a federal statute making it a crime for a farmer to eat his own corn, that was subject to price and production controls was legal.

    Freedom died that day. We can act like we are still free, but if Nancy Pelosi can pass a law saying you cannot eat corn you have grown in your own garden, and it be enforced, you are no longer free. Some of us were pleased with the ruling on the 2nd amendment striking down the DC ban.

    I almost cried. In anger, outrage and disbelief. The minority decision written by justice Salerno favored the DC ban, which is no surprise. His reasoning was “the most effective democracy occurs at local levels of government”. And “deference to legislative judgment seems particularly appropriate here.” Had the court ruled against DC, it would have set a legal precedent that would null and VOIDED THE BILL OF RIGHTS.

    Free speech? Not if your town council says you can’t say that. Unreasonable search and seizure. That’s OK, because the county judge says its for the good of the community. Your freedom would be subject to the whim of congress, state legislatures and the city council of every town you drive through. An anti-second amendment town could require the search of every vehicle passing through for firearms, and seizure and arrest for violators.

    And the reasoning employed by Salerno is why the framers intended the constitution to be changed only be amendment, not by judges twisting its meaning.

    • esomhillgazette says:

      LOI, what DC Ban do you mean? Just curious.

      • Esom,
        The Heller vs District of Columbia found 5 to 4 that the 2nd amendment is an individual right, and while certain restrictions may be legal, a defacto ban is not.

        • esomhillgazette says:

          Do you not favor gun rights?

          • Hey Esom,
            I believe LOI is saying that while Heller overturned an outright ban, it left open the legality of nearly any other “infringement”. (If wrong,LOI, please correct me.) Similar to Obama/Holder’s call for “reasonable” gun laws. Something tells me our idea of reasonable won’t match theirs!!LOL

            • I read the ruling as well. The door that was left open, I believe, only dealt with restrictions concerning felons and the mentally ill. The overall majority, and most important part, was that individual gun ownership was a “RIGHT”.

            • C.Z.

              No. Yes. I don’t know. I don’t think the decision was worded where as you say, Obama and such can’t enact more restrictions. It is worded where cities may not pass laws that override state law, and state law may not override federal law.

              If we were to tale a legal gun to NY city, locked in a trunk, no ammo, and be arrested, in theory, we would be protected. An absolute gun ban is not now legal in the US.

              CIMB, crying in my beer

          • Esom,

            I strongly favor gun rights. I am a 4H shooting instructor. Think if this decision had gone the other way. If Salerno’s opinion had been the majority opinion, that could be applied to any of the amendments, and would thus VOID the bill of rights. We were one vote away from all of our founding laws being set aside.

            Yesterday There was a lot of discussion about the ACLU, ( which I despise). Think how they would use a ruling like that against the boy scouts, or your local church.

            • esomhillgazette says:

              Ah! I now Understand and actually LOI, viewed in that light I agree with you! I thought that you were pro-gun. I just didn’t understand what you meant by almost crying. You cleared that up for me. Peace Out!

    • Ditto, Amen, and God bless!!!!!

    • USWeapon says:

      Excellent points LOI, and a classic example of how a simple ruling could potentially have far greater impact on other situations.

      • US,

        Thank you. I think this is why the presidency has become increasingly important. That he gets to select the candidates for
        the supreme court. And the MSM is more aware than the general public of its impact.

        But I think my CIMB is probably my most significant statement so far.

  11. esomhillgazette says:

    Ray: You can call it what you want. You can disagree. That what the post is for. But I can too. I wouldn’t trust Obama to pick a dogcatcher. Experience? What experience? He was only a Senator for 6 years and most of that was spent running for President. But leaving that aside. In a “Supreme Court Election”, I would also propose that they not belong to any Party nor be supported by them. I realize, and hope the others do too, that it could not be an ordinary election, with Parties support. I don’t even know that it would work. I DO know that the whole dang system fallen, and it can’t get up! (ALL 3 BRANCHES)

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Hey Esom – we agree on something – I do not believe Judges should have party affiliation.

      To the other stuff – I sincerely think we’ve tossed too much emotion into this dialogue – lets button it up and move on.

  12. Black Flag says:

    You what is really annoying…

    …getting up and facing 80 posts before I have coffee….

    😉

    • Well, Good Morning BF!! Hope you slept well!

    • Flag,

      At least it looks like you got the best of Chris, if not through logic, then by perseverance.

      • Black Flag says:

        Believe me, I’m not keeping any score…

        (ok, maybe I am…LoL) 😉

        My goal is not to ‘best’ Chris, of course.

        I’m here promoting my agenda, just like everyone else – and I hope I’m able to demonstrate the moral value of my agenda using logic and reasoning.

        When I’m fully fleshed out in my thinking (which I’m far from) I’ll get USWep, Chris, JAC and others to ghost write my book.

        I’m very impressed with many on this blog and their ability to ‘turn the words’.

        • Flag,

          I’m hearing the “Jaws” theme song in my head again.

          Chris, Hello and welcome.

          To both, my original post is # 10. Bring your “A” game.

          Or one of you can jump in with a position?

      • Chris Devine says:

        Care to take a vote?

    • GOOOOOOOOD MOOOORRRRNNNING BF!

      We got another good one going here!

      Looking forward to your take on all of this. 🙂

    • esomhillgazette says:

      Good What? Damn BF! It’s 2pm! What did you expect?

  13. esomhillgazette says:

    OK fellow Dudes and Dudettes! Here goes my 2 cents worth.

    I believe if you get into “Interpreting” the Constitution, you are treading on dangerous ground. And yes, I know it’s already been done for years. Thus we have the problems that some including me have already brought up today. I’m not sure of the answer to this problem. I think maybe a Constitutional Convention or Amendment process, such as LOI and JAC brought up. Maybe some sort of “special” election process for the Supremes, Although I do agree, Ray, that could bring up more problems than it solved.

    I have read the Constitution this morning again and it seems pretty straitfoward to me. The problems it has are mostly in the “Amendments” to it. When it was written, It was not written in “Legalese” like some of the amendments were. The worst thing we could do would be to send Lawyers to any Convention. Then we wouldn’t be able to understand, and would need interpretation for dang sure! Maybe thats the whole problem with it. It’s written so plainly that Lawyers and Judges can’t understand it! LMAO Quite frankly US, I don’t know the answer.

    The Bill of Rights in my eyes, are just as plain as they can be. So what “interpreting” do they need? There I think that too many people try to take the part that benefits them and toss the rest out.

    Take, for instance, the Second one. It states: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. I have heard arguements that we don’t have Militias anymore. The Nat Guard is todays militia. Disregarding the second part where it states plainly that; “THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”! It does not say the Militias or the members thereof, says “THE PEOPLE”. If it meant only the Militia should have arms, it would have said so.

    Then, here we go again, the 1st one. “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of Religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof”. That is ALL it says (about religion). So what is there to interpret? Government may not ESTABLISH a religion. They cannot stop the exercise of said religion. ANY RELIGION! How much more plain could it be?

    If we as citizens allow the Government to change just one of the Bill of Rights, they can change them ALL. If we allow them to toss the Constitution or “interpret” it to mean what they say it means, then what good is the whole damn document except another piece of paper to throw in the trash.

    I believe when considering the Constitution, you do have to at least consider looking at the AoC, The Fed Papers, and the DoI.

    And you must always look closely at the Bill of Rights.

    End of Sermon.
    Go in Peace
    (And of course, feel free to pick me apart)

    • Esom,
      Overall I agree with you. But where I would like to see the bill of rights re-written, I would want language that would prevent the first amendment being used to silence religion. Etc.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        Agreed LOI, but I would be very careful when changing ANY of the BoR. If the wrong people get the chance, there’s no telling what bulldookey they would be changed to. It might be changed precisely TO silence religion.

        • Esom: This is exactly the argument that was made many years back that resulted in killing the convention to adopt a balanced budget amendment.

          Lets play devils advocated for a moment. Where would you rather be today? Where we are? or With a balanced federal budget and not religious symbols in public places?.

          Oh yeah, we got the no sybols in public anyway.

          • esomhillgazette says:

            Yeah JAC! And no balanced budget either! And it sure looks like we won’t in OUR lifetimes either. Ain’t this bigass government grand!!!? My butt stays so puckered you coudn’t drive a needle up it with a sledgehammer!

    • The First Amendment protects 5 separate rights from government meddling; the Second Amendment protects two (the right to form a militia and the right of everyone to own and to carry any weapons they want, however they see fit, everywhere they go without asking permission from anyone. Ever.)

      Of course, the Bill of Rights could be abolished (or ignored by government, as it is now) and those rights would still exist just as strongly as they have since the first human picked up a rock. My rights are not subject to a vote, or to government’s “laws”.

      • Yes, but the price you pay for exercising them sure changes!

        Nice to hear from you again Kent.
        JAC

      • USWeapon says:

        And that is a very valid point Kent, that is often understood and also too often overlooked when having discussions such as this one. The rights of freedom are not granted to us by the Constitution. They are merely recognized by the Constitution and specifically outlined as untouchable by government. I tend to see things in a similar black and white way as you do when it comes to these rights. For example, as my post on gun control stated a couple of weeks ago, the 2nd amendment, in my opinion, clearly says that no laws may be made in regard to guns or ammunition or concealment or anything else. The only laws that should be constitutionally allowed are punishment for improper use of those guns in harming another human being.

      • Kent, I do believe there is a built in mechanism the would prevent the government from abolishing the Bill of Rights or any of the freedoms associated with the Constitution as we know them today. There will be an upcoming subject that USW is working on that will put it all into perspective. I just hope that the people with the power have the gonads to exercise it. This is a interesting subject for later debate that has my full attention.

        PEACE

        • USWeapon says:

          It looks like that piece will run on Sunday night G-Man. Thanks for mentioning it. If there are any thoughts that you want to add on top of what you sent, by all means send em over.

        • I would like to point out that the framers did not include a Bill of Rights because they felt it unnecessary. Why? Because the nature of the constitution was different that the legal docs of Englane where the bill of rights provided a list the King could not impose on. Our document stated we had all rights and powers, except those we gave to govt.

          Many opposed ratification because of their tradition of a bill of rights and they didn’t believe the document would stand up against tyrants. They got the bill they wanted for their vote to ratify. And today it is these provisions that have stood the longest. Yes gun ownership and the right to bear, which means carry, is limited, but not gone. The establishment of religion has been twisted but not nearly as much, if you strictly look at legal precedence. On the other hand, look at the enumerated powers and start writing down the powers of govt today and list the constitutional provision which allows it.

          Was this the framers or founders fault? No! IT WAS OURS.

          We were the last word on interpretation and the lone sentinal at the door. It was us that turned our back.
          It is for us to repair.
          JAC

    • See, that’s why I said you should be on the Supreme Court. years ago I said, “The Constitution says what it means and means what it says”. No trickery, no tom foolery, just straight shooting words. (ok, a 2nd Amendment pun).

      The founders I have always thought were the greatest collection ever assembled at one place and time of great minds. I know more than a few people whom I deeply respect who would have said the collection of men and the document they produced were divinely inspired. An atheist could safely ignore what I just said because it was not, thankfully, a religious document they produced but rather a document which evolved from three thousand years of human philosophy, including religiously developed philosophy.

      I think the greatest argument against the “living”, “breathing” view of the Constitution is that if something can be re-interpreted at a moments notice or on a whim, it guarantees nothing to anybody. Again, this is common sense or common experience (bow to you Mr. Flag no sloppy thinking here) which, unfortunately, is not that common.

      • esomhillgazette says:

        SK, I don’t believe there is that great a collection of minds IN America today. I believe they WERE divinely inspired. If the Const was thrown out today, what would replace it? My answer is Nothing anywhere near as good. We don’t have the beliefs, motivation, or minds to write anything even close to it!

        • USWeapon says:

          I disagree Esom. I think it would take a special group of people, but I do believe that those minds exist today. The issue would be identifying them. What amazes me is not that the founders were necessarily that much smarter than some of the people that we run into every day, but instead that in that time they were able to identify these great thinkers and assemble them to do what they did.

          • One thing US is that they were mostly successful men in their communities and many people still admired success. While the brains and integrity still exist, it is our synicism and mistrust that might make it harder.

            JAC

          • And I disagree, you speak of “they” who identified them. The interesting thing is that they were by and large self identified. Certainly their individual colonies/states sent them but when you think about human nature, these guys might be the last ones that you would pick. Adams obnoxious and disliked, sure to tangle with the Southerners over slavery. Franklin the old man and rake, Jefferson, really the boy when you think about it. Same with most of the others.

            To get all these people with their diverse backgrounds together, same time, same place is nothing short of amazing.

            When you think about it, right then and there, there was every reason to expect that the very things that caused the Civil War eighty years later would have ended this independence experiment before it even got started.

            So,if you believe in a deity, it’s as good a reason as any and a lot better than some. I think Reagan believed it and came close to saying it a couple of times.

          • esomhillgazette says:

            Oh I agree that their are great minds out there. The problem is, with the Political Situation we have at present, both Dem and Rep, and the corruption at all levels, do you really think reason would prevail? Or brains? I know I sound cynical, but the last few months, I have become just that.

  14. I want to return to a point I made in my original comment (#6). What about acts/departments/etc that have been accomplished/created seemingly against the constitution? I used the Dept of Education there but also the Fed Reserve, Dept of Energy, BLM, etc. Under the 10th amendment, these powers/departments were not granted to the federal government. What logic/reasoning was used to establish these under the federal govt instead of the states? I understand how BLM is involved where Native American Reservations are concerned (to an extent, foreign policy at home) but what about the millions of square miles that should, seemingly, revert back to the states, especially out west?

    • C.Z.

      Excellent point. Some states would allow or even mandate responsible logging to lessen the impact of forest fires. The bigger the government involvement, the bigger mess will result.

  15. esomhillgazette says:

    C.Z: I’m not sure but believe I hreard the other day that the Fed Reserve was established in the 30’s by FDR to help banks during the Depression. It was supposed to be temporary measure. It not only stayed around. It got bigger. Same with welfare. Government as usual trying to “help” (or control?).

    • esomhillgazette says:

      All the more reason for govt to stay out. And SMALL!

    • Esom: A central federal bank was first created by A. Hamilton. Jefferson killed it, Madison restored it, then I can’t remember for a while but it was killed again in there somewhere Oh Jackson I think. Then W. Wilson signed it into law in either 1913 or 1914 I believe. The income tax came along at same time.

      There are some who believe that the Fed actually orchastrated the stock market crash which partly triggered the Depression.

      If you remember past Posts I thought we agreed this needs to die, as currently operated. Question is what replaces it. BF and I go round and round and round and round……you get the idea. NOT TODAY
      JAC

      • esomhillgazette says:

        Ah yes. WW. Same Socialism. Different War. FDR was the FDIC.

      • You’re right, JAC. And I (long ago) studied the personal battles between Jefferson and Hamilton. That being said, I am wondering about the constitutional legality of these. If I, as Joe Blow, were to file suit againt the govt about this GM takeover, or the bailout money, assuming I had the right(?) to do so, could it make the SCOTUS?

  16. As L. Neil Smith says, the Bill of Rights should have come with a penalty clause.

    • Agreed, great author also.

    • Weapon, I haven’t read this author. I know I have recommended a book on this site, as have others. How much work would it take to set up a section on some of our poster’s recommended works? I have tried to copy some down but, with my CRS disease, I lose them all the time. I would love to check out some of Kent’s, JAC’s, and (God Help Me!) Flag’s suggestions. Chris’ too, as he has made me think quite a bit.
      Just an idea…..

  17. The definitive support of both YES and NO and perhaps why I think the Firemen in the Nextel ad should be in charge. I offer you this:

    http://www.umt.edu/law/faculty/natelson/articles/Founders%20Hermeneutic.pdf

    We are all wrong and right at the same time. I point out that the conclusions provided are from a philosophy of law and historical perspective and the fellow who wrote it is an expert.

    My postion has always leaned to the more concrete, because of statments made by those supporting the doc to those opposing it. In layman terms it sounded like “Hey trust us. The words have no secret meaning and how could anyone ever come up with that silly conclusion when we didn’t say that.” (Lots of paraphrasing here.)

    I can tell you that Professor Natelson does not share many of the supremes current interpretations, and points to a case around 1934 on Commerce Clause that tipped the scale. Also notice that in determining his view of interpretation he goes much farther than the Declaration and original Articles. Folks need to remember the states had constitutions in place before the federal form was created. All of these documents must be looked to for clues, when needed. The point is that the courts have gone much farther and congress has used it to their advantage because they can now pass almost any law they want under authority of “general welfare” or “commerce” clauses.

    So perhaps a better question would be, given what we have learned over the past 220+ years; How much flexibility should we have in a document that is supposed to control the power of the federal govt, and states in some cases???

    I personally don’t think very damn much, given what we know now.

    I also leave you with an idea from Jefferson. Namely that any law proposed by Congress be left on the table for 12 months to evaluate it and make sure it was really needed, before it could be enacted. This rule could be waived but only by 2/3 of both houses. That would make it really really important. Think about that, only 12 months when only communication was by foot or horseback or boat. Just think what we could do with 12 months today. Wonder if TARP or Porkulus could have passed that test???

    PS on that idea. It takes 30 to 60 days to CFR’s implemented because of mandatory public review. Why not the underlying law that supports the CFR???

    Hope you enjoy the article.
    JAC

  18. Black Flag says:

    So my apologies if I am raising points already raised.

    I’m starting with USWep post, and working down (wife had me replace all our sinks and taps today – something I’ve been holding off for a month…Black Flag the Plumber…;) )

    So that is how it went down. Now the discussion yesterday seemed to be rooted in whether the Constitution should be interpreted or how it should be done (with the exception of some semantic arguing, BF).

    I find it shocking that you would think this is merely semantics.

    The first claim was that there was a body of government, so authorized in the Constitution, that had – quote – the SOLE RIGHT – to interpret the Constitution.

    On merely the face of it, the concept is completely preposterous.

    In the entire document, there is not one word, even by synonyms, that says ‘interpret’. I challenge anyone to find me incorrect on this statement.

    To believe that there is a body in government with the power to interpret the Constitution to the people is, bluntly, one of the biggest lies in American consciousness. The fact that it is so dominate in the psychology of Americans makes it one of the most dangerous beliefs so held.

    The power of the Catholic Church rested on the belief that only the Pope could interpret the world of God. With that power, the Church manipulated the fabric of society for its own gains until it suffered the setback of the convergence of Luther and the printing press. When the people found out that they could, for themselves, interpret the word of God, a permanent loss of power was suffered by the Catholic Church. They did not suffer this loss quietly. It resulted in the 100 Years War – which up to that time was the most devastating war suffered by Europe and remained so until 1914.

    The Declaration, the Articles and the Constitution were written for and to the common citizen, making the citizen the decider of their meanings.

    The institutions of the jury and jury nullification specifically represents that view.

    The basis of law in the United States is common law, that is, the law of the common man.

    With all of this, it is mind boggling to believe that the Constitution was written so that those in political power would be the ones who determined the meaning of the Constitution and its application to restrain political power.

    Consider this seriously.

    The Constitution was written to limit government.

    It would be bizarre, then, to suggest that it is a body of the government would be the decider of whether government was abiding by the Constitution.

    A reasonable man would immediately see the serious conflict of interest in this arrangement. As Jefferson is arguably one of the most brilliant minds in history, among other incredibly brilliant minds of that time, it is inconceivable they would miss such an obvious conflict of interest!

    So what is our excuse today?

    • Hi BF,

      I have but one word to describe what originally got us into the mess we are in today;

      LAWYERS

      Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said the most useless and dangerous men on the planet were Lawyers?

    • Flag,

      Good points and agree. I have never been asked to serve on a jury as yet.
      Being familiar with jury nullification, I doubt either side’s attorneys would be happy with me in their court room.

      US, that might be an interesting topic. It was intended as another way to insure out individual rights were not infringed.

      • Black Flag says:

        The courts know how to play the game.

        Now, the judge demands the jurors to swear an oath that they will make their determinations, not based on their reading of the law, but -that word again- his sole interpretation of the law.

  19. Jessie G says:

    I would like to make a point going to the core of what freedom is suppose to be, and how it has been twisted to the point of no return. How do you define freedom? As an example, in this country, I would like to walk from sea to shining sea. Just take a walk. Now I can’t follow the interstates, because that is illegal, I can’t hitch a ride if I get tired, because that is illegal, I can’t just stop by the side of the road and sleep, because now I’m a vagrant, and that is illegal too. It’s just a walk through our “free” country. Food for thought.

  20. Black Flag says:

    In general comment:

    The Constitution has its mechanism to change – the Amendment procedure. This exists so to prevent the self-serving ‘interpretation’ of the Constitution. If there is a need to have a change, the amendment process is there – as a brake on knee-jerk reactions, but as process for well thought out adjustments.

    Jefferson need not have known about the Internet. The document was not then a device to explain or expand on each and every thing or issue. Their world was comparatively as complex as ours – they didn’t find the need to describe each and every aspect of human action.

    They offered a process – that is, government was restrained in all action except those duly authorized by appropriate law of Congress.

    The reversal of onus – now, it is the restraint on the citizen at the whim of Congress – has devastated the Nation.

  21. SFC Dick says:

    Black Flag, sir.

    Seems to me that you make the argument that the principles of the constitution are a solid, timeless set of basic truths, not a descriptive ethos of rebellious colonist addressing the days’ wrongs. Hmmm..

    Why, I couldn’t agree with you more, I might even argue that the very notion of having some argue or even explain the idea of interpretation of these truths in a modern context is completely sacrosanct of the very ideals themselves.

    It also seems to me that, in your 8 or so lines there, that you infer that this was a government whose basic principles, not only written by common man but charged unto a same common men, are so basic that a common man should be able to hold and discharge well the duties of any office in the 3 branches set forth. Hmm…

    You might even be want to bristle were a fellow to posit that things today, being most complex, a common man would not have the capacities for any but the lowest of local office in some hamlet or burb. It seems as if you would then argue, were one to hold this position, that he did not truly understand the duties of the highest office itself, where no need of economic or social degree is needed as those areas are not under the direct purview of the highest office holder himself.

    You might even base a whole argument about constitutional law, visa vie 10th amendment, on the fact that these truths were written by common men and were meant to be understood, in their completeness by common men who have a working knowledge of the English language; especially if English is one’s mother tongue. Hmm…

    Hey US, ‘cmon now! I can’t use up all my arguments on constitutional law here, I gotta save them in defense of my 3d grade essay on the 10th amendment movement.

    What evil plan are you trying to hatch?

    Oh, I got it. I know this technique. You disagree with much of my submitted work, you have no argument strong enough to counter………………you post a similar article in hopes of drawing out some of my argument, allowing you an opportunity to formulate, what you think, would be a better counter argument. You, prepared in the offense by seeing my defense, post the article and post first; a devastating first response, all encompassing, destroying every argument I could counter with, well past the 3d order.

    Boneeties defense MY ASS!

    I will not demonstrate any weakness in fortifications; I will not open first with my crew served.

    “All enlisted men are stupid, but they are cunning and deceitful and bear considerable watching.”

  22. We all agree that the priciples contained within the Constitution are true and sound?

    The constitution has an amendment process by which I believe the founders wanted to be used as our society and science/technology matured/changed.That amendment process was set up in a manner in which it would not be easy to accomplish for the simple reason that they did not want the proposed amendment to ever be quickly put into being for the purpose of power/agenda abuse by political entities such as political parties.

    I am of the belief that they did not mean for the ideas they put into words to be intepreted in so many various ways by our “constitutional lawyers”. I am also of the belief that the only reason said lawyers have their various interpretations is to push their beliefs into being law rather than going about the amendment process. Much as has been done with interpretaions of holy books since the time they were written.It all boils down to greasy, greedy powermongers pushing their beliefs and agendas upon society.

    Anyways Hi all I’m at work so won’t be posting as much.

  23. Black Flag says:

    (Sorry, USWep, but off-topic)

    Warning #21 –

    Yesterday, Moody’s (credit rating agency) has warned that the creditworthiness of the entire US local government is at risk, and their ratings will be significantly downgraded – threatening the entire $2.6 TRILLION muni bond sector.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/5127023/Shock-warning-on-US-municipal-bonds.html

    What does this mean?

    Unlike the federal government, local and state government cannot print money to save themselves.

    The federal government can ‘monetize’ its debt. If someone presents a bond to the federal government for payment, the fed merely runs the printing press, and trades fresh currency for the bond.

    Muni’s cannot do this. They need find those green pieces of paper somewhere in the economy to redeem the bond.

    The drop in their credit rating reflects that 1) they cannot print themselves out of money trouble and 2) they are having trouble getting money to fund themselves (as the economy tanks, so do their tax revenues) 3) they may not be able to borrow or the interest rate will be prohibitive.

    The Muni’s and the States are speeding to bankruptcy.

    Recall my ‘succession’ story???

    What is the impact on you individually?

    Most government services which directly impact you on a daily basis comes from Muni’s or the State.

    Water, sewer, garbage, electricity, heat, roads, police, fire, emergency medical…etc. Look around – if the Muni or State cannot pay to maintain these services and they collapse…. by public sector workers striking to get paid, or unable to purchase parts, etc…..

    Are you ready?

    Even of more concern, this announcement made no waves in the market. The market is so shell shocked, it is not responding at all to the eminent disaster.

    They are deer in the headlights.
    They cannot be trusted to tell you how to survive this tsunami.

  24. Dearest gentle readers of the blog.

    I would like to take this time, a time out as it were, to address something.

    As some of you more astute readers have noticed I have been put off my game thrice in these past several days. I believe you all are due an explanation of these stumbles on my part and a bit of clarification.

    The first was in reference to the good fellow, Black Flag, and his post. I submit..

    LOI, you can already see the points where our blades will tangle, no doubt – however, PeterB seemed to have
    engaged in sword play before, so I’ll stay my hand until he exposes his style…

    Peterb: You are using Bonetties Defense against me, ah?

    Man in black: I thought it fitting considering the rocky terrain.

    Peterb: Naturally, you must suspect me to attack with Capa Fero?

    Man in black: Naturally…but I find that Tibal cancels out Capa Fero. Don’t you?

    Peterb: Unless the enemy has studied his Agliepa….

    There, it has been my observation tha Black Flag puts forth argument derived from and based in keen observations of fact.
    Were one to engage Mr. Flag it should be in concise reasoned debate, expose the throat and he should close, in a most easy and congenial way, to finish his mark.

    So, when , in heroic fashion, I want to engage Mr. Flag, I must understand his argument. I read..

    LOI? List of instructions? A clue, a feint, a warning? Well, the rest of the nonsense speaks for itself.

    Now comes along a newer poster to the board, at least I have not seen much of his work, the good and honorable Ty. He has a most impassioned post, closing with

    “ the bottom line though is once you have a born again experience and see the light ,none of the Aclulegalese and scientific hypothesis have that much weight anymore”

    I am intrigued, this bottom line seems some type of warning. To give proper credence I must understand this “aclulegalease” to properly understand his basis, his argument closed with a warning.

    I search google, yahoo, dogpile etc. What of this or more sinister these “aclulegalease” types. I find nothing. Is this reference to some lineage of ..? an underground sect of followers, perhaps decendant of a Greek philosopher Aclutes?

    Most recently a post by the most revered Esomhillgazette…

    ” Comment dow a little way”

    I am most found of home spun wisdom,
    I thought maybe this some home spun dismissive as in the context of , your argument is so weak that in response I employ the locally recognized ad homonym

    ” Comment dow a little way”

    Perhaps derived in old middle America from such things as “rain rain , go away”.

    Alas, it appears none of these things were as they appeared to me.

    Mr Flag was employing a well recognized tactic of inserting humor into a debate. Brilliant, caught “off-guard” was I. ( notice the pun , in context..”off-guard”..nice)

    The esteemed Ty suffered at the hands of unstable modern technology and had a run on of ACLU legal-ease. How could I have missed that?

    Lastly, the good Esomhillgazette and “comment dow a little way” a mere miss of a consonant, the letter “n” in explanation that his “comment (was posted) down a little way”.

    Clear as clear to even the most obtuse, but I.

    So, what is my problem? I care.

    Yes, maybe I care too much, but darn it, I care.

    I have so much respect for the posters on this board that I, he who cares so much, must regard all posts and find the meaning, deeper in the argument, from the writer. My Achilles? Compassion, empathy, a highest degree of Omni present humanity. Yes, fault me if you must, for my civilities, but I shant now, begin to care less. I suffer for the art and my fellow man.

    Or…..
    perhaps it is better explained in character of Andre Benjamin, as the trigger happy “Dabu” in bee cool.

    …SFC Dick sits at the key board….

    he appears frustrated, maybe unsure, but deep in thought.

    He types a response, posting it, satisfied in himself, a visible pride about him.

    Later, he returns to this post, reading he realizes his post was completely off base

    Unable to recognize the obvious he has posted , for all eternity, displaying his true, inner stupid.

    Time and again, the same trap, the display of ignorance..

    Exasperated SFC Dick proclaims…

    “take it, take my keyboard”

    He tosses the keyboard off the desk, reclines, almost effeminate in repose, obviously agitated..

    “don’t give me a keyboard, …you know what I’ll do”

    Scene! And…… cut!

    “All enlisted men are stupid, but they are cunning and deceitful and bear considerable watching.”

    • Bee Cool…..BEE COOL!

      that’s it, don’t give me a keyboard, you know what I will do.

    • Damn it Dick, now I’m laughing so hard the tears are drippling on my padboard….keypad….keyboard.

      Stay Safe and Be Happy
      JAC

    • One little piece of advice from one retired old Marine . . . . D . . . E . . . C . . . A . . . F . . . F

      Oh, and lay off the late night Shakespeare reading.

      Just my humble opinion 😉

    • SFC Dick

      It we are to cross blades, yes I know how to fence. Not the best, but far from the worst in my class. I apply the KISS principle to many things, such as the debates offered here. Flag has commented on my short and direct statements. I feel songwriters are today’s true poets and philosophers, and are perhaps the greatest in history. It helps the modern man to have read Plato and Shakespeare. Throwing in song references that reflect on the arguments adds a little humor, and sometimes may validate my position.

      Are you happy with your name? How would you feel about being called Deacon Blues?

      • SFC Dick says:

        The pretext is flawed, to bear the lable one has to participate and risk the sting of loss in hopes of that sweet victory, writing from the sidelines allows you nothing other than observations. History will name me, repleat with the bibliography of my entries into the arena.Donald Fagen may record, in what ever free form he pleases, but that’s about as far as he gets.

  25. PeterB in Indianapolis says:

    Hey USW et al. I didn’t have much time to post today, but I thought I would throw this in.

    Admittedly, Thomas Jefferson could not have envisioned the internet, or countless other “complexities” of the “modern world”.

    If by “interpret the Constitution” we mean that we take a look at a modern issue and attempt to figure out what Thomas Jefferson and the other signatories of the Constitution would have done if they had been confronted with the issue, and we do this using the same philosophy that they were operating under, then that, in my opinion, is fine.

    If, however, we claim that these modern issues are so foreign as compared with the Constitution itself that we have to RE-INTERPRET it using some other philosophy which was not originally intended in the document, that is where we get into trouble.

    For example, for the Government to seize a private enterprise and dictate how it should be run, rather than let the market determine the success or failure of the enterprise, would certainly seem to be Unconstitutional. (I am looking at YOU General Motors!). Now, one could argue that the Government did not, in fact, seize GM. However, the Government did dictate that the CEO be removed, and appointed a CEO in his place, and the Government set forth the rules which GM must abide by in order to receive more Government support. This is tacitly equivalent to a takeover.

    The Government wants to save the company primarily so that it will produce the kind of vehicles that the Government would prefer it produce (e.g. “green” vehicles) and it wants to save the jobs of as many union bosses and workers as possible.

    Never mind that the company probably should have been allowed to succeed or fail on its own merits, and the public demand for certain types of vehicles should be the “driving force” (pun intended) behind what GM chooses to produce, now the Government controls whether or not GM succeeds or fails, and it will only “succeed” if it does what the Government wants it to do.

    What would Thomas Jefferson and the other signatories of the Constitution have to say about THAT?

  26. TexasChem says:

    ok lemee try this again… Here is the link I meant to post in my first response to BF’s post.

    http://lonestartexasnews.com/pages/4175041.php?contentType=4&contentId=3805627

  27. Stop Everything! Forget Everything! And lets just have some goddamn peace! For maybe several of years. We are just killing of people for along time. Wait what is this article about?

  28. helprescuedogs says:

    Too be honest – I’m a bigger fan of Dogpile than Google. They support charitable causes and work with all independent search providers to give a good mix of results.

    People are too lazy when it comes to search and want it all to be laid out for them in one engine. Problem is, Google, MSN and Yahoo all pick what shows up where.

    Research is meant to be RESEARCH – so look around for solid results.

    BTW – Dogpile.com just launched a new site called http://www.DoGreatGood.com – and their donating a portion of there revenue to Petfinder and the ASPCA.

    Great that theres a way we can help dog adoption programs at no cost.

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