Posts Tagged ‘U. S. Constitution’

Real World Graduation: Question 4

RealWorldGraduation_Question_4   <– PDF

Article I, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution originally contained the following provision:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all other persons.”

In this passage, “representatives” refers to the number of seats in House of Representatives in Congress, “Numbers” refers to population, “several States” refers to any State that ratifies the Constitution, “those bound to service” refers to indentured servants (those who had committed to a term of voluntary servitude in compensation for repayment of the voyage to America fronted by others), “Indians not taxed” refers to Indians on reservations, “other persons” refers to slaves, and “free persons” refers to anyone not in the “other person” group, i.e. not slaves.

This passage can therefore be clarified as follows: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the States according to their respective population, which shall be determined as the sum of the number of a) all free persons, b) indentured servants, and c) three-fifths of slaves; specifically excluding Indians on reservations.” In other words, representation in Congress was apportioned to the full population of all people in the state not on reservations, except for slaves, whose apportionment was at a fraction of only 60%.  This is known as the “three-fifths” rule.  This three-fifths provision was superseded by the 14th Amendment, which was ratified 9 Jul 1868.

Why did the Founding Fathers insert the three-fifths clause regarding slaves?

  1. a) Most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners who had contempt for black people, and reduced the value of black people to 60% of a white person because it was a long-held tradition.
  2. b) Most of the Founding Fathers were slave owners who had contempt for black people, and reduced the value of a black person to 60% of a white person in an attempt to deprive the slaves of their fair share of welfare payments.
  3. c) Even the Founding Fathers who did not own slaves were racist, and reduced the apportionment of slaves to 60% of a white person to suppress the political influence of the black slaves in the Southern states.
  4. d) The members of the Democratic Party insisted on this provision before they would allow a ratification vote in the Southern states.
  5. e) Each of the Founding Fathers had different motives, but these motives were generally a combination of a), b), and c).

(The answer shown on p. 2 of the PDF.)

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Posted in Articles of Confederation, Constitutional Convention, critical thinking, Early American history, Real World Graduation, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

Barack H. Obama’s Legacy, Part 2

PDF —>  ObamaLegacyPart2

The “Affordable Care Act” (ACA), commonly known as “Obamacare”, does exactly the opposite of what its title claims, as is typical of many government initiatives.  It promotes evil more than most legislation: it violates several provisions of the Constitution, and it fails to achieve even its most basic objectives.

It violates the Constitution in several ways.  First, it contains provisions by which a taxpayer has to prove to the IRS that he has purchased health insurance; that is a violation of the right to free entry into contracts because the government is forcing a citizen to buy something even if he would rather not.  Under the Tenth Amendment, contracts issues reside solely within the power of the States.  Secondly, every IRS employee has access to these records in violation of the Fourth Amendment freedom from arbitrary searches.  Third, by failing to provide the proof of insurance, the citizen is liable to pay a penalty, later ruled a tax by the Supreme Court.  That apparently innocuous ruling made the entire section unconstitutional since the ACA originated in the U. S. Senate, whereas all tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives.  This proves, if it proves anything, that even members of the Supreme Court cannot or will not respect the Constitution.  Fourth, the ACA requires the citizen to buy coverage for a product which may violate his religious beliefs, since every insurance package meeting the ACA requirements must provide coverage for abortion and birth control expenses.  Thus, since insurance is merely pooling risk, everyone has to share in the cost risks of abortion in violation of the First Amendment respect for religion.  Fifth, doctors are permitted to ask patients about firearm ownership and include their responses in their permanent medical history; another clear violation of the Fourth Amendment as well as being prejudicial to the Second Amendment.  In the future, said records may constitute the basis of an arbitrary sweep to confiscate all privately owned firearms.  Sixth, it does not apply to every citizen equally since many exemptions, exclusions, and benefits have been given to some categories of individuals and groups while depriving the other citizens; this violates the equal protection portion of the Fourteenth Amendment.

It should come as no surprise the ACA has and will continue to fail in achieving its claimed objectives.  It contains the seeds of its own destruction the same as every other welfare legislation.  In typical welfare legislation, a non-working citizen and politicians decide how much a third person, the working man, is to pay in taxation to support those who are not working.  There is no end to demands made by the non-working, and welfare benefits have traditionally increased over time, with commensurate tax obligations.  Likewise, ACA has no effective cost containment: the doctor and patient decide how much a third entity, the insurance company, is to pay, nor a fourth entity, the working person with health care is to pay in taxes to provide subsidies to the others.  Secondly, there is no requirement for doctors and hospitals to publish their prices for routine procedures, or even room costs; hence the costs are different depending on what type of insurance one has. Secret pricing will always tend to increase costs.  Third, it restricts competition because a citizen can buy insurance only from those companies operating within a State despite the fact that the mandate itself is of federal nature.  Restricting competition will always increase costs.  Fourth, some people simply cannot afford to buy health insurance, and they must (and should be) be treated at public expense; the ACA does not eliminate the charitable and publicly-funded institutions and the costs thereof.   The combined effects of these came about as expected: fewer choices of plan as insurance companies exit the program; constantly increasing insurance premiums, steadily increasing deductibles, and fewer choices of doctors and hospitals.  The ACA is on the cost and quality death spiral; some claim that it was done deliberately in order to make the excuse for universal government-run health care.  If you like what has been happening at the Veterans Administration, you’ll like universal care.

But the most pernicious aspect of the ACA is that it can never be repealed or significantly modified.  History shows that once a welfare provision is granted, it cannot be taken back.

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Posted in fourth amendment, U. S. Constitution | No Comments »

On the President’s Duty to Faithfully Execute the Laws

PresidentsDutyToFaithfullyExecuteLaws  <– PDF version

President Barack “I lied, period” Obama recently issued an Executive Order that exempted many illegal aliens from deportation if they met certain nebulous requirements.  It is alleged by His Most High Incompetence that this order would affect only about 5 million people, but there is no reason to believe that figure in favor of any higher number.  Many have claimed that Obama’s particular Executive Order is illegal, since, by waiving a part of immigration law, he is failing to faithfully execute the laws per his oath of office as required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.  So far, 25 states have joined in a lawsuit seeking to have the order overruled, and the next Congress has claimed it will do the same (probably by endorsing and expanding it).

But the real question is: where does a President and his Justice Department toadies get the arrogance to ignore their oaths of office?  That has already been answered by St. George Tucker, an early expositor of the Constitution [1] in a series of essays published in 1803:

Lastly; it is the duty of the president to take care that the laws be faithfully executed; and, in the words of his oath, “to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States.”

The obligation of oaths upon the consciences of ambitious men has always been very slight, as the general history of mankind but too clearly evinces.  Among the Romans, indeed, they were held in great sanctity during the purer ages of the republic, but began to be disregarded as the nation approached to a state of debasement, that fitted them for slavery.  Among Christian princes, they seem only to have been calculated for the worst, instead of the best purposes: monarchs having long exercised, and seeming to claim, not less than the successors of St. Peter, a kind of dispensing power on this subject, in all cases affecting themselves.  A due sense of religion must not only be wanting in such cases, but the moral character of the man must be wholly debased, and corrupted.  Whilst these remain unsullied, in the United States, oaths may operate in support of the constitution they have adopted, but no longer.  After that period an oath of office will serve merely to designate its duties, and not to secure the faithful performance of them; or, to restrain those who are disposed to violate them.

Why does this kind of arrogance prevail?  Because the officers of the government have adopted corruption and immorality as their mode of operation: what matters to them is the political expediency of the moment without regard for what is right, wrong, or important in the long term.  It is not actually a legal matter: no court ruling will affect the basic corruption.  Left unchecked, this level of corruption will eventually cause the republic to degenerate into tyranny.  Montesquieu [2] notes:

When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils, but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.

We can only hope that the American people will be more discerning at the next presidential election.

[1] St. George Tucker, A View of the Constitution of the United States, Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, p. 282, (1999).  The original was published in 1803.

[2] Charles de Secondat, (Baron de Montesquieu), The Spirit of Laws, Book VIII, chapter 12.

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On Richard Nixon

OnRichardNixon   <– PDF version

It was 40 years ago this week (9 Aug 1974) that Republican President Richard M. “I am not a crook” Nixon resigned his office because he was discovered to be a crook.  He had willingly and knowingly covered up a burglary of the Democratic Party offices at the Watergate office building in Washington, committed by his supporters, some of whom worked in his campaign or his administration.  Nixon had waged a long internal battle to save himself from disgrace, but in the end the facts came out about his knowledge of the burglary and his abuse of power in covering it up.  We will probably never know if the burglary itself was his idea.  Many people in his own Republican party, understanding enough about history to know that honest government is always preferable to raw power, assisted in Nixon’s decline.  Nixon himself knew by then that he was about to be impeached, and would probably be removed from office, so he resigned in order to prevent a drawn-out political turmoil to the exclusion of other important issues (the Vietnam War being one of them).

So Nixon said good-bye and retired with full benefits to his mansion in San Clemente.  He was subsequently given a full pardon by his successor, President Gerald R. Ford, ostensibly to avoid seeing his old buddy have to stand trial for abuse of power and other crimes.  It was the worst mistake Ford ever made because it set the precedent by which future Presidents knew they could get away with anything.

Nixon was a crook.  He knew he was a crook, everyone else knew he was a crook, there was no means left by which he could talk his way out of it, and few in Congress or the courts were willing to tolerate any more of his corruption.  But let’s give old Tricky Dick some credit here: at least he retained some semblance of integrity such that deep down, he recognized that the American people deserved better than him.  Therefore, he did what was right by resigning.

We do not have that sentiment in politics any more.  The respective political parties have become so ideologically motivated towards the acquisition of power by any means that they will defend their crooks no matter what.  There is no limit to the crimes and abuses of power that will be tolerated so long as they expand their powers and associated privileges.  We have suffered with recent Democratic President William J. Clinton who even now cracks a smile whenever he is reminded of the massacre at Waco, the IRS targeting of his enemies, and the undermining of American elections with Chinese money (not to mention his personal victims).  Our current Democratic President, Barack H. Obama, regarded as the messiah by some of his supporters, has violated his oath of limited powers per the Constitution too many times to count, has once more encouraged and tolerated IRS abuse of his political enemies, and has implemented socialism at home and weakness abroad.

Unlike Nixon, who believed the American people deserved better, these two moral midgets believe the American people are not good enough for them.  I suspect the Republicans are no better.  So it will continue until “we the people” start demanding better, and start ignoring the slick political advertising extolling the alleged virtues of those who love power for its own sake.  In that spirit, I have three recommendations for elections:

1.  Regard every word by every candidate as being submitted to you, the citizen, as under penalty of perjury.

2.  Never vote for anyone who has committed perjury per #1.

3.  Only vote for those who have demonstrated a willingness to limit themselves to the enumerated powers granted to their offices under the appropriate local charters or state and federal constitutions.

 

 

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