Wednesday, July 04, 2018

The Chief Traitor

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  (John 8:32, KJV)

I.  History

WITHOUT MEMORY, we are lost.  Without memory, there is no sense of self, whether an individual or a nation.

II.  Amnesia?

     Knowledge is the foundation of the American Republic.  Falsehood is the quicksand that swallows opportunity, the chance to move toward our ideals.  Therefore fact is to be favored over fiction, however comforting fairy tales may be.

III.  Origins

     Many love the idea of America, but they are unwilling to face the reality--of the gap between the two, and the work that remains.  They are unwilling to answer the call to make a difference, not an excuse.

     The country’s birth certificate is a document of dissent.  It should be well-known to every citizen,
particularly by one who cared so much about an Other's birth certificate.  Surely, the one making such a fuss knows the significance of the nation’s.


     Being an American is demanding:  “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”  That is not done by a crybaby country.  It is not for the close-minded and the faint-hearted.

     The end of the country’s birth certificate is wedded to the Constitution which begins:  “WE THE
PEOPLE…”  The Preamble lays out markers by which WE THE PEOPLE measure our progress toward a shared destiny.  Thus, the only time “I” appears is in the oath to uphold the supreme law of the land; the “I” acts on behalf of the “WE.”

     The pillars in the oath, to “support and defend the Constitution…against all enemies, foreign and domestic”—invaders and traitors—are akin to the columns in the Temple, Yakin and Boaz, which were to establish strength.  The foundation is the God of truth.  (Deuteronomy 32:4, Isaiah 65:6, Psalm 31:5)  “If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth.”  (Numbers
30:2, KJV)  And when George Washington raised his right hand to become President of the United States, he added four words:  “So help me God.”  Thus, character--the union of thought, word, and deed directed toward a noble end--prevailed.

IV.  Conduct

     He appeared to violate the rule.  He was warned.  He was given an explanation.  Nevertheless, he
persisted.

     During the transition, Richard Painter, former ethics lawyer for Bush the Younger, and Laurence Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard University, warned the gentleman from New York about the emoluments clause.  Walter Shaub, the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, offered to assist him with divestiture.  But that was given no consideration and was not accepted.  And so, from the moment “So help me God” passed his lips, he has been in violation of the emoluments clause.  (Article I, Section 9, Clause 8)  The man who was supposed to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” chose to terminate “the supreme law of the land” with extreme prejudice.  (Article II, Section 3 & Article VI, Clause 2)  And the oath was dismissed with a wave of his hand.  After all, how can one “preserve, protect and defend” the very thing he upends?  (Article II, Section 1, Clause 8)  ALL OF THOSE ARE IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES.  Together, they go beyond, say, civil or inherent contempt, to raise the curtain for an encore, a showstopper of an impeachable offense--contempt of the Constitution.  Thus, there are already major violations regardless of the Russian investigation.  And he has been working on more ever since.

V.  Consequences

     General Washington was in the field with his troops.  But one day, the gentleman from New York will have an asterisk beside his name, which is ironic because he has never placed his aft at risk.
President Washington warned of foreign influence.  The gentleman from New York, the draft dodger and a certified sissy, embraces it.  Washington warned of “the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
The gentleman from New York wraps himself in the flag, giving new meaning to “the last refuge of
a scoundrel” as he wows the-more-patriotic-than-thou-crowd.

     The benefit of the doubt cannot erase “high crimes and misdemeanors.”  They are “those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”  (Article II, Section 4  & Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 65) 

     “Responsibility is of two kinds--to censure and to punishment.  The first is the more important of the two, especially in an elective office.  Man, in public trust, will much oftener act in such a manner as to render him unworthy of being any longer trusted, than in such a manner as to make him obnoxious to legal punishment.”  (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No.70; emphasis added)

 VI.  Accuracy

     Corruption comes by degrees through an opening created by falsehood.  Instead of an orb, obfuscation is the object casting a shadow and causing “a total eclipse of the facts.”*  Nuance--shaken, twisted, beaten, and run through with a sword--is tossed overboard tied to an anchor, which some manage to downplay.

     We study history to remember who and what we are.  Thus, we celebrate Independence Day.
But we also study history to avoid making the same mistakes repeatedly--whether our own or the
mistakes of others.

     “The Holocaust did not begin with killing; it began with words.”^  And those despicable deeds transpired where Fatherland or H_ _ _land was apropos.  But they did not happen all at once.  Friends were forgotten before they were drowned,  and now phrases face the same fate.

     The Founders met in the Continental Congress.  They created a Continental Army, a Continental Navy, and the Continental Marines.  GIs, at that time, were called Continentals.  John Adams was the head of the Continental Board of War and Ordnance.  George Washington was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Forces.  In peacetime, Alexander Hamilton, Receiver of Continental Taxes, which were placed in the Continental Treasury, pushed for a Federal Convention in a series of newspaper articles entitled “The Continentalist.”  And after writing the Constitution, the Framers wanted candidates for the Presidency to be “continental characters.”

     H_ _ _land is an alien term.  It is a place for a particular ethnic or racial group, a place where “blood and soil” makes sense.
.
     By definition, a nation of immigrants cannot be an H_ _ _land.  For alien words and alien ways can corrupt and lead us astray, and they can, ultimately, destroy our freedom.  Thus, a Fourth Reich, under pretext of an emergency, can separate children from their parents.

     The history of the American Republic is defined by means and ends, and names given or titles
bestowed must strive for such balance.  Those who used Continental have a better record of forming and maintaining the Union--another word preferred by the Framers, as was country and nation--and their example should be followed.  Therefore a constitutional phrase provides the proper name for the most recent Cabinet post--the Department of Public Safety.  (Article I, Section 1, Clause 2)  Surely, self-styled “conservatives” and “strict constructionists” will lead the way.

     Treason is the only crime defined in the Constitution because it is a threat to the life of the Republic.  That is why Confederate monuments are objectionable, which self-styled “conservatives” or “strict constructionists” should understand.  “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”  (Article I, Section 3, Clause 1)  Thus, treason cannot be rewarded; and traitors do not make precedents.

VII.  Conclusion
 
     When confusion rises as an envious and poisonous moon, ’tis time to return to return to the origin of things.  For we do not pledge loyalty to a monarch nor to a land, but to ideas placed upon a pedestal--our ideals.  Yet those who would turn the nation toward despotism, however disguised--and which always begins with “a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object”--are citizens Elsewhere.  For they doubt the country’s birth certificate and, therefore, have disgraced themselves.
 
     That slovenly mass, which sits prisoner in your skull, is more like intestines digesting foul substance.  It fuels your every grunt and gesture and assaults nostril and eye alike.  Shallow wit at the speed of a sloth, and all the grace of the ill-mannered, fancy yourself what you will.  But you are AINO--American in name only.
 
     “Knowledge,” as James Madison noted, “will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

(c)2018 Marvin D. Jones.  All rights reserved.

 
*https://youtu.be/tFhy72RR74o    [CNN, Don Lemon, “a total eclipse of the facts”] 
 
^https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/11/22/the-holocaust-did-not-begin-with-killing-it-began-with-words-museum-condemns-alt-right-meeting/?utm_term=.4c04ba620772
[“The Holocaust...began with words.”]
  

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Virtue of the Second Amendment

Oh, it's cryin' time again, you're gonna leave me
I can see that far away look in your eyes
I can tell by the way you hold me darlin'
That it won't be long before it's cryin' time

                                                 Buck Owens

IDEOLOGY IS A LEADING CAUSE OF BLINDNESS and provides a perfect hiding place for lies in plain sight.  But those who act on a false premise cannot expect a favorable result.

     The breakaway province of the British Empire cast aside monarchy on July 4, 1776.  Yet, because the Colonists had sought "the rights of Englishmen," Anglo-American law and jurisprudence are the remains of the day.

     Those who care about original intention would be wise to follow in the footsteps of the Framers and cite William Blackstone.

       The defence of one's self, or the mutual and reciprocal defence of such as stand in the
       relations of husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant.  In these cases, if the
       party himself, or any of these his relations, be forcibly attacked in his person or property,
       it is lawful for him to repel force by force; and the breach of the peace, which happens,
       is chargeable upon him only who began the affray.  For the law, in this case, respects
       the passions of the human mind; and (when external violence is offered to a man himself,
       or those to whom he bears a near connection) makes it lawful in him to do himself that
       immediate justice, to which he is prompted by nature, and which no prudential motives
       are strong enough to restrain.  It considers that the future process of law is by no means
       an adequate remedy for injuries accompanied with force; since it is impossible to say, to
       what wanton lengths of reapine or cruelty outrages of this sort might be carried, unless
       it were permitted a man immediately to oppose one violence with another.  Self-defence
       therefore as it is justly called the primary law of nature, so it is not, neither can it be in
       fact, taken away by the law of society.  In the English law particularly it is held an
       excuse for breaches of the peace, nay even for homicide itself: but care must be taken that
       the resistance does not exceed the bounds of mere defence and prevention; for then the
       defender would himself become an aggressor.  (Commentaries on the Laws of England,
       Book III, Chapter I, 3-4; emphasis added)

     What is permitted by "the primary law of nature" and cannot be "taken away by the law of society" has nothing whatsoever to do with the Second Amendment.  Open carry laws are separate and distinct from the same.  Furthermore, stand your ground laws are without foundation--a departure from precedent--and have nothing whatsoever to do with the Second Amendment.  Neither allows one to pursue, engage, provoke, and kill another--who posed no threat--and then turn around and invoke the specious claim:  I had to stand my ground.

     THE SECOND AMENDMENT IS ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY, and it must be enforced by means appropriate to that end.  The place to begin is with clarification by definition, because there can be no doubt over what constitutes "a well-regulated Militia."  Alexander Hamilton addressed the arrangement made by the Convention in The Federalist Papers, No. 29.  Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 & Clause 16 AND Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 AND the Second Amendment concern a body that has a chain of command that goes from a Governor or the President and has duly appointed officers.  But those groups that call themselves a Militia or a Defense Force are no more entitled to do so than a citizen can claim to be a Federal agent, and the consequences for such an act must be the same.  For uncertainty was swept away when President Washington had Secretary of War Knox send a report to Congress in support of Universal National Service:  "All being bound, none can complain of injustice, on being obliged to perform his equal proportion."  Thus, there was a time when the original intention of the common defense could not be mistaken, and the nation is sorely in need of a reminder of benefits beyond an order of battle.

     CITIZENSHIP INVOLVES RIGHT AND DUTIES.  Too many are strong on the former and weak on the latter.  But they are like a bride and groom.  And WE THE PEOPLE cannot "form a more perfect Union" if they are divorced.  So the vows cannot be entered into lightly.  The bride and groom have to mean "till death do us part."

     KNOWLEDGE IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC.  Decisions are to be based on "reflection and choice," not "accident and force."  (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 1)  Confusion is to be avoided or at least kept to a minimum.

     The right to self-defense is inherent and limited, as Blackstone noted.  It is not dependent upon the Second Amendment, which concerns national security, and, therefore, that is not the impediment to measures necessary for the public safety, as some have imagined.  With them and their straw men removed, politicians will be free to pursue "the deliberate sense of the community" and find solutions to mass shootings on the basis of knowledge.  (The Federalist Papers, No. 63 & 71, James Madison* and Alexander Hamilton, respectively)  For the only way to stop a bad guy with a fib is a good guy with a fact.

(c)2018 Marvin D. Jones.  All rights reserved.


https://youtu.be/xRkVtMCu9TI    [Cryin' Time]

http://www.marvinjones.blogspot.com/2013/08/much-is-required.html    [The Knox Report] 

*Based upon the research of Clinton Rossiter







Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Existential Question

Oh the games people play now
Every night and every day now
Never meaning what they say now
Never saying what they mean

                                   Joe South

I. The Three Fifths Compromise    
 
"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."  (Article I, Section, 2 Clause 3)
 
     We are born into history at a specific time and place.  They become our given.  Some accept them as natural, some shrug, and some see how different things could be--and act.
 
       It is a matter both of wonder and regret, that those who raise so many objections against
       the new Constitution should never call to mind the defects of that which is to be exchanged
       for it.  It is not necessary that the former should be perfect; it is sufficient that the latter is
       more imperfect.  No man would refuse to give brass for silver or gold, because the latter
       had some alloy in it.  No man would refuse to quit a shattered and tottering habitation for
       a firm and commodious building, because the latter had not a porch to it, or because some
       of the rooms might be a little larger or smaller, or the ceiling a little higher or lower than 
       his fancy would have planned them.  But waiving illustrations of this sort, is it not manifest
       that most of the capital objections urged against the new system lie with tenfold weight
       against the existing Confederation?...  Is the importation of slaves permitted by the new
       Constitution for twenty years?  By the old it is permitted forever.  (James Madison, The
       Federalist Papers, No. 38)
 
     One day, when our lives are a distant memory, some will look in the rear view mirror and wonder why we did not do more to protect the planet.  They will shake their heads and wag their tongues.  But we understand that, no matter how much the former President of the United States wanted to make the necessary adjustments, the opposition in the House and the Senate would not permit it.  And so, as the leader of the Republic, he did what was possible, not what was perfect.
 
     Whenever the three-fifths clause is brought up, it is, usually, done in condemnation.  But what gets lost are the circumstances.  Without that compromise, "the more perfect Union," to cite the Preamble, could not have been formed.  The Articles of Confederation, which were inadequate in war and peace, would have remained in place.  And the United States of America would have been a name, not a reality.
 
       It were doubtless to be wished, that the power of prohibiting the importation of slaves had 
       not been postponed until the year 1808, or rather that it had been suffered to have immedi-
       ate operation.  But it is not difficult to account, either for this restriction on the general
       government, or for the manner in which the whole clause is expressed.  It ought to be
       considered as a great point gained in favor of humanity, that a period of twenty years may
       terminate forever, within these States, a traffic which has so long and so loudly upbraided
       the barbarism of modern policy; that within that period, it will receive a considerable
       discouragement from the federal government, and may be totally abolished, by a concur-
       rence of the few States which continue the unnatural traffic, in the prohibitory example
       which has been given by so great a majority of the Union.  Happy would it be for the unfortu-
       nate Africans, if an equal prospect lay before them of being redeemed from the oppressions
       of their European brethren!  Attempts have been made to pervert this clause into an object-
       ion against the Constitution, by representing it on one side as a criminal toleration of an
       illicit practice, and on another as calculated to prevent voluntary and beneficial emigrations
       from Europe to America.  I mention these misconstructions, not with a view to give them an
       answer, for they deserve none, but as specimens of the manner and spirit in which some
       have thought fit to conduct their opposition to the proposed government.  (James Madison,
       The Federalist Papers, No. 42)
 
     The South wanted to count blacks as whole persons, not because of their big hearts and great spirits, but for power.  They would then have had increased representation in the House.  And looking back at how things played out, one does not need much imagination to see the additional stumbling blocks that would have been placed in the path of progress.
 
II. Districts
 
     "Representatives...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...and...three fifths of all other persons."  (Article I, Section 2, Clause 3; emphasis added)
 
     Some changes were made.  But the more things change, the more they stay the same.
 
     "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the WHOLE NUMBER of persons in each State...."  (Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2; emphasis added)
 
     Instead of the total population in a district, the plaintiffs in Evenwel v. Abbott wanted to count eligible voters only.  But the Constitution refers to the "the whole number."  Yet the self-styled "conservatives" or "strict constructionists" on the Supreme Court, who are supposedly strong on "original intention," accepted a case in which the plain language of the supreme law of the land was suddenly subject to question, which is the definition of a frivolous lawsuit.  And so, it has come to this.  There was cause for celebration when the nation's highest tribunal ruled in Evenwel v. Abbott--and saw the obvious.
 
     "We hold, based on constitutional history, this Court's decisions, and longstanding practice, that a State may draw its legislative districts based on total population.
 
III. Who Counts?
 
     "The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct."  (Article I, Section 2, Clause 3)
 
     The Constitution links "the whole number" to "the actual enumeration."  There is no mystery as to why.
 
     "An actual census or enumeration of the people must furnish the rule, a circumstance which effectively shuts the door to partiality or oppression."  (Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers, No. 36)
 
     The first line of the Census Act of 1790 left no doubt as to its purpose--"An Act providing for the enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States."  And those who were to do so took an oath to conduct "a just and perfect enumeration and description of all persons resident within my district."  Furthermore, in Utah v. Evans, the Supreme Court approved statistical methods that were intended to include all inhabitants.

     What is the source of confusion?

     The change in position of the self-styled "conservatives" or "strict constructionists" seems a matter of convenience that meets the needs of a boa.  Thus, those who seek such an advantage could be re-styled and re-dressed as "conveniencatives" or "slick constrictionists."  But the description does not matter as much as the deed, however clever, or in this case, poor the disguise.

     A constitutional requirement must be protected, and any attempt to disrupt the count--whatever the pretext, even under color of law--must be challenged.  For here the self-styled "conservatives" or "strict constructionists" go again.  They sow doubt with their deeds and pose an unstated question:  Do you matter?

IV. One...Two...Three...

     "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government...."  (Article IV, Section 4)

     After the Civil War, and a nod to Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, which, as Hamilton noted, "effectively shuts the door to partiality or oppression," a new provision supported the guarantee:  "But when the right to vote at any election...is denied to any...citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of...citizens shall bear to the whole number of...citizens (eighteen) years of age in such State."  (Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2; the citation has been adjusted to reflect subsequent amendments that gave women the right to vote in all the States and that lowered the voting age to eighteen; emphasis added)  By reducing their Representatives in proportion to the number of those denied the right to vote, States can be punished.  So despite the gutting of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby v. Holder, the Executive may go to a District Court, in response to recalcitrant States, by relying on the Constitution itself; and citizens can do so with respect to the same and to last minute changes to the census.

(c)2018 Marvin D. Jones.  All rights reserved.


1)  https://youtu.be/vDeVonv3kY0    [Oh the games people play now]

2)  https://www.thenation.com/article/the-new-attack-on-one-person-one-vote/    [Evenwel v. Abbott]

https://www.brennancenter.org/legal-work/evenwel-v-abbott

https://www.cnn.com/2016/04/04/politics/conservatives-lose-key-supreme-court-voting-rights-case/index.html

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-940_ed9g.pdf

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/us/edward-blum-and-the-project-on-fair-representation-head-to-the-supreme-court-to-fight-race-based-laws.html    [background: Edward Blum was involved in Shelby v. Holder and Evenwel v. Abbott] 

3)  https://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/1/essays/7/enumeration-clause    [the enumeration clause]
 
https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/1790_Census_Act.pdf    [Census Act of 1790]

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/trump-aims-to-pervert-census-count-with-citizenship-question-1196583491634    [the census question challenged]
    
 





 
    






 
        
 
 
 
      
 
      

    


Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Same Old Song

IRONY IS LOST ON THOSE BLIND TO SATIRE.

     "We have had enough of the lies, the sanctimony, the arrogance, the hatred, the pettiness, the fake news.  We are done with your agenda to undermine voters' will and individual liberty in America."

     In a performance reminiscent of the gentleman from New York, who referred to reporters as "the enemy of the American people," the Lady from the NRA takes off her gloves and smacks the face of "every lying member" of the press.  And her soliloquy continued.

     "So...to every Hollywood phony; to the role model athletes who use their free speech to alter and undermine what our flag represents; to the politicians who would rather watch America burn than lose one ounce of their own personal power; to the late night hosts who think their opinions are the only opinions that matter; to the Joy Ann Reids, the Morning Joes, the Mikas; to those who stain honest reporting with partisanship; to those who bring bias and propaganda to CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, your time is running out.  The clock starts now."

     Does that sound like someone seeking solutions or spoiling for a fight?

       Now it's the same old song
       But with a different meaning since you been gone
       It's the same old song
       But with a different meaning since you been gone

     In another scene, the Lady from the NRA mouths the entire Second Amendment:  "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."  Wow!  Remembering that line was remarkable when so many in her troupe usually said, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

     The Federalist Papers were mentioned to give a veneer of validity to their assertions, but no one quoted Alexander Hamilton's extended remarks on the Militia.  And no mention was made of the Knox Report.  There is a lot of talk.  But where are the citations?  For neither the Lady nor her guests noted Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 & Clause 16 and Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 that lay out the powers of the Legislature and the Executive, respectively, in the matter of which she spoke.

     George Washington, Henry Knox, and Alexander Hamilton proposed using the Militia, which the Second Amendment guaranteed would not be abolished, to institute Universal National Service.  So, instead of playing pretend, here is an opportunity for the leaders and followers of the NRA to become one with the Founders who served.  For citizenship involves rights and duties, and they wanted to balance the scales.  Thus, Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch can take the oath as guardians of the national security and support and defend the Constitution "against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

     Falsehood is not a friend of freedom.  But that impostor is fast and succeeds by misleading.  Yet facts are checked, double-checked, and checked again, in slow motion, as Truth prepares to engage the enemy on her terms--at warp speed.

     "So to every lying leader of the NRA; to self-styled 'conservatives' who use their free speech to alter and undermine what the Second Amendment means; to the politicians who watch America burn rather than lose one ounce of their personal power; to the radio hosts who think their opinions are the only opinions that matter; to the Rush Limbaughs, the Judge Perinos, the Tuckers; to those who stain honest reporting with partisanship; to those who bring bias and propaganda to FNC, The New York Post, and The Washington Times, your act is getting old.  The clock starts now."

(c)2018 Marvin D. Jones.  All rights reserved.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/02/17/trump-calls-the-media-the-enemy-of-the-american-people/?utm_terms=.ed5c74508d06      ["the enemy of the American people"]
 
https://youtu.be/43wKT9NzPdA    ["The clock starts now."] 

https://youtu.be/uS2nWLz-AbE    [The Same Old Song]

https://youtu.be/eCMmc4mwczI    [The Truth about the Second Amendment]

http://www.marvinjones.blogspot.com/2013/08/much-is-required.html   [ditto]

Bonus feature

https://youtu.be/S6yPZB9O2HU   [The NRA Is A Cult, Act 1 (Samantha Bee)]

https://youtu.be/0omjeOt-U6w    [The NRA Is A Cult, Act 2 (Samantha Bee)]

    

    

           

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Echoes

But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

                          Simon and Garfunkel

AFTER THE TROUBLES with King George III, there was great suspicion--in his former colonies--of standing armies.

       Here I expect we shall be told that the militia of the country is its natural bulwark, and
       would be at all times equal to the national defense.  This doctrine, in substance, had like to
       have lost us our independence.  It cost millions to the United States that might have been
       saved.  The facts which, from our own experience, forbid a reliance of this kind, are too
       recent to permit us to be the dupes of such a suggestion.  The steady operations of war
       against a regular and disciplined army can only be successfully conducted by a force of
       the same kind.  Considerations of economy, not less than of stability and vigor, confirm
       this position.  The American militia, in the course of the late war, have, by their valor on
       numerous occasions, erected eternal monuments to their fame; but the bravest of them
       feel and know that the liberty of their country could not have been established by their
       efforts alone, however great and valuable they were.  War, like most other things, is a
       science to be acquired and perfected by diligence, by perseverance, by time, and by
       practice.  (The Federalist Papers, No. 25)

     Alexander Hamilton was not only making the case for a regular army under a republican form of government.  He also wanted the Militia to be better organized under the Constitution than it had been under the Articles of Confederation.  Thus, in respect to the new charter, he noted, "The power of regulating the militia, and of commanding its services in times of insurrection and invasion are natural incidents to the duties of superintending the common defense, and of watching over the internal peace...."  And, therefore, "If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security."  (The Federalist Papers, No. 29)

     The Second Amendment was a response to those who feared the Federal Government would abolish the Militia, even though Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 & Clause 16 and Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 addressed its continued existence.  Thus, additional reassurance:  "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."  For without the appositives, the Second Amendment reads, "A well regulated Militia...shall not be infringed."

     There can be no doubt over what constitutes "a well regulated Militia," as Hamilton addressed the matter in the commentaries on the Constitution.  Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 & Clause 16 AND Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 AND the Second Amendment concern an appendage that has a chain of command that goes from the President or a Governor and has duly appointed officers.                 

     "If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security....," Hamilton observed in background remarks on the arrangement made by the Federal Convention.  (The Federalist Papers, No. 29)  Article I, Section 8, Clause 15 gives Congress the power "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions."  Clause 16 of the same section gives the Legislative Branch power "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress."  Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 makes the President Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, "and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States."  Such are the functions of those parts of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security.

     A bill to define Militia or, more properly, remind the uninformed and the continually lying what it means is, unfortunately, necessary.  Guys running around with guns are no more entitled to call themselves a Militia than a citizen can claim to be a Federal agent.  Both constitute fraud or misrepresentation, and those who do so should be subject to fines and jail time and boot camp.  Therefore the coy soldiers should change their group names to Gun Club, and, if they refuse, the Department of Justice should file suit against them.  Thus, the counter-offensive begins with words, which have meaning--and consequences.

    For too long, the fight has belonged to strong proponents of the SUPPOSED Second Amendment right to bear arms--against facts.  But the lines are drawn for the final stand.  And fortune shifts as the reserves are brought forth.  With banner unfurled, History rides through the ranks, wields the sword of truth, and cries, "Charge!"

     The rumble of thundering hooves does not remove lingering doubt.  How can this light brigade possibly prevail against a straight shooter?

     "We need a Supreme Court that, in my opinion, is going to uphold the Second Amendment...which is under absolute siege....  But I feel that it's absolutely important that we uphold, because of the fact that it is under such trauma.  ...[T]he Justices that I'm going to appoint will be pro-life.  They have a conservative bent.  They will be protecting the Second Amendment.  They are great scholars in all cases, and they're people of tremendous respect.  They will interpret the Constitution the way the Founders wanted it interpreted.  And I believe that's very, very important," said the gentleman from New York in the third debate.  (Emphasis added.)

     Americans were to be citizens, not merely consumers--commandos, if necessary, not couch potatoes.  For citizenship involves rights and duties, and WE THE PEOPLE must reacquaint ourselves with those Siamese twins.  After all, the country's birth certificate demands nothing less than the best--"our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

     And so, in a variation of Groucho, who are you going to believe--Alexander Hamilton, a former aide de camp to the Commander in Chief and a delegate to the Federal Convention, or Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA?

     The NRA has abducted and abused the Second Amendment; they have been aided and abetted by certain politicians; and they got an assist from Justice Scalia, when he agreed to the assertion of an individual right, in the Heller case.  But assertion and repetition do not equal truth.

     "[The Second Amendment] has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word 'fraud,' on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime," said former Chief Justice Warren Burger.  (The MacNeil-Lehrer Report, December 16, 1991)

     The NRA and certain politicians have been kept afloat by the failures of the self-styled "mainstream" press.  But, as John Adams noted, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."  Furthermore, some of the problems with their "analysis" could be avoided if they studied history.  For it is not as if journalists have to become archaeologists to do their important jobs.

     "Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed--and no        republic can survive," said President Kennedy.  "That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy.  And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment--the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution--not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply 'give the public what it wants'--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion."  (Emphasis added.)

     Words have meaning, and their misuse has consequences.  As citizens, we have the power to use accurate terms and to call out the press and politicians when they fail to do so.  WE THE PEOPLE  can change the conversation.

     Playing pretend was fine when we were children.  But for some, that time has not passed.  The Senator from Florida warned us about "jumping to conclusions" as if we had not trained for an Olympic event.  Hopefully, he will learn that returning to history--and the truth--is the way to win gold medals.

(c)2018 Marvin D. Jones.  All rights reserved.



https://youtu.be/4fWyzwo1xg0    [Simon and Garfunkel]  
https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290/pdf    [the Heller case]   

https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/American-Newspaper-Publishers-Association_19610427.aspx    ["Without debate"]

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/373956-rubio-cautions-some-law-might-not-have-revented-florida-school    ["jumping to conclusions"]