A tale of two countries

Barack Obama is said to be a “constitutional scholar”. He is no such thing, although I grant the man his due in terms of real abilities, such as personal charisma and a sense of humor. The reasons I say he is no scholar are two:

  • The “ghost of Columbia”. In this story, at least two former students are suspicious that Obama ever attended there. There is little in the record, perhaps one photograph and an alleged roommate, such details easily planted by spooks. More importantly, a legendary Columbia professor, Henry Graff, has no memory of Obama ever being there. He taught American history and diplomatic history there, and says that any student of note who ever passed through there before going on to public reputation took his classes. Obama did not. He was never there.
  • Secondly, any serious constitutional scholar knows that our governing document is fractured and flawed, and that attempts to reassemble it are pointless. James Madison is considered the “Father” of the Constitution, a man who understood it better than any in his time, including the “Founding Fathers”. Pause on his words: “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people; and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.

The powers granted to the federal government by the document were few and highly restricted. The powers granted to the individual states were virtually unlimited. Madison had reservations about including a Bill of Rights in the original document, as such rights might be circumscribed by listing them. Accordingly, he added the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

And the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

During the Covid nonsense, I routinely complained to our local health department that they acted in violation of the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. Among the rights blatantly violated were free assembly and religion, but I also listed travel. Where, pray tell, in our Constitution, is the right to travel? It is contained in the Ninth Amendment.

Alas, I was complaining to the ocean about the tides, to group of nincompoops under the rule of a tyrannical federal government and its various subsidiary states. And, I was wrong. We have no rights under the Bill of Rights, and have not since passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (7/9/1868) in the wake of the Civil War. I won’t cite entire amendment, only the most destructive element:

Section 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That part, authored by Congressman John Bingham of Ohio, turned the United States of America on it head, and sent it along its way towards tyranny and empire. Here’s part of the ensuing debate before passage, from this site:

Congressman John A. Bingham of Ohio, the primary author of the first section of the 14th Amendment, intended that the amendment also nationalize the Bill of Rights by making it binding upon the states. When introducing the amendment, Senator Jacob Howard of Michigan specifically stated that the privileges and immunities clause would extend to the states “the personal rights guaranteed and secured by the first eight amendments.”

Note that the Ninth and Tenth Amendments are not mentioned. In fact, it would have been better to not mention any Amendments, as they all vanished at the state level on passage of the Fourteenth. More about that later. Just understand that the original document sought to circumscribe the power of the federal government my making sure that ultimate power resided in the various states. The Bill of Rights was intended only as a list of rights extant, and not something that created them. That is why Madison insisted on two additional Amendments after the original eight.

In fact, the federal government had no enforcement power over the states regarding “rights,” and states were free to add to their constitutions others, or even to neglect the listed ones. The only power that the federal government had concerning the Bill of Rights was on federal lands, like the District of Columbia, or certain lands granted federal jurisdiction by various states. This was the intent of Madison and the Founders, to severely circumscribe the federal government, to keep a monster in its cage. Says James Edward Snowden in his book Everything You Know About The Constitution is Wrong (page 171):

The United States as a Republic was designed with exquisite care to resist every attempt at tyranny. Founders such as Jefferson and Madison never thought for a moment that the battle against tyranny was forever won in the United States. They realistically resigned themselves to the idea that tyranny might one day assert itself. They left in place the best system they could to prevent it.

It did not last. The Constitution went into effect in 1788, and the Fourteenth Amendment set it aside in 1868. We lasted but 80 years.

What of our rights? They ceased to exist in 1868, and one-by-one had to be forcibly “incorporated” on the states by the new overarching federal government and its Supreme Court. Various court decisions have “restored” these rights at various times, but keep in mind that a tyrannical body like the Supreme Court, which today acts arbitrarily to insert itself in all matters public and private (as with, for instance, abortion) can just as easily expunge those rights. Thus did our gallant nine stand idly by as our rights were shredded in the Covid regime. They were probably frightened, but on what grounds would they offer up a platter of rights restored when tyranny was in free rein?

Here’s a list of rights (sans Amendment numbers, as the Bill of Rights is quaint and useless, and the dates they were finally incorporated against the various states by the Final Nine:

  • Establishment of religion: 1947
  • Free exercise of religion: 1940
  • Freedom of speech: 1925
  • Freedom of the press: 1931
  • Freedom of assembly: 1937
  • To petition for redress of grievances: 1963
  • To keep and bear arms: 2010***
  • Against unreasonable search and seizure: 1949
  • Exclusion of unlawfully seized evidence: 1961
  • Requirement of a warrant for search and seizure: 1964
  • Against double jeopardy: 1969
  • Against self-incrimination: 1964
  • Just compensation for seized property: 1897
  • Speedy trial: 1967
  • Public trial: 1948
  • Impartial jury: 1968
  • Notice of accusations: 1948
  • Right to confront adverse witnesses: 1965
  • Right to subpoena witnesses: 1967
  • Right to counsel: 1963
  • Against excessive bail: 1971
  • Protection against cruel and unusual punishment: 1962

Note that these rights “given” us, or incorporated against the states by the United States Supreme Court can as easily be taken away. I have long thought that Our Supreme Court bears far more resemblance not to a real place for settlement of disputes based on a governing document, but rather like the British House of Lords, which settles disputes based on whim and whimsy, since Brittan has no constitution. When it comes right down to it, neither do we.

So Barack Obama, noted constitutional scholar, holder of a Juris Doctor from Harvard, is not that and most likely has no JD either. There’s a reason why his college transcripts have never been released. They don’t exist. Why else would he refuse to release them? It is about what is not there, not about what is there.****

More likely, he was born and bred to be our first black president, and trained in the skills of public relations while sitting idly by as others ran this whackadoo country. I do not demean his intellect, but note that he, like all modern presidents, does not need to be a scholar or man of letters. He only needs to look good on TV. Like his successor, Donald Trump, he is but an actor.

Edwards noted in his book at at the time of passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, that the Constitution needed a major rewrite. It was never done, and so carried forth as a document full of dead letters. All of our states have constitutions, and all of them are meaningless. After all, the Fourteenth says that the federal government has overarching power over the states, and further, that we are citizens first of the United States, and then of the various States. Why bother?

__________________

*** Says Snowden (p 159): “Yes, you read that right. If you are a red-blooded American who loves his guns, you only earned that right in 2010. It was not given to you by the Founding Fathers. Your grandfathers did not fight to “protect” that right in World War II. Politicians in black robes gave the right to you, and you started enjoying it for the very first time as  an American individual right in 2010.” (States in McDonald v. Chicago) [nb: They can as easily take back that right.]

**** Same with Donald Trump and his tax returns.

11 thoughts on “A tale of two countries

  1. Declare an “emergency” an the whole deal is moot. The article below was written in 2017, but not much seems to have changed.

    “The United States is in a state of emergency: 28 national ones and many more local. This might come as a surprise, but it isn’t new—this month marks the start of our 39th year in a continuous emergency state. What is an emergency, and how did we get here? This post explains.” – Catherine Padhi
    https://www.lawfareblog.com/emergencies-without-end-primer-federal-states-emergency

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    1. Yep, when the government can just “declare” an emergency (think Michael Scott “declaring” bankruptcy), and all our “rights” are thrown out the window, there isn’t much incentive for said emergency to ever end.

      Of course, the word emergency doesn’t appear anywhere in the constitution… so this is a power that the government just decided to give itself. No one that the government supposedly “works for” ever agreed to such a situation.

      the “founding fathers” that wrote the constitution certainly knew about emergencies… but they didn’t give the government the power to declare them.

      Of course, the civil war proved that our constitution was BS from the start, since half the states voted to leave but weren’t allowed to, and were forced to return, violently.

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  2. I consider Snowden an excellent resource on these matters, maybe even a Constitutional Scholar. He devotes a long section of the book to the matter of secession, a complicated subject. He notes that what the Confederate States did was identical to what the colonies had done in 1776. But he concludes that the right to secede did not exist, as it was not mentioned in the document voluntarily signed by all the states in 1788. That part of the book is worth a post by itself. Prior to reading it, I would have held with your view, but he changed my mind. Also note, slavery existed (exists) and was an atrocity against humankind. The South had other reasons for seceding, but that was the big one.

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    1. So rights don’t exist unless they are mentioned in the document?
      Why would the states ever agree to give up their right to leave the union if they felt the federal government was overstepping?

      My understanding is that our federal government is limited to what the constitution allows. If it’s not in theer, they can’t do it.
      Any other powers they’ve granted to themselves are unconstitutional.

      Less than a quarter of the population of the south were slave holders, so clearly there were many other reasons the southern states voted to leave. Most of the slave population was controlled by a very small minority of landowners. What about all the non slaveholders, who were attacked by the north? Was it justified to kill them, destroy their property, and force them back into a country that they didn’t want to be a part of anymore?
      Remember, the South had voted, and left and formed their own country… they weren’t trying to get control of United States government.
      Regardless, starting a war to free slaves is all well and good… but then forcing the entire population of the south back into the union, against their will, is another.

      You can’t hold a voluntary union together with a war. Whatever the constitution was before the civil war, it was destroyed afterward, since half the states were not willingly a part of the country.

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      1. All well and good, but I’m a bit overwhelmed at this time. I will try to write a thoughtful post on Snowden’s thoughts about secession, and then maybe incorporate my own and yours, and agree to disagree. Right now, I have no answer for you.

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        1. No worries, Mark.
          The whole topic is overwhelming.
          Clearly, whether the states have a “right” to secede, or not… the federal government will simply not allow it to happen. We’ve seen that, already.
          There are so many ways to vilify a seceding state or states.
          They’d come up with something as bad or worse than slavery to justify attacking them.

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  3. I would substitute the word “tolerances” for “rights”. They leave us alone for the most part, not marching into our homes and arresting us, pretending they need a warrant to do that on TV shows. In reality, as we saw with Covid, they can shut us down at will, imprison us (quarantines), shut down churches and synagogues, sporting events, beaches, family picnics. All for an “emergency.” There is no Bill of Rights, no Constitution. Time we learned.

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  4. you have exactly the rights the state grants you at the time. Corona demonstrated that the entire world is being handled the same way. No country can be called a land of the free anymore. They all obey when the world government gives an order. Maybe it was always that way. They just have been more careful in the past not to show them so obviously but now it’s all in the open. Yet still the majority pretends not to see this.
    I’m not sure, if they ever arrested anyone and such. Except for some of their own actors. IMO all happens because people can be scared to do this things. There even is a certain word for this in the German language: Volksverarschung. That means making fools of the folks or “putting it in their assholes” to be more precise.

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  5. Three days ago (Aug. 26) a new “regional” federal emergency was enacted. A BP refinery fire in Indiana stopped production indefinitely. OMG, another “catastrophic” event triggering suspension of existing rules/laws/ “constitutional rights.” A “crisis,” no doubt — no discussion necessary.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/feds-declare-emergency-in-4-states-after-oil-refinery-fire-in-indiana_4693769.html?utm_source=mr_recommendation&utm_medium=left_sticky

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