Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lack of Knowledge in America about the Constitution

Over the years, I've been astounded at how little (apparently) many Americans know about the Supreme Law in this land.  Example--- In one online discussion/comment venue, a person wrote back to me and said (paraphrased), "But, the Constitution doesn't say the President can't do that; therefore, he's allowed to."... Needless to say, I was flabbergasted.  Another example--- "The President is Commander-in-Chief of the military; that means he can go to war whenever he sees fit.".  Another example--- "Congress passed a resolution giving the President permission to go to war at some point in the future (the time to be determined by the President)."... Good grief.  [That last scenario has taken place for the last few wars we've been in, and it's completely unconstitutional.]

Because of the above, I offer a few truths about our system of government and the U.S. Constitution.  As a preface, let me begin by pointing out that the primary purpose of the Supreme Law of the Land is to limit/constrain/restrain the Fed Gov't.  That's the reason it was created in the first place.

1.  Ours is a government of Enumerated Powers (Google it.)  We the People delegated certain powers to the Fed Gov't...and only those powers.  If the power isn't listed, then the Feds don't have it.  That's how they are restrained, not by listing everything they can't do...that list would be endless.  The Gov't can gain new powers only by Constitutional Amendment or by a Constitutional Convention.  There are no other legal ways unless martial law is declared.

2.  The Bill of Rights (the first ten Amendments) does contain a few prohibitions that apply to the Gov't..."Shall not infringe upon...".  Perhaps that's why some people got the idea that everything the Feds can't do is listed in the Constitution.  Nope.  Also, some people have the idea that the Constitution GRANTS us certain Rights.  That's absolutely false.  Instead, the document is enumerating (listing) a few of the Natural Rights that all people possess.  It's saying that in this country, those rights will be protected ---not granted.  The difference is important.

3.  Yes, the President is Commander-in-Chief; however, that doesn't mean he gets to decide when to put us at war.  There are enumerated Constitutional restraints regarding uses of the military.  Only three such uses are permitted by the Constitution.  I listed them in this blog more than once; they are very other "interpretation" is reasonably possible.  One doesn't have to be a judge or attorney to figure out what the Founders meant.  It's crystal clear.  None of the permitted uses includes being the world's police force.  Such a use is blatantly unconstitutional.  Those who believe our military should be the world's police force need to lobby for an Amendment to that effect.  Either that, or propose it at a Constitutional Convention.  The way it is now, it's illegal.

4.  I've stated this next item over and over in past posts:  no Law supercedes the U.S. Constitution.  That's what "Supreme Law of the Land" means.  The Oligarchs in the Fed Gov't know that full well.  That's why they ignore the Constitution and instead point to the War Powers Act (or some other law) to justify having the President decide when and with whom we're going to war.  They know that if they try to get that authority from the Constitution, they'll be out of luck.  That's also why they rely upon the PATRIOT Act to allow FBI Agents to write their own search warrants, or allow the NSA to spy on people with no probable cause or proper warrant.  Those are not activities delegated by We the People to our Fed Gov't.  That means our Gov't, at the highest levels, consists of outlaws...they are violating the Supreme Law of the Land.  They also are violating this portion of their oath of office: preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

5.  For this country to be (constitutionally) at war, Congress must declare war, not pass a resolution saying, hey, Mr. President, we approve of you putting us at war at some point in the future.  That's why, in the beginning, both the Korean and Vietnam "wars" were called "conflicts".  The Oligarchs in Gov't knew that the Constitution required a Declaration of War by the Congress, so they figured they'd make things more palatable to the public by calling both of those wars "conflicts".  As the years passed, Gov't became bolder and simply dropped all pretenses regarding the Constitution.  They ignored the document.  And, lo and behold, very few people seemed to give a damn.  That's why, more than once, I've suggested that we throw out the Constitution...because ignoring it has the same effect.

People have said to me, this just can't must be misinterpreting the Constitution somewhere, some parts of it.  My answer usually goes like this:  I spent a fairly significant portion of my full-time working life interpreting the most complex, convoluted U.S. laws and regulations in existence, the Hazardous Waste and Hazardous Materials laws and regs...and the Occupational Safety and Health laws and regs.  [To prove my claim regarding their complexity, Google:  40 CFR 261.3 - Definition of Hazardous Waste.]  Compared to those laws and regs, the U.S. Constitution is a second-grader's's longwinded in parts, but it's very plainly written.  If you can read and have any common sense at all, you can "interpret" it.

As I said in my previous post, I think most people know that the Game is rigged, and so, they figure the whole situation is probably hopeless.  That's true only if we continue to rely on "voting" to save us, and that's because about 99% of all national political candidates (Republicans and Democrats) are chosen, groomed, and financed by the Oligarchy. There are other peaceful ways to bring about significant change.  First, though, we have to stop drinking the Propaganda Kool Aid...part of that Kool Aid is the lie that Republican and Democrat policy-makers are significantly different.

Partly just my opinion.
Happy Trails


jumpingbilly said...

Brilliant, save for this grab-bag:
"labor unions are crushed, environmental groups are ridiculed or marginalized, workers protesting poverty-level wages are ignored or marginalized or fired, alternative energy proponents are ridiculed or ignored, health care reform advocates are deemed "socialists"

Select labor unions are part of the oligarchy; global warming is the cause celeb of the environmental in crowd; we have spent plenty of public funds on alternate energy technologies that are not ready to produce in prime time; and the health care reform we've gotten is socialist.

Everything else in this piece is spot on.

Scott Haley said...

Thank you for your input. I disagree on your take regarding the "grab-bag". For example, we have no "health care reform"---Obamacare is a bailout of health insurance companies. It did nothing for health CARE. If it were "socialist", patients would be going to gov't facilities that have gov't doctors, nurses, equipment, etc. The only socialist medical care we have in the USA is that of the V.A.

Scott Haley said...

p.s. Apparently your comment was posted on the wrong essay. No worries.