The Constitution Failed May 19, 2011Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: 10th amendment, 9th Amendment, Dr. Robert Owens, Immigration, Obamacare, Term Limits
People often ask me, “How could you write a book entitled The Constitution Failed?” If the Constitution was written to ensure a limited government and if today we have an unlimited central government my question is, “How can anyone contend that the Constitution hasn’t failed?”
We know that for the last 100 years the Progressives have sought progress by changing the Constitution, which was written to establish unbreakable boundaries for government, without recourse to the amendment process. The Framers knew that without these boundaries government would grow into a millstone around the neck of the American people. Instead of a document establishing solid limits the Progressives say it is a living document that can be re-interpreted with each passing year evolving into whatever the current leaders may desire.
Our twin headed Progressive party of power expands and twists the General Welfare, the Commerce, and the Supremacy clauses to sanction any executive, legislative, judicial, or regulatory action they wish to impose whether it’s a welfare state, energy policies, or the mandatory purchase of insurance. However, nothing is more symbolic of the current irrelevance of the Constitution to our leaders than the utter contempt they hold for the 9th and 10th Amendments.
Back during the original debate to ratify the Constitution these two sentinels of limited government were forced upon the proponents of a strong central government by those much maligned patriots the Anti-Federalists. The Constitution never would have been ratified without an assurance that the first order of business for the new government would be the ratification of the Bill of Rights. The capstone of these sacred rights is the 9th and the 10th Amendments which state:
The 10th 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.”
I present the following examples of how our Progressive central government infringes upon the rights of the States and the people:
While in almost every instance that voters have had an opportunity to voice their opinion they have overwhelmingly approved term limits, and the courts have just as consistently overturned the will of the people. Through ballot initiatives and Constitutional amendments to State Constitutions the people have spoken, but instead of the voice of the people we hear the commands of the elites.
The Supreme Court in a classic five-to-four decision in U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton (1995) said the states don’t have the authority to limit the terms of their own congressional delegations. They further ruled that unless the Constitution is amended neither the states nor Congress has the power to limit the number of terms members of Congress can serve. Dissenting Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that the majority ignored the clear meaning of the Tenth Amendment. Since there is no explicit denial of the power to limit terms to the States in the Constitution the 10th Amendment clearly states this power is reserved to the States.
When the Governor and legislators of Arizona attempted to address the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who are pouring over their borders with Mexico each year they first had to admit that the Federal Government was not enforcing their own laws. After the central government ignored their petitions and pleas for help for years the government of Arizona acted to protect their citizens.
Immediately, the Justice Department sued to block the law, contending it violates the U.S. Constitution. The Arizona law was subsequently struck down by the Federal Courts using the Supremacy Clause for their justification. Judge Richard Paez, said, “By imposing mandatory obligations on state and local officers, Arizona interferes with the federal government’s authority to implement its priorities and strategies in law enforcement, turning Arizona officers into state-directed [Homeland Security] agents.” When it reached the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a three judge panel said, “Congress has given the federal government sole authority to enforce immigration laws, and that Arizona’s law violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution” The Federal Government has abdicated its responsibility to protect Arizona from invasion and in their opinion a law that requires law enforcement officials to enforce the law goes too far.
The intrusive actions of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA):
Legislators in Texas decided to take action to protect their citizens from what many considered to be overly aggressive pat-downs. The reaction of the TSA to Texas attempting to protect their citizens from the molestation the Federal l Agency calls a pat-down is indicative of the attitude our central government has towards any infringement of their absolute power. On their website The TSA Blog the gatekeepers of the air said, “What’s our take on the Texas House of Representatives voting to ban the current TSA pat-down? Well, the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article. VI. Clause 2) prevents states from regulating the federal government.” This says it all. As far as our Federal masters are concerned there is no limit to their power.
Obamacare: Mandating action and penalizing inaction:
The Federal Government is attempting to enforce the mandatory purchase provisions of Obamacare alternately as authorized by the Commerce Clause and as a tax, depending on which argument they think a judge will uphold. This massive invasion of personal liberty is currently being challenged by 28 States as being beyond the bounds of the Constitution. Currently two judges have ruled it unconstitutional and three have ruled it constitutional. If this is provision wherein not taking an action is considered either engaging in commerce and thereby subject to regulation or if a non-action is taxable what is left of our precious freedom? What other non-actions will now be under the power of the government. If a government can control our non-actions what does that say about their power over our actions?
By ignoring the unambiguous meaning of the 9th and 10th Amendments and by stretching and twisting the meanings of a few vague clauses the Progressive leaders of our Federal government have interpreted our Constitution to mean anything needed to do anything desired. Once the words lose their meanings, once the sentences can mean anything the Progressives want, what power does the Constitution have to limit government?
Ultimately this is a message of hope because I trust in the ability of the American people to solve any problem they confront. However, we have to admit there is a problem before we can solve it, and if we refuse to admit there is a problem we have no chance of solving it. The problem is our limited government has become unlimited and does whatever it wants. How can I say, “The Constitution Failed”? What I am saying is our system is broken, it is no longer functioning as designed, and we need a re-set button.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College. He is the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com View the trailer for Dr. Owens’ latest book @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ypkoS0gGn8 © 2011 Robert R. Owens email@example.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook.
You Say You Want a Revolution December 14, 2009Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
Tags: balance of powers, Cap-n-trade, Cloward/Piven Strategy, Constitution, Declaration of Independence, EPA, Immigration, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Obama, Saul Alinsky, SEIU, Taxes, Tea Party
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Our revolution changed the world. Our Declaration of Independence proclaims self-evident truths. That all men are created equal, they’re endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These words shook a world held in the vise-grip of hereditary privilege inspiring people around the globe. Our Constitution established a representative republic with a limited government of the people, by the people and for the people.
We’ve watched as our constitutionally limited government grew until today it’s leviathan running amok like Godzilla in Tokyo smashing things and scaring boy scouts. Today the Federal government is the largest employer in America, states are the largest employers in the states and counties are among the largest employers in the counties get the picture? Government’s on a rampage and unless Mothra is going to fly in to save the day we’ll have to deal with Frankenstein-on-the-Potomac ourselves.
Such brazen power-plays as the Executive branch issuing the Legislature an ultimatum, either pass Cap-N-Trade or we’ll impose it administratively through command-and-control make the dramatic changes in our political culture shockingly apparent. Has our balance of powers melted away under the glare of executive orders, signing statements and now ultimatums? Some people say this is evolution. To others it’s devolution. Our hard-won and dearly-paid-for Republic is devolving into a command-and-control all-encompassing central-state. With political dynasties bequeathing congressional seats like hereditary fiefdoms it’s becoming hard to explain why we left the British Empire. Today we not only have taxation without representation as congressional party-line voters ignore their constituents we also have representation without taxation as the perpetually re-elected Lords and Ladies represent the illegal immigrants, the professional welfare hammock-riders and now Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his band of war-criminals.
These big government social planners may believe they’ve achieved their community organizing goals fulfilling Historian Will Durant paraphrase of Lincoln’s famous quote, “It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” They may believe their revolutionary administration will fundamentally change America however, if they’d step 20 miles outside the Beltway obviously there’s a counter-revolution brewing. The Tea Party is overtaking the Republican Party in popularity. It has already supplanted them at the grassroots of the conservative movement. By 2010 an avalanche of voters will throng the polling places demanding their country back.
Following the tactics of Saul Alinsky brought the Obama-Acorn-SEIU coalition control of the Democratic Party and the country but following the Cloward/Piven Strategy for overwhelming the system to impose an alternative system is going to lead to a complete repudiation of this radical departure from traditional American politics and economics. We aren’t Venezuela. Even after decades of legislative efforts to progressively create a permanent underclass of government dependants who’ll follow the leader to the next looting of productive members of society the majority in this country still want freedom and opportunity not cradle-to-grave mediocrity.
We can and should stage a counter-revolution against this growing tyranny. A peaceful, lawful revolution at the ballot box and if you’re talking about destruction, you can count me out. The last thing we need in this crowded theater full of combustible emotions is either a match or someone shouting fire. Any incident right now would trigger a massive response. Just as the executive is using the EPA to impose the onerous restrictions of a Cap-N-Trade style economy stunting strangulation regulation he’s also using ICE to change the enforcement of immigration policy without any messy debate. Ruling by decree is hardly compatible with constitutionally-limited government. We’re told the administration has solutions. A solution to heal the greatest health care system in the world, a solution to save or create jobs while we lose jobs every month, a draconian solution for the man-made global warming hoax, a solution for endless wars for elusive peace. You say you have a solution. We’d all love to see the plan.
They say they want a contribution. Back in the good old change we could believe in days the dialogue of class warfare repeated that no one making under 250,000, or was it 150,000, or was it …anyway only the evil rich would have to pay a dime of new taxes. Watch out! You might find out you’re rich come next April 15th. Everyone has known since at least that tax-cutting wild man JFK that cutting taxes increases revenue to the government and raising them lowers revenue. Since the government knows raising taxes lowers revenue and since they’re raising taxes to increase revenue what are they trying to do? Complicated tax codes are used as a way to incentivize and de-incentivize behavior. If you want more widgets give tax breaks for buying widgets. If you want less widgets tax widgets. Using that for a guide notice what’s being pushed and what’s being pulled? Taxes on producers and tax breaks for non-producers imagine tax cuts for people who don’t pay taxes and tax increases for those who do. Taking the money of producers to bailout the greedy, reward the cronies and support the lazy. It’s time to tell the statists at the ballot box if they want money for things we hate they’re going to have to wait.
Executive orders and signing statements have been used in Republican and Democrat administrations for years to change the constitution without changing the constitution. Now sweeping new powers by regulators threatens to make Congress irrelevant as an all powerful executive branch grows like a malignant tumor. Don’t lose heart, don’t despair, don’t you know it’s going to be all right? Keep the faith, keep the peace, organize and win the day.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College and History for the American Public University System. http://drrobertowens.com © 2009 Robert R. Owens firstname.lastname@example.org