Tag Archives: DOUG SMITH

Bill Moore: Local Decision; National Pattern

13 Aug

Is free speech being suppressed by the very institutions that benefit from the First Amendment?  Locally?  For what purpose?

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Bill Moore is a businessman, author, and conservative columnist.  Originally from Ashland, KY. Bill spent the summers of his formative years playing in the hills and coal mines of rural Eastern Kentucky.  He believes in smaller government, the free market and is a fiscal conservative. Free State Patriot welcomes Bill as a regular contributor in the fight to support our nation’s founding principles and expose the progressive movement.

“You can have everything you want in life… If you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

~ Zig Ziglar / Bill Moore


 

Alex Jones, Candice Owens, Elizabeth Heng, Diamond and Silk, Herman Cain and our own Mark Caserta. What do these people have in common? De-platforming, temporary bans and shadow banning. Each has been actively limited by a publisher(platform) for their opinions. Conversely Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Antifa each post encouragement to harass conservatives or actively encourage fighting and disobeying law enforcement, yet their accounts remain active and often trend higher than conservative posts on the exact same subject matter.

Let’s examine for a moment the bans each person listed above has endured. Alex Jones, far right shock jock, was de-platformed from SIX major sites in just over 24 hours. (Apple iTunes, Spotify, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn) Candice Owens, African-American conservative, was banned on Twitter for 12 hours when she copied and posted Tweets from a radical left journalist replacing the word “white’ with “black” and “Jew” but otherwise leaving the Tweets intact. Elizabeth Heng, Vietnamese-American conservative running for election, had an ad banned on Facebook that described her family dealing with Communist Vietnam. Both Diamond and Silk and Herman Cain, African-American conservative broadcasters, have been shadow banned on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Of course, readers of this blog know Mark Caserta and what the Herald Dispatch did to him.

The most common reason for bans and de-platforming are listed as violations the term and conditions (vague community standards) of said web platform. Just like the movie “Animal House” these content creators were on “double secret probation” while Facebook, Apple Et al gathered enough information to decide whether silencing them would negatively impact the bottom line. Once they felt the bottom line was safe good bye conservative leaning voices.

Shadow bans are more insidious. The person can login and post as normal. However, the platform limits the reach of the post, giving it lower ranking in searches and not allowing subscriber notifications to notify. For example, Diamond and Silk post a video and expect a certain number of views based proportionally on the number of subscribers. When shadow banned they reach fewer people than expected and thus make less revenue from advertisers, get fewer clicks for merchandise sales and cannot grow their channel or follower base.

Even bans that get lifted like in the case of Candice Owens hurt because the optimum widow for the message has passed and is now “old news” as the fickle public has moved on to a new crisis of the moment.

Mark’s situation could be considered different as it involves a physical publication with limited print real estate. However, the situation can be used to demonstrate how social media is really a publisher as opposed to a neutral platform. The Herald Dispatch terminated its working relationship with a “token” conservative over what was termed as the “newspaper’s best interest”, similarly themed articles and a lack of local subject matter. As distasteful as the decision is they have the right to act as they see fit. Just like we as consumers have the right to terminate subscriptions to the Herald Dispatch and stop patronizing its very few advertisers.

We also have the right to contact said advertisers and voice our displeasure over them supporting a business that actively silences conservative speech.

The main stream media (newspaper, radio and TV), more accurately defined as “legacy” media pushes a general narrative that leans left of center. How far left is dependent on the outlet ownership and sponsors. Even the right leaning Fox News slants stories, limits facts and editorializes “news”. Do not misunderstand Fox News adds balance to the vast liberal ramblings that pass as “news” in modern journalism, but they are also complicit in adding opinion to facts and calling it news. “News” reporting in and of itself should be like the old TV court drama oath: “Promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Remember when news shows ended with an anchors opinion and even warned viewers saying, “what follows is an editorial opinion”? In today’s era of 24-hour news every opinion, every headline must be sensationalized to keep viewers tuned in. Sponsors demand a return on their advertising dollars. Clicks, views and eyes are the measurements that matter for a news channel not clear presentation of facts. Remember legacy media outlets are businesses and businesses must make a profit to continue.

You see, the social media giants hide behind “we are a platform and don’t exercise editorial control over posts” thus “we can’t be sued when an individual defames or slanders someone”. They can’t be held responsible when someone like Maxine Waters encourages harassment or threatens the President. If the bans are given across the board, regardless of ideology, the websites would be correct. However, a strong case can be made showing the social media platforms do, in fact, only target conservative opinions.  Any ambulance chasing lawyer can connect the dots and tear down the platform vs publisher veil of protection. If the website publishers are not held accountable we will soon see “community standards” banning Joel Osteen or your local church because someone finds the doctrine offensive.

I find it ironic that Mark Caserta was silenced locally for writing on national subjects when nationally the debate is raging on silencing all conservatives. What impacts the nation impacts West Virginia and West Virginia can influence the nation.

Silencing Mark right before a mid-term election, as well as silencing other conservative voices smacks of collusion and election tampering. You don’t have to change votes or have ghost ballots to “fix” an election, just keep spreading fake news and silence the opposition.

Doug Smith: Further thoughts on Settled Law in view of Kavanaugh

26 Jul

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President Trump nominates the Honorable Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice

 

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This is the second in a series on “settled law” by historian and Free State Patriot social editor, Doug Smith.

7.26.2018


 

Settled Law. I still find that an amusing concept, that only Leftists circling the wagons, (though why would they do that, since violence never settles anything?) about a favorite decision can espouse with a straight face. Historically, in fact, little law is “settled”. By settled, of course, they mean “I don’t wish to debate it.”

But let us look at the ways law is, in fact, settled.

By whim.

One of my favorite movie lines is Yul Brenner, as Pharaoh, pronouncing, “I have said it, and it is so. So, let it be written. So, let it be done.” Yes, when the (Pharaoh, King, Emperor) is appointed by or descended from God or gods, then his pronouncements are sacrosanct and may not be questioned. We depend upon his good nature to make good laws. Occasionally, as in the case of Bernadotte in Sweden, or Solomon, or James I in England, it turns out mostly good. Often, as under Henry VIII or King John of England (for those of you who are NOT fans of history, look up Runnymede or read Ivanhoe, or the Magna Carta.) it turns out rather badly. You could ask Anne Boleyn, but the settled law from Henry put her in an awkward position:

A tisket a tasket, a head in a basket, it cannot respond to the questions you ask it.

If the basis of settled law is by the whim or desire and a single or exalted few, then we must hope for the “better angels of their nature “to win out. History suggests that this is a rare, and brief, occurrence. We may observe in passing that the whim of a POTUS or 9 SCOTUS robes carry the same inherent difficulty.

By mob

This is an easy, but equally dangerous way to “settle” the law. Demagogues have whipped up crowds from the days when demagogue did not sound like Greek, because, well, they WERE Greek. It is a powerful weapon. Later, in Rome, the crowds demanded “more bread and circuses” from the Senate, until they were a hollow pipeline of the national treasury into the mob in the street, and little more. Settled law was to pay them off so they would not riot. It worked out, until it didn’t, one cold winter in 406 AD, when the Rhine froze and barbarian hordes swarmed into Rome. Within a few years, they sacked Rome itself, which did not work well for either the Senate, or the mobs. Turns out, there is always a bigger, badder mob, learning from the previous mob that violence does, indeed, solve anything. Rule by mob is rather like setting backfires to fight a brush fire. Make one mistake, and the mob, like the fire, is unforgiving and unstoppable. And, like fire, the more you feed it, the more it wants to eat, until there is nothing left. Including, as Robespierre found, just before the blade fell, the demagogue.

By Outlaw

This is a curious but occasional way of doing business. The pirates working the Caribbean with near impunity, Al Capone buying off Chicago and running his own soup kitchens, medieval bandits extorting tolls to pass a road, are all examples of law by outlaw. The problem, of course, being that they are making up their laws as they go, and that is going to go poorly for the guy who is not holding the gun.

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Then there is the law by agreed upon social compact, i.e. the Constitution. The progressives who prefer to rule by a combination of 1 and 2 (the whim of judges and do as we say, or we will shriek and break things) are fond of saying those who support the Constitution are simply “Old white guys who want to hold on to power.”  It is a shame to find them so woefully ignorant of their own history.

In fact, the basic legal framework was built by a group of folks who wrested control over their future away from England, and then spent over a decade arguing over what they would all agree to for governance. The Anti Federalists argued (and we can see the wisdom of their fears) that trading a tyranny in England for one in Philadelphia (Washington was not the capital then) was no bargain, and the Federal government ought to be kept too weak to oppress the people.  Nor were theseThe Federalists argued that it was the very fact of a weak central government that permitted Great  Britain to exert their will on the colonies without considering the consent of the people. (And we can see examples of the wisdom of their argument as well. Imagine South Carolina and Ohio debating whether to send troops to assist President Roosevelt with the invasion of Normandy)

2 opposite positions, but both valid to the health and survival of the fledgling nation, and to that of we, their descendants.

A few observations are in order about the social compact of law.

First is that power, political or legal, is ultimately backed up by violence. From something as mundane as running a stop sign or deciding if a Cuban boy whose mother died bringing him to Florida will stay with an Aunt or be forcibly returned to his father in Castro’s Cuba, there is always the prospect of a gun to the head forcing the question. Power is always backed by the threat of violently enforcing it.

Second is that, as noted by the Federalists, absent any concentrated power of government, power tends to devolve to those most willing to commit violence on their neighbors to enforce their will. When the Sheriffs under King John rode out to extract taxes they had armed men with them. On the other end of the spectrum, you may read at length of lawless, anarchic Missouri and the warring mobs in the run up to the Civil War. Neither alternative is pleasant.

Thirdly, a fluid, or, as leftists who are about to ignore the Constitution are wont to say, “living” legal compacts, are utterly meaningless. For the same reason that we build our homes from “dead” lumber, and not “living” trees, we need stability.  Suppose you and I enter into a contract in which I agree, for a certain sum, to sell you my house. We execute that contract, money changes hands, and we both move. Ten years, later, the value of the house has appreciated, and is now worth 20% more. So, I engage a good progressive lawyer, and inform you of the “living “nature of our contract, and insist that you pay me the difference, or vacate what has been, for 10 years, your home. (Side note: most of the money changing hands will, of course, go to the blood sucking lawyer, which explains a lot about why they have such creative notions about the law) You wouldn’t like that living document, would you? You would protest, this is what we agreed to, and you can’t change it now!

Or suppose that we had never met. But I’ve been looking at your house and decided that maybe I could build an office building where it stands. Of course, my office building would pay more in taxes than your house, and I make that point to the City Council. Now, instead of me having to come to you and offer you what you want to let me have it, the City forces you to accept the fair market price, as determined by them, for a house you don’t want to leave, vacate it, along with your neighbors, so they can offer it to me for development. Never mind that you and I are both private citizens, and never mind that I decide after all, not to build my office building, and the City is left with an empty lot, some angry and justifiably aggrieved citizens. If the Constitution is “living”, then the “Courts” can rule that the takings clause does, indeed, permit such an action, not just for schools, roads, and public buildings, but because the City Council likes My idea for using your house better than your idea of just, well, you know, living there. Now before you scoff and tell me that I’m being ridiculous, look up the case of Kelo vs City of New London, Ct and the SCOTUS decision in that case. For that is precisely what happened there.

Finally, the protections of the law, that is, the Constitution, are primarily designed to protect the people from excesses and corruption by those in power, exercising the awesome power of the Federal government.  As Madison put it,

First, That there be prefixed to the constitution a declaration, that all power is originally rested in, and consequently derived from, the people.

That Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.

These protections are for the people, that is you, dear reader, if you are a citizen of these United States. Madison and the Anti Federalists no more intended that these should be a living document, subject to the whim of a lawyer or tyrant, than a locksmith would intend that the door to your house have a living lock, permitting access to whoever some judge decided could share it with you.

And while there is debate as to what laws we desire, Madison and the other Framers included a mechanism, and a right, to amend these laws, but made it tedious and difficult to do so. And there is genius in that. We can, and do, and have amended the Constitution, but only in those cases where it is clearly the will of the people, as demonstrated by their ability to vote their desires and for each state to weigh in on the question.  In the same way I can amend my house, by tearing out a wall and building a door, but do not wish for my studs and joists to amend my house by growing vines, we can amend our laws without being held captive to the tyranny of an aggrieved minority, however loud or vociferous. One judge, or a handful, ought not to be entrusted with the power to remake our laws. Nor, except when Congress abdicates its authority, and the Democrat party finds it is easier to shop for judges than to win in the court of public opinion and get the votes for their agenda, do they.

To our detriment, that has been the way of things for some time. But we ought not to let it continue. Whether you are on the left or the right politically, you ought to want the protections of the Constitution to be adamant. If you are on the Left, and you like the rulings various courts have made, consider this. Suppose Conservative judges adopted the same play book. Suppose, instead of revering the law, they chose to revere agenda above all else.

What liberal organizations might they outlaw overnight? What liberal rulings might they rule invalid. Suppose a 7-2 Conservative SCOTUS sat down with a newly elected POTUS and said, ok Mr. President, tell us what you want us to do this year.

Liberal reader, that makes you shudder, doesn’t it? As well it should. But while it makes Conservatives shudder that something very like the opposite has occurred all too often, especially in the Anthony Kennedy era, that is not what Conservative Justices will do, nor is it what Conservatives expect. Instead, both the people, and the judges, expect that a 9th grade Civics class should be able to figure out what is legal and protected under our Constitution, by simply reading it. And, more to the point, should they find something they dislike, understand the process by which we change our laws, and govern ourselves. If they understand that, they will properly exercise the franchise, and the power, which is, by law, entrusted to the people.

Sadly, far too many do not. And that is why we are increasingly governed by the 1st three options: whim of judges, deference to mobs, and fear of outlaws.

Our great experiment, self-government, has worked, not without fault, and not without growing pains, going into its 3rd century now. If we give it up, we will be ruled by the most ruthless men with guns.

It is not too late to reclaim it.

 

 

 

 

Doug Smith: Liberal “settled law” about to be shaken by a new era of SCOTUS.

2 Jul

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Current 2018 U.S. Supreme Court

 

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Doug Smith is a historian and social editor for Free State Patriot

July 2, 2018

 

The left is facing the possibility, after generations of relying on SCOTUS as a sort of rump Congress, of a court which will follow the very (for them) inconvenient Constitution.

Their reactions are nothing, if not predictable.

Like the toddler who thoughtfully redecorates your wall with shoe polish, the Left, mostly the Dems, (but we must include Susan Collins and the other Rinos in this category), they have no idea of the intended purpose of the Court and are destructive in their creative misapplications.

Because so many of them failed Civics, failed to take it, or took over the education system and replaced with social studies to create generations of Americans who had no earthly idea how their government functions, a brief recap.

We have 3 branches of government in our representative republic. Within the framework established by the Constitution, the covenant under which the citizens agreed to live, power is loaned, by the consent of the people, to these 3 branches. None of them holds all power, and that is for the safety of the citizens and the republic.

The President, and those Secretaries he appoints, are charged with executing the laws of the United States and keeping it safe through the judicious use of military might.

The Congress is charged with enacting laws, within the framework of the Constitution, for the functioning of the country, and has the sole power to raise, and spend money.

The Supreme Court is charged with ruling on lower court decisions as to the application of laws solely to determine if they are enacted within the boundaries of the Constitution.

The 3 branches are prohibited by the Constitution from usurping each other’s’ functions.  Thus, the President may not allocate money or raise taxes, Congress cannot wage war or enforce the laws they pass, and SCOTUS may not make laws or order the spending or allocation of moneys.

That is how things are done in the representative republic known as the United States of America. Not so in the Province of “Lefterville”.

The Left cannot honestly work within the system, run for election on what they truly believe and desire, get members of Congress elected, and enact their agenda as law. We want tax rates at 70%, 50 million abortions a year, lower wages, and everybody who is not one of us, and thus in charge, dependent on the government so they don’t dare oppose us is not a winning ticket.

So, they lie. But that is a tactic, not a strategy. The strategy is to ignore the Constitution, and the law, and instead rule from the bench as if the judges and justices were reigning over a ducal fief.

And this brings us to a favorite phrase of the Left: Settled Law. (Settled science or consensus is a similar favorite, with the same nefarious aim: to stifle dissent. When a Lefty says, “It is Settled Law, of course, what they mean is “It’s a law we like, some court has ruled our way, so precedent forbids you from EVER changing it.” Of course, they don’t really believe in settled law, because every one of them would overturn the 2nd Amendment tomorrow if they thought they could get away with it.

So “Settled Law” means, for them, (reminiscent of the Russians, who never give back land taken in conquest when the war is over), that anything they have won, they get to keep forever. If you try to take it back, they will respond with hysteria, shrieks, obscenities, death threats, and of course, always, and forever, some way to make it about (everyone stand and salute now) THE CHILDREN.

If any ruling by SCOTUS were Settled Law, and inviolable, then the Dred Scot decision of 1857 would be the precedent for keeping slavery alive to this day. Instead, the 13thAmendment, ratified in December 1865, forbade slavery or involuntary servitude in the United States.

Did you catch it? I just whizzed by you, plain as day. The Left misses it. How about you?

Ah, yes, there IS a settled law. It was settled because 13 colonies of the British Empire declared their independence, fought for it, and 6 years later, established and ordained the Constitution of the United States of America. Each subsequent territory, to become a state, agreed to adhere to those laws, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same. If the people choose to change their laws, as with their experiment with prohibition of alcohol, they have a mechanism to amend the Constitution. And we have done so many times. But you see, to do so, you must persuade most of the folks that it is a good idea.

That is a hard proposition, especially if your ideas and goofy, or have been repeatedly tried and failed. Much easier to get people used to bowing to judges, issuing rulings that force people to DO something, or Congress or States to spend money, (see mini lesson above: Who gets to make laws and distribute money?) Then you merely must pack the courts with judges who will ignore the law and rule according to their politics. FDR applied that principle in trying to pack SCOTUS with 2 extra Leftist Justices in 1937. Thus, the Left does not worry about persuading people of their ideas, but in forcing them on people. Hence their hysterical panic at this nexus in history which offers an opportunity for a generation of a court which will rule according the Constitution, and not popular sentiment, or political correctness.

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Note their arguments: Roe v Wade, Gay Marriage, Obamacare, Immigration Reform, or pick your issue, will be tossed out, overturned, destroyed. Note, as well, what they do, NOT say: if the people want abortion, or gay marriage, or Obamacare, then let them petition their representatives to pass laws to enact it.

In short, they must do what Obama, the quintessential Lefty would not or could not do, persuade. Must easier to step on their necks with judges. And using this principle they have forced the will of a minority elite on most of the folks time and again.

The arrogance that has instilled in them is why Leftists will not debate issues and insist that Global Climate Change Warming Cooling Ice Age Armageddon is Settled Science. That way we don’t have to do research, cost/benefits analysis, or factual reporting. We just must insist that you do it our way, believe our way, or we will throw bad Karma your way.

In short, they don’t want to govern, they want to rule. The Knights of the Black Robe, and their Knight Commander Kennedy have ruled far too much and far too long. But a new day may be at hand. King John is riding toward Runnymede and is about to meet the barons. The Magna Carta is about to be signed. And for a season, or a generation, we may see a move back to the proper roles of government and a court which refuses to make new law. It is the form of government under which we live.

But those who prosper by usurping it will not cheer. Nor will they accept it quietly. We ought to win the fight but be ready for Lefties marching in the streets (since they have no jobs and exist on welfare or have government jobs and thus can get off to go protest the government for whom they work, which, by the way, may also change shortly), Lefties wearing hats resembling genitalia, pitiful, even if faked, pictures of crying children, and Borkian tales of Dystopia if the Left stops getting its way.

Buckle up.  But it is worth the E ride. A true 5-4 constructionist court will begin to force us to live under our Constitution again, and become a nation of laws, and not of lawyers.

And keep your heads up. SCOTUS has been a flail for a long time. But 2 of the Lefty justices left after Kennedy are 79 and 85 years old. Conservatives will look at some of the wacky positions of the Left, balance that against Trump s Twitter finger, and decide that a 7-2 SCOTUS for a generation sound pretty good and is worth dealing with Trumps eccentricity for another 6 years.

 

 

 

Doug Smith: The silence of the fallen is deafening this Memorial Day.

30 May

 

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Doug Smith:  Historian and Social editor for Free State Patriot

5.29.18

 

Listen…

Can you hear it? That stillness, so quiet it seems to pull the very air from your ears.

A quiet you only hear in special places. On the green at Lexington, on the slopes of Valley Forge. Shhh… Listen. It’s quiet now, it wasn’t then, when those names meant something. Listen to Vicksburg, to Gettysburg, to men, boys really, who labored in heat and noise, shot and shell, fear and pain, standing fast, standing firm, till they fell.

Do you hear them? At Chickamauga, at bloody Antietam, in the Wilderness. In Belleau Wood, and the Argonne Forest, in the now quiet rows of white above the beaches of Normandy where the Bedford boys and thousands more of the 29th Division finally hear only the wind flapping the Stars and Stripes, quiet now are the Higgins boat, the 88s, the MGs, the screams of the wounded.

In a low place with a glassy black wall in Washington, over 50,000 names hear the dead silence echoing. The rifles and mortars are quiet now.

52 Submarine crews no longer hear the depth charges, or the sounds of the hull caving in, just the silence of the bottom of the Pacific.

Its quiet today. Do you hear it? The sounds of battle and struggle are over. And a multitude of warriors are at rest, having given it all right up till they no longer could.

Men and women. Boys, mostly, less than 19, answered the call, and stood to in the fury and thunder of battle. And by the thousands, they laid down their young lives to defend the weak, the oppressed, the victims of bullies.

Today… they are quiet. Today… they rest.

So, listen. Hear that? No bombs, no bullets, no invaders.

Listen to the quiet they hear.

And remember them.

Bravo Zulu, brothers.

 

Doug Smith served our country proudly as a submariner on the USS Gato SSN 615, as Chief Petty Officer and was an Instructor, IT school at the Naval Submarine School Groton.  He maintains contact with many of his Naval friends and refers to the Gato as the “Best boat in the fleet”!

 

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Doug Smith: U.S. Constitution has served “We the People” for over 200 years

4 May

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Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot historian and social editor

5.4.2018

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US Constitution

Article 1, Section 8

Congress shall have power to… (among other things)

To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws about Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

Article 2, Section 2

The President

He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

Article 3, Section 2

The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;–between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.

Evidently, we no longer teach civics in the public schools of these United States. Equally evidently, we neither teach it nor require it as basic knowledge of judges, or members of congress, or presidents.  If you like the extra-legal decisions made in support of your desired position, you may cheer this fact. You should not.

Case in point.

Yet another judge has chimed in to make his ruling that President Trump cannot stop the DACA program because his decision to do so is arbitrary, and besides, he is Trump. Now this judge is entitled to dislike the President. After all, I did so for the previous 8 years. But he is no more able to stop the President’s decisions because of that than I was.

To be clear: DACA is not a law. (See above. Congress never passed any law upon which DACA is based, this was simply a decision by the President, carried out by the Secretary of DHS, to “fail to faithfully execute existing law”, to wit, immigration law, because he did not like it. President Trump, whose instincts in the matter are to faithfully and vigorously enforce immigration law, nevertheless tried to do the right thing. He announced that he was going to rescind the arbitrary  decision of President Obama, and begin enforcing the law once again. However, he also tossed the ball to Congress, whose ball it was, and said, if you folks want to do something about the people affected by this decision, well do your job. Write a bill, pass it and send it to me, and THEN we can have a law to execute.

That is the sound of crickets. No bill. No law. (By the way, President Obama had a totally Democrat Congress for 2 full years. He could have gotten a law enacted then. Or, he could have compromised with the GOP, and still gotten some sort of law to deal with the situation of DACA aliens. He chose not to)

So, President Trump announced that he would end the program of failing to enforce a law that Barack Obama did not like, because, well, it IS the law. And evidently, from the actions of Barack Obama and the Congress for 10 years, that is what they WANT the law to be.

Now judges may rule that laws do not pass the Constitution, and require review if SCOTUS upholds them. What judges may NOT do, under our Constitution, is infringe upon the power of the President to enforce “existing law.” (The judge may try ruling the Law to be unconstitutional, and start the judicial review process, but he may NOT, as Judge Roy Bean did, tear a page out of the law book with the words “That’s a bad law. I repealed it.”) So, a judge may no more rule “You can’t stop enforcing the laws on immigration for non-citizens brought here illegally as children” than he can rule “You can’t stop anyone who drank milk as a child from stealing milk.”

Congress may make such laws. But not the courts. When they do, it costs a lot of money and time and suffering of injustice before they are finally slapped down by SCOTUS.  For the left, it has become the game plan, because one judge can usurp Congress’ authority and keep things going their way for a long time, without the tedious necessity of actually winning elections, then letting Congress do their job.

Tedious, and a losing proposition, because Dems are typically pressing minority opinions against the will of the people by using the court ploy.

Before you applaud the strategy, consider its cost, and danger. King Henry II and Archbishop Thomas Becket were at odds over the appointment of judges, resulting in Becket s murder and Henry nearly losing his throne. A war ensued.

Arbitrary tax laws and judges resulted in King John facing the Barons at Runnymede, and the Magna Carta being signed.

The city of New London, backed by perhaps the worst decision in SCOTUS history, took a house from a lady named Kelo under eminent domain, so they could sell the property to a developer to build a headquarters for Pfizer drug company and bring them tax money. (Congress ought to pass a law overriding the Kelo decision, but that is for another story.)  However, in a case of cosmic justice, the HQ was never built, and Pfizer left the state completely due to Ct tax increases.  Today the site is an empty lot, overrun with weeds.

Historically, arbitrary judges are not without consequence. And you should fear and loathe them.  You can predict the actions of a judge who is bound by law. You can read the law and know they cannot take your home, or car, or fine you, or force you to pay higher taxes, just because they want to. You can know that if Congress raises your taxes and you don’t like it, you can toss the bums out. Not so a judge, who rules that your area MUST charge you more taxes to pay for something he decides they should pay for. (That is making law from the bench.)

You may cheer today when a judge rules against Donald Trump because you don’t like him. But if judges can rule based on their personal likes and dislikes, tomorrow, or next year you may encounter a judge who doesn’t like, well, YOU!

Do you want him to be able to rule on your life, liberty, or pocketbook based on that dislike? Or would you prefer him bound by the laws we all think we live under?

Our judiciary needs to be taken to school on the Constitution which is the source of their authority. It does not matter that they don’t like it or think it antiquated, it is our law. And they should have to abide by it, just as should POTUS, and Congress.

Abraham Lincoln noted that our Civil War was going to determine whether “government of the people, by the people, and for the people, would perish from the earth.”  Four years of war, and half a million deaths was not enough to kill it in sound and fury.

We should not abide arrogant people usurping it and causing it to perish by dry rot, either.

We, the people are a mighty force, when we remember that fact.

We, the people, established the Constitution, and this form of government.

We, the people, fought a great war to preserve this form of government.

We, the people, need to reach the point of looking at the lack of common sense and decency flowing from those directing our institutions and shaping thought and say, Enough!

Read the Constitution. Then decide that you are going to hold any leader, from a judge, to a School Board Member, to a President, to that standard. This is our law folks. It’s done well for over 2 hundred years. Let’s try it again.

 

 

Doug Smith: Presidential powers are absolute; Special Counsel powers subject

16 Apr

 

doug 2

Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot historian and social editor

4.15.18

scooter

Re the Pardon of Scooter Libby

I am working on an article for FSP on why we seem to get the very worst people in politics and government service. (We get, occasionally, some of the very best, but the scoundrels are always there, and in quantity.)  But current events compel me to take a brief aside and comment on the very premise: the very worst people in our society and culture may be found in organized crime and government, which are, at times, indistinguishable.

To set the stage, find a copy of the US Constitution. Now, search through it and find the part about appointing a special counsel, or prosecutor, or an independent prosecutor, who can wield the awesome sword of the justice, empowered to the Executive Branch, with no accountability. Of course, all other prosecutors exercise the power of their office as delegated from the ultimate Executive authority, the President, as delegated through the Attorney General, as provided by the Constitution. For purposes of this discussion, let us concern ourselves with the provisions for appointing that “special “counsel, a law unto himself, free of the Executive. Go ahead and look it up, we’ll wait.

Not there, is it? No, there is no provision whereby the power of the Executive can be waived, and a non-elected official imbued with that power sans the accountability which goes with it. For the Constitution does provide accountability for the Executive should he misuse his power. He can face the electorate who vote their displeasure and send him packing, or, if the cause is both serious and urgent enough, Congress is empowered to act and impeach him and remove him from office. Even there, they are accountable, and will face the voters in less than 2 years, so they are subject to the politics of the time. Thus, Congress will never impeach a popular President, because to do so would be political suicide. And in the case of an unpopular President, the viable threat of impeachment may be enough for him to resign and avoid impeachment. Thus, Nixon at 24%, and despised by Democrats, resigned. Bill Clinton at over 50%, was halfheartedly impeached, but not removed, by a Congress who looked to the electorate. And so, the system worked, and so it was designed, and so it should work. An unpopular President was removed from office as the voters reconsidered, and Congress, given sufficient high crimes and misdemeanors, could have removed him. Clinton, as morally bankrupt as he was (and is) presided over a strong economy, and was well liked (as most sociopaths are, the charm of Hannibal Lecter) and thus, Congress had the means, and the right, but not the will, to remove him. The will of the people won out. The system worked.

So why, oh why, would we ever permit ourselves to be saddled with a special prosecutor? He may be likened to a mass shooter, with unlimited choice of weapons, ammo, and apparently no accountability for who he shoots. Overly strong metaphor? Consider:

Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, appointed in the so called Valerie Plame affair, managed, in his time as a special counsel, although trying to indict Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, or anybody associated with the Bush Administration for illegally leaking the identity of a CIA covert operative ( she was not, she was a back office administrator, but for sake of argument, lets stipulate that revealing the identity of a CIA employee is not a good thing to do) to indict Scooter Libby on charges of lying to FBI agents for inconstancies in his statements at various times. (As Michael Flynn would tell you, no one should EVER under ANY circumstances, talk to the FBI, a fallen angel if ever there was one, and if compelled to do so, the only 2 appropriate responses are 1 I am exerting my 5th amendment rights and refusing to speak to you, or 2. I am not sure, I cannot remember precisely.)

Now. Let us start from a very important premise. Patrick Fitzgerald knew, from the time he began the investigation, and before he talked to Scooter Libby, that Richard Armitage, of the State Department, was the one who inadvertently leaked Plames CIA identity. So, in any rational world, he would have either shut down the investigation, or indicted Armitage.

Right? I mean, what was the purpose of interviewing Libby to ask if he knew anything about the leaking of this information, when he already knew exactly who it was? The only purpose, as we see in retrospect, was to keep asking him questions until he slipped up and contradicted himself, then charge him with perjury. And the underlying goal of the entire exercise was to damage the Bush Administration. Given that Fitzpatrick knew that Libby was innocent and continued until he could create a crime to charge him with. To restate: Libby had done nothing wrong before he spoke to the FBI under Fitzgerald investigation, and Fitz knew this, but pursued him anyway. Now, one would think someone doing such a thing would be fired, disbarred, jailed, or suffer some consequences.

But no. Fitzgerald has gone on to have a fine career. Libby paid a fine, was disbarred, served jail time, then finally was restored to the bar and able to practice law again. For nothing that had anything to do with the Special Counsel’s investigation. All this for what Fitzgerald, by his actions, considered to be a non-crime, because, note this: Even though he knew that Armitage was the one who leaked, neither he nor anyone else ever charged Armitage. He resigned from the State Department, and that was that. Libby was the victim of an out of control lawyer who had unrestricted powers and made Libby his target.

The Special Prosecutors are never prosecuted or held accountable in any way and their victims rarely see justice.

Rarely, but not never.

President Trump today pardoned Scooter Libby.

Now, if you have read my articles before, you will be aware that I am not a die-hard Trump supporter. I find him a flawed human in many ways and was not pleased with the choices in 2016. I do give him credit when credit is due. I think he could benefit from the old Roman custom of having a servant walk along during a triumph whispering (If I may paraphrase,) “Glory is fleeting, please stop Tweeting. “

Pardoning Libby was a good move for several reasons.  First, what Fitzgerald did to Scooter Libby was an injustice, for which Fitz should have been censured or lost his law license.  He cannot get back the time or money lost, but this is a good step toward balancing the scales of justice.

Second, it is an elegant and subtle shot across the bow to Robert Mueller. And I love it.

It says, so Bob, you want to move from Russia and why Hillary lost to anything and everything, looking for a crime? You want to act as a government within a government?

You Senators who want to pass a bill “protecting Mueller” from being fired, (you do understand that I won’t sign it, so its moot. And that you have NO Constitutional authority as the Legislative Branch to usurp the power of the Executive? Of course, you do, you are just posturing.)

And you Dems who have been trying to impeach me since January 2017, and bleat like sheared sheep Don’t you fire our Bobby!!!

So, all of y all, check this out. The power of POTUS to pardon is absolute, not subject to review, cannot be reversed, and even (as with Bill Clinton) if it is demonstrably the result of a bribe, cannot be reversed. I just nullified what Fitz did to Scooter. I can just as easily negate what the Jim and Bob show have done, or might do, to me, or any of my campaign, or any of my cabinet, or staff. So, do your worst.  Justice is going back to the Justice Department. A lot of career pogues in FBI and Justice are about to follow Sally Yates out the door. I don’t HAVE to fire you. I can do what you have been trying to do to me: cut the legs out from under you. And there is not a thing you can do about it.

Bush may have been content to just smile and take it and not fight back.

Makes for a different boxing match when you get hit back, doesn’t it?

So, choke on this for a few days.

 

Doug Smith: Checks and Balances: Part 2

4 Mar

doug 2

Doug Smith:  Free State Patriot history and social editor

3.4.2018

checks and balances

Now these founders of ours were educated men, and as such, very aware of the recent history in England of the Stuarts, Civil War, and disquiet over the rule of Kings. It must surely have occurred to them that had Charles I disarmed his subjects early on, he might have kept his throne, and, not incidentally, his head. But the outlook for the British people would have been very different, and worse.

There are 3 joined concepts that are not talked about nearly enough, to our detriment. They are authority, responsibility, and accountability.  Authority means I have the power to achieve my will. Responsibly means that the results of my actions are my property. And accountability means that I reap what I sow, for good or ill.

Now if I have authority without the other 2, I can do pretty much whatever I want, and there is nothing to stop me from abusing my power to settle grudges or take what I want. Would you care to come before the court of Judge Roy Bean? Or, for that matter, before Henry VIII. Ask Anne Boleyn about authority without accountability. It’s an easy way to lose one’s head. (Sorry, Anne.) Power without checks has led to some pretty awful behaviors.

Responsibility alone is a pretty crappy deal as well. Ask Captain Charles McVay. The CO of the Cruiser USS Indianapolis, he was sent into the South Pacific on a top-secret mission. Denied information on Japanese Submarines in his Op Area, and refused his Destroyer escort, and having his SOS ignored, and not being reported as overdue for 4 days due to the top-secret nature of his mission, he had the misfortune to lose his ship, and hundreds of his crew to shark attacks. The safety of the Indy was his responsibility, but he was shackled. He was the only CO in WW2 to be Court Martialed for losing his ship in combat. He committed suicide in 1968.

As for accountability without the other 2, that was beautifully summed up by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: Oliver Twist:

Mr. Brownlow: The law assumes that your wife acts under your direction.
Mr. Bumble: If the law supposes that, then the law is a ass, a idiot! If that’s the eye of the lawthen the law is a bachelor.

Married men will smile, hoping their wives do not notice. But the point is made: if you hold me accountable for that which I cannot control, then you are a ass, a idiot.

Which brings us back to Checks and Balances.  It is the common sense and wisdom earned through conflict and suffering that inspired the founders to build a system of laws and governance in which, to the best degree they could, authority was check, and balanced with responsibility and accountability.

The system works well, when it works. It has had some appalling failures. The President has executive authority to enforce and carry out laws. If he does not do so, or if the people find that the laws, once enforced are not palatable, they can seek redress through the courts, which may rule on their Constitutionality, or through the Congress, which may repeal or enact new laws.

The repeal of Prohibition was a fine example of checks and balances correcting poorly thought out unintended consequences. Carrie Nation hated liquor, but never imagined that the pressure to enact a national prohibition would create Al Capone.

A fine example of the failures is the many laws Congress passes on the rest of us, while exempting themselves. For example, if I know my company is about to do something that will likely push its stock price up, I’m forbidden by law from acting on that knowledge for a certain period. It is called insider trading, and is considered unfair advantage, and Congress has made it illegal.

Except, of course, for Congress. A Congressman or Senator may buy up stock in a company in the morning, then vote to give them a billion-dollar government contract in the afternoon. If you or I did such a thing, we would join Michael Milken or Bernie Madoff in prison. When Harry Reid did it, he became wealthy.

And this brings me back to my premise: we need a return to understanding Civics, and the basis of our society. Everyone, not just the history buffs, need to be outraged and abuses and violations of our Constitutional laws. But we can’t if we have no idea what they are. And that is how many entrenched in the halls of power get away with it. To our detriment.

The design of the founders was that the 3 branches, co-equal, would balance total power in any one, and each would have the power to check the excesses of the other. Congress may pass laws, which the courts may strike down and unconstitutional. Congress, in turn, may redefine the area of the Courts’ concern. The President may pressure Congress for laws he desires and must enforce the laws that are passed. He may veto bills, but Congress may overturn his veto. And ultimately, we, the people, carry the awesome responsibility of the vote. If we continue scoundrels in office because they are the party of our daddy, or our union, or our buddies, we will deserve the rule of scoundrels which plagues us.

Understanding our laws and the basis of our society also pushes us toward certain norms of behavior, simply because “it just is not done”.  When I was in school, I had guns. I had a gun and could shoot it accurately by the time I was 12. I also got angry at people. Occasionally, that erupted into us rolling on the ground bashing each other’s faces. (You should have seen the other guy) It resulted in some responsibility and accountability (guard your mouth, lest at some point you inspire someone to bash it. Ah, lesson learned.) It never occurred to me, or to any of us, that the solution was to run home and get a rifle. It simply was not done. Nor did we dare to hit a girl. Certainly, not if anyone could see. It just was not done. And we knew, would not be tolerated. In our rush to tolerance, we seem to have forgotten that there are things we ought not to tolerate.

Now, like government checks and balances, norms are not perfect, and surely you can imagine exceptions. But like our government, it works better than most, and learning about it, and those norms, is a good first step toward more civil society. Eliminating the checks of the people on our elected leaders, and the checks of disapproval and shame on our fellows is a path toward chaos.

Can we fix all this? I don’t know. Can we try? Surely. Is it worth it?

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