Tuesday, July 2, 2013

James Madison and the supreme law of the United States of America

The first ten amendments, The Bill of Rights, were introduced by 'the father of the Constitution', James Madison. They are an integral part of the United States Constitution, the supreme law of the land in the United States. I am going to put some quotes here to give you an idea of what this founder was thinking about when he helped draft the Constitution.

  • "If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -- James Madison

All of this nonsense with 'the War on Terror' is an attack on the people of the United States, and by proxy, the rest of the world. Tyranny has, at the very least, established a beachhead on the shores of America.

  •  "The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty." -- James Madison

 The State is working overtime to contain leaks of information, all of which are more damning to the State than they could ever be to the whistle-blowers. Controlling the spread of knowledge has now become one of the primary jobs of the National Security State.

  • "I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." -- James Madison

 The current grotesque over-reaching of the State should alarm you. It is *worse* than if we had been attacked. At least if we were under an overt military attack, we would know it and rise up to defend ourselves. We are being silently relieved of our powers, our wealth and our freedom.

  • "Disarm the people- that is the best and most effective way to enslave them." -- James Madison

The purpose of the Second Amendment is badly misunderstood and I don't think that is an accident. The framers of the constitution specifically put that law in place to provide a last defense against a State no longer under the control of the people.

  • "The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted." -- James Madison

Documents like the U.S. Constitution, The Canadian Constitution and the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights all anticipate people in power abusing that power. The documents are clear about what is lawful and what is not lawful. People currently in power are flagrantly in violation of the law. The documents provide a legal mechanism to put things right, but they cannot enforce themselves.

  • "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed - unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." -- James Madison

The U.S. constitution could not have anticipated the grotesque imbalance of military might we see today. Even if the people insist on their Second Amendment rights, it is hard to see how they could possibly resist the armed might of the current National Security State. We have somehow badly strayed to a culture where we accept increasingly brutal control.

  • "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny." -- James Madison, Federalist Papers

Many, many good people have been badly used by the current President of the United States. He is now Judge, Jury and Executioner. The current U.S. Executive branch of the federal government is now beyond the reach of any Legislative or Judicial oversight or control. Only brave individual members of the body politic like Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and Aaron Swartz stand between us and completely realized Tyranny.

  • "Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives. A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps both"  -- James Madison

People, even in my generation and older have somehow lost an understanding of the basic rights and responsibilities of citizens. Even well meaning elected officials (more are well meaning than you might think) no longer understand the basic tenets of their job.

  • "It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood." -- James Madison

Can anybody, even a JD who teaches law in a university, say that they understand all the contracts that are alleged to bind them? We need enough people with a sense of entitlement to their rights and a knowledge of Jury Nullification to set all that stuff right again. Some of the most egregious legislation is buried under so many pages that no one person can claim to have read and understood it all. How incoherent is an act named the 'PATRIOT' act when it is the antithesis of patriotism dangerously close to being treasonous?

  • "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." -- James Madison

Under the guise of serving the public good, federal states have continued to reach well beyond any legitimate mandate. It renders the mandates meaningless. It make sense for a federal government to manage foreign affairs, a national military and to protect fundamental human rights. The federal government has no business interfering with things like schools, municipal police forces, transportation, etc. They sure have no business monitoring private communications.

  • "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling money and it's issuance." -- James Madison

Having seen the damage done by constantly debased fiat currencies, the framers of the Constitution were as clear as they could be that money should be placed beyond fiat control. It is in the very DNA of the Constitution along with the prohibition against retroactively enforcing new laws: "No State shall ... coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law..." -- the United States Constitution, Article I, section 10, clause 1.

  • "No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." -- James Madison

Creating a so called 'war on terror' is arguably treasonous. We now have a broad, ill-defined witch hunt that can turn anybody into an 'enemy combatant', remove all of their rights, subject them to torture and even arbitrary execution without trial or even charges being laid. Whatever we have right now, it is definitely not 'liberty' as envisioned by the founders. I am nowhere near as terrified by 'terrorists' as I am by my own federal government and the U.S. national security state. It is hands-down no contest which one has had the most negative impact on my life.

  • "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. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State." -- James Madison

The U.S. federal government is *not allowed* to do anything outside of its specific instructions. Anything else is a violation of the law. The U.S. federal government is intended to do only a small handful of things that cannot reasonably be done by the sovereign states. The only appreciable power the federal government legitimately has is control of the military. Even then, the military is specifically disbarred from acting on U.S. soil and the Second Amendment is designed as a fail-safe in the event the federal government strays beyond its bounds. The federal government's current domination of the monetary system, for instance, is outside of both the letter and the spirit of the law. As a result of this, every U.S. citizen is born into more than $50,000.00 dollar of debt. Unless there is a fundamental change to things, by the age of 25 (around the time they would leave university for the workforce) they will owe more than $130,000.00 *plus* any student loans. Not everybody will contribute to paying, so the most productive will start their working life shouldering a debt of a quarter million dollars or more.

  • "The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."  -- James Madison

Since the Second World War we have been constantly at 'war' one way or another. There were real 'hot' wars like Korea or Vietnam. There was a shadowy 'cold' war against the Soviet Union. Until the recent 'war on terror', there was always at least theoretically, an end in sight. It is hard to see how the 'war on terror' will ever end when it is managed by people whose prosperity and hold on power depends upon it continuing. This war cannot be 'won'. It can only be ended and it will never be ended by those waging it.

  • "I entirely concur in the propriety of resorting to the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the nation. In that sense alone it is the legitimate Constitution." James Madison in letter to Henry Lee 1824-06-25

Even by 1824, less than 50 years after the Declaration of Independence formed The United States of America, attempts to disguise the fundamental meaning of the Constitution were well underway. The founders may not have agreed on everything, but they formally agreed to the U.S. Constitution and agreed on its basic sense. The author of the first ten Amendments (part of the original Constitution) was one of the authors of 'The Federalist Papers'. His side was urging federation against considerable opposition. The extent that Madison wanted to limit the federal government should be taken as the absolute outside legitimate maximum of federal power because Madison's point of view was strongly federalist. Most of the people involved in the covenant that formed the United States, including the federalists, favored a very limited federal government. The current bloated national security state bears no resemblance to the union agreed upon by the founders. It does not matter if the people nominally in charge of the country proceed in defiance of the law. It cannot, for purposes like this, change the law itself. The people in the federal government lack the legal authority to do so. They may make the claim and even pass legislation. That does not make it lawful.

  • "take the word 'consolidate' in the Address of the Convention prefixed to the Constitution. It there and then meant to give strength and solidity to the Union of the States. In its current & controversial application it means a destruction of the States, by transfusing their powers into the government of the Union." -- James Madison in letter to Henry Lee 1824-06-25

By default, power rests in the individual states and its citizens. The federal government has a limited set of enumerated powers beyond which it has no power at all. From the moment some people came to power in the federal government they began expanding their mandate, improperly, on their own initiative. What was supposed to be a small entity holding the sovereign states together has instead become a sprawling monster seemingly beyond control.

  • "It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution." -- James Madison

Madison exhorts us to defend even small breaches of the Constitution because they are the 'thin edge of the wedge' that seeks to separate us from our freedom. We have come, by small degrees, to a point that the founders would have found appalling. We have a right to our liberty and a duty to defend that right. Small encroachments on principle are not really small encroachments at all.

  • "Those who are to conduct a war cannot in the nature of things, be proper or safe judges, whether a war ought to be commenced, continued, or concluded" -- James Madison, , Letters of Helvidius, no. 1

The covenant embodied in the U.S. Constitution was intended to make it impossible for our current situation to arise. The people and institutions currently making decisions about when, where and why we wage war have a vested interest in continued conflict. Until the separation of these powers is reinstated we will continue to be at war.

  • "there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths" -- James Madison -- The Federalist No. 10 1787-11-22

One of the basic purposes of the Constitution was to safeguard liberty against all manner of encroachment. A simple majority vote suffices for some things, but altering rights enshrined in the Constitution require more than just votes in the Congress and Senate. Rights cannot be unilaterally removed by acts of the Legislative, Judicial or Executive branches, even together, let alone separately. The current over-reach by the Executive branch has no validity in law.

  • "Despotism can only exist in darkness, and there are too many lights now in the political firmament, to permit it to remain anywhere, as it has heretofore done, almost everywhere" -- James Madison

The corollary to the above is that darkness allows despotism to exist. A secretive State is a dangerous State. Now is the time, as some light is being cast on the activities of the State, to work to keep that light shining so it will wither and die.

  • "To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea. If there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men; so that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them." -- James Madison -- speech given at the Virginia Ratifying Convention 1788-06-20.

A certain level of involvement and understanding is required of all of us to keep our government on track. If it is to be, it is up to thee and me.

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