Who coined the name “United States of America”?

by Jon Roland, Constitution Society

In another forum a participant took the position that the authoritative version of the Declaration of Independence was not the one signed by the members of the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, but the versions printed and sent to the states, which changes in capitalization and punctuation of some of the words. That is not correct.

The editorial changes from the original signed document to the copies that were transmitted to the states did not change the meaning. The document is its meaning, not the details of language or style, and an accurate translation into another language would be the same document.

As a hypothetical, suppose the printers had changed the meaning in some substantive way. Would their version then have been the authoritative one, even though it was not confirmed by the Continental Congress? Suppose the printer had inserted the word “not” in some of the copies, sent to some but not all of the states, changing the meaning from declaring independence to not declaring independence. Would the states that got the “not” have remained subject to Britain while the others were independent? Nonsense. The authoritative act was the voice vote to declare independence on July 2, not the signed document, which was evidence of the act, not the act itself.

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Constitutional Voodoo from Marco Rubio

Sen. Marco Rubio apparently has gotten himself into a little pickle.

You see, the Florida Senator was one of the Republicans who signed onto a bill requiring lawmakers to provide constitutional justification for any legislation filed in Congress. That sounded like a really cool idea at the time. “Conservatives” LOVE that stuff!

Yay Constitution!

But what happens when you want to do something and no constitutional justification exists?

Well, you do what politicians have done since the beginning of time. You make crap up.

That doesn’t always prove easy, as Rubio is finding out. It takes time to conjure up a convincing lie out of thin air. Of course, that never stopped any politician practicing constitutional voodoo to further his agenda through the exercise of federal power – even if that authority doesn’t actually exist. They just call lack of constitutional authority an “inconvenience.”

It seems the Tea Party darling from Florida has a little “inconvenience” on his hands. He needs to reestablish his conservative creds, tattered by his support for immigration reform. What better way to rekindle conservative romance than to play the pro-life card? So, Rubio announced earlier this month that he wants to serve as the lead sponsor on a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks.

But three weeks later…no bill. Why? Well, it seems the Republicans are having a little difficulty agreeing on the enumerated power that authorizes the federal government to legislate on abortion. And I can tell you exactly why they are having this problem.

THE POWER DOESN’T FREAKING EXIST!!!

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A Founder’s Proclamation of Universal Truths and the Frogs Desiring a King

In an letter addressed to the citizens of Maryland, Convention Delegate and Maryland Attorney General, Luther Martin explained his motives for withholding support for the newly constructed general government prior to ratification of the Constitution.

This letter was published in the Baltimore Maryland Gazette on April 4, 1788. The thought provoking sentiments of Mr. Martin are as true today as they were in his era. Especially regarding the history of mankind and negative traits of human nature when they exert undue influence upon societies. Mr. Martin exposes the deficiency of a Bill of Rights to the charter, while proclaiming commons sense principles necessitous for establishing a virtuous system of governance.

To the Citizens of Maryland,

If those, my fellow citizens, to whom the administration of our government was about to be committed, had sufficient wisdom never to err, and sufficient goodness always to consult the true interest of the governed, – and if we could have a proper security that their successors should to the end of time be possessed of the same qualifications, it would be impossible that power could be lavished upon them with too liberal a hand.

Power absolute and unlimited, united with unerring wisdom and unbounded goodness, is the government of the Deity over the universe! But remember, my fellow citizens, that the persons to whom you are about to delegate authority, are and will be weak, erring mortals, subject to the same passions, prejudices and infirmities with your-selves; and let it be deeply engraven on your hearts, that from the first history of government to the present time, if we begin with Nimrod, and trace down the rulers of nations to those who are now invested with supreme power, we shall find few, very few, who have made the beneficent Governor of the Universe the model of their conduct, while many are they who, on the contrary, have imitated the demons of darkness.

We have no right to expect our rulers will be more wise, more virtuous, or more perfect than those of other nations have been, or that they will not be equally under the influence of ambition, avarice, and all that train of baleful passions, which have so generally proved the curse of our unhappy race.

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Voting Out The Bums to Replace Them With New Bums Doesn’t Work

July 22nd [Phoenix, AZ] Governor hopeful, Andrew Thomas, was a guest speaker at a local LD Republican meeting last night. After his stump speech, in which he never once mentioned the constitution, liberty, freedom, sovereignty, or anything related, he took questions from the audience. Most of the questions were typical Republican question. Border security was one of the first ones. A gentleman asked, “what do you intend to do for our illegal immigration problem and when did illegal immigration become a problem and why?” His answer was very uncontroversial for his audience and typical of a Republican pundit, “build a bigger fence.” Somebody in the audience later asked him, “how do you plan on funding this, it seems like an expensive job?” His response was incoherent and didn’t offer a solution, rather, “I’ll have a plan later in my campaign that will address this.”

Never once in his rambling did he address the fact that we have a welfare state. For those concerned about illegal immigration, the goal should be to wall off the welfare state, not our country. Read more here. More questions were then asked with typical rubber stamp answers and his reassurance that “he doesn’t have a plan now, but he will later in his campaign.” He warmed everybody up to this response during his stump speech. He repeatedly said after almost every issue he discussed that he would, “have more on this later.”

When it came time for my question, I was direct. I asked him, “the federal government keeps over-stepping their limited enumerated powers by passing unconstitutional legislation that strips of our liberties. If elected Governor, would you support and pass legislation that rendered unconstitutional federal overreach null, void and of no force in the state of Arizona?”

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Vote on Amash Amendment Reveals Ruse of Two-Party System

For all those who still believe that Republican=Constitutionalist and Democrat=Liberty-hating liberal, something happened on Capitol Hill that might change your mind.

As was reported by The New American, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment to the defense appropriations sponsored by Republican Congressman Justin Amash (shown) of Michigan and Democratic Congressman John Conyers, also of Michigan.

The Amash Amendment would have revoked authority “for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. It would also bar the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215” of the Patriot Act.

Despite the threat to the Establishment (or perhaps because of it), Amash’s measure failed by a vote of 205-217.

It’s the identity of the “ayes” and “nays” that tells the rest of the story.

An analysis of the roll call reveals that a majority of Democrats voted in favor of restricting the Obama administration’s wholesale surveillance of Americans, while a majority of the GOP voted to uphold the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance of all electronic communications.

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Virginia Action Alert: Step 2 to Nullify “Indefinite Detention”

Virginia led the way to stop indefinite detention when Gov. Bob McDonnell  signed House Bill 1160 into law in April 2012. The law prohibits state or local cooperation with any federal attempts to indefinitely detain an American citizen pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.

However, that’s not the end game. Now we need local government bodies to pass ordinances in support of the state law, specifically prohibiting local cooperation with indefinite detention. City and county governments can even take things a step further, extending protection to all persons within their jurisdictions and broadening noncompliance to include indefinite detention under other “authority” outside the NDAA.

Local nullification efforts provide another row of teeth to the state law, signal local support to Richmond lawmakers and can serve as a catalyst for stronger, broader state action in the next legislative session. They also add additional impediments should federal agents try to kidnap people within the borders of Virginia.

It’s going to take work to ensure that this is how things play out.  Here’s what you can start doing right now. 

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Tsarnaev not guilty of federal charges?

by Jon Roland, Constitution Society

The Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been charged with multiple federal offenses, but none of them are authorized by the U.S. Constitution for offenses committed on state territory, as the acts in Boston were. If the federal courts were constitutionally compliant, they would be compelled to dismiss them all, and let the State of Massachusetts prosecute him under its laws.

The following is a summary of the main federal charges:

  1. Use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death and conspiracy.
  2. Bombing of a place of public use resulting in death and conspiracy.
  3. Malicious destruction of property resulting in death and conspiracy.
  4. Use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
  5. Use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.
  6. Carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury.
  7. Interference with commerce by threats or violence.
  8. Aiding and abetting.

Contrast this with the following, taken from the second of the unanimous Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, written by Thomas Jefferson, summarizing original understanding of the U.S. Constitution:

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Dyer Co. Tennessee Adopts Second Amendment Preservation Resolution

DYERSBURG, Tenn. – Dyer County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Second Amendment during its Monday night meeting.

County Commissioner Dr. Brandon Dodds introduced the Second Amendment Protection resolution, and the Local Government Committee adopted it last month. The resolution calls upon the Tennessee legislature, judiciary and executive branches to “adopt and enact any and all measures necessary to reject and nullify the enforcement of any federal laws, acts, orders, rules or regulations in violation of the Constitution of the United States.” (Full text below)

“I believe it is one of the most important amendments,” Dodds told the State Gazette. “I believe it is not only illegal but unenforceable whenever the federal government passes a law limiting the Second Amendment.”

Local Government Committee chair Commissioner David Agee introduced the resolution to the full commission, noting that several counties had already passed similar resolutions. The Tennessee Sheriff’s Association and Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box have both voiced support for these type of resolutions.

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Founders Turning in Their Graves

“A republic, madam, if you can keep it.”

So said the ever-quotable Benjamin Franklin upon emerging from the Constitutional Convention debates in 1787.  Franklin’s now-famous statement to an inquisitive Philadelphian causes us today to pause and reflect.  Have we kept the republic that Franklin and his contemporaries bequeathed us?

A recent poll answers this query with an emphatic “No!”.  According to a Gallup survey, 71% of Americans believe that the Founders would be disappointed in the United States today.  This comes on the heels of another Gallup survey showing that Congress’s approval rating has hit its lowest mark ever at 10%.  President Obama doesn’t fare much better, garnering only 36% approval.

Are Americans beginning to realize that the government they have bears no resemblance to the one designed by the framers of the Constitution?  If the 71% are correct in saying that the Founders would be embarrassed by America today, the next logical question we should ask is “Why?”.

Could it be because we’ve completely abandoned the structure of government that they fought the British for and then jealously guarded while debating the Constitution?  Maybe we can find the answer in what some founders said about how American liberty would be preserved.

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The Line in the Sand

Congress, the president and the courts will never fix America’s problems – the problems they have created.

To think they will is a waste of time.

So what can be done if the government violates the very Constitution that defines it? What protections are available for the people?

The people of the states, the creators of the federal government,who agreed to its existence through the Constitution, are fully empowered to decide not to comply with any act outside the scope of federal authority.

Thomas Jefferson rejected judicial review as the final authority because he never trusted the courts. He never saw the wisdom of placing so much power in the hands of a few judges. Instead, he articulated the most effective option – nullification, “the Rightful Remedy.” Jefferson believed it was up to the people of the states, the parties who ratified the Constitution, to stand up to the government when it exceeds its constitutional bounds.

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