Saturday, July 09, 2005

If we work to elect candidates that support the Constitution we'll change things -- NO WE WON'T

Dan M. writes and offers a common solution to the problems with our government...

In your latest mailing [Downsizer-Dispatch] you included the following idea for stopping land seizure:

"We would like to lobby for an amendment to these
bills. Our amendment would add an enforcement clause
that would cut off federal funding to all states and
localities that seize property under Kelo."

First of all I think the idea of federal black mail to be as flawed as the current state of leviathan in Washington. It already blackmails states over things like road funding, education, etc. This is nothing more than a continuation of the same tactics. Why not just stop funding all unconstitutional spending? Don't try and replace one bad idea with another. The Feds should not be blackmailing the states period.

Your assumption that congress has the sense to recognize bad state behavior in property seizure and yet will not reign in the rogue Supreme Court that condones property seizure seems naive.

Why not just vote for good congressmen? Let’s replace them all with ones that will follow the constitution and God. Let’s vote for a good President like Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party?

I responded...

Michael Peroutka seemed like a good guy. I would’ve been pleased to see him or the Libertarian candidate elected because both of them would’ve truly been committed to Downsizing DC.

Of course, that wasn’t practical. The game is rigged – ballot access laws, campaign finance laws, and major media coverage that looks more like ESPN than a serious discussion of the issues (no good examples come to mind to contrast with ESPN).

And Downsize DC has made a commitment to avoid rigged games. We’re starting a new game where the rules are fairer.

We're steadfastly avoiding partisanship and personalities, and sticking with principles. Once you get committed to a party or a person, you lose potential supporters who don't support that person. Eventually you become beholden to that person or their party because all of your supporters support them. Before long, you lose your objectivity -- even your principles. Then one day, you find yourself on Hardball shilling for something you oppose in your heart and would be railing against if the other team was doing it. You've become the big man in town, but you've lost your soul. I don't want to sell DownsizeDC.org's soul.

As for the Leviathan, obviously, we oppose it as well. The attorney's we've contracted to work on this matter both happen to be a little involved with the Constitution Party. In fact, one was the 1996 VP nominee for that party.

What our proposal would do is A) Strengthen the findings of fact in a current piece of legislation that would prohibit the federal government from acting on the power the Supreme Court has now (illegally) granted them, and B) Take ALL, that's ALL federal funding -- every department, agency, and pork-barrel project -- away from states that take advantage of the Kelo case ruling. That money shouldn't be going to the states.

There are only 20 things the Congress is permitted to do under the Constitution. Here's the list. [Oops, forgot to give credit where credit's due: This list is courtesy of Michael Mitchell of Alaska]

1) Borrow money.
2) Regulate commerce among states.
3) Regulate naturalization.
4) Regulate bankruptcies.
5) Coin money.
6) Fix weights and measures.
7) Punish counterfeiters.
8) Establish post offices.
9) Establish post roads.
10) Record patents.
11) Protect copyrights.
12) Create federal courts.
13) Punish pirates.
14) Declare war.
15) Raise an army.
16) Provide a navy.
17) Call up the militia.
18) Organize the militia.
19) Make laws for Washington, DC.
20) Make rules for the Army and Navy.

Sending money back to the states for any other purpose is unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the lawless band only recognizes their own rules (I like this use of a reflexsive pronoun). The Constitution isn't compelling to them. Would I prefer they abide by it? Yes. But they won't.

The real danger now is that the Congress will get into the game of "urban renewal," and that those state judges who stand firm and say, "Big Company X, you can't have that land through an eminent domain procedure," will simply go to Congress and "make a federal case out of it." And in order to stop such a thing from happening, you need a bill with teeth -- something that has a penalty for violating it.

Withdrawing a state's federal funding would serve to a) stop the unconstitutional flow of funds, and b) actually restrain what Congress is likely to perceive as a new federal power.

I don't think that Article 18, Clause 1 can be brushed off quite so easily, or be combined with Clause 2. The representation of Clause 15 (your 19) is, by my reading, incorrect. I see nothing allowing Congress to actually call up the militia. So, I would amend this list a bit, to:

The 20 Things Congress is Permitted to Do (The Only Things Congress is Permitted to Do):

1) Levy uniform taxes for defense
2) Borrow money.
3) Regulate commerce among states.
4) Regulate naturalization.
5) Regulate bankruptcies.
6) Coin money.
7) Fix weights and measures.
8) Punish counterfeiters.
9) Establish post offices
10) Establish post roads.
10) Record patents.
11) Protect copyrights.
12) Create federal courts.
13) Punish pirates.
14) Declare war.
15) Raise an army.
16) Provide a navy.
17) Decide how to call up the militia.
18) Organize the militia.
19) Make laws for Washington, DC.
20) Make rules for the Army and Navy.

Why so picky? Because I think your little list is *important* and should be publicized at every opportunity, in every venue possible. I also like Walt Williams suggestion (I'm not certain he intended it as one:) in his 2001 Minority View article: "Ignorance or Contempt" of sending a copy of Federalist Paper #45 and the Constitution to the President and to every member of Congress, the Senate, and the Supreme Court. Not from one source, but thousands. Not once, but over and over again. I'd like to see both actions repeated relentlessly.
Ah, fudge... That's Article 1, *SECTION* (not Article) 8. Phooey on me.
Well, I've not used a blog tool before, and I've already learned that in regard to editing typos, blogs are a lot like im, except that im mistakes go away woth the session, and blog mistakes are more enduring... I'll try to get this correct this time. Jim, I'd really would like your permission to post either the original list or my modification on other forums. I really think that an emphasis on basics like this one, even to the point that it becomes a mantra, might get some attention that would otherwise not be forthcoming. I'd certainly credit you, this blog, and/or Downsize DC according to your wishes.

The 20 Things Congress is Permitted to Do
(The Only Things Congress is Permitted to Do):

1. Levy uniform taxes for defense.
2. Borrow money.
3. Regulate commerce among states.
4. Regulate naturalization.
5. Regulate bankruptcies.
6. Coin money.
7. Fix weights and measures.
8. Punish counterfeiters.
9. Establish post offices and post roads.
10. Record patents.
11. Protect copyrights.
12. Create federal courts.
13. Punish pirates.
14. Declare war.
15. Raise an army.
16. Provide a navy.
17. Decide how to call up the militia.
18. Organize the militia.
19. Make laws for Washington, DC.
20. Make rules for the Army and Navy.
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