Pray without ceasing…

Maybe I’m just burnt out.  But I am weary-sick and grievous sore of going through one campaign season after another without any collective discernment or even discussion of right from wrong, success from failure…or truth, from the more common lies. 

We’ve been talking Las Vegas odds and Fortune 500 money, as usual, without ever seriously discriminating the true differences between candidates and the government they’d embody.  We’ve allowed the pundits to ask their stale, dryly stupid questions, and we’ve bought the resulting media blather about likely match-ups and political strategy on Election Day.  We have never (most of us, anyway) questioned the proper role of government, how much is too much, is war really so great, and just who are these Federal Reserve Bankers, anyway?

Damn us all as fools; this is no game. 

Those who don’t see what’s coming and vote anyway, are fools drawing the rest of us into a fatal vortex of complacency.

But then, if you’re reading this page, I’m guessing that you, like me, are equally disgusted by our antics, yet are praying on hope.

I really do hope. 

I hope that we’ll straighten our heads before next November, when the fate of the world (really) is determined.

With the brilliant exception in Ron Paul’s amazing campaign, my hope seems unfounded.  With what I know of the GOP, it seems too much to hope that the best candidate could win in such a horribly corrupt power structure.  With what I think I know of third parties and voters’ reaction to them, it seems too much to hope that third party candidates could get our attention at last.  It seems too much, in other words, to hope that God will save us from ourselves when we have shown so little interest in Him.

If you’ve a mind to, I hope you’ll join me in prayer that a sufficient number of Americans would:

  • Take more interest in our future than in football.
  • Push aside the silly pundits who spew irrelevance and demand real information.
  • Treat our right to vote as a critical and dangerous responsibility; giving it all the attention this life and death function deserves.
  • Understand that voting is just a tiny part of our citizenship and accountability to our neighbors.

Of course, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). 

Let us pray.

If you were hiring a burger-flipper…

Some people who know that I support the Fair Tax have wondered why I’m not a fan of Mike Huckabee.  Other people, who’ve heard me go on about our wide-open borders wonder why I’m not waving a flag for Tom Tancredo.

Well, I also like the idea of UFOs sending rose-scented messages to politicians, but I just can’t rally for Dennis Kucinich.  And while I’m strongly in favor of laissez-faire individual liberties, and while Rudy does look better in drag than he does in a suit, I really can’t vote for him.

Am I picky?  Yes; but no more picky than you or anybody else …in any area other than in politics. 

Let me explain.

If you were to hire a chef, you’d want to know that he or she can cook, right?  You’d check the resume, reviews of previous restaurants, and you’d call interviews to look him or her straight in the eye and assess for yourself whether this person will be a credit or discredit to your organization.  If you were to hire a race car driver, you’d want to know all about previous results, sponsorships, injuries, ability to assess and set up a car…and whether this person will look good and present well in the team jacket.

No matter the job, you want to know that the person you’re hiring isn’t an embarrassing flake or a cagey swindler.  You want to know that the person is respected, truthful, scrupulous and disciplined enough to show up and Do The Job.

I’m no different.  I’m looking for a candidate for the constitutional office of President of the United States of America who will do the job he (or she) is supposed to do.

Sadly, there’s currently only one of those.  Happily, after a very long time without even one, there is oneDr. Ron Paul.

How can I so boldly state that there’s only one?

Well, what’s the job of the President of the United States of America?  What does Article II, Section I of the constitution say the president must swear an oath to do?

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

So it’s simple then.  None of the candidates (excepting perhaps Hillary) has been president before, but which candidate has already proven invariably determined to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States? 

If you were to actually read the Constitution and Bill of Rights (yeah, I know; who’s got the hour or so necessary to properly read all that old stuff), then look up the career voting records, issues and even current presidential candidacy rhetoric, you’d see for yourself that only one candidate has any interest in obeying written laws as written.  Only one candidate would honor the Oath of Office.

Really.  Just one.  The other candidates are running for some other office.

I wish there were more to choose from.  But one is better than none; and now is definitely better than never.

America Was Great…

“America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”  This saying is typically attributed to that pro-American Frenchman, Alexis de Tocqueville.  It’s an interesting saying, but de Tocqueville never said it.  Also, the saying itself is only half-true. 

Americans have always been humans; not so different from all those sinners in France.  A seed of truth in the quote is that there was a time when Americans had to act hat-tipping, help-your-neighbor civil.  There was a time when Americans acted better than they were.

During de Tocqueville’s visit to the USA (1831), and in fact through the hundred-some years until Income Tax, central banking and the New Deal (as opposed to the Best-Ever Deal) changed all the rules, the church was the only Department of Health, Education and Welfare – even in our biggest cities.  Churches ran hospitals, schools, welfare and social cooperative programs.  It was church mothers who’d helped rear our young.  It was church fathers and sons who’d helped at planting time.  It was church leaders who’d opposed slavery and unscrupulous businesses, and it was the church that served as FEMA for natural disasters. 

So excommunication meant the loss of key social services …if your barn burnt down, there’d be no church-based barn-raising to build it back up. 

The only alternatives to churches in those days were fraternal societies/clubs that also operated on a voluntary basis, and which also operated by strict moral code.

In other words, to get social services and insurance from nothing more than a voluntary collection plate, Americans had to behave. 

That was not such a bad thing!  Per capita crime rates in cities (many of which were more densely populated a hundred years ago) were only a tiny fraction of what we have today even in rural areas.  Murder was rare, big news when even kids walked around with firearms and it was perfectly legal to use your machine gun with a silencer (before you dress up and go off to church).

But now, instead of a voluntary tithe, Americans apparently prefer to give up half their wealth (actually more by recent estimates; and 22% more of their time just since 1979!) to a government that itself has neither interest nor experience in morality.  The combination of tax laws that gag preachers and policies that replace traditional church roles have made churches socially irrelevant; and have made politicians our new gods.

Fortunately for some, these politicians are for sale.  Unfortunately for the rest of us, our politicians have been bought.  Such corruption of power is as ancient as Adam and as unavoidable as decay. 

Our nation became great only by constitutionally limiting the size and scope of corrupt government.  That was the Old Deal…politicians on a leash.  And that old deal is still the newest deal in human history.

 But since the “New Deal” (actually a very ancient, pre-Hammurabi deal), we’ve devolved into more regulation, taxation and litigation than all other nations on earth …combined.  And we must compete with nations that have far less of all of that.

There are no unions or EPA or OSHA or FDA or patent enforcement or minimum wage in China, yet we buy things made there, right? Canada and Europe remove their VAT and GST taxes before shipping them to our stores, and we suck it all up, right?   

So while we pat ourselves on the back for the USA’s “progressive” politics, we’re promoting slavery, unregulated pollution, disease, oppressive regimes and powerful enemies all over the world.  When we buy shoes from Portugal, medical equipment from Germany or telecom service from France (Sacré bleu!), we’re firing Americans.

See?  We don’t even act good now (hey, I’ve seen how y’all drive).   

Of course I suggest we try III John 1:11: “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.”  If that’s the best we could do, fine; because it’s the best that’s ever been done. 

But if we don’t cut our politicians, their regulations, litigation and taxation down to competitive (and, by the way, legal) size, we will not only cease to be great; we may just cease to be.

A Declaration of Rights

I’m a little up-to-here with those who deify Thomas Jefferson, and who’ve never even heard of George Mason.  Without Mason, American may have never had the three-branched and separated federal powers; and there’d have certainly been no Bill of Rights

George Mason was a prominent (and phenomenally prescient) anti-federalist, which propels him to the top of my short list of history’s People We Should Have Listened To. 

Yes, the Declaration of Independence is wonderful.  But it’s really not as good as the work that preceded and inspired it, George Mason’s Virginia Declaration of Rights.

 So here, in its entirety, is that Virginia Declaration of Rights.  I’ll try to shut up and let the words speak for themselves, but whenever I interrupt, it’ll be in blue: 

A DECLARATION OF RIGHTS made by the Representatives of the good people of VIRGINIA, assembled in full and free Convention; which rights do pertain to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of Government.

1. That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

This is a much more clear, understandable and sensible statement than Jefferson’s admittedly more poetic “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  John Locke coined the phrase “life, liberty and the pursuit of property,” but it was Mason who first made it law. (While George Mason never freed his slaves, he hated slavery and argued and wrote against it often)

2. That all power is vested in, and consequently derived from, the People; that magistrates are their trustees and servants, and at all times amenable to them.

3. That Government is, or ought to be, instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security of the people, nation, or community;–of all the various modes and forms of Government that is best which is capable of producing the greatest degree of happiness and safety, and is most effectually secured against the danger of mal-administration;–and that, whenever any Government shall be found inadequate or contrary to these purposes, a majority of the community hath an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right, to reform, alter, or abolish it, in such manner as shall be judged most conducive to the publick weal.

4. That no man, or set of men, are entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments and privileges from the community, but in consideration of publick services; which, not being descendible, neither ought the offices of Magistrate, Legislator, or Judge, to be hereditary.

5. That the Legislative and Executive powers of the State should be separate and distinct from the Judicative; and, that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the burdens of the people, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, return into that body from which they were originally taken, and the vacancies be supplied by frequent, certain, and regular elections, in which all, or any part of the former members, to be again eligible, or ineligible, as the law shall direct.

Please read that again.  Particularly the part starting with “they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station…”  If only we took this to heart!

6. That elections of members to serve as Representatives of the people, in Assembly, ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage, and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for publick uses without their own consent or that of their Representative so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assented, for the publick good.

Please read that again, too.  This is so good it makes me grieve that we don’t do it.

7. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without consent of the Representatives of the people, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.

8. That in all capital or criminal prosecutions a man hath a right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence in his favour, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself; that no man be deprived of his liberty except by the law of the land, or the judgment of his peers.

9. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

10. That general warrants, whereby any officer or messenger may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of a fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, or whose offence is not particularly described and supported by evidence, are grievous and oppressive, and ought not to be granted.Oh my.  If only

11. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by Jury is preferable to any other, and ought to be held sacred.

12. That the freedom of the Press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotick Governments.

13. That a well-regulated Militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; that Standing Armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that, in all cases, the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

Is this clear enough?  People defend their own lands.  Professional, permanent standing armies are dangerous.  Is this brilliant, or what?

14. That the people have a right to uniform Government; and, therefore, that no Government separate from, or independent of, the Government of Virginia, ought to be erected or established within the limits thereof.

15. That no free Government, or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.

16. That Religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity, towards each other.

These last two are woefully missing from our U.S. Constitution.  This is brilliant.  Just brilliant. 

George Mason, I tip my hat to you, sir.  We owe you much. 

About our “Fed…”

On the morning of November 14, 2007, “federal” “officials” (look up the meaning of both words, read the constitution, and you’ll see sad irony in these words) raided a company that produced “private voluntary barter currency” known as the Liberty Dollar.

Now many people have already said something like “well, good; only our government should make money.” 

Unfortunately, not only is that bad thinking, but also, our “government” (in any legitimate sense) doesn’t have anything to do with our money today.

Yes, I know.  Everything our government does is for a Darned Good Reason.  To think otherwise is unpatriotic and probably even terrorism.

So, I’ll just lay out what I know to be fact, and we’ll see if we can find the DGR.

Since 1913, USA money and our federal monetary policy has been created and directed by a quasi private, most-definitely-for-profit central bank; not by the US Congress. 

If you’ve read The Constitution of the United States, you know that the U.S. Congress is authorized “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.”  

Congress, via the Treasury, of course, still makes coins (though no longer of metal of intrinsic value).  But all paper currency, and the value of both coins and paper, as well as the policies by which all money works in this country, has been unconstitutionally delegated to a “private business.”  

It is in fact, the only private business I am aware of anywhere in the world, that operates completely free of regulation.  Or audits.  Or reporting requirements.  And with secret shareholders.  Oh, and they don’t have to answer questions if they don’t want to.

Now, anybody who knows anything about me knows that I’m 100% Free Market right down to the subatomic level.  I know that whatever our government touches turns to blood, and I know very well that politicians:

a. Lie  

b. Have guns and bombs

 

So the less politicians do, the better I like it.  And my few quibbles with the Constitution for the United States are where the founders stuck their nose too far into free market domains.  

But it is exceptionally dangerous to mix free market impulses with political force.  Such hybrids end up amplifying the worst of both trade released from accountability to the market, and politicians freed of accountability for their lust of power.

And through all of recorded history there’s been a deeply spooky problem with the control of money, and how that can so quickly become a crony capitalist, politician/banker bastard; neither free market, nor under law, but a monster that lives outside all borders of law, nation, morality, or long-term economics.  And THAT is what “The Fed” actually represents.

Let me explain.

Paper currency, at its best, has no intrinsic value.  Even what we call “real money,” like gold and silver, no matter how historically stable have values that are agreed upon, not truly intrinsic.  It is an instrument of value exchange.  If everybody agrees to use it for the exchange of goods and services, then it doesn’t matter whether your money is a scrap of paper (backed by nothing), a seashell, a gold coin or even a carved stick.  All the preceding things have been used effectively in trade.  

Here’s where things get ugly, because it involves greed, ignorance, sloth and all those other failings we typically group into that curse, “human.”

If the money supply, whatever its form, is manipulated for the wrong reasons, severe oppression (like serfdom/slavery) can result.  When people are granted a monopoly in determining what money is and who can make it…oy vey…there will be trouble.  And our government granted such a monopoly, in violation of our state and federal constitutions, in 1913.

One result is that all our banks operate on the principle of “fractional reserve banking,” which means that they can act like they have far more money than they actually have.  This allows them to loan out the same dollar many times, charging interest along the way, in order to make far more money in profit than could otherwise be the case.  Our system is supposed to be that new money is abstractly “created” by loaning out more money than actually exists, but is then “destroyed” when debts are paid. 

Obviously, a “run” on the bank would be bad, since the whole scheme is based upon an abstract fib…and immense trust in the people who’re both granted the power to create money, and the responsibility to destroy it.  But theoretically, without serious runs on the banks, it could all work out; sort of.  If the money supply is kept in reasonable correlation to our transactions, then the magic works to a degree.

Ahhhh, but the central bankers, who’re never audited by anybody and are in fact mostly unknown, make most of their money from government debts, not free-market trade! 

Many people get things twisted up here, with the enemies and friends all wrong.  The central bank devised in secret by Senator Nelson Aldrich, Frank Vanderlip, Henry Davison, and Paul Warburg at Jekyll Island was actually supposed to be an entirely, truly private consortium to handle only private, free-market banking screwups – just as J.P. Morgan, pretty much all by himself did, during the Panic of 1907.

Yes.  I’m saying that J.P. Morgan was a good guy.  So was the Creature from Jekyll Island we often think is the problem.  It was politicians like Woodrow Wilson and FDR that wanted us to think they saved us from bankers by making central bankers clean up political messes!  Politicians are the ones who created The Fed as a bastardized, political version of what Aldrich proposed.

Let me repeat this because it’s the pivot point.  The Federal Reserve is NOT really a private banking system any more than it is “federal.”  It does NOT serve the interests of legitimate banking so much as it serves the whims, unfulfillable promises and…endless wars…of politicians.  The more our government spends, the more money the cronies (both political and transpolitical) make, the more promises politicians can make, the more accountability and reality and debt our politicians can punt to the next generation.

It’s a system of nearly endless political IOUs, and of course, profits from debt.  It is, after all, a system that monetizes and markets debt!  (I say nearly, because I suspect it’s about to crash in maybe a decade)

Wars are of course the biggest single money makers, since, as James Madison pointed out: War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies and debts and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.  …In war, the public treasuries are to be unlocked; and it is the executive hand which is to dispense them.” 

As of now, the undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have racked up about $5500 in debt for every man, woman and child in the USA.  Some generation is going to have to pay this in addition to all the other stuff (like the Ponzi schemes of Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security) ratcheting up the “national debt,” or find some way to nullify it all.

And I think it’s grimly ironic that now, with all the litigating, ballyhooing and campaigning against “big business,” “special interest” groups and “monopolistic business practices,” the most dangerous industry of all, the biggest of them all – banking (which Thomas Jefferson said was more dangerous than standing armies), is completely unregulated, monitored or even recognized as the root threat.

It’s like we’re crying about ants in our cupboard as wolves are crashing through the window.

War profiteering is a terrible thing, of course.  But war profits are, for those who can get them, a Darned Good Reason to do something. 

And war profiteers are the guys who run our money supply, and therefore our economy. 

These are the guys who fund our government.   

The good news is that for the first time in at least a half century, there’s an easy way to fix this: vote for Ron Paul.  The bad news is that if he doesn’t win, then debts, and violence, and division and corruption, will get a lot worse…

Well, now you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Why They Fought

I’ve written a lot on Rule of Law, but perhaps I’ve not properly laid out the picture of what life would be like if we had it.  So, while I’ve already written down all the facts and laws in this posting elsewhere, I’ll now try to sum it up.

I confess that most of my sturm und drang is directed to federal policy.  But that’s only because we don’t have federal policy.  There is no law or custom, no property, no rights, no anything claimed in Indiana that isn’t routinely stolen by the goons of The Beltway, or New York, or the Hague.

How far from the constitutions have we strayed?  Well, after reading this, you tell me:

Article 1, Section 12 of the Indiana Constitution says that “Justice shall be administered freely, and without purchase; completely, and without denial; speedily, and without delay.” 

In other words, your legal needs are supposed to be paid for by your taxes.  We shouldn’t have legal arms races in the courtroom where the most money wins.  Imagine that.  “…Without purchase.”  Truly equal standing before the law.  No special deals for special people.  Poor people could actually seek justice.  Imagine that.

Article 1, Section 19. In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.” 

No politician, no lawyer, no judge can tell you what to do as a juror.  This written law means that citizen jurors determine what the law means, and how it applies to the case at hand.  This is the opposite of what you’ve been told, right?

Article 1, Section 22. The privilege of the debtor to enjoy the necessary comforts of life, shall be recognized by wholesome laws, exempting a reasonable amount of property from seizure or sale, for the payment of any debt or liability hereafter contracted: and there shall be no imprisonment for debt, except in case of fraud.”

A home is obviously one of the necessary comforts of life.  So, your home cannot be legally seized and sold to pay for any state tax.  This means that an awful lot of Hoosiers have had their homes stolen by politicians breaking the laws that gave them their jobs.  That should never, ever happen again.  We should be very, very sorry that it ever happened at all.

Article 8, Section 1 mandates “…a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall without charge, and equally open to all.”

Some argue that if government did nothing, rich people would send their kids to expensive schools, and only charities would provide schooling (of probably inferior quality) to only some of the poor.  Homeschoolers have proven a better way exists.  Nevertheless, it’s true that in the 1850s, the wealthy sent their kids to the best schools they could afford, and the poor or otherwise disadvantaged often went without any “proper” schooling at all  (like Thomas Edison, who had only three weeks of formal schooling).  

So starting in the 1840’s, Horace Mann argued that “Common Schools” (Prussian-style government school system) should be the “Great Equalizer,” and that politics must intervene to provide this identical “ladder of opportunity” to rich and poor alike.  What Indiana law mandates, in other words, are lots of identical schools all across the state; nobody gets a palace, nobody gets a dump.    Even before the law was written, small community-based schools were already being built at an astonishing pace, and locally funded Community Centers, typically built with private funds and never built by the state, were popping up everywhere to fill a need for sporting facilities that served all residents, whether in school or not.  Kids were to bring their own lunch to school, and it was starting to work in those years before the War Between the States. 

While I have strong feelings against government schools, the constitutional way would be much, much better than sending your kid on long bus rides to be a tiny fish in a huge ocean without the opportunities (in both education and sport) that kids had in years past.

And it should be paid for by state money alone, not some freakish hybrid of local, state and even federal money that ensures that nothing is fair or equal.

“Article 8, Section 3. The principal of the Common School fund shall remain a perpetual fund, which may be increased, but shall never be diminished; and the income thereof shall be inviolably appropriated to the support of Common Schools, and to no other purpose whatever.”

We’re supposed to pay for Common Schools with an endowed fund.  Our politicians spent it all years ago, of course.  There is no Common School fund now; but legally there is supposed to be an inviolable one.  And in all the specific maintenance funding mentioned in Article 8, Section 2 you’ll see that personal property tax is not mentioned.  Only “…Taxes on the property of corporations, that may be assessed by the General Assembly for common school purposes.

So only corporate property tax is to be used for the Common School system.  Since most of your property tax is to pay for “public schools” (which aren’t public at all; they’re government schools), this law should wipe out a huge part of your bill. 

And Article 10, Sections 5 and 6 would lop off a lot more income, sales and property tax:

“No law shall authorize any debt to be contracted, on behalf of the State, except in the following cases: to meet casual deficits in the revenue; to pay the interest on the State Debt; to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or, if hostilities be threatened, provide for the public defense.” “Section 6. No county shall subscribe for stock in any incorporated company, unless the same be paid for at the time of such subscription; nor shall any county loan its credit to any incorporated company, nor borrow money for the purpose of taking stock in any such company; nor shall the General Assembly ever, on behalf of the State, assume the debts of any county, city, town, or township; nor of any corporation whatever.”

No more money to the Colts, Pacers, mall builders, foreign auto companies or any other campaign contributors.  In other words, much of what government now spends your money on is illegal spending.

If that isn’t clear enough, how about Article 11, Section 12?

“The State shall not be a stockholder in any bank; nor shall the credit of the State ever be given, or loaned, in aid of any person, association or corporation; nor shall the State become a stockholder in any corporation or association.”

Indiana’s original constitution was really quite good.  It was replaced in 1851 only because the state went broke investing in the public transportation craze of the early-mid 1800s (canal building).  Hoosier politicians carved into law some very clear prohibitions against what today’s politicians are doing to your wealth.

“ARTICLE 15., Section 4. Every person elected or appointed to any office under this Constitution, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States, and also an oath of office.”

Every politician, policeman and soldier in this country has sworn to submit to the authority of constitutions, both state and federal.  This is unequivocal.  They cannot break the laws that authorize their powers, or those powers are null and void.

But this brings me to some “federal” issues.  I’ll go back to Article 1, Section 11 of the Indiana Constitution:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search or seizure, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.”

So both the federal and state constitutions would have to be amended to allow the searches and seizures that happen by the minute at the Indianapolis International Airport, or the searches of email or phone calls now acknowledged to happen all the time.  Ditto the right to arm and protect yourself, ditto the right to religious expression, ditto many, many other rights we once cherished and protected. 

I say we follow the law instead.

Article 1, Section 25, which is something like the federal constitution’s Tenth Amendment, inarguably limits the power of politicians to written law:

“No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in this Constitution.”

This means that no law can contravene the constitution.  No authority exceeds it.  No state authority exists, in other words, outside what’s written into the constitution.  So it doesn’t matter what a judge or Governor or Mayor says about the law.  The constitution can be amended, but the constitution is to be obeyed, as written.

I’ve already made lots of arguments over many years on “federal” law.  I think I’ve presented the key parts of the Indiana Constitution above.

So here’s the summary of what our life is supposed to be like, but isn’t now:

Do what you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with anybody else.  Be what you want to be.  Say what you’d like to say.  Buy what you want to buy, sell what you want to sell, eat what you want to eat; even if it’s bad for you.  You may leap off of things in unsafe contraptions as long as only you bear the consequences.  You can take your case to court.  You can build whatever you want to build, and live in it, if you’d like, and protect it by any means that doesn’t harm the innocent. 

If you harm another, you will be responsible.  If another harms you, then you aren’t the one in trouble. 

We have rights that can’t be taken away by anybody for any reason.  We can own things that politicians may not touch. 

We keep the fruit of our labor, and we can pass what we save to whomever we choose.  Our money is ours, our property is ours, our bodies are ours and our precious, limited time, is ours.

Oh yes, and our politicians do what we say, not the other way around.

This is called Freedom, and I want it back.   

What you don’t know may be killing you…

Article 1, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution says that “…the People have, at all times, an indefeasible right to alter and reform their government.”  

So citizens are, by both the practice of voting and by our specific law, totally in charge of Indiana, and there is no excuse for blaming anyone else…except perhaps the excuse of ignorance.  And ignorance is not a good idea right now.  We are in troubled times.

Constitutions are leashes on politicians’ power, not on our rights.  I am certain that we’d not have any our most serious social problems if politicians would obey constitutions as written. 

But you wouldn’t know this without reading the contract, so let’s touch a few key points from the Indiana Constitution:

Article 1, Section 12. Justice shall be administered freely, and without purchase; completely, and without denial; speedily, and without delay.” 

It makes sense that your taxes should pay for courts and trials instead of for Colts.  Duh.  But does this clear law bear any resemblance to judicial practice in Indiana?  Have you tried to stand before a court quickly and without purchase?  What the heck happened here?

Article 1, Section 19. In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.” 

This means that citizen jurors, not lawyers, and not judges, determine what the law means, and how it applies to the case at hand.  Is this what judges and lawyers tell juries?  No, it is not.

Article 1, Section 22. The privilege of the debtor to enjoy the necessary comforts of life, shall be recognized by wholesome laws, exempting a reasonable amount of property from seizure or sale, for the payment of any debt or liability hereafter contracted: and there shall be no imprisonment for debt, except in case of fraud.”

So if a home isn’t one of the necessary comforts of life, what is?  What other property could this be talking about…silverware?  …satellite TV?  …isn’t a place to rest your head a pretty fundamental comfort of life?  It’s clear in these words that a person’s home cannot be legally seized and sold to pay for any state tax!

Article 8 of the Constitution is one of the more clearly-written parts of Indiana’s Constitution.  Ironically, it is perhaps the most abused area of state law and political practice. 

It is in Article 8, Section 1 that Hoosiers are promised “…a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall without charge, and equally open to all.”

…Uniform?  What is uniform about our school system?  We have a terribly unfair mix of college-like campuses, wealthy neighborhood palaces, crumbling heaps, and of course, lots and lots of administration buildings. 

It was decided long ago that books aren’t a part of the tax-paid expenses, as they’re not clearly mentioned in Article 8.  But we’ve since apparently decided that swimming pools, stadiums and cafeterias are a part of schools. 

Does this make any sense?

Sports facilities used to be what Community Centers were for; and kids were expected to bring their own lunches to school (or poor kids could get box lunches delivered).  How in the world did we figure that sports and Coke machines are more important to education than are…books? 

And does it make any sense at all that state-supported football coaches get paid more than all the top elected officials in the state…put together?

Much of the core problem is that we’ve devolved and “consolidated” state common schools into a local/state hybrid, with money and much planning/building authority coming from local taxes and local spending authorities that defeat the point of state funding and, obviously, the possibility of state-wide uniformity in any way.

This is what killed community centers, community schools and more significantly, opportunity.  We have fewer, larger schools than we used to, which means that not only are kids smaller fish in bigger oceans, but they have less chance of playing football in the multimillion dollar stadia.  They have less chance of playing chess, or playing tuba, or singing in the Senior Play. 

After school, the kids who aren’t tall enough for basketball, or smart enough for the Debate Team, have no place to go for wholesome diversion.

And we really screwed up how we pay for it all this madness:

“Article 8, Section 3. The principal of the Common School fund shall remain a perpetual fund, which may be increased, but shall never be diminished; and the income thereof shall be inviolably appropriated to the support of Common Schools, and to no other purpose whatever.”

…Principal?  …Perpetual fund?  Good idea!  It is a crime, literally, that we don’t do anything like this. 

But read Article 8, Section 2 very carefully.  It lays out from where the state can collect money that doesn’t come from the endowment fund, and personal property is not mentioned.  Only “…Taxes on the property of corporations, that may be assessed by the General Assembly for common school purposes.

It’s only corporate property tax that’s to be used for schools! 

Do you have any idea how much this would reduce your property tax bill?!? 

But wait, there’s more!  The Indiana Constitution isn’t nearly as good as our federal constitution, but it’s far, far better than what our politicians are doing to us…

Article 10, Section 5, No law shall authorize any debt to be contracted, on behalf of the State, except in the following cases: to meet casual deficits in the revenue; to pay the interest on the State Debt; to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or, if hostilities be threatened, provide for the public defense.

Deficits in revenue are not the same as deficits in desired spending.  Governor Daniels has actually been the best guardian of the treasury we’ve had in years, so this isn’t as much of a problem now as in years past.  But most of Indiana’s debt has been illegal.

Section 6. No county shall subscribe for stock in any incorporated company, unless the same be paid for at the time of such subscription; nor shall any county loan its credit to any incorporated company, nor borrow money for the purpose of taking stock in any such company; nor shall the General Assembly ever, on behalf of the State, assume the debts of any county, city, town, or township; nor of any corporation whatever.

Colts, Pacers…lots of corporations would oppose what this clearly says; because it says that an awful lot of what government spends your money on is illegal.

Article 11, Section 12. The State shall not be a stockholder in any bank; nor shall the credit of the State ever be given, or loaned, in aid of any person, association or corporation; nor shall the State become a stockholder in any corporation or association.

Read that a few times.  Let it roll around in your head.  This would wipe out an awful lot of our troubles.  This is even clearer than article 6 in legally prohibiting much of what our government does with our money.  Remember, Indiana’s current constitution was written (and the old one scrapped) because of over-investment in the Erie Canal system (note: this was public transportation…not sports teams).  Those earlier politicians didn’t want to break the bank again by “investing” in anything.

ARTICLE 15., Section 4. Every person elected or appointed to any office under this Constitution, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath or affirmation, to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States, and also an oath of office.

So anyone who holds any office mentioned in the constitution is under the authority of constitutions, both state and federal.  And they must obey these constitutions.  Simple as that.

Our jobs, products, health, education and welfare should be as plentiful and effective as computer technology; with as much range of price and quality as with coffee, or shoes.  Our lives should be more up to us, and less directed by politics.  But illegal laws get in the way.

Whose fault is this?

Well, now you know.  There is no longer any excuse for it.  We need to snap the leash back on our politicians…and of course take it off of us.

Economics is to Politics, as Gasoline is to a Match

Politicians don’t make the discoveries and breakthroughs that make our lives safer, longer, and more comfortable.  Free-market, free-thinking tinkerers, inventors, scientists and entrepreneurs do that.

We know that government doesn’t build cars, nice houses and stylish shoes.  It doesn’t make espresso, or bicycle helmets, or leather sofas, or medicines.  It doesn’t make jumbo jets, computers or portable DVD players.

Private businesses are launching spacecraft and building global communications systems.  Doctors can, without political intervention, open up a failing human body, replace the heart, and allow a life to go on.

And yet, we’ve somehow convinced ourselves that without government, there’d be no roads.  Some of us apparently think that without government subsidies, there’d be no football, no art, no charity, no business, no schools.

While we don’t utter the word anymore, there is a name for this thinking.  We used to call it socialism, and Americans used to fight it body and spirit.  Now we whimper and beg for it.  So we’re getting it good and hard. 

Can we re-think this? 

It wasn’t so long ago that Democrats wanted European-like prices for gasoline.  They reasoned that if gasoline were more expensive, then more people would ride bicycles, walk, demand and use public transportation, and in general, conserve this energy resource as if it were finite.  Expensive gas would promote the development of alternative fuels and energy sources, and probably fuel a new wave of technological breakthroughs.  While we may not like the idea of expensive gas, the long-term economic reasoning is actually sound.

Curiously, Democratic politicians abandoned this reasoning when they started crying about “global warming.”  They then lifted gasoline taxes before an election (the late Governor O’Bannon in 2000), suggested that we tap into our Strategic Oil Reserves (several Democrats on state and federal levels), or (as Rep. Julia Carson had done in 2003) call for an investigation of the oil industry at the first hint of rising gasoline prices.

Of course Republicans got in on this, too.  Republicans do what Democrats only talk about.

OK, so there hasn’t been a new oil refinery built in the USA since 1976.  Americans have no objection to foreign oil drilling, but will not tolerate it at home.  So instead of doing the math of supply and demand with our own resources, we turned to global markets that have their own agenda in global politics.

This has been disastrous on several fronts.  First, we’ve become dependent upon militarism as an energy policy.  Second, our lack of energy policy foresight has raised the possibility that third-world nations may soon pass us in terms of energy efficiency and robust delivery/point of use generation …and this could mean even further erosion of USA industry and technological prowess.

Third, we’ve built our cities for cars and cheap gas; so we have seas of parking lots and miles and miles of ugly boxes we call buildings.  Such unsightly, inefficient building lowers our quality of life, steals our leisure time, and makes us a nation of red-faced road-ragers.  Oh, and of course, like most federal policies of the last forty years, this lack of clear-sighted policy has cost us tens of thousands of jobs.

What is the best policy? 

Get politicians out of our marketplaces, and let businessmen, scientists, engineers and of course, entrepreneurs, do what they do best…fill needs to our mutual satisfaction.

That is, after all, what the free market is: voluntary transactions that serve everybody’s needs and even wants.  And let’s not forget the opposite of that: power-mad poohbahs with guns who think they know best. 

We have a word for the narcissistic napoleons who destroy nations and lives; it’s “politicians.”