In the United States, 9/11 spawned a major conflict between the imperatives of national security and the principles of the constitution’s First Amendment. This amendment enshrines every person’s right to inform and be informed. But the heritage of the 1787 constitution was shaken to its foundations during George W. Bush’s two terms as president by the way journalists were harassed and even imprisoned for refusing to reveal their sources or surrender their files to federal judicial officials.
There has been little improvement in practice under Barack Obama. Rather than pursuing journalists, the emphasis has been on going after their sources, but often using the journalist to identify them. No fewer that eight individuals have been charged under the Espionage Act since Obama became president, compared with three during Bush’s two terms. While 2012 was in part the year of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 2013 will be remember for the National Security Agency computer specialist Edward Snowden, who exposed the mass surveillance methods developed by the US intelligence agencies.
The whistleblower is the enemy. Hence the 35-year jail term imposed on Private Chelsea/Bradley Manning for being the big WikiLeaks source, an extremely long sentence but nonetheless small in comparison with the 105-year sentence requested for freelance journalist Barrett Brown in a hacking case. Amid an all-out hunt for leaks and sources, 2013 will also be the year of the Associated Press scandal, which came to light when the Department of Justice acknowledged that it had seized the news agency’s phone records.
Title: The Same Subject Continued (Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence)
Author: John Jay (aka Publius)
Date: November 3, 1787
Volume: 1 - The Union
General topic: The Importance of unity to security
Specific Topic: The peace-ability of a federal government
- Intelligent people tend to act in their own best interests. And a strong, central government is in America’s best interest.
- Safety is our first interest. And safety means protecting against violence initiated by other nations and violence initiated by our own.
- The Union is our best defense against international hostility.
- A federal government will have fewer instances of treaty violation or direct violence and, therefore, fewer causes for going to war.
- A federal government will have an easier time following “the laws of nations” than multiple confederacies would.
- A federal government will be made up of more credible men than the state governments, because a federal government can draw from the populations of all the states while each state can only draw from its own population
- A federal government can give a more consistent voice to foreign relations than multiple confederacies could.
- A federal government can hold states accountable to “good faith and justice” better than multiple confederacies could. (The refusal of many states to comply with the Treaty of Paris is a good example of this.) And a federal government would be more willing and able to punish dissent than state governments would.
- A federal government is simply less likely to violate international relations than multiple confederacies would.
- A federal government is also less likely to want war than a single state government would be. War with the Indians is often started by state governments, but hasn’t been started by the Union.
- A federal government will keep a cooler head over international tensions than the border states would.
- A federal government will have more leverage for negotiating peace than individual states would. For example, Louis XIV wouldn’t have humiliated Genoa during peace negotiations if it had been a stronger country.
- A federal government is less likely to violate treaties or pursue violence than multiple confederacies would be.
- “It is not a new observation that the people of any country (if, like the Americans, intelligent and well-informed) seldom adopt and steadily persevere for many years in an erroneous opinion respecting their interests.”
- “I mean only to consider [safety] as it respects security for the preservation of peace and tranquility, as well as against dangers from foreign arms and influence, as from dangers of the like kind arising from domestic causes.”
- “Violences are more frequently occasioned by the passions and interests of a part than of the whole.”
- "The pride of states, as well as of men, naturally disposes them to justify all their actions, and opposes their acknowledging, correcting, or repairing their errors and offenses.”
- I appreciate that Jay defines his idea of “safety” for the reader. And I also appreciate that this definition includes keeping the U.S. from initiating unnecessary violence.
- But I wish he would define “violations of treaties” and “the laws of nations”, because the meanings of those phrases are important too.
- Jay does a good job supporting his ideas with specific reasons and even examples (the Treaty of Paris, the Indian wars and LouisXIV vs. Genoa.)
- I agree with Jay’s summation of human nature - that we tend to be more passionate than reasonable and we ultimately act in our own best interests. This is self-evident.
- But then he says that, “The best men in the country will not only consent to serve [in the government], but also will generally be appointed to manage it.” Why doesn’t Jays’ summation of human nature extend to the government as well, which is made up of those same passionate, self-interested humans? History has shown that power has always attracted scoundrels.
- Jay says that “the prospect of loss or advantage” may tempt some states to be uncooperative, and that a federal government would prevent this. But should it be prevented? Why should any state be forced to act against its own best interests?
- It makes sense that a federal government is more likely to think calmly about border tensions than the border states would, which is helpful. But I can also see how its distance from the situation could make it callous to some legitimate concerns of those states.
- Most of all, I appreciate Jay’s attitude toward foreign policy. His emphasis on avoiding unnecessary offense, restraining the use of force and maintaining diplomatic leverage is an example I wish our current politicians would follow.
The Property Clause and Northwest Ordinance are both limited in power and scope. Once a state is formed and accepted in the union, the federal government no longer has control over land within the state’s borders. From this moment, such land is considered property of the sovereign state. The continental United States is now formed of fifty independent, sovereign states. No “unclaimed” lands are technically in existence. Therefore, the Property Clause no longer applies within the realm of federal control over these states…
Nowhere in this clause will you find the power for Congress to exercise legislative authority through regulation over 80% of Nevada, 55% of Utah, 45% of California, 70% of Alaska, etc. unless the state has given the federal government the formal authority to do so, which they have not.
Title: Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence
Author: John Jay (aka Publius)
Date: October 31, 1787
Volume: 1 - The Union
General topic: The Importance of unity to security
Specific Topic: The trustworthiness of the Philadelphia Convention
- We should consider everything when deciding about the new Constitution.
- Government is necessary, and we need to give up some of our rights to empower it.
- Wise people recognize the need for one, central government. But there are many who want the separate states to remain sovereign.
- Our country is made up of a rich and unified geography. Our population shares the same ancestry, language, religion, principles and customs. We fought together for our independence. And we share the “rights, privileges and protections” of citizens.
- Initially, we all agreed that we needed a strong government. But we formed the Confederation so hastily after the Revolution, it isn’t a very good one.
- The Philadelphia Convention has calmly, wisely and impartially designed a better government to protect both our liberty and our unity.
- Rather than blinding accepting or blinding rejecting the Constitution, it would be better to examine and discuss it - but most people won’t.
- Some protested the government under the Articles of Confederation because of special interests, poor judgment, prejudice or ambition - and they deceived many. But most people trusted Congress’ judgment and are now happy they did.
- If the Congress of the Confederation proved trustworthy, then the congress of the Philadelphia Convention will prove even more so.
- Throughout the short history of our country, our congressmen have agreed that the Union is important and that dis-unity would be disastrous. So why would anyone be interested in separate, sovereign states?
- There are good reasons to want a Union, and I’ll explain them next time.
- You should trust the Philadelphia Convention’s recommendation of national unity.
- “Independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty.”
- “This country and this people seem to have been made for each other.”
- “As a nation we have made peace and war; as a nation we have vanquished our common enemies.”
- “Let it be remembered that it is neither recommended to blind approbation, nor to blind reprobation; but to that sedate and candid consideration which the magnitude and importance of the subject demand.”
- “If the people at large had reason to confide in the men of that Congress, few of whom had been fully tried or generally known, still greater reason have they now to respect the judgment and advice of the convention.”
- “Whenever the dissolution of the Union arrives, America will have reason to exclaim, in the words of the Poet: : ‘FAREWELL! A LONG FAREWELL TO ALL MY GREATNESS!’”
- I don’t trust ideas introduced with “Nothing is more certain…” Don’t tell me that it’s certain; I’ll decide that for myself. Tell me why it’s certain.
- I agree that “the people must cede to [the government] some of their natural rights, in order to vest it with requisite power.” But to what extent? Leaving this statement unqualified opens it up to abusive interpretations.
- Publius seems primarily interested in “safety and happiness” and only gives token support to liberty. But my happiness is my own responsibility, not the government’s. And my safety is only the government’s concern as far as it’s an extension of my liberty.
- Jay writes poetically about the common identity of his fellow citizens. But that’s still only rhetoric, not reason. And his examples don’t hold up in light of the expanse and multiculturalism of the U.S. today.
- Jay makes the unfounded assumption that separate sovereign states would be “unsocial, jealous and alien.” But if he’s going to ask us to give full consideration to the Constitution, he should give full consideration to state sovereignty.
- Jay makes a good case for the necessity of the Philadelphia Convention and for its credibility being better than the credibility of the government that formed the Articles on Confederation.
- But THEN he says that we should “rely greatly on the judgment and integrity of the Congress.” Recognizing credibility is one thing, but submissive dependence is something else. Jay shouldn’t suggest blind trust in Congress after he just discouraging blind trust in the Constitution. And we should be suspicious of all men in power after fighting a revolution against a king who abused his power.
The Stunning Metamorphosis Of An “Obama Girl”
This is Carey Wedler (the one with the Obama shirt) approximately six years ago, when she was, in her own words, a fervent “Obama girl” who believed the myth about “hope and change.”
And this is Carey Wedler now, grown up, who has finally “googled the news”, and having seen through the lies, realizes that Obama has “become exactly like the George Bush" that she "used to so vitriolically hate."
Below are some of her observations on all the “mayhem and crime” committed by the president:
- You bailed out bankers and placed them in your cabinet.
- You placed Monsanto in charge of your FDA
- You helped out pharmaceutical and health insurance companies with Obamacare
- You expanded Bush’s wars and started new ones with drones branding yourself a humanitarian war monger
- You bragged about crippling sanctions against Iran though they directly affected civilians
- You extended the patriot act and asserted your right to spy on the American people
- You asserted your right to detain them without trial
- You seized the authority to assassinate Americans without providing any evidence of their guilt or offering them due process of law
- You viciously punish journalists and pursue whistleblowers who expose your crimes though you vowed to protect them when you were running for office
- You arm Al Qaeda insurgents and refused to close Guantanamo, and you along with congress have criminalized protest
- And still you have the audacity to scold dictators about democracy, protests and freedom
- Mr. Obama - you are the biggest fraud that has ever been perpetrated on the American people and it’s been a long time since I bought into it so I think it’s about time to burn your shirt.
Wow - she got all of that from a google search?
Watch her full clip below, because it goes on and culminates with Carey’s full metamorphosis from an “Obama girl” to a full-blown libertarian.
Congratulations Carey for figuring out at a young age what most Americans will never realize in their entire lives.
Title: General Introduction
Author: Alexander Hamilton (aka Publius)
Date: October 27, 1787
Volume: 1 - The Union
General topic: The Importance of unity to security
Specific Topic: The wisdom and necessity of the Constitution
- The government under the Articles of Confederation isn’t working. We need to create a new Constitution.
- The fate of our country - its unity, safety and welfare - are at stake. What we do next will decide for the world weather humanity is even capable of good government.
- It would be great if we could make this decision wisely and selflessly, but too much personal passion and ambition are already involved.
- Remember that we can’t guess anyone’s motives. Wise men are sometimes wrong, and others are sometimes right for the wrong reasons.
- Fighting is unavoidable, but it will be unhelpful. It just drowns out sound reasoning.
- I intend to help you think clearly. Your liberty, dignity and happiness need this new Constitution.
- My views are:
- We need “the UNION” to prosper.
- The Confederation doesn’t work.
- We need a powerful government.
- This Constitution is a good one.
- This Constitution is similar to the New York State Constitution.
- And this Constitution will secure our government, liberty and property.
- I will try to answer objections to the Constitution. And, contrary to what you may have heard, this country isn’t too big for a central government.
- Eventually, everyone will agree that failure to ratify this Constitution will expose us to the “certain evils” and “probable dangers” of a dismembered union.
- If you’re smart, you’ll support this Constitution.
- “It seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.”
- “We are not always sure that those who advocate for truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists.”
- “In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.”
- I agree that a government is necessary. As Frédéric Bastiat writes in The Law, government exists to make plundering rights more risky than it’s worth. And in that way government protects our lives, liberties and properties. (The Declaration of Independence echoes this idea.)
- I also agree that political discourse is only helpful when people agree to speak from reason rather than emotion.
- But Hamilton strikes me as a little too eager for big, centralized government. He seems to value his perception of the “public good” over the individual “rights of the people.” And he wants us to accept his unfounded assertion that the only possible alternative to a powerful government is chaos.
- Beyond that, Hamilton’s subtle jabs at the Anti-Federalists are inappropriate and petty. He says that those with “zeal for the energy and efficiency of government” are “enlightened” while those concerned about “dangers to the rights of the people” are victims of “over-scrupulous jealousy.” And he even hints that “zeal for the rights of the people” are caused by “dangerous ambition” and “illiberal distrust”—after he just admitted we can’t know others’ motives.
- So far… Hamilton is a condescending statist.
To my parents’ and grandparents’ generation: Most of you are way better off than we are or—at this rate—ever will be. No matter how hard we work, we simply don’t have the economic advantages you grew up experiencing. We don’t begrudge you those benefits, but we would like the opportunity to build the kind of success so many of you did. And we can’t do that when we’re paying hundreds upon hundreds of dollars every month to subsidize your far more ample incomes.
So cut us a break. Let us opt out of dying social programs which will never benefit us. Stop driving up college costs with federal subsidies. Don’t force us to cover your health care costs when we can’t afford to cover our own.
In other words, please just end the war on youth.