Tag Archives: electoral college

Choosing The Senate President

Nothing triggers my Don Quixote spirit more so than that part of the Presidential campaign when the Presidential candidate is shopping for a running mate. Reading between the lines, over the lines, or under the lines, I can find nothing in the Constitution to justify the Presidential candidate being allowed to pick the V.P. candidate.

The Founding Fathers intended for the office of Vice President to be the second most powerful office in government. He is to serve as the Presiding Officer over the day-to-activities of the Senate and is to be selected by voters of the entire country, not by the voters of a single state, as is the case today when we allow the Senate Majority Leader to usurp the constitutional duties of the Vice President. The only duties assigned to the Vice President by the Constitution are to count the votes of the Electoral College and to serve as President of the Senate. Click HERE  for a more detailed discussion.

We have seen over the past three-and-a-half years the damage that can be done to our legislative processes and to the country when political hacks whose only loyalty is to their party and their only goal is gaining more power, are allowed to preside over the two houses of Congress. While John Boehner is incompetent as Speaker of the House, at least his office is constitutional and he was duly elected by the membership of the House.  There is however, no constitutional requirement that the Speaker be from the majority party of even a member of Congress.

While the Constitution (Art. 1.2.9) permits the House to elect its Presiding Officer, the same is not true for the Senate. Article I, Sec. 3, clause 6, 7 requires, “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided. The Senate shall choose their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.”  

The President pro tempore is not a permanent office. He is to be chosen by the Senate to serve temporarily as the Presiding Officer of the Senate only, “in the absence of the Vice President, or when he (the V.P.) shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.”  The Speaker of the House is the Presiding Officer of the House of Representatives, and the Vice President of the United States is the Presiding Officer of the Senate. There is no constitutional requirement for him to be a member of the majority party just as there is no requirement that the Speaker of the House be a member of Congress. The President of the Senate is the only officer of the Legislative Branch to be elected nationally and accountable to the voters of the entire country.

While there is no way, in the short term, to bring the Federal government back in line with the Constitution, we should be working tirelessly to that end. In the meanwhile, if Mitt Romney wishes to follow the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution and Amendment XII, in selecting his running mate, he should choose Rick Santorum since he received the second largest number of delegates during the Primaries.

Also see these two posts from the 2008 election cycle.




Choosing the Right Candidate

Before we know it, we are going to find ourselves in the midst of the most important primary race in generations. The number of patriots who recognize the perils facing America has grown exponentially over the past two years along with the continued growth of the Tea Party Movement. A number of patriotic politicians have stepped up to the plate to oppose the reckless and dangerous socialist policies of the current administration. Still, as we survey the developing field of possible “conservative” candidates we see a lot of ambiguity as to what it means to be a true constitution  conservative, both among the people and the potential candidates.

There are only two issues in the next election, one for the people and one for the candidates. The one for the people is; do we wish to continue as a constitutional republic or as a democratic socialist oligarchy?  The answer to that question determines the question we must get a clear answer to before we decide to support any candidate in the coming elections.  If the answer is that we want to continue as a constitutional republic, then the only thing we need to know about the candidate is; will he or she fight for our founding principles and defend our founding documents?

This is not something about which we have to speculate.  We have over four hundred years of history as our guide; 169 years of colonialism under a monarchy, 5 years as independent nation states, 8 years as a confederation of sovereign states, and 222 years as a constitutional republic, including some 130 years of experimenting with socialism. The one lesson we should have learned from our own history as well as the history of other nations of the world is that socialism does not work. Yet, in spite of the clear evidence that it does not, our political leaders continue to attempt to force in on an inadequately informed population.

The number one challenge facing the patriot movement today is a lack of knowledge among the voting public concerning our history, our Constitution and our American heritage. America has become a nation addicted to big government socialism. In order to cure any addiction one first has to recognize it and admit that it is a problem and have a real desire to break the habit.

Illinois Conservative.Com has published a new book, “Philosophy of Evil” especially for Tea Party Members and other patriots to help in understanding who we are as a people, where we are today as a nation and how we got here. It is the result of years of study and months of intensive research in American history and the history of socialism, especially as it took root and grew in American society. Philosophy of Evil traces the history of socialism in America from the early experiments with it in colonial times, through the utopian commune movement, the progressive era and its rapid growth in the twentieth century, culminating in the economic, political and social crises we are experiencing  today.

We invite our readers to go to our website, check out the subject index and read the sample chapters we have posted there. We believe an understanding of the information found in this book is essential to the restoration of America as a constitutional republic. As Thomas Jefferson said concerning his writing of the Declaration of Independence,

“[Our purpose is] not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent. …. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it [is] intended to be an expression of the American mind.”  Thomas Jefferson, 1825

New Book
Philosophy of Evil
Socialism in America

Click HERE for more information

It’s Time To Retire Both Political Parties: Part II

The two-party system that has been in place for most of our existence as a nation has not served us well. For over a century, we have been moving inexorably toward the abyss of national socialism under the American pseudonym of “progressivism”. It has made little difference which political party has been in power. Under the Democrat Party, we move faster and under the Republican Party, we move slower, but always in the same direction. Now we find ourselves at the very brink of the abyss.

Most of us have been unaware of the perilous path down which our national leaders have been leading us. The election of Barack Obama and the introduction of one socialist policy after another by him and his progressive Democrat followers has brought the problem into sharp focus. For the first time in their life, millions of Americans are paying attention to the direction we are going and beginning to weigh the consequences. Anger and frustration has become the normal daily state of an ever-growing number of our people. The most frequently asked question is, what can we do to turn things around? How can we stop the seemingly unstoppable rush into socialism?

It is easy to blame, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, et al. A little reflection, however, points to another mostly unrecognized culprit. As already pointed out, we have been moving in the same direction for more than a hundred years. There is not an official in government that has been in office for that length of time. Presidents, Senators and Congressmen come and go while the condition continues to worsen. It is not the people in power that causes our problem— although they are certainly culpable and need to be held accountable — the real problem is the system itself. We have allowed ourselves, over the years, to become subjects of the Republican or Democrat Parties.

The last two elections have shown just how tyrannical these parties have become.  Two examples stand out, the nomination of John McCain for President in ‘08, and in Illinois, the nomination of Mark Kirk for Senate in this election. If you need further proof, consider the bills that have been passed and signed during this Congress, against the will of the people. If you need still more proof consider the situation with illegal immigration, particularly in Arizona. Decisions are made by members of the Party establishment and millions of dollars are targeted at the voting public to get them to “rubber stamp” the Party’s decision. All too often it works, albeit often against the best interest of the Country.

We are always going to have political parties and I am not suggesting that we get rid of them. However, the Republican and Democrat Parties have become too powerful, have too much control over government at all levels, and have strayed too far from our founding principles, for us to allow the status quo to continue. Both parties must be stripped of their power for the good of the country and the survival of the Republic. If that suggestion seems too radical for some, consider that the founding documents are devoid of any reference or foundation principle to justify the prominence either Party has in the running of our government today.

The good news is that reforming our political system does not require an Amendment to the Constitution. Primary elections, winner-take-all outcomes, and the nominating processes, are all extra-constitutional and in some cases unconstitutional. Ostensibly, the political customs and traditions developed over the years are for the convenience of the voters. In reality, they are designed to secure the power of the respective political parties. The timing and order of primaries, the gerrymandering of Congressional Districts, the hurdles aspiring candidates are forced to go through and a host of others are all designed to provide job security to incumbents and protect the Party in power.

A relatively small number of major changes could correct our electoral system and bring it in line with the Constitution and intent of the Founders. A similar small number of changes in the way Washington does business would return us closer to the model of government left to us by the Founders.

Electoral Process

The tradition of primary elections has no basis in the Constitution. Primaries are completely and solely for the benefit of political parties for the purpose of deciding on a single candidate for each office to appear on the ballot in the general election. The winner take all policy adhered to by most states is also not required by the Constitution. The Constitution does not require a majority vote for the offices of Representative or Senator. However, the Constitution does not preclude the states from requiring a majority vote for those offices. For those states choosing a majority requirement, a second runoff election could be held among the top vote getters for each office, similar to the process prescribed in Article II for choosing a President and Vice President by Congress when there is no Electoral College majority.

If we followed the spirit and letter of the Constitution and applied the electoral model put forth in the election of a President, to other elective offices, it would simplify the election process and more than likely, result in better representation. While the Constitution allows the states to determine the manner in which electors are chosen or appointed, it also allows Congress to set the time of choosing electors and the day on which they shall vote. Article II, Section 1, clauses 16 and 17 reads,

“The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”

Traditionally, the time for choosing Electors is a multi-step process, not sanctioned by the Constitution. Electors are first chosen in the primaries and advance to the party convention. The convention delegates then usually take the candidate with the highest number of Electoral College votes pledged to him or her in the primaries nationwide and declare that person to be their candidate for the general election. This step requires a percentage of the Electoral College candidates to change their pledge from the candidates for whom citizens voted, to the Party‘s ultimate selection. (Note: the name appearing on the primary ballot is the candidate running for office, but the real candidate is the Electoral College candidate pledged to vote for that candidate, not the candidate himself or herself.) This process is not only highly confusing to voters but is constitutionally suspect in its legality, if not downright unconstitutional.

A major factor in choosing Electoral College Candidates is the timing sequence of the various primaries, taking advantage of the “lemming” factor, the popularity of the candidates building on the outcomes of each succeeding primary. The wording of the Constitution clauses quoted above may allow each state to choose their electors on a different day. However, the normal understanding would be that all states should do so on the same day, just as the day on which they actually vote is required to be the same nationwide. The nation would be better served if the primary process were done away with and a general election day determined on which candidates for state, local, and Congressional offices, and Electoral College members were elected. If runoffs are required for various offices, those elections could take place on the same day the Electoral College meets to vote.

Summation: Under this process, a single “election day” would be held nationwide. Candidates for state and local offices would be elected as well as members of Congress and Electoral College members. Party affiliation would not appear on the ballots and would not be a factor in voting. The practice of substituting the names of candidates for President and Vice President for the Electoral College candidates would still be permitted as a service to the voters. Any required runoff elections may or may not be held in conjunction with the day the Electoral College votes.

This reform alone in our election process would remove much of the power from the two major parties and make it much easier for alternative parties to form and be counted.

To be continued in future posts…

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The Case For Impeachment

A Tea Party group in San Diego, California is holding a rally on August 28, to demand the impeachment of President Obama. On its blog site, the group gives as a reason for impeachment, “loss of public confidence”. It seems our friends in California have confused our form of government with a parliamentary system where heads of government are routinely removed from office by a vote of “no confidence”. Under a parliamentary system, a coalition of the political parties making up the membership of Parliament elects the Prime Minister. When the coalition loses confidence in the PM to lead the nation effectively, they remove him from office and replace him with another.

In America, the people elect the President through the Electoral College in a round-about and complicated process. No President has ever been successfully impeached and convicted in our 221-year history. It is not likely that an impeachment of Obama would be any more successful than those of Andrew Johnson or Bill Clinton. That does not mean the San Diego rally will not be a good venue of protest, and will send a message to politicians that Californians are not happy with their performance. There are plenty of reasons for impeaching Obama; a lack of confidence is not one of them. Evidently, he still has the confidence of the majority in Congress making impeachment by the House highly unlikely and conviction by the Senate all but impossible.

Impeachment for the right purpose and carried out in a proper manner can have a beneficial effect on the nation. I was not around for the Impeachment of Johnson, but I do remember the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That one quickly deteriorated into a political squabble that divided the country and accomplished little. An impeachment of Obama would be even more divisive and would not lead to removing him from office as the San Diego Tea Party wishes.  Any attempt by Republicans to bring Articles of Impeachment against Obama would immediately lead to accusations of racism and political pettiness.

The one thing most needed in America today is an increased knowledge of the Constitution by those inside and outside the government. An impeachment trial could be one of the best methods for increasing our understanding if it was properly focused. An impeachment hearing by the House of Representative is, in many ways, like a Grand Jury hearing, and as has been rightly noted, a Grand Jury “can indict a ham sandwich”. As Gerald Ford observed, an impeachable offense is whatever the House of Representatives says it is at any given time. The Constitution gives as an impeachable offense the commission of “high crimes and misdemeanors”.

The term “high crimes” is a holdover from English common law and has nothing to do with criminal activities in violation of statutory law. The word “high” has to do with the position of the official being impeached rather than the type of “crime”, the higher the position, the more serious the crime. “Crime” has to do with malfeasance in office, including such things as failure to carry out the duties of the office, favoritism, abuse of power, etc. It also might involve criminal activity such as, bribe taking, perjury, treason or other criminal acts. The penalty for an impeachment conviction is removal from office, after which criminal charges can also be filed by the Justice Department if crime is involved. Otherwise, the penalty is only removal from office and the inability to hold public office afterward.

By its very nature, conviction in an impeachment case is a highly subjective matter unless it involves an overt criminal act. In order to be effective as a teachable event regarding the Constitution, impeachment would need to be focused on a specific unconstitutional act(s) by a government official. Furthermore, the offense would have to be easily ascertainable by the general public without any legal knowledge. A perfect example was given to us last moth by Judge Susan Bolton and the Arizona Federal District Court.

The overt violation of Constitution Law is found in Article III, Section 2, Paragraph 2:

“In all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make”.

In order to understand the Framers’ meaning and intent, it is not necessary to refer to previous Supreme Court cases, or the Federal Code. Neither is it necessary to have any training in law. In fact, legal training seems to be a hindrance to understanding the clear meaning of the sentences used, as is often the case with Constitution questions. Understanding the motivation of the Framers is also not necessary, although the status of the four parties mentioned would seem to indicate that their motivation was to preserve the sovereign dignity of the parties to the cases singled out by the clause for special treatment.

The meaning of this paragraph stands on its own, independent of any consideration of other parts of the Constitution or other writings of the Founders. The first sentence clearly says that, in all cases in which a state shall be party, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction. The three most common reasons given by those who either support or accept the usurpation of power by the Arizona District Court are tradition, Congresses’ power to regulate Court jurisdiction, and the Supreme Court’s acceptance of Congressional exceptions.

Neither of the three is constitutionally acceptable. The arguments of tradition and acceptance are reminiscent of the theological question debated by seminarians since time immemorial. “How long does a heresy need to continue before it becomes truth?” If District Courts have routinely ignored this Constitution paragraph since the founding of the Republic, it does not change the meaning or arrangement of the words used. Neither Congress nor the Court has the constitutional power to change the language of the Constitution without an Amendment. In this case, Congress is given the power to make exceptions to cases over which the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction. It is not given the power to make exceptions in cases over which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction. The second use of the word “shall” in the first sentence precludes the Supreme Court itself from having the power to make exceptions.

This paragraph is clear enough in meaning and sufficiently vague in the understanding of the political class and ordinary citizens that it makes the ideal teaching tool for acquainting citizens with the Constitution and its interpretation. It involves one of the most clearly written and easy to understand passages in the Constitution, a clear usurpation of power by the District Court, and an overt attack on the constitutional doctrine of state sovereignty. The nation clearly needs a debate on the nature, purpose and meaning of the Constitution. We would be hard put to find a better case to start the debate than the one presented by “United States vs. Arizona”.

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Democrat Scheme to Steal 2012 Election

Democrats attempt to bypass Electoral College in Presidential Elections

The most devious and cynical attempt to date for undermining our Constitution is taking place just below the radar, totally unknown to the average American. I am talking about the ongoing effort to nullify the Electoral College and circumvent the requirements of the Constitution through state law. The most recent state to join in the effort was New York, when its Senate on Wednesday, passed the National Popular Vote Bill 52-7.

The effort was started by a California based group called the National Popular Vote (NPV).  NPV was organized in response to the 2000 election when, they contend, Al Gore received 500,000 more popular votes than George Bush did, yet the Electoral College gave the victory to Bush. The purpose of NPV is to bypass the Electoral College and elect the President strictly on the results of the nationwide popular vote. The allure of the idea is that deciding the winner of the Presidential race by popular vote seems more democratic.

According to NPV, “The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee a majority of the Electoral College to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would reform the Electoral College so that the electoral vote in the Electoral College reflects the choice of the nation’s voters for President of the United States.”

The plan is quite simple, Get enough states with combined Electoral College votes amounting to more than 270 to pass a state law allocating their state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most national popular vote. The plan would make the Electoral College irrelevant without the messy requirement to pass a Constitutional Amendment.

“Under the U.S. Constitution, the states have exclusive and plenary (complete) power to allocate their electoral votes, and may change their state laws concerning the awarding of their electoral votes at any time. Under the National Popular Vote bill, all of the state’s electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).”  ~NPV Website

Thus far, the bill has been signed into law in five states, Illinois, Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington. New York will be number six when passed by the lower House and signed by the Governor. These six states account for 92 of the 270 electoral votes needed to put the plan into effect. An additional 30 legislative chambers representing 20 states have already passed the bill and are awaiting action by the other state chamber and/or the Governor’s signature.

At first glance, most Americans do not see anything wrong with the plan since it does make the election of the President more democratic. For most of us, attempting to understand the Electoral College and its importance, causes our brain to go numb and our eyes to glaze over. Nevertheless, since it is the Electoral College that protects us from “a tyranny of the majority”, we need to have at least a fundamental understanding of how it works and why.

When the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 was considering the method for selecting the Chief Executive, they were faced with two choices. One, elect the President by the popular vote of the people or two, elect him by a vote of the national legislature. To understand why this choice is important we have to remember that to the Founders, who were students of both history and human nature, the thought of a pure democracy was anathema. Another important fact is that the Federal Government was intended to represent the states, and the people only indirectly through their state governments.

The Electoral College plan was a compromise between the two choices. In the compromise, states were to be divided into districts and voters in each district would choose electors who in turn would vote for the President. The rise in power of political parties modified this plan somewhat but we still follow the general practice required by the Constitution, in form, if not in substance. The most important point to consider is that the NPV bill is in direct opposition to the Founders desire to avoid the election of the President by popular vote. Participants in the Constitution Convention considered that option and rejected it as being too prone to corruption and abuse.

In the NPV plan quoted above it is claimed that, “the states have exclusive and plenary (complete) power to allocate their electoral votes.” This is an outright misrepresentation of the clear text and intent of the Constitution. Article II section 1, gives the states the authority to “appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of Electors,…” The state Legislature only has the authority to determine the manner in which electors are appointed. It does not have the authority to determine how they will vote. Neither does it have the power to “allocate” those votes to anyone other that the person for whom they were cast.

This is shown by the carefully thought out procedures for protecting the integrity of Electoral College votes and transmitting them to Congress. Both Article II and the Twelfth Amendment place the same requirements for protecting the integrity of the vote. In legal terms, it is called the “chain of custody”.

Article II: “And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.”

Twelfth Amendment: “and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;”

Even IF the states were allowed to “allocate” the electoral votes as they saw fit, there are still some major ethical questions to be considered. The “watchdog” over the Electoral Votes is the National Archives and Record’s Administration Office of the Federal Register. (NARA) In its instructions to the states, the NARA requires each state to submit a “Certificate of Ascertainment” immediately after the General Election as soon as the votes are counted and certified.

  • Each Certificate must list the names of the electors chosen by the voters and the number of votes received.
  • Each Certificate must list the names of all other candidates for elector and the number of votes received.
  • Each Certificate must be signed by the Governor and carry the seal of the State.

The Certificates of Ascertainment, are to be prepared “as soon as election results are final” and submitted to NARA. This step is usually completed in early November. The Electors do not meet until mid-December. In order for the scheme of NPV to work, many electors would have to vote  contrary to the pledge they made to the voters who elected them in the General Election. While this may be legal, no one can claim that it is ethical.

Another Constitutional hurdle the NPV must overcome is found in Article I, Section 10 that requires the approval of Congress before a state can “enter into any agreement or compact with another state”.

Based on the rate the bills have been moving, it could well be in place for the 2012 elections.Why, you may ask, are the Democrats so eager to get this scheme in place as quickly as possible?  To answer this question, we only have to look at the geographical layout of country.  Under this scheme, the President could be elected by just the voters of the most populous states. The majority of the voters in those states are located in large metropolitan areas. Nineteen of the twenty-five largest cities in the U.S. have Democratic Mayors and are dominated by Democratic political machines, many of them almost as corrupt as the Chicago machine that gave us Rod Blagojevich, Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, and Tony Rezko.  These large Metropolitan Centers are strategically located to maximize Democrat votes.

On the East Coast, there is New York that has a Democrat/Republican/Independent Mayor. The rest, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston and Washington all have Democrat Mayors. In the Midwest, Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit, Chicago and Milwaukee all have Democrat Mayors. On the West Coast, there are Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Once the NPV plan is in place campaign money and effort need only be concentrated in the large population centers. By coincidence, it is these large population centers, controlled by Democrats that are most susceptible to voter fraud, especially with organizations like ACORN, and similar groups conducting “get out the vote“ campaigns.

It is likely that the only way Obama can win reelection in 2012, unless things change, is by massive voter fraud. The NPV plan is designed to facilitate just such an outcome. It is doubtful that the National Popular Vote Bills can pass Supreme Court muster. However, by the time they  get to the Supreme Court it will be too late for the 2012 election.

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What Happened to My Country? Part Two

The Progressive Era

In the past 218 years since ratification of the Bill of Rights, only seventeen amendments have been added to our Constitution.  Except for the Civil War Amendments involving the rights of former slaves and a few other issues growing out of the war, most are minor adjustments to the various articles of the Constitution.  However, two of the four Amendments ratified during the Progressive Era (1896-1932) have proven by experience to be disastrous to the structure of Government established by the Framers, and leads directly to the current attempted statists takeover of the Government by President Barack Obama and his socialist supporters.  Both were proposed during the term of Republican President William Howard Taft and ratified in1913 during the administration of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson.

Sixteenth Amendment—Income Tax

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Amendment 16, Ratified February 3, 1913

The Progressive Era was one of the high points in the advancement of the socialist movement in America; this in spite of the fact that the socialists parties never garnered more than nine percent of the vote in presidential elections.  Since Marx’s Communist Manifesto, a goal of socialism had always been the establishment of a graduated, progressive income tax for the redistribution of wealth.  The Sixteenth Amendment provided the opportunity to realize that goal.

Although the Socialist Parties themselves were never able to muster a significant amount of support at the polls, their ideas permeated much of society at the turn of the twentieth century.  It was during the Progressive Era that we got the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Trade Commission, the Hepburn Act strengthening the ICC, four constitutional amendments and the Federal Reserve Bank.  In the Presidential Elections of 1912, all four presidential candidates—Democrat Woodrow Wilson, Republican William Howard Taft, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, and Socialist Eugene Debs—supported the income tax.

When the income tax first came into force, the rate was 7% on the wealthiest earners.  Four years later the top marginal rate was 77%, an eleven-fold increase.  The tax code today is over 40,000 pages and is used as much for social engineering and wealth redistribution as it is for the constitutional purpose of funding the essential functions of government.

The Sixteenth Amendment repeals Article One, section nine, clause four of the Constitution.  It does not repeal clause one in section eight which limits taxes to paying the public debt and funding the enumerated functions of government.  Nowhere does the Constitution authorize a progressive income tax.  In fact, it could be argued that a progressive tax violates the principle of uniformity called for in Article One, section eight, clause one.

Seventeenth Amendment—Election of Senators

Socialists, liberals, and progressives habitually use language in a cynical and misleading way to promote their agenda. One of their favorites is “the people”. However, when they speak of the people they are usually talking about the people in mass, not as individuals.  The masses are easily controlled and generally follow the leadership of demigods in herd-like fashion.  On the other hand, when conservatives speak of “the people” they are referring to a consensus of individuals each acting in their own self-interest.

Because the masses are so easily influenced by populist rhetoric, progressives cloak their agenda in appeals to democracy and democratic ideals, overlooking the fact that the Constitution was constructed as it is specifically to guard against the fickle whims of the uninformed or misinformed masses.  This accounts for the continued attempts to eliminate the Electoral College.  It also provided the impetus for the popularity of the Seventeenth Amendment providing for the popular election of Senators.

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote…”  Amendment Seventeen, Ratified April 8, 1913

There is no denying the popular appeal of the idea of electing members of the Senate by the popular vote of the people rather than by the State Legislatures.  However, this change in the structure of government, more than any other, is responsible for the transformation from a federal to a national government abolishing the sovereignty of the states.

After ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment the accountability of Senators shifted from State Legislatures to the people and ultimately to the political parties.  One of the last important changes of the Progressive Era was the formalization of authority, in 1925, in the office of the Senate Majority Leader replacing the constitutional authority of the President of the Senate held by the Vice President for the first 135 years of our existence as a Constitutional Republic.  This change cemented the loyalty of Senators to their party leadership rather than the interest of their states or the country.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, one of the consequences of the Seventeenth Amendment was the shift of power from the state legislatures to the Congress in Washington, in effect, nullifying the Tenth Amendment.  For more than a century, the Senate had been the guardian of the Tenth Amendment.  As representatives of the state legislatures, Senators were sensitive to efforts by Congress to usurp the authority of the states and succeeded, for the most part, in preventing the federal government from establishing a tyranny over the lives of the people.

The doctrine that facilitated the eventual decline in state power and the increase in federal power was “supremacy of federal law”.  Constitutionally that supremacy is limited.  The doctrine is found in Article VI of the Constitution which reads:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof…shall be the supreme law of the land.”  Article VI, Clause 2.

Just as the proponents of big government overlook the phrase “foregoing powers” in the so-called “elastic clause” of Article One, here they overlook the phrase “in pursuance thereof”.  Federal law is supreme only when the law is in pursuance to the requirements and limitations of the Constitution.  A countering doctrine to the supremacy of federal law is one that appears often in the writings of the founders and in opinions handed down by early Supreme Courts.

That doctrine holds that unconstitutional acts of Congress are null and void and should not be binding on the states or citizens of the states. In Marbury vs. Madison, for example, Justice John Marshall wrote in the Majority Opinion, “Laws repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.”  While the federal government has the police power to enforce adherence to unconstitutional laws, that does not make them constitutional or legal.

The abuse of these two amendments has done more to promote the federal tyranny we are experiencing today under the Obama administration than any other, with the possible exception of the exploitation of the “equal protection” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Obama Presidency Takes Shape

minute-man-2-lithoPresident-Elect Barack Obama continues to round out his White House and Cabinet positions with appointees drawn from the Illinois political mafia.  This week he named two more cabinet level appointees from Illinois, Congressman Ray La Hood (R-Peoria), Secretary of Transportation, and Arne Duncan, CEO Chicago Public Schools as Secretary of Education.

His choice of La Hood as Secretary of Transportation won him some accolades for bi-partisanship.  This is a little misleading, however.  La Hood is one of those familiar Illinois Republicans who offers token opposition to the state’s democrats to maintain the illusion of a two party system, but in Washington, they often side with the socialist/democrats in Congress.

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Taking Back Our Government

minute-man-2-litho2008 and 2009 will mark the most cataclysmic changes in American society since the revolution of 1776.  Our government will have been taken over in a bloodless coup.  Barack Obama will step into the White House on January 20th to take the helm of “The Socialist States of America”, the way having been prepared for him by President Bush, Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke.

We will either take back the government over the next two to eight years or condemn another generation in the near future to the unpleasant choice of taking up arms against their own government or living in servitude.  Few of us can even imagine the dislocations in our lives and life styles that will take place over the next few years, as we make the transition from a free market, capitalist society to a socialist, centrally planned one.

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Save The Electoral College

The end of 2008 finds America in one of the most precarious situations since its founding, its Constitution in tatters and its free market economy under assault as never before.  All thanks to unscrupulous politician’s lust for power and an uninformed public bent on raiding the pocketbooks of their fellow citizens to satisfy their own wishes.

There have been many attacks on the Constitution, but none more brazen, cynical and un-American than the one mounted by the well-organized group known as the National Popular Vote (NPV).  This group shows either a colossal disdain for the Constitution or an unbelievable ignorance of our form of government—or both.

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The Continuing Attacks on Electoral College

minute-man-2-lithoOn December 15, the Electoral College will meet and cast their votes for President and Vice-President in accordance with Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.  An effort has been underway for years to do away with the Electoral College and substitute in its place the popular vote as the means for electing the President and Vice-President.

The following is a reprint from our Illinois Conservative Blog of April 9, 2008.  The original is no longer available due to a computer crash that wiped out our database.

Illinois Nixes Electoral College

On Monday (4/8/08) Illinois became the third state to attempt to dump the Electoral College by state law rather than by Constitutional amendment.  The elimination of the Electoral College has long been a goal of progressives, socialists and the Democratic Party.  Attempts to get it abolished in the past by amending the Constitution has failed.

As a Congressman in 2000, Rep. Rod Blagojevich co-sponsored a proposed constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College.  Today, as Governor of Illinois, he signed into law a measure designed to bypass the Constitution and elect the President by popular vote.

The new law is largely the result of efforts by the California-based advocacy group National Popular Vote Inc.  Similar laws have been passed in Maryland and New Jersey.  The idea is to bind by law, each state’s electors to vote for the candidate who gets the most popular votes in the national election. Once enough states have passed similar laws to equal the 270 electoral votes necessary to elect a President the Constitution would be effectively rendered impotent without the need for a Constitutional amendment.

Such an attempt illustrates the contempt many politicians have for the Constitution they are sworn to uphold.  It also illustrates a colossal lack of understanding concerning our form of government.  The founders certainly were not unfamiliar with the meaning of democracy and probably understood the meaning of “popular vote“. If they wished the President to be elected by the popular vote of all the people throughout the United States they certainly had the knowledge and means to have written it into the Constitution. — Although they probably could not have gotten it ratified by the states.

Article Two of the Constitution which sets forth the manner of choosing a President was not written in a day and not without considerable discussion among the convention delegates.  The first debate record I found on this question was on July 24, 1787.  It was still under debate on September 4, six weeks later.

There were a number of proposals put forth by the delegates for selecting a President.  One of the first being the popular vote of the people.  Another was to elect the President by vote of the Legislature. Another by the state legislatures.  Still another was to elevate a member of the Legislature to the office of President by a vote of the Senate.  All were rejected for what seems to be good and valid reasons, having to do mostly with corruption and partisanship.

Aside from the founders’ distrust of pure democracy from fear of “tyranny of the majority”, they wanted the President to be able to make independent decisions not unduly influenced by others.  They believed that if elected by popular vote he would be influenced too much by the popular whims of the people at any given time.  Not much different from the attempt to “govern by polls” we see so often today.

By the same token, they believed that a choice by either the national or the state legislative bodies would place the office at too much risk of coercion by those bodies or subject the President to undue temptation to bribery or other unsavory influences by special interest groups.  The method they finally adopted was the Electoral College.

Article II, Section 1: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed;…

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”

Advocates for the National Popular Vote (NPV) claim their proposal is constitutional because the Constitution grants to the states the power to “appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct…electors”.  NPV not only violates the text of the Constitution, it also violates the spirit.  This is evident from the careful way in which the language was constructed and also in considering the overall nature of the Constitution and the government it establishes.

The U.S. government is a constitutional republic not a pure democracy.  Furthermore the same form of government is guaranteed to each state by the same Constitution.

Article IV, Section 4: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form of government…”

Exactly what is meant by “a republican form of government”, although well understood by the founders, is not well understood today.  The definition agreed on universally is that it means the rule of law as opposed to rule by a monarchy, oligarchy or dictatorship, with the same law applying to government officials as to the people.  Under our form of government, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and trumps all others.

Another feature of our form of republican government is that the people do not, by popular vote, make decisions of law or policy.  Instead, we elect representatives who make those decisions for us. If we do not like the decisions they make we do not re-elect them.  This is evident from considering two hundred plus years of history and also viewing the Constitution in its entirety. From the Village Board, to the City Council, to the Federal government this principle applies.  The modern practice in some states of referendums is a fairly new device introduced by the progressive movement.

Getting back to the Constitution, Article II, Section 1:  Notice that the authority of the State Legislature is limited to determining the manner in which electors are to be appointed and nothing else.  Also notice, “No Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector“.  Only by understanding that the framers did not intend for any member of the state legislature or other official of the state to influence the outcome of the electoral vote, does this restriction make any sense at all.

Furthermore the fact that the electors were to meet once, at a time and place prescribed by federal law and cast their votes “by ballot”, the tally of which was to be sealed and delivered to the Senate of the United States along with certification as to their authenticity.  It is evident from these facts that the vote of the electors was to be based on their own judgment, independent of the influence of those who appointed them, whether elected by the people or appointed by the legislature.  The current practice of many states to cast all their electoral votes for the candidate receiving the most votes statewide, notwithstanding.

The main reason why the founders rejected the election of a President by popular vote was because such an arrangement would disenfranchise the smaller states and give undue weight to the votes of the more populous states where the vote is more easily controlled by political machines in major cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, etc.  That still seems like the most valid reason to me.