Congressional Oversight on the States; Article 1 Section 10

Finishing out the tenth section of Article One.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

States cannot charge a tax on the freight of ships in their ports unless they had Congressional Consent. States also can’t have standing armies and battleships in peacetime. They could have a State Militia, which is every able-bodied man. States also need Congressional approval for any deal or contract with another state or foreign country. And finally, States cannot declare war on another state or country unless they were invaded or about to be where there’s no time.

This actually completes Article One of the Constitution. Next week we see how much power the President and the Executive Branch really have.

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Battlefield USA?

There’s a Bill in the Senate…S. 1867 that has some people worried. This section to be exact…

SEC. 1031. AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE.

    (a) In General- Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
    (b) Covered Persons- A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
      (1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
      (2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
    (c) Disposition Under Law of War- The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
      (1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
      (2) Trial under chapter 47A of title 10, United States Code (as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (title XVIII of Public Law 111-84)).
      (3) Transfer for trial by an alternative court or competent tribunal having lawful jurisdiction.
      (4) Transfer to the custody or control of the person’s country of origin, any other foreign country, or any other foreign entity.
    (d) Construction- Nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.
    (e) Requirement for Briefings of Congress- The Secretary of Defense shall regularly brief Congress regarding the application of the authority described in this section, including the organizations, entities, and individuals considered to be `covered persons’ for purposes of subsection (b)(2).

SEC. 1032. REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY CUSTODY.

    (a) Custody Pending Disposition Under Law of War-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.
      (2) COVERED PERSONS- The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined–
        (A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
        (B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.
      (3) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR- For purposes of this subsection, the disposition of a person under the law of war has the meaning given in section 1031(c), except that no transfer otherwise described in paragraph (4) of that section shall be made unless consistent with the requirements of section 1033.
      (4) WAIVER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY- The Secretary of Defense may, in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence, waive the requirement of paragraph (1) if the Secretary submits to Congress a certification in writing that such a waiver is in the national security interests of the United States.
    (b) Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens-
      (1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.
      (2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS- The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.
    (c) Implementation Procedures-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall issue, and submit to Congress, procedures for implementing this section.
      (2) ELEMENTS- The procedures for implementing this section shall include, but not be limited to, procedures as follows:
        (A) Procedures designating the persons authorized to make determinations under subsection (a)(2) and the process by which such determinations are to be made.
        (B) Procedures providing that the requirement for military custody under subsection (a)(1) does not require the interruption of ongoing surveillance or intelligence gathering with regard to persons not already in the custody or control of the United States.
        (C) Procedures providing that a determination under subsection (a)(2) is not required to be implemented until after the conclusion of an interrogation session which is ongoing at the time the determination is made and does not require the interruption of any such ongoing session.
        (D) Procedures providing that the requirement for military custody under subsection (a)(1) does not apply when intelligence, law enforcement, or other government officials of the United States are granted access to an individual who remains in the custody of a third country.
        (E) Procedures providing that a certification of national security interests under subsection (a)(4) may be granted for the purpose of transferring a covered person from a third country if such a transfer is in the interest of the United States and could not otherwise be accomplished.

Now I loath reading legalese and because Senator Udall didn’t like this part,  just to be safe he proposed the Udall Amendment. Which simply clarifies where the military arrests terrorists.

SA 1109. Mr. UDALL of Colorado submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 1867, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

On page 361, line 9, insert after “a person who is described in paragraph (2) who is captured” the following: “abroad”.

SA 1110. Mr. UDALL of Colorado submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 1867, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

On page 359, line 13, insert after “covered persons (as defined in subsection (b))” the following: “captured abroad”.

My Senators, in their successful quest to get me to vote them out, voted against it. Here’s the roll call here, does your Senator support a police state. Looks like it will pass with a heavily bipartisan vote, thus proving that Democrats and Republicans really don’t give a damn about your liberty, its just nice to say they like small government and freedom on the campaign trail.

Obama has said he’ll veto it, but as he’s a habitual liar, we’ll see. I hope he does.

A Third of The Way There, National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011

Last week H.R 822, read it here, was passed by the House of Representatives with a vote of 272-154.

Imagine how your drivers license allows you to drive in any state. Now your license to discreetly carry your handgun will work in any state. Or it will if it gets through Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama.

Who voted for it?

229 Republicans and 43 Democrats voted yes. 7 Republicans and 147 Democrats voted no. 5 Republicans and 2 Democrats didn’t vote.

All 4 of Arkansas’s Representatives voted Aye. Of course Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker, voted No. Of the 7 who didn’t vote 5 were Republicans: Michelle Bachmann, Gardner, Ron Paul, Schmidt, and Shimkus. Two Democrats, Giffords (Gabrielle I assume) and Kaptur. You can see the Roll Call here.

Now one of the arguments against it is the 10th Amendment or state’s sovereign rights.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Except the Second Amendment doesn’t give the States an option to ban guns when they agreed to the Constitution, unless they secede. Also in the 14th Amendment…

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Plus the above highlighted adds more armor to it. Good week for recognizing our sovereign right to defense. Notice I didn’t say “grant”? If attacked you don’t ask an authority figure if you “may” defend yourself, you just do it.

The 17 Powers of Congress, The First 3: Taxes, Debt & Commerce

What powers does the Congress have? Section 8 of Article tell us.

Section 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Right off the bat, the Congress was giving the ability to tax. Also

  • Duties: Which are taxes on goods coming or going into the country.
  • Imposts: Taxes collected in Customs
  • Excises: A internal tax on certain commodities, their manufacture, sale, or consumption within the country.

We have taxes to provide the common defense, which is everyone in the country’s borders should be protected by law and police and invaders. On a side note…government has failed on that. Anyway, Section 8 speaks again of the general welfare of the U.S. I explained in the very first essay on the Constitution that the word meant, and I quote…

A very contentious line in the Preamble. So let’s look at the origin and context of the time. Between 1275-1325 from the phrase wel fare. The old definition of Well is ‘in a good and satisfactory manner.’ Then we have Fare, which means ‘state of things’ in the first definition. Context is important. Together that is ‘a good and satisfactory state of things’. Not a monthly check or subsidized anything. That definition of welfare came from the church and philanthropists in the form of charity. Which is voluntarily funded.

And then that paragraph finished with all taxes being equal. Not this group pays more than that.

Then the next line gives it the ability to borrow money on the credit of the country. Boy wasn’t that power abused, especially within the last 50 years.

Then we have…the commerce clause, which has been twisted to justify almost everything. Lets look at it, with highlights…

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

Regulate, not require. The regulations were for protection of fraud and protectionism among the states. Its why goods coming across state lines aren’t taxed by state governments before they’re allowed in or out.

We are just getting started folks, more coming next week.

The Declaration of Independence; England Attacks

Have you read the Declaration of Independence? You really should, so you’ll see where we came from and the fact that we’re going back to the tyranny we fought a war over. This is part 8 of 10series on the Declaration. Let’s continue with the charges.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Before the Declaration was even signed, British Parliament decided the Colonies were no longer under British Protection and set up a siege, and began burning towns, and shutting down local governments. Where the Founders responded with diplomacy, the King struck with violence before the Declaration was even written. What it did accomplish was setting the tone in History for Why the war was fought.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Any ship caught on the seas going to or leaving the Colonies was captured and told they will fight for England or face punishment. He also sought allies among the Indian Tribes.  A smart move, admittedly but the Colonists weren’t fans of the highly effective guerrilla tactics of the tribes. A bit of historical context for you courtesy of The Founding.

Next week, I’ll look at the final statements of the Declaration.

The Declaration Of Independence: Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Have you read the Declaration of Independence? You really should, so you’ll see where we came from and the fact that we’re going back to the tyranny we fought a war over. This is a 10 part series on the Declaration. Let’s begin.

The most quoted part of the Declaration, lets look at the well-known  preamble piece by piece.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

 

Self-evident, every one who thinks knows this. That every man and woman is created equal, by whateever higher power they believe in, with certain Rights. These Rights are natural and can not be taken away short of death, existing before any government was formed so government does not give us any rights, that’s the meaning of unalienable. “That among these” is that there is more than what is listed but later covered in the Bill of Rights.

Life: we are all born with it, and no one has the right to take it away, this gives you the right to defend it also.

Liberty: freedom to do as you want as long as you do no harm to others.

Pursuit of Happiness: To pursue what makes you happy. We are born of equal flesh and blank slates, what we do with our lives is what is unequal effort, and you have no guarantee of happiness.And taking from one to give to another is infringing on THAT person’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Governments are made by people, to protect the weaker people’s rights as well as the strong. We are equal in rights after all, and a government is to protect us from tyrants foreign and domestic. But government only works on those that allowed it, and when the tyranny comes from the very government that was formed to keep it away, people have the Right to liquidate it, and begin again. Building it around what they believe to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

The Founders did give a warning, since they’ve proven to be far more far-sighted than the current crop in the government who only see as far as the next election. That warning is that the governmental changes makes waves that are felt by everyone, depending on the size of it. They also recognized that what’s familiar, the status-quo is accepted, until it gets uncomfortable, and that people will put up with a lot. Its why most change is incremental, you adapt to it, then are blind to it. And when tyranny reigns, its our right, and duty, to hit the reset button.

We defied one tyrant, fought for freedom, and birthed a nation based on the foundational right to live your own life as long as you do no harm to others. We have been moving steadily backwards from the ideals that founded America, and we should be ashamed. The power is in the people, and we abdicated that authority to faceless bureaucrats. We have a choice, Dependent or Independent. Which are you?

Next week, I’ll look at the charges against King George and see if we suffer under the same today.