American Elephants


The Constitution is Under Attack by The Elephant's Child

Bet you didn’t know that today is Constitution Day, the national observance holiday that most Americans never heard of. Investors Business Daily called my attention to the Date. They say “this year, 2018, it may well be our most important holiday. For the Constitution is threatened more now than at any time since seven southern states seceded from Union and Civil War broke out on April 12, 1861.”

Scott Powell of the Discovery Institute explains the present peril, and it’s important to understand how and why he declares this to be so. The article from Investors is here, not long, and worth your time.

Richard Epstein of the Hoover Institution contributed to the Politico symposium this morning about the Kavanaugh matter: “The Democratic resistance to the Kavanaugh nomination has been an all-out assault on his judicial philosophy and personal integrity from the moment that it was announced. And here is the Wall Street Journal’s take on the #Me Too Kavanaugh Ambush. And here is Victor Davis Hanson on “The New Refuge of Scoundrels” in which he takes on the anonymous op-eds, the Kavanaugh accusations and the other anonymous accusations said to be justified because of the sheer awfulness of the Trump administration because “ripped from their mother’s arms” and other excrescences of the Left in its agonies.

Well, of course Constitution Day is the perfect time for Hillary to come forth with a demand that we abolish the Electoral College because Donald Trump is destroying America. Poor Hillary, she was just so entitled, and she cannot get over her loss. This was in a long article in The Atlantic, derived from her book “What Happened” (sales of her book may not be going well) in which she explains just how perfectly dreadful, awful, horrible the Trump administration is with every false trope the Democrats have come up with. There the s#!#-hole comment about some African countries (who deserve the appellation) which proves that Trump is racist (Nobody ever called Trump a racist until he ran for the presidency). The 3,000 deaths from Hurricane Maria, ‘ripped from the arms’, every trope the Democrats have devised.

What it clearly demonstrates is that the Democrats have no respect for or understanding of the Constitution. The Electoral College protects the votes of all Americans from the over-populous coastal states to see that all votes count. Feminists are demanding a new Amendment to the Constitution to make sure that females are entitled to every benefit that males get, excluding unimportant stuff like the draft and combat, I guess.

In the meantime, former Democratic presidential candidate, Secretary of State and Senator John Kerry has been off to Iran to tell their government how to deal with the Trump administration’s attempt to nullify the Obama administration’s  Iran Deal. He is apparently unaware that he is no longer the Secretary of State and doesn’t get to do American foreign policy. He should be prosecuted. He has admitted that he met “three or four times” with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif since Kerry left office. He admits talking about Trump’s decision to exit the foolish Iran nuclear deal that Kerry helped craft. This is a plain violation of the Logan Act, that forbids private American citizens from conducting foreign policy with out official authorization.

So give a little thought to the U.S. Constitution today. Signed in Convention on Monday September 17, 1787.

The Cato Institute has long published pocket-sized bound copies of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution 3½” x 5″. Good for you and for your kids.  Kamala Harris sneered at Brett Kavanaugh about “that little book you carry in your pocket” which was probably one of these.  Cato, I believe still has group prices for more than one copy, inexpensive.

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This Is What The Vote Would Look Like If We Abolished the Electoral College. by The Elephant's Child

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Hillary’s “victory” in the popular vote took place entirely in California, because the state is so populous, and so far left. Had California seceded, as some Californians were insisting until the rest of us suggested that they could rejoin Mexico, Hillary would not have had a popular vote win. And this is why the Constitution makes it clear that the popular vote does not matter, because all of our states must have a voice.

If Democrats would take a little time out from their fulminating and just read the Constitution—they might appreciate what a wondrous document it is, and how fortunate we are that the founders wrote it. We are the envy of the world, and yet other countries can seldom be enticed into giving the power to the people, rather than to the reigning government.

Our battles to retain that power— “this government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth”— are a constant interest and inspiration to the world. Or why did you think whatever we do here makes front page news in the newspapers and broadcasts of the rest of the world? And why our enemies like ISIS and Iran want so badly to destroy us? Our freedom is, of course, messy, and they sneer at the mess without understanding that’s the nature of freedom.



Sources For Everything You Need to Know on Constitution Day by The Elephant's Child

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Where can you get a copy of the United States Constitution? The Cato Institute has dandy pocket Constitutions — 3½” x  5″ for $4.95 each, or 10 copies for $10 — including the Bill of Rights and all the amendments. Make sure each of your kids or grandkids have their own copy, and that they read it.

Birthdays or Christmas, get them a copy of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power by John Steele Gordon. It explains why things happened the way they did, and why a free people, whose freedoms are guaranteed by the world’s greatest constitution, are the envy of the world.

Here’s a list of the 20 questions kids ask most on Constitution Day.

Here’s a list of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention who signed the Constitution into law, and a brief biography of each one, and of the three Delegates who refused to sign.

Here’s a brief 10 question quiz to test your basic knowledge of the Constitution, and if you don’t excel, refer back to where you get a copy.

Don’t forget that the Constitution was preceded by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. The Library of Congress has an excellent overview of the Articles, and  you can read the Articles of Confederation at Yale’s Avalon project to see why we needed a do-over. And here are copies of The Federalist Papers, in many different editions.

Progressives don’t really like the Constitution, as their aim is a socialist paradise of some kind with themselves in charge. Free people and Free Markets just don’t fit into their vision, and apparently they don’t read enough or keep up with the news enough to grasp the long dismal histories of socialist countries — evidenced by Obama’s efforts to make nice with Cuba, or the current situation in Venezuela where the people are starving. Or North Korea, Russia, China, Vietnam, etc., etc. They always believe that those other people just didn’t do it right. That, in itself is a very basic reason to bone up on the Constitution, if you value being a free person in a free country.

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Obama is Frustrated by The Separation of Powers by The Elephant's Child

It’s called the U.S. Constitution, and it’s the envy of the world. That old document that the Left finds so annoying. Nearly eight years in office, an oath twice taken:

I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute
the office of the President of the United States,and will
to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend
the Constitution  of the United States.

And he still doesn’t get it.



Some Straight Talk About Some Big Problems! by The Elephant's Child

In the wake of the Paris attacks, Europe is struggling to cope with the vast invasion of “Syrian refugees,”most of whom are not actually from Syria.” The northern Italian region of Lombardy has passed regulations forbidding access into hospitals and public buildings to anyone wearing face-covering garments, such as the burqa and niqab; this is the first regional law to explicitly outlaw Islamic face coverings in Italy.

Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni announced the new regulation for access to regional structures, prompted in particular by the Northern League after the November 13 jihadist attacks in Paris. The text makes reference to national legislation already in place, which prohibits people from going about in public dressed in a way that prevents facial recognition without a “justifiable motive.”

The secretary of the Lombard League, Paul Grima, said that current legislation is not respected or enforced,“ as thousands of Muslim women go about undisturbed with their faces completely covered by the burqa or the niqab, making it impossible to identify them.”

The new regulation, which will take effect on January 1, 2016, authorizes personnel to stop people from entering public buildings if their faces are not clearly visible, and thus prohibits not only the burqa, but also helmets and other headgear.

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Here’s a good explanation of traditional Muslim headgear, which is useful as we continue to see increasing numbers of Muslims here. In a very open country such as our own, such face-covering can become problematic. I see Muslim women in Hijab occasionally in a Seattle suburban grocery store, and once encountered a woman in full Burqa, and was surprised to see that it included gloves, so the hands were covered. States have had to rule on requirements for driver’s licenses, and I don’t know what the rules are for entrance into guarded buildings, or for voter registration.

It comes up whenever there is a terrorist attack, In the case of the San Bernardino shooting, there were protests over photographs of Tashfeen Malik without her face covered. (See just below) There are often reports of ISIS fighters using Muslim face covering garb to avoid detection.

In the United States this is particularly difficult because of the First Amendment to the Constitution regarding freedom of religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting  an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” That amendment, designed to prohibit the State from establishing a state religion, such as in England where the wars of religion between England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France had caused so many years of bloody fighting, has continued to cause difficulty into the modern age with wider interpretation. Militant atheists have sued to prevent Christian crosses from appearing on any federal building or land, money, or in any representation whatsoever— as if the crosses on the graves of Christians at Arlington National Cemetery are an “establishment of religion.” With the direct assaults on the Constitution by Democrats in their own political quest for some other Utopia, it’s a big problem.

I believe that the establishment clause refers directly to creating a state required religion, but it is continuously problematic for the Supreme Court, and different courts are faced with the same problem over and over.

With Muslim immigration a whole new chapter opens.  Thousands of Muslims are seeking new lives in America; some simply want American citizenship and the right to practice their religion, yet  others are seeking to destroy. How do we tell the difference? For the Muslim American, the traditional exercise of Islamic Law—Sharia, in the traditional sense, is problematic. Honor killings will send the perpetrator to prison for life, or get the death penalty. Face-covering is unacceptable in all sorts of situations. Wife beating will get a jail term. Homosexuality is accepted, not a cause for execution. Any expectation of adopting Sharia as law in any part of this country would transform America in totally unacceptable ways. These are big, big questions that are deserving of far more serious thought than Donald Trump’s glib, thoughtless announcement to grab media attention, that he would ban all Muslim immigration.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has courageously called for the reform and moderation of Islam. He has taken measures within Egypt such as regulating mosque sermons and changing school textbooks to help halt the glorifying of hatred and violence. He even attended a Christmas Mass and spoke at the Coptic Orthodox Christmas service in Cairo, and wished the Christians a merry Christmas.

At the same time, ISIS is attempting to return to the Sixth Century, and Iran is declaring “Death to Israel” and “Death to America” as government policy. That’s where we are.
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The House Will Sue The President For Failing To Observe The Separation of Powers. by The Elephant's Child

Budget Talks Deteriorate Amid Republican Identity Shift On Tax Increases
House Speaker John Boehner told his colleagues on Wednesday that the House of Representatives will sue the executive branch of the government to defend the Constitution’s separation of powers. The Speaker, said the Wall Street Journal, is showing more care that the laws be faithfully executed as the Constitution demands than is President Obama.

The Congress, Mr. Boehner said in his memo to the House, is suffering institutional injury  under Mr. Obama’s “aggressive unilateralism” which is a pretty fair description of his governing philosophy. When the president suspends or rewrites laws across health care, drug policy, immigration laws, and so much else— elected legislators are stripped of their constitutional role.

The basic reason behind this step is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for regular political order. For example, he has unilaterally revised, delayed or reinterpreted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on his own thirty-eight times.

Everyone would prefer that the Congress and the President would settle their disputes through the customary political debates and arguments. House members represent the people of their district by population, and are closest to the public for they must face reelection every two years. A senator represents a whole state. The president represents all the people of the country. It was designed by the Founders to slow things down, so that poorly considered laws were not enacted in haste, in the hopes that would result in better law.

In the current climate, potential laws are not getting through Congress. The lapdog media would blame it all on the Republicans, but the blame lies directly in the hands of the Majority Leader of the Senate—who refuses to allow laws passed by the House to even be voted on. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work.

The Founders did not consider the possibility that a future president might pay no attention to his oath of office, or just take the law into his own hands. They assumed that a president’s honor and character would mean that even when he disagreed, he would abide by the rules.

“The major reason to involve the judiciary in this case is Mr. Obama’s flagrant contempt for the regular political order,” said the Wall Street Journal.

This president does not feel restrained by the Constitution that he swore to uphold. When Congress will not pass the laws that he wants, as he has said, “I’ve got a phone and a pen.” He will just take action on his own by “executive order.”All presidents have used executive orders from time to time, but none have ever used executive orders to rewrite laws duly passed and signed into law.

Far from a partisan caper, this implicates the foundation of the U.S. political architecture. The courts generally presume that individual Members of Congress lack the “standing” to make a legal challenge, but Mr. Obama is stealing inherent Article I powers that no party other than Congress can vindicate. Mr. Boehner said he will seek a House vote authorizing the lawsuit and put it under the direction of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.

A single Congressman may not have standing, but Congress has the institutional standing to sue the president and are thus asking a constitutional question that has not been joined at the courts. More than a few judges and Supreme Court Justices seem to be concerned that Mr. Obama’s conduct is undermining the rule of law and political accountability. Just this week, the Supreme Court slapped down the EPA for defying the plain language of the law in the name of anti-carbon policy. More rebukes may be coming with cases about recess appointments and the ObamaCare contraception mandate.

Last summer, Mr. Obama proclaimed that “in a normal political environment” he’s ask Congress to fix laws such as ObamaCare, but since the House disagrees with his priorities, he’ll just go ahead and fix them himself without legislative consent. But then again, the president can hardly get through normal comments to the press without proclaiming that he is the President of the United States or The Commander in Chief. President Bush often said that “he was the Decider,” but that was not a proclamation of his importance, but a humble expression of the weight of the decisions that he must make. There’s a significant difference.

Thanks to Mr. Boehner, the courts will get a chance to weigh in on whether Mr. Obama or his successors can exercise imperial powers.

 



We All Need Reminding From Time to Time: by The Elephant's Child

constitution-signing

From Bernard Bailyn’s The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution:

“At the Philadelphia convention, with exquisite care and with delicate nuances, they devised a complex constitution that would generate the requisite power but would so distribute its flow and uses that no one body of men and no one institutional center would ever gain a monopoly of force or influence that would dominate the nation.”

In every generation, we need to remind the people of the care and wisdom that went into the making of the Constitution. It has worked for 286 years, and remains unique among nations in its establishment by “We the People,” and the limited powers that it grants to the government. And it is up to us to remind our representatives in government of its meaning, and to insure that our schools teach its history and its meaning .

See also: Catherine Drinker Bowen’s Miracle at Philadelphia




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