American Elephants


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

us-constitution
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



Democrats Are Trying to Create a Constitutional Crisis! by The Elephant's Child

us-constitution

We are told that the Senate, under the direction of Majority Leader Harry Reid, is trying to write a bill to give President Obama the authority to raise the US Debt Limit by executive order.

Great effort is being expended by the Democrats in general and Obama in particular to scare the public that everything is about to come apart because of the raging disagreement in Congress. Obama has said if Congress won’t give him his way, he will just have to “go around Congress.” The Constitution does not allow him to do that.

The Democrats are dealing with the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 4, which says:

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pension and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

The Section 5 clause adds:

The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Since neither Harry Reid nor the Senate can amend the Constitution — that has to be done by passing an amendment in both houses which has to be approved by the 50 states, or by holding a Constitutional Convention— I suppose they’re going to try some tricky application of Section 5 to let them fix Section 4 to meet their preferences.

The “power of the purse” rests with the House of Representatives. That is the power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States. To borrow money on the credit of the United States, To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several states, to coin Money, and to deal with pirates. I’ve left some things out, it’s a long section.

The reason the House is in charge of the government purse, is because they are the closest representatives to the people, and it is the people’s taxes that they are arguing about. Members of the House represent the people of their state according to population numbers. They have to face the voters every two years to seek their approval.  In the 2010 election, Americans gave Republicans the biggest landslide victory in 75 years — after Democrats passed ObamaCare.

Because the Democrats in the Senate refused to pass a budget— as they were required by law to do for four years — Congress has been reduced to operating on ‘continuing resolutions’ which simply kick the can down the road for a few months when they will have the same battle all over again.

Democrats are remarkably unconcerned about money. The national debt of nearly $17 trillion will get fixed— somehow. Congress must agree to finance the government so that we do not default on the debt. Only the president and the Democrats have suggested that anyone would default on the debt. Democrats don’t do principles, they freely admit it. They consider issues as they come up and react to them. Whether this partly explains their unconcern with deficits, balanced budgets, or whether it’s math avoidance, economic ignorance or just an illusion that there’s always more tax money to be collected, I have no idea. I do not understand how they can be so casual with the people’s money.

I find their attitude bewildering. You will often hear a liberal say that marginal tax rates under FDR were 94% for the rich, and we got along all right. Why can’t we do that again? Obama has for five years exhibited no restraint in spending whatsoever. Chicago style politics reigns, cronies and supporters are rewarded, graft and fraud are common. The agencies and departments of government have been used as political tools to subvert elections, punish supporters of the opposition party, destroy the businesses of opponents, and to give out guaranteed loans and grants to supporters. Crooked government.

This is the man who ran for office promising to be “a uniter, not a divider.” That worked out well.

I don’t know where the Democrats are planning to take this. The American people are worried about the debt and about government spending. Americans may not understand higher economics — but they do know about bills and debt and not running up a big balance on the national credit card. They are beginning to sense the president’s contempt for ordinary citizens.  #Occupy America and jokes about the Barrycades simply presage greater civil disobedience. Americans don’t take well to Autocrats, nor dictators.



Mark Levin Explains “The Liberty Amendments.” by The Elephant's Child

Sound interesting? Here is Mark Levin”s book, and here is one of  many editions of The Federalist Papers.




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