If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions.

James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, 1792


They read the constitution on the floor of the house today.  They didn’t read the whole thing. They left the parts out that are no longer relevant, the 18th amendment, the 3/5ths compromise.  It would have, for my money, been better had they read the actual entire document, warts and all.  I don’t want some sanitized version of reality put forth of the history of the nation in which I live.  I want all of it.  The good and the bad.  Show us for the flawed people we are, a people who are a work in progress, who don’t always get it right, but always try.  Don’t show us as you wish we were, but as we were.


A quick aside:

To be honest I can’t really make that last statement like that.  I should say,  Don’t show them as you wish they were, but as they were.  You see, I am a third generation American.  My grandparents on my father’s side came over here on a boat in the 1920’s,  1923 as I recall the story, they came from Ireland and landed at Ellis Island.  My parents on my mothers side came over earlier, not sure how much earlier, but not much earlier, from Poland.  

My family had nothing to do with it, unfortunately.  We were just simple peasants from the country side who decided that we wanted out of those two nations, and came here to seek our fortune. 

I would feel honored if I were descended from those long dead patriots, and had a blood line that went back to the initial defense of the concept of American liberty, but it simply isn’t the case.  Felt a need to say that, just to square up and be honest about myself to you, the reader. (all 4 of you)


Viddy of the day:  House Gallery Disturbance During Constitution Reading.  There was a disturbance during the reading of the Constitution, during the reading of the bit in Article 2 section 5, about qualifications for the office of the President.  A birther started yelling about the President not being American.  Funny stuff. The chair, Rep. Simpson from Idaho, dealt with the drunken screamer correctly. 


A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

James Madison, letter to W.T. Barry, 1822


The entire concept of leaving out bits of the constitution simply for their own wants, regardless of reason, is to me entirely disingenuous to the concept they were trying to get out there.  They wanted to show their love for the document, for the freedom that it represents, and a “renewed sense of the limits the founders intended to place on government“(more on that in a minute).   But what kind of love of nation is it that turns a blind eye to the less than perfect parts of it’s past?  Blind love.  That is not a concept I would ever ascribe to.  I am an American.  I love America, but there is some very ugly shit done in this nation.  Accept it.  Own it.  It’s OK, it doesn’t make you un-American, as a matter of fact, it makes you MORE American.


On the limits of power the Republicans wanted to show Americans:

One hopes that they will shut up about shutting down the fed, and all the bitching about taxation the way they do, like it’s unconstitutional.  I can talk about it, they can’t.  Why?  The document implies the power  to create the fed, and the power of taxation is not only implicit, it is actually stated as a power of congress.  Don’t believe me?  Read article 1, section 8, under enumerated powers. 

Apropos for several reasons

As given, the power to tax in the constitution is almost without limit.  The only limit on it is that it be uniform, and uniform is a word, that in the context of taxation, can be widely interpreted.  Uniform does not mean everyone should taxed equally.  It can mean that the tax burden should be progressive, since those that have more can afford to pay more, uniform by equal burden on those taxed.  If the percentage of tax on a man who only makes $10,000 is the same as it is on  man who makes $100,000,000, is that not onerous to the man who makes the smaller amount? It could even be argued the other way, if you are rich. 

There are many ways to mince words. 

And not just using section 8 article 1.  

Article 6 section 2 makes States rights, that great bulwark of anti-federal government power, a silly joke because one word in that clause.  Shall.  It is not a request that federal law is the law of the land,incapable of being superseded by local statute, it is an order that compels, with all the weight and power of the federal government. Without it, the little rock nine would never have made it to school. I could use more examples, but will not, I’m sure you can provide your own.

The government can do a great many things in just about anyway they want to, and claim constitutionality based on the necessary and proper clause and the Supremacy clause.  Why do you think the NSA exists?  Fisa courts? Because they want it.  Because they can.

There are your limits of government, Republicans.  Enjoy your power, like you always do.  Don’t let it go to your heads too much.


That’s it from here, America.  12 notes tomorrow, methinks.  G’night!

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