Friday, March 23, 2012

Little by little, and sometimes no so little, the Constitution is being destroyed by the Federal government. 
Article IV (4th Amendment): "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effets, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon PROBABLE CAUSE (my caps) , supported by Oath, or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Amended by me: Except when you are in an airport or now at the discretion of the National Counterterrorism Center. Who?

Read this and weep, and consider what "terrorists" did to the rights of each and every American citizen...

Friday, March 9, 2012

How History Repeats Itself: Part One "IRAN"

Way back in the day, the 1820s to be exact, President Monroe (yes him again) and his Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, declared the Americas as a zone forbidden to future encroachment by foreign powers.  Russia and Great Britain were, at that point in time, the main targets that the United States was aiming this at.  We know it today, if we know it at all, as the Monroe Doctrine.  To sum it up, most of the countries of South and Central America were established as republics in that era.  They had been Spanish possessions but Spain was no longer able to maintain control in this part of the world, as witnessed by the US grabbing Florida and other territory on the continent.  But Great Britain was to our north in Canada and Russia was nipping at our heels in the Pacific northwest.  So Monroe and Adams declared it all off bounds, with the one exception being Canada.  What does this have to do with 2012?  Well, take a look at a world map:

Do you notice something striking about Iran?  Now I know the Iranian leadership is half crazy and the other half is out of their minds.  But, let's all become Iranian for just a moment.  I won't get in to the Shah and all of the nasty political stuff prior to his removal.  I am just referring to the now.  Okay, to the west is Iraq, where there are American troops and advisers, to the east is Afghanistan where there are American troops and advisers, to the southeast is Pakistan and it's nukes, to the southwest is Saudi Arabia an ally of the West.  Then you have the volatile Persian Gulf.  Now color me crazy, but as an Iranian I would be a bit nervous about where I live, and would be preparing myself for doom and gloom.  One look at the map, and one look at the US in 1820 and I fully understand why the Iranians are planning to defend themselves in any way they see fit.   Back in the day we Americans were quite nervous about our neighbors.  Remember, we are talking about an America still in it's birth pangs, just less than 10 years from the War of 1812 where foreign troops marched into Washington and burned the White House to the ground.  We really were still powerless to stop any foreign country, or let's say Russia and Great Britain, from grabbing territory on the North American continent.  We had little fire power on the land or the sea.  Nevertheless, Monroe declared both North and South America as off bounds to foreign incursion.  We didn't want those nasty foreigners and imperialists treading on our scared soil. I suppose the Iranians feel the same way.  It's difficult to see the other side of the coin when it comes to Iran, North Korea, and other countries that we see as "against us."  But perhaps we need to read some history and consider the rest of the world as independent of American and Western hegemony.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

It was requested by someone very dear to me (cough "Xinxin" cough) that I restart my blog.  So here it is, back and better (maybe) than ever.  Hopefully someone somewhere will follow this stream of unconsciousness.

I have been reading a biography of James Monroe for the last bit and thinking how much history repeats itself.  By the way, Monroe was not Marilyn's brother, as someone said (cough "Xinxin" cough).  He was the 5th president of the United States.  Maybe one of the least known, except that lots of people might think he was related to Marilyn.  No, instead he was the last of the Virginia Quartet: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe.  Now there was a brain trust.  Where are these guys now that we really need them.  Dead, of course. But their legacy, both good and bad, is still with us.  First, the bad parts everyone wants to blame them for, namely slavery.  What most people don't know, or wish not to know, is that slavery was quite common in the northern states.  Our friend Ben Franklin was said to own three slaves, and there is archaeological evidence right in downtown Philadelphia that many of our Founding Fathers brought their slaves with them even while writing "All Men are Created Equal."  But that's another story for another day.  The fact is that our republic was born on two opposite sides of a political coin.  On one side was the agricultural south, dependent on trade with Europe.  On the other side was the manufacturing north, much more self dependent than their cousins to the south.  Thus, you had Jefferson and Madison thinking of a nation of states with their own set of laws and relatively free of a strong central government.  On the other side, essentially controlled by Alexander Hamilton (if you don't know who he is take a look at your $10 bill), were the Federals who wished for a strong central government ruled over by a monarch-like president.  The Federal(ists) linger to this day, and in fact our government has it's stamp on every facet of our lives.  The Federalists of the late 1700s to about 1820 faded from the scene, but their concept/view of a domineering government was reborn when the Civil War erupted.  The Southern states demanded their rights as originally conceived in the Constitution.  Lincoln and the north did not see it that way, and our nation and the federal government was changed forever.  The intent of the Founders, particularly Jefferson and Madison, was a federal government with only those powers specified in the Constitution.  If it was not written in the Constitution then the states had that power.  But the Federalists saw it differently, thus the federal government obtained implied powers.  As soon as the Constitution was dry the Founders found ways to circumvent the stated powers, and again it continues to this day.  As an example just think about what happens when you go to the airport.  The 4th Amendment says, to paraphrase, no unreasonable search and seizure.  The intent was that you are innocent until there is proven guilt.  But when you enter the airport, in the name of safety, EVERYONE IS GUILTY AND SURRENDERS THEIR 4TH AMENDMENT RIGHTS.  As Franklin said, and he was paraphrasing someone else whose name escapes me, "A nation that surrenders it's rights in the name of safety deserves neither."  But we all roll over in the name of safety.  So, by the time Monroe became president in 1817 the Constitution was just a piece of paper that was ignored according to which way the wind was blowing.  Thus, when General Andrew Jackson felt like invading a foreign nation for reasons of national security (did they have weapons of mass destruction?), mostly on a whim, he did so without any ramification.  Oh, in case you don't know, the foreign nation he invaded was Spain.  Yes, it's true.  The Spanish territory he invaded and pretty much stole was what we now call...ready for this...Florida.  Yep, Florida.  Was he recalled or punished for this provocative action?  No.  Somehow he was deemed a hero and the federal government used the implied powers as a shield.  Hmm.  So does history repeat itself?  In the words of Sarah Palin "You betcha!"