Oath Keepers vs Militias — No One Wins…

As I sit here reading the latest installment in the great “Oath Keepers vs Militias” soap opera, (available at http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2014/04/29/bundy-ranch-advisory-for-april-29-2014/ ) I simply cannot sit here and be quiet.

Lets start with the established and indisputable facts:

1) Oath Keepers leadership became observably “lukewarm” to the Bundy Ranch cause following the out-of-context repetition of Cliven Bundy’s comments — this was something that was readily observable by anyone who was paying attention to comments made by Stewart Rhodes and other Oath Keeper leadership immediately after airing of the New York Times “hit piece”.

2) Oath Keepers were the ones who publicized the “intel” regarding a drone strike supposedly being authorized by rogue AG Holder — an action which any moderately intelligent American knew would never happen. Such an action by the Obama Administration would have set off immediate and complete revolt by not just the Militia units, but by any and all “anti-government” organizations in the nation — and would have resulted in the complete destruction of American society. So, anyone with half a brain should have known at first hearing that the intel was bogus.

3) Oath Keepers chose to evacuate their forces from the Bundy Ranch based on this un-vetted, unfounded, and ludicrous “intel” without so much as a “fair thee well”. In a time of war, such an action would be considered as Cowardice and Desertion and would be un-forgivable.

4) On April 25th, Stewart Rhodes went on the air with Chuck “Smithfix” Smith in a YouTube video, entitled “Will They Drone the Bundy Ranch 42514” (Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2poTb9yBHs ) and, at the 3:45 minute mark, declared that the Oath Keepers had not left the Bundy Ranch and that, indeed, Stewart himself was still at the Ranch. This was a demonstrable and proven lie, as Oath Keeper forces had already left the Ranch — only a few individual Oath Keepers who did not agree with that order remained on site in defiance of Stewart’s orders.

5) In the blog post referenced above, the statement was made, “The militias are being unruly about it, and somewhat rude, assuming that the word “rude” includes threatening to shoot Stewart or his officers in the back “for desertion” – if you can believe that. Some of the alleged militia leaders are threatening to accost Oath Keepers’ leadership if leadership step foot on the Bundy Ranch. That is fairly rude, but that has actually been said.” — this is absolutely untrue. The YouTube video they refer to (available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DdgNJbBnMk ) and is a recording of a leadership meeting between the militias to determine exactly how to react to the Oath Keepers leaving the AO in such a manner. While there were some general comments made about the proper action when confronted with desertion on the battlefield, no threats were made against either Stewart Rhodes or any other Oath Keeper member. For the writer of the Oath Keeper blog post to claim that there were does nothing but to bring himself down to the same level as the New York Times — taking statements out of context in order to “prove” his false and invalid argument.

6) In the post referenced above, the writer states, “A typical FBI psy-op would plant “leaders” in every militia they could infiltrate. What those sorts of FBI agents or surrogates do is always “handled”.” He then goes on to make some disparaging comments against Ryan Payne, one of the militia leaders, as well as making yet another claim that militia leaders threatened Oath Keeper leadership. Again, I have viewed the video in question, and I failed to hear any such threat. The thing that he should remember, though, is that the militias are not the only organizations who can be infiltrated — in fact, due to it’s primary membership composition (“Active and retired law enforcement”), I submit that such an infiltration would be much easier to accomplish against Oath Keepers. So “Pot” — stop calling the “Kettle” black.

OK — enough with the facts, which seem to be pretty one-sided when you look at them. My concern is more that the two organizations work out their differences without further public dramatics, bickering, name-calling, and back-stabbing.

You are ALL claiming to be Patriots, and have publicly expressed an interest and willingness to continue supporting the Bundy Ranch cause. And you simply cannot do that as long as you are at each others throats.

Grow up, man up, stand up, and stop this bullshit — it isn’t helping the Bundys, America, or the American people. And in my humble opinion, the side who cannot do that — and get back on mission — is the root of the problem.

Simple as that.

Connecticut – The Shredding Of Two Constitutions

1928-Germany-2013-ConnecticutIn America, there is absolutely no reason that there should have been even this many citizens complying with completely unconstitutional “gun registration”, and even less reason that the federal or state authorities should have the names and addresses of gun owners.

The Connecticut State Police apparently has a list of those who refused to register their so-called “assault weapon” with the state.  These are people who have never knowingly registered their weapons with the state and, so far as they knew, should not even be on the state’s radar — how could this happen?

This has happened because of one simple fact — the federal government requires each gun dealer to complete and submit a Firearms Transaction Record, or Form 4473, which contains the name, address, date of birth, government-issued photo ID, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) background check transaction number, make/model/serial number of the firearm, and a short federal affidavit stating that the purchaser is eligible to purchase firearms under federal law.

There is a major flaw in this practice, though, which most firearm owners do not know.

Lets examine how the federal government is authorized to collect this information in an attempt to regulate just who may or may not “legally” purchase a firearm.

constitution-we-the-people-american-01The US Constitution does indeed give Congress the power

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or  Officer thereof.” (Article 1, Section 8).

However, is regulating the ownership of firearms one of those “foregoing Powers” or “all other Powers vested by this Constitution…”?  Not according to the Constitution, which strictly defines those powers — in fact, the original Constitution is completely silent as to this “power”.  The Second Amendment was ratified later, and in fact recognized the right to keep and bear arms as a personal right that cannot be regulated by government.  And, as any first-year Constitutional student knows, if the Constitution is silent as to any “power” — then the government is NOT granted that power, and has absolutely no authority to exercise it in any way.

militia_answer_1_xlargeNow, some would ask about the Second Amendment — doesn’t it give that power to the States?

Absolutely not!  In point of fact, when read correctly (in the context in which it was originally written and intended), the Second Amendment serves as a complete and absolute bar against the States regulating the right of the People to keep and bear arms — reserving that power solely to “the People”.

So the bottom line is this:

  • The federal government has absolutely NO power to regulate the ownership of any firearm, since they were never granted this power by the Constitution;
  • The State governments have absolutely NO power to regulate the ownership of any firearm, since they were specifically PROHIBITED from exercising this power by the Second Amendment;
  • No firearms dealer in America is under any LEGAL obligation to perform any type of “background check” regarding the purchase of any firearm by any American — there is absolutely NO legal authority for requiring them to do so, since Congress was never granted the power to enact any law respecting the right to keep and bear arms.
  • No firearms dealer in America is under any LEGAL obligation to complete, submit or retain any type of documentation regarding the purchase of any firearm by any American — there is absolutely NO legal authority for requiring them to do so, since Congress was never granted the power to enact any law respecting the right to keep and bear arms.

People MUST learn exactly what powers the government has — and exercise an ACTIVE refusal to allow the governments to exercise powers that they were never granted.

Until they do, scenes like this will be repeated because the government has information which the Constitution and the Second Amendment never authorized them to collect or possess.

Muslims & The First Amendment: What Would The Founders Do?

it6010We recently had a rather spirited discussion in one of my Facebook groups regarding the subject of the First Amendment and the Muslim “religion”.  One side of the room believed that Muslims were entitled to practice their “religion” and participate in American politics and society under the First Amendment; the other side, not so much.

Now that is a very good question — would the Founders have welcomed a “religion” into this budding nation if they knew (which they did) that they were simply allowing entry to a “Trojan Horse” which would demand nothing less than total control, and devour all that they fought and died for?

muslim-warriorsThe Founders would not have favored integrating Islam into our schools, government, and other civil institutions. Far from it. In his discussion of freedom of religion in his monumental Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Father of American Jurisprudence Joseph Story clarified the meaning of the First Amendment with regard to the priority of Christianity:

“[I]t is impossible for those, who believe in the truth of Christianity, as a divine revelation, to doubt, that it is the especial duty of government to foster, and encourage it among all the citizens and subjects….”

caliphateIndeed, in a republic, there would seem to be a peculiar propriety in viewing the Christian religion, as the great basis, on which it must rest for its support and permanence, if it be, what it has ever been deemed by its truest friends to be, the religion of liberty.

Probably at the time of the adoption of the constitution, and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation (1833, 44.723-726.3.3.1865-1868, emp. added).

MuslimsIslamDominateWorldWilders-sIndeed, the First Amendment was never intended to “level all religions” (and Islam can hardly be stylized “the religion of liberty”). Story further explained that

“…the real object of the [First] amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mohammedanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent any national ecclesiastical establishment which should give to a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government”, (1833, 3:728, emp. added).

Radical IslamIt is imperative that we not misconstrue the Founders’ strong emphasis on religious freedom and tolerance as an indication that they viewed all religion as legitimate or conducive to the principles of the Republic. Their central concern was “disestablishment,” i.e., preventing the federal government from establishing one Christian sect as the state religion. Their idea of “freedom of religion” was first and foremost freedom to pursue the Christian religion unhindered by the federal government, and only secondarily freedom to practice non-Christian religion. This truth is verified by the discussions surrounding the wording of the First Amendment. George Mason—who has gone down in American history as the Father of the Bill of Rights—proposed the following wording:

“All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others” (as quoted in Rowland, 1892, 1:244, emp. added).

constitution-we-the-people-american-01While Mason’s proposal did not make the final cut, it nevertheless establishes the historical context of the Founders’ discussion, demonstrating that their concern was first and foremost for the free exercise of the Christian religion. Using similar terminology, Mason had previously crafted The Virginia Declaration of Rights—the very document which influenced both Thomas Jefferson’s wording of the Declaration of Independence as well as James Madison’s draft of the Bill of Rights that was added to the federal Constitution. Article XVI of The Virginia Declaration of Rights reads:

“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence, and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other” (Mason, 1776, emp. added).

Senate-Johnson-Impeachment-TrialsTo the Founders, “tolerance” was not to be equated with approval or agreement, let alone encouragement that would imply an equal place should be made for non-Christian religion in government, schools, etc. The Founders were no more willing to encourage Islam than they were interested in encouraging the spread of atheism, paganism, or Native American religion. [NOTE: Atheists, though few in number at the time in America, were not allowed to serve as witnesses in court — see Story, 1851, 2:8-9; Swift, 1796, 2:238.]

GW1782For example, the Father of our country, George Washington, delivered a speech to the Delaware Indian chiefs on May 12, 1779:

“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention” (15:55, emp. added).

Islam5Far from encouraging the superstitious idolatry of much of Native American religion, the Founders (including the Congress!) urged Indians to convert to Christianity. The same may be said for all other non-Christian ideologies—including the inherently godless economic philosophies of socialism, Marxism, fascism, and atheistic communism. Indeed, their words and actions denigrate such thought systems. They believed that non-Christian philosophies and religions were false and ultimately detrimental to genuine liberty.

James Iredell, a U.S. Supreme Court judge appointed by George Washington, articulated this point succinctly in 1788 in the debates on the wording of the Constitution:

“But it is objected that the people of America may perhaps choose representatives who have no religion at all, and that pagans and Mohammedans may be admitted into offices…. But it is never to be supposed that the people of America will trust their dearest rights to persons who have no religion at all, or a religion materially different from their own” (Elliot, 1836, 4:194, emp. added).

Radical IslamSamuel Johnston, governor of North Carolina and member of the Constitution ratifying convention in 1788, likewise felt confident that Muslims should not, and hopefully would not, be allowed to become mainstream in American politics and public institutions—except in only two cases:

“It is apprehended that Jews, Mohammedans, pagans, etc., may be elected to high offices under the government of the United States. Those who are Mohammedans, or any others who are not professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office of President or other high office, but in one of two cases. First, if the people of America lay aside the Christian religion altogether, it may happen. Should this unfortunately take place, the people will choose such men as think as they do themselves. Another case is, if any persons of such descriptions should, notwithstanding their religion, acquire the confidence and esteem of the people of America by their good conduct and practice of virtue, they may be chosen. I leave it to gentlemen s candor to judge what probability there is of the people’s choosing men of different sentiments from themselves” (Elliot, 4:198-199, emp. added).

Scene_at_the_Signing_of_the_Constitution_of_the_United_StatesConstitution signer Richard Dobbs Spaight echoed the same prevailing sentiment:

“As to the subject of religion…[n]o power is given to the general government to interfere with it at all…. No [Christian—DM] sect is preferred to another. Every man has a right to worship the Supreme Being in the manner he thinks proper. No test is required. All men of equal capacity and integrity are equally eligible to offices…. I do not suppose an infidel, or any such person, will ever be chosen to any office unless the people themselves be of the same opinion” (Elliot, 1836, 4:208, emp. added).

Implicit in all tus-supreme-court-1hree of these Founders’ observations is the fact that Christianity was the underlying belief system on which the Republic was poised. The Founders were unanimous in their desire that the Constitution provide no pretext for governmental interference in the free exercise of the Christian religion by the citizenry. So the only way that atheism or Islam could ever make headway in America’s social and civil institutions is if the people themselves abandon their Christian values.

Tragically, their words were prophetic.

The JFK Secret Societies Speech – Not What You Think!

john-f-kennedyOn April 27th 1961, Kennedy gave a speech to the American Newspaper Publishers Association in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York.  Most people believe that President Kennedy was trying to cryptically warn the American people of some vast conspiracy being perpetrated by the Military – Industrial Complex.  Most people are wrong.

First of all, you have to listen to the entire speech — not just the little 2 to 5 minute out-takes being passed around on the internet; you have to listen to his words in their proper context.

ed4f60c1aaPresident Kennedy starts off his speech with the customary banter typical of his administration — lighthearted jabs at both the press and the government.  At about the 5:00 minute mark, Kennedy goes into a brief description of the challenges of dealing with a very aggressive Soviet Union.  He then makes a couple of statements which could possibly have contributed to his assassination, depending upon who you happen to believe was behind it — he did, after all, make a lot of enemies during his term as President.

“The dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweigh the dangers which are cited to justify them. 

Even today, there is little value of opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating it’s arbitrary restrictions. 

Even today, there is little value in ensuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. 

And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. 

That, I do not intend to permit, to the extent that it’s in my control.”

kennedy150-020e94d0c69604633c1383043f5c9ed3294a433f-s6-c30In that one statement, it would seem that Mr. Kennedy plainly stated his commitment to the continuation of a free and open society here in the United States, with only the narrowest of secrecy being used on the basis of “national security”.  And this principle would have been anathema to the Military – Industrial Complex.

In any case, President Kennedy goes on to speak to the traditional freedom of the press during peacetime and the obligation of the press to censor themselves during wartime.  President Kennedy points out that America is in a unique period of undeclared war with, and in unstated danger from, “a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy” — quite obviously the President is speaking of the Soviet Union rather than the Military – Industrial Complex that many have cited as the warning contained in this speech.

President Kennedy points out that the Soviets have openly boasted that they obtain better information from the open press than they would traditionally obtain by employing agents and spies because of the unguarded nature of the reporting by the US news media at the time.

Nike_HerculesI grew up during the early 1960’s; I remember reading of the building of missile silos and troop movements in the newspaper.  I lived just a few miles from a major Nike interceptor missile base in the Los Angeles area, and I remember reading in the Los Angeles Times about how this base would protect Los Angeles in the event of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union’s ICBM’s, for Christ’s sake!  President Kennedy had ample reason for the topic of this speech, because our news media at the time was a virtual sieve of information — all the Russians had to do was read the newspaper!

Those of you who didn’t grow up in the era of “Camelot” have absolutely no idea of the love affair that the American public had with the Kennedy’s.  President Kennedy had a charisma about him that could disarm even the toughest newspaperman — and this speech was simply John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s simple and charismatic way of asking the news media to kindly STFU.

The Twelth Amendment… The Last Legal Amendment!

Yes, I realize that our Constitution currently contains 27 Amendments.  Just about everyone in America accepts these as the gospel, and believe that they are all perfectly ratified and enacted.  The Constitution, along with these 27 Amendments, seem to be the touchstone of our freedom, and constitute “The Law Of The Land”…

constitution-we-the-people-american-01What would you say if I told you that the most recent 15 Amendments are, in fact, not proper Amendments to our Constitution?  What would you think if I told you that the final 15 Amendments to our Constitution are not legally part of that document, and do not change it one bit?  You would probably say that I’m nuts, right?

Well — I am absolutely correct; and I will convince you of that before you finish this article.

In my last post (which was a re-post from The New American), you were shown how Abraham Lincoln committed the crime of Treason many times in his instigation and pursuit of the Civil War, and how the Radical Republicans of his government violated the Constitution in any number of ways by bludgeoning the recently defeated Confederate States into returning to the Union with governments which were hand-picked by the Northern victors rather than their own residents.

The Constitution says, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…” (Article 4, Section 4); however, after the defeat of the Confederate states, this seems to have been thrown by the wayside.

a0644ae75e0d7005a3ebe708b1c39453_MBetween 1863 and 1869, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson took a moderate position designed to bring the South back to normal as soon as possible, while the Radical Republicans (as they called themselves) used Congress to block the moderate approach, and impose their own will upon the southern states.

The views of Lincoln and Johnson prevailed until the election of 1866, which enabled the Radicals to take control of policy; however, they could not stop President Johnson as he sought to remove former Confederates from power by hand-picking the legislatures of several of the Southern states. Between the end of the Civil War and 1870, hand-picked legislatures came to power in nearly all the Southern states, with support from the Army, commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant who would later take the reins from President Johnson.

Senate-Johnson-Impeachment-TrialsThe Radicals, upset at President Johnson’s opposition to Congressional Reconstruction, filed impeachment charges but the action failed by one vote in the Senate. Had they succeeded in Impeaching President Johnson, there may have been a chance that the legislatures of the Southern states could have been Constitutionally elected by their own residents instead of unconstitutionally hand-picked by President Johnson and unconstitutionally rammed into power by General Grant.

This action by President Johnson was in clear violation of Article 4, Section 4 of the US Constitution, and completely denied the Southern states a Republican form of government; this in turn made every one of these hand-picked legislatures completely unconstitutional, null, and void.

The deployment of the U.S. military was central to the establishment of Southern Reconstructed state governments, hand picked by President Johnson, in time to be re-admitted to the Union and participate in the ratification of the so-called “Reconstruction Amendments” — the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to our Constitution.

The 13th Amendment (proposed and ratified in 1865) abolished slavery.

The 14th Amendment (proposed in 1866 and ratified in 1868) included the privileges and immunities, due process, and equal protection clauses.

The Fifteenth Amendment, (proposed in 1869 and ratified in 1870) grants voting rights regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

And all three of them are completely void, because they were never properly ratified by the requisite 3/4 of the States in the Union at the time they were ratified.  The Southern states, while they were counted in the total number of States at the time, did not possess Constitutionally-qualified governments at the time who were authorized to conduct the business of the people; they were also not permitted to represent themselves in Congress until these “Amendments” were ratified by them.  This means that these States could not possibly have properly and Constitutionally ratified these Amendments.

At this point, I am going to issue a warning to my readers — I am about to offend the sensitivities of many you.  I do not mean to do so, and my own personal feelings do not necessarily agree with the logic flow that will follow — but in a strictly legal and Constitutional sense, what follows here is the only logical, legal and Constitutional conclusion that anyone can come to in complete honesty.

First, since the 13th Amendment was not properly ratified, Slavery has never been legally ended.  President Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” was nothing more than an Executive Order — binding and enforceable only on and within governmental agencies which were a part of the Executive Branch; it did not and has never had the force of a Law in any sense.  Lincoln’s order simply directed Executive Branch agencies (such as the Army) to refuse to consider a person as a slave; a person’s legal status could not be altered by Lincoln’s order, and a Court could — at any time — order the enforcement of the Law instead of Lincoln’s proclamation.  However, since the Northern Army forcibly freed the slaves without any legal or Constitutional authority, every one of those “freed” slaves are — to this day — still the legal property of their masters, along with every one of their descendants.

Second, since the 14th Amendment was not properly ratified, the privileges and immunities, due process, and equal protection clauses simply do not exist.  Persons of African ancestry still legally — under the Constitution — cannot be considered citizens of the United States unless otherwise granted that right by the Constitution and it’s first 12 Amendments, such as “Naturalization”.

Third, since the 15th Amendment was not properly ratified, persons of African or Native American ancestry, unless properly Naturalized, do not have a legal or Constitutional right to vote in any election in America.

And this single issue is the one reason that every other Amendment — the 16th through the 27th — are also completely Constitutionally void.

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.” ~US Constitution, Article 1, Section 2

Since the 13th, 14th & 15th Amendments are Constitutionally void, no person of African or Native American descent could legally be considered as a “whole person” for purposes of the census enumeration.  The Constitution excluded “Indians not taxed”, and allowed only three-fifths of all slaves to be counted for the purposes of apportioning Representatives and direct Taxes based upon this census enumeration.

What all of this means is that, for the past 150 years, the House of Representatives has been drastically overstaffed — some states have had too many Representatives, some states have had too few — and their votes have been impossibly skewed, to the point that no piece of legislation that they have passed during that time is valid under the Constitution in any way.

Since most state legislatures use a similar formula to determine voting districts and the number of members in their lower houses, this logic holds equally true for the States.

Therefore, any vote taken in the lower houses of the state legislatures is not valid either — which means that it is legally and Constitutionally impossible for any Constitutional Amendment proposed after the unconstitutional ratification of the 13th Amendment to have been Constitutionally ratified in any way.

Today, of course, we would believe this logic to be wrong, and these Amendments would swiftly be ratified if proposed once the Constitution was brought back into full effect; however, in a strictly legal and Constitutional sense, legal and Constitutional logic dictates that this is still the Law of the Land at this moment in time.

The United States Constitution, first put into place by our Founding Fathers in 1791, was  completely and totally destroyed 150 years ago by Abraham Lincoln and the Northern states; ever since that time, we have been governed by a parody of that document that has been expanded in ways never imagined or intended by the Founders.

America has been living under the tyranny of Democracy for the past 150 years… I have just showed you how it was done.  Now, you need to figure out how to get back to our Constitution.

Unless the American people can rise up and throw off this tyrannical bastardization of our Constitutional Republic, and put that wonderful blueprint for Liberty back into effect, we will never have the America of our fore-fathers again.

And that, America, is completely up to you.

The Treason Of Abraham Lincoln

a0644ae75e0d7005a3ebe708b1c39453_M“Anyone who embarks on a study of Abraham Lincoln … must first come to terms with the Lincoln myth. The effort to penetrate the crust of legend that surrounds Lincoln … is both a formidable and intimidating task. Lincoln, it seems, requires special considerations that are denied to other figures.”

— Robert W. Johannsen
Lincoln, the South, and Slavery

Indeed, it would not seem a safe time to critique the wisdom, motivations, and character of Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg’s reverential motion picture epic Lincoln fills screens across America. The public increasingly accepts him as America’s greatest leader. Academics from the Left — and Right — compete to bestow the grandest laurels on the 16th president.

Yet, such a pursuit is ever more important for a people hurtling forward into an uncertain future, to learn from past mistakes or merely become aware they made them. One growing consensus regarding Lincoln seems credible: He has exerted more influence over the development of this nation than any other person, including the Founders. If Washington be the father of our country, surely Lincoln is its stepfather.

This article will examine the significance of this truly larger-than-life figure’s actions regarding three of the many important issues of his time: 1) the Constitution, in particular during the War Between the States, 2) emancipation and blacks, and 3) the Radical Republicans and Reconstruction.

The Constitution

“I am the President of the United States of America — clothed in immense power!” Spielberg’s Lincoln thunders. The real Lincoln proved the truth of that claim within days of the April 12, 1861 attack on  Fort Sumter. In fact, the attack might have been avoided if he had not decided to reinforce Sumter. Once it occurred, he quickly unleashed a series of watershed actions that forever altered the nature of American government.

On April 13, he declared the seceding states in a condition of rebellion and called for 75,000 troops to deal with them — a declaration expressly reserved to Congress by the Constitution: “The Congress shall have the power … To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.”

On April 15, he called for Congress to return to session — but only on July 15, months after Ft. Sumter .

On April 19, he declared a naval blockade of the South.

On April 21, he instructed the U.S. Navy to buy five warships — an appropriations act needing congressional approval.

On April 27, he began the unprecedented act of suspending the constitutional right of habeas corpus.

On May 3, he called up thousands more troops — for three-year hitches — another act the law did not authorize the president to commit.

At about the same time, he ordered the Department of Treasury to pay two million dollars to a New York City company to outfit and arm his army — another appropriations act needing congressional approval.

Each one of these acts — and many more soon to follow — violated the U.S. Constitution. The majority of the U.S. public supported him, however, as the American people have supported other presidents since, when they felt the need to break the Constitution “for the public good.”

This early series of moves proved breathtaking in its shrewd efficiency. For instance, by not calling Congress back into session until July, Lincoln presented it with a fait accompli upon its return: a war months old from which there was now no turning back, unless Lincoln decided such, which he had no intention of doing. Whether or not Congress would have declared war on the South as had Lincoln, it now saw no choice but to fight.

Even Massachusetts’ Senator Charles Sumner, one of the spearheads of the Radical postwar Reconstruction and certainly no friend of the South, said: “When Lincoln reinforced Sumter and called for 75,000 men without the consent of Congress, it was the greatest breach ever made in the Constitution, and would hereafter give the President the liberty to declare war whenever he wished, without the consent of Congress.”

All this came from the hand of Lincoln, a man who as a U.S. congressman in 1848 declared: “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable, a most sacred right — a right which we hope and believe is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people, that can, may revolutionize and make their own so much of the territory as they inhabit.’’

In his landmark book The Real Lincoln, Loyola College economics professor and Lincoln scholar Thomas DiLorenzo recounted how Lincoln also unlawfully “nationalized the railroads; created three new states without the consent of the citizens of those states in order to artificially inflate the Republican Party’s electoral vote; ordered Federal troops to interfere with Northern elections to assure Republican Party victories; deported Ohio Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham for opposing his domestic policies (especially protectionist tariffs and income taxation) on the floor of the House of Representatives; confiscated private property, including firearms, in violation of the Second Amendment; and effectively gutted the Tenth and Ninth Amendments as well.”

Maryland, My Maryland

Soon, the Lincoln administration crossed yet another historic line. Without notifying targeted members of the Maryland legislature of charges, or indeed possessing any charges, its troops hauled dozens of legislators it suspected of supporting secession out of their homes in front of their families in the darkness of night and threw them into prison.

The prison was temporarily located at Fort McHenry, from where Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star Spangled Banner.” In fact, Key’s own grandson would be among the host flung into captivity at the fort. He would write eloquently in American Bastille of how much the nation had changed in less than a half century, as he looked upon the U.S. flag flying at the same location as it was when his grandfather wrote his famous stanzas.

Thousands of Federal soldiers from other states voted in Maryland’s November 1861 elections, while local residents had to pass through formations of bayonet-brandishing Federals to cast their ballots. The Maryland legislature, prior to its collective jailing by Lincoln, declared: “Resolved, that Maryland implores the President, in the name of God, to cease this unholy war, at least until Congress assembles; that Maryland desires and consents to the recognition of the independence of the Confederate States. The military occupation of Maryland is unconstitutional, and she protests against it, though the violent interference with the transit of federal troops is discountenanced, that the vindication of her rights be left to time and reason, and that a Convention, under existing circumstances, is inexpedient.”

Opposing Supreme Court

Only weeks after the war commenced in 1861, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, one of the foundational pillars of American — and Western — liberty, and preeminent among all provisions of the Bill of Rights. The right of habeas corpus (Latin for “you may have the body”) is sourced in England’s ancient Magna Carta. It requires a warrant be issued by a legitimate law-enforcement authority before a person can be arrested, prevents the jailing of a person without his being charged with a specific crime, and prohibits indefinite detention of that person without the opportunity of appearing before a legally convened court for the exercise of his rights and the hearing of his case.

Despite the central place of habeas corpus in American liberty and an armada of opinion ranging from British jurist William Blackstone to American Chief Justice John Marshall to President Thomas Jefferson that only Congress — and never the president — could suspend habeas corpus, Lincoln’s administration did just that in thousands of cases against the citizens of Federal states. (The power to suspend habeas corpus “when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it” is in Article I, the section of the Constitution enumerating congressional power.)

Federal troops arrested Marylander John Merryman without a warrant, jailed him — at Fort McHenry — and kept him there without opportunity for trial or defense. He appealed to the esteemed Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who had already freed his own slaves.

It is difficult to conceive of the political climate in which Taney received this plea. Every day, Federal officers hauled citizens of every stripe — politicians, newspaper publishers, attorneys, business owners, common workers — from their homes and places of business for voicing the slightest criticism of the U.S. government or Lincoln, flung them into jail, and left them there. Taney had no illusions but that that fate likely awaited him if he crossed the president. Yet he ordered the release of the jailed man. Lincoln commanded his soldiers to refuse. The chief justice then penned Ex Parte Merryman,  an opinion now famous in constitutional law. Delivered directly to Lincoln at his office, it informed the president that he, not Merryman, was breaching the law and the Constitution, and it ordered Merryman’s release.

At this point, Lincoln did issue a warrant of arrest — for Taney. Lincoln apologists deny this action, but contemporary witnesses corroborate it. Though longtime Lincoln colleague and Federal Marshal of Washington Ward Hill Lamon declined to serve the warrant, Lincoln had established that neither Congress, the Supreme Court, nor the Constitution would stand in the way of his carrying out the actions he deemed best for the country.

Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, 85 years old when President Lincoln issued the warrant for his arrest and dead before the end of the war, wrote in Ex Parte Merryman: “If the President of the United States may suspend the writ [of habeas corpus], then the Constitution of the United States has conferred upon him more regal and absolute power over the liberty of the citizen than the people of England have thought it safe to entrust to the crown — a power which the Queen of England cannot exercise to this day, and which could not have been lawfully exercised by the sovereign even in the reign of Charles the First.”

That king got beheaded for his dictatorial actions.

The Lincoln administration continued to express great concern over Northerners who did not exhibit what it considered sufficient loyalty, or sufficiently enthusiastic loyalty, to the United States and its war effort. After suspending habeas corpus, the president and his lieutenants shut down over 300 Northern newspapers during the struggle, throwing many of their editors and publishers in jail or prison without trials and often without charges. Approximately 13,000 other Northern citizens met the same fate.

Lincoln’s justification: “Measures, however unconstitutional, might become lawful by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution, through the preservation of the nation.”

Blacks and Slavery

Abraham Lincoln’s own words on the issue of African-American slavery would shock anyone who accepts the popular myth that Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.” While he never uttered a word against the Illinois law that made it a crime for blacks to settle in his home state, he did declare, in Springfield, on July 17, 1858: “What I would desire most would be the separation of the white and black races.”

During his famed 1858 Illinois Senate debates with Stephen Douglas, Lincoln offered eloquent criticism of American slavery, while demonstrating how different his anti-slavery views were from those of abolitionists who sought not only freedom, but political and social equality, for blacks:

Make Negroes politically and socially our equals? My own feelings will not admit of this. I will say that I am not nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor have ever been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people. And I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior. And I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

Did his views change later, as president? In 1862, he declared: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I would do it. And if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. And if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.”

Emancipation Proclamation

Yet, he “freed” the slaves the following year. Evidence abounds, from Lincoln’s own words as well as his actions, that something besides a desire to end African-American bondage fueled his historic Emancipation Proclamation. U.S. Senate Republicans launched a revolt against Lincoln in mid-December 1862, just before he signed the proclamation into law.

According to Lincoln’s old friend, Illinois Representative Orville Browning, and others, the senators demanded the president conduct a more resolute war effort, including emancipating all African-American slaves in America. They apparently threatened to bring down his administration otherwise.

Orville Browning’s diary of December 31, 1862 recorded that Judge Benjamin Franklin Thomas of the Massachusetts Supreme Court told the regretful Browning: “The President was fatally bent upon his course, saying that if he should refuse to issue his proclamation there would be a rebellion in the north, and that a dictator would be placed over his head within the week.”

This enhanced, Radical Republican-dominated effort evidently included emancipation as a method of war that would torpedo the South’s economy and ability to defend itself. A slave uprising lay within the sphere of this projection. A howling chorus of protest arose to the proclamation not only from the South, but from many of Lincoln’s opponents in the North, as well as in Europe. Horatio Seymour, soon-to-be Democratic governor of New York, called the scheme “a proposal for the butchery of [white Southern] women and children, for scenes of lust and rapine, arson and murder, unparalleled in the history of the world.”

Relations between Southern slaves and their owners proved superior to such an eventuality. But Lincoln himself, when told the Constitution gave individual states and not the national government jurisdiction over slavery, claimed emancipation as a war powers act that he as commander in chief could employ — for military purposes. Indeed, he eliminated from an early draft of the decree a call for a violent uprising of slaves.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation quelled the Senate revolt. But his lackluster feelings for it resurfaced when he eschewed the urgings of much of his Cabinet, including Seward, Chase, Blair, and Bates, and confined his decree to those slaves in Confederate-controlled territory. That is, he freed none of the slaves over which he had control when he had the opportunity.

Wrote Lincoln’s colleague Lamon: “None of [Lincoln’s] public acts, either before or after he became President, exhibits any special tenderness for the African race…. When he was compelled, by what he deemed an overruling necessity, founded on both military and political considerations, to declare the freedom of [only the Confederates’] slaves, he did so with avowed reluctance, and took pains to have it understood that his resolution was in no wise affected by sentiment.” Lamon’s perspective on Lincoln’s actions once again seems on solid ground, in view of the president’s 1861 revocation of Federal General John Fremont’s bold emancipation of slaves in Missouri. That countermanding infuriated abolitionists and conservatives alike in the North, albeit for different reasons.

A portion of the completed Emancipation Proclamation addressed another view Lincoln had in mind for Southern, but not Union border state, slaves — “impressment” into the Federal armies, often against their will. A horrendous 68,000 of the 186,000 African-Americans who shouldered arms for Lincoln’s armies died during the war. They provided significant manpower in the desperate struggle, however, and deprived the Confederates of their services.

In the end, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation exhibited political sagacity and brilliance, hastened the demise of American slavery, probably triggered the deaths of tens of thousands more men — including many former slaves — than would otherwise have occurred, and likely contributed to America’s future morass in racial relations. In contrast, nearly every other Western Hemisphere nation that practiced slavery ended the practice peaceably. Britain, worldwide purveyors of the slave trade, did so as well, through the patient, often frustrating, but ultimately pacific emancipation effort spearheaded by the devout Christian William Wilberforce.

Freedom and Deportation

But didn’t Lincoln yearn to keep slavery out of the new territories and states of the West? Yes, along with all black people. “Now irrespective of the moral aspect of this question as to whether there is a right or wrong in enslaving a Negro,” he said, “I am still in favor of our new Territories being in such a condition that white men may find a home.… I am in favor of this not merely … for our own people who are born amongst us, but as an outlet for free white people everywhere, the world over.”

What if Congress refused to grant Lincoln’s desire for this sprawling, whites-only enclave? “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth,” he said.

Thus appears an even more startling revelation, as Lincoln stated in 1857 and many times before and after: “Let us be brought to believe it is morally right … to transfer the African to his native clime … however great the task may be. The children of Israel, to such numbers as to include four hundred thousand fighting men, went out of Egyptian bondage in a body.”

Lincoln, as did other presidents before him, wished the permanent shipment of as much of the African-American population as possible to foreign lands, and colonies established for them.

He advocated “emancipation … deportation … and their places be … filled up by free white laborers,” in New York City in 1860.

“But if gradual emancipation and deportation be adopted, they [blacks] will have neither to flee … till new homes can be found for them, in congenial climes, and with people of their own blood and race,” he declared in his 1862 State of the Union address.

This long desire resounded through the halls of Congress when he asked that body the same year to pass a constitutional amendment “colonizing free colored persons, with their own consent, at any place or places without the United States.”

President Lincoln “zealously and persistently devised schemes for the deportation of the Negroes, which the latter deemed cruel and atrocious in the extreme,” his friend Lamon wrote.

Lenore Bennett, Jr., an African-American author and no conservative or friend of the Confederacy, wrote in his massive chronicle Forced Into Glory, Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream:

Lincoln proposed … that the United States government buy the slaves and deport them to Africa or South America. This was not a passing whim. In five major policy declarations, including two State of the Union addresses and the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the sixteenth president of the United States publicly and officially called for the deportation of blacks. On countless other occasions, in conferences with cronies, Democratic and Republican leaders, and high government officials, he called for colonization of blacks or aggressively promoted colonization by private and official acts.

According to Bennett, the president put his plans into action when “three months after signing the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln became the first and last American president to officially deport native-born Americans for racial reasons, sending some 450 blacks, one-third of them women and children, to an island off the coast of Haiti to establish the first Lincoln colony. The island was a desolate place full of poisonous insects and snakes, and the whole affair ended in a comic-opera disaster, with scores of casualties and the survivors covered with bugs and suffering from various illnesses.”

Lincoln didn’t ignore free African-Americans, either. He lauded the American Colonization Society, established to ship blacks out of America, saying he “considered it no demerit in the society, that it tended to relieve slaveholders from the troublesome presence of the free Negroes.” He was anything but bashful about the subject, declaring in his first State of the Union address: “[It] might well be well to consider, too, whether the free colored people already in the United States could not, so far as individuals may desire, be included in such colonization.”

Radical Reconstruction

“By the gods, there will be no trouble now in running this government,” Radical Republican Senator Ben Wade promised, upon the murder of Abraham Lincoln by famed actor John Wilkes Booth. Wade scarcely overstated what lay ahead in the postwar United States with his wing of the dominant Republican Party in charge.

As America’s most terrible conflict ground to a blood-drenched conclusion in the spring of 1865, the military leaders of both sides wished for a return to productive lives for the Confederate population and a peaceful welcoming them back into the fold by Unionists. Lincoln also wished to put the war — which his side had won and which had devastated both the population and property of the Confederates — behind them, to welcome the South back into the social and commercial fold, and to resume building the United States, now with the Industrial Revolutionized might of the North, the Union preserved, and the slaves freed. But that war, for which Lincoln himself provided the guiding hand, had hurt too many and destroyed too many others. Countless Southerners would no doubt have put the same bullet into Lincoln’s head that John Wilkes Booth did. Among Booth’s last words upon his own death a few days later: “Tell Mother I died for my country.”

Radical Republicans had existed in sometimes uneasy alliance and sometimes tense conflict with the pragmatic president. They held ideological convictions he did not. Like Lincoln, they wished for a centralized national government, but for different reasons. They intended to wield it as a cudgel in pursuit of a generally socialistic political platform. As a group, they were social progressives and either abolitionists or strongly anti-slavery. Many did not share the traditionalist Christianity common to Northern conservatives and Southerners. For Radical Republicans,  embittered and philosophically reinvigorated by the harrowing marathon of war, the death of Lincoln both cleared the way and further motivated them for harshly “reconstructing” a Confederacy that stood diametrically opposed to them in nearly every conceivable way.

With both the Confederates and Lincoln gone, the Radical Republicans unleashed a hurricane of change. They sent Southern congressmen home when the latter arrived in Washington, D.C., to resume representation of their states. Supposedly well-intentioned Radical programs like the Freedman’s Bureau and the Civil Rights Bill resulted in the legally sanctioned theft of vast tracts of land owned by former Confederates. When President Andrew Johnson opposed their unconstitutional actions, they stripped power from him — impeaching him in the House and coming within one Senate vote of removing him from office.

The Radicals put their heart into passing three new constitutional amendments that officially ended all American slavery, granted citizenship to African-Americans, and extended to them the right to vote. Ruthless and unconstitutional tactics riddled even these laudatory accomplishments, however; and many white former Confederates lost their own rights to vote and to hold office. Plus, one of the new amendments, the 14th, laid the groundwork for the federal government to greatly expand its own power through future amendments and court interpretations.

Dissatisfied with the response to their program from a crushed people now humiliated by military occupation and beset with economic calamity, the Radicals jettisoned the legal jurisdiction guaranteed to states by the Constitution; deprived hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Southerners of their constitutional right to trial by a jury of their peers for crimes ranging from assault to murder; filled juries with Radical sympathizers and supporters; and gave Republican President Ulysses S. Grant the unilateral right both to unleash martial law and to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. No Southern citizen had a right to redress in any of these situations.

This ruthless reign of one-party dominance led to carpetbag governments backed by the bayonet; a cavalcade of government-supported private-sector boondoggles, such as the railroads, mining, and Wall Street financial speculators; the robber barons; the Black Friday Stock Market Crash; the most corrupt presidential administration (Grant’s) in U.S. history; the Gilded Age; the Ku Klux Klan; lasting enmity between the black and white races in the South; and the permanent recasting of what Radical leader Wendell Phillips branded “a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell” — the American Constitution.

Short and Sweet

Upwards of 20,000 books have come off the printing presses about Abraham Lincoln, with seemingly as many opinions regarding the central driving force behind his historic actions. So what was it? Lincoln himself summed up his “political principles” when he first ran for political office, the Illinois State Legislature, in 1832: “I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. My policies are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a National Bank, in favor of the Internal improvements system, and in favor of a high protective tariff.”

Never for the next 30-plus years would he veer from that course. Historian DiLorenzo called Lincoln’s presidential elections and success the triumph of mercantilism, the late 17th- and early 18th-century British system of massive dispensation of governmental favors to favored business allies.

Edgar Lee Masters concurred, chronicling how Lincoln dedicated his career to carrying forward Henry Clay’s so-called American System of government: “Henry Clay was the champion of that political system which doles favors to the strong in order to win and keep their adherence to the government. His system offered shelter to devious schemes and corrupt enterprises. He was the beloved son, figuratively speaking, of Alexander Hamilton, with his corrupt funding schemes, his superstitions concerning the advantage of a public debt, and a people taxed to make profits for enterprises that cannot stand alone.”

Lincoln’s questionable actions regarding the Constitution and blacks; his unleashing of the Federal military in an unprecedented campaign of total war against the men, women, children, and aged of the Confederate states; and his humane desires for reconciling with the South — they all lay sourced in the headwaters of a strong, consolidated nation, even empire. It offered glittering jewels for its adherents, as well as unnoticed dangers, new fireballs in the night. It does so still.

This is a re-post of an article which appeared on November 16, 2012 in The New American.

The Duty of our Oath

Restoring the American Republic

I’ve discovered over the years that there seems to be some confusion regarding the duty of those who take the oath of office for our military. Since the very survival of our Republic hinges on our men and women in the military faithfully performing their duty, I believe it is necessary to review that oath and seek to understand its meaning and implications.

The current oath of office for enlisted personnel…

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of…

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