131 Sheriffs refuse to enforce unconstitutional laws.

Comments

Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

This kind of thing takes guts, but there are those who have guts and are not afraid to say so. Two Oregon sheriffs have written Vice President Joe Biden to say their departments won't enforce any new gun law they consider to be unconstitutional.

In his letter, Sheriff Tim Mueller of Linn County said politicians are "attempting to exploit the deaths of innocent victims" by supporting laws that would harm law-abiding Americans. Later that same day, Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley said he had sent an identical letter.

Mueller says he took an oath to support the Constitution, and laws preventing citizens from owning certain semi-automatic firearms and ammunition magazines would violate the rights of Americans.

I guess he really meant it when he swore than oath.

So? Forgetting about the primary issue, which is of course the Second Amendment, how do we feel about that? Is it right for officials to dig in their heels when they feel they are obeying the basic law of the land?

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Pat Randall 1 year, 7 months ago

I say good for the sheriffs. I bet Sheriff Joe is the next letter writer if he hasn't already.

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Ronald Hamric 1 year, 7 months ago

Tom, I know that the folks that are proposing even more regulations of firearms will say that they have no intention of violating people's 2nd Amendment rights. They demonize the NRA and it's members, of which I am one, and paint them as some sort of extremists for not being willing to accept even more "common sense" regulations. The NRA has one primary purpose and that is the protection of the 2nd Amendment. In that process , of course they are giving tacit aid to the gun manufacturing industry. I mean, without the 2nd Amendment the government would long ago have "infringed" on the inalienable rights that the 2nd Amendemnt supposidly prohibits the governments infringement upon, and the gun industry would have no purpose other than supplying the government with it's means of force. I find it very troublesosme that an organization such as the NRA is doing something that every one of our elected politicians take an oath to do upon their assumption of office, to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Not only are the elected elite, that are hell bent on "peeling the onion" of people's rights to keep and bear arms, NOT adhering to their sworn oath, they try to make the NRA out as an enemy of the state for refusing to go along with their program.

These Sheriffs, and there are many throughout the country, are simply doing what many in Congress and the current POTUS are blatantly derelict from doing, owning up to their oath to "Protect and Defend the Constitutuion of the US. I find it refreshing that there are those who actually stand on the principles and intent of those oaths.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

Ron,

I agree with you. I have long thought about this issue. I believe that if other Americans think about it as hard as I have for 80 years they will join me in believing that while We The People, the simple ordinary people, do not know everything, while we sometimes only sense what is right and are sometimes unable to put it into words, we do--in the long run--understand the truth about issues which involve our freedoms.

I've written a statement of my beliefs regarding the real issue in gun control.

I'll post it.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

The truth about gun control.

What troubles me most of all is that there are some people who just do not understand what this country is really about. Our fight for freedom is called the War of Independence, but most of our history books don't even teach what we actually fought for.

We didn't fight because the British wanted us to pay for the French and Indian war. We didn't fight because Parliament wanted to buy raw materials from us and sell us manufactured goods. We didn't fight because they wouldn't let us trade for goods in the Caribbean. We didn't fight over tax stamps. We didn't fight over any of the money issues. They were symptoms, not causes. Historians focus on them and miss the truth. We fought for what those acts implied.

What DID we fight for? Exactly what we said we were fighting for: Independence, but not the independence of the colonies from the mother country. That was a side issue. It grew out of something far more important. We could no longer accept what the mother country was doing to us about a far more important form of independence: Individual liberty.

Read these hallowed words again:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

We fought to be free of control. Read on a little farther:

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."

You see? "...deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." We Americans don't ask to be led; we demand to make our own decisions! That is the essence of being an American. It is the most fundamental of all rights: The right to choose our own paths, to tread them with our heads held high, to knuckle under to the beliefs of no other person.

It is that longing to be left alone, that irresistible need to be free of control, which makes people fight. It is the unquenchable thirst for individual liberty, the need to stand alone in the storm, to do as we please as long as we harm no one else in the process.

That is what the gun dispute is really about--Individual Liberty. The gun is the symbol of liberty, the physical embodiment of the need to stand proud and alone.

The right of individual defense is a right which stands shoulder to shoulder among the panoply of natural human rights, along with the right to speak without fear of punishment, to worship as we choose, to go where we please and do what we want as long as we do not interfere with the rights of others. All natural rights are inextricably entangled, part and parcel of individual liberty. Take one away and the rest will go.

How long will it take some people to understand that?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

There are people who would use "gun control" as a means to end gun ownership by making it too clumsy, too difficult, and too expensive to own one. They don't fool anyone. They say they only want to pass "registration and licensing laws," but in truth what they want to do is make an individual who was born with a God-given right to protect himself to apply to government for permission to do it.

They are the same people who passed Prohibition. They think they "know better." They believe that only they possess the wisdom to choose how you and I should live our lives. They would force us to do what they think is good for us, putting aside anything--such as smoking--which might hurt us, wearing a seat belt, buying insurance, eating a balanced diet. They are elitists who think they have superior minds, who feel they are wise enough to decide what we should do, who treat us like willful and disobedient children.

But they fail to understand what lies at the heart of individual liberty. As long as I harm no one else, do not dare to tell me what I should or should not do. Do not tell me that I must give up my right to defend myself, my home, and my family. I will not do it!

That is what gun control is all about. The freedom to be who we are. The freedom to choose. Let them take your gun and they will take your liberty with it.

Join with me, America. Tell those who would control your every action that you will not stand for it. Tell them that you will be you who are no matter how much they try to change you; that you will smoke like a chimney if you choose to do it; that you will drink or not drink without raising your hand for permission; that you will say what you believe no matter how much it ruffles their feathers; that you will wear a seat belt when and if you please; that you will worship how, when, and where you choose, or not at all if that is your choice; that you refuse to tell anyone else what he or she should do in the privacy of an American home; that the reason we have a Bill of Rights is so that we can be different if we choose, not a nation of mind controlled lemmings; that if they prefer tofu, soy soup, and ice cream that tastes like plastic they are welcome to it, but you prefer something that came out of a cow; that you reserve the right to defend yourself in your own home from criminals who would like to get into it to take what you have so they can afford to smoke a little pot to forget how stupid and controlling their government has become; that what we wear, and what we eat, and what we do, and what we think comes under the heading of "natural rights," and that we fully intend to keep our guns so that no one will ever change that fact.

Tell them!

Tom Garrett

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

Bingo!!!

If I could add one thought to this well written statement, it is that those guns are not only for defending our homes against intrusion, but our communities, counties and states from a despotic regime that can only spawn more despotism.

I personally have suffered from the despotism of one tiny segment of this government, which this government (At that time) corrected. But, that correction was reason coming down from above to straighten our a small segment misguided; thus resulting in that segment again becoming as it was designed, not harming the ones under it.

In this case, the despotism is at the very top. And the segment of the government that made those corrections I mentioned (While still capable of correcting despotism, even at the highest level) will fail to do so, IMHO. Therefore, it is up to us, the average Jane and Joe to defend ourselves, seeing our government abandons our welfare for its own.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

The simple truth is that a gun is a just a gun. No big deal. Just a tool. Something that does a job. I've got a book that shows all the gun control arguments in immense depth, and from both sides of the argument.

There is no evidence that any of the controls that have been proposed would actually do anything. The studies done show that a kid is about 1,000 times more likely to be struck by lightning in the schoolyard than to be threatened with--much less harmed by-- a gun. And the statistics show that things are getting better, not worse. That's why it is so shocking when something happens.

Go see when the gun laws were passed. First, a few during prohibition, when the elitists who pushed prohibition through realized that they had created a monster and were trying to correct it.

Then, right after JFK was assassinated. (The ironic part of that was that JFK was not only a gun owner, but he was a lifetime member of the NRA. He would have opposed the legislation that was pushed through.)

Then Columbine.

Now Connecticut.

The elitists, who want you disarmed so they can run things their way, use fear and hype to sell their chains to the people. And because fear is a powerful weapon, some people bite.

I don't get all heated up about the arguments because I know that's what some genuinely evil people would like to see us do. It's one way that they convince people that freedom loving men and women have something wrong with them.

You see, the things that we are all admire, the things we won 226 years ago when we formed this nation, are esentially liberal ideals: Freedom of speech, religion and the press. The right to vote. The right to lead your life as you please as long as you don't harm others in the process. Those are liberal beliefs. What conservatives are doing is fighting to keep those liberal beliefs alive. When some says that a policeman has to read someone his rights before he questions you that's an attempt to avoid having you give away your 5th Amendment rights. It may irritate us when we think is helps thugs, but try it if you are ever accused of something. In your innocence you are likely to blurt out things that can be used to convince a bongo-brained jury that you are guilty when you haven't done a thing wrong. Look at poor Fish. Some banana brain voted to put him in prison because he had "a big gun."

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

Oh sure, there places where we honestly disagree on how to apply our basic rights, but the basics are the basics, and by an large true liberals and true conservatives are fighting the same fight. That's why there are so many Independents. Both parties are under the control of extremists who actually care nothing about the little guy.

What is happening is that a small number of people who believe that they are superior to the rest of us use their positions to divide and conquer. They use sound bites and slogans to provoke us into hating each other. Then they pass laws that limit everyone's freedom. Just go to wiki, type in any office in the nation, read the names of the people who served in those offices, and see how many of them went to Harvard Law School or some other Eastern Elitist school. See how they play musical chairs with cabinet poistions. See how they essentially run the country.

They're the great danger to liberty. They always have been.

Some guy with a gun under his bed is just making sure that if some crook makes the mistake of coming in his house it's a mistake he'll only make once.

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

Isn’t it strange that “as the worm turns” things turn themselves inside out? What was once liberal is now archaic, and what was once despicable is now desirable. The younger generations have no concept of that. As Solomon said “there is nothing new under the sun”. What was, will be again, and new generations will discover the ‘truth’ as they see it, which has been ‘truth’ before, and later those same ‘truths’ became lies and decadence.

Even the fact that “a small number of people who believe that they are superior to the rest of us use their positions to divide and conquer” is as old as man is. Yet neither you (With all your eloquence) nor I, can cause this generation to stop and think, to reconsider or even look for themselves at the repetition of their actions, when seen historically. Or to see this elitist superiority is the sign of little people who magnify themselves to the level of importance. Of course some few will listen and even take up the cause, but the “tide rushes on”.

“The blind lead the blind and they both fall in a ditch.” That too, is a “vain repetition”. It makes you feel as if you are on a roller coaster, and the one at the controls “is bent upon destruction”. You want to put your foot on the ground and try to brake it before it hits the next slope, but that is of course impossible, even in concert.

You might think such things are fatalistic, but only without consideration of God and what and who he is. I’ve read his book, and by doing so, I can see the end. And, that end is near IMHO. Therefore with good cause Paul wrote “ For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”

Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to “strive for the right, as we see that right”. Living in the hope of not only salvation but the freedoms to proclaim and live it. It would be easy to drop into fatalism, and give up, but rather it is our duty to our God and Lord to “endure to the end”, and to “keep the faith” and let our “light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Even so “come Lord Jesus”.

Until then we should and will "Cling to ... [our] guns and religion". Life is almost as precious as freedom, but not quite. "Give me liberty or give me death" rings faintly but convincingly "down the dusty halls of time". Like the song so wonderfully said "As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free”.

“I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred … camps … Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel … He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave, He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave, So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of Time His slave, Our God is marching on.”

Peace to you.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

What can I say? You said it all.

All I can add is something I thought of while commenting on another string.

A good part of our problem is that we get our information from the electronic media, and instead of hearing news we are fed opinion in the guise of news.

The result is two fold: a. We don't actually hear the news. b. Things always seem worse that they really are.

That second one is a big deal. The media want to convince us that things are going much better for the people they support than they really are, and that the world is going to go down the tubes if we don't let them fix the terrible problems we have. They play up the things they want to change, and play down the ones they don't. That results in a situation where things look hopeless. But look around. Is anyone starving? Are we sitting in our homes, cold and unhappy? Do we trudge to work shoeless and in rags? Did Hitler win or lose? Did someone push the button or did Communism fall? Are the people back east recovering from the floods? Is school violence up or down?

Hell! According to the media things are hopeless, and have been that way for a long time, but we're still hanging in there, and something tells me we're not really as bad off as they'd like us to think we are. How long, and how many times, after all, can we hover over the abyss without falling in?

There is no doubt that we need freedom of the press, so I would never suggest we pass laws to gag fools and elitists, but we could use a lot more honesty in reporting. In truth no one wants the news reported without at least some commentary. That's a large part of how we come to understand what's really at stake. We can't know everything; we need experts to explain things--but not to shovel s--t through a TV screen.

When I was a boy it was easy to tell news from commentary. They actually told you which was which. We could use a little more of that.

In newspapers, commentary was once almost entirely reserved to editorials. I used to be amazed at the vitriol hurled at FDR in the New York Daily News during the war. It seemed impossible that anyone could so hate a man who was guiding our nation through hard times, and doing such a great job of it. FDR knew one thing about fighting wars. Get the devil out of the way and let the military do its job. But the Daily News simply seemed unable to set aside its prewar hatred. I never forget their editorials praising Tom Dewey, who couldn't find his backside with both hands if you gave him all day to do it.

Anyway, the point is that I suspect you can divide the gloom and doom by--say--a couple of thousand and you'll be closer to the truth. As far as electronic news is concerned, try my method. Use the net. It'll help to assure that your digestive tract doesn't perforate. :-)

Reach out and flip that switch. If advertising-driven stations find they are being turned off because no one wants to be propagandized, maybe they'll learn to get back to unbiased news.

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mike szabo 1 year, 7 months ago

Great write up Tom. The Obama Administration wants people to feel like their rights to own guns to hunt with will never be violated . My opinion is. The one gun I choose to fight off a tyrannical government will be very capable of taking down game to feed many!.It's not about hunting.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

That's right, Mike. It's not about hunting. It's about the fundamental right of any person to own whatever he or she needs to defend self and family. We don't need a Second Amendment to tell us that, though we'd fight to the wall to keep it. All the Second Amendment, and most of the Bill of Rights, did was put in writing what already existed, what Jefferson called "inalienable rights."

Just read it again:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

What else could he have meant?

You suppose that we didn't have a right to make a club, a spear, or a bow and arrow before there were any laws? The power of government flows THROUGH the people to the government. We don't need to ask permission to do things we were worn with the rights to do. The government needs ot ask our permission to write laws.

End of argument.

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

I’ve given some thought to how to limit the manipulation of press, but I’ve not come with anything that doesn’t run afoul of the 1st amendment. (:-))

I’ve toyed with the idea of a few media types buying the defunct NBC, to propagate conservative views, but then we’d just have another Fox News. And, we’d just have all the emotional turmoil in spades.

So, have you given consideration of how to get out the “Ordinary and Everyday” view? Not conservative, per se, but like this paper, with a chance for anyone to speak. The limitation of this medium is so few read it. What “we the people” need is our own voice, which we have via internet and via good newspapers. But, we need it consolidated, where the everyday Joe’s sit down to listen to it, without all the emotional stuff that is like a hook in the noses of those who are so gullible.

What we have now is like a river flowing underground. It isn’t visible, nor can it be easily measured. Least of all, are views available to the general public without the twisting of the media, as it stands now.

As far as the gloom and doom? Consider the conversations held prior to the adoption of the Constitution. Look at the Federalist Papers themselves. You see there men who were highly concerned about possibilities.

I don’t expect a knock on my door. But, I want to consider the possibilities. And, I am also cognizant of the frog in the boiling water scenario. (My Dad proved that, BTW, when he was a boy. Unless he was pulling our legs. Maybe we should revisit the experiment.) We’ve sat in the water too long. Do we continue to? Is it not better to be proactive, rather than reactive?

As I mentioned in another post, I was nearby when the Branch Davidians were massacred. I stood on a hill and watched history happen. My ex-wife was involved in the police/FBI daily briefings given on TV, so she had firsthand knowledge of how highhanded the government acted.

As for as the power of the government flowing through us? Do you really think that is still the case, in the Federal arena?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

"As for as the power of the government flowing through us? Do you really think that is still the case, in the Federal arena?"

No!

What is happening now is that because of our winner-take-all elections we are subjected to the wishes of one group of fanatics for four years and the wishes of the other group for the next four years. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth they march--right over the people, who don't really buy into either extreme but aren't offered anything else.

Here are the actual numbers; you can go to wiki and verify them.

As of 2010 national polls show that 31% of Americans identified as Democrats (tying a 22-year low), 29% as Republicans, and 38% as independents. The proportion of independents in 2011 was the largest in 60 years.

What does that say? Clearly, it says two things. Americans are fed up with the same old partisan hype and tripe, and we are showing by those numbers that we are nation of people whose views are much more moderate than those of our "leaders."

Every four years we go through a mock election. Every lies and someone wins. Then he can't live up to his lies and more people drop out his party. Then another election....

And look at what our elections are. Two people who represent important viewpoints run for office. And what? Only one of them goes to Washington. That means that for 4 long years--or maybe even 8--the other people who voted have no one to represent them. That was okay when there were no political parties, back when our Constitution was written. People had their own personal beliefs; they were not gathered into two groups with opposite beliefs. So it was okay that one man lost and one won. By and large we got the same government.

But now?

What should we do about it?

Hell! I have known how to fix this mess for the last 30 years and have never said a word about it because I know %$#@! well no one will listen. It is so simple, it will almost break your mind to read it. Okay, here we go. I'll put it up in a separate post. Try to find soemthing wrong with it, but watch it be ignored.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

How to fix a broken nation.

Election time. People are registered--Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. In AZ it's about 31% D, 34% R, 34% I. The D's put up their man, so do the R's and the I's. We all vote.

But we ONLY vote as we are registered. I'm an I; I get to vote for the guy (or gal) I think is the best Independent thinker. Others get to vote for D's and R's.

And what?

THREE people go to Washington. When they vote, the R vote counts 34 points, the I vote counts 34 points, and the D vote counts 31 points.

The President? We go right back to the original intent of the Constitution, which put the two men with the highest amount of votes in office, one as president and one as VP. The idea was that both viewpoints would be represented in the White House. (Instead, we have a King with a four year term.) Anyway, we send THREE people instead of two. They serve as co-presidents instead of temporary kings, we kick the 500 partisan permanent electioneers out of the White House and the veto power is--you guessed it--split 34/34/31.

Bingo! No more knock down drag out elections. No more gridlock. People can go to Washington and vote their consciences because they know that the people who elected them sent them there to do that. Everyone is represented all the time. No more feeling that Washington doesn't represent us.

Just one thing, to keep from sending too many people to Washington we increase the size of districts so we have the same number of representatives we have now, and we send three senators from each state so all viewpoints are represented.

Notice that we now have a republic which is what a republic was supposed to be; one where all viewpoints are represented, but if one viewpoint is held by more people than the other two, then there are more people in office of that viewpoint--but never enough to form a dangerous "temporary majority."

Gerrymandering? Impossible! If you jam a whole lot of D's into one district, it will just mean that there will be more R's in another one, and so on. Can't cheat.

Okay, now tell me I'm crazy. It's what I always thought people would say if I showed them what's wrong with the way we elect people, and how easy it is to fix it.

Maybe I AM crazy to believe that a republic is good idea, and that with a little tweaking we could have one that worked.

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

Each of us is trying to figure a better way. The way it was, rings truer to me than anything I've seen or heard of. The reason it has failed is not the fault of the way it was written, but the failure of the representatives to properly uphold the Constitution, as it was written, and revised.

So, I conclude that the failure that can be attributed to the Constitution (Not its writers) is that it had no mechanism to stop people's desire to read it differently than written. I say not the writers for they agonized over that very issue and did the best they could. However, the best they could do was still inherently frail, for humans have frailty built into anything they design

No matter what they devised to roadblock purposeful misinterpretation would, itself, be misinterpreted. Considering they could not foretell the future, they did quite well. Hindsight, shows that the Constitution is so perverted it needs to be replaced. Not with a myriad of rules and do’s and don’ts; but with replacement clauses (Mirroring those first written) with language to better roadblock those who purposely abuse it. The strength of the Constitution is its simplicity.

As for your suggestion, I think it would work for a while. But, suppose the mix changes, and becomes more polarized than it is now? That has actually been the situation for much of our history. If that should occur, then we’d have a three-sided peg for a two-sided hole, so to speak. (Poor analogy, sure, but you get the idea.) Our Constitution worked, as long as we allowed it to work. But, as the founders stated (to paraphrase.) once they determine they can vote themselves the wealth of others, it will be over’. And, that is where we are now.

Of the tens of thousands of laws on the books, we are wading through a morass of slimy filth. There is only one solution, and that is a constitutional convention to address the issues at hand. This is why I say we can’t blame the writers of the Constitution, for they foresaw this eventuality, though they could not write the avoidance of it, into the Constitution. They therefore provided that we fix it ourselves. It will require a ‘call’ from the congress. We legally can’t call it on our own, though that might happen.

When will they do that? Maybe never. But, I conclude that it will be only at the threat of another Civil War. They missed the chance back in 1861, which is why I don’t have a lot of respect for Lincoln, like everyone else has. But, if you were president then, would you have not attempted any effort to avoid Civil War? He could have called on congress to call a convention to perhaps stave off death, and none advanced the idea. Why? So, why not now, before we do have blood in the streets?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

"The strength of the Constitution is its simplicity."

That's exactly right, and I wish more people would realize that. It doesn't try to create a set of rules for every situation; it just lays out a general principle and says, "Okay. Here's what we want. Just make sure that whatever you do, it stays within this guideline."

Here's the thing about an election procedure like the one I mentioned. The electioneering would be within each party. People in each party would be trying to convince people of like minds that they best fitted the basic party beliefs--not the extremes. That's what is wrong now. We get extremists on both sides who get in office with a majority and push crap through. We don't want extremmists. We want representatives who are like the people who elect them--fair and reasonable people.

The second thing is that when Congress met there would ALWAYS be people of all beliefs there to give a little and take a little. As it is now we get a one-sided view of everything. The reason our forefathers didn't realize how poorly a winner-take-all system would work is that they thought in regional terms. They were worried about each state being well represented. They were right to be worried and they set up a system that works quite well where that's concerned. But they foresaw the dangers of parties, where people got together and voted together to control things even if they didn't believe in what they were doing. That's what we are seeing now.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

Ever talk to anyone in office? I have. I knew someone quite well before he got elected and although my Air Force duties transferred me from where he lived, I talked to him twice after he was elected. Really honest guy. First time we ever sat down and talked after he was elected I was on my way overseas before I met Lolly. I made a swing into his state on my way to Japan. He really made me think:

"I don't really think that (name bleeped) is worth a d--n. Good man, but he hasn't got the party behind him. We do whatever we want and he just signs it. You wouldn't believe some of the pork barrel stuff we're running through. I'd like to sit down and write a piece about it, but one word from the wrong person and my funds would dry up and I'd be back home."

That was bad enough, but the other time we talked really discouraged me. About four years later I came home from overseas and visited him on my way to my new duty station in California. He wasn't in office anymore. He hadn't run for a third term, but I couldn't get him to tell me why. Then, just as we were leaving that night he stopped us at the door, frowned, and said the words that started me thinking about what's wrong with our winner-take-all system.

"Tom, I just couldn't do it anymore. I felt cheap, like I was selling myself for a handful of peanuts. It isn't what you think it is. Most of what you see is just for show. People don't even bother to go listen to debates. There's no one there. Sometimes they just enter a speech in the record that was never spoken. While we were in power everythihg was like some kind of amateur night where the whole show is written in advance. I introduced a bill one day. Before I could get back to my office an intern came running up to me with a sealed envelope, handed it to me, and ran off again. I opened it and there was my bill, something I had worked on for over six months. There was a hand written note with it. It said, 'Don't ever do this again!' I couldn't understand what was wrong. The bill was a good one. I knew that people would vote for it in commitee and on the floor, and that it would probably pass into law because we had the votes. Later on, a bill which was almost exactly the same was put in the hopper with an important name on it and a slight difference--which state the money was going to go to. And then I understood. It was okay for me to write bills that didn't mean much, but all the glory had to go to the people with the names, and if there was any funding it was going to the people who put up the election funds for someone. What really got me was that (bleep) stood up and talked against the bill, when I knew d--n well that he and (bleep) worked on it together. It was all a sham. The party ran the whole show. That's why you see me back here in my old business again. All they wanted me for was a rubber stamp. I'd rather just do something I'm good at than spend two years at a time in a little theater production."

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

“The electioneering would be within each party.” Ah, now that makes a lot of sense. Except, how do you convince the parties to do this? Should the government force them, presuming we had a government that wanted to fix the problem? It would take a movement like the tea party to pull it off, and then it would have to be the darling of the party, not hated for every breath it took. Even so, I like the concept.

“… our forefathers didn't realize how poorly a winner-take-all system would work is that they thought in regional terms.” Yes, they had a regional view, personally, but they had a correct view of the national problem. They rightly anticipated this region would have more stroke than that one, and provided what they hoped would be adequate protection from that.

When South Carolina, in 1832, resisted the Federal Government (As a result of one region overpowering another) the situation showed the flexibility of the Constitution to protect regional rights, after an obvious attempt to force unwanted desires upon a particular region by another. However, the system failed (As mentioned above) when the events of the Civil War unfolded.

I think any system, no matter how we structure it, is only as good as the people who run it. Your description of your friend’s plight seems common. I’ve heard it said that ‘Our system is a rotten one, but it is the best one we have’, thus this discussion. And, we have had a two party system from the first, though not specified in the Constitution.

If you have multiple factions in congress (i.e. Republicans, Democrats, Independents and say another group not as populous as the others) then you are forced into a government that is made up of coalitions. That form of government is inherently weak, for each faction of the coalition in power would constantly be pulling strings to get their own way.

It would make the congress become a committee of committees based on even more committees, making it ultimately more inefficient than it is today. Therefore, I do not dream of multiple parties. Look at the English Parliament. They have to re-arrange their governments every once in awhile, and not necessarily predicated upon election dates. Coalitions fall apart. Others are made. The Prime Minister is forced to call for new elections at odd times.

It reminds me of a flock of geese. They fly beautifully for some time, but then they lose the cohesion that allowed that formation to move so efficiently. They mill around, looking like mass chaos, but then, they pick a leader and they take off again. I think that a poor means of ruling a diverse country. We can't afford a government like that. It's an apt description of what we have now.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

"If you have multiple factions in congress (i.e. Republicans, Democrats, Independents and say another group not as populous as the others) then you are forced into a government that is made up of coalitions."

"That form of government is inherently weak...."

That's exactly what the federal government should be. "Weak"--if by weak we mean unable to force the ideas of one group through, which is what we have now.

You know what? I studied the British government while I was over there and I learned something. I'm not saying that I would want us to adopt their way of doing things--forming a new government every time the one they have can't get a bill through. But what I saw made a lot of sense. Over here we get someone in office, find out that he lied when he got elected, and are stuck with him and his exteremist ways for four years. You know how long that would last over there? Six months at the outside. They'd be rid of anyone who tried shoving through some of the stuff we are seeing.

So the way I figure it we adopt a system where all parties are represented all the time, forcing Congress to work together to get things done. No more one party Congresses; that's where the very worst legislation we see comes from.

And no more Kings. Them we don't need either. Right now, because he has the votes in Congress, but not among the people, Obama is literally able to rule by decree. Try that if there were no one person at the very top.

Why should there be one BIG MAN at the top? That's a King. All the president was supposed to be was an "administrator," the one who implements the laws. But what we have now is more of a four year dictator. Imagine the White House, with more than 500 people doing political work all the time. Why should we pay for a propaganda agency that pounds us with garbage all the time?

What we need is what the Constitution more hinted at than stated. Someone to run the government that exists, not to flip it on its head every four years. Why should the head of--say--the FBI be a politician? What has law enforcement go to do with politics? The head of the FBI ought to be the cop who worked his way up from the bottom because he was the best COP, not someone who went through Hahvahd Law School and got a BUMPAH STICKAH for it.

Anyway, the basic idea that we send three people to Washington instead of one is the only way we will ever break the swing of the pendulum back and forth. It also, by the way, will get rid of the need for candidates to have to spend enormous amounts of money to get elected, thereby killing the way the special interests control elections.

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

Don’t forget, the primary purpose for government is to defend our country. Look at England. During WWII, it couldn’t defend itself. Its government was so weakened by Chamberlain’s ‘weak’ regime that the greatest nation in the world had so weakened itself that it could not counter an upstart like Hitler.

They had to call the old war horse, Churchill, out of retirement to pull the fat out of the fire, which he did, and then they sacked him. They tossed him out on his ear without as much as a thank you, too. But, even Churchill couldn’t have saved them without his successful lobbying the US to help and intervene. And, even that didn’t save their position in the world.

Since then their route has been ever downward. Now, they are a backwater country who can’t decide if they should knuckle under to the EU or not. It’s a half-assed country (Internationally) run by a half-assed government.

Hitler would have conquered them if we hadn’t intervened. No matter how weak we want our government to be towards its own citizens, we still need it to be stronger than a coalition government could ever be.

“… we adopt a system where all parties are represented all the time” I like that idea, but how would you bring that about? And, how would you do it without it being a joke, like the Italian government, which makes England look like a powerhouse.

I disagree with the notion that we don’t need one man at the top. It has worked for 226 years. But, the failure, now, has been that the congress is filled with radicals who want him to succeed against the Constitution, which prevents the system from impeaching him should he go rogue, as Obama has done.

Again, you describe a government ruled by committee, and that is sure fire death to any government. It doesn’t work. Russia tried that, and it resulted in one man scratching his way to the top, to become virtual dictator without any mechanism to remove him. It took them 70 years to shake that plague.

Are you suggesting that we elect 3 to the presidency? If they had equal power, we’d have pitiful control, because two would always gang up on the third, and to do that, they’d compromise on this and that, gaining what neither really wanted.

That is rule by committee, which again, can’t function on a world scale. Which one carries the briefcase with the launch codes? Do they sit in the plane and have an argument when Russian or Chinese warheads are inbound?

Have you played the game risk? It pits the players against one another, but invariably two or three will gang up on the other player(s) until opposition is wiped out, then they fight each other until only the top dog is left. It is world politics in a nutshell. Our politicians would learn a lot from a few rounds of that.

If one was president and the other two were VP’s, then they would be relegated to nothing type jobs, like Biden is now, and you’d still have one man pulling the strings and launching the missiles.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

"Are you suggesting that we elect 3 to the presidency?"

No. Sorry if it sounded like that.

The Constitution originally had the idea that since we had no political parties we should just let people run against each other for the top job and the two top men would be president and vice president. That way we got two of the best. That's what I'd like to see. The best man in each party in the White House. A president and two VP's. We'd still have a single commander in chief, and only one man would make certain decisions, but some of the work would be spread around. VP1 could run the Senate meetings, as is done now, but just as now would have no authority to make decisions there. VP2 could run the House meetings the same way.

Only when it came to voting for vetoes would I have them all share the decision, and the purpose of that is to prevent a partisan president from undoing all the work that the people we sent to DC to write the laws do. Think about it. If Congress works on a law for months, finally gets it as good as it is going to get, and passes it, why should one partisan man or woman get to veto it? Makes no sense. With three people there, two out of the three would have to think the law was no good. Since they would be the party leaders, if two out of three of them thought the law was a bad one, it would have to be pretty bad.

See how sensible that is? It gets the job done.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

And your view of "rule by commitee" being a bad thing is true, but you overlooked one thing. Congress IS a commiteee. It's supposed to BE a commmitee. It's supposed to be the best people we have in the country, sent to DC to work on our problems.

It isn't that now because elections are winner-take-all and what Congress ends up being is a batch of politicians who talked their way into office just to be in office. They don't go there to pass laws and solve problems; they go there to make a name and STAY in office. But if they had the backing of the people who sent them there, and didn't have to worry about elections so much, they wouldn't have to spend so much time grandstanding.

Here's the idea: We have three national party conventions. The Republicans in our area here in AZ vote among two, or three, or four Republicans who want to represent us, and one of them is chosen as the one who best matches what we want. So we have elected three or four Republican representives. At the same time we voted statewide among three or four Republicans who were running for the Senate, and one of them has won. Okay, the winning Republicans would be going to DC, but they'd first to the Repubican Party Convention and help to choose the one person in the nation who best represents the Republican viewpoint.

The same thing would happen for Democrats and Independents.

Three people would run for president; the best in each party. There would be no running mates. Which one would be president? In the election the one who drew the most votes would be President, the one getting the second most votes would be VP1, and the third most VP2.

What would we have in Congress? The very best men and women of each viewpoint. They wouldn't get there by fighting like cats and dogs, lying about each other, spending God only knows how much on campaigns, and turning the whole process into something we all hate. They would truly represent the people of THEIR viewpoint. When a law was passed it would have to pass muster; it could never again be a lopsided thing like Obama's health care bill.

That's not government by committee. That's a TRUE Republic, what the world has always dreamt of having, but which we NEVER get because we let the fighting take place in the wrong place--in the elections, when we should be trying to elect the best, not the biggest liars.

See the difference?

We'd have the same number of people in office, but now we would have a fair and balanced viewpoint in DC. And we'd have largely weeded out extremists because just having money to spend isn't going to get you elected. And special interests could go take a hike.

That would work!

It's a hell of a lot better than what we have!

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

Ah, OK, that was what I hoped you meant, re the three top men. I don’t see much to argue with on that. It would be appropriate, if we could get it done. Don’t you think it would take that Constitutional Convention to pull that off?

As for the veto exception, I’m not sure that should be in the hands of more than one man. But, I am intrigued by the idea. Also, the fact that the congress works hard on something doesn’t mean it is best for the people, and a veto might be best for the nation. For example, had the president vetoed the health Care Bill, instead of smiling all over himself as he signed it. Now, had you two such veto votes additional, would they have vetoed it? Maybe. It’s still a tossup.

Of course congress is a committee, and that is why the executive branch exists, for they knew that congress should not have the actual control strings of the country, but merely the ability to represent the people, control the purse and impeach. Beyond that, they have not the capacity to affect the daily affairs of the nation.

“if they had the backing of the people who sent them there, and didn't have to worry about elections so much, they wouldn't have to spend so much time grandstanding.” Will that’s nice, but how do we make this shift? I see no mechanism existing, or capable of being created that would achieve this change in congress. Nor, do I foresee how even a Constitutional Convention could bring it about. In theory, of course, but theory and practicality are sometimes far apart. In theory the Constitution guarantees us protection from abuses of it. But, we see that hasn’t worked in the last few years. Practically speaking, the Constitution has been trashed.

And, you would let the congressmen become the ‘Electoral College’ for the 3 top dogs? Hmmm.

“What would we have in Congress? The very best men and women of each viewpoint.” I cannot conceive how you would accomplish that. Guess I’m dense? (:-)) Guess that’s an understatement, eh? And, it would make the executive branch totally subject to the whelms of congress. There goes the idea of 3 equal branches of government.

“See the difference?” I see that you’re striving for a better congress. But, presuming you have the best men there, (Which I doubt greatly) it is still a committee. (:-)). Maybe a better committee, but still a committee. And, yes, with a better base of congressmen, you might get men who would actually adhere to the constitution. (Without that, you have anarchy); and you would need to find a better means of electing the P & 2 VP’s. Otherwise, you have 2 branches and a subservient third branch, which would be totally disastrous for the affairs of state.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

"Don’t you think it would take that Constitutional Convention to pull that off?"

Yep! When the states at last realize that the federal government is incapable of repairing itself they will have to act.

"...and a veto might be best for the nation."

I agree, but it should not be a one-party decision. Under the new system the president would be a member of the most populous party, so having the veto power lie in the hands of three people at the top would prevent one party from pushing through laws like Obamacare.

"Now, had you two such veto votes additional, would they have vetoed it?"

At the time, the statistics clearly showed that a majority of the nation did not want the bill passed. That's why it was so hard for Obama to get enough votes for it. Having the veto power split would have stopped the bill from becoming law. In fact, the knowing that would happen, the bill would have been very different. Having to buy insurance or be fined would never have made it into it, for example.

"I cannot conceive how you would accomplish that."

When the election in each district is divided into three parts, with each of the three parties voting separately, the run-up to the election would include talks given by condidates to people in their own party district. It would be a lot like what is happening right now at the Tea Party meetings, where conservatives come and talk. Candidates would travel around the district talking to people who were of similar mind. The talks would be reported on in the papers. People could actually choose the person they thought was the best. There would be no interference between parties because the election would be within each party. That doesn't mean that the best man or woman would win every time, but it makes it a lot more likely. It similar to what happens in any organization--say General Motors--when a company-wide meeting takes place. Someone from each division is sent to the meeting, and the motivation to send the best is obvious. It just taps into self-interests--which is what he do not tap into now.

Well, Allan, if you don't want a nation which has a committee for a government, you don't want a republic. That's what a republic IS; a group of people who get together, talk over problems, and come up with solutions. The alternative is to have everyone vote on every issue. I don't see how we could get that to work. How would we ever teach the people all the ins and outs of every issue?

The "committee" thing looks bad in the English form of gvernment because it has to do with the way they form a "government," which in England is by definition a "temporary majority." The smeems and the groobs get together, have a majority, and form a government. But then the smeems and the groobs have to agree all the time or else the government "falls" and they have to form another temporary majority. But Parliament as whole is a republic, except for the fact that Upper House (House of Lords) is composed of the elite.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

Since no one has commented on this string I just wanted to take a moment to say something I meant to say at the very beginning.

It's takes courage to stand up for what you believe, which is what those two sheriffs over there in Oregon have done. After all, they could be risking their jobs by standing up for what they believe.

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

Patience, my friend. I’ve been trying to get the time to answer. I have done a few short things elsewhere; but this requires some work. (:-)

You realize that the states can’t just call a convention. The Constitution says at least 2/3’s of the states must apply to the congress, which then would call the convention. That would not be so easy to get past congress, for they would realize the states would pull their playhouse down. I suspect that the congress would not call a convention until its back was against the wall.

When you say “president would be a member of the most populous party”, that hasn’t always been the case. Nixon won the popular vote, but Kennedy moved into the White House. It’s been that way in many elections.

The more I hear about a triad at the top the less I’m convinced it would work. They would be constantly at odds, and obviously they would hold more power than the current VP. Additionally, they would work for the Pres., and when that happens, you don’t usually have equality. I recognize several of the benefits you’ve presented, but still think those men long ago, who put a lot more time into this, than we have here, called it right.

Regarding what a republic is, it’s my understanding that it is simply representative government, rather than a true democracy, oligarchy or dictatorship. Every nation that depended on a democracy in the past failed. So, the founders formed a “Federal Constitutional Republic” as opposed to a simple republic. Rome had a republic of sorts, and was successful for about 350 years or so, but then it became dominated by a handful of senators and finally by what was to become the emperor. But, in that transition, while not still a republic the rulers kept that illusion, as is being done now.

With our constitution, the committee form of representation fulfills 2/3’s of the government, but the other 1/3rd is in the hands of one man. They did this, recognizing the fallacy of leaving defense and certain necessary functions (Like the treasury, postal service and so forth) in the hands of a capable administrator. This system worked well for about 125 years or so. Then, the ‘progressives’ took over, and its been downhill since then.

So, as interesting as your theories are, I have to opt for the original. But, like you, I think we are with our backs to the wall. If the situation can be saved, it will only be saved if a Constitutional Convention can be called in order to restore the Federal Government as it once was. Not by reinventing the wheel. The only additional things that should take place is limiting the number of departments, limiting the number of things the government should be involved in and limiting the ability of the congress to pass laws that don’t strictly adhere to that constitution. Without that, we slowly drift towards dictatorship.

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

The sheriff's in Oregon are a few among several who have put everyone on notice that they will thwart any attempt to cram unconstitutional laws between the people and their liberties.

There's been a couple in Texas, and I've also heard of this in Vermont, as well, though I don't have any information on those.

Oklahoma and Utah have instituted laws to the same effect.

Are they a flash in the pan? Or, is this finally the head of the people rising up against oppression?

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

"When you say “president would be a member of the most populous party”, that hasn’t always been the case..."

That's a peculiarity of our system--the electoral college et al. Our forefathers didn't really trust the people, so they set up a system that made it hard for us to have "mob rule," but I think we are beyond the stage where we have an uneducated mob, so I guess we could do without the electoral college. Personally, I don't really care one way or the other. The only thing that concerns me is the veto power.

"The more I hear about a triad at the top the less I’m convinced it would work."

Allan, I DO NOT want a triad at the top. I want the exact same presidential powers we have now. It would be dangerous to change them. The only place I want anything different is where the veto is concerned. I just mentioned having VP2 as the Speaker of the House to give him a regular job to do--just as the VP now sits in the senate.

Right now the presidential veto sometimes screws things up, and sometimes makes them better. When a president wields it against a Congress that is of the opposite party that's understandable--a natural part of what we now have. But it would be wrong to have the head of one of three parties vetoing the work of a truly representative Congress. It would allow for abuses. That's the only reason I called for the splitting of veto power. Everything else stays the same.

In truth, if you think about it, I'm not really pushing for much change. I just want to see each party represented in Congress all the time. That's really what our founding fathers wanted--a legislative body that represented the people. We don't have it because they hated the idea of parties and so they didn't take them into account. But we've got parties and we have to find a system that works with them. This one will. It's not all that much different. It takes some of the hatred out of the elections, and it makes sure that we have a Congress that truly represents the people by making sure that every point of view is represented--in proportion to the number of people who hold it.

I look at it this way: Literally all Americans (with the exception of elitists) genuinely believe in the same basic freedoms. When we get the party leaders from area of each state in Congress we'll be a lot better off because they will share a common set of beliefs. It's only among elitists that isn't true. This system wrests control of the parties from elitist hands and gets rid of the pendullum swings they cause.

That's its purpose.

"Are they a flash in the pan?"

The greatest piece of luck that we Americans share is the fact that we started out as 13 separate countries, and that our Constitution--unlike any other in the world--retains powers to those states and all new states we formed. In all other countries the power goes from the people to the federal government and is then dribbled back to areas or towns that have no independent powers. Our states do!

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ALLAN SIMS 1 year, 7 months ago

Hi, Tom. Sorry to not be responding as I should.

I'm out of state right now, and holding down two jobs. Life is short, and burning the candle at both ends isn't conducive to good correspondence. (:-))

And, it seems wrong to continue to post here, as long as I'm out of state. No real reason for that, but that is how it strikes me.

As soon as this glut of work subsides, and I can get back, I'll sure pick it up.

Until then, amigo, Via Con Dios!

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Pat Randall 1 year, 7 months ago

Allan, Don't complain think of all the people that don't have one job. (:

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

Pat,

You crack me up! Ever since that one about "Nuke em!" back when we were talking about the solution in Iraq seven years ago I can always depend on you to say something that puts a smile on my face.

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Tom Garrett 1 year, 7 months ago

Allan,

What you said about working out of town really made me think. Man! What I could have given for this little laptop and the internet back in my last six years in the Air Force when I had to go on all those trips. (I screwed up. I took a job and didn't know I'd end up having to travel from base to base as training advisor.)

I'd get off on some strange base in the States or some foreign country, and might be there for 9 or 10 weeks--whatever it took to get the job done. I'd start with the officers and work my way down. Sometimes I taught management, but most of the time I taught people how to teach, but that's not what this post is about.

It's about is what I did after I finished work, ate, and went back to my room--which as often as not was in a hotel, not on base. Most of the time what I did was....

....nothing.

I read a lot, and I'd sometimes drift over to the service club to see if there was anyone who played a good game of ping-pong or chess.

I started painting while I was in England, and that helped. I could bring canvases, oils, and brushes, and a little fold-up aluminum easel. That made a BIG difference. There's a lot to paint in Europe. I could wander around with a sketch pad and some charcoal or pastels, capture something, come back, and paint it. That filled the hours. (Made a buck too. After a while I was earning half as much with my painting as I was being paid by the Air Force. But that's not why I painted.)

None of that is what you got me thinking about. It's the wonder of being able to take a little machine like this one with you and be in instant touch with home, and with the whole world for that matter. I missed being away from Lolly--badly! I cursed myself for being dumb enough to take that job without knowing what it entailed. I wrote letters, of course--lots of them, but think of how different it would have been if we could have e-mailed back and forth. We could have sat down each evening and fired them back and forth. How I would have loved that!

Times change, don't they? Sometimes I think we only see the bad changes, not the good ones.

I'll give you a quick example. As the youngest of four boys--all gone now except me--and with a gap in ages that made my older brothers much older than I was, I knew nothing about what was going on, especially since Daddy died when I was five. So when my nephew John wrote and asked me about the family I knew nothing. But in less than two weeks I got on this crazy machine, learned some things, and traced my family on both sides as far back as 1863.

Just a few short years ago, without the net and a high speed connection, that would have been impossible.

We live in amazing times!

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