Where is the Mourning for the Victims of the NYC Terrorist Attack?

NYC Terrorist Attack - memorial #2 (Andres Kudacki, AP photo)  (photo by Andres Kudacki, AP)

by Diane Rufino, November 3, 2017

On Halloween Day, October 31, an Islamic jihadist, a heavily- bearded 29-year-old Uzbekistan demon drove a rented pickup truck down a crowded bike path near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, targeting, striking, crushing, and killing eight cyclists and pedestrians and injuring twelve.  Of the eight victims, six were foreign tourists and two were American. The incident is the deadliest terror attack that New Yorkers have seen since 9/11.

It has been four days and we still haven’t spent time learning about the victims and the families who are suffering from a senseless terrorist attack and from the political malfeasance of our government. They deserve our attention; they deserve for us to know who they were and what kind of individuals they were and how much they were loved by others.

Those killed in the terrorist attack have been identified as:  Darren Drake, 32, of New Milford, N.J.; Nicholas Cleves, 23, of New York; Anne Laure Decadt, 31, of Belgium; and Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi, all from Argentina and all aged 48-49.

Darren Drake worked at the World Trade Center, just blocks away from the attack. His father described him as “The most innocent, delicate kid in the world.”  At the hospital where he learned of his son’s death and had the heartbreaking task of identifying him, commented: “You don’t know how hard it is to see someone you’ve loved with your whole heart for 33 years lying dead.”

At 23, Nicholas Cleves was the youngest victim and only New Yorker to die in the attack. He lived near the site of the attack in Manhattan’s trendy West Village and worked as a software developer. He had just started his first job out of school. As his friend, Bahji Chancey, described: “He was a really, really kind, not heartless, intelligent and curious person. We always had conversations about what he was studying at school.”  His high school issued its condolences: “He was the most decent, kindest, human being, and just the nicest person to have around. He was kind, caring, curious, interested, and a great friend. He always had a kind word when you would pass him in the hall, and the biggest smile, and always offered to help, no matter the situation.”

After high school, Cleves enrolled in classes at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where he majored in computer science and minored in physics. As a university student, Cleves studied Italian, worked as an IT assistant, and tutored students in astronomy.  Philip Glotzbach, the college’s president, said in a statement posted Wednesday on the college’s website: “An incident of terrorism that takes the lives of innocent people anywhere in the world touches each of us in our fundamental humanity. But the effect is more pronounced, and far more personal, when our community is directly linked to such a horrendous event.”

Anne Laure Decadt, who traveled to the US from Belgium, was married and a mom of two young sons – just three years old and three months old.

The 5 victims from Argentina were childhood friends and were visiting New York City in celebration of their 30th high school reunion. They had been planning the trip for years. As teenagers, they had bonded in the halls and classrooms of the Instituto Politécnico, a technical high school in Rosario, Argentina’s third largest city. They graduated from the school together in 1987, and on Saturday, October 28, eight of the former classmates gathered to fly to the United States to celebrate their milestone reunion. They were united in life and united in death.  Argentine President, Mauricio Macri, called the group “model citizens” and made clear that “there can be no place for gray areas in the fight against terrorism.”

My heart goes out to the people of New York City and to the families of those killed in cold blood by yet another Islamic terrorist.  As anyone knows who has lived or visited NYC, it is the truly the city that never sleeps. It never sleeps because its people are full of life and energy; they want to do things, see things, take part in things. It’s full of culture, entertainment, education, business, history, technology, architecture, excitement.  It’s the reason people all over the world travel to visit her. It is profoundly tragic and unacceptable that terrorists among us cannot and are not being flushed out and exiled. They are not Americans but enemies. It is unacceptable that radicalization and ideology-motivated violence upon one another is permitted in this country – a country that was once founded on Christian love, peaceful coexistence, unity, and service to one another.

In this Brave New World that America has become, the brave are ordinary citizens who take their lives in their own hand when they dare to venture out on our American streets, in our American cities, dare to take the subways or airplanes, or take part in celebrations and public holidays, or go to concerts or nightclubs. The brave are our first responders and our law enforcement.  This is not the country we want. We want the country we once enjoyed before these animals and barbarians came here to harm us.

To Senator Schumer, who’s ingenious mind thought to actively bring in individuals, without any merit-based assessment or background search, and all the other members of Congress who joined him…  You career politicians willingly put diversity before safety, and put politics before common sense. Your job is to keep the country safe and NOT to re-populate the United States and engineer our social fabric. This is what happens when self-important politicians re-define their roles and the role of the government in general.

Make no mistake, the evil perpetrator, the assassin of innocent Americans, Sayfullo Saipov, was plucked from Uzbekistan for no other reason than to represent a population from the Middle East that is under-represented here in the United States. This is called social engineering. Saipov became a legal US resident seven years ago, under Shumer’s program, the Diversity Lottery Program, that should have been repealed as terrorism began escalating in the Middle East towards the end of the 20th century (1990’s) and certainly in conjunction with the Patriot Act following 9/11. In their infinite wisdom, our legislators provided a beauty of a program that was able to bring potential and actual terrorists into our communities in the aftermath of the 9/11 NYC terrorist attack.

As the government knows, or should have known, Uzbekistan exports a high percent of terrorists, jihadists, and ISIS sympathizers and there is a good reason for it. First of all, Uzbekistan borders on Afghanistan, a hotbed of jihadist activity and radicalization. Second, although the temptation and the recruitment for radicalization is all-too present, the country has a long and notorious record of restricting the religious practices of its majority Muslim population. For example, all clerics are government vetted; all madrassas are government controlled and infiltrated by undercover informants, and until recently, children under 18 were banned from attending mosques.  Pilgrims to Mecca have to go through a rigorous government vetting process and are then accompanied on the journey by government minders. Uzbekistan’s post-Soviet ruler, Islam Karimov, who died last year, outlawed Islamist political parties and imprisoned and tortured dozens of religious activists. The government keeps a “black list” of people it has decided are religious extremists – including Islamic jihadists and ISIS-sympathizers. According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, “Those on the list are barred from obtaining various jobs and travel, and must report regularly for police interrogations.” Until the country’s new president shortened the list back in August, it contained some 18,000 names.  [See Julia Ioffe’s article]  Yet Uzbekistan continued to be a country included in the government’s masterful “diversity program.”  The lack of concern for America’s safety is incomprehensible.

How bad of a monster is Saipov?  As he lay recovering in his comfortable hospital bed, supported in his medical treatment by the American taxpayers, he continued to profess that he was proud of what he had done. He even requested to display the Islamic State flag in his hospital room. He was motivated to carry out the ISIS-inspired attack (carried out to the T according to its “playbook”) after watching a video of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he questioned what Muslims in the United States were doing to respond to the killing of other members of their faith in Iraq.  I ask, which individuals are most likely to respond to recruitment such as that?  Christians? Protestants? Baptists? Jews?  The common sense answer is that it would be those from the very region pouring out such radicalized individuals, stemming from an interpretation of the religion of that region.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Saipov was on a Homeland Security watchlist but somehow he slipped through the cracks. How did that happen?  Even more, how often do we hear that happen?  We talk about a vetting policy when it comes to immigration, but we know that a policy, like our federal immigration laws, are merely words. It takes enforcement to give meaning to them. Without enforcement or even the competence to carry it out, the laws and policies are merely talking points.  It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry schools a Rental Car agent:

Jerry:  I don’t understand. Do you have my reservation?

Rental Car Agent:  We have your reservation, we just ran out of cars.

Jerry:  But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.

Rental Car Agent:  I think I know why we have reservations.

Jerry:  I don’t think you do. You see, you know how to ‘take’ the reservation, you just don’t know how to ‘hold’ the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.

The most important part of an immigration program is its enforcement. Supremely delegated to the federal government, Americans expect its enforcement to be diligent, judicious, and efficient. Otherwise, amend the Constitution to leave the task to the individual states.

In light of the string of terrorist attacks here in the United States and the on-going recruitment and radicalization of Muslims by terrorist groups, and in light of the diversity-related disfunction that is dividing our communities and college campuses, eroding our First Amendment guarantee of Free Speech, inciting endless meritless protests and civic disruptions, and posing safety risks, is it so hard to institute a common-sense policy when it comes to immigration criteria:  In deciding who comes into the country, why don’t we look for individuals (no matter what their background is) who WANT to be Americans rather than look for individuals simply to BE Americans.

 

References:

Julia Ioffe, “Why Does Uzbekistan Export So Many Terrorists,” The Atlantic, November 1, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/11/uzbekistan-terrorism-new-york-sayfullo-saipov/544649/

Max Radwin, Anthony Faiola, Samantha Schmidt and Amy B Wang, “Old Friends from Argentina Reunited in New York; They Died Together in a Terrorist Attack,” The Washington Post, November 1, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/11/01/five-old-friends-from-argentina-reunited-in-new-york-they-died-together-in-a-terrorist-attack/?utm_term=.649373933dea

Renae Merle and Marwa Eltagouri, “New York software engineer killed in terrorist attack had a ‘rare capacity for emotional IQ’,” The Washington Post, November 2, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/11/01/of-the-eight-killed-in-new-york-only-nicholas-cleves-called-it-home/?utm_term=.a67173a074c7

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Senator Bob Corker Unravels as He Realizes He Can’t Win Re-Election

Bob Corker and Trump

by Diane Rufino (inspired by George Liberty), Nov. 2, 2017

You gotta love politicians and their hypocrisy.  Last week we were all treated to Sen. Bob Corker’s grade school antics. Unfortunately, things aren’t going so well for Corker (R-TN) right now with respect to his upcoming re-election; he apparently isn’t too popular. He blames his growing unpopularity on President Donald Trump and as children do in such situations, they lash out and say mean things. He said Trump is a liar, is unfit for the office, debases the country, and shouldn’t be trusted with the nation’s nuclear codes. Furthermore, he referred to the White House a Day Care Center.

The truth is that Corker asked President Trump to endorse him for re-election and said he couldn’t win without it, but Trump refused to do so.

Sen. Corker, there are a few things I would like to get off my chest.  Considering all that President Trump has accomplished and is trying to accomplish, and despite a total incapable and dysfunctional Congress (which has been for many decades now), perhaps you can answer the following questions for me and millions of other Americans:

What exactly has Congress done over the past few decades with consummate politicians like yourself to “take care of the people’s business” and to ensure the safety, well-being, and integrity of the nation?

(1)  Our debt has quadrupled since George W. Bush and many times over since Ronald Reagan. What has Congress done?  NOTHING. It continues to spend, spend, spend, and Oh, and then it finds more and more things to spend our citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars on.

(2)  Never before have so many enemy and hostile regimes benefitted by funding from our government (no meaningful or tangible strings attached) or our policies.

(3)  Our people are out of jobs, out of opportunities to move forward in their hopes of living the American Dream, are losing the jobs they have to immigrants who are flooding into the country illegally and without full accountability to the federal government who will work for less, are being subject to a dilution in their education because of the magnitude of Hispanic-speaking students and families overloading the public school system, are being forced to wait for healthcare services because of the new burden to the healthcare system, and are watching their once-safe communities being infiltrated with drugs and crime. What has Congress done about these enormous and unfair burdens on the average citizen? What has Congress done about the unfair re-distribution of their wealth, their tax dollars, and their services?  NOTHING.  Congress continues to turn its back on the immigration problem.  It continues to abdicate its most essential role as the supreme government entity over our nation’s homeland security and safety; immigration is required to be handled by Congress by the Constitution. Furthermore, as terrorists and criminals continue to bleed into our country through our open borders, they worry more about how it will affect “diversity” rather than safety.   ranks have swelled to highest ever. What has Congress done?  NOTHING.  It continues policies to put more and more people,

(4)  Welfare ranks have swelled to highest ever. What has Congress done?  NOTHING.  It continues policies to put more and more people on welfare and means-tested programs, including those pouring into the country illegally and those displaced by the violence in the Middle East. It continues policies NOT to encourage dependents to take responsibility for themselves and their families – for example, by getting an education, learning a skill or trade, preventing any further pregnancies – but rather to entrench the lifestyle as a permanent way of life. Rather than require a transition to self-dependence, Congress continues to make welfare a reasonable alternative to working by making it more comfortable to live in borderline poverty.

(5)  Wars….  Where is our country’s resolve?  Where is our strategy to win and then get the hell out?  We have invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, we have helped to depose and assassinate Libya’s Muammar Quaddafi, we have acknowledged that Pakistan is the second largest sponsor of terrorism yet we have given them $19 billion since 9/11 (for reasons unknown; $1.8 billion last year), we have given Iran the green and our blessings to move forward on their nuclear weapons program, we have created the void in the Middle East by our softness on terrorism and our inaction that terrorists were able to capitalize on to establish the Islamic State (ISIS), and we are watching as Islamic violence is spreading all over the globe – in Africa, Europe, and Asia. What has Congress done?  It bowed to the policies of a Muslim president, Barack Obama, too conflicted in his own ideology to act effectively for the benefit of this country. It spent trillions of dollars, watched as American lives were lost in the Middle East, either to the fighting or to beheading, appeased our enemies whenever possible, refused to acknowledge terrorists for what they are (even refusing to use the word “terrorist”), allowed Obama to name Islamic leaders and organizations in positions to advise him and Homeland Security, and continued to SPEND without results.

(6)  You have continued to raise taxes on the Middle Class. When fellow Democrats passed an unconstitutional healthcare bill, the Affordable Healthcare Act (c’mon, we all know it was unconstitutional; the Supreme Court did too), coercing Americans against their will to do something for the government, you did NOTHING. The ACA became yet another tax on the Middle Class (thanks the Supreme Court and its legal hijinks to try to find a way to justify Congress’ huge power grab) and rather than take the Supreme Court’s illogical and tortured “opinion” to either re-draft the bill or to repeal it, you continued to allow it to be enforced on We the People. And we are helpless as rates continue to skyrocket year after year.  Year after year, you refused to address the growing American debt. You never cut spending in any attempt to stem the bleeding. A nation unable to control its spending or unable to pay its debt is not a strong nation. It is a vulnerable nation. Your Congress has had lower ratings consistently than the lowest rating of ANY POTUS since Reagan.  Wow, and that includes Jimmy Carter !

(7)  You voted 63 times (with other disingenuous Republicans) to repeal the Un-Affordable Care Act (ACA) when you all knew full-well that President Obama would use his veto power.  While conservatives and those hurting from the ACA were looking for you to serve them, you played typical beltway politics. You took every opportunity to look good while knowing that it was only a useless exercise; your votes could never translate into anything of substance. But when Trump told you straight on: “Look, I have the pen and I’m willing and ready to sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Send it to me,” your true character came out.  You refused to do it. You refused to pass such a bill. (Yes, you voted for a partial repeal and for the “skinny repeal bill,” but not the repeal and replace bill Trump and Republican voters asked for). The reason you have lost confidence with your state’s constituency is because of this. You’ve lost credibility, trust, and integrity with them.

(8)  For the last 30 years, you have sat by and watched as jobs have left the country and have left families without an income. What did you do?  NOTHING.  You did nothing to protect the American worker.

You and Congressmen like you have presided over the worst three decades in our country’s history, from an economic and safety perspective. You have been utterly ineffective. In fact, it is Congress that is the Day Care Center. (or the Looney Bin). Unfortunately, Congress has been a striking example of kindergarten antics – romper room behavior, childish finger-pointing and name-calling, and dysfunctional conduct.

So, I ask you…  What have you done to deserve the endorsement of President Trump?

Donald Trump, like the great majority of Americans, finds this history of ineptness unacceptable and his decision to run was not motivated by the glorified tenure in government like you seem to want, but rather by the desire to switch direction, clean the government up of its mess, its self-interested actors, and its leeches, and to finally put it to work for the benefit of the American citizen.

Sen. Corker, President Trump may be all the things you claim…He may be the unpolished politician, he may often speak without censure, he may be one of those who has to get the last word in, and he may even misspell a word here and there, but unlike slick, self-interested politicians like yourself who speak with forked tongues, crafted language, and false promises, Trump is a breath of fresh air. You speak like an agent of the government while Trump speaks like an agent of the people.

You want to know how I know that your name-calling is merely an exercise in playground politics?  Since Donald Trump took office, you voted 86.3% with his policies, which is admirable and commendable. Obviously, you and he think alike and for the most part and want the same policies for the country. Yet because he could not promise that he would endorse you for re-election, an endorsement that you absolutely need, you chose to lash out and somehow undermine his standing with the American people. What a big, important guy you are. Senator Corker, maybe it was your disingenuous position with respect to Obamacare that planted the doubt in President Trump. Perhaps he knows that the opponent you would have faced will work with him where you couldn’t.

That’s politics.

This time it didn’t work in your favor, but you sure liked it when it did.

“There are moments in life where you don’t get a do-over, where the true nature of your character is revealed. You either step up to the plate or lose your chance forever. These moments shape a life. These moments earn you the right to say to yourself ‘at least I got the important stuff right.”   ― P. Dangelico, Wrecking Ball

Federalism for Dummies

HALLOWEEN CANDY - Federalism

by Diane Rufino, Oct. 31, 2017

Federalism is the key design feature of our government system here in the United States, as established by the US Constitution, and therefore is something everyone should understand. I thought I’d try to make it easy and visual for people to understand.

Federalism is defined as a compound mode of government, with a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) and regional governments (state governments) combined into a single political system. Each government is considered a separate and independent sovereign. A “sovereign” is defined as a group or body having the supreme authority to rule over the inhabitants within its borders and to make decisions concerning the jurisdiction’s safety and security. Another term, therefore, for federalism is “dual sovereignty.”

In the picture above, taken on Halloween, the silver bowls represent two equal sovereigns – each with supreme authority over the tasks and responsibilities delegated to it. The candy represents those tasks and responsibilities. The bowl on the left represents the federal government, with only a few tasks and responsibilities. These are expressly delegated and enumerated in Articles I – III in the Constitution. The bowl on the right is the state government, which retains the vast reserve of governmental powers. The tasks and responsibilities reserved to the states are so numerous that they could not be listed or enumerated, and instead are lumped together as “reserved powers” in the Tenth Amendment.

The Tenth Amendment reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

So next time you think that the federal government has unlimited power, two things will help put things into perspective for you – the picture of the two bowls of Halloween candy and the simple words of the Tenth Amendment.

NULLIFICATION (in 500 words)

NULLIFICATION - the Rightful Remedy (chalkboard)

by Diane Rufino, Oct. 30, 2017

Imagine Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election and enough democrats won so that she enjoys a friendly Congress. And imagine she made good on a campaign promise and had a comprehensive federal gun control law enacted to essentially deprive ordinary Americans of their right to own and bear firearms. The law would clearly be unconstitutional. The Bill of Rights prevents the Congress from enacting laws that burden the second amendment guarantee.

Would the American people be doomed to be oppressed in their rights by the law?  In theory, an unconstitutional law should never have any force of law in a free society. But how do we prevent its enforcement?

That is where Nullification and Interposition come in.

Thomas Jefferson articulated the doctrine of Nullification and called it the “Rightful Remedy” to oppose unconstitutional action by the federal government. And James Madison explained that Nullification, together with Interposition, is the duty of every state in such an event. These remedies stem from the federal nature of our government system – the division of power between the states and the federal government and the understanding and duty of each sovereign to jealously and judiciously guard its sphere of power. Sovereign v. Sovereign; Titan v. Titan.  Nullification is the act of a state acknowledging that an act of the federal government is an abuse of the power delegated to it under the Constitution. To be clear, an act of government that exceeds delegated authority is automatically null and void. And therefore has no force of law and technically cannot be enforced. But who is going to tell the government that it can’t enforce its laws? The federal courts – the third, unbounded branch of the very federal government that forever seeks to enlarge its powers? That is where the states come in. After all, when the government assumes powers it was not delegated, it naturally usurps them from the states and from the people themselves. Interposition is the inherent right of a state to take whatever action necessary to prevent the enforcement of an unconstitutional law or policy (or court decision) on its citizens. Such may take the form of state laws preventing the enforcement, disbarment of judges who uphold the law, or the arrest of any official who attempts to enforce the law.

Although Jefferson and Madison are credited with these doctrines of nullification and interposition, the doctrines have been known for generations before their time; they are implied in the very nature of “law” and “enforcement.” That is why, despite the objections of states’ rights opponents, the doctrines of nullification and interposition supersede the Constitution and are indeed rightful remedies.

Without these rights, according to our founding fathers, the states (and the people) “would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.” In other words, it is the most powerful remedy to prevent government tyranny on people who have recognized inherent and civil rights.

Ben Shapiro and UC-Berkeley Stand Up for Free Speech

BEN SHAPIRO - at UC Berkeley

by Diane Rufino, September 22, 2017

Ben Shapiro and UC-Berkeley took on the enemies of Free Speech and America is grateful !!

When conservative Ben Shapiro spoke at Berkeley in 2016, there was little fanfare. What changed in one year?  Could it be that Donald Trump hadn’t been elected at that time, and in fact, even the thought of him as a serious candidate was laughable. In February, mere weeks after Trump took office (and after the inappropriately- named “Women’s March,” which was clearly a vehement anti-Trump rally, on any and all issues that folks had or have with him), 150 masked individuals, likely some from the group Antifa, descended upon the Berkeley campus ahead of a scheduled Milo Yiannopoulos appearance, causing mayhem and destruction that left six people injured and damage in the six figures. Milo had to be cancelled. At a pro-Donald Trump march in March, 7 people were injured and 10 arrested.  And just last month, about 100 black-clad and masked anarchists (Antifa) circumvented police barricades and attacked at least five people from what was a peaceful protest.

But last week, on September 14, Berkeley college Republicans were finally successful in having Shapiro speak on campus. It cost at least $600,000 for security (half paid by the university), which included over 500 police, it witnessed the usual protesters, and resulted in a few arrests. But all in all, the event was a success. Now, there was a restriction on the event…. the school would only allow the college Republicans to fill the auditorium to half capacity – unlike the restriction on other (liberal) speakers. Perhaps it was a safety precaution?  Hmmm. Anyway, we learned that Freedom isn’t free, and in fact, the cost is not cheap at all.  But no matter the cost, no matter the inconvenience, no matter the vile words and insults, no matter what the threats are, and no matter what the consequences are, Speech must remain free and  available to open ears. Freedom of thought and speech are the cornerstones of our free society and without them, all others are meaningless and without a secure foundation.

For those that don’t want to hear any views other than their own, there are options…  there is cotton for your ears, earplugs, safe-spaces, institutions, libraries (where you can read Hillary’s latest book or Mein Kampf or The Communist Manifesto), or even your own legs and cars. – to take you anywhere else other than where the so-called “offensive speech” is being delivered.  Deny yourself the freedoms that hundreds of years of brave activists sought to protect if you so choose, but keep away from OUR freedom.  We’ve seen what a nation would look like if we should loose our freedom to speak freely, for we’ve seen YOU, and we know that we could nor will never tolerate it.

Thank you Ben Shapiro for your voice, thank you UC-Berkeley college Republicans for not giving up on your mission to bring conservative views to your school, and thank-you UC-Berkeley for your commitment to Free Speech.

[The following is reproduced from PJmedia.com: Tyler O’Neill, “Ben Shapiro Stormed Congress and Blew the Left’s Argument Against Free Speech to Smithereens”]

On July 27, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro testified about free speech on college campuses before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In less than five minutes, he dissected and destroyed the Left’s argument against free speech.

“Free speech is under assault because of a three-step argument made by advocates and justifiers of violence,” Shapiro declared in his opening remarks. “The first step is they say that the validity or invalidity of an argument can be judged solely by the ethnic, sexual, racial, or cultural identity of the person making the argument.”

This “intersectionality” argument — that society structurally oppresses people of ethnic, sexual, racial, or cultural identities and therefore only those who have been oppressed can speak about certain issues — is the ground of the “microaggression” culture stifling speech on campuses, the Daily Wire editor argued.

“The second step is they claim that those who say otherwise are engaged in what they call verbal violence,” Sharipo added. “The final step is that they conclude that physical violence is sometimes justified in order to stop such verbal abuse.”

In order to understand how college campuses shut down speech — often but not always conservative speech — Americans must understand the philosophy of “intersectionality.” Shapiro argued that this philosophy dominates college campuses and “a large segment of today’s Democratic Party.”

Intersectionality “suggests that straight white Americans are inherently the beneficiaries of white privilege and therefore cannot speak on certain policies, since they have not experienced what it’s like to be black or hispanic or gay or transgender or a woman.”

This philosophy, Shapiro declared, “ranks the value of a view not based on the logic or merit of the view but on the level of victimization in American society experienced by the person espousing the view.” An LGBT black woman is automatically considered more correct than a straight white male, before any speech exits either of their mouths.

“The next step is obvious: If a straight white male, or anyone else who ranks lower on the victimhood scale, says something contrary to the viewpoint of the higher ranking intersectionality identity, that person has engaged in a microaggression,” the editor declared.

He quoted NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who defined microaggressions as “small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless.” Here’s the key — “You don’t actually have to say anything insulting to microaggress. Somebody merely needs to take offense.” In other words, an offended person who fits the “oppressed” identities of intersectionality has the power to dub any speech from someone “less oppressed” a “microaggression.” This word means not merely an insult. As Shapiro noted, “Microaggressions are the equivalent of physical violence.”

To watch Ben Shapiro’s remarks at UC-Berkeley, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae4VZTVEFC4

 

References:

Tyler O’Neill, “Ben Shapiro Stormed Congress and Blew the Left’s Argument Against Free Speech to Smithereens,” PJ Media, July 27, 2017.

Ben Shapiro Speaks at UC-Berkeley (Full Speech), September 14, 2017:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae4VZTVEFC4

JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: Obstruction of Construction

JEFFERSON - versus Hamilton

by  Diane Rufino, September 21, 2017

In Honor of the 230th Anniversary of the US Constitution, and also to help promote Brion McClanahan’s latest book, HOW ALEXANDER HAMILTON SCREWED UP AMERICA, I wanted to post this important History Lesson —

The history surrounding the first Bank Bill (to charter a national bank), proposed to President Washington by his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton shows us exactly why the Federal Judiciary has become the greatest usurper of powers belonging to the States and to the People. It is an important lesson on constitutional interpretation.

Why is it important that we pay close attention to constitutional interpretation?  Because when the courts don’t bother to consult the proper original documents and commentary as authority on the meaning and intent of the provisions of the Constitution, and/or when they make the decision to disregard that history and that critical information (any student of contract laws knows the strict laws of construction that guide a contract’s interpretation), then any opinion in contradiction to that history and such commentary necessarily means that the judiciary has assumed power for the federal government that it was not intended to have. And where do those additional powers come from?  From the original depositories of government power, the People and then the States.

HISTORY –

In 1788, the US Constitution was adopted by the requisite number of states and hence, the government it created would go into effect. Later that year, elections were held, George Washington was elected our first president (and men like James Madison elected to the first US Congress), and the following year, 1789, the Union’s new government was assembled and inaugurated. One of the first decisions of the first Congress was to fund the debts that the individual states incurred in fighting the Revolutionary War. The question, of course, was how would it do that. Washington’s Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, long holding true to a belief that a large, powerful national government of centralized functions is the proper form of government for the new Union (although he conceded to the federal form that the majority of delegates at the Philadelphia Convention voted for), urged that Congress should charter a National Bank, after the British model. He took his suggestion to Washington and agreeing with Hamilton, a Bank Bill was introduced in Congress. But powerful state and government leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, Washington’s Secretary of State, James Madison, Congressman from Virginia, and several state leaders, particularly from Virginia, objected, characterizing such a bank as being “repugnant to the Constitution,” and assuming powers not expressly delegated to Congress in Article I. Washington then asked both Hamilton and Jefferson to provide him with memoranda outlining their arguments regarding the creation of such a National Bank.

(The Following section, as noted, is taken, in its entirety, from Kevin Gutzman’s book THOMAS JEFFERSON – REVOLUTIONARY (St. Martin’s Press, NY, 2017):

Jefferson began by describing the Bank Bill’s provisions, saying that he understood the underlying principle of the Constitution to be that “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” (here is quoted the Tenth Amendment, which at the time lay before the state legislatures for their ratification).  Power to pass the bill had not been delegated to the United States, he insisted. It did not fall under the power to tax for the purpose of paying debts because the bill neither paid debts nor taxed. It did not fall under the power to borrow money because the bill neither borrowed nor ensured that there would be borrowing. It did not fall under the Commerce Clause for it did not regulate commerce. Jefferson understood ‘regulating commerce’ to mean “prescribing regulations for buying and selling,” which the Bank Bill did not do. If it did that, he continued, the bill “would be void” due to its equal effects on internal and external commerce of the states. “For the power given to Congress by the Constitution,” Jefferson continues, “does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State (that is to say of the commerce between citizen and citizen), which remain exclusively with its own legislature, but to its external commerce only; that is to say, its commerce with another State or with foreign nations or with the Indian tribes.”  No other enumerated power (Article I, Section 8) gave Congress ground for passing this bill either, he concluded.

Besides the enumerated powers, the General Welfare Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause had also been invoked by the bill’s proponents. Jefferson disposed of those clauses deftly as well. First, the General Welfare Clause said that Congress had power “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the General Welfare (emphasis Jefferson’s). The reference to the general welfare, he insisted, was bound to the power to tax. It did not create a separate power “to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, which Jefferson thought the preceding and following enumerations of powers rendered entirely obvious. To read the General Welfare Clause any other way would make the enumerations “completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress to do whatever would be good for the United States, and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would also be a power to do whatever evil they please.”

Jefferson, the skilled lawyer that he was, noted that one of the most basic rules of construction (contract law) cut strongly in favor of his argument. That rule states that “where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless.” Besides that, the Philadelphia Convention had considered and expressly rejected a proposal to empower Congress to create corporations. The rejection, he noted, was based partly on the fact that with such a power, Congress would be able to create a bank.

As for the Necessary and Proper Clause, Jefferson noted that it said that the Congress could “make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers. But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary and consequently, not authorized by this phrase (emphasis Jefferson’s).”  The Bank Bill’s proponents had argued for the great convenience of having a bank, which might aid in exercising powers enumerated in the Constitution, but Jefferson would have none of the idea that “necessary” could be twisted to mean “convenient.”

Jefferson concluded his memorandum with a brief statement on the president’s veto power, which he called “the shield provided by the Constitution to protect against the invasions of the legislature: (1) The right of the Executive. (2) Of the Judiciary. (3) Of the States and State legislatures.”  To his mind, the Bank Bill presented “the case of a right remaining exclusively with the States” – that of chartering a corporation. Congress’ attempt to take this right to itself violated the Constitution and Washington should veto the bill.

Washington did not agree. Instead, perhaps on the basis of Hamilton’s argument that Congress could adopt whatever kind of legislation it judged helpful in supervising the national economy, he signed the Bank Bill.   [Gutzman, Thomas Jefferson – Revolutionary, pp. 40-42]

THE IMPACT –

When a subsequent Bank Bill was challenged by the state of Maryland, in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), Chief Justice John Marshall would revisit the arguments submitted to President Washington and as expected, he would side with Hamilton. Hamilton’s position, after all, would give the federal government a broad pen with which to write legislation, in contrast to the limits imposed on it by the very wording of the Constitution and the listing of the only powers that the States had delegated to the federal government. McCulloch was another in a series of cases written by Marshall usurping powers from other depositories and concentrating them in the federal government. The Supreme Court, a branch of the very federal government that it presides over, has consistently used its powers not to interpret the Constitution and offer opinions to other branches, but rather to secure a monopoly over the scope and intent of the government’s powers.

Marshall’s opinion in McCulloch gave Congress power that the States intentionally tried to prevent; he read a meaning and intent in the Constitution, in Article I, that was expressly rejected by the States when they debated and then signed the document on September 17, 1787. Marshall’s reading of Article I, in particular the “Necessary and Proper” Clause, gave Congress power “to which no practical limit can be assigned,” as James Madison put it.

With McCulloch, the Supreme Court committed a grave injustice to the system established by our founding fathers and our founding states. Marshall’s opinion directly contradicted an essential element of the states’ understating of the Constitution when they ratified it, and that understanding was that the Constitution created a federal government of express and limited powers so that the residuary of government power would remain reserved to the states and hence the sovereignty they long cherished would not be overly diminished by organizing into a Union.

And the history of judicial activism continued and still does ….

 

Reference:  Kevin Gutzman, Thomas Jefferson – Revolutionary, St. Martin’s Press, NY (2017).

A Government of the People, By the People, For the People… How it Really Works, According to Thomas Jefferson

THOMAS JEFFERSON - Time magazine cover

by Diane Rufino, September 20, 2017

Thomas Jefferson articulated the absolute right of a state to secede from the Union. He did so in 1798, in 1799, in 1816, and up until his death in 1826 (July 4, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence). The right of self-determination was proclaimed in the Declaration as a founding principle and was never surrendered in the Constitution. In fact, Jefferson and Madison (1798 and 1800, in his written documents explaining the nature of the agreement known as the US Constitution) both agreed that such an inherent right can never be contracted away, although it should be reserved for extreme cases.

For Jefferson in 1816, the States had a clear right to leave the union. Government power, he reasoned, should never be concentrated at the top but rather at the bottom, closest to the people. If such were the case, there should never arise the level of tyranny that would warrant the drastic remedy of secession. The key, therefore, is to keep government closest to the people. Jefferson explained that the way to do this is to vest government only with those responsibilities that are absolutely necessary and those which people, in their individual capacity, cannot do or cannot be trusted to do and then to divide those responsibilities accordingly – with the governmental bodies closest to the people (localities) being responsible for the interests and affairs that touch on their lives most directly – their property, their livelihoods, their customs and communities, their education concerns, etc – and the government farthest away from them (Washington, DC) being responsible for the matters that are most external to their everyday lives, such as national security, international affairs and diplomacy, inter-state commerce, etc.

From Kevin Gutzman’s exceptional book, THOMAS JEFFERSON, REVOLUTIONARY:

Explaining the subdivision of government power, into “ward republics,” Jefferson wrote: “The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but rather to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the National government be entrusted with the defense of the nation and its foreign and federal relations, the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the state generally, and the Counties with the local concerns of the counties; each Ward directs the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great National one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man’s farm and affairs by himself, by placing under everyone what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best…. I do believe that if the Almighty has not decreed that Man shall never be free (and it is blasphemy to believe it) that the secret will be found to be in the making of himself the depository of the powers respecting himself, so far as he is competent to them, and delegating only what is beyond his competence by a synthetic process, to higher and higher orders of functionaries, so as to trust fewer and fewer powers, in proportion as the trustees become more and more oligarchical. The elementary republics of the Wards – the county republics, the State republics, and the republic of the Union – would form a gradation of authorities, standing each on the basis of law, holding every one of its delegated share of powers, and constituting truly a system of fundamental checks and balances for the government. Where every man is a sharer in the direction of his ward-republic, or of some of the higher ones, and feels that he is a participator in the government of affairs not merely at an election, one day in the year, but every day; when there shall not be a man in the state who will not be a member of one of its councils, great or small, he will let the heart be torn out of his body sooner than his power he wrenched from him by a Caesar or a Bonaparte.”

The Roman Empire fell when its ruling authority in Rome presided over too large and diverse of a group to represent them and their interests properly in a concentrated government body. And the same is happening here in the United States. If we hope to make this country the one that it was originally destined to be, the country that Thomas Jefferson dreamed of and worked his life to guide, then we need to push for solutions that return power back to the people…  In my favorite movie, GLADIATOR, Emperor Marcus Aurelius confides in his loyal general, Maximus, and conveys his dying wish: “There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish… it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the winter…….. There is one more duty that I ask of you before you go home. I want you to become the protector of Rome after I die. I will empower you to one end alone, to give power back to the people of Rome and end the corruption that has crippled it. It must be you. it must be you. You have not been corrupted by her politics.”

We are Rome. We are a republic in name only, and have been for a very long time now.  We must acknowledge that. Each congressman represents too large and diverse of a group of people (at least 700,000 individuals per congressional district) to act as a meaningful advocate in government, and each senator, representing each person in his or her state, has the same problem. And so, our elected representatives no longer work for us or our interests;  they become agents for the interests and preservation of the federal government – a government that becomes more interested in “the common good” with each year of its existence. Republics are only successful when they are relatively small, when the ratio of elected representatives to the constituency remains workable. The solution to returning power to the people is to subdivide our one great republic into smaller republics (as Jefferson called them, “ward republics”) – to subdivide government power with the greatest control over the individual and his or her everyday life vested in those government bodies most local and closest to the people.

A big government is not our friend, although it likes to portray itself as such. We’ve seen its violations against us over the years, including collecting our personal information, lying to the American people, refusing to punish those in office who have broken criminal laws (and have even skirted on treason), taxing us excessively (including to support terrorist regimes such as Iran and Pakistan), forcing people to purchase health insurance not because they need it but because others need it, opening our borders to leave our communities and jobs vulnerable, judicial activism from the courts, obstruction in our attempts to legitimize the election process, and most recently, wiretapping political a presidential candidate to undermine the success of a threatening political movement. Ask yourself one question: What power do We the People think really have over the governing of our states and our country?  The key to the security of freedom is the control the people have in their government. James Madison once wrote: “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”

The era of King George III is here. Americans have a history of how to respond to such tyranny…. Unless, of course, we have truly become Rome.

Edward Snowden, labeled both a patriot by many and a traitor by some, said: “Being a patriot doesn’t mean prioritizing service to government above all else. Being a patriot means knowing when to protect your country, knowing when to protect your Constitution, knowing when to protect your countrymen, from the violations of and encroachments of adversaries. And those adversaries don’t have to be foreign countries.”

 

Reference:  Kevin Gutzman, Thomas Jefferson – Revolutionary, St. Martin’s Press, NY (2017).