THE AMERICAN DREAM – June 25, 2014

Larry’s birthday is over.  I am still reflecting on my recent intuition that the “American Dream” has usually been more about “money” than “liberty”.  There is a part of me that sincerely wants this observation not to be true. My own experience teaches that I must constantly reexamine my perceptions.  For example, as a young man in the late sixties I wrote a thesis (which I still have stored away someplace) on why the federal government was better at protecting people’s rights than were state governments.  While I think this observation might have been true at that time (during the Warren Court era), it certainly is wrong today.  In the nineteen eighties and nineties state supreme courts began interpreting state constitutions in ways that frequently afforded greater protection of constitutional rights than Rehnquist and later Courts found were intended by the framers of the United States Constitution. Looking back, it is apparent why my hypothesis that the federal government would better protect citizen rights was proved wrong.  The original seven articles of the United States Constitution seek to preserve liberties through a structure of checks and balances placed on the exercise of governmental power.  As previously discussed in this blog these included a.) the separation of powers in the federal government; b.) a federalist government composed of dual and competing sovereigns; and by later amendment c.) oversight of the exercise of governmental powers by juries composed of citizens. The Declaration of Independence authored in 1776 proclaims all men have rights: … Continue Reading

LARRY’S BIRTHDAY – June 17

LARRY’S BIRTHDAY It was Larry’s birthday.  We were standing at the end of a long line to get into the Tulalip Buffet, which was where he had chosen to eat.  I don’t like lines and was checking email on my phone, when this guy joined the end of the line.  I don’t recall when I became aware that he and Larry were talking, but at some point I joined the conversation. The stranger was a Canadian.  He had been born in the Philippines, but emigrated to Canada with his family as a boy.  He lived mostly in Vancouver, BC now, but said he and his family had a house on the “res” here.  I took that to mean the Tulalip Reservation. He owned residential rental properties in both Canada and the United States.  His business was best in Marysville, Washington, he said, because of the higher percentage of renters in the population and the amount of rent he could charge them. His hair was black.  He looked younger than both Larry and me.  Turned out he was older than Larry.  He liked the United States for many reasons.  The one which struck me most was because in cities like New York and Las Vegas “the parties don’t start until Midnight”. I told him my “midnight party days” were over. And as we waited in the slow moving line our conversation evolved into what this pleasant Canadian Filipino gentleman liked about the United States and why its citizens should not talk … Continue Reading

HOW THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN CORRUPTED – PART FOUR (Federalism)

The Webster-Merriam Dictionary defines the verb “corrupt” to mean: : to cause (someone or something) to become dishonest, immoral, etc. : to change (something) so that it is less pure or valuable : to change (a book, computer file, etc.) from the correct or original form Upon ratification of the Constitution, the States entered the Union “with their sovereignty intact.”  Sovereignty means:  “a country’s independent authority and the right to govern itself.”  The United States Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals.  Indeed, a principal benefit of our federalist system is a check on abuses of government against the liberty and property of citizens.  The United States Constitution is a short document. Three of its seven articles are devoted to establishing the federal framework of our government.  The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution makes clear the purposes of our federal structure.  It states: “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.”  The powers afforded the federal government under the Constitution are defined and limited.  In contrast, the powers reserved to the several States were intended to “extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.” J. Madison, The Federalist No. 45, pp. 292-293 (C. Rossiter ed. 1961).  “In the compound republic of America [both the federal and State republics] a … Continue Reading

HOW THE REPUBLIC OF THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN CORRUPTED – PART THREE (Separation of Powers)

Does the Separation of Powers continue to provide the checks  and balances contemplated by our founders so as to protect this nation’s citizens from the federal government’s abuse of power? Are the powers of the federal government still separated? Has each branch of government simply been purchased by the wealthy, causing the branches to act together in a way our founding fathers would have found to be unacceptable? The Webster-Merriam Dictionary defines the verb “corrupt” to mean: : to cause (someone or something) to become dishonest, immoral, etc. : to change (something) so that it is less pure or valuable : to change (a book, computer file, etc.) from the correct or original form I read an interesting article sent to me by my law partner, Josh Trumbull.  It is  written by Y. Falkson and was posted on the zerohedge.com web site.  It is titled “The Purchase of our Republic”  The author suggests that each of the branches of our government has been purchased in such a way that the owners can orchestrate an abuse of federal governmental power to the detriment of the people.  In my view, the government’s support of entities like Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, federal banks and servicers routine evictions of persons from their homes is an example of this abuse of power. Falkson makes his point and utilizes Constitutional history to support it: Acknowledging where we are as a country, it is often helpful to look to where we started for some perspective. Unsurprisingly, this type … Continue Reading