Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The 28 Principles of Liberty: Principle 17
“A System of Checks and Balances Should be Adopted to Prevent the Abuse of Power”
After John Adams had sold the people on the separation of powers, it must have been shocking to him to see that they wanted to make the separation so complete that it would have made the system unworkable.
The individuals who took a puritanical view opposed the adoption of the Constitution because they wanted the separation complete and absolute. They missed the most important part, and that was that they were to be separate in their functions, but subject to the checks and balances of the other two departments in case it became abusive in performing those functions.
James Madison spent 5 of the Federalist Papers numbers, 47 to 51, explaining why the separation of powers should not be absolute, but should make allowances for a built-in system of checks and balances. He conceded that keeping the three departments separated was fundamental to the preservation of liberty.
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
The purpose of checks and balances is a constitutional control in the hands of each department of government to prevent any usurpation of power by another department or abusive administration of the power granted to it.
The failure to use the checks and balances effectively has resulted in allowing the judiciary to create new laws by pretending to be merely interpreting old laws. Failure to use checks and balances has also allowed the President to make thousands of new laws, instead of congress, by issuing executive orders. It has allowed the federal government to invade the reserved rights of the states on a massive scale. It has allowed the legislature to impose taxes on the people never contemplated by the Founders, or the Constitution. Each department of the government has the responsibility to rise up and protect its prerogatives by exercising the checks and balances which have been provided, and even more so, the people have the responsibility to be the watchmen over their representatives and elect ONLY those that will function within Constitutional boundaries.
James Madison said, “As the people are the only legitimate foundation of power, and it is from them that the constitutional charter under which the power of the several branches of government is derived, it seems strictly consonant to the republican theory to recur to the same original authority whenever an one of the departments may commit encroachment on the chartered authorities of the others.”
How do the people protect themselves? Madison sought many different avenues and found that the only protection was within the machinery of checks and balances provided in the Constitution as written.
The three departments are independent, yet reliant on each other to fulfill their functions, so they are mutually dependent. Their resulting system was far more complex then Montesquieu. Here are their provisions:
1. The House of Representatives serves as a check on the Senate since no statue can become a law without their approval.
2. The Senate also serves as the check on the House of Representatives since no statue can become a law without its approval.
3. A President can restrain them both by using his veto to send back a bill not meeting his approval.
4. The Congress has on the other hand, a check on the President by being able to pass a bill over his veto with a 2/3 majority of each house.
5. The legislature also has a further check on the President through its power of discrimination in appropriating funds for the operation of the executive branch.
6. The President must have the approval of the Senate in filing important offices of the executive branch.
7. The President must also have the approval of the Senate before any treaties with foreign nations can go into effect.
8. The Congress has the authority to conduct investigations of the executive branch to determine whether or not funds are being properly expended and the laws enforced.
9. The President has a certain amount of political influence on the legislature by letting it be known that he will not support the reelection of those who oppose his program.
10. The executive branch also has further check on the Congress by using its discretionary powers in establishing military bases, building dams, improving navigable rivers, and building interstate highways so as to favor those areas from which the President feels he is getting support by their representatives.
11. The judiciary has a check on the legislature through its authority to review all laws and determine their constitutionality.
12. The Congress, on the other hand, has a restraining power over the judiciary by having the constitutional authority to restrict the extent of its jurisdiction.
13. The Congress also has the power to impeach any of the judges who are guilty of treason, high crimes or misdemeanors.
14. The President also has a check on the judiciary by having the power to nominate new judges subject to the approval of the senate.
15. The Congress has further restraining power over the judiciary by having the control of appropriations for the operation of the federal court system.
16. The Congress is able to initiate amendments to the Constitution which, if approved by three-fourths of the states, could seriously effect the operation of both the executive and judicial branches.
17. The Congress, by joint resolution, can terminate certain powers granted to the President such as war powers without his consent.
18. The people have a check on their congressmen every two years, on their President every four years, and on their Senators every six years.
The Founders Device for Peaceful Self-Repair
In other nations that copied our constitution, they forgot to incorporate adequate checks and balances. Instead, when a usurper takes over, they must use an army and result to machine guns and bombs to get them out. What the founders wished to achieve in the Constitution of 1787 was machinery for the peaceful means of self-repair when the system when out of balance.
During Watergate, this peaceful process was used. The Congress threatened to impeach, and the President who used his high office for purposes that were outside his scope of authority and the ramifications of legal conduct, he resigned. There was no command of the army to allow him to stay in power; it was a quiet and peaceful transition. This was the primary purpose of the United States Constitution, to have a peaceful means in order to repair distortions of power. While it requires more patience then the use of force, its outcome is much more certain.
The 28 Principles of Liberty: Principle 16
“The Government Should be Separated into Three Branches-Legislative, Executive and Judicial.”
Polybius, recognized as the greatest of all Greek Historians, lived 204 to 122 B.C. When Greece was conquered by Rome, Polybius was deported to the Roman capital. This is where he quickly recognized the advantages of the Roman republic. He was the author of 40 books of history.
During his day, there were three main types of government discussed; Monarchy, Aristocracy and Democracy. Unfortunately, none of these systems, when allowed to govern, provided equality, prosperity, justice or domestic tranquility for the whole of society. He felt that he understood why this was. Each form carries within itself, the seed of it s own degeneration, if allowed to operate without checks or balances. Monarchy could easily become tyranny, aristocracy sink into an oligarchy and democracy into mob rule by force and violence.
Polybius felt that there were essential elements in each form and questioned why not combine them into a single system? This idea began its birth in the Roman system, but shortly after Polybius died, the Romans abandoned their principles of a republic and chose an emperor instead. So, Polybius’s idea of a system that restrained government from acquiring enough power to abuse the people died with him, until Baron Charles de Montesquieu determined to resurrect it. He wanted to submit this mixed constitution for consideration of modern man.
Montesquieu became one of the best-educated scholars in France. He wrote a book called “The Spirit of Laws”, which has been described as one of the most important books ever written. The final writing took him two solid years. It was greatly admired by the Founders. It documented the practical possibility of a government based on ‘separation of powers’ or a mixed constitution.
In book XI, Montesquieu set forth the ingredients for a model constitution. The Founders used many portions of it as a guide in their own work. The Founders joint effort far exceeded Montesquieu, but he does deserve credit for his contribution.
A single executive was ideal to Montesquieu due to what he witnessed as a weakness of the Roman system in setting up two or more consuls. Having a single person who can make decisions quickly and decisively and cannot escape either credit or blame for the consequences would be ideal.
It was John Adams that pushed the idea of the separation of powers. It was a very revolutionary idea and very unpopular when first presented. It was only Dr. Benjamin Rush that agreed with John Adams at first. In writing a letter to Benjamin Rush, John Adams mentions how Thomas Paine came to talk to him about it. John Adams felt that politics was a divine science and dedicated much of his life to studying it, so that his children and grandchildren may be blessed by his efforts. He started by planting his seeds of separation of powers in Massachusetts.
It was quite the struggle, but he did succeed, and for the first time in the world, a constitution read:
“In the government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts the legislative, executive and judicial powers shall be placed in separate departments, to the end that it might be a government of laws and not of men…”
Years later, he got his ideas incorporated into the U.S. Constitution, but was never able to gain genuine acceptance for himself. Even though he had been the first U.S. vice president and the second President, he very shortly disappeared into history and was nearly forgotten. It was when scholars started digging into the origins of American constitutionalism that he came into perspective. He, himself, thought that few would remember what he had attempted to accomplish. To a friend he wrote, “Mausoleums, statues, monuments will never be erected to me. Panegyrical romances will never be written, nor flattering orations spoken to transmit me to posterity in brilliant colors.”
His ideas however, did catch on. Pennsylvania revised their constitution to include a separation of powers and Benjamin Franklin, one of the last to be converted, acknowledged that the Constitution of the United States was as perfect as man could be expected to produce, and urged all members of the Convention to sign it.
We close with John Adams aspiration “To see rising in America an empire of liberty, and the prospect of two or three hundred millions of freemen, without one noble or one king among them.”
The 28 Principles of Liberty are adapted from W. Cleon Skousen's book, The 5000 Year Leap and are brought to you by Fragrant Smoke.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,INDICT-MENT
VIOLATION OF U.S.
Plaintiff CURRENCY LAW
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK
Inasmuch as we have issued indictments and subpoenas which the U.S. Attorney and the courts would not act upon, we issue this final indictment of the federal reserve and its principals (Board of Governors, Directors of Federal Reserve and Members of the Open Market Committee). This is not done in anger or as an act of disrespect, but still disagreeing with the U.S. Attorney and the courts.
The Grand Jury finds that—The power to print paper money or to issue bills of credit, was never given to the Federal government and it is contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the Constitution for it to do so.
While the power “to coin money, regulate the value thereof and of foreign coin” and the power “to borrow money on the credit of the United States” were both delegated to the Congress, the power to print money was never given. A proposal was made in the Constitutional convention to give Congress this power and it was defeated by a vote of nine states against, two for. (See Madison’s Notes on Debates in the Federal Convention for August 16, 1787). But the wording of the Constitution itself denies such a power to Congress. It provides that “No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.” This being so, when the Federal government issues irredeemable paper as a tender in payment of debts it compels them to violate this prohibition. Inasmuch as the laws dealing with lawful money are still intact (gold and silver coin) the federal reserve, in ignoring these laws is also violating statutes.
“No state shall…pass any law…impairing the obligation of contract.” By compelling the states to use irredeemable paper as a tender in payment of debts, Congress thereby causes the states to impair the obligation of contracts to the extent of billions of dollars each year. This can be seen by noting the effect which inflation has upon people. According to the Statistical Abstract of 1980 there was at the end of 1979 $3,222 Billion of Life Insurance in force. Assuming an annual inflation rate of just 10%, holders of policies are systematically robbed each year of over $322 Billion. The combined CPI for the past five years totaled 48.6% inflation (1977, 6.5%; 1978, 7.7%; 1979, 11.3%, 1980, 14.4%; 1981, 8.7%). Life insurance in force averaged approximately $3,024 Billion per year. 48.6% X $3,024 Billion = $1,469 Billion, or nearly $1.5 Trillion impairment of insurance in force. Holders of the national debt would be robbed of over $100 Billion at just 10% inflation annually. This is not to mention the loss being suffered by old age pensions, retired people, people with bonds, savings accounts, and holders of mortgages, etc. The states, by ignoring their constitutional charge are guilty of participating with the federal reserve in impairing contracts, violating citizens civil and property rights, all without due process of law for citizens. Why then do governments leave good money and go to bad? One reason is that it enables them to effectively eliminate (assuming a 10% inflation rate) 10% of their obligations annually and to pay off long term bonds with severely devalued dollars, except as offset by excessive interest.
The purpose of the Constitution’s provision is to protect the right of private property including contract rights, not to impair them.
The Grand Jury finds that—The founding fathers interpreted the Constitution as requiring the use of gold and silver coin as the only legal tender which could be used in the nation.
It is a fact that for the first seventy years of its existence, the nation was on a silver and gold standard. This is all the evidence one would ever need as to the type of monetary system intended for this nation by those who drafted and adopted the United States Constitution. It was not until the great crisis brought on by the Civil War that the North, in an attempt to provide additional financing, for the first time issued “bills of credit” and made them a tender in payment of debts.
An irredeemable currency is directly contrary to the spirit of the Constitution which was designed to protect contract rights. There is a specific provision contained in the Constitution which says: “No state shall…pass any law…impairing the obligation of contract.” This same law should apply to the federal government. By printing worthless currency and compelling state courts to use it as a legal tender in payment of debts, it forces them to disobey the prohibition. Recognizing the danger of allowing state governments to pass laws destroying contract rights and also desiring that states should act honorable, this prohibition was adopted. Morally and legally, it is equally applicable to the Federal.
If this matter was so plain to those who drafted the Constitution, how did it happen that we use neither gold nor silver today but only an irredeemable paper and a debased coinage? The answer is found in the fact that when a nation gets into serious trouble, those in government tend to ignore the restraints of the Constitution, and the people, under the stress of the times tend to permit it.
Thus it happened that in the desperate days of the Civil War, a sorely beset Congress first authorized the issue of paper money by the Federal Government. The term “greenbacks” was used to describe this issue and they were made a legal tender in payment of debts both public and private. Of course the constitutionality of this act was tested in the United States Supreme Court which held in a five to three decision that paper money was unconstitutional.
This victory for sound money did not last long however because shortly thereafter when the personnel of the Court had been changed by the addition of two new members, another case involving essentially the same issue was brought before it, and this time in a five to four majority reversed the prior decision. It is a matter for reflection that the decision of a single Court Justice can affect the destiny of an entire nation.
Eventually the issue of greenbacks was redeemed in gold and silver coin as was always intended, and the nation returned to a hard money system which continued until the money manipulation policies of the federal reserve created the Great Depression. It was during the agony of that crisis that government once again ignored the Constitution, and a confused and distraught nation failed to restrain them. A prior Congress passed an administration measure under which the use by citizens of gold as money was made a criminal offense, the gold of the citizens was confiscated and paper was issued in its place. The private federal reserve banks in 1934 issued to themselves the only gold redeemable certificates—laying claim to the gold just taken from the citizens. Once more the matter came before a prior Supreme Court—and once more in another 5 to 4 decision the Court upheld Congress. This opened the door to an unlimited issue of paper money for the citizens which has continued ever since.
The change in our national fiscal affairs since the hard money system was abandoned to the federal reserve is reflected in the following approximated figures:
National Debt $27 Billion $1,000 Billion
Annual National Budget $5 Billion $750 Billion
*Gold and Prices, George F. Warren & Frank A. Person, John Welsey & Sons (1935), Page 138.
The Grand Jury Finds—Why it is so important that we use the precious metals rather than paper for money. The virtue of gold and silver is that governments or private credit monopolies cannot destroy citizens contract rights.
Gold and silver are perfectly suited to serve as money. Being largely impervious to decay, their value is not destroyed by the passage of time. Also they are probably the most versatile of all metals and this intrinsic worth together with their natural beauty has preserved their value in every nation and in every age. Every civilization has found them desirable and sought after them and it is this fact which makes them more stable than any other standard of value. Governments and private credit monopolies cannot manipulate nor corrupt this standard without such coming to the immediate attention of the people—and it has. Gold and silver have very distinctive physical characteristics which makes it relatively easy to observe a reduction in the weight or size of coins.
One ofttimes hears it said that there is not enough gold in the world to serve our monetary needs today—that the demand for money has grown so enormously since the Constitution was adopted that the monetary system it provided for will no longer suffice. The first answer to this argument is that the Constitution does not provide for a gold standard, but for a standard of gold and silver. Both metals were decreed as legal tender.
A second answer to the shortage argument is that it is utterly wrong to assume that we need a stock of gold and silver equal to the amount of money in circulation. We need only a small fraction of that amount. The truth of this fact can be seen by noting that the size of our gold stocks when we were on the gold standard between 1900 and 1933 was generally less than 10% (Statistical Abstract of the U.S. . Pages 163 & 200) of the total money and bank deposits. The reason why such a relatively small amount of the precious metals will suffice is easily seen.
Imagine, if you can, everyone who has a claim for money simultaneously demanding that his debtor pay in gold and silver coin. Such a situation is unthinkable, especially when it is realized that we are all debtor and creditors at the same time. The great majority of us cannot afford to invest in the precious metals. When we have a claim for money we want to turn that claim into food, clothing, services, etc. as soon as possible without going through the cumbersome and useless process of converting it into gold and silver first.
But the scarcity argument is seen in its most ridiculous light when it is remembered that it is this very scarcity which makes it possible to use gold and silver as an unchanging standard of value. If they were to become as plentiful as, say paper, they could not possibly retain their value in the eyes of the people. It is the very fact that they are scarce together with the fact that they have intrinsic worth, which preserves their value from generation to generation.
On the other hand, paper has none of the characteristics needed as a standard of value because it has no intrinsic worth. This is not to say we should not use paper as a medium of exchange to represent a claim for money. Paper is certainly convenient to use for transferring claims to gold and silver and there is nothing against using it for this purpose. Common sense dictates that we do so. There is no danger in using paper as a claim or an evidence of ownership of something of value. The great danger—and indeed the terrible harm—comes from making it irredeemable—in asserting that the paper has value rather than that it represents a claim for some commodity which has value.
The Grand Jury Finds that—Irredeemable paper money is the fundamental cause of inflation, that this irredeemability is a violation of statutes dealing with lawful money and the money of account of the U.S. The federal reserve itself continued to publicly show its recognition of these statutes into the late 1960’s by printing on its notes we used as money that they were redeemable in lawful money. Statutes and the Constitution did not change, only their printing the recognition of their still existing obligation to redeem in lawful money changed.
The Grand Jury Charges that:
By issuing and circulating irredeemable paper as legal tender in payment of debts the Federal Reserve Bank in this district, in concert with other Federal Reserve Banks under authority of a prior congress is compelling the states to violate that provision of the Constitution which forbids them to make “anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts.”
The Grand Jury Charges that:
By issuing and circulating irredeemable paper money as legal tender in payment of debts, the Federal Reserve Bank in this district, in concert with other Federal Reserve Banks is causing the states to violate that provision of the Constitution which forbids them to impair the obligations of contract.
The Grand Jury Charges that:
By issuing and circulating irredeemable paper as legal tender in payment of debts the Federal Reserve Bank in this district, in concert with other Federal Reserve Banks under authority of a prior congress is using something other than what the Constitution allows.
The Grand Jury Charges that:
In 1980 the FRB in this district in concert with agents and employees of other Federal Reserve banks did issue and put in circulation Federal Reserve notes in an amount in excess of $1,025,547,000 from the branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, some of which were also issued and put in circulation through the Salt Lake City Branch; and provisions of 12 U.S.C. 411 require that the said notes shall be obligations of the United States and shall be receivable by all national banks and member banks and Federal Reserve banks and for all taxes, customs, and other public dues, and they shall be redeemed in lawful money of the United States, in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, or at any Federal Reserve Bank, and as defined at 12 U.S.C. 152, the terms “lawful money” and “lawful money of the United States” shall be construed to mean gold or silver coin of the United States, and 18 U.S.C. 334, crimes and criminal procedure requires that whosoever, being a Federal Reserve Agent, or an agent or employee of such Federal Reserve Agent, or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, issues or puts in circulation any Federal Reserve notes, without complying with or in violation of the provisions of law regulating the issuance and circulation of Federal Reserve notes shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned not more than five years or both, and the defendants being members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, or agents or employees thereof, did issue and put in circulation Federal Reserve notes without complying with and in violation of the provisions of 12 U.S.C. 411, and that such Federal Reserve notes are not obligations of the United States as required at 12 U.S.C. 411 and as defined at 18 U.S.C. 8, and that such notes were issued and were not redeemed, are not now being redeemed nor can they be redeemed in lawful money of the United States which is defined in 12 U.S.C. 152 as gold and silver coin of the United States as required in 12 U.S.C. 411, and therefore the said notes were issued and put in circulation in violation of 18 U.S.C. 334.
A TRUE BILL
/s/ Hans V. Andersen Jr.
Foreman of the Grand Jury