Time: Sun Aug 17 14:25:20 1997
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Date: Sun, 17 Aug 1997 09:15:24 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: "Of the People, by the People, for the People" (fwd)

>08/15/97 By Kim Weissman 
>                                  THE PEOPLE: 
>     Consider the following hypothetical: It is the summer of the year 
>2000. The presidential election is fast
>     approaching. President Clinton goes on national television and 
>announces that, as a result of some
>     pending "crisis" -- perhaps new "evidence" of global warming, and a 
>Senate which refused to ratify the
>     greenhouse gas reduction treaty back in 1997 -- he has decided to 
>temporarily postpone the
>     presidential election due to the National Emergency. 
>     Pursuant to Executive Orders being formulated, the Constitution and 
>the Bill of Rights will be
>     temporarily suspended until new restrictive mandates on the 
>production of greenhouse gasses are fully
>     implemented. Vice President Gore will lead the "bipartisan" task 
>force charged with drawing up those
>     mandates, which will be imposed pursuant to Executive Order since 
>the Congress will also be
>     temporarily disbanded, having already demonstrated their inability 
>to deal with the crisis by rejecting
>     the aforesaid treaty. To insure compliance with the new mandates 
>which are being implemented so as
>     to assure our children a safe and secure world in which to grow up, 
>Martial Law will be imposed. 
>     Under this hypothetical scenario, what would be the reaction of 
>most of our national news media? What
>     would the reaction be from a large portion of our citizens? The 
>hopeful among us (or naive) expect that
>     the great majority of citizens would raise their voices in 
>righteous indignation at such a scenario as
>     outlined above. But would they? 
>     Haven't we been experiencing, in slow motion, just such a 
>usurpation of power and destruction of
>     Liberty for decades, with barely a murmur of discontent? Haven't we 
>even welcomed the destruction of
>     our Liberty, in the name of saving the environment, preserving our 
>natural resources, controlling crime,
>     assuring our health, stabilizing our economy, implementing 
>fairness, and a host of other useless
>     excuses for what in actuality amounts to creeping totalitarianism? 
>          Item: The majority of voters in California recently decided to 
>make racial preferences illegal. A
>          single federal judge decided that such an exercise of popular 
>will was unconstitutional, deciding in
>          effect that the Constitution requires discrimination. Where 
>was the great mass of citizens raising
>          their voices in righteous indignation? 
>          Item: Citizens in states across the nation have decided, 
>through popular referenda, to limit the
>          terms of their representatives in state and federal 
>legislatures. State and federal judges have
>          uniformly decided that such exercises of popular will must not 
>be permitted, and have struck
>          down such term limits laws. Where is the great mass of 
>citizens raising their voices in righteous
>          indignation? 
>          Item: The Constitution provides that treaties negotiated with 
>foreign nations are subject to
>          ratification by the United States Senate. To avoid the 
>inconvenient need to obtain the consent of
>          the putative representatives of the governed to such 
>international agreements, our current
>          president has begun to simply rename those agreements which he 
>negotiates with foreign
>          nations. They are no longer "treaties," -- they are "political 
>agreements, "memorandums of
>          understanding,", "founding acts," and "global initiatives;" 
>thereby eliminating the need for
>          Senate ratification. Once these agreements are in place, the 
>president tells us that of course
>          these are treaties, and as such, according to the 
>Constitution, they must take precedence over
>          state and federal laws enacted by the mere elected 
>representatives of the people. Where is the
>          great mass of citizens raising their voices in righteous 
>          Item: The Constitution designates one segment of our national 
>government as the only group
>          empowered to enact laws to govern the nation, the Congress. 
>This is proper, because if the
>          governed do not like the laws enacted by Congress, the People 
>have the ability to remove the
>          offending legislators from office at the next election. Thus 
>does the Constitution provide for
>          control by the People over the laws which govern them. The 
>Congress, however, has established
>          an alphabet soup of regulatory bodies and granted them rule 
>making authority, rules which have
>          the full force and effect of law. What recourse is left to the 
>People when they object to the laws
>          which the myriad bureaucrats, which infest government, enact 
>     The fundamental flaw with this method of governance is that the 
>People are no longer able to exert
>     control over the rule makers, that control is vested in the 
>Congress instead. When the Army Corps of
>     Engineers or the Environmental Protection Agency decide to 
>confiscate private property in the name of
>     "wetland" protection, when the term "wetland" is nowhere to be 
>found in Congressional legislation,
>     and the Congress refuses to overrule the bureaucrats, who in 
>Congress can be held accountable?
>     Which Congressmen should be removed from office in the next 
>election because of the actions of the
>     bureaucrats? Where is the great mass of citizens raising their 
>voices in righteous indignation? 
>          Item: The regulatory agencies aren't the only source of 
>unconstitutional legislative authority.
>          Consider Executive Orders of the President, an exercise of 
>Presidential Power nowhere
>          designated in the Constitution. 
>     But Executive Orders, as substitutes for the Constitutionally 
>designated legislative process, have been
>     used by presidents for so long that the People and the Congress no 
>longer even question them.
>     Executive Orders totally bypass Congressional legislative authority 
>and place unilateral legislative
>     power in the hands of the President. A Presidential Executive Order 
>becomes law simply by publication
>     in the Federal Registry. Where is the great mass of citizens 
>raising their voices in righteous
>     indignation? 
>          Item: Innocent citizens were killed near Waco, Texas in 1993. 
>Attorney General Reno accepted
>          responsibility for the numerous improper actions by law 
>enforcement agents which contributed to
>          those deaths. The Clinton White House violated the 
>Constitutional rights of private citizens, and
>          made inappropriate political use of the FBI, when it 
>improperly gathered hundreds of confidential
>          files on political opponents. The White House displayed 
>contempt of its constitutional
>          responsibilities, resorted to cover-up, made frivolous claims 
>of executive privilege, and abused
>          its powers and the rights of citizens, to reward political 
>cronies in the Travel Office employee
>          firings. The FBI presented misleading testimony and flawed 
>evidence tailored to convict criminal
>          defendants, in various cases emanating from the FBI 
>laboratory. To date, no senior officials of
>          any of the departments involved have been held accountable for 
>any of these abuses of power.
>          Where is the great mass of citizens raising their voices in 
>righteous indignation? 
>     All of the elected members of our national government take a solemn 
>oath upon entering office, to
>     preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United 
>States. As the above examples
>     demonstrate, along with many more which could be detailed, the 
>elected members of our government
>     violate their oaths of office almost daily. Yet they remain in 
>office. Where is the great mass of citizens
>     raising their voices in righteous indignation? Thanks to a 
>dysfunctional educational system and a
>     Supreme Court which has expanded, contracted, ignored, and 
>otherwise blurred the rights and
>     limitations contained in the Constitution, the unfortunate reality 
>is that far too many citizens of this
>     nation no longer have a clear understanding of their Constitution, 
>or any concept of their rights under,
>     or the limitations imposed on their government by, that document. 
>     Examine all the newly created "rights" which people claim, which 
>have sprung up like weeds over the
>     years: to be fed, to a job, to housing, to health care, to an 
>education. Some people go even further,
>     claiming that animals, and even rocks and trees, have rights. 
>     From where do all these newly minted "rights" spring? From a 
>"living" Constitution, of course. 
>     Even worse, most citizens relegate the interpretation of their 
>Constitution to unelected members of the
>     very government which that Constitution is supposed to restrain. We 
>have been convinced that we, the
>     People, are not competent to understand what the words of the 
>Constitution mean, that we are too
>     stupid to read it, to research it, and to decide for ourselves what 
>those words mean; and that we must
>     rely on unelected federal judges to tell us what the plain words of 
>that document really mean. Thus we
>     have a Supreme Court which tells us that the Congress may spend 
>money for any purpose which can be
>     defined as contributing to the general welfare of the nation. The 
>basic idea has therefore taken hold
>     with most people that the federal government can do anything it 
>want to do, just as long as enough
>     people agree, and the concept of accountability of our servants in 
>government for their improper and
>     abusive actions has virtually disappeared. 
>     We have a Supreme Court which discovers rights lurking in the 
>Constitution which two centuries of
>     previous Supreme Courts somehow failed to notice. We have a Supreme 
>Court which, until recently,
>     has allowed the Congress to regulate virtually any local activity 
>which someone claims may affect
>     interstate commerce, regardless of how absurd that claim may be. 
>The Tenth Amendment, which
>     specifically says, "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," has been called a nullity by
>     the Supreme Court; in other words, it is irrelevant, mere words 
>which don't mean anything 
>     Contrast that expansive view of government power which has taken 
>root during this century, with the
>     words of Thomas Jefferson, who was concerned that just such a 
>problem might arise: "Congress has
>     not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only 
>those specifically enumerated." 
>     The danger of abrogating our fundamental rights and 
>responsibilities as citizens becomes evident when
>     the history of our founding is reviewed: the People fought a war 
>for independence, then selected
>     delegates to come together and form a new government for their new 
>nation. Those delegates of the
>     People created a document, a Constitution, which created that 
>government. That document simply said:
>     'We created this government. We control it. These are the powers 
>over us which we, the People, grant
>     to this government. These powers and no more. And to make doubly 
>sure of our Freedom, we attach a
>     list of our fundamental rights which this government may not 
>impair.' Now, two centuries later, we have
>     made the potentially fatal mistake of saying to that government, 
>'We will give to you the authority to
>     tell us what powers you have over us. We will allow the government 
>to define its own limits.' 
>     This is the perfect prescription for tyranny. 
>     For a government which has the power to define its own limits, in 
>fact has no limits. And a Constitution
>     which is a "living" Constitution, which "grows" to meet evolving 
>standards, is no Constitution at all. 
>     As Jefferson admonished: 
>     "On every question of construction [of the Constitution] let us 
>carry ourselves back to the time when
>     the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in 
>the debates, and instead of trying what
>     meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or intended against it, 
>conform to the probable one in which it
>     was passed." 
>     There is an old story about the proper method for cooking a frog. 
>     If you throw a live frog into a pot of boiling water, the story 
>goes, it will instantly jump out. If, however,
>     you throw the frog into a pot of cold water, it will merrily swim 
>about. Then you can gradually turn up
>     the heat until, before long, it is cooked and ready to be eaten. 
>The scenario outlined in the first
>     paragraph above would probably cause the citizens of this nation to 
>react much as the frog thrown into
>     boiling water. However, the elites in our government have been 
>using the cold water method for
>     decades, and we are still merrily swimming around as the water 
>approaches boiling. Are we cooked
>     yet? 

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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