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Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Misinterpretation of the Constitution

Much to the dismay of many of my readers on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, the President of the United States signed into law the Health Care and Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010. In reaction to this massive expansion of federal power, several states already filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the law. In defense of the constitutionality of the law, supporters cite two clauses of the United States Constitution they claim gives the federal government the authority to impose this radical legislation on the citizens of the several states. In both cases, however, the supporters are wrong.

First, supporters of the new law claim Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to provide for the general welfare of the American people. However, a closer look at the language of the Constitution shows Congress does not possess such power. As stated in Article I, Section 8, Clause 1, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” The clause at first glance may appear to give Congress the power to pass any law which provides for the general welfare of the citizenry. However if read carefully, the clause actually grants Congress the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises for a limited purposes of paying debts and providing for the common defense and general welfare of the citizenry. Therefore, the correct interpretation of the clause does not give Congress the power to pass any law for the general welfare of the citizenry but rather gives Congress the power to “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises and that power may only be used for three express purposes: (1) to pay the debts of the nation; (2) to provide for the common defense of the nation; and (3) to provide for the general welfare of the citizens. Said another way, the only way Congress can provide for the general welfare of the citizenry is through the use of taxes, duties, imposts and excises but not through mandates requiring citizens to purchase government run health care coverage because the purchase of government health care coverage is not a tax, duty, impost, or excise. Therefore, the reasoning of the supporters of this new law is faulty on at least one ground.

The second clause supporters of the new law state gives Congress the power to impose government run health care on the nation is Article I, Section 8, Clause 3, more familiarly known as the Commerce Clause. The belief that the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to impose a mandate on the citizenry to purchase Health Care is faulty on several points. First, supporters of the law maintain the Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate all interstate commerce and intrastate commerce affecting interstate commerce. However, a fair reading of the Commerce Clause does not give Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce but rather commerce “among the several states.” The use of the word “among” is important in understanding the actual meaning of the clause.

In the English language, the use of the words “among” and “between” is not interchangeable. The rule for determining which word is appropriate is dependent upon the number of individuals or things being discussed. The use of the word “between” is required whenever two nouns are being discussed. For example, Jane and John will split the cake between each other. The use of the preposition “between” is appropriate here because the group of nouns being discussed is two. Whenever more than two nouns are used, the preposition “among” is used. For example, Jane, John, and Joseph will split the cake among each other. To say Jane, John, and Joseph will split the cake between each other is grammatically incorrect. By relating this rule of English to the written text of the Constitution, it becomes apparent the Constitution does not give Congress the power to regulate all interstate commerce but only interstate commerce among three or more states. Otherwise the founders, who were among (notice among not between because I am discussing more than two men) the smartest and most well educated men of their time would have used the word “between” if they intended to give Congress such power. The framers could have easily written Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce between states but they did not. They specifically used the word “among” because they did not want to give Congress the power to regulate all interstate commerce only interstate commerce among three or more states.

The second misinterpretation made by supporters is that the Commerce Clause allows for the regulation of any commerce which affects interstate commerce. The reliance on this interpretation of the clause comes straight from Supreme Court precedent of the last 70 years. While this precedent has been changed by the Court over the years to only include activities which substantially affect interstate commerce rather than those activities which affect commerce in any way, the interpretation still is not based off of the textual language of the clause itself. Nowhere in the clause do the words “affect” or “interstate” even appear. Therefore, any such interpretation of the clause is faulty and against the very text and intent of the Commerce Clause as written.

Now many, including some of my conservative colleagues, will argue my interpretation of the Commerce Clause throws away years of Supreme Court precedence and they would be right. The legal rule of Stare Decisis does state that legal precedence from former court rulings on an issue decided in the past should be followed and not lightly changed. However, the rule presupposes that the precedent set in the past is based upon logical, rational, and correct legal analysis. The rule does not suggest or require that faulty precedence or interpretations of the law be followed. To hold the rule of Stare Decisis in such reverence is like following a lemming over a cliff not because it is the best course of action or the best decision or will lead to the best result but because it is what lemmings have always done. To continue to hold to the past jurisprudence of the Commerce Clause and refuse to properly interpret its true meaning and therefore the limits of Congressional power would be like throwing our entire system of government over the proverbial cliff simply because that is how it has always been done. I fear if a correct interpretation of the clause is not forwarded by the Supreme Court in deciding the constitutionality of the Health Care and Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010, our country is sure to find itself crashing upon the rocks with the rest of the lemmings and great world powers of years gone by.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The National Tea Party Convention

The first National Tea Party Convention was held last week in Nashville, Tennessee. While the convention was held for the purpose of espousing the principles upon which the Tea Party movement was founded, the convention fell far short of embracing the real change needed to assure America’s dominance in the twenty-first century. While a commitment to a smaller federal government, lower taxes, and stronger national defense are all positive steps towards assuring the greatness of America in the future, the commitments are only cures to the symptoms of the disease which plagues America. The fundamental problem with the American political system deals with the structure of our government which has been bastardized from its original form by the progressive and populist movements of the last century.

The problem with the American political system is that we, as citizens, now live in a democracy and no longer the federalized republic created by the drafters of our constitution. Because of this change in form, the nation is starting to develop the problems long associated with democracies. In his work The Politics, Aristotle warns of the dangers of democracies versus the virtues of the polity or the republic. As so blatantly summarized by Hugh Henry Brackenridge in Modern Chivalry, democracies lend themselves to become mobacraies, where the whims of the many rule over the individual rights of the few. Fortunately, our founding fathers understood this danger to personal liberty by the majority and created a form of government to combat it.

As explained by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay in the Federalist Papers, the system of government created by our constitution combats the dangers of democracies in three ways. First, at the local level, our constitutional forms of governments pit the individual desires of each faction of the American citizenry against one another thereby assuring no one faction can at anytime become so dominate so as to threaten our liberty. While at times numerous factions will ban together to create a majority, the differing needs of each separate faction of citizenry will cause such alliance to be fleeting in nature. Secondly, each sovereign state acts as its own faction assuring the power of the federal government never becomes so absolute so as to impose tyranny upon the minority. Finally, the sovereign states grant the federal government certain enumerated powers for the common good of all the sovereign states while expressly reserving all other powers to the states. This final protection has come to be known as federalism. It is in this latter regard which as a nation we have failed as evidenced by our current form of government.

The reasons for this failure are the degradation of the states through the usurpation of their sovereign power by the federal government, especially the federal judiciary, and the ever increasing subrogation of our founding principles with the dogma of liberal elitism yielding an uneducated and complacent citizenry. In order to correct the illness which plagues our nation, we must do more than lower taxes or cut spending. We must resurrect the wall of federalism by restoring to the states their sovereign power so they may act as checks against the power of the federal government. Only in this way can we insure the whims of the majority will not affect the rights of the minority.

For instance, in the current health care debate now raging in Washington, the federal government is attempting to impose upon all citizens a single-payer, socialist style government health care program. The reason the federal government can impose such a program on all the citizenry is because the barriers set up by the original constitution, as framed by our founders, have been removed thus allowing those in power to impose their whims upon all regardless of the state in which the citizen lives. Contrast this centralized power to the most egregious and abhorrent use of state power, slavery. Even at its pinnacle, the power of the few slave states to impose their will on free states was non-existent. Furthermore, and probably more important, when the federal government attempted to regulate which states could and could not own slaves through the Missouri Compromise, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the law as an unconstitutional overreach of federal power. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. Today, the policies of some states, such as the policies towards gay marriage or universal health care, are being forced upon all states regardless of the state citizenry’s desires. It is this exact problem, which we must correct; otherwise, any change in the policies of the federal government will only be temporary and undone by the next round of liberals to take power in Washington.

While some suggest methods for restoring the correct balance of federal power, such as impeaching activist judges or repealing the Seventeenth Amendment, I will not suggest a method by which to restore our nation to a federalized republic rather leaving such feats to those more tactile than I. In conclusion, I am reminded of a story about the founding of our nation. Upon emerging from the Constitutional Convention which created our governing document, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a crowd of citizens, “What type of government did you create?” Mr. Franklin replied, “A republic. If you can keep it?” Unfortunately in recent times, I believe we have answered Mr. Franklin’s question with a resounding no.

Friday, February 05, 2010

An Unexpected Absence

First off, I would like to apologize to all who have followed my blog and have been anxiously awaiting a new posting. In October of 2008, I passed the Virginia Bar Examination and have been very busy fulfilling my career goals as an attorney. However, I promise to have a new post up by the end of the weekend so stay tuned. Thanks for your support and for reading the blog that is the origin of the Tea Party movement.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Impeachment Of George W. Bush

For those of you, who think they missed some important news story this week because of the title of my article you haven’t. Rather it is the eventual headlines of every major newspaper in America if the democrats regain control of the House of Representatives. Ever since the 2000 election, democrats have been waiting for a chance to enact their revenge on the Republican Party for the impeachment of President Clinton and now with the indictment of Vice President Cheney’s aide “Scooter” Libby the democrats believe they have finally found a topic on which to hatch they diabolical plan.

The case is already being made by democrats and carried on by the liberal press that the president lied America into a war against Saddam Hussein. The case was furthered by the overt actions of the Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid who shut down the Senate by calling for a closed door classified hearing for the purpose of discussing the intelligence leading up to the Iraq invasion which was nothing more than political posturing for future allegations against the President. Furthermore the liberal media have slowly turned up the rhetoric against the President and are now giving validity to the wild accusations of the democrats. Many in the media are calling for the resignation of Karl Rove and some such as the panel of liberal commentators on ABC’s Inside Washington have even stated that if President Bush lied and the allegations brought forth by the democrats are true (which they hope they are or if not they will do the best they can as liberal journalists to convince the country they are true) then President Bush will have to be held responsible for the “innocent blood on his hands”.

Now while the liberal media and the democrats are crying foul about America being lied into war, I think we should take a step back and look at how we as a nation got “lied” into war and who is really responsibility for allowing us to go to war on such a false pretense. According to Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution of the United States, Congress and only Congress can declare war on a foreign nation. The President according to the Constitution cannot declare war or lead us to war or lie us into a war. The reasoning behind the framers placing the power to declare war in the hands of the legislative body and not the executive branch is quite clear. The founders of our nation wanted to avoid the possibility of one man leading the country to war. For the founders, power of this type was too great to give to one man to be used on his whim against others. Instead, they realized that only through a rational debate and consensus of all the states should such an august action be taken.

However, the Congress of the United States has not declared war on a nation since the Second World War. For nearly sixty years, the congress has abdicated the power to declare war to the executive branch and even after the fiasco of Vietnam the congress still refused to curb the power of the President and even when attempts where taken such as the 1973 Wars Power Act it did little to stop the executive branch from taking unilateral action against other nations. In the present situation with the war on terror and the war in Iraq, the congress continued the practice of abdication to the President because they do not want to be held responsible if the war goes poorly. Instead of fulfilling their constitutional role and doing what was best for the country, the congress in its typical lily-livered fashion worried only about themselves and their bids for reelection rather than what was best for the country. I mean if three airplanes smacking into the sides of buildings isn’t enough for the congress to declare war then I don’t know what is! Of course, the congress instead of declaring war weaseled out of the tough choice by claiming they couldn’t declare war on a terrorist group because it wasn’t a nation. (What a load of horse poop that excuse was but I guess the cowardness of congress would best be left for another time as I know readers don’t want an article the size of the novel War & Peace).

Anyhow now, the democrats are out in force claiming the President lied us into the Iraq war but I say they are just as responsible for the country being at war as the President is. After all, they were complicit in allowing the President to take the action against Iraq. They had access to the same intelligence as the President and if after a through analysis of the facts, the democrats concluded the reasons for going to war were false they could vote against the war resolution. Even better yet, the democrats in the Senate could have filibustered the resolution to go to war rather than wasting the filibuster on unimportant things like the evil conservative judges (and allies of the galactic empire) Priscilla Owens and Janis Rogers Brown. However because the congress has for decades abdicated the power to go to war to the President, there was no resolution to block or vote against and now the democrats in congress are crying foul that the President lied us into war. Well maybe if those democrats had undertaken their constitutional responsibilities for the past sixty years instead of passing the decision to go to war on to the President, they could have stopped the President from falsely sending us to war. So if in the end President Bush did lie us into a war against Iraq, I think he should not be the only person removed from office for failing to uphold his constitutional obligations. I think the democrats in Congress should go as well as their crime would be greater than lying to the American people it would be failing to defend the American Republic.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Terror Lessons from Katrina

The similarities between Hurricane Katrina and the global war on terrorism are not readily apparent to the average American. While most of the news coverage about the disaster in the southeast has been about the number dead and the millions or billions of dollars in damage, no member of the media or the government, for that matter, has discussed the real story to come out of the hurricane. The real story is the total lack of preparation by the local, state, and federal governments to deal with an emergency situation which required the evacuation of a major metropolitan area.

In order to be fair, let us conduct a closer examination of the facts leading to the disaster. On Wednesday, August 24, the National Hurricane Center with little warning renamed Tropical Depression 12 to Tropical Storm Katrina and started warning Florida residents of the possibility the storm could turn into a category one hurricane by the time it hit shore the next day. By Thursday evening east coast time, Hurricane Katrina made land fall in the southern part of Florida as a category one hurricane and killed eleven people as it passed through the state on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. By early Friday, August 26, and maybe even before hand, the National Hurricane Center and most meteorologists started warning of the impending strength of the storm as it passed through the warm watered gulf. By the time the hurricane had passed half way through the Gulf of Mexico, it was already a strong category three hurricane and was still gaining in strength. On Sunday, August 28, just twenty-four hours before landfall, the first order to evacuate the city of New Orleans was declared. On Monday, August 29, Hurricane Katrina hits land in Louisiana at 6 am in the morning devastating the city of New Orleans and much of the Mississippi Delta area.

After recounting the events leading up to one of the most devastating natural disasters, the question is what this has to do with fighting terrorism? The answer is the readiness of the country to deal with another terrorist attack. While working on capital hill for the U.S. Senate, I was responsible for closely following the work of the 9-11 commission and reporting on its findings. One of the major complaints of the 9-11 commission was the lack of readiness and the inefficiency in implementation of emergency protocol by first responders and emergency personnel. However, the events of the last week have highlighted the inefficiency of the 9-11 commission in addressing the real problems we will have to face as a nation if another terrorist attack reaches American soil.

As presented above by the hurricane timeline, the local, state, and federal governments were given plenty of advanced warning about the impending destruction about to hit the Mississippi Delta area. However even with the advanced warning, the government was still incapable of evacuating the city of New Orleans in time to avoid massive loss of life. When the terrorists attack the United States again and it will happen again, as they did on September 11th, there will be no overt warning, no twenty-four hour notice that disaster is imminent. Instead the attack will come without warning and in the case of a chemical or biological attack where time is of the essence, the evacuation plan used in New Orleans which failed to safely remove 485,000 citizens will be cataclysmic in trying to evacuate millions from cities such as New York or Los Angeles. Sadly this is an issue the 9-11 commission failed to address during its investigation of the September 11th attacks which was suppose to insure disasters like this did not happen again due to failed government planning. In fairness to the commission though, the oversight in developing an appropriate evacuation plan is explainable as it would have taken away from the commission’s primary focus of blaming President Bush and the New York City Police and Fire Departments for September 11th. Nevertheless, the destruction by Hurricane Katrina has opened my eyes to a very upsetting truth. The truth is if terrorist attack the country with chemical or biological weapons in a major metropolitan area a mass evacuation will not be successful.

Knowing a mass evacuation will not be successful means the only available option for saving lives is to thwart the cause of the destruction before it hits. Unfortunately even with all our scientific advancements, we still cannot stop the wrath of Mother Nature. However as a nation through a well defined foreign policy, a chemical or biological attack by terrorists can be thwarted before it is carried out on the United States. By taking out terrorist nations and those rogue nations which would use weapons of mass destruction against us, we can insure the need for a mass evacuation plan will never be necessary. While the Bush administration has already come to this realization, the liberals in this country and around the world do not understand that the destruction of terrorism is the only solution to stopping the eventual need for a mass evacuation of a major U.S. city. The ability of conservatives to understand the solution and the possible repercussions of not implementing the solution is why conservatives understand a preemptive war like Iraq is necessary to defend America and why other wars against nations like Syria and Iran maybe necessary as well. Liberals, on the other hand, do not understand the preemptive policy and believe war is never a solution which is what leads us to disasters such as September 11th. Hopefully the havoc of Hurricane Katrina will now convince liberals of the necessity of preemptive strikes against terrorist nations and if so then maybe some bright spot can come from the tragedy unleashed against the people of the Mississippi Delta region; otherwise, I fear we will be having another investigatory commission looking into the failures surrounding a failed evacuation due to a terrorist attack.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Lamp Shade at the End of the Tunnel

The events of the last week in Iraq have fueled the constant attacks by the antiwar left of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy as a Vietnamesque quagmire. The lefties and the media elite have continued to trumpet the deaths of our servicemen using them as kindling to ignite the next log of anti-American fervor in an attempt to undermine the success of America in the fight against terror. While the news of complications with Iraqi’s constitution is troublesome, an immediate or premature withdrawal from the region as the left desires will not solve the problems of violence and instability in the country. However in order to assure military and political success in Iraq, the will of the American people must be behind the policies being implemented and recent polls have shown American support for the administration’s Iraq policy to be in serious trouble. Unless the support of the people changes and is quickly bolstered, an early withdrawal from Iraq may be inevitable. However, the American media has done little to keep the people in support of the war effort and on the contrary has been the major cause of the loss of support for the war in Iraq.

The media was not always so anti-American rather the phenomenon started during the time of the Vietnam War. For example during the Second World War, the media played an influential part in insuring American morale and support for the war stayed high. The great journalists of the era such as Edwin R. Murrow understood more was at stake than selling newspapers or promoting the journalist’s own personal beliefs. In those years, journalists and the media understood the duty they had to the country to inform the American people while still keeping morale high for the sake of the nation. Unfortunately, the media because of its liberalism and anti-American bias has greatly failed the American people and our country as a whole in this respect. The media elites do not understand the necessity of sacrifice for the sake of patriotism during a time of war like most other Americans do. The media elites under the guises of neutrality in reporting state they cannot curb or skew reporting for the sake of the nation. I, on the other hand, believe it is their duty as Americans first and journalists second to sacrifice their individual trivial political disputes for the sake of the overall good of the nation. However, I do not want people to believe I am advocating the media sacrifice truth in place of propaganda. Rather, I want the media to stop enabling terrorism and our enemies through their continued promotion of anti-Bush and anti-American rhetoric.

However, I cannot solely blame the state of American public opinion about the Iraq war on the liberal media alone. Some blame must also be placed on the American people and our total lack of backbone. When did we go from a nation of defiant patriots who cried, “Give me liberty or give me death!” to a nation of cowardly wimps clamoring for the immediate withdrawals of troops from Iraq because of a few roadside bombs? Now, I am not devaluing the lives lost in Iraq as I truly believe any loss of life is tragic. However, as Americans we need to put the loss of life in Iraq in prospective compared to other wars in our nation’s history. To illustrate my point, one would just have to research the casualty data for other wars in which America has been involved. An analysis of the data for the four major wars during the twentieth century illustrates the actual state of affairs in Iraq are quite good. For example, during the Korean War, the least bloody of all the major twentieth century wars by total deaths, the number of dead reached just above 33,000 a good deal more than the 1,800 deaths record so far in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

From the numbers sited, one can clearly see we are a far cry away from the Vietnam like quagmire the media, the left, and now even some prominent conservatives such as Chuck Hagel are warning us about in Iraq. There still is a beaming light at the end of the tunnel in Iraq. However, in order to reach it we, as a people, must continue to support our troops and must show some courage and willingness to sacrifice to the same degree if not more than prior American generations have. Only through continued determination, resolution, and unyieldingness in spirit can we hope to boost the morale of our nation and of our troops in the field and defeat the Islamofascist terrorist trying to destroy our way of life.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


I would like to welcome everyone to Boston Tea Party Online. First off, I hope you find this column entertaining, secondarily educational and arousing in spirit, and finally persuasive in nature. For some time now, I have wanted to start a career as a political commentator and this column is my first attempt at making my dream come true. In the coming weeks, I will post a weekly commentary on the topics of concern to us as a nation, and I hope you will enjoy reading my personal insights on these subjects.

About the Author

I was born in northern New Jersey and grew up just miles away from Morristown, NJ, home of General George Washington's Headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Ever since I was young, I was always interested in politics, government, and current events. I believe my interest in politics comes from two main sources of influence, the first being the very landscape of my childhood surroundings, rich in revolutionary history as it is, which therefore lends itself easily to the learning and discussion of politics and the second from the fact I grew up during the cold war a time in which current events and politics were an important part of everyday life. Because of these two influences, my eagerness to learn about politics flourished, and I quickly identified myself with the typical childhood role model the President of the United States, who thankfully at the time was Ronald Reagan. Because of my affinity with President Reagan and due to the traditional values taught to me by my parents, I unbeknowningly embraced the neoconservative philosophy at an early age.

By the time I was fifteen and in high school, I was firmly committed to the American principles of freedom and the beliefs of our revolutionary forefathers in a limited central government and in a free market capitalist system. However, not until I moved to Spring, TX a suburb of Houston with my family after my freshman year of high school, did I further developed my understanding of the conservative philosophy. While living in Texas, I found the beliefs of many southern conservatives and the beliefs of other red state republicans to be similar to my own beliefs. It was at this time I became of voting age and finally aligned myself with the conservative movement now shaping America.

After graduating high school, I continued my education in politics by attending Baylor University in Waco, TX where I studied Political Science and English Literature. I used my understanding of politics to attend Drake University's College of Business and Public Administration in Des Moines, IA and rounded out my education by studying law under the tutalege of a well respected member of the Virginia Bar through a law apprenticeship program. During my time in college and since leaving college, I have had the opportunity to influence the legislative process by working for both state legislators and national representatives in both houses of congress including U.S. Representative Kevin Brady (8th TX) and Finance Chairman Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). At the present, I am turning my attention to trying to influence and share my knowledge of politics with those outside the beltway and thus have found myself trying to enter the political dialogue of our country as a political commentator.

Why the Boston Tea Party?

In 1773 after the passing of the Townshend Act by the British Parliament, which among several other things put a tax on tea in the colonies, a group of patriots dressed as American Indians boarded several British ships importing tea to the colonies and in an act of revolutionary defiance dumped the tea overboard. The actions of these brave and patriotic rebel rousers were a symbol of the disenfranchisement the colonial citizens felt for the British Government who held sovereignty over them. In the same vain as those brave patriots, I too have become disenfranchised with my government one that for close to forty years was controlled by the liberals of the New Deal Era and the liberals in the media who have for so long refused to do what is right and report the truth about what is best for America and other freedom loving people around the world. Therefore I am holding my own online Boston Tea Party (hence the name of my website) in a defiant act to combat the dominance of the liberal media and to undo the mistakes of the New Deal liberals by each week committing this site to the dissemination of the truth and the conservative point of view on the affairs and events of concern to our nation as a people.


I hope those who find my column insightful and rewarding will continue to join me each week at Boston Tea Party Online in an effort to promote the conservative ideology. As with all publications, your comments and letters are welcome and encouraged. I hope you enjoy my column and please don’t forget to wear your headdress to the party!!!

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