By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
On Saturday and Sunday, The Washington Post’s liberal reporters warned that Republican victories in November on the national and state levels have given the GOP the opportunity this year to become “aggressive” and pass their own legislation and initiatives. “GOP will flex muscles in the states” ran on Saturday, with an article, “Eager GOP sets its goals,” about their national effort running on Sunday. But there is something else the Republicans could do to really strike fear into the hearts of liberals—restore internal security panels that once examined “un-American” activities.
The liberal media are terrified that Republicans will actually do something with their power. On foreign policy, the Post feared that Republicans could put in jeopardy President Obama’s “outreach to Cuba and Iran.” The term “outreach” implies that Obama is pursuing a wise and correct approach to our enemies in the communist and Muslim worlds. This is how a major liberal paper attempts to intimidate Republicans into letting Obama and the far-left have their way. Let’s hope the Republicans are smart enough to see through this propaganda disguised as “news.”
The liberals are worried indeed, because, as the Post notes, there are 246 Republicans in the House, the party’s largest majority since just after World War II, and the GOP now controls 31 governorships and 68 of 98 partisan legislative chambers.
On the national level, there is no formal process underway to re-establish a House or Senate internal security panel, but the need is clearly there. The proceedings of old House and Senate panels on un-American Activities or internal security have proven to be absolutely essential in understanding the rise of Barack Obama and the modern “progressive” movement. Hearings into communist activities in America were cited by such books such as Jerome Corsi’s The Obama Nation and David Freddoso’s The Case Against Barack Obama: The Unlikely Rise and Unexamined Agenda of the Media’s Favorite Candidate. That’s because Obama’s Marxist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, and his lawyer, Harriet Bouslog, had figured so prominently in the investigations of Soviet-sponsored networks on American soil. Bouslog defended Davis against charges that not only was he a member of the Communist Party, but a suspected Soviet espionage agent.
The Republicans have controlled the House and conducted some worthwhile investigations. The Post refers to these as probes into “alleged” wrongdoing at the IRS, the Department of Justice, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Such hearings were necessary because of the media’s failure to aggressively investigate the Obama administration. Congress has failed, however, to investigate such topics as Muslim Brotherhood penetration of the executive branch. That’s why panels looking at internal security are so desperately needed.
The failure of the House to investigate the Muslim Brotherhood lies at the feet of House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who denounced his fellow Republicans when they sought a probe of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s controversial foreign Muslim connections. Boehner was also slow to embrace a special committee to investigate Benghazi.
Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy notes that the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence is so pervasive within the U.S. government and civil institutions “that a serious, sustained and rigorous investigation of the phenomenon” is in order. He adds, “To that end, we need to establish a new and improved counterpart to the Cold War-era’s HUAC [House committee on Un-American Activities] and charge it with examining and rooting out anti-American—and anti-constitutional—activities that constitute an even more insidious peril than those pursued by communist Fifth Columnists fifty years ago.”
The House Homeland Security Committee, under the chairmanship of Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) has proven to be a major disappointment. He even refused to investigate the expansion of the Muslim Brotherhood channel, Al Jazeera, into the U.S. through the purchase of Al Gore’s Current TV.
The Senate once had a Subcommittee on Security and Terrorism that held hearings in 1982 on such topics as “The role of Cuba in international terrorism and subversion.” Such a subcommittee is badly needed today, as the Obama administration wants to drop Cuba from the official list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuban dictator Raul Castro said of Obama’s announcement: “His decision to review the unjustifiable inclusion of Cuba on the list of state sponsors of international terrorism is encouraging.” It is time for Congress to once again document how Cuba sponsored such groups as the Weather Underground and the Puerto Rican FALN, and their bombing campaigns on American soil. The role of the Weather Underground in facilitating the prison escape of cop-killer Joanne Chesimard and her arrival in Cuba, where she remains, should be a prime topic of inquiry. She is living in Cuba with such fugitives as William Morales, the notorious FALN bomb-maker who also escaped from prison and fled.
In the same speech, Castro referred to the release from U.S. prison of the “Cuban Five” spies, saying, “I must reiterate our profound, sincere gratitude to all the solidarity movements and committees which struggled to obtain their freedom, and innumerable governments, parliaments, organizations, institutions and figures who made a valuable contribution.”
These “solidarity movements and committees” have been active on American soil for many years. I covered one of their conferences last year at a Baptist church just a few blocks from the White House. It was orchestrated by the Cuban Interests Section in Washington, D.C. and the Workers World Party, a Marxist-Leninist group. It is time for hearings into these activities and their role in the change in Obama’s Cuba policy. If Cuba is given a full-fledged embassy in Washington, D.C., we can anticipate more spying and subversion on American soil. Is that in America’s national interest?
The Post notes that, in the Senate, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), plans a “rigorous hearing process” on Obama’s recognition of the communist regime in Cuba. But the hearings will prove to be inadequate unless the pro-Castro network in the U.S. is identified and examined—and we find out what the FBI knows about these “solidarity movements and committees.”
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) can do some good work as the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. But a subcommittee on internal security could be revived and do a lot of specialized work into the activities of the pro-Castro lobby.
In addition to re-establishing a congressional panel on internal security, Republican-controlled states can work in the same area. Some of the best hearings into internal subversion were conducted years ago by the state legislature in California through the California Un-American Activities Committee. The Golden state is no longer in the Republican camp, but a number of states now under Republican control could decide to form legislative committees or panels and open hearings in this area.
The creation of these committees would lead to cries of “McCarthyism.” Papers like the Post would say that Republicans are being too “aggressive” and “partisan.” But the conservative base is clearly demanding action to stem the tide of Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America. They know they can’t count on the major media to investigate the Obama administration. Another opportunity like this may never happen again.
Every week on Monday morning, the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum with short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture or daily living. This week’s question: What Do You See As The Greatest Strategic Threat America Faces Today?
Simply Jews: I would say it is Chinese economic (and, in its steps) military expansion. The way to counter it is in reviving US economy and US economic presence all over the world. Starting with South America, where China, Iran and similar regimes are making inroads.
The Razor: The greatest strategic threat to America continues to be an internal one. External forces, whether it’s Great Britain, Japan or al-Qaeda always serve to unite us when they attack. It’s the internal threats that are particularly worrisome.
To say this threat is the modern American Left would be a mistake. The Left is as fractured and splintered on important and not-so-important issues as the Right is, and there are many on the Left wing who do not seek to undermine American society and instead want to strengthen it.
But there is a strain of Leftism that is quite dangerous. It is a nihilistic strain that blames America for all the world’s ills and sees America as History’s greatest villain. A leading thinker of this strain continues to be Noam Chomsky who has acolytes in the media such as director Oliver Stone and actor Sean Penn. These white men have allied themselves with some particularly odious characters such as Kim Jong-Il, Hugo Chavez and Vladimir Putin. Ironically these men have profited from their views while living in the very society they seek to destroy. Chomsky hasn’t given up his comfortable life in Massachusetts for Pyongyang, and Oliver Stone hasn’t quit Hollywood for Moscow, yet that hasn’t stopped them from condemning their own society while extolling the virtues of despotic regimes.
Ideologies exist on a multi-dimensional spectrum, and the Right has its racist paleoconservatives just as the Left has its moonbats. But the difference is that the Left hasn’t rejected their crazies the way the Right has been forced to do. Rep. Steve Scalise made front page news when it was reported that he spoke before a white nationalist conference in 2002. What didn’t make the front page was the fact Scalise spoke to a different, non-racist group within the same hotel at that time. Meanwhile anti-Semites like Al Sharpton, Rev. Wright and Jesse Jackson continue to be embraced by the Left just as Chomsky and his minions are. The Left has not purged itself of the crazies the way the Right has, most notably William F. Buckley jr’s purges of the 1950s and 1960s that created modern American conservatism.
Just as the Aryan Nations seeks to create a new America without minorities, Leftists like Chomsky seek to create a world without America. They therefore actively undermine American efforts both internally and externally whenever possible, thereby increasing the suffering of both Americans and those they wish to help such as Ukraine, where Oliver Stone recently stated his support for Vladimir Putin’s partition of the country.
Russia is not the danger to the US. The condoning of Oliver Stone’s statements by the silence of the Left is far more dangerous. Such silence increases the likelihood of war between the US and Russia. It also encourages our enemies to see America as a “paper tiger,” the greatest historical fallacy America’s enemies have ever believed. Once they reach that point there is no return except through conflict and their inevitable destruction.
JoshuaPundit: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC, AKA The White House. A fish rots from the head.
We have a dysfunctional commander-in-chief whom the vast majority of our military hold quite rightly in disdain, because he has no understanding of their actual mission and endangers their lives with ridiculous rules of engagement. He’s gotten us in two illegal wars while losing the war in AfPack and squandering the peace won in Iraq. He’s responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Libya, Algeria and Mali as well as the rise of IS in Syria and Iraq. He has successfully shrunk our military to pre-WWII numbers and cut our nuclear weapons stockpile to unacceptable levels, including our anti-missile defenses.And the Obama presidency has given encouragement to some of the worst radicals in America as well as putting America deeply in debt to no purpose.
Even worse, he has emboldened our enemies and alienated our allies. He and his State Department appointees have mismanaged the relationship with,among others, Israel, India, Canada, Germany, Russia and China to the point where they are far worse than they were when he took office… not to mention his outright appeasement of Iran
I’m not particularly worried about Russia or China. Both are rational actors, and neither can afford a war either financially, strategically or demographically. A different tone in Washington backed by appropriate action is needed, but that’s not out of the realm of possibility. China in particular needs the U.S. as a market and as a counterbalance against Russia, with whom they have never had a good relationship historically in spite of appearances.
Iran is a very different matter. They are not rational actors and are by far the biggest threat after the current leadership in Washington. The Iranian regime has never suffered any major consequences for their actions against the United States including their aiding and abetting 9/11 and have learned that they need not fear us, especially under this president.
That, I’m convinced, will come back to haunt us unless we do something drastic to correct it.
The Glittering Eye: The short answer to the question is that we don’t have one. Let’s consider that with a little more rigor.
To be a geopolitical challenge a country, group of countries, organization, or institution must have at least three attributes. It must be expansionary, it must have the capacity to reach us, and it must be attractive.
Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Soviet Russia were all geopolitical challenges, each with all of those attributes. That’s something too frequently forgotten after their defeat. The Third Reich, the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the Soviet Union each had substantial support outside of Germany, Japan, or Russia.
In contrast, nobody wants what China’s rulers want outside of a few of the world’s worst autocrats. China isn’t expansionary. It claims Taiwan and a few rocks in the waters adjacent to China but it’s been claiming those for the better part of a century. It’s not marching its armies into Burma, Southeast Asia, or India, at least not for the foreseeable future. And, finally, China doesn’t have the capacity to reach us, other than with nuclear weapons, something we have in orders of magnitude more abundance than they.
Similarly with Russia. Putin’s Russia is nationalist and irredentist but not expansionary and it has been spectacularly unsuccessful in attracting anyone to their banner. Like China, Russia is unable to reach us other than with nuclear weapons. Its nuclear arsenal is what makes the Russia-U. S. relationship the most important bilateral relationship in the world, something we are mismanaging tragically.
I don’t see any group of countries challenging us, either.
Radical Islamism continues to attract people to its banner and it’s obviously expansionary but it doesn’t have the ability to reach us and it never will have due to its own internal contradictions. In the 21st century it’s impossible to pose a military challenge when you’re as nostalgic for the 6th century as militant radical Islamism is. You can only be a parasite. That’s why they utilize terrorist attacks, the strategy of the poor and weak.
China, Russia, and radical Islamism all pose challenges to our clients rather than to us. However, that’s entirely because our clients allow them to pose challenges. We have pretty lousy clients and IMO they need us a lot more than we need them. Whether they will come to that realization is unclear to me.
The closest thing we have to a geopolitical challenge is internal. Basically, Schumpeter was right. What we have to fear is our own professional, intellectual, and political classes, all of which are busily undermining the very economy, society, and politics on which they depend for their survival.
The Noisy Room: The greatest strategic threat America faces today is a toxic mix of the enemies from within, comprised of Marxists, Progressives, Communists and Radical Islamists. We are at war within.
Fueling these enemies is a stew of corruption, greed, power mongering and religious zealotry that has never been seen the likes of in American history. Our Republic stands on the brink of a full-fledged civil conflict and the fall of the greatest and freest nation that has ever graced the earth. The final demise will be led by a megalomaniac leader in the guise of President Obama who despises what he views as an oppressive, colonialist America. He will settle for nothing less than bringing her to her knees, forcing a massive wealth redistribution and the subjugation of America as a country and an ideal to Islam and the Caliphate.
While this is happening, the greatest theft of every form of asset and wealth the nation has ever known is occurring by the corrupt, wealthy elite. They will take everything not nailed down until there is nothing left and will leave the nation with nothing but debt, despair, agony, poverty and weakness. She will then be ripe for the taking by the enemies without and the new Axis of Evil: Russia, China and Iran are breathlessly waiting in the wings to feast at the American table after our esteemed leaders lay out the final buffet. The leftovers will be to die for. Only the rise of a true Constitutional Conservative will slow or stop this monstrous chain of events. That rise will have to come very soon now.
The Right Planet: There are number of security concerns and strategic threats I see facing America right now. One of the most concerning is Obama’s dismantling of the US military. China is flexing its muscle, and has long been modernizing its army and navy. Additionally, Russia and China are becoming quite chummy as of late. Furthermore, the BRICS economic alliance–comprising Brazil (now under the reign of a former communist terrorist. Dilma Rouseff), Russia, India, China and South America–is attempting to usurp the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. The fact that the national debt has increased by nearly $8 trillion during Obama’s presidency is an ominous threat to national security in and of itself. The march of ISIS across the Middle East is yet another ominous development that threatens U.S. interests, and Israel as well. Of course, internal unrest being stoked by the administration certainly is not helping matters, either. I just don’t see any of this ending well.
Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason: The greatest threat all Americans should be concerned about is the federalization/nationalization of our education system. While external threats are real and imminent, we need to focus on our children if America is to survive as a sovereign nation and Constitutional Republic. We must return to teaching them the concepts of individual freedom and our inherent rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If they do not understand the founding concepts of America, how are we to survive?
The Common Core State Standards are being implemented in nearly every state for grades K-12. President Obama has made a further commitment to funding Head Start for children before they are old enough to enter kindergarten. Think about it. In Florida, nearly 40% of our property taxes go to local and state school revenue. Nearly a quarter of all revenue in the state goes to education. Cursory research shows similar percentages in other states. This is a massive redistribution of wealth from the American people to the corporatists and academics as we see the curricula, technology, hardware and software being purchased and utilized for testing and collecting data on every single child, from cradle to grave. Proponents say Common Core prepares a child to be career or college ready. From what I have seen, the materials our children are being exposed to are poorly written, and the topics are dark and inappropriate for their age.
Our local school boards no longer have control over much more than budgetary matters. Directives come from the state and federal departments of education. Much of the time in the classroom is spent teaching for the next test. Home schooling and private or charter schools are not an option as all are required to teach to the standards. We are paying all of this money into a system where we no longer have any input as to how it is spent.
We must fight the Common Core State Standards.
Bookworm Room: I’m struggling to come up with a “greatest” strategic threat to America. The way I see it, there are many strategic threats to America, both at home and abroad. I simply can’t predict which is most likely to happen, nor would I discount a Black Swan on the horizon creating a level of chaos we’ve never imagined. Here, in no particular order, are the various long-term threats I see coming our way:
1. Unfettered immigration. The Democrats’ goal, as we know, is a permanent Democrat voting bloc. What worries me more is America’s decline into a third world country because it is swamped by people who break the system, socially and economically, and then replace it with what they know best: corruption, centralized criminal government, and anarchy wherever that government fails to get its hooks into the system.
2. Rampant Islam. Yes, Europe will go down first, but once the Islamists have Europe under their control, they also have Europe’s weapons. Europe may not be a great arsenal, but thanks to Obama’s two terms, America isn’t a great arsenal anymore either. More than that, as the Israelis have long known, Muslims relish death, while Americans, no matter how brave, don’t. In the short run, the murderers and sadists tend to have the battlefield advantage. While America can win a long war, I can’t see our public or our troops having the stomach for it.
3. Climate change initiatives. All the way back in 1992, when Al Gore, who used to believe in global cooling, suddenly became a fervent global warming hysteric, Rush Limbaugh instantly knew what was going on: wealth redistribution from rich nations to poor nations, and from all Americans to a select, elite, self-chosen few. Even as one climate change prediction after another fails, the true believers are still working to destroy America’s energy infrastructure. Without that infrastructure, what’s left to keep us from becoming just another benighted has-been nation.
4. Putin. Russia may be an economic basket case, but Putin is a grand master chess player in a world of two-bit checkers players. Obama hasn’t even graduated to marbles yet. Russia may not yet have a lot of pieces in play on the globe, but he will.
5. China. Again, the Chinese economy is not a healthy one and it’s begin to suffer real consequences from its one-child policy, not the least of which is an up-and-coming generation of young men who won’t be able to find young women. However, the Chinese leaders, like Putin, are chess players. The best that can happen to the US and the rest of the world, is if the Russians and Chinese play against each other . . . but why should they? The rest of the world is so badly managed that, in the short term, they can just divide it up amongst themselves.
6. Internal collapse. In Obama’s six years, America’s social fabric has frayed at an accelerated rate. Democrats started the process during the Bush era but, having revealed to America how fragile how social compact is, then promised Americans that with Obama in the White House all would be healed. Instead, Obama has accelerated the process even more. If America doesn’t find a stable middle very soon, we’re likely just to spin apart.
And yes, I am a pessimist.
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD: A nuclear Iran led by unelected and illegit preachers.
A Persian power with a keen sense of its 2,500-year history, Iran occupies a pivotal position straddling the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The country has the largest population in the Middle East, the world’s third largest oil reserves, the second largest natural gas reserves, and aspirations to again become the region’s major power. Add nuclear weapons, and this mixture become highly combustible.
The danger is not that Iran would build and use a nuclear weapon against the United States or its allies. Iranian leaders know that such an act would be regime suicide, as a powerful counterattack would follow immediately.
This is not a nuclear bomb crisis, but a nuclear regime crisis. The danger is that a nuclear-armed Iran would lead other states in the Gulf and Middle East, including possibly Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and even Turkey, to reexamine their nuclear options.
This potential wave of proliferation would seriously challenge regional and global security and undermine the worldwide effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. If the international community is unable or unwilling to impose penalties on Iran, and if Tehran continues its nuclear development unconstrained, the nuclear chain reaction from the region could ripple around the globe.
For example, if Iran used its nuclear weapons, transferred them to a third party, invaded its neighbors, or increased its support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the United States would be compelled to respond, although the measures it chose to adopt would not be specified in advance. This argument reflects the public position of many senior U.S. and European officials, as well as a number of prominent academics and defense intellectuals.
Yet this view is far too sanguine. Above all, it rests on the questionable assumptions that possessing nuclear weapons induces caution and restraint, that other nations in the Middle East would balance against Iran rather than bandwagon with it, that a nuclear-armed Iran would respect new red lines even though a conventionally armed Iran has failed to comply with similar warnings, and that further proliferation in the region could be avoided.
It seems more likely that Iran would become increasingly aggressive once it acquired a nuclear capability, that the United States’ allies in the Middle East would feel greatly threatened and so would increasingly accommodate Tehran, that the United States’ ability to promote and defend its interests in the region would be diminished, and that further nuclear proliferation, with all the dangers that entails, would occur.
The greatest concern in the near term would be that an unstable Iranian-Israeli nuclear contest could emerge, with a significant risk that either side would launch a first strike on the other despite the enormous risks and costs involved.
Over the longer term, Saudi Arabia and other states in the Middle East might pursue their own nuclear capabilities, raising the possibility of a highly unstable regional nuclear arms race.
Well, there you have it! Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week! And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning. It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter..’cause we’re cool like that, y’know?
By Publius Huldah.
In former law professor Rob Natelson’s recent paper, “No, the Necessary and Proper Clause Does NOT Empower Congress to Control an Amendments Convention” [read it HERE or HERE], he makes several untrue statements and commits the gross fallacy of making a circular argument which begs the question.
Natelson is the intellectual guru of those pushing for an Article V convention. Among the false claims they make is that a convention will be controlled by the States, and Congress has nothing to do with it. 1
That false claim rests on Natelson’s (1) fanciful theory of “customs”, (2) his tortured interpretation of the necessary and proper clause, (3) his misrepresentations of Supreme Court cases, and (4) his crimes against the Laws of Logic.
I’ll show you.
Article V provides two methods of proposing amendments to our Constitution. Congress proposes amendments and submits them to the States for ratification; or Congress “calls” a convention if 2/3 of the States apply to Congress for a convention. All our existing 27 amendments were proposed using the first method. We have never had a convention under Article V – for good reason. 2
Article I, §8, last clause says:
“The Congress shall have Power” … “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department 3 or Officer thereof.” [boldface mine]
The Federalist Papers confirm the plain language of the Constitution: §8 delegates to Congress the power to make laws for executing the powers delegated to each branch of the federal government. 4
Article V delegates to Congress the power to “call” the convention. The necessary and proper clause delegates to Congress the power to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out its power to “call” the convention.
The April 11, 2014 Report of the Congressional Research Service 5 shows that Congress claims exclusive authority over both methods of amending the Constitution, and that Congress claims the power to organize & set up a convention.
But Natelson – mind, he is their “cutting edge intellectual” – insists that the necessary and proper clause does NOT delegate to Congress power to organize & set up an Article V convention.
Well, well! Let’s look at Natelson’s four arguments:
A convention called under Article V of our Constitution is governed by provisions in our Constitution: Article V and Article I, §8, last clause – the “necessary and proper” clause.
But Natelson has long insisted that customs followed at conventions during our “Founding Era” determine how a convention called under Article V will be organized & set up. He says in his paper:
“… An entity that calls an interstate convention always has been limited to specifying the time, place, and subject matter. It is the state legislatures who control selection of their own commissioners, thank you very much.”
“Founding Era” customs supersede our Constitution? And where does Article V say a convention called under Article V is an “interstate” convention?
Natelson says the necessary and proper clause:
“… is not a grant of authority, but a rule of interpretation. It tells us to construe certain enumerated powers as the ratifiers understood them rather than in an overly-narrow way. …” [emphasis mine]
A “rule of interpretation”? As authority for this claim, Natelson cites a book co-authored by his own illustrious self which you can buy for $34.99.
So! While Hamilton and Madison said in The Federalist Papers 4 that the necessary and proper clause was a “grant of power to Congress” to make the laws to execute the powers delegated;
and Madison and Thomas Jefferson said The Federalist Papers were:
“an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all, and rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the US. on questions as to it’s genuine meaning” 6
Natelson says the clause is a “rule of interpretation” instead of a “grant of power”, and his $34.99 book is authoritative instead of The Federalist Papers.
Natelson next asserts “the Necessary and Proper Clause does not extend to the amendment process” because when Congress acts on Article V, it is not a Department or Branch of the federal government. Instead, it is an “ad hoc assembly”.
Congress is sometimes not a branch of the federal government? It is sometimes an ad hoc assembly? The Constitution doesn’t say that! The Federalist Papers don’t say that! Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention doesn’t say that!
But Natelson says he “knows” this from the “Founding Era record”, from subsequent history, and from decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, such as U.S. v. Sprague (1931).
Of course, Natelson doesn’t show where the “Founding Era record” says this; he doesn’t show why assemblies which met during our “Founding Era” are relevant to a convention called under Article V; he doesn’t show where “subsequent history” says this; and he doesn’t tell the truth about the holding in U.S. v. Sprague.
The issue in U.S. v. Sprague was whether the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) should have been ratified by conventions in each State instead of by State Legislatures. The Supreme Court held that Article V “is a grant of authority by the people to Congress” and that the people “deliberately made the grant of power to Congress in respect to the choice of the mode of ratification of amendments”. Accordingly, Congress had authority to select ratification of the proposed Amendment by State Legislatures instead of by conventions in each State.
U.S. v. Sprague has nothing to do with what Natelson claims it says!
Yet, Natelson goes on to say he “knows” that Congress can’t pass laws structuring the Convention because a “long list of 20th century cases” holds that “ordinary legislation does not bind the amendment process. See, for example, Leser v. Garnett (1922).”
Congress can’t pass laws organizing a convention under Article V? The Constitution doesn’t say that! The Federalist Papers don’t say that! Madison’s Journal of the Federal Convention doesn’t say that! And the Supreme Court case Natelson cited doesn’t say it either!
Of course, Natelson doesn’t provide this “long list of 20th century cases”; and the one case he did cite, Leser v. Garnett, has nothing to do with Congress’ law making powers.
The issue in Leser v. Garnett was whether States – whose State Constitutions restricted voting to men – could ratify an Amendment to the federal Constitution which allowed women to vote. The Supreme Court held that when State Legislatures ratify proposed amendments to the federal Constitution, they are performing a federal function derived from the federal Constitution and it transcends any limitations imposed by State Constitutions. So! Provisions in State Constitutions restricting voting to men did not prevent State Legislatures from ratifying an amendment to the federal Constitution which would have supremacy over a contrary provision in the State Constitution.
Now let’s look at Natelson’s crimes against the Laws of Logic.
The fallacy of begging the question is committed when one assumes as true the conclusion he seeks to prove. An argument is circular when one seeks to prove the premise from the conclusion.
Natelson was supposed to prove that the necessary and proper clause does not give Congress power to make laws to organize & set up a convention under Article V.
But – as you have seen – he didn’t prove it. So he assumed it to be true. He asserts as true:
“The framers inserted the ‘Convention for proposing Amendments’ in the Constitution to provide the states with a way of obtaining constitutional amendments without federal interference.” [emphasis mine]
Since he assumes this to be true – he concludes that the necessary and proper clause can’t give Congress power to make laws to organize & set up a convention under Article V. He says:
“Why would the framers place in the Constitution a method by which Congress could largely control a convention created to bypass Congress?”
Do you see? He concludes that the necessary and proper clause doesn’t give Congress the power to make laws to organize & set up a convention because he has already assumed as true that the convention method was put in so States could get amendments without Congress’ control.
Yet, Natelson’s work is the “authority” on which those who seek to force an Article V convention on us rely – a slender reed, to be sure. Take heed, America!
1 Above all else, REMEMBER THIS: Whether Congress or the States organize & set up a convention is NOT the critical issue. In either case, the delegates – whoever selects them – are vested with that inherent sovereign right to throw off our Constitution and propose a new one (Declaration of Independence, 2nd para). The new one will have its own new mode of ratification.
2 Brilliant men have warned against an Article V convention. It is immoral to dismiss their warnings:
- Alexander Hamilton writes of “the utter improbability of assembling a new convention, under circumstances in any degree so favorable to a happy issue, as those in which the late convention met, deliberated, and concluded…” Federalist No. 85 (9th para)
- James Madison writes in his 2, 1788 letter to Turberville that an Art. V convention would give “the most violent partizans” and “individuals of insidious views” “a dangerous opportunity of sapping the very foundations of the fabric” of our Country. In Federalist No. 49, he shows that the convention method is NOT GOOD to correct breaches of the federal constitution because the People aren’t philosophers – they follow what influential people tell them! And the very legislators who caused the problem would get themselves seats at the convention so they could control the outcome.
- Former US Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg reminds us in his 14, 1986 article in The Miami Herald, that at the convention of 1787, the delegates ignored their instructions from the Continental Congress and instead of proposing amendments to the Articles of Confederation, wrote a new Constitution. He warns that “…any attempt at limiting the agenda [of the convention] would almost certainly be unenforceable.”
- Former US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Berger warns in his June 1988 letter to Phyllis Schlafly that “there is no effective way to limit or muzzle the actions of a Constitutional Convention”; “After a Convention is convened, it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don’t like its agenda”; and “A new Convention could plunge our Nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn…”
3 In Federalist No. 48, Madison refers to the 3 branches of the fed gov’t as “departments”.
4 Federalist No. 33 is devoted to the necessary and proper clause. Hamilton writes:
“What is a power, but the ability or faculty of doing a thing? What is the ability to do a thing, but the power of employing the MEANS necessary to its execution? What is a LEGISLATIVE power, but a power of making LAWS? What are the MEANS to execute a LEGISLATIVE power but LAWS? …. But the same process will lead to the same result, in relation to all other powers declared in the Constitution. And it is EXPRESSLY to execute these powers that the sweeping clause, as it has been affectedly called, authorizes the national legislature to pass all NECESSARY and PROPER laws…” (3rd para) [caps Hamilton’s; boldface mine]
In Federalist No. 44, under “The SIXTH and last class” of powers, Madison refers to the necessary and proper clause as a grant of power to Congress by which efficacy is given to all the rest of the powers and that “…Without the SUBSTANCE of this power, the whole Constitution would be a dead letter….” [caps Madison’s; boldface mine].
5 HERE is the CRS Report. The Report exposes as false the assurances that the States would be in control of a convention. The Report says:
“First, Article V delegates important and exclusive authority over the amendment process to Congress…” (page 4)
“Second . . . Congress has traditionally laid claim to broad responsibilities in connection with a convention, including . . . (4) determining the number and selection process for its delegates; (5) setting internal convention procedures, including formulae for allocation of votes among the states; . . .” (page 4)
“. . . [In previous bills filed in Congress] [a]pportionment of convention delegates among the states was generally set at the formula provided for the electoral college, with each state assigned a number equal to its combined Senate and House delegations. Some bills included the District of Columbia, assigning it three delegates, but others did not include the federal district. . .” (page 37)
“…A related question concerns vote allocation in an Article V Convention. Would delegates vote per capita, or would each state cast a single vote, during the convention’s deliberations, and on the final question of proposing amendments?. . .” [then follows a discussion of different views on this undecided issue] (page 41)
“Article V itself is silent on membership in an Article V Convention, so it is arguable that Congress, in summoning a convention to consider amendments, might choose to include the District of Columbia and U.S. territories as either full members at a convention, or possibly as observers. As noted previously, some versions of the Article V Convention procedures bills introduced in the late 20th century did provide for delegates representing the District of Columbia, although not for U.S. territories . . .” (page 42)
Page 40 of the Report shows there doesn’t seem to be any:
“. . . constitutional prohibition against [U.S.] Senators and Representatives serving as delegates to an Article V Convention. . . ”
So! As the CRS Report states on page 27:
“In the final analysis, the question what sort of convention?” is not likely to be resolved unless or until the 34-state threshold has been crossed and a convention assembles.”
Do you see? But by then, it will be too late to stop it.
Furthermore, as all lawyers should know, since the power to call the Convention is delegated to Congress, the supreme Court is unlikely to interfere with Congress’ decisions in this regard because it is a “political question” for Congress alone to decide. See short discussion of “political questions” HERE.
6 See the Minutes of March 4, 1825 of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson & James Madison were present) where they acknowledged the authoritative status of The Federalist Papers and made them one of the texts books for the Law School.
7 See Robert Brown’s astute discussion of this issue in Mr. Brown’s Face Book Note HERE.
8 Give your Family and Country a wonderful gift: Everybody LEARN LOGIC – it’s fun to play the “spot the fallacy” game! These delightful books are marked 12 years and up, but much younger children can learn the fallacies. My Papa started teaching me before first grade. Look at The Fallacy Detective and The Thinking Toolbox. PH
By: Benjamin Weingarten
In a recent interview with Prof. Karen Dawisha, Director of Miami University of Ohio’s Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies and author of the new book “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?,” Dawisha shared a message sure to chill Russians and freedom-lovers worldwide: Vladimir Putin is becoming more paranoid, “can only really keep peace by increasing the repression,” and perhaps most telling and potentially dangerous of all at his core is driven by one thing: physical survival.
The professor’s revelations follow recent stories regarding Putin cracking down on his chief political opponents and even supposed business allies of his regime, while oil prices and the value of the ruble have declined precipitously, and Putin’s inner circle has been squeezed by U.S. sanctions.
Dawisha, who in her book documents in exacting detail how Putin rose to power, and has allegedly developed a Mafia-like criminal autocracy “based on loyalty to Putin, silence about how the system works, and massive predation and corruption,” told us in a portion of our interview beginning around 36:47:
Putin is behaving in a very paranoid way. He’s putting a lot of emphasis on increased repression. He’s taking a lot of money out of domestic coffers: health, education, pensions, to support his own inner circle – to keep peace among competing groups. To bail these people out when the social situation in the country is so dire is an act of….it reveals the regime for what it is, and he can only really keep peace by increasing the repression.
“[H]e can only really keep peace by increasing the repression”
…One of the things that is really shocking [with respect to the Navalny case] was…there were five different security fences manned by five concentric circles of police that people had to go through…it’s just unbelievable the level of police mobilization…this is the path that he’s chosen, and it’s going to be quite difficult for him to deal with that if crises start building up. You can always put five circles around one building, but what if there are running pickets?…What if people stop getting paid in the Urals…? He’s bitten off more than he can chew.
In a telling statement implying the extreme measures that Putin might take if his power is at all challenged, when asked what Putin’s ultimate goal was for Russia, Dawisha told us during a portion of our interview beginning at 46:16:
Putin’s number one objective is to survive physically.
He [Putin] told the [former] head of his PR Gleb Pavlovsky…”Look, we know how it always ends in Russia. If we lose power, they’ll put us against the wall.”
That’s his number one objective.
How he does that increasingly is through expansionist moves, neo-imperial moves, that force ordinary Russians to not demand what is their right, which is to live in a free country.
So he creates this artificial enemy of the West, and he’s using it very effectively.
And I suspect that sadly in the New Year, we will probably continue to be wrong-footed by this rather adept regime.
“[I]n the New Year, we will probably continue to be wrong-footed by this rather adept regime”
During the interview with Dawisha, we also discussed several other vital topics including:
Title: Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?
Author: Karen Dawisha
- The recent suppression of Putin’s political opposition, embodied by the Navalny brothers
- How America’s inability under president Bush and Obama to see the Putin regime as a corrupt criminal one seeking to re-establish an authoritarian Soviet style state has endangered the West
- The story of Russia’s cyberattack on Estonia in retaliation for Estonia re-locating a statue that commemorated and valorized the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany
- How Putin laid the groundwork for his power as a KGB agent in Dresden and St. Petersburg deputy mayor
- Putin’s gatekeeper activities in St. Petersburg with major global corporations, and its ramifications
- How Putin rose in three-and-a-half years from being out of a job to Russian prime minister and then president
- Dawisha’s allegation that the FSB planned to blow up a Russian apartment building as a pretext for war with the Chechens
- How Russia has “helped” America in military operations, whose benefits accrue directly to Russia
- Why it is vital for the US government to understand the types of crises Russia wants, and how she benefits from them
- How Putin made the illegal, legal, and used this power to become a billionaire and enrich his KGB comrades in the process
- And much more
Note: The links to the book in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.
By: Trevor Loudon
Just recorded. Nick Maniace of the Workers World Party condemns US military “who commonly commit rape against South Korean civilians,” US “biological and chemical warfare” and espionage against North Korea, praises North Korea’s support of Black Panther revolutionaries and condemns “The Interview” as “hate speech and war propaganda.”
Did you know there was “no homelessness, no starvation… the people’s needs are being met” in the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea?
His comrade Monica Moorehead then goes on to talk up the “uprising against police terror” in the USA. “Now people are questioning the role of the police… this is going to bring people around to Marxism, to revolutionary thinking.”
This would be laughable, if the Workers World Party weren’t one of the major players in the recent wave of unrest across the United States.