05/22/15
Hillary Clinton / Elizabeth Warren

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 05/22/15

The Watcher’s Council


Obama saves the Republic…


Anti-Stephanopoulos Artwork Posted Near ABC News Headquarters in Manhattan

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. – James Madison

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. – Abraham Lincoln

Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

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This week’s winning essay, Bookworm Room’sA phenomenal talk about the Constitution and how to make it meaningful to America’s young people, is a fascinating account of a presentation she attended on the Constitution, one she feels would be of great value to young citizens who are being indoctrinated by public education rather that educated. Here’s a slice:

I had the great pleasure today of attending a phenomenal talk by Prof. David Bobb, president of the Bill of Rights Institute. BRI uses original source documents to help teachers ans students understand America’s founding document and to see how it’s still relevant today. Its ultimate goal is to bring to an end our nation’s intellectual disengagement from the Constitution and to lead young people to “think the vote,” which is mindful, informed approach to elections, rather than to “rock the vote,” a mindless, drone-like approach to important issues that profoundly affect America’s young people.

Prof. Bobb could not be a better spokesman for his organization. To begin with, his bio is impressive:

David earned his Ph.D. in political science from Boston College, where he was the recipient of fellowships from the Pew, Earhart, and Bradley Foundation, as well as the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

[snip]

David joined the Bill of Rights Institute in December 2013. Previously he was the founding director of two national centers for Hillsdale College, the Washington, D.C.-based Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship, and the Hoogland Center for Teacher Excellence, a civic education program. From 2001 to 2013 he also was lecturer in politics at Hillsdale College, where he taught courses in American politics and public policy.

David is the author of Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America’s Greatest Virtue (Thomas Nelson, 2013) and a contributing editor to The U.S. Constitution: A Reader (Hillsdale College Press, 2012). He has written articles and reviews for the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Washington Times, Boston Herald, and the Claremont Review of Books, among other publications. He has spoken widely to audiences in twenty-five states on topics including education reform, civic engagement, and the American Constitution.

In other words, Prof. Bobb knows his stuff and he is a natural communicator and teacher. His speaking style, something that always matters to me, is the essence of clarity. No fudging, no obfuscation, no blathering. Frankly, it was a challenge to take notes, because Prof. Bobb had no spare words or sentences in his speech. Every sentence was interesting and to the point. Since I don’t do shorthand, of necessity I had to condense some ideas and I know that I missed others. This means that, to the extent there are any errors in this post, they are definitely mine, not Prof. Bobb’s. With that warning, here goes:

If I were a more detail-oriented person, I would undoubtedly have noticed long ago that, on our one dollar bill, under the pyramid, there is a Latin inscription stating “novus ordo seclorum.“

And if I were a more curious person, I would have gone online to translate that phrase. For those who, like me, don’t remember their Latin and or who aren’t too curious about our dollar bill, the phrase means “New Order Of The Ages.” It is the Founders’ announcement to the world and to posterity that they were embarking upon a grand governmental experiment, one that had never been tried before. In the Federalist papers, Alexander Hamilton noted that Americans were about to take a step no other people had taken before:

” It has been frequently remarked that it seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force.”

Back in the day, then, the Founders, with a great deal of trepidation, were about to embark upon a planned government, one that would vest the maximum amount of power in the people and that, at the governmental level, would guard against the possibility of tyranny. After all, only a few years before, they had declared themselves free to part ways with England because, in their eyes, George III had become a tyrant by taking upon himself the powers of the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. They understood that human frailty is such that no one person should ever hold that much power over others.

The unique aspect of the new Constitution was the notion — the product of one hundred years of Enlightenment thinking (powered by an increasingly humanist Christianity) — that each person comes into the world with certain rights vested in him (or her). These are not gifts from the government that the government can then take a way. Instead, when a government infringes on these inherent rights, it’s the people who have the power to destroy the government and initiate a better one — and our Constitution was intended to define that better government.

The most exceptional thing about the Constitution — which is a contract between government and the American people — is the notion of separation of powers. England, of course, led the way with that idea, wresting from the King certain powers reserved for Parliament. This was a notion that was first institutionalized in the Magna Carta; was then tested under Charles I (who lost his head for picking “King power,” rather than “People power” when asked the question “who’s in charge here?”); and was re-tested under George III, who kept his head but lost America because he too thought that he could vest in himself the full powers of government.

The Articles of Confederation, the governing document that preceded the Constitution, did not have a tripartite approach to power. It created an executive office, but had no judiciary or legislature and, significantly, it did not give the executive office the power to tax. The office had, on the one hand, too much power and, on the other hand, no way to put all that power into effect. The Constitution would do better.

At this point in his talk, in light of the upcoming 2016 election, Prof. Bobb narrowed his his focus to the executive office. He noted that, although Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, the intellectual powerhouses behind the Constitution, devoutly believed in diffuse power as a bulwark against tyranny, they also understood that, to the extent they vested power in a specific institution, that power had to be meaningful. To that end, they didn’t try to create a weak executive by splitting that power among different individuals or groups.

It was Hamilton who envisioned as president an individual who, while hedged about with constitutional safeguards, could act with “decision, activity, secrecy, and dispatch.” After all, in times of national emergency, one can’t have a committee laboriously working its way to a tame and untimely bureaucratic response.

While the president could be active, decisive, and secretive, he still had to have limitations — and control over these limitations had to be placed in an organization equally invested in protecting and advancing its power. Or, as James Madison said, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” The Constitution decided that three entities, each jealously protecting its power, would ensure that no single part of that trio would be able to aggregate too much power, the inevitable path to tyranny.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was The Baron at Gates of Vienna with a piece that resonates a great deal right now, Playing Nice submitted by Joshuapundit.

The Baron looks at western society’s surprising tendency to whitewash Islamist terrorism, deliberately distancing it from its obvious religious inspiration and even blaming the victims on many occasions for the ensuing atrocities. I think he’s on to something here when he talks about a certain very prevalent mindset as the cause of this dysfunction.

Well, that, and the billions of petro dollars from certain countries in the Middle East to universities, to various think tanks and lobbyists registered and unregistered, and especially to politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Do read it.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Ask Marion and The Right Planet were unable to vote this week, but neither was subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

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?

05/20/15
George Stephanopoulos

Watcher’s Council Nominations – No Strings Attached Edition

The Watcher’s Council

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Phony, corrupt little meat puppet…

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

Our own Tom White at VA Right continues his successful march to become the Guru of Virginia political bloggers with a radio interview May 16th with John Fredericks, the biggest talk show host in the state.

This week, The Pirate’s Cove and Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

05/15/15
Obama's Middle East Summit

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 05/15/15

The Watcher’s Council

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind. – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Those whom do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. – George Santayana

The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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This week’s winning essay, The Right Planet’s Which ‘Ism’ Will We Choose?, is about creeping totalitarianism, with a comparison with how its taken over in the past to events today. Here’s a slice:

Godwin’s Law … it goes a little something like this:

“… [I]f an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism….”

Undoubtedly, there is a certain amount of truth in Godwin’s adage. Since World War II, there probably has not been a U.S. president who hasn’t been directly compared to Adolf Hitler, at some point or another. As a matter of fact, it didn’t take me very long to dig up Hitler memes and analogies for a number of U.S. president via a Google search.

Often times such direct comparisons of U.S. presidents to Hitler are grossly hyperbolic at best, and utterly unconscionable at worst. Despite the fact how one may feel about current and past presidents, equating them on the same level with one of the worst monsters in human history does indeed minimize the terrible suffering of those who fell under the tyrannical and brutal reign of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

Adolf Hitler and his henchmen have come to represent the epitome of evil, and rightly so. Nazism has become the benchmark used to measure all things evil. The question for me is not whether a current president is on equal par with Adolf Hitler. I don’t happen to believe any U.S. president, present or past, is as guilty of murderous and ruthless fanaticism as Adolf Hitler—on that point, let me be clear. My point is that Hitler and his notorious Third Reich provides the ultimate yardstick by which we can measure how far a government or nation is marching down the road toward total state control and merciless dictatorship. The mere act of using the Nazis as a measuring stick is not equating the thing being measured as being necessarily one and the same. Instead, the question for me is whether the U.S.A. is moving away from fascism or toward it. If we examine the rise and fall of Hitler’s Third Reich from a historical perspective, how does it compare to what we see going on today? This is a valid exercise—and a necessary one, in my opinion.

Perhaps someone who experienced the oppression and horrors of Nazism is better able to illustrate my points. I’ll just throw in a few of modern-day examples for consideration as well.

Kitty Werthmann, 87, survived World War II. She was an Austrian citizen and lived under Nazi rule throughout the war. A few years back she spoke to an American audience about her experiences during the war, and how the current political climate in this country greatly concerns her. She strongly feels the need to warn Americans about the horrors of socialism.

In her opening comments (see video above), Kitty Werthmann points out how Western media often times portrays Hitler’s annexation of Austria with Germany in 1938 (Anschluss) as an armed invasion, replete with troops and tanks. Without a doubt, German troops did indeed move into Austria at the time. But what is often overlooked, according to Werthmann, is the fact that the Austrian people overwhelmingly elected Adolf Hitler by ninety-eight percent of the vote—by means of the ballot box. How could this happen? What would lead Austria—a predominately Christian nation—to elect a monster like Adolf Hitler?

In the late 30s, Austria was in a very deep depression, with thirty percent unemployment, and twenty-five percent inflation. Austrian banks were charging twenty-five percent interest on loans. Businesses and farmers were going broke. Austrians could not afford to pay their taxes. Unions were calling for strikes; and factories were being closed down. Worse yet, the financial chaos was leading to riots in the cities. Entire blocks were burned down. Austrian police were ill-equipped to stop the ongoing destruction, according to Kitty Werthmann.

As Austria descended into despair, the Austrian people looked to their neighbor in the north, Germany, and saw full employment and a high-standard of living. As Kitty Werthmann puts it (emphasis added), “Hitler did not act like a monster; he did not speak like a monster; he spoke like an American politician.”

The Austrian people petitioned their government for a plebiscite (an election) to merge Nazi Germany with Austria. Besides—despite what Barack Obama might believe (cf. sarcasm)—the Austrians didn’t speak “Austrian”; they spoke German. The Austrians and Germans had a common heritage.

What is particularly chilling about Kitty Werthmann’s recollections, are the disturbing similarities of the policies implemented by the Nazis in Austria to the current policies and initiatives being instituted and promoted right here in the United States today.

For example, one of the first policies implemented by the Nazis in Austria was a National I.D. Austrians could not board a train or bus without showing their National I.D. card.

Following 9/11, the U.S. federal government “began to look at ways to increase security surrounding state identification cards and driver’s licenses,” allegedly “in an attempt to prevent further terrorism and/or unlawful entry into and out of the country.”

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn’s pungent comments on the Garland, Texas terrorist attack and the reaction to it in certain quarters in Stay Quiet and You’ll Be Okay”, submitted by The Noisy Room. It’s Mark Steyn at his best.

Here are this week’s full results. Both Ask Marion and The Independent Sentinel were unable to vote this week, but neither was affected by the usual 2/3 voe penalty for not voting:

Council Winners:

Non-Council Winners:

See you next week!

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?

05/13/15
Islamist Confusion

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Islamist Confusion Edition

The Watcher’s Council

71 Virgins.

Graphic courtesy of the awesome Chris Muir at Day by Day.

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

Just a reminder… Don Surber’s new book “Exceptional Americans” is available at Create Space or Amazon and is a great read, take it from me.

This week, The Gates Of Vienna, Simply Jews, Fausta’s Blog and SooperMexican earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

05/8/15
Draw Mohammad

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 05/08/15

The Watcher’s Council


#IStandWithPamelaGeller – iOTWReport.com

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

One of the problems with defending free speech is you often have to defend people that you find to be outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting. – Salman Rushdie

My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment and one another. Art should provoke, disturb, arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate and may not even wish. – Joyce Carol Oates

Those who claim to be hurt by words must be led to expect nothing as compensation. Otherwise, once they learn they can get something by claiming to be hurt, they will go into the business of being offended. – Jonathan Rauch

https://askmarion.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/right2bplanet.jpg?w=500

This week’s winning essay, The Right Planet’s, Garland and the Moral Equivalency Penchant, is his examination of the recent terrorist attack in Garland and what the divide in the reaction reveals about our present attitudes on free speech and freedom of expression… especially when it comes to Islam. Here’s a slice:

Two Muslim terrorists were killed after firing on a security guard outside a Draw Mohammad Contest in Garland, Texas, on Sunday. NBC News reported the two assailants were roommates from Phoenix, according to Buzzfeed News.

The attackers have been identified as Elton Simpson, 30, and his roommate, 34-year-old Nadir Hamid Soofi. Simpson had been under investigation by the FBI for the past 10 years.

Like clockwork a number of Muslims and liberals, et al., saved their moral outrage for the those who hosted and attended the Muhammad Art Exhibit, yet not so much the two unhinged individuals who attempted to indiscriminately murder people because they were “offended.”

Pamela Geller, who headlined the “art exhibit” in Garland, addressed the whole moral equivocation argument we so often hear from liberals and Muslims in an interview CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, who suggested offensive anti-Islamist speech should not be allowed in modern-day Western society.

Like clockwork a number of Muslims and liberals, et al., saved their moral outrage for the those who hosted and attended the Muhammad Art Exhibit, yet not so much the two unhinged individuals who attempted to indiscriminately murder people because they were “offended.”

Pamela Geller, who headlined the “art exhibit” in Garland, addressed the whole moral equivocation argument we so often hear from liberals and Muslims in an interview CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, who suggested offensive anti-Islamist speech should not be allowed in modern-day Western society.

Garland-Rukmini-Tweet

Some have compared this sort of moral equivocation, as evidenced in the Tweet above by a NYT reporter, to a woman who dresses provocatively and is subsequently raped: “Well, she had it coming.” And there is no shortage of similar examples of this sort of nonsense and equivocation (see here).

060206_wp_london_protest_hmed9p.hmedium

I’m sure we all have been offended by something in our lives, maybe even greatly offended. I can think of few art exhibits, movies, concerts, and the like, I’ve attended that were so far over the top I simply walked out. Yes, I was offended. But I didn’t come back with a gun and start blowing people away because I was greatly offended. As much as I have found some things offensive, people have a right to be offensive, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the unalienable rights of others or cause them grievous harm.

For example, some gay pride parades, and similar events, are often times intentionally provocative. If you have children, you may not want them exposed to such blatant over-the-top sexuality and nudity. But, once again, obviously it does not give anyone the right to kill the people participating in such events because one might be disgusted or outraged. Think about it: if two people shot up a gay pride parade, would your initial response be to question the “common sense” of the parade?

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Michelle Malkin’s Debunking Obama’s Bilious Baltimore Babble, submitted by Don Surber. It’s a superb skewering that shows no mercy to our president’s usual attempt to excuse the inexcusable.

Here are this week’s full results. Ask Marion and The Independent Sentinel were unable to vote this week, but neither was subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:

Council Winners:

Non-Council Winners:

See you next week!

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?

05/6/15
Special Kind of Stupid

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Varmint Hunting In Texas Edition

The Watcher’s Council

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Message to Jihadis… don’t mess with Texas. As lots of other scum before you have found out, it doesn’t end well.

Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

This week, The Pirate’s Cove, Blazing Cat Fur, Maggie’s Notebook and Wolf Howling earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

05/1/15
Darth Vader - Office Space

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 05/01/15

The Watcher’s Council


Office Space Darth Vader Style

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

In this country, the federal government can do pretty much whatever it wants to. — Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.)

Congress has not unlimited powers … but only those specifically enumerated. — Thomas Jefferson

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. — Tenth Amendment, U.S. Constitution

All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void. — Marbury v. Madison (1803)

https://askmarion.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/right2bplanet.jpg?w=500

This week’s winning essay, The Right Planet’sThe Rightful Remedy: Nullification, is a fascinating exploration of a doctrine that may be an important part of the news in the near future – nullification. Here’s a slice:

So just what is nullification? It is the idea that a State or States have the right to nullify, or refuse to enforce, any federal law that is clearly unconstitutional. This is not some new and novel “legal theory.” It is the method recommended by the Framers to use when the federal government usurps power.

Naturally, nullification is quite controversial and utterly repugnant to those who champion big government and the centralization of ever more power in Washington, D.C.

A quick Google search brings up this WikiPedia definition for Nullification:

Nullification, in United States constitutional history, is a legal theory that a state has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional. The theory of nullification has never been legally upheld by federal courts.

After reading WikiPedia’s take on nullification, I’m reminded of a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may shape and twist into any form they please.”

It was Thomas Jefferson who wrote (emphasis added), “That a nullification, by those sovereignties [States] of all unauthorized acts done under the color of that instrument [the Constitution] is the rightful remedy.” Thomas Jefferson introduced the term “nullification” in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. James Madison wrote in the Virginia Resolutions of 1798 that the States are “duty bound to resist” when the federal government violates the Constitution.

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., author of the book Nullification, elaborates:

But Jefferson didn’t invent the idea. Federalist supporters of the Constitution at the Virginia ratifying convention of 1788 assured Virginians that they would be “exonerated” should the federal government attempt to impose “any supplementary condition” upon them – in other words, if it tried to exercise a power over and above the ones the states had delegated to it. Patrick Henry and later Jefferson himself elaborated on these safeguards that Virginians had been assured of at their ratifying convention.

[…]

As Jefferson warned, if the federal government is allowed to hold a monopoly on determining the extent of its own powers, we have no right to be surprised when it keeps discovering new ones. If the federal government has the exclusive right to judge the extent of its own powers, it will continue to grow – regardless of elections, the separation of powers, and other much-touted limits on government power. In his Report of 1800, Madison reminded Virginians and Americans at large that the judicial branch was not infallible, and that some remedy must be found for those cases in which all three branches of the federal government exceed their constitutional limits.

A mere 10 years following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the second president of the United States, John Adams, signed into the law the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Sedition Act made it a punishable crime to criticize the government or its officials. People were actually put in prison for merely being critical of the president or Congress—including Matthew Lyon, a Vermont congressman who had fought for independence during the Revolutionary War! Is this not a grossly unconstitutional act that violates the very letter of the “free speech” clause in the First Amendment? You be the judge. The onerous Sedition Act is what prompted the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798, also known as the “Principles of 98.”

The most common rebuttal by those who oppose the use of nullification is to cite the “supremacy clause” from the U.S. Constitution (Article VI, clause 2). A good illustration of this argument can be found in a 2011 article that appeared at TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Via TPM:

“The concept of states’ rights mostly clings to one interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, which says that “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.” Tenthers would say this means a state doesn’t have to follow federal laws the state believes exceed the federal government’s constitutional authority.”

“But this pretty clearly goes against the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, in Article 6″:

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

What is being implied by the above excerpt from the TPM article is a sentiment that has been echoed by others opposed to the idea of nullification—namely, that we cannot have the States picking and choosing which laws they want to obey or it would lead to anarchy. (Of course, unless it is liberals doing the nullifying … like nullifying federal marijuana prohibition statutes.) Actually, there is a lot of truth in that line of thinking. But it ignores a very important point that is clearly spelled out in the “supremacy clause.”

So, let’s just take a closer look at just what the “supremacy clause” says (emphasis added):

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof … shall be the supreme law of the land …

The key point in the “supremacy clause” that is consistently ignored by those who favor giving the federal government ever more power over the States is the phrase “in pursuance thereof .” What does “in pursuance thereof” mean? It means “the carrying out of a plan or action” (pursuance) “of the thing just mentioned” (thereof).

What was just mentioned?

THE CONSTITUTION!

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Stacey McCain at The Other McCain with – Anarchy In Baltimore, submitted by The Watcher. When I first read this, my first impression was that it was one of the better commentary pieces written on the subject. Two Rebel Yells and a bottle of Georgia corn, Stace!

Here are this week’s full results. Only The Razor, Ask Marion and The Independent Sentinel were unable to vote, but none were affected and/or subject to the mandatory 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners:

Non-Council Winners:

See you next week!

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?

04/29/15
Baltimore Riots

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Burning Baltimore Edition

The Watcher’s Council

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Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council.Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

Don Surber has just published his first book, “Exceptional Americans” and it is definitely a fascinating read. For those wanting further details, my review is here.

Available in paperback at Create Space or Amazon.

This week, The Astute Bloggers, Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion, The Pirate’s Cove and The People’s Cube earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!

04/24/15
Hillary Clinton

The Council Has Spoken!! Our Watcher’s Council Results – 04/24/15

The Watcher’s Council

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence. – Thomas Jefferson

The Tea Party represents stakeholders in the American system; people who were never involved in politics or thought they had to be, yet realized that political corruption and incompetence threatened not only their families, but the future of the nation itself. – Tammy Bruce

Politics, n: [Poly “many” + tics “blood-sucking parasites”] – Ambrose Bierce

All Animals Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others – New law posted by the pigs in George Orwell’s Animal Farm

If you hires you a thief, don’t holler if they steals. – old black American saying in the Mississippi Delta

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This week’s winning essay, Joshuapundit’sHow To Make Millions Off ‘Public Service’ – The Corrupt Clinton Cash Machine, was occasioned by the furor surrounding the release of an important new book about the Clinton Foundation scandal. Here’s a slice:

My old editor at Breitbart Peter Schweizer has a new book coming out May 5 entitled “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich.”

My review copy will be arriving shortly, so I haven’t read it yet. But the New York Times has, and it’s good enough that even Pravda-on-the Hudson had to pay it grudging attention,admitting, “He writes mainly in the voice of a neutral journalist and meticulously documents his sources, including tax records and government documents, while leaving little doubt about his view of the Clintons.”

That’s no news to anyone who has read Peter’s other books on crony capitalism, which target pigs at the trough in both parties.

The subject of this particular book is a detailed 186 page investigation of how the U.S State Department would grant favors to foreign entities in exchange for high-dollar speaking fees and donations paid directly to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

As I pointed out previously, foundations are one of the most egregious scams to hide and shelter income and avoid taxation for the super rich:

Now, foundations are interesting creatures. As Jane Fonda shows us , if the foundation has 501(c) status (and the Clinton Foundation certainly does), they can be used as a place to park income so it isn’t taxed and can be used for various ‘expenses’..or even invested, tax free. Why else do you think that most of the super-wealthy in America like the Clintons have such foundations?

Another thing about foundations that’s interesting is that according to the IRS rules, they’re allowed to pay salaries and ‘administrative costs’ (pretty much anything you can think of) with any portion of the donor money, something that has attracted a lot of prominent politicians. Ex-president Jimmy Carter’s Peace Foundation, for example provides a very nice income for him courtesy of his anti-Israel Arab friends. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is another prime example of how ‘foundations’ , ‘libraries’ and ‘centers’ can be used as cash cows by their ‘owners’.

And here’s the kicker about Hillary’s ‘charitable donation’. Anything the wealthy ‘donor’ to such a foundation donates likewise becomes a deduction against whatever taxes they might owe the IRS. So if Hillary Rodham Clinton actually did ‘donate’ all that money to the Clinton Foundation, she got paid two ways..first by reducing her taxable income significantly to lower her taxes and second by acquiring a huge deduction to leverage against the taxes on her other income. And since her husband ‘owns’ the Clinton Foundation, the money stayed in the family.

Both The New York Times, of all people, and The New York Post had some disturbing things to say about where the huge sums of money the Clinton Foundation collects were spent…and the Clinton Foundation’s infrequent audits.

The Clinton Foundation’s mission statement ought to be a tipoff:

“We convene businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals to improve global health and wellness, increase opportunity for women and girls, reduce childhood obesity, create economic opportunity and growth, and help communities address the effects of climate change.”

Or as I would translate it, ‘We actively pursue fundraising from governments, private enterprise and our well connected friends for various nebulous causes. Yeah, we got a few good things going on, a few programs we can point to, some conferences and some meetings so we have the slideshow as a marketing tool, but essentially, our real object is fundraising and covering our substantial expenses.’

Don’t be surprised if some those ‘expenses’ end up being in kind, cash contributions to Hillary’s 2016 campaign that not only evade McCain-Feingold but allow ‘donors to get a nice tax deduction to a 501 C in the bargain. It’s a dodge, just like the huge $14 million advance Democrat donor-owned Simon & Schuster ponied up for Hillary’s failed book. Hillary will pocket the cash and Sumner Redstone and his friends will recoup it courtesy of the U.S. taxpayers after they deduct it as a loss against their other income.

More at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was David French in the National Review with a gripping piece, Wisconsin’s Shame: ‘I Thought It Was a Home Invasion, submitted by Nice Deb .

This is the story of Wisconsin’s ‘John Doe’ investigations where a rabidly Democrat prosecutor found a judge to sign off on targeting what the Left in Wisconsin saw as their political enemies and their families using methods more resembling the Gestapo or the NKVD than what we would think of as a free country. This story has to be read to be believed and the court case that resulted is now headed to the Supreme Court.

Here are this week’s full results. Only Ask Marion was unable to vote this week but was not subject to the normal 2/3 vote penalty:

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week!

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?