Constitutionally Speaking

The book club in Albany is currently reading the 5000 Year Leap. The book is a simple read about the founders of this country and the principles that they considered when writing our founding documents.

After reading the book, it is clear that this country has abandoned many of those principles. Currently we are on a fast track, not to return to the original intention of the founders, but to distance ourselves even farther from that intention.

How can we get back to the garden? A new effort is being entertained by the states. Resolutions are being passed to return the power to the respective states and limit the size of the federal government, States’ Rights.

Georgia Senate Resolution 632 passed, “affirming states’ rights based on Jeffersonian principles; and for other purposes.” Nine states have passed similar resolutions and twenty-five others have resolutions calling for states’ rights pending.

A few states have taken the measure a step further. Montana has passed a bill (HB 246) that would allow guns and ammunition that are produced in the state and remain in the state to be regulated by the state, not the federal government. The bill will become law on October 10, 2009 and is suspected to be challenged by the Supreme Court shortly after. Texas is considering similar legislation.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the Constitution states that the federal government has the power, “…to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;” Because the federal government gets its power from the states according to the Tenth Amendment, the government has no power to regulate intrastate commerce. This should prove to be a fascinating court case when the law is challenged.

There is talk about calling for a Constitutional Convention to repeal or alter Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 which gives the federal government the power to collect taxes. It is believed that such a Constitutional Convention, or even the threat of one, will help to curtail the spending spree that the federal government is currently enjoying.

All of this talk of States’ Rights is fascinating, but I have to wonder if these resolutions are just words on paper. Since the War Between the States, the states have surrendered more and more of their power to the central government until state boundaries have become little more than historical lines on a map. Are these resolutions too little too late or are they the beginning of something big? Time will tell.

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Confederate History and Heritage Month

April marks Confederate History and Heritage Month, and last Sunday was Confederate Memorial Day.

People like to boil the cause of the War Between the States as being purely about slavery. Eyebrows should be raised anytime someone can tell you the sole reason for a war. Slavery became an issue once the war began, but it was not the reason for the first shot.

In the events that led to Ft Sumter, the US Congress increased tariffs. Prior to the war, 75% of the money used by the Federal Government came from the South with only four of the southern states providing 50% of those tariffs. There was a constant debate on centralization of federal power verses the right of states to remain sovereign. Secular humanism began to rise and challenge the basic Christian principles observed by most in the south. There were cultural differences too that began when the country was first settled. There was a battle to control western territories as new states like Kansans and Nebraska were added. The industrial revolution in the north looked favorably on the south’s agricultural resources and wanted them. Abolitionists attempted to encourage a slave uprising that would have resulted in the murder of men, women, and children in the south similar to what had been done in Santa Domingo.
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Trash Talk

Lee County is having a problem collecting money for trash pick-up.

I have read that a remedy the county is considering is to simply tack the trash fee onto the property taxes each year. That would amount to a huge increase in the annual bill of each property owner. Why should all of the property owners be subject to a solution designed to reign in the delinquency of a few?

How can this be a major problem? If people do not want to pay their bill, do not provide the service. It is that simple. Pick up the trash cans that have been issued to each house and do not give the cans back until the bills are paid in full and institute a heavy fine if a delinquent homeowner is using or caught taking the trash can of a neighbor. County officials do not know how many trash cans are currently in use by the residents though.

Perhaps Lee County could look for a vendor to not only collect the trash but to also collect the revenues. Putting services like this in private hands rather than under the control of the government is always the best solution. I cannot imagine a private company not knowing how many trash cans are in use by its customers.

If this is a glimpse of what life will be like with universal health care, I cannot wait!

Musings on the 2nd District Candidates

I met with the announced Republican candidate, Lee Ferrell, last night. I had his ear for about two hours over supper. This man is a plethora of information on Veterans Affairs. Our military should be supported and I agree that is a noble cause, but what about the other issues? I asked him about school vouchers, one of the topics from his web site. He couldn’t give me the details on his plan. In an effort to deflect the question, he said, “But I’ll tell you one thing. If we don’t win the current war there will be no need to improve the education system.” He later confessed that farming and education are his weak points. I told him that Veterans Affairs is a great cause, but we only have two bases in the district. Other than those bases and others that have served, that is not the main concern of the constituents.
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Independence Day Tea Party?

The Next Big Thing!

As one of the people that helped organized one of the thousands of Tea Parties across our nation on tax day, I believe that the effort was a huge success. I heard that a conservative estimate of the turnout nationwide was more than 260,000 people. With all of those individuals, one might conclude that there would be at least one incidence of violence, destruction, or lawlessness. There was not a single report of such. Not one.

This lack of violence is a reflection of the Tea Party attendees as much as it was of the organizers. The people that came out wanted a chance for their voices to be heard. So often we feel like our letters and e-mails to our Representatives and Senators fall on deaf ears. If we get a reply at all, it is nothing more than a form letter sent out to all of the citizens that complained about that particular issue. Is anyone listening?

Following the Tea Party in Albany, a gentleman approached me to ask what we can do to change the course in America. He sees how fast the face of our nation is changing and he fears that just replacing Congress in 2010 is too late. What can we do? That is the million dollar question. Now that we have the attention of Congress, we need to keep the fire stoked. Some in our grassroots movement are calling for another big event on the 4th of July. Others think that such a gathering on the holiday will not work. What do you think? I would love to hear your input. Contrary to the remarks of some of the members of Congress, we were not funded by a television channel or bankrolled by a handful of wealthy conservatives. This is a movement of the people, by the people and for the people. You may comment at the bottom of this blog or send your suggestions to me directly at wmwaller@bellsouth.net

Yours in Liberty,

Bill Waller