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Constitution Revolution: The Media vs. The Power of the Purse

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show. To see last week’s lesson, click here.

If you’ve read the last few posts in my Constitution Revolution series, you’ve probably noticed a bit of a theme: How the Constitution protects us from the government.

I’ve talked about the fact that the way Congress is structuredthe impeachment process, and even the process we have for deciding how our elections are held were all designed in ways that protect us from the government.

At this point you might be thinking, “That’s all great, but is that the only topic you’re covering? Why aren’t you talking about any of powers that the federal government has?!”

That’s a great question.

So far I’ve covered the Constitution from Article 1, Section 1 all the way through Article 1, Section 6 and I’ve only made one brief mention of a power that was granted to the federal government (and I won’t make another one until we get to Article 1, Section 8 in a couple of weeks).

There’s a very good reason for that. When we’re dealing with government, it’s extremely important to make sure that we are very careful in deciding what powers we will allow the government to use. But as important as that is, it is every bit as important – if not more so – to make sure that we take appropriate steps to protect ourselves from how those powers might be used.

If you think about it, it should be easy to see why. A government is a group of people that we grant the power to make rules for what you can’t do or what you must do; the power to use force to put you in prison; and even the power to take your money away. When you have a group of people in society who have that kind of power, it’s critical for us as private citizens to be very careful to keep that power in check. Otherwise, it could turn very bad for us very quickly.

With that in mind, let’s turn our attention to Article 1, Section 7. The first clause in this section gives us another very powerful tool that we can use to protect ourselves from the people in our government.

Read more at TheBlaze…

And while you’re clicking links, be sure to go over and like my Facebook page!!!

Constitution Revolution: Good Government Means More Than Just Doing What You Think Is Fair

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowTo see last week’s lesson, click here.

Next up in our tour through the Constitution are Article 1, Sections 5 and 6. They are both relatively easy to understand so I encourage you to read the full text of both sections on your own. But as with so many parts of the Constitution, there is a lot we can learn from them.

One of the goals that I have for my posts here at TheBlaze is to raise some questions that will get you thinking about how government works and why. There is a certain science to government and we need to start studying it and taking it seriously again. We should expect our children to be doing a serious exploration of the subject of government in the same way that we expect them to study math or science. It is honestly that important.

Government isn’t just a matter of picking which policies we would like to live under or which policies we think are “fair.” There are some approaches to government that lead to a stable, prosperous society and others that do not. We have to know the difference between the two or we will never get the type of government that we want.

In this way, creating a government is a lot like preparing a nice meal. When you decide to cook dinner for your family, you don’t just randomly throw a bunch of ingredients into a bowl without considering how they would taste together. If you did, there’s no chance at all that you would come out with something edible.

Instead, you decide what dish it is that you are trying to cook ahead of time. Then you pick the ingredients that will create that dish and prepare it in a way that you know will lead to what you are looking for. Cooking requires at least a basic understanding of ingredients and the proper way to prepare them.

Government isn’t any different. If we just start randomly throwing a bunch of policies into our government without thinking about how they will work together, there is no chance that we will end up with the type of government we want.

Read more at TheBlaze….

And don’t forget to like my Facebook page!!

Constitution Revolution: Let the Impeachments Begin!

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show. To see last week’s lesson, click here.

This post has been updated.

In last week’s post I talked about Article 1, Section 3, but there is one fascinating part that I left out: Impeachment.

Just saying the word “impeachment” stirs up emotion in a lot of people. But even though everyone seems to have an opinion on impeachment, it is a very misunderstood part of our Constitution.

It’s not hard to see why impeachment can be a little bit hard to follow. The process itself isn’t that complicated, but each step in the process gets described in a different section of the Constitution. Unless you look at all three sections at the same time, it can be difficult to see how it’s all supposed to work.

So let’s break down the process all in one place:

  • According to Article 2, Section 4 the people in our government who can be impeached are the president, the vice president, and all civil officers of the United States (which includes judges).
  • If someone is suspected of engaging in an impeachable activity, the House of Representatives can impeach that person by a majority vote. For a public official, being impeached is fairly similar to being indicted in a normal court.
  • After a person has been impeached the case moves over to the Senate where the Senate holds a trial. If 2/3 of the senators present vote to convict the person being tried, he can be removed from office. The only punishment the Senate can impose is to remove a person from office and prevent him from holding public office in the future. Anyone who is impeached for a criminal act can be tried in the regular court system and face further punishment as well.

Notice that being impeached is not the same as being removed from office. It just means that the person is being charged with committing an impeachable offense.

So those are the basics of how the process works on paper. When it comes to applying it to the real world, there are two things that we have to understand for impeachment to be effective.

Read about those two things at TheBlaze…

Constitution Revolution: How One Amendment is Actually Unraveling the Constitution

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show. To see last week’s lesson, click here.

This article has been updated.

At first glance, Article 1, Section 3 looks like a very benign part of the Constitution.

All it does is lay out a few details about the Senate and give the qualifications a person needs to have to become a senator. In that way, it mirrors what Article 1, Section 2 does for the House of Representatives.

But tucked away in this section is one of the most important aspects of how our federal government was designed. If you have ever wondered why our federal government has gotten completely out of control, most of the answer lies in this innocent-looking part of the Constitution.

Article 1, Section 3 states that our senators would be appointed by state legislatures. That’s because – and burn this into your memory because it cannot be overemphasized – the original purpose of the Senate was to represent the interests of the state governments in Congress.

One of our most influential Founders, William Richardson Davie, explained it this way:

“The senators represent the sovereignty of the states; they are directly chosen by the state legislatures, and no legislative act can be done without their concurrence.”

What he’s saying here, is because the states would be represented in the Senate, the federal government can’t do much of anything without getting approval from the state governments first.

Read more at TheBlaze…

Constitution Revolution: How Could Anyone Defend the Three-Fifths Clause?

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show. To see last week’s lesson, click here.

This post has been updated.

Even for someone like me who loves the United States and feels very blessed to have been born here, we have to acknowledge that there are some parts of our history and our Constitution that are reprehensible. We can’t hide from that. We have to understand these parts of our history and learn as much as we can from them.

But at the same time, there’s no need to go out of our way to make them out to be worse than they already were.

The Three-Fifths Clause that appears in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution is a perfect example of one of those regrettable parts of our history. Let’s try to put this clause into the proper perspective.

Here is the text of the Three-Fifths Clause:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

Essentially, this clause explains that the number of representatives that each state was going have in the House of Representatives – and the amount of direct taxes that each state would have to pay – would be determined by population.

But even after the Founders agreed that direct taxes and representation should be based on population, that brings up a huge question: How do you count the population?

Should only free people be counted? Or should it be limited to landowners?

The answers to those questions were incredibly important because they were going to determine who would control Congress. So the debate surrounding this clause was basically just one big power struggle where everyone was trying to get the population counted in the way that would benefit themselves most. The moral questions surrounding slavery were almost completely ignored.

Because of that, it actually ended up going the opposite of how most people would expect.

Read more at TheBlaze….

Constitution Revolution: The Founders Would Tell You That You’re Voting All Wrong

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show. To get caught up on last week’s lesson, click here.

There generally isn’t a lot of discussion about Article 1, Section 2 because all it does is lay out some basic details about the House of Representatives. It’s fairly easy to understand and, for the most part, it’s not controversial (I’ll take on the controversial part next week).

But even though Article 1, Section 2 is easy to understand and implement, that doesn’t mean that we should rush past it. There is so much more to this section than just what it says. If we take the time to learn why it says what it says, there is a lot we can learn about what we need to do to get our government to run effectively.

For now, let’s consider the three qualifications that a person must meet before becoming a member of the House of Representatives.

1. You Must be at Least 25 years old

The idea here was that a person needed to go out and get at least little bit of life experience before becoming a member of Congress. It’s foolish to think that the moment someone becomes a legal adult, he is instantly prepared to make decisions for the rest of the country.

Instead, you were supposed go out and spend some time experiencing what it’s like to be a regular citizen. Once you’ve done that, then you can try to become a representative of the regular citizens of this country.

Read more at TheBlaze…

Constitution Revolution: How Does Washington Justify Its Unconstitutional Behavior?

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series for TheBlaze.com and TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo ShowClick here for last week’s lesson.

This story has been updated. 

In my latest post I made it mind-numbingly clear that it is unconstitutional for executive agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Health and Human Services to engage in any kind of policy-making.

Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution states that “All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress.” It’s hard to think of how a clause could be a whole lot clearer than that.

But if you even dare to suggest the possibility that executive agency law-making is unconstitutional, most advocates of big government will completely freak out on you. I know this because it has happened to me on several occasions. They freak out because our progressive friends know that without the massive federal bureaucracy we have today, it would be impossible for them to get the government involved in every aspect of your life.

Because of that they are willing to do anything necessary to defend the legitimacy of executive agency law-making. In my experience, I’ve seen two arguments used most often to try to justify this obviously unconstitutional process.

First, I’ve heard people claim that executive agencies don’t make laws. They just issue regulations!!

This one is just silly. Do you have to comply with the regulations that come out of agencies like the EPA? Sure you do. And if you don’t, will someone from the government come out and either fine you or put you in prison? Of course they will.

Read more at TheBlaze…

Constitution Revolution: The First Article of the Constitution Is Mind-Numbingly Simple, Yet Bureaucrats Still Don’t Get It

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series that will cover the entire Constitution and many of the principles it was founded on. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Since the beginning of the year on TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show, we have been talking about a lot of the ideas that our Constitution was built on. Now that we have that foundation to refer back to, we’re finally ready to have some fun looking at the individual clauses of the Constitution and what they mean. Let’s get started with Article 1, Section 1:

“All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”

At first glance, it probably seems like this clause is pretty easy to figure out. And as I explained on Chris’s show this weekend, it is:

 It’s hard to imagine how this clause could be any simpler. Any regular American could read this clause and easily undertand what it means. But for our friends in Washington, D.C., not so much. Somehow, our public officials have managed to make Article 1, Section 1 one of the most manipulated and most ignored clauses in the entire Constitution.

So let’s break it down in a way that even a government bureaucrat could understand.

Read more at TheBlaze…

Constitution Revolution: Interpretation 101

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This post is the continuation of a weekly Constitution Revolution series that will cover the entire Constitution and many of the principles it was founded on. Click here for last week’s lesson.

Imagine that you want to buy a house from me, so you and I enter into a contract to transfer ownership of the property.

If you and I agree that the purpose of the contract is for you to purchase the house from me, what is one thing we can assume to be true about each individual part of the contract? We can assume that each of those parts was intended to help achieve the overall goal of you buying the house from me. To assume anything else would be foolish.

It makes to sense to believe that one individual part of our contract would have a meaning that would completely defeat the entire purpose the document was created for. What logical reason would you and I have for including a clause that did that? None.

It’s no less ridiculous to argue that a given clause of the Constitution has a meaning that completely defeats the purpose that the document was created to serve. That is why, as I mentioned this weekend on TheBlaze Radio’s Chris Salcedo Show, we need to keep the purpose of the Constitution as a whole in mind whenever we are interpreting it:


Read more at TheBlaze…

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