August 29, 1997
by: Doug Fiedor firstname.lastname@example.org
Previous Editions at: http://mmc.cns.net/headsup.html
At first look, that sounds like a real bummer, an obvious violation of double jeopardy. In some areas of the country, local, county, state and federal are all separate jurisdictions. So, using that logic, police could just pass someone around till they finally got them convicted. Prosecutors would have four chances. The Founding Fathers would, of course, protest. But theirs is not the government that reigns supreme today.
Then we got to thinking about this situation a bit. And darned if we weren't suddenly like the kid told to look in a certain room for his birthday present. Perhaps you remember the story: The kid opens the door and finds a room full of horse manure. But rather than be discouraged, he just knew that there had to be a pony in there someplace.
And so there may be for us.
Many public officials are said to have immunity for some or most of their official actions, so long as they have acted legally, and within the jurisdictional limits of their respective office. But do they always? Some things that are said to be "legal" are obviously not also Constitutional, and other things Constitutional are no longer legal. Separate jurisdictions might offer a remedy for that dichotomy.
There is much precedence for this separate jurisdiction stuff. The legal-eagles tell us so. And heck, we citizens do have to believe our Department of Justice and our State Attorneys General, don't we?
Yes! Let's believe them. Because if this separate jurisdiction concept works for part of the Constitution, it must be equally true for all of the Constitution. And that, folks, presents some very interesting possibilities. Accordingly, there's much more for us in this legal manure pile than just a pony.
Every public official takes an oath to support the United States Constitution. That then becomes their primary duty under the law; an agreement they swore with an Oath to God. Therefore, every local, county and state government should pass a law declaring it a felony for any public official to violate the United States Constitution in a manner that impairs the rights and liberties of the citizens under that respective jurisdiction.
Another slight change in local laws would help some too. For instance, all police (including all federal and state regulators) should be required to consult with and be accompanied by the sheriff's department in all matters regarding citizens whatsoever. Visiting agents violating a citizen's rights would then be arrested on the spot, and prosecuted in the county court. This works for cities and towns as well as counties. Each then becomes a separate jurisdiction protecting Constitutional rights.
For instance, we have laws forbidding the military from acting as police. Yet the Army (Corps of Engineers) does it all the time. Well folks, those Army boys might have some type of immunity against prosecution in federal courts, but do they at the State or local level? Nope! Different and separate jurisdictions. Same for EPA, OSHA, FEMA, BATF, etc.
A Member of Congress has Constitutional immunity for almost anything done or said while in Congress. They can freely breach the public trust by voting to approve all kinds of socialist, un-Constitutional schemes. All the federal courts can do, no matter how egregious or un-Constitutional the scheme may be, is to declare the new law null and void. A federal court may not hear a case against a Member of Congress for proposing un-Constitutional laws.
Federal courts cannot. Local, county and state courts are totally separate jurisdictions, though. If a Member of Congress violates the Constitution, put the matter before the next local grand jury.
There is nothing wrong with a requirement that federal police and regulatory agents have a representative of the local government along when they wish to confront a local citizen. In fact, such a requirement would probably go far in protecting all concerned. But, it must also be with the understanding that if the "visiting" agents misbehave by violating any Constitutional rights of local citizens, the agents, rather than the citizens, will be prosecuted.
Separate jurisdictions it's called. That could work.
Worse yet, the biggest increase was received by EPA, which now gets nearly a third of the federal regulatory budget. In 1997 alone, it got an increase in its budget of $1.3 billion, a rise of 32 percent after inflation. That increase allowed EPA to hire an additional 665 regulators, raising the total to 17,693. And EPA is expected to add yet another 330 regulators in 1998.
So, if we look at what they do, rather than listen to what they say, the Republican Party is far from being the party of deregulation. For instance, George Bush almost completely reversed Ronald Reagan's deregulation policy. The Bush Administration hired more than 21,000 additional regulators in just four years, and increased real spending on regulatory activities by more than 21 percent.
And what did all that get us? A whole series of new crimes, that's what! Before 1980 there were few criminal sanctions for regulatory infractions. When the bureaucracy grew, so did the number of environmental laws and the amount of regulatory red tape. Nowadays, property owners are being sent to jail with increasing frequency, simply for actively using their "private" lands.
Regulatory law is also very confusing. For instance, there is no universally accepted definition of what a wetland is. Ask any of four agencies claiming jurisdictions over wetlands and you are liable to get four different definitions and four different sets of unintelligible regulations.
Americans are expected to keep their mouths shut about these jurisdictional problems and poorly written laws. Any citizen brash enough to argue and kick up a fuss about the bureaucratic disparities between regulatory agencies will probably find themselves slapped with administrative, civil or even criminal prosecution.
And, as a slap in the face of freedom and the American way, Congress gave regulatory agencies nearly the very same un-Constitutional powers the IRS flaunts. Therefore, regulatory agencies usually do not need warrants to search private property for violations. But even if they do, they can use something called an "administrative" warrant -- which means they can make the thing up as they go along.
The reason this is true, bureaucrats say, is that regulatory agencies enforce "civil rules," and therefore we citizens don't need full protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. Never mind that any evidence a regulator finds in one of these un-Constitutional "civil" searches can be used in a criminal trial.
With regulatory agencies, just as with the IRS, they can have you charged, tried, and imprisoned before you even have time to fully understand exactly what it is you were supposed to have done wrong.
Remember, there is no coordination between agencies. So, even though a citizen can be in total compliance with one regulatory agency having jurisdiction over an action, another can still come along and charge that person with a civil or criminal violation.
Clearly, this is not the government intended by the Founding Fathers. And, obviously, the actions of these regulatory agencies have no relation to the duties set down for the federal government in our United States Constitution. Worse, federal regulators show a blatant disregard for the Constitutional rights and liberties of the American people. Therefore, immediate changes are needed.
Tell them so.
No doubt! And obviously the consequences of that rule could be quite troublesome to many Americans. In fact, we will go so far as to say that, if this is true, this rule is as close to true socialism as the federal government has gotten so far.
Simply put, Medicare does not cover all procedures necessary for some patients. Would this new rule effectively bar them from receiving specific treatment -- even when they pay for it out-of-pocket or with a private insurance policy? And another thing: What about those of us who happen to have Medicare but have never once used it?
Inquiring minds wanted to know. Besides that, I was starting to get a little ticked-off. On the other hand, I did not have time to try to find and read the hundred or so pages of bureaucratic gobbledygook in the new budget bill and then compare it to the existing law. So . . . instead, we called Congressman Jim Bunning, who, as Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, wrote part of that new law.
Congressman Bunning, being one of the easier Members of Congress to talk with, spent some time on the telephone with me. Effectively, he said that, in most cases, nothing changed.
Physicians bill Medicare. If Medicare says that it does not cover a particular procedure, the physician may then bill the patient. Sounds like a lot of unnecessary paperwork to me, but that's the bureaucracy.
For those of us with private insurance, the physician will bill the insurance company. Medicare then becomes a back-up policy, I was told. Supposedly, but not said, if neither the insurance company or Medicare pay for a procedure, then the patient does.
So, what I got out of the conversation was that I can keep doing things my way, and my physician can too.
Nevertheless, something clearly changed. Therefore, it may adversely affect some Americans. Exactly how the new changes can affect Medicare patient treatment needs to be discovered. I fully admit that I did not know all of the correct questions to ask Congressman Bunning. Others, like the Wall Street Journal and Steve Forbes, know the correct questions. They too should make the call.
The equality between the governing and the governed is dissolving.
Equality is something most Americans state as one of the defining characteristics of America. If nothing else, today's history students come away with the feeling (if not the knowledge) that America was the "melting pot" of the world, where people of all different nationalities could immigrate and (eventually) become as American as their next-door neighbor. Every citizen had the same set of equal rights: The right to life and liberty (under equal protection of the law), and the pursuit of happiness (the right to work or starve, their choice).
These rights were guaranteed by the people themselves, mostly via the employees they hired to enforce the protection of these rights. These employees came from the ranks of the citizenry itself, and had strictly enforced limitations on narrowly-defined areas of activity. The employees were to be given the same treatment as other citizens under the law, because they were themselves only citizens. These employees were called "government officials."
This was one of the unique things that the American Republic gave rise to: a classless government. Not just the wealthy, or well-bred, or land-owning could govern; anyone in the society who had attained minimum age could serve. Of course, governing under the American system was a burden few chose to willfully endure. The constraints were too great, and the limitations on the ability to make the most of one's office for personal gain (and contrary to the good of the populace) were too restrictive for self-centered individuals to endure. Only those with sufficient personal means and a strong sense of patriotic duty ventured into the political arena. It was, after all, an entry into servitude.
Originally, the term "public servant" actually meant something other than "career bureaucrat," as it does today.
By the end of the 20th century in America, the role of the federal government become completely reversed to that which was intended. The government has become virtually free to do as it pleases in areas it was never meant to tread, while the people under it are forced to pay for its excesses and are restricted by over 3,000 of its criminal laws (funny how God could define civil behavior in only 10) and thousands upon additional thousands of regulations -- each of which they must submit to under the threat of having their liberty and property forfeited, or even their lives taken away.
This is hardly an employee/employer relationship. After all, how many employers fear their employees? And if they did, how long would that employee be welcome in the place of business?
"I don't fear the government" you say. That same thought was expressed by Esequiel Hernandez, Jr., an American High School student and part-time goat herder with no criminal history, just before he was wrongfully shot dead by four Marines on "covert anti-drug operations" near the Rio Grande in south Texas in a supposed "self- defensive action." The grand jury, (reportedly composed of at least several former Federal law enforcement employees) charged with deciding whether or not to indict Marine Corporal Clemente Banuelos who fired the fatal shot, came back with a suspicious "No" to the question of whether to gather evidence and present it at trial before peers. Their decision was reached on the grounds that Esequiel was firing his antique .22 rifle at the Marines (although they were camouflaged and behind bush in the "covert operation," and the fatal bullet entered Esequiel's body from the side as though he was turned facing away from the Marines), and it was therefore self- defense.
Justifiable killing in self-defense requires a demonstration of the reasonable conclusion that no other course of action was available, and is typically referred to as "reasonable force." At least this is the case if you are a private citizen, and not a duly authorized agent in a local theater of the Federal Holy War du jour. How four Marines in full battle gear could be under mortal threat by one kid out plinking with his .22 is either a damning indictment of the battle-worthiness of our Marines, or a statement that Federal representatives under the banner of the "War on Drugs" are now a different class of American -- a superior class that does not need to answer for its actions, and may kill "accidentally" and fear no reprisals from the judicial system.
This is a chilling development. It is now fact that US armed forces are being utilized in domestic law enforcement operations against those suspected of non- violent, victimless crimes. And sometimes, those employees kill their employers. . . .
The Cincinnati police seem to have no problem with doing silly things, like arresting an older woman for feeding parking meters. But when it comes to the important police activities, like controlling street punks bothering passers by and closing down neighborhood open- air drug bazaars, they often fail miserably. As an example, instead of sending drug interdiction police into neighborhoods where drug traffic is known, the local sheriff had deputies stop cars on a highway -- far away from the drug infested neighborhoods -- for drug checks.
Recently, a man knocked on the door of a residence about 11 p.m. When the lady of the house answered, the man said he was her husband's friend and wanted to repay a $20 debt. As the woman opened the door a crack, three police officers from the city's Operation Street Corner drug interdiction unit barged in with guns drawn.
The woman began screaming, and her husband entered the room -- greeted by the intruders' guns. Finally, the police introduced themselves. The husband asked to see a search warrant. The police, of course, did not have one. The husband then instructed the officers to leave. And, they actually did.
The police side of the story, as related by their lieutenant, who was also one of the offending officers, is rather unique. They were doing a "knock and talk" visit (at 11 p.m.) to the home, the Lt. said. He said that there were two complaints about drug dealing at that address in the past three months. The Lt. claims that the "knock and talk" interview would indicate whether the complaints were valid. And yes, he admitted, an officer did lie to get the woman to open the door.
Effectively then, even if we believe only the officer in charge, we have four armed men forcing their way into an occupied dwelling, uninvited and under false pretenses. At this point, they were not police officers (unannounced), and so were in a position where they could have easily gotten themselves shot. Stupid!
And what kind of excuse is this "knock and talk" nonsense? It sounds rather juvenile on this end. Even in neighborhoods where some residents run the streets all night, that type of confrontation is best handled before dark, and by uniformed officers.
Yet, the Lt. says that his people "behaved appropriately." Then, adding insult to injury, he also tried to explain that the "knock and talk" visits often persuade officers that complaints were invalid. Sure!
The occupants of the home did exactly the right thing. She screamed, and he demanded a warrant. When no warrant was produced, the man of the house ordered the officers to leave. Then, the couple called their attorney.
Their complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court, seeks unspecified damages. It should be good for a hundred-thousand dollars or so, though.
The incident is under investigation by the "police division." But, unfortunately, the officers are still on the street.
To that end, we offer suggestions for ten Constitutional questions that should be put to each Member of Congress, as well as to all candidates for Congress. Inform them that the reply you receive will be your guide in next year's election.
Do you still support our United States Constitution, as written, and all of the Amendments to our Constitution, as per your Oath of Office?
Do you believe that American citizens have a right to expect that every elected official obey and support our United States Constitution in its entirety?
What recourse do you believe American citizens should have when a public official acts, or proposes a law, contrary to the American Rule of Law, as set down in our United States Constitution? Please explain.
Do you believe that all branches of government, including regulatory and tax collection agencies, should support and obey our United States Constitution? Please explain under what authority you may feel that a government agency could be immune from the rules set down for government by our Constitution.
Do you support the right of an American citizen to protect life, family and home against all intruders, with the exception of officials having a duly sworn warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution? If not, please describe two basic situations where you believe the Fourth Amendment no longer applies, and why.
Do you support the right of an American citizen to move around and function in society as they please, unimpeded by any government agent, so long as they do not bother other citizens with their activities? What restrictions to personal liberty do you support, and why?
Do you support the right of American citizens to acquire, keep and if necessary to defend, real and personal property free from restriction by the federal government? If not, please explain under what Constitutional authority the federal government may restrict the use of personal and private property.
What exceptions do you support to the Bill of Rights, and how may these exceptions be justified under the law without amending the Constitution?
Are there any areas of human behavior or activities that cannot be regulated by the federal government? If so, please list any ten that come to mind.
Will you certify that you will reject any bill coming before you that does not conform, strictly, to the United States Constitution as written? Furthermore, will you work to repeal all laws, rules, regulations and executive orders not conforming to the written words and intent of the Constitution?