March 27, 2001
"Lawfully Speaking" Vol. III, Issue No. 2
A Periodic Internet Political Column
Written by William H. Huff
It is not enough anymore to simply report "All The News That's Fit to Print." Most media have an agenda. Thats ok - as long as the reader is fully aware. But just what constitutes "fully-awareness?"
The problem is, even those who have good intent are not equipping their readers for critical thinking and informed lawful action. They are so narrow in their own general knowledge as well as political acumen that they have no choice but to be shallow. They don't realize that America would have few problems of such earth shaking consequence if she were only to faithfully remember her founding principles and intelligently apply them. This requires journalism with a truly American agenda by a media properly steeped in Americanism. Perhaps, most tragically, many of the very best writers of our time have sophisticated knowledge and powerful communications skills, but almost no direct exposure to the written laws of the United States, having believed their spoon-feeding from "certified" government sources and government licensed attorneys, or, worse yet, so-called think tanks.
I am not naming names here. I could name them but that would not serve the purpose of this article or of lexrex. However, I want to vent about a predominant trend in Patriotic as well as other media. There is a tendency to report the worst of the news and spin it in such a way as to promote an atmosphere of hopelessness and futility. After making the reader miserable, no comprehensive solutions are offered. Sensationalism often leads to confusion and frustration. Like the French Revolution which was perpetrated during chaos, this approach will not tend toward the reasonable conclusions that were worked out by our Founding Fathers. Theres was a revolution that turned their society back to peaceful order and justice. It was carefully planned over a long period of time. By 1776 they knew it was necessary to get rid of foreign influence so they could craft a Constitutional Republic where written law replaced the king and also prevented the excesses of "democracy."
The problem has two major aspects: A tendency to exploit for whatever motive and a lack of proven solutions.
The readers are initially mislead by "spin." For example, just the other day I read a very provocative headline from one of the most popular Internet Tabloids that purports to be patriotic. The headline was deliberately constructed to titillate the reader. It enclosed in quotes an unsubstantiated allegation that was not proven or corroborated by the content of the article. It was obvious that most readers would be expected to presume what was only implied in a somewhat less than forthright way. This is a technique that you can find with great regularity in many current journalistic contexts.
In addition, when you read, watch out for the surgical inclusion or non-inclusion of quotation marks. This alone is a valuable study that will help you discern between what is being said and what is being "not said." Another element that appears often in quoted material is the ellipsis. An ellipsis is the three little dots [...] that you often find in quoted material that is incomplete. The caution to observe in these instances is to make certain the material that is not included would not reverse or significantly modify the meaning derived. Ellipses can be used honestly to save space or dishonestly to save face.
We hear all about Executive Orders, Judge-made Law, Police Brutality, Income Taxes, Janet Reno, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Saddam Hussein, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, etc.
Sadly many of the misunderstandings related to the above media hot buttons comes because many of us do not want to believe government servants are flagrantly violating the law. Many of us seem to have some dysfunctional "need" to believe we are losing our liberties because of unforeseen technicalities rather than guile. I will assure you that there is at least as much criminality in the commission of "high Crimes and misdemeanors" as there is incompetence in the administration of government at the lower more bureaucratic levels. There is enough mens rea [guilty mindedness] to go around. The Government Code of Ethics condemns crimes of laziness as well as overt wickedness, and everything in between.
Lets briefly touch on just two of the hot issues above that are being used, knowingly or unknowingly, to inflame rather than to inform the people. It happens that the President of the United States and the supreme Court, either separately or together, cannot make law. Yet we see media constantly reporting and/or reacting as if one or the other of them has in fact "made" a law by either Executive Order of Judicial Fiat. This is especially true of so-called alternative media that are trying to increase market share.
Does that mean we should have impeached and removed perhaps 90% of the last 43 Presidents and many of the Justices of the supreme Court? Perhaps. But they are not the root of the problem. They are symptoms. Bill Clinton is only a symptom. The real problem is that ignorant, lazy, wicked and illiterate people cannot be free. Of course, when the people get ignorant, wicked, lazy and illiterate, some very bad things begin to happen. Their original liberties inexorably begin to erode. They become in essence slavish.
The simple direct answer to the current confusion about Executive Orders (that allegedly affect the rights of citizens within the States of the Union) and Judge-Made "Laws," is that the Constitution proscribes both specifically, and the taking of an Oath "to uphold and defend" doubly indemnifies the People against these overt abuses of power. Any act of whatever description that results in an infringement of the rights of any citizen clearly constitutes a betrayal of trust and a breach of Oath.
The Constitution opens with a declaration of how and where our laws are to be made, and by whom: Article I , Section 1 states, "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."
Please read the above until you understand who cannot "make" law. You see "All legislative Powers," means, and can only mean, that, all lawmaking powers only lawfully exist in the Legislative Branch. If we describe "All" as a percentage, would that equate to roughly 100%? If the Congress possesses 100% of the legislative powers delegated to the federal government, what percentage of lawmaking powers are reserved by the Constitution for the other two Branches?
I think it was "W" who was recently speaking of the Congress when he said, "They make the laws... and I execute em!" We cannot be absolutely certain whether he was referring to the "laws" or the "Congress" given his record of presiding over so many "executions" in Texas.
It should be sufficiently instructive to remind us that Jefferson said "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384 [for more Jefferson quotes go to http://etext.virginia.edu/etcbin/ot2www-jeffquot?specfile=/web/data/jefferson/quotations/www/jeffquot.o2w]
Thomas Jefferson has made his pronouncement regarding the relationship between liberty and ignorance. They are inversely proportionate. When ignorance goes up - liberty goes down [you didnt hear that one from a campaigning Al Gore]. I think it takes very little intelligence to surmise that liberty will exist in an inverse proportion to wickedness, laziness and illiteracy as well. Therefore, it is incumbent upon responsible media to be Patriotic enough to report the news with a pro-American bias, and further equip their fellow citizens to both perceive and execute American solutions. Media will always have bias. Why should it not be a fully informed American bias? The bias of media will always proceed from its education? The problem has lately been that they have no access to a Traditional American Education.
Again, lets see if my "unreasonable" claims above can be justified in a Jeffersonian context: "I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." --Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820.
If there is a Constitutional problem the Jeffersonian first step is education - not usurpation - and not creative headline writing for Tabloid Exploitation and Fear Mongering. And who should be responsible for the first initiative? I say the media who care about America and her survival, and who are already obviously trying to shape public opinion, should be counting it a sacred trust. If they are influencing the minds of their fellow Americans, they should become much more competent in the ways they describe problems and solutions. And they should be ready to educate. Their headlines should point to American solutions. This can only happen when, and if, they know what those solutions are.
I would practically fall over if I read in the New York Times "Activist Judge Thinks He Can Make Law" or "Presidents Executive Order Thwarted by Informed Citizens Who Knew He Had No Jurisdiction Within Their State" or, how about "Sheriff Tells IRS to Get A Lawfully Required Court Order Before Seizing Private Property in His County" or "State Legislature Refuses Federal Funds in Order to Re-Assert State Sovereignty." I can dream cant I?
When are we going to hear a message of hope, redemption and justice for America? When are we going to be able to access Media who believe in America - or in the future of America? I am not talking about sincerity, or devotion, or some warm fuzzy patriotism. I am talking about competent Statesmanship.
I am also not talking about "team spirit." I am talking about what America really IS; about a country that is much more than territory. America is, before anything, a consistently developed political philosophy, that, when properly applied, would solve almost every public problem I can conceive of along with a great many of our private and family problems. It is such a consistent philosophy that it could probably cause almost utopian conditions anywhere in the world where it was consistently applied. It is a philosophy that has a "soul" or spiritual foundation. This one aspect makes it transcendent. It is as superior to all other forms of government as God-given unalienable rights are superior to the "humanist rights" of the UN Charter.
We hear so much about PROBLEMS and so very little about the tried and proven SOLUTIONS and TOOLS.
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would have to think we actually lost all of their writings were they to try and figure out what nonsense goes on in present day "American" Media. Never was there so dynamic an effort to fasten down the principles of free government as there was in their generation. And we are still free to read almost anything they wrote - once we learn to read. Frederick Bastiat argued with a socialist neighbor for twenty years to distill the concepts so eloquently expounded in his work, THE LAW. It is here for everyone to see and digest. We are without excuse.
I will make a prediction. If the American population can be once again consistently exposed to a Traditional American Education our nation will awake to pursue her intended greatness. If not, she will perish. The name may not be changed, but the United States of America will be sublimated into a New World Order that will have nothing of a truly American character in it. Global Totalitarian Socialism will replace liberty.
Was Orwell a prophet?
"Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of... On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important question, on which rest the happiness and liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves." - Dr. Joseph Warren, speaking at Boston on March 5, 1775 on the anniversary of the "Boston Massacre" Dr. Warren was perhaps the first martyr of the American Revolution.
Additional suggested reading: "The American Ideal of 1776."
Copyright at Common Law by LEXREX, 2001. Feel free to email this article to your friends, provided that the copyright notice and website address is included. If you would like to publish it on your website or in print, please email a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn the Constitution - the Old-fashioned Way!