Monthly Archives: April 2018

Traditional Living for Traditional Gals: Finances

This is the second posting in the collaboration series with That Stepford Gal about traditional/domestic living advice. Part One Traditional Living Advice for Traditional Gals: Common Questions, Answers, and Myths here. That Stepford Gal’s contribution to Part II: Dare to be Domestic: Traditional Living & Financial Management here.

Part II: Finances

1. Live where you can afford to live. For us this meant, at first, living by relatives and fixing up an old house to where we didn’t have to be out the expenses of paying rent when we were first married, had no property of our own, and were just trying to start out in life. If you have to live with your relatives temporarily, there’s no shame in that. Everyone has to start out somewhere and so long as you’ve made your stable relationship and are still being responsible then there’s no harm done. Also nice was that my husband got the opportunity to use traditional masculine skills in the way of building cabinets and a front porch, etc… as the home we got wasn’t all that wonderous. Start out small and work your way up. Over time if you stay together in a stable marriage and relationship, you will acquire more resources.

2. Two incomes don’t truly help you. My heart was broken beyond repair last year and, as many know, my husband just “dropped the ball” so to speak and I went out and temporarily took on paid employment. He just simply let me go and stopped being there for me or being my husband. It had absolutely no positive effect on our finances. We spent a considerable amount of money because nobody was home. We had no relationship as we were no longer as one, working as a team, but rather two independent individuals doing their own thing. Also, work schedules had to be worked around whenever my husband went in for an outpatient surgery and needed someone to drive him, when our child was out of school or otherwise sick, etc. Also, despite all the myths and rumors floating around out there, being a two-income household doesn’t help you on taxes (if you’re American). My taking on paid employment- even if only for a few weeks- nearly took our entire state check from us, unlike in previous years where we received a lot of money back when there was only one reported income. Our tax return on the state level was almost completely garnished as a result of us being a dual income household the previous year, even if it was only a temporary thing, and there was absolutely no benefit or increase in money received on the federal level whatsoever. My husband’s exact words: “It’s all because I messed up and let you go out and work.” Lesson learned.

3. Making everything from scratch isn’t always cheaper. I know a lot of homemakers out there are big on doing everything from scratch and on the extreme level some even go “off the grid” in an attempt to live an entirely old-fashioned lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, but sometimes you’ll find that frozen prepared meals actually save you money on groceries, especially if you are a small family where everyone is a bit picky or doesn’t always like to eat at the same time (no shame in that). Of course, for families with a lot of children, sometimes scheduled family meals and cooking from scratch where you can buy in bulk helps. But in my experience, being a smaller family, it doesn’t always pay to cook from scratch, nor is it necessarily always healthier.

4. You can work out at home and avoid the expense of paying for a gym membership. Girls, to stay in shape, get you some measuring cups/spoons, a 50-cent notebook and a 25-cent ball-point pen and write down and measure those calories!! Also, you can exercise from home by buying an inexpensive piece of cardio equipment such as an elliptical, treadmill or stationary bike. If you live in an area where you can, go outside for a walk or run everyday or learn some form of aerobic dance or something where you can work out in the privacy of your own living room. But remember that no amount of exercise will compensate for the amount of food you shove down your throat!

5. You don’t have to eat out at fancy restaurants or take expensive vacations to have fun or spend time together. We’ve never had a vacation and it’s true that I’d like to take one someday, but when we do it will be at some point in the future when we have saved and prepared for it, and it will more than likely only be the two of us, as in a romantic type of thing without children (I know I didn’t like family vacations when I was growing up even though my mother was always dragging us along on one). Also, I find more enjoyment out of just packing up a small lunch on a sunny day and finding a nice place to sit under a shade tree by the lake or somewhere similar. There’s no need to spend huge amounts of money to attempt to entertain yourself or keep up with anyone else’s lifestyle.

6. Life is about more than just money or having “things.” Let me put it this way, imagine that you’re in the arms of your husband, your lover. You’re content and happy, perhaps even just having made love to each other. Time moves about outside, but you don’t care. You may not have as much money or as big of a house as the family down the street. But you don’t care. When you’re in love and content you don’t care what others think. Security, stability, peace and a deep contentment in your heart and the feeling of femininity deep in your core of loving and depending on a strong man. Being cherished, loved, taken care of! Isn’t life about finding love, contentment and peace? In the Western world, one income is enough to have your basic needs met plus oftentimes a little extra, plus a man has a reason to work, build and achieve whenever he has the love of a woman that’s all his, meaning you’ll even have more things to be able to enjoy life together even more as time goes on.

7. Plan ahead. As a young woman, start thinking about your future now. If you want marriage, or a family, or to find a good man, make that your number one priority. If you plan to build a life together and start out young, you’ll be ready and prepared to live off of one income because you have planned for it, in contrast to most in modern life who plan things the opposite (college, loads of debt, career, maybe a few kids later down the road and a heck of a lot of confusion over who is supposed to do what and what to do about the impossible debt hanging over your head!). Build your life up from scratch with a man when you’re young and reap the benefits of it later down the road. Let your femininity and intuition guide you and don’t let others steer you away from what you feel and believe in your heart- not even your own relatives. A woman’s real power is in her femininity. Trust and believe this with all you heart.

There are also some good tips from That Stepford Gal that I’d like to highlight as well. That Stepford Gal being as yet unmarried without children, I feel she has a very unique viewpoint, being a single gal still under the protection and support of her father. Some Tips from That Stepford Gal (in no particular order):

I. Live at Home: Living At Home – I just don’t get Australia and its odd social expectations sometimes, maybe this is just me being an immigrant again, though I just don’t understand the push for young adults to live on their own as soon as possible. If you don’t like your family and you actually like being alone or with friends, sure. If you need to move for work or study, sure. Do what you like. However aside from that, moving out and paying your own bills and rent is just money down the drain for making a ‘good social image’ of ‘independence’. Living with your family means you can serve your family and at the same time save more money for your future. You can learn ‘independence’ and being responsible by involving yourself, like I’ve said before, in the money management of your household and take on some roles for your parents/family.

II. You Don’t Have Deprive Yourself to be Frugal: Being frugal and living simply doesn’t mean literally having nothing and buying nothing. It doesn’t mean counting every dollar, not all the time (just some). I live in Australia and most of the ‘lower income’ people I see have the latest iPhone and can still eat out a lot! Having lived with a single parent since my teenage years, I’ve learned plenty about being money-smart. It doesn’t mean scrounging on everything. I have an updated phone and laptop actually, so does my sibling. It’s scrounging on everything else that you really don’t want. The key is: spend only on what you truly want and learn how to use saving systems.

III. Take Advantage of Prolonged Interest Items: [I know most people look down on buying anything on credit, but if done smartly and wisely and you don’t go overboard, I agree with That Stepford Gal that it can be a vital asset to a well-managed budget] If you want to buy good gadgets, it’s actually not that hard to afford them in Australia, I find. Phone plans are actually affordable, even for the latest phones. Don’t get the latest gadget every year, seriously, though every couple to three years, you can upgrade your gear and still keep to your budget through plans and prolonged interest. What is prolonged interest? It is when an item has 20+ months interest free on credit card. Don’t be an idiot and pay the minimum, divide the price by the amount of months minus one, so you will have an allowance of finishing your payments a month early (in case anything happens) and PAY it. Seriously, set a reminder on your phone or calendar and pay things off properly per month, Not only does this do wonders for your budget, it increases your credit rating and the maximum credit it can have. More credit, more shopping? No! This is just so you can get other gadgets on prolonged interest (once your current purchase is finished and you want to upgrade) or if you ever need a loan for an emergency.

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Traditional Living Advice for Traditional Gals: Common Questions, Answers and Myths

This is part of a series of posts about being domestic and living traditionally for all interested ladies (or curious gentlemen) out there. Companion Q& A piece from That Stepford Gal to this article here. 

Q: Domestic women are stagnant and dependent just being at home. Don’t you want to use your talents in a career?

There’s nothing wrong with a female being dependent upon and serving her family. So what if it’s not normal to society? What is normal to society? Being obese, watching hours of television every day, being stressed, being in debt and having poor-quality or nonexistent romantic relationships with the opposite sex? A woman depending on her man breeds a closer, deeper relationship and makes families stable. Why would a man work at all or fight at all out there in the world if not for a woman or family that he loves? It gives a man purpose and meaning in life and makes women less stressed and more feminine. A career is not the only way to use one’s talents. It is only seen as the only way because of the emphasis put on women having careers in the post-feminist society.

Q: Domestic women are lazy and don’t want to work. Why do you just want to be at home and do nothing?

Most people are lazy. Period. Most housewives I know are not lazy, unless they are really career women on temporary leave, or as fellow traditionalist blogger That Stepford Gal likes to call it, “a three-year nanny for hire.” True traditional women love to be feminine and keep a good home. Anyone can come home and toss the laundry in the wash and throw a microwave dinner in the oven and throw some dishes in the dishwasher with food still caked all over them, but truly making a home and doing it right is exhausting, time-consuming and draining work- even with all the modern technology a housewife has in the 21st century. Have you seen most people’s houses where both partners/spouses work? Case closed. Unless they hire someone to clean it, you probably wouldn’t even want to eat there. But traditional women make homemaking an art to cherish and do with delight.

Q: Domestic women cannot afford to be at home. What about getting a house and saving? You’ll have nothing.

Most people are in debt. When you destroy marriage you also destroy property and inheritance as well. The idea that women can’t “afford” to be home has no basis in reality. You make do with what you have and over time you gain more assets. Husband and wife are a team. Attacks on marriage are also attacks on property as property cannot be passed down through the generations so that one’s children and grandchildren can have something to start out with to build a life on their own. But anyone can live on one income. Historically, women with husbands who earned the most money went out to work while poor women stayed home. It’s still the same today. What I’ve found as I’ve gotten a bit older is that the majority of commonly quoted mainstream beliefs are untrue and unfounded, if not plain-out false, and I’ve found this to be the same with the idea that women can’t afford to be housewives. The only women who can’t afford to be housewives are either women who’ve made extremely poor choices in life or women who simply don’t want to be housewives.

Related Postings:

https://whatswrongwithequalrights.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/questioning-economic-necessity/

https://whatswrongwithequalrights.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/there-has-never-been-an-easier-time-for-women-to-stay-home/

https://whatswrongwithequalrights.wordpress.com/2012/12/28/where-are-the-men-the-case-for-male-breadwinners/

The President and the Snowflakes

The President and the Snowflakes

4-17-2018

(PDF Version)

The problem with defining what the President can and cannot do is simply that the limitation of a President’s authorities is not always so clear-cut and have long been mired in controversy as to where the line of his authority ends. Generally speaking, the powers of the President exist on a continuum, that continuum being that when he operates unilaterally, without Congressional approval, or against the wishes of Congress entirely (except where purely executive duties and functions are concerned, or where the President’s powers as Commander-in-Chief as regards his war powers are concerned[1]), his actions are more likely to be deemed Unconstitutional[2]. On the other hand, when the President operates pursuant to his enumerated powers and duties as outlined in the Constitution, and operates pursuant to Congressional approval, he operates most lawfully and Constitutionally[3].

I think the problem lies at the heart of the fact that most individuals simply don’t really know what the functions of the President of the United States truly are. The President of the United States is not a monarch; he is not a dictator or a ruler. He is not all powerful nor immune to criminal prosecution nor civil suits, even while in office.[4] The President is to be a representative of the nation as a whole, as well as represent the nation in foreign affairs and diplomacy. As per the Constitution, his duties are to “faithfully execute the nation’s laws,” be Commander- in- Chief of the nation’s armed forces, represent the nation in foreign affairs, and sign and ratify treaties with foreign nations (pursuant to Senatorial approval)[5].

What’s interesting to me is all the fuss over the president when I think, all in all, the Executive Branch has much less authority than the other branches. I am of the belief that most of the real power lies with the Legislative, or Congress. But the unique and ingenious aspect of the American Federal government is that each branch was designed to “check” the power of the other branches in various ways, so that no one branch truly becomes all that powerful. As James Madison said over two centuries ago, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judicial in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”[6] The president can’t just get up and say, for instance, “There shall be no more abortions in this land!” and have it actually be effective[7], nor can he build his “wall” to keep out illegal immigrants without Congressionally approved funds[8]. And despite what many think, his ability to unilaterally influence the economy is extremely limited.

With the “advice and consent of the Senate” he may nominate justices to sit on the Supreme Court, but the Senate must approve. He may also propose legislation to Congress[9]. In either of these scenarios, however, Congress (or the Senate where approval of Supreme Court nominees is concerned) may just simply choose to ignore the president[10].

A lot of people are looking to Trump to appoint “pro-life” nominees to the Supreme Court, thinking it will “stop abortion” or at least halt abortions or make them less prevalent and harder to obtain. And Trump nominated (and the Senate approved) Neil Gorsuch, a “conservative” justice who has even authored a book speaking out against euthanasia,[11] to the Court. However, presidential power as regards the judiciary ends at the nomination of justices. Even if the Senate approves, the tenure of a Supreme Court justice (and all Article III judges in the Federal scheme) is for life, and as per the mandates of the United States Constitution, neither can the justices’ pay be reduced[12]. If a Supreme Court justice should change his views over time, or even abandon the political party that nominated him, there’s nothing the president can do.[13] Supreme Court justices may also be impeached for “cause,” but only once has this ever happened in United States history by way of the impeachment of Samuel Chase in the 19th century.[14]

Also, what I’d imagine the majority of the American public and “pro-lifers” who think the entire fate of the nation depends on which individual is nominated to hold the office of the Presidency do not realize is that Congress has the Constitutionally-mandated authority to control the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. This means that, in theory at least, it is possible (even if not entirely probable under the current tides of American politics) that Congress may pass legislation- even by overriding a presidential veto- to effectively strip the Supreme Court (and any other lower level federal circuit or district court with appellate jurisdiction) of jurisdiction to even so much as be able to hear any case-or controversies that come before it via a petition for certiorari regarding abortion, gun rights, religion, homosexuality, immigration, etc… Known as “jurisdiction stripping[15]” this power bestowed upon Congress has long been seen even among “conservatives” as a necessary check upon the power of the Supreme Court[16].

But I think the caveat here also to be noted is that who holds the office of presidency is no joke. In times of martial law, war and political upheaval, where the civilian courts no longer operate and the writ of habeas corpus as well may be suspended and, as Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s Armed Forces (retaining the ability also to call forth the state militias and command them) and highest Federal law enforcement officer, presidential power is at its highest point. He can establish Article II military tribunals, appoint temporary justices to the Supreme Court while Congress is not in session[17] and pursue many other functions that, in times of peace and plenty, would normally be forbidden to him to do without Congressional approval. Of course, such power is not absolute, as Congress still retains jurisdiction as regards to war and trying detainees, but especially since 9/11, and the passage of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force[18], if war ever actually makes its way to American soil, who holds the position of Commander-in-Chief is a critical issue. Looking back throughout the ages even to the days of Washington and Lincoln, the authorities of the Executive and Legislative branches seem to constantly bump into each other, sometimes in a cooperative relationship, sometimes an antagonistic one[19].

As was stated over a century ago in Moyer v. Peabody (1909),

…Public danger warrants the substitution of executive for judicial process, and the ordinary rights of individuals must yield to what the executive honestly deems the necessities of a critical moment…the plaintiff's position is that he has been deprived of his liberty without due process of law. But it is familiar that what is due process of law depends on circumstances. It varies with the subject matter and the necessities of the situation.[20]

In recent decades it seems that Congress has consistently delegated away more authority to the Executive Branch than what was seen in earlier generations, especially when one considers the fact that the United States hasn’t actually been at “war” since World War II (the last time Congress officially declared war, as the following “wars” were initiated by Executive action),[21] and the “war on terror” has continued to transform the political landscape for nearly two decades now.

Presidents may issue executive orders and proclamations. Presidents since the very beginning, even since the days of George Washington have done this, though the constitutionality and legality of these proclamations and executive orders varies. Depending upon the exact exigency and nature of the circumstances, and whether or not Congressional approval has been obtained, they may or may not be Constitutional or have the full force of law at the Federal level.[22]

There’s been much talk over the recent Syrian airstrikes and all Trump’s latest actions. To be sure, my expertise as far as military strategy goes is a flatline zero, so I won’t sit in judgement on such actions or the necessity of them, but I do think, however, that America is the equivalent of a spoiled and bratty child, believing that war, strife, famine and hardship is something that only happens in some far-away place only to be told in a newspaper somewhere. War is something that happens to “them,” not “us.” Since war has not actually been fought on American soil (in the actual states) since the Civil War, I think sometimes Americans come to believe that it could never happen to us.

So while we continue on with our spoiled ways, politics, the nation’s armed forces, public schools, institutions of marriage and high courts throughout the land must bow to the ways of political correctness over common sense, because being concerned with promoting “fairness,” “equality” and being sure not to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings by means of saying that “discriminating” legislation is Constitutionally permissible[23] is obviously more important than the preservation of civilization and the stability and prosperity of our nation.

But I think perhaps, in time, we’ll see as a nation that we are not so immune to war or the hardships that true political upheaval brings. And perhaps when that day comes, it will put an end to feminism, excessive and overbroad civil rights legislation and the snowflake generation.

___________________________________________________________________________

[1] Congress must declare war, but since the beginning since the Presidency of Washington, presidents have taken military action without Congressional approval or declarations of war. However, Congress may prohibit or require cessation of military action. (See also War Powers Act 50 U.S.C. Sect. 1541) If Congress should demand cessation of military action, the President must comply or else be in dereliction of his oath and duty to “faithfully execute the nation’s laws” under the Constitution. See also endnote 3 discussion, infra.; See also e Daniel E. Hall & John P. Feldmeier, Constitutional Law: Governmental Powers and Individual Freedoms, Second Edition (Pearson, 2012) for reference.

[2] See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer 343 U.S. 579 (1952), wherein The Supreme Court ruled, in a 6-3 decision, against the actions of then-President Truman for his order for the Secretary of Commerce to take control of most of the nation’s steel mills. Truman did this by way of Executive Order (10340), Congress made no response to the order to either approve or disapprove. Writing for the majority, Justice Black concluded, “In the framework of our Constitution, the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker. The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws…and the vetoing of laws…” In a concurring opinion, Justice Jackson conceded that, “…When the President acts in absence of either a congressional grant or denial of authority, he can only rely upon his own independent powers, but there is a zone of twilight in which he and Congress may have concurrent authority, or in which its distribution is uncertain…”; See also Korematsu v. United States 323 U.S. 214 (1944).

[3] See Section II of the United States Constitution for the powers vested in the Executive Branch https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/articles/article-ii#top Unlike the enumerated powers of Congress which are specific and defined, Presidential powers are often the subject of intense debate and long have been since the formation of the Constitution (see also Article I of the United States Constitution for the powers of the Legislative Branch https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution/articles/article-i) Whether or not there exists inherent powers that the President possesses is controversial among Constitutional scholars.

[4] See United States v. Burr, F. Cas. 30 (C.C.D.Va. 1807); United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 904 (1974); Nixon v. Administrator of General Services Administration, 433 U.S. 425 (1977); Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982); Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800 (1982); Jones v. Clinton, 520 U.S. 681 (1997). While presidents have complete immunity and cannot be sued for actions committed in the performance of their duties, presidents are not shielded from civil suit in regards to actions unrelated to their duties and the Supreme Court has ruled that they may even be sued while in office (See Jones v. Clinton, supra) so long as it does not interfere with important presidential duties. While presidents, former presidents and lower executive officials enjoy privileges, some executive privilege may be overcome by the need for specific criminal evidence in a criminal case (See United States v. Nixon, Supra).

[5] See The President’s Job According to the Constitution https://www.jfklibrary.org/~/media/assets/Education%20and%20Public%20Programs/Education/middle%20school%20programs/The%20Presidents%20Job%20According%20to%20the%20Constitution.pdf from the JFK library for a simple, clear-cut outline in plain English of the President’s duties and obligations under the Constitution.

[6] See The Federalist No. 47 (1788)

[7] When effective, and especially when approved by Congress, Executive Orders or Proclamations can have the effect of statutes. However, Presidential Executive Orders or Proclamations, if lawful, are only done to enforce his lawful authority, of which most of the main “issues” revolving around today’s politics do not fit into. See Youngstown, supra, endnote 2 discussion that “…the President’s power to see that the laws are faithfully executed refutes the idea that he is to be a lawmaker.”

[8] See ongoing conflict about Trump’s border wall https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/28/trump-won-a-judges-permission-to-build-a-border-wall-with-mexico-now-he-just-needs-the-money.html

[9] See endnotes and discussion 2, 3, and 5, supra.

[10] This has happened many times over in United States history. The most recent example being the nomination of Merrick Garland by Barack Obama, whom Senate Republicans refused to hold a hearing for before Obama left office. Subsequently, Donald Trump successfully nominated Neil Gorsuch in place of Obama’s nomination. It has long been the way of Presidents to nominate justices for the Court before leaving office, that way the President’s party may still hold the majority of political power on the Court. Also common, at times, is the retirement of justices before their party leaves office that way younger justices of the same political party may be nominated by the President to take their place.

[11] See, for instance, Gorsuch’s The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia (New Forum Books, 2009). The author of this article has not read this book, but is merely aware of its existence.

[12] See discussion, infra, endnote 13.

[13] For a comical historical reference, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, after appointing former Chief Justice Earl Warren to the Court, remarked that he was “The biggest damn-fool mistake I ever made!” and according to former President Harry S. Truman, “Whenever you put a man on the Supreme Court, he ceases to be your friend.”

[14] For more about Samuel Chase, See https://www.oyez.org/justices/samuel_chase

[15] See, for instance, Congress’s Power Over Courts: Jurisdiction Stripping and the Rule of ‘Klein’ from the Homeland Security Digital Library https://www.hsdl.org/?abstract&did=804643 for a report on the issue. Congress has power over “inferior” Federal courts, which are established and may be abolished by Congress at will, and Congress may also, under Article III’s “Exceptions Clause” prohibit the Supreme Court from hearing certain classes of cases that come before it, even where legitimate “cases” or “controversies” of important Constitutional concern are at stake. Congress may not, however, abolish the Supreme Court as it is established by the Constitution. See also U.S. Const. Article III, Sec. I “The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” See also Ex parte McCardle 74 US 506 (1869); United States v. Klein 80 U.S. 128 (1871)

[16] Even current Chief Justice John Roberts of the United States Supreme Court has a history dating back to his days as a lawyer during the Reagan Administration in support of court-stripping measures https://www.acslaw.org/acsblog/judge-roberts-and-court-stripping and the late conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, famously known for leading the opposition against the Equal Rights Amendment, was also a proponent of jurisdiction stripping, (See Can Congress Limit Federal Court Jurisdiction by Phyllis Schlafly (2006) http://eagleforum.org/column/2006/jan06/06-01-25.html ) though I suspect in the latter case with conservatives it has been over the decades an issue of getting legislation passed that is not subject to judicial review.

[17] Known as “recess appointments,” such Presidential power is temporary, and the justices only remain until Congress convenes the next session, unless the Senate approves of the appointee(s).

[18] See endnote 19 and discussion, infra.

[19] Not an entirely antagonistic relationship in our nation’s history, but the lines between the Executive and Legislative authorities in times of war have seemed to bump into each other. Several presidents have made use of state militias, especially during the Civil Rights Era to quell domestic disturbances and have done so under their legitimate War Powers. Also, presidents such as Abraham Lincoln have issued decrees to suspend habeas corpus in times of war, without running into opposition from Congress. See Martial Law and Constitutional Limitations https://law.justia.com/constitution/us/article-2/12-martial-law-and-constitutional-limitations.html

[20] 212 U.S. 78

[21] See Official Declarations of War by Congress from the U.S. Senate’s website: https://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/h_multi_sections_and_teasers/WarDeclarationsbyCongress.htm

[22] See Executive Orders 101 from the National Constitution Center: https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/executive-orders-101-what-are-they-and-how-do-presidents-use-them/

[23] Up until the late 1980s, sex-based discrimination was held to a lesser standard of judicial review generally referred to as “semi-suspect,” based on a three-pronged scale the Court has long used when weighing whether or not a discriminating statute, law or ordinance can be upheld as Constitutionally permissible on account of it serving a compelling and legitimate state or governmental interest. However, in the modern-era, sex-based discrimination has been wholly and entirely eliminated and taken to its upmost extreme, now being held to a “strict scrutiny” standard that was once solely reserved for race-based discrimination cases as can be seen in particular since the rulings in cases such as Lawrence v Texas 539 U.S. 558 (2003) and the recent Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v Hodges 576 U.S._(2015) declaring that states cannot Constitutionally deny to same-sex couples the legal right to marry the same as heterosexual couples. Sex-based discriminations in the United States were never always as prevalent, at least in public life, as is commonly propagated by the media today, yet the Supreme Court and local and state laws still upheld certain discriminating legislation on the basis of sex or legitimacy as serving a legitimate function in the preservation of civilization and ordering of society and family relationships.

Perhaps the ruling of the Massachusetts Supreme Court and the majority and dissenting opinions produced in the case of Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health 440 Mass. 309, 334, 798 NE2d 941, 963 (2003) can shed light on exactly why certain sex-based discriminations are necessary to society. This case made Massachusetts the first state to ever legalize “gay marriage” in United States history. The majority opinion of the court held that

“The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second class citizens. In reaching our conclusion we have given full deference to the arguments made by the Commonwealth. But it has failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples...The department has offered purported justifications for the civil marriage restriction that are starkly at odds with the comprehensive network of vigorous, gender-neutral laws promoting stable families and the best interests of children. It has failed to identify any relevant characteristic that would justify shutting the door to civil marriage to a person who wishes to marry someone of the same sex…”

Indeed, what argument can be made except that if offends someone’s sensibilities or personal religious beliefs? Without defining marriage in sexually distinctive ways being about the provision and protection of women and children so that children can be decently reared and stable families- true stable families- can be formed no case can be made. Indeed, the “Commonwealth” have no case. If not for the aforementioned purpose, then what purpose does marriage serve? As for the dissenting view,

“…Because a conceivable rational basis exists upon which the Legislature could conclude that the marriage statute furthers the legitimate State purpose of ensuring, promoting, and supporting an optimal social structure for the bearing and raising of children, it is a valid exercise of the State’s police power…”

But, in today’s world, does it matter who raises the children, who one chooses to have sex with or even how many partners they have or how “blended” their families are? Conceivably, to society today, it assuredly does not even remotely matter anymore…

Marijuana

Rights. The great concern of American civilization. On the federal level- and to the extent to which the Fourteenth Amendment has been incorporated by the Supreme Court to apply to the states[i]- rights are derived from the United States Constitution. The rights and powers not specifically delegated to the Federal Government are left to the states. The states thus wield police power, but only up to the point that they begin to encroach upon the civil and individual rights of the people beyond what is deemed socially or Constitutionally acceptable. The powers not delegated to the Federal government nor reserved to the states, are accordingly part of the natural and inalienable rights of the people, the likes of which no government may regulate[ii].

On the Right and on the Left, conspiracy theories do abound. The Right wishes everyone to believe that those in the government are not “one of us” and are constantly attempting to step on everyone’s Constitutional Rights, while the Left oftentimes wishes to push “civil rights” above and beyond what the Framers of our Constitution had ever intended, and beyond all traditional logic and reason. Everybody has their own “right” to live how they wish, no matter the social cost their lifestyle choices might ultimately entail. Yet again on the Right, they wish there to be virtually no government, nor protection of individual civil liberties, thereby leaving the common people to their own fate, giving free reign to big corporations to step on everyone’s rights.

One of the primary tenets of the American Constitution is that the government derives its consent from the governed[iii]. The infamous lines of our Constitution are “We the People.” Who are these people? If you listen to some who advocate for excessively liberal “civil rights” or “natural rights[iv],” “The People” the Constitution refers to would be anyone and everyone who comes into contact with our government or who sets foot on our soil, even those who do not have a sufficient establishment with this land or government nor formed the social contract[v] to abide by its laws, receive all of the rights and benefits of citizenship, nor the responsibilities thereof.

The first ten Amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights, which extend the protections of the Constitution to The People against infringements of specific inalienable rights by their government. As Justice William Rehnquist said in 1990[vi],

… “the people” seems to have been a term of art employed in select parts of the Constitution. The Preamble declares that the Constitution is ordained and established by “the people of the United States.” The Second Amendment protects ‘the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,’ and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments provide that certain rights and powers are retained by and reserved to ‘the people.’ While this textual exegesis is by no means conclusive, it suggests that ‘the people’ protected by the Fourth Amendment, and by the First and Second Amendments, and to whom rights and powers are reserved in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community…

The law is not a static thing, but rather a living language. It changes from generation to generation based upon the times, geographic boundaries and the ways, lifestyle, needs, and overall culture of the people. It reflects a people’s values, beliefs and morals. As well, there seems to always be a lag between the time a specific behavior or value becomes socially acceptable, and between the point where it becomes de-criminalized. At issue in this posting is marijuana, which state by state has been de-criminalizing not only for medicinal purposes but also for recreational ones as well[vii].

The main problem with decriminalizing any behavior is that it normalizes it. It sends the message that this is what “we, the people” want and what we believe in. It means that such behavior is generally approved of. The issue is the same, as well, concerning the issue of homosexuality. Legalizing it means everyone must accept it as a normal and mainstream way of life. Where once homosexuals stayed “in the closet” in regards to their activity, every attempt was made to pass off illegitimate children as legitimate, nobody spoke about divorce, and the pot-smokers, dopers and druggies were part of the lower ranks of society- the “undesirables” who no socially respectable person would be caught dead being associated with, such ways of life are now mainstream and not only socially acceptable (indeed, normal), but also legally sanctioned as well.

What legalizing any activity of the sort virtually says is this, that …We, The People, accept and believe in such a practice. Everyone does it[viii], or at least knows someone who does it. And if you don’t do it then you, my friend, are the one with the problem. You are the anomaly, and furthermore a bigot who should be subject to social ostracism for your archaic and prejudiced beliefs for daring to say anything against it or say anything about the way anyone else chooses to live their life.

But what if its not about it being “socially acceptable” or for recreational purposes, but only medicinal ones? Should this be legalized? What should the reach of the government be in such a thing? Furthermore, who- the states or the Federal Government- has the jurisdiction over it? Does it have medicinal benefits and drawbacks? Is it “healthy” or “dangerous?[ix]” Is there long-term consequences? And don’t more people die from alcohol-related deaths (which is legal) than marijuana? There’s no safer drug, surely?

As to answer the latter, should it be allowed for medicinal purposes? I’d say there are undoubtedly many times in life in which an individual is in need of a doctor, or in need of medication. Alcohol and other mind-altering drugs have likewise been an integral part of all human civilizations throughout history. Nothing comes without risks in this life and it has long been established caselaw that an individual has the right to refuse or accept medical treatment even if it would lead to that individual’s disability or death[x]. Such a thing extends into the bounds of the natural and inalienable rights of the people of our nation that the government may not compel or deny medical treatment upon the individual citizen unless compelling circumstances demand it, and where the person has likewise been given due process of law (and perhaps even an Eighth Amendment case against cruel or unusual punishment could be made here as well). The society, and likewise the people, draw the boundary lines of how far government may regulate and what is- or is not- acceptable behavior.

The fact of the matter is that there are no long-term controlled clinical studies as regards the effects of marijuana (for obvious legal and ethical reasons). Deciding whether or not to take medication is the right and responsibility of the individual. All drugs are regulated with their known or potential side-effects listed. The choice belongs to the individual who is in legal possession of such drugs. But if anyone among us truly believes that the push to legalize marijuana stems from some potential magical medicinal properties that it either potentially or realistically possesses then that individual deludes himself. The risks and benefits associated with marijuana are merely footnotes in the case for legalization.

As to the issue of who has the power to regulated marijuana? Well, the answer (like most in issues in the legal realm), is not so clear-cut. Article VI of the United States Constitution states, in part, that

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[xi].

Amendment X of the United States Constitution likewise reads:

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[xii].

The Federal Government only has those powers which are specifically granted to it by the United States Constitution, even though in recent decades the Federal Government’s power has grown exponentially. The power of Congress to make laws regarding interstate commerce, to establish lower-level Federal Courts and likewise abolish them at will (these are the circuit courts of appeal under the Supreme Court, which is established by the Constitution and cannot be abolished by Congress), create administrative agencies to carry out the functions of Congress, and delegate certain powers to such administrations (as well as delegate certain powers to the Executive Branch, ie…the President), and make all laws which are deemed “necessary and proper” in order for Congress to carry out its objectives[xiii].

Also realize that, as the power of government increases and the Federal Government, in particular, becomes more powerful, that most laws are crafted and enforced by administrative agencies. These agencies are delegated the power by Congress to, in simplistic terms, do all the legwork for Congress in researching and implementing certain laws. Also, Executive Branch officers such as the Attorney General have the authority in times of exigent circumstances to enact laws for the welfare of the people, such as temporarily criminalizing new strands of dangerous drugs that are created and pose an imminent hazard to public health and safety. The more the people look to the government to provide for their every need, the more bureaucratic agencies are created to oversee these welfare programs and the more regulation that is needed; likewise the more agencies are created to handle these issues. Rarely has the Supreme Court struck down such delegation of authority as unlawful or Unconstitutional under the nondelegation doctrine[xiv].

But why does the government regulate marijuana or any other drug? Not all administrative agencies are inherently harmful or a symptom of Federal overreach. Some agencies, such as the FBI, the DEA, the FDA and the Department of Homeland Security were created by Congress out of necessity to address legitimate law enforcement or public health needs. In earlier generations laws had to be enacted in response to public health crises to regulate, as well as criminalize, specific drugs as many individuals (including infant children) had been severely harmed and even killed by medications and “miracle” potions that anyone could cook up in their basement and sell.

In the case of illegal drugs, many are transported across international and interstate borders, severely disrupting the economy and posing a threat to the safety and functioning of communities, thereby falling within the jurisdiction of Congress to pass all necessary and proper laws regarding their regulation. Even in regards to food or drugs grown at home for personal use, or that do not themselves actually cross interstate borders but are purely intrastate in nature, Congress still has a legitimate interest in regulating their sale, distribution, consumption and usage. The pothead declares that “it’s only because they can’t tax it!” or that “I’m in the privacy of my own home, I’m not actually hurting anybody.” The legal scholar and the critical thinker, however, sees the larger issues implicated. The Supreme Court, likewise, has also tackled Congress’ authority in the arena of marijuana and other similar “private” activities. Justice Robert H. Jackson, delivering the opinion of the Court in Wickard v. Filburn (1942), declared

…But even if appellee’s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as ‘direct’ or ‘indirect.’[xv]

Likewise, in the Supreme Court case of Gonzales v. Raich (2005), the Court tackled the marijuana issue directly where the jurisdiction of the Federal Government is concerned:

Wickard thus establishes that Congress can regulate purely intrastate activity that is not itself ‘commercial,’ in that it is not produced for sale, if it concludes that failure to regulate that class of activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate marked in that commodity…The parallel concern making it appropriate to include marijuana grown for home consumption in the CSA [Controlled Substances Act] is the likelihood that the high demand in the interstate market will draw such marijuana into that market. While the diversion of homegrown wheat tended to frustrate the federal interest in stabilizing prices by regulating the volume of commercial transactions in the interstate market, the diversion of homegrown marijuana tends to frustrate the federal interest in eliminating commercial transactions in the interstate market in their entirety… Given the enforcement difficulties that attend distinguishing between marijuana cultivated locally and marijuana grown elsewhere, 21 U.S.C. 801(5), and concerns about diversion into illicit channels, we have no difficulty concluding that Congress had a rational basis for believing that failure to regulate the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana would leave a gaping hole in the CSA. Thus, as in Wickard, when it enacted comprehensive legislation to regulate the interstate market in a fungible commodity, Congress was acting well within its authority to ‘make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper’ to ‘regulate Commerce…among the several States.” U.S. Const., Art. I, 8. That the regulation ensnares some purely intrastate activity is of no moment…[xvi]

Of greater importance is that Federal law must reign supreme over state or local law and the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. This was one of the primary issues concerning the Articles of Confederation, in that the states had power over the Federal Government, causing significant problems, as well as many disputes among the several states. Such a system proved unworkable in only a short amount of time[xvii].

The Constitution was created, in part, to promote uniformity of law where significant interstate, national or international issues were concerned. Where federal and state law conflict, federal law reigns supreme under the Supremacy Clause. This is known as Federal Preemption, and it occurs when:

…1) Congress expressly states that it intends to preempt state regulation; 2) When a state law is inconsistent with federal law, even though no express preemption statement has been made by Congress; and 3) When Congress has enacted a legislative scheme that comprehensively regulates a field[xviii].

In conclusion, though Congress cannot abridge the police powers of the state, nor tell the states that they must criminalize certain aspects of deviant, violent or socially unacceptable behavior, neither can state law reign supreme over Federal law. This issue isn’t simple. Issues of law are complex things, and legal scholars and many lawyers spend countless years in pursuit of the studying of law. And with marijuana, though research (if it will ever bear out anything in the future that is not purely anecdotal in nature), may not conclusively say that marijuana is dangerous, my personal opinion of the stuff is that it reeks. And if anyone truly believes that they’re not frying up valuable brain-cells, increasing their risk of psychosis, schizophrenia and various other mental issues[xix] or that it has absolutely no negative effect on physical health in the long-term, then they delude themselves.

As a natural part of growing up, most have engaged in rebellious behavior that includes marijuana usage, binge drinking, and usage of other illegal drugs in their teenager years or in college. Again, if marijuana becomes legally and socially acceptable, young people will only be more exposed to it, believing it to be normal- as opposed to deviant- behavior. Normalizing and legally sanctioning a behavior only makes it more prevalent, not less. There isn’t a single issue in existence in the legal or social realm where this is not so.

And while it might be a normal part of growing up, I think it speaks for the state of society as a whole that it has become so acceptable in the mainstream. Because, lets face it, while rebellious and foolish behavior might be OK when one is young, if you’re much past the age of, say, 25 and you’re still lighting up on the regular and acting like a fool and partying then you should probably just consider yourself to be a burn-out[xx].

More than anything, the marijuana issue speaks to who we, The People, are as a culture. Increasingly the current cultural climate seems to be one of degeneracy and immaturity and a general all-around refusal of individuals as a whole to grow up, move out of mom and dad’s house and take responsibility for their own lives and their own well-being as well as the offspring they create and be responsible enough to act like mature adults, instead of being caught up in perpetual adolescence.

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Notes:

[i] Known as the Incorporation Doctrine. For an overview, reference https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/incorporation_doctrine

[ii] For a more comprehensive overview of the subject of Federal and Constitutional Law, reference Daniel E. Hall & John P. Feldmeier, Constitutional Law: Governmental Powers and Individual Freedoms, Second Edition (Pearson, 2012)

[iii] To read the full text of the Declaration of Independence, of which this infamous belief is derived from, reference: http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

[iv] Known as Natural Rights Theory, many liberals believe it applies to those even residing outside of the jurisdiction of the United States, or even illegal aliens. It is a political philosophical theory originally espoused by John Locke in the 17th and 18th centuries. See Locke’s Political Philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-political/ Several of the Framers of the Constitution were influenced by Locke’s theories, including Thomas Jefferson. See The Declaration of Independence and Natural Rights: http://www.crf-usa.org/foundations-of-our-constitution/natural-rights.html

[v] Reference Social Contract Theory for an overview of this political philosophy that man enters into a contract to be governed by the state: http://www.sophia-project.org/uploads/1/3/9/5/13955288/elahi_socialcontract.pdf

[vi] United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez 494 U.S. 259

[vii] Reference the NCSL Marijuana Overview for recent news on legalization/decriminalization: http://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/marijuana-overview.aspx

[viii] A quick Google search for “am I the only one who doesn’t smoke weed?” brings up about 3,250,000 results in 0.46 seconds with discussion forums, YouTube videos and mainstream news articles with many prompting the same question. In my experience, a young man once looked at me in shock last year whenever I told him that I didn’t do drugs. The more mainstream drugs of any sort become, the more those who don’t do them are subject to isolation, a particular issue where teenagers are concerned where peer pressure is often a predominant force in a young person’s life. There is evidence that drug and marijuana use is on the rise among teenagers and high-schoolers as the push to legalize marijuana continues on: https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/14/health/monitoring-the-future-teen-drug-use-2017-survey/index.html

[ix] While a regular marijuana joint has lower levels of THC that typically aren’t fatal in the short-term, marijuana concentrates and the prevalence of “dabbing” are another concern. See the DEA’s pamphlet about marijuana concentrates for a primer: https://www.dea.gov/pr/multimedia-library/publications/marijuana-concentrates.pdf

[x] So long as the individual is deemed competent, it is a fundamental Constitutional right to refuse even life-saving medical treatment: https://www.justia.com/constitutional-law/docs/privacy-rights.html

[xi] https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlevi

[xii] For a Tenth Amendment analysis and how it fits into the concept of federalism, reference: https://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt10_user.html#amdt10_hd4

[xiii] See the enumerated powers of Congress under Article I of the Constitution: https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/article-1-the-legislative-branch-the-enumerated-powers-sections-8/

[xiv] See The Myth of the Nondelegation Doctrine: http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=9565&context=penn_law_review

[xv] 317 U.S. 111

[xvi] 545 U.S.__

[xvii] See Hall & Feldmeier, supra, at 6-7

[xviii] Id. At 281

[xix] See Cannabis Induced Psychosis: A Review http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/substance-use-disorder/cannabis-induced-psychosis-review

[xx] According to Urban Dictionary, a burn-out is defined as “A high school or college student who does little else than cut classes and smoke weed. Usually has long, straight hair and a proclivity toward heavy metal bands of the 70s and 80s. Can often be found in smoke-filled bathrooms and makeshift basement bars.” https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Burnout