Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Feminization of Poverty

Hello Mack Pack!

I just wanted to share a post with you from a discussion group in class that I'm taking in college. Let me know what you think!


Hello class! This week I chose to discuss option A: the feminization of poverty. The author did not specifically say what they meant by that phrase, so I can only infer what they meant based on on the phrase itself and the paragraphs that followed. Based on what I read, I think they meant that poverty is becoming more and more of a female issue. What I mean by that is the female population below the poverty line is growing at a rate faster than any other segment of the population. As a result, poverty is becoming feminized. According to our book: "over 55% of all people living in poverty in the United States were female" (Crapo, 2013, Ch. 9.4), which only proves the point that poverty is an issue that mostly affects women. 

The cause of this very likely due to the fact that mothers tend to get custody of children in divorces/separations resulting in a single parent household led by a woman. There are many other factors at play here, but as far as I can tell, this appears to be a major factor in the rate of poverty among women. Some other issues that may exacerbate the financial troubles of females is that women may choose to take time off of work to birth and raise children, which might stifle their income. Additionally, many single mothers become dependent on the public welfare system, causing them to avoid increasing their income from working because they may lose out on one or more social service programs if their income raises. This situation can cause individuals to become permanent impoverished and fearful that they will lose their benefits. 

These serious problems are, in my humble opinion, a result of our growing welfare state that continues to keep able bodied Americans in a perpetual state of poverty. I believe some people need help and we should help them; however, I have always liked a quote from Ben Franklin when discussing charity: 

"I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer." (Franklin, n.d.)

Crapo, R. H. (2013). Cultural anthropology[Electronic version]. Retrieved from
Franklin, B. (n.d.). A quote by Benjamin Franklin. Retrieved May 22, 2015, from

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Alternatives to Military Force: The Fabian Strategy

Alternatives to Military Force: The Fabian Strategy

           What is the purpose of war? According to Carl von Clausewitz, author of the book On War, the institution of war, itself, is a political tool and a means to political ends (Clausewitz, 2012). In other words, war is a tool that societies use to accomplish political goals. For example, in the concept of total war, the objective is to destroy the enemy by any means possible, but that may lead to mass causalities inflicted upon civilian populations, which is why civilized societies avoid conducting warfare is this manner. The purpose of conflict in modern times has shifted to preventing the loss of life and protecting national interests; however, tactics developed and implemented must adapt to the current threats in order to be effective at accomplishing the desired outcome. There is a common saying in the military that “generals always prepare to fight the last war” and this means that, all too often, generals do not change their tactics when entering a new and different style of warfare, usually to their detriment. In relation to the War on Terror, military force abroad is the most commonly accepted way to prevent terrorism; however, there are alternatives, which may be more effective at keeping American interests safe and deterring threats to the homeland, if implemented properly.
It is important to note that there are many alternatives to armed conflict or military force. Some of these alternatives are more effective than others and usually their effectiveness is dependent upon the desired outcome and the threat faced. We’ve all heard the old saying, “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” In terms reaching political goals, this old adage is true; however, even though some tactics may eventually accomplish the desired task, there may be other tactics that are much more effective and less costly. For example, some alternatives to military force are non-violent struggle, heart and mind campaigns and economic sanctions.
Concerning the threat of terrorism, the above mentioned alternatives to military force are largely ineffective at producing a desirable outcome. A non-violent struggle is better suited for targeting large regimes and would likely not be very effective at combating terrorism. Regarding the use of a hearts and minds campaign, this could produce results if it managed to win over a local population that was on the fence about what side of a conflict to support; however, when dealing with radical terrorists, it is unlikely that a public relations campaign will have much effect on their resolve. Radical terrorists have likely already made up their minds and will be less susceptible to this kind of action. Economic sanctions are essentially useless when combating the threat of terrorism, because sanctions are meant to economically punish nations. Unless sanctions are being used to target state sponsors of terrorism, they are not an option, and even in this case they have major limitations. With this in mind, responses to threats must be catered to each specific threat and strategy must be developed to reach the desired objectives.
National security threats are ever changing; terrorist continue to develop new tactics and it is becoming more difficult to respond effectively to the threat they pose via military force than it used to be. According to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson there are individuals living in the United States with connections to the Islamic State who wish to commit acts of terror on US soil (Richter, 2015, para. 1). This information is even more concerning when combined with the fact that there were "445,000 illegal entries into the United States across our southern border in Fiscal Year 2010. The Border Patrol has reported that, out of those 445,000, about 45,000 are immigrants coming from countries other than Mexico" (Lanham, 2011, para. 4). In today's world, it would seem unwise to fight wars abroad, at the cost of American blood and fortune, while leaving the homeland completely vulnerable to attack. If this many illegal entries can be conducted in a single year, how difficult would it be for a terrorist to come to America? In addition to that, how difficult would it be for them to bring a weapon of mass destruction with them? Out of the more than 100 or so nations that these immigrants originate from, at least four are state sponsors of terrorism (Lanham, 2011, para. 4).
The threats that America faces at home are real and legitimate. The urgency to secure the border has never been more critical to national security than it is right now. In a speech given by John McCain on foreign policy and national security in 1998, he said, “Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is probably the most serious international problem confronting America's leaders” (McCain, 1998, para. 16). Though his speech may be a bit dated, this point is still extremely relevant. As more governments gain access to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) the risk that one of these weapons will fall into terrorist hands grows exponentially. That risk is aggregated even more with that fact that some of these governments trying to obtain WMDs are state sponsors of terrorism. For example, “Iran has been deemed as a state sponsor of terrorism since January 19, 1984 by the US Department of State” (State Sponsors of Terrorism, 2015) and has been actively pursuing nuclear technology. Though they lack a delivery method such as intercontinental ballistic missiles, they can easily use the insecurity of America’s borders to sneak a weapon capable of producing a nuclear yield into the country. The effects of such an attack on US soil would be devastating.
Those in favor of the War on Terror suggest that it is better for America to combat terrorism overseas than it is for the nation to combat it at home. This school of thought is appealing, especially on an emotional level, as a citizen living in the homeland; however, it is a generalization about the nature of conflict and does not account for the ever evolving landscape of the modern battlefield. As a civilized society, America abides by certain rules of war. Those rules limit the kind of military response that can/should be conducted against terrorism. For example, if a known terror cell is operating in a specific city, America cannot simply carpet bomb the entire city, because there will certainly be many civilian causalities. Terrorist know this limitation and they use it to their advantage. Combat in Iraq and Afghanistan has become an unconventional guerilla war. Insurgents hide in plain sight and use the War on Terror as a recruiting tool, their organizations gain legitimacy and popularity from every battle, and they succeed in spreading terror when their attacks on the American military are reported on in news cycles around the world. Terrorists do not have rules limiting the kind of warfare they can conduct, so fighting them in this manner plays to their advantage. Additionally, conducting warfare overseas does nothing to eliminate threats to American interests at home. Simply put, it just creates another front to fight and/or get attack on.
When determining what strategy to use against an enemy, the very first task is to determine exactly what objectives one wishes to accomplish. As a civilized society, America purports to conduct war as a means to prevent human suffering, loss of life and to protect its national interests. Different threats will require different strategies in order to accomplish those objectives; however, when discussing with the threat that America faces due to terrorism one thing is clear: America is failing to accomplish these goals. As a result of this failure terrorism is on the rise, the Middle East has been destabilized, and the threats to American interests from terrorists are at, what appears to be, an all-time high.
With that said, how exactly has War on Terror failed to accomplish these goals? First, it has failed to prevent the loss of life and is actually responsible for causing far greater suffering, death and destruction than terrorists could have ever hoped to inflict themselves. For example, on September 11th, 2001, "2,792 Americans were killed in the largest terror attack in U.S. history" (Powers, n.d., para. 18). According to the Global Terrorism Database, since 2003, there have been 25 American deaths from terror attacks on US soil (Global Terrorism Database, 2015). Conversely, "4,683 brave Americans have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) on October 7, 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom, which began with the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003" (Powers, n.d. para. 2). Additionally, in a study conducted by “university researchers in the United States, Canada and Baghdad in cooperation with the Iraqi Ministry of Health, approximately 500,000 people have died, not only from violent deaths, but other avoidable deaths linked to the invasion, insurgencies and subsequent social breakdown since the Iraqi invasion began in 2003” (Gordts, 2014, para. 3).
Secondly, the War on Terror has not made the American homeland any safer from terrorist threats and it has significantly drained American coffers. As of March 2015, "the United States has spent approximately $1.6 trillion fighting the War on Terror" (Cost of National Security, 2015). That money could have been used to secure the border and upgrade the power infrastructure to withstand an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which is a side effect of a nuclear yield or dirty bomb and would devastate the country. Congressional studies estimate "that two-thirds of the [U.S.] population would die of starvation, disease, exposure or violence related to social breakdown in the first twelve months alone" after an EMP terror attack (Register, 2015, para. 4).
            Fortunately, there are options that have yet to be attempted in order to accomplish the goals of saving lives and securing American interests. One of those options is securing the nation’s borders. Based off information provided in HR 1299, the Secure Border Act, “only thirty-two percent of America’s northern border and forty-four percent of its southwest border are under operational control or have acceptable levels of security” (Miller's legislation focuses on development of comprehensive plan for border security, 2012). A second option of combating that threats that terrorism poses and has yet to be attempted is hardening the American power grid to withstand electromagnetic pulses. Doing this action will eliminate the threat that an EMP poses to two-thirds of the American population, preventing countless American deaths, immense suffering and securing national interests. Lastly, once the border is secured, increased scrutiny should be conducted on immigrants attempting to come into America as well as on those who are already here on temporary visas. Controlling who is allowed to come into the country is a key component of national security. All of these endeavors will be costly, but it is doubtful that it will be as costly as a never-ending War on Terror. Each of these actions will bear real and verifiable fruit, which Americans will continue to reap for generations.
            A tactic such as this has actually been used before throughout history. It was first used in ancient Rome during the Second Punic War to outlast and overcome a Cartheginian threat to the homeland. It was named the Fabian Strategy, after its creator Quintus Fabius Maximus. The Roman army had suffered great losses at the hands of Carthage’s most skillful general, Hannibal, and it had become clear that direct confrontation would not be the most efficient way to end the conflict. Fabius “advocated a policy of attrition and delay - to dog Hannibal round Italy, but never engage him. This policy turned out to be very successful, frustrating Hannibal at every turn and preventing him landing a knock-out blow” (Jones, 1998, para 1). The Fabian Strategy called for “a campaign that conserves strength by keeping clear of battles, relying instead on harassing and exhausting the enemy through attrition, steadily undermining morale” (Freedmen, 2003, para 3). The Romans harvested their crops, lit fire to their fields and withdrew to their walled cities. Due to the fact that Hannibal lacked to proper siege equipment to take on a Roman city, his army eventually ran out of supplies and he was forced to return to Carthage.
If one were to draw parallels from the Second Punic War to the War on Terror, it would be clear that this same strategy could be used to undermine the war fighting capability of terrorist organizations who wish to do harm to the United States. It does not make logical sense to continue fighting an enemy on their own terms, while also ignoring the serious threats caused by a wide open border. The reason America is at war with terrorists overseas is because the homeland was attacked. With that in mind, doesn’t it make more sense to shore up defenses at home in order to prevent another attack, rather than to create another battle front to be attack on?
As mentioned before, no strategy is perfect for every situation and care must be taken to adopt the right strategy for the circumstance; this strategy is no different and does have its limitations. One major limitation of adopting a Fabian Strategy in the War on Terror is that America would be forced to take a less proactive approach regarding military intervention in the Middle East. This could result in problems for America’s allies and a loss of control in the area. Additionally, it is possible that rival countries, such as Russia, could obtain a foothold in the Middle East if America were to abandon the region entirely, but is that really a problem? Russia has already tried invading Afghanistan once and it didn’t work out very well for them. Even if they were able to stabilize the region and gain control, they would simply be accomplishing the same objectives that America claims to seek for the Middle East. The real question the American people need to ask themselves is, with $17 trillion of national debt, can they afford to be the world’s police?
            According to Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War and arguably the greatest general of all time, “to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting” (Tzu, 2003, Ch. 3, para 2). Military force is not always the most effective answer to national security threats. Regarding the War on Terror, by bringing the war to the terrorists (fighting them abroad) America has made it easier for its enemies to inflict casualties. In this case, a better alternative to military force would be to deny terrorists the ability to inflict casualties by securing American interests. This can be done through tighter immigration screening processes, securing the United States border and upgrading the power grid to withstand an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. The cost of this endeavor will be significant; however, it can be paid for by diverting the budget spent on the War on Terror abroad. By choosing to deny terrorists the ability to inflict casualties, instead of making it easier for them, lives will be spared and that is the ultimate goal of conflict in a civilized society.

Clausewitz, C. (2012). On War. Champaign, Ill.: CreateSpace Independent
Publishing Platform.
Cost of National Security. (2015). Retrieved from
Freedman, L. (2003, Mar 28). Patience as well as power is the key to coalition victory. The
Global Terrorism Database. (2015). Retrieved from
Gordts, E. (2014, January 1). Iraq death toll reaches 500,000 since start of U.S.-led invasion, new
Jones, P. (1998, Jun 27). Ancient & modern. The Spectator, 280, 14. Retrieved from
McCain, J. (1998). Foreign policy and national security: Terrorism and american values. Vital
Speeches of the Day, 65(1), 4-7. Retrieved from
Miller's legislation focuses on development of comprehensive plan for border security. (2012).
Lanham: Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc. Retrieved from
Obama intelligence chief: Porous southern border poses national security threat. (2011). Lanham:
Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc. Retrieved from
Powers, R. (n.d.). Iraq and Afghanistan casualty statistics. Retrieved March 27, 2015, from
Register, C. (2015, April 1). Former FERC Chief Jon Wellinghoff speaks out on grid security and
Richter, G. (2015, February 8). Homeland Security Chief Johnson: Terrorist sleeper cells in US
State Sponsors of Terrorism. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Tzu, S., & Giles, L. (2003). Attack By Stratagem. In The Art of War. New York, NY: Barnes &
Noble Books.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mack's Appearance on The Johnny Rocket Launchpad: Episode #53

This is Part 1 of 3 from my guest appearance on "The Johnny Rocket Launchpad." If you haven't already subscribed to their channel, please do so here:

Johnny Rocket Launchpad Episode Description:
This week we talk about,"The Great American Experiment" The Constitution! This week, we welcome Mack Worley III, the host of: "On The Move Show" . We talk about: the Early History of The United States, the Founders Intent, Judicial Review, Executive Powers, The Second Amendment, and Common Core.

Mack is a retired United States Air Force veteran, a YouTube channel operator, a Political Talk Show Host of "On The Move Show", an activists, a blogger, a prep-per, a Conservative Libertarian, a patriot and a husband.

According to Mack, he is just a normal guy. He is a full time student, which keeps him very busy during the week. At night and during weekend he operates a YouTube channel ( and a podcast on Spreaker.

He wants to be clear, He doesn't want to be anyone's leader. He hopes to inspire people to stand up for their rights and become their own leaders. He would consider it a huge success if he managed to inspire one person to start a YouTube channel and do what he is doing, only better!  He started his YouTube channel and Podcast, because he can no longer remain silent or disengaged from US and global politics anymore. Everyday he sees our freedoms under attack and he is afraid for our country. He is afraid he will look back and wish that he had at least tried to do something. He is afraid that one day he will wake up and no longer recognize our country. He is afraid that he will be the last generation to enjoy the freedoms so many have fought and died for. He loves his country and he would bleed on the flag to make sure those stripes stay red!

Our Band of the week : Klover Jane

Klover Jane grabs you by the shirt and roars into your soul. They’re an adrenaline-blast of pure Rock-N-Roll; with mouth watering guitar riff’s, a bone-invading rhythm and the lyrical juice of unapologetic truth and smooth wail of the vocals.

The band returns in 2015 with their unique brand of 100% American Rock n' Roll and are set to take the summer concert stage by storm. Armed with the new CD 'Sacred' released through the Mental Itch Music Group on Dec 2nd 2014 , KLOVER JANE is back to rock for the fans! Don't miss out on a single minute of the action. And stay current with everything KLOVER JANE at

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Petition: Stop The FCC From Taking Over The Internet! Say NO!!!

Mack Pack,

This is a call to arms! Net neutrality is coming and it will change the face of the internet, for the worse, forever. Our government is essentially trying to nationalize the internet as a public utility and take it over. This does not mean the internet will be free, it means it will be under the control of the government. It will also make our Internet speeds as slow as in Europe (Bedard). Those are two very BIG reasons to say no!

Sign the petition to stop Net Neutrality:

We don't have much time left either. They are about to vote on this thing on Friday! What makes matters worse is we can't even see what they are voting on until AFTER they vote on it!

The government is not good at providing services. Just look at the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Post Office, Social Security and Obamacare. Do you really want to trust the United States government to not only provide you with excellent internet speeds, but to not use their newly found  power to crush any descent. They did it with the IRS! This is usurpation of power!

Please sign the petition:

Don't allow the government to destroy the first amendment by allowing them to control speech on the internet as they do on the radio! Will they suddenly start deciding who's opinions matter and who's don't? Will they start telling us bloggers don't qualify for "freedom of the press" rights? We all of course have this absolute right and it doesn't belong to "the media."

In Liberty,

Mack Worley III

Bedard, P. (2015). Obama's regs will make Internet slow as in Europe, warn FCC, FEC commissioners | Retrieved February 25, 2015, from

Friday, February 6, 2015

CALL TO ACTION: Sheriff Richard Mack Needs Our Help!

Mack Pack,

This is a call to action! Many of you know Sheriff Richard Mack. We were fortunate enough to have him join us on our podcast in the past. Well, I'll get right to it, Sheriff Mack needs our help. He had a heart attack in January and he does not have health insurance. As you can imagine the bills are piling up. Here is a link to an article that has the whole story:

If you want to donate to help Sheriff Mack there are several ways to do that:

  • You can deposit directly to his bank account
    • Bank: Wells Fargo 
    • Name on Account: Richard Mack 
    • Routing Number: 122105278 
    • Account Number: 2816818385

  • Or you can mail him a card/check:
    • Richard Mack, CSPOA, P.O. Box 567, Higley, Arizona 85236

I believe that it is critical that we take care of our own, especially someone who has been as influential in the liberty movement as Sheriff Mack. If you have no money to send, send your thoughts and/or prayers. I'm sure anything you can do will be greatly appreciated.

In Liberty,

Mack Worley III

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Is The Death Penalty Constitutional? Should We Use It?

In the 1972 Supreme Court case, Furman v. Georgia, the 5-4 court ruled that "a death row inmate's chances of being executed were completely random, and the death penalty thus served no deterrent effect" (Ivers, 2013, ch 9.3, para 13). Many argue that death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution which states: "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted" (Eighth Amendment, n.d.), but the court has never expressly ruled that, in all cases, the death penalty violates the "cruel and unusual" standard.

Do I believe that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment? I believe it is definitely cruel to kill another human being. How could it not be? I wouldn't call it unusual though. People have been killing people since the beginning of time and governments have been killing people since there were governments. So, yes it is cruel, but it is definitely not unusual.

This leads us to ask the following questions: Does the Constitution protect against cruelty or just cruelty that is unusual? Does the Constitution protect against unusual punishment or unusual punishment that is cruel? It would seem that it protects against punishments that are both, simultaneously, cruel and unusual and not just one or the other.

Another argument made against the death penalty's constitutionality is that it violates the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, specially the section that states that no person shall be "deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law" (The Bill of Rights: A Transcription, n.d.). However, according to scholars who believe the death penalty is constitutional, "life, just like liberty and property, can be taken as long as an individual has been afforded the due process of law" (Ivers, 2013, ch 9.3, para 1).

With this in mind, I believe the death penalty is constitutional; however, I disagree with its use. If we, as a society, believe murder is abhorrent, what sense does it make to kill people who murder? It may not be unconstitutional, but it surely is hypocritical and shows our savage nature rather than an enlightened one. The death penalty is not about justice, in my opinion, but rather, an eye for an eye. That is not the way a civilized society conducts itself.

However, there is another, even more significant, reason that YOU should be against the death penalty. The fact is that the government can and does make mistakes. How many innocent people have been executed for crimes they never committed? One is too many and there is no way to ensure that mistakes will never be made.

For this reason, I am against the death penalty for any and all crimes. If we want to really deter criminals from committing heinous crimes, we should stop letting them out of jail if there is a chance that they could go back to a life of crime. We claim that when our prisoners get out of jail that they have paid their debt to society, but in reality, have they really? In many case, they have simply served their time or in some cases got released early due to over crowding. I believe that if we stopped crowding our prisons with non-violent felons, who have committed victimless crimes and started holding the violent felons until they are legitimately no longer a danger to society, we would be much better served.

This is coming from someone who used to fully believe in the death penalty and has since changed his mind. It is easy to be callous and cold hearted about those who are accused of terrible crimes, but we cannot allow our quest for vengeance to result in innocent blood being spilled. As mentioned before, even the courts have determined that the death penalty "served no deterrent effect". Why are we still allowing this archaic, hypocritical and unjust practice to continue?

Ivers, G. (2013). Constitutional law: An introduction. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Eighth Amendment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2015, from
The Bill of Rights: A Transcription. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2015, from

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Voter ID Laws and Voter Fraud

Voter ID laws have been a hot topic lately. Republicans argue that these laws are meant to prevent voting fraud. Democrats argue that they are meant to discourage low income voters, who typically vote for democrats, from turning out at the polls. Let's cut to the heart of the matter, who stands to gain from non-citizens voting in American elections? It's not the American people. It's not the Republicans. It's the Democrats! With a platform very favorable to illegal immigrants and the support for a welfare state, the Democrats all but have a guarantee that illegals voting in American elections will vote for them.

Think voter fraud isn't a real issue? Think again! "In 2005, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that up to 3 percent of the 30,000 individuals called for jury duty from voter registration rolls over a two year period in just one U.S. district court were not citizens" (Hyde, 2008). For those of you who are keeping score, that is 900 illegal votes in just ONE district. So much for it not being a real issue. Let's also be clear, that is just one statistic and that is just what we know about. It is obvious that if we have discovered that it is happening there must be many cases that we haven't even discovered yet.

In an article written by political hack Andrew Cohen in The Atlantic he said, "evidence of fraud is scant" (Cohen, 2012). If you have read this far, I challenge to you type "voter fraud caught" in Google. It will become abundantly clear that voter fraud is a real issue. Now, onto the point of why ID should be required to vote. First, if ANY fraud happens then the entire outcome of an election should be considered fruit of a poisonous tree. Secondly, is it really that difficult to get an ID? Do you have an ID? I bet you do. I bet that you cannot name 5 people who don't have an ID. Furthermore, the government can easily provide free ID to those who cannot afford them. I would be willing to have my tax money go to that if it meant ensuring that no fraud in elections happened. Have you ever heard of the right to travel? Well you need an ID to drive. How about the right to bear arms? You need an ID for a background check. When it comes to the right to vote, why on earth would we not require an ID, when we know that one of the requirements to vote is citizenship? We can't even check the status to ensure our elections are not tainted by fraud? This school of thought is outrageous! The only reason why Democrats oppose voter ID laws is because they stand to gain from voter fraud. Plain and simple.

The positive effect of voter ID laws is obvious -- our elections will be safer from fraud. The negative effect of voter ID laws are limited, but let's discuss them. Some citizens who don't have IDs or just forgot to bring their IDs will be turned away from the polls and taxes may increase to pay for IDs for those who cannot afford them. I believe that the positive far outweighs the negative. All Americans stand to gain from fraud-free elections and it's time we stopped buying into the political games that the Democrats have been playing.

Hyde, K. (2008, Oct 27). Fraught with fraud. The New American, 24, 18-20. Retrieved from
Cohen, A. (2012, March 16). How Voter ID Laws Are Being Used to Disenfranchise Minorities and the Poor. Retrieved from

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Commerce Clause

The Commerce Clause
            The use of the commerce clause by the federal government has been highly disputed and interpreted differently by many scholars. What we see today is a far cry from our country upon its inception in 1776, but we still have the same debate that was had in those days: Do we want to allow the federal government to be centralized and powerful or should it be limited in scope and influence? The commerce clause of the United Sates Constitution has been one of the primary culprits responsible for the federal governments expanded powers. This essay will discuss the text of the commerce clause, how it has been used to expand the federal government’s influence on various aspects of American life and business, the case for the expansion of power and the case against the expansion of power.
            In the United States Constitution the commerce clause reads as follows: “The Congress shall have Power... To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes” (Ivers, 2013). Let’s examine this sentence and determine what exactly it means. It states that Congress shall have these powers, which is referring, of course, to the federal Congress. The powers include regulating commerce between foreign nations, the states and with the Indian tribes, but what does that mean? Perhaps we should be asking what the definition of the word commerce means? The definition of commerce is “an interchange of goods or commodities, especially on a large scale between different countries (foreign commerce) or between different parts of the same country (domestic commerce) trade; business” (Dictionary, n.d.).
When discussing the definition of commerce it is important to note that during the Constitutional Convention James Madison took extensive notes on the proceedings. According to Mr. Madison’s notes, “in no instance is the term "commerce" clearly used to refer to "any gainful activity" or anything broader than trade” (Barnett, 2001). Why is this important? The reason is because the commerce clause we see today is used as justification for the federal government’s involvement in situations that cannot sanely be described as trade.
For example, in the Gonzales v. Raich Supreme Court case the United States federal government, using the Drug Enforcement Agency, seized and destroyed six marijuana plants owned by a Californian citizen; however, California’s Compassionate Use Act authorized marijuana use for medicinal purposes and allowed for patients to grow a limited amount of marijuana to that end. The Drug Enforcement Agency used the Controlled Substances Act as justification for their raid and the case went to the Supreme Court. The court decided that even though the marijuana was grown for personal use and was never intended to be traded, sold or travel across state lines that the federal government still had the authority to regulate the commodity based on the powers given to it by the commerce clause and using established precedent. The court deemed that “Congress’ power to regulate purely local activities that are part of an economic “class of activities” that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce is firmly established” (Gonzales v. Raich, 2004).
According to the court, Congress had the power to regulate interstate commerce that was not interstate nor, by definition, commerce! However, it is not the first time this had happened, in fact, they were following a precedent which was established in the Wickard v. Filburn Supreme Court case. Most of us have never heard of this case, but it is responsible expanding the limits of the federal government’s regulatory powers under the commerce clause.
This case came about in the wake of the New Deal, in 1941, when Congress amended the Agricultural Adjustment Act, which put a cap on how much wheat that farmers could produce. If that cap was exceeded the farmers would be subject to a penalty or tax. Roscoe Filburn was an Ohio farmer who owned a small farm which produced wheat. Some of the wheat was meant for feeding his livestock and some was meant for selling on the market. The case was heard by the Supreme Court and Filburn argued the federal government had no right to tell him what he could and could not grow on his own land for personal use. The federal government argued that though Filburn’s personal use may seem like a trivial amount of wheat, if farmers around the country were allowed to do the same thing, it would essentially make the cap established by the Agricultural Adjustment Act useless. The cap was established to help control the prices in the American wheat market. “The Court established that Congress can regulate purely intrastate activity that is not itself “commercial,” i.e., not produced for sale, if it concludes that failure to regulate that class of activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity” (Gonzales v. Raich, 2004).
Now that we have addressed some of the historically relevant cases considering the commerce clause as well as the definition of commerce itself, let’s discuss the cases for and against the use to the commerce clause. The case for the commerce clause, would be a similar case that was made during the Constitutional Convention by the Federalists. They wanted a strong, centralized federal government that would be capable of dealing with any problem that the nation faced. For example, the New Deal set forth a tsunami of regulations by the federal government which attempted to put Americans to work and instill confidence in the American people concerning industry. Every aspect of American life and business was touched by these new regulations.
As for the reasons why the federal government’s use of the commerce clause can be supported, we can simply look at the creation of the United States. There was a lot turmoil when America was using the Articles of Confederation and much of that turmoil arose from interstate commerce. States were imposing tariffs on goods produced from other states and creating hostilities between each other. It looked as though America was going to tear itself apart. The Federalists argued that a strong, centralized federal government would be the glue that held the country together. In fact, James Madison, who originally was a Federalist, but eventually changed sides and became an Anti-Federalist said in a letter to Thomas Jefferson: “[m]ost of our political evils may be traced to our commercial ones” (Ivers, 2013). That was the reason the commerce clause was inserted into the Constitution. It was meant to create stability and resolve these disputes.
On the other hand, let’s remember what kind of government our founders were beholden to prior to the revolution. It was a strong, centralized federal government that used its power to impose its will on the American colonists. The Anti-Federalists were very concerned about creating the same kind of tyranny that they had just fought a bloody war to escape. When discussing the commerce clause it is important to ask ourselves the question: what would the Anti-Federalists have to say about how the federal government uses this innocuous blurb of the Constitution? It’s easy to argue the point that the Supreme Court itself would be on the side of the Federalists. It’s equally easy to argue the same for Congress and the President, but what would those who opposed centralized federal power have to say about the commerce clause's use today?
I believe that the Anti-Federalists would be shocked at how the Supreme Court has interpreted the clause. The court has taken an extremely liberal interpretation of the clause to mean that Congress has the power to literally regulate anything and everything. These powers were not expressly given to Congress in the Constitution and to make matters worse, the power of the Supreme Court to be the ultimate arbiter of all things Constitutional was not given to them by the Constitution either. They gave that power to themselves! Our government now regulates everything from what we can put into our bodies to how much water a toilet can hold. They can tell us what we can grow for our own personal consumption. Our current model of federalism where states and the federal government share power is growing disproportionately in the federal government's favor. States are losing the ability to govern themselves without the long arm of the federal government reaching in to enforce its will and I fear that this trend will only worsen as time goes on. What I believe is the most poignant argument to be made against the way the federal government uses the commerce clause is the mere definition itself. The government is now exceeding its powers based on definition alone. If commerce is trade, as defined during the Constitutional Convention, then the federal government has absolutely no justification to tell us what we can do with goods for personal consumption.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court is responsible for the way the commerce clause has been used by the federal government. The Wickard v. Filburn case create the precedent for the way the Supreme Court interprets the case to this day. Based on that precedent the federal government was given broad regulatory power to control business, industry and the way many Americans live their lives. No one can know for sure what the founder’s intent was with the creation of the commerce clause, but the debate for and against a strong federal government will continue to rage on.

Ivers, G. (2013). Constitutional law: An introduction. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Commerce. (n.d.). Unabridged. Retrieved January 12, 2015, from website:

GONZALES V. RAICH. (2004, November 29). Retrieved January 13, 2015, from

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marijuana and The Commerce Clause

The Commerce Clause reads: "The Congress shall have Power... To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes" (Ivers, 2013). It's important to note that in James Madison's (Father of the Constitution) notes on the Constitutional Convention, "in no instance is the term "commerce" clearly used to refer to "any gainful activity" or anything broader than trade" (Barnett, 2001). With that said, let's look at the ninth and tenth amendment of the Bill of Rights: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people" (Ninth Amendment, n.d.) and "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" (Tenth Amendment, n.d.).

When addressing the federal government's ban on marijuana it's important to keep these points in mind. Commerce meant trade, either with foreign nations, among the states and with the Indian tribes. It didn't mean gainful activity, such as selling marijuana within a State. This is absolutely outside the bounds of the federal government's authority to regulate. If a State wants to allow marijuana to be purchased, sold and possessed, it is that State's Tenth Amendment right. If marijuana is being produced and sold within a State and not nationally, then the Federal government has no right whatsoever to be involved in the process.

Additionally, when analyzing the Gonzales v. Raich case, not only was there absolutely NO interstate trade of the marijuana in question, it was grown for medicinal use by the defendant. There was no commerce involved. The Commerce Clause does not give the Federal government the authority to restrict what plants Americans can grow, what medicine they can produce for themselves or use. The seizure by the DEA of this woman's marijuana was an overreach of federal power and arguably a violation of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. 

Lastly, the American system of government was established as a grand experiment. Each state was an individual experiment in government that would fail or succeed on their own. The successful states would be emulated by the other states and the ones who failed would serve as an example to the others of what not to do. A major benefit of this experiment is that failures are contained on a state level, leaving the other states intact. We have 50 such experiments spread across this great nation. When we allow the Federal government to regulate every state, our experiment will succeed or fail nationally. It is a lot more risky to have National programs, because if they fail the pain is spread around equally, there is no safe haven. I often use the example of lab rats. If you were a scientist conducting an experiment, would you use one lab rat or fifty? The answer is obvious.

Ivers, G. (2013). Constitutional law: An introduction. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
Barnett, R. (2001, January 1). THE ORIGINAL MEANING OF THE COMMERCE CLAUSE. Retrieved January 9, 2015, from
Ninth Amendment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 9, 2015, from
Tenth Amendment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 9, 2015, from

The Patriot Act

Does the Patriot Act violate civil rights and liberties? That is like asking me if I want a jet pack! Of course it does and of course I do! For example, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, author of the Patriot Act, has "said the intelligence community had misused those powers by collecting telephone records on all Americans, and claimed it was time "to put their metadata program out of business" (Roberts, 2013). The government is data mining our information without a warrant. That is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution which states: 

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." (Fourth Amendment, n.d.)
The fact that the government is conducting bulk searches and seizures without warrants is by itself the definition of unconstitutional. In my humble opinion, any member of Congress who voted for this legislation and any law enforcement agent that has used this legislation has violated their oath to the Constitution. In a recent US Supreme Court case about police searching cell phones of citizens that they arrest without a warrant, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said, "The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought" (Barnes, 2014). The court made it clear that if the police wanted to conduct a search or seizure that must obtain a warrant. 

There are obvious parallels between this case and the unwarranted bulk searches conducted from the Patriot Act. The constitutionally implied right to privacy contained within the Fourth Amendment are being grossly violated by the Patriot Act for the sake of security, but the sacrifice is too much! As Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" (Wittes, 2013).

Roberts, D. (2013). Patriot Act author prepares bill to put NSA bulk collection 'out of business' - Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. Retrieved January 9, 2015, from
Fourth Amendment. (n.d.). Retrieved January 9, 2015, from
Barnes, R. (2014, June 25). Supreme Court says police must get warrants for most cellphone searches. Retrieved from
Wittes, B. (2013, June 12). Would Ben Franklin Trade Liberty for Wiretapping? Retrieved January 9, 2015, from