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Interpreting the language of the Second Amendment (2 letters)

Posted: July 18, 2016 at 3:30 pm

House Speaker Paul Ryan points to his copy of the Constitution as he emphasizes to reporters that the GOPs proposed gun-control measures protect Second Amendment rights on July 6, at Republican National Committee Headquarters.

Re: Still making it too easy for a crazy guy with a gun, July 14 Greg Dobbs column.

I have read many distorted interpretations of the Second Amendment, but Greg Dobbs columnsets a new low bar. His interpretation of the amendments phrase well regulated Militiathat Either the militia bearing arms would be regulated by someone or something, or that the bearing of arms themselves would be regulated is nonsense. The phrase has nothing to do with regulations, or something being regulated. It simply means in the 1791 historical context when written a well-organized, well-equipped, well-trained and well-led militia.

Equally absurd is Dobbs suggestion to use his interpretation to change the language of the gun-control debate, from gun control to gun regulation. A rose by any other name smells the same. In this case, it stinks. Call it what you wish, but what the political left wants in the end is national firearm registration, followed shortly by firearm confiscation.

Stephen B. Pacetti, Lakewood

What Greg Dobbs and most people fail to realize is that the purpose of the Second Amendment is for the citizens of this country to protect the Constitution from the government.

It must be noted that when the Second Amendment was written, the word militia meant anarmy of trained civilians which may be called upon in time of need; or the entire able-bodied population of a state; or a private force, not under government control.

The important words are civilian and not under government control. Our forefathers understood the importance of keeping our government under control and they understood that history has shown that democracy can be lost when governments have absolute control.

Our country has always understood that peace is possible through strength. If we want peace in our streets, maybe everyone should be required to have firearm training.

Gary Montijo,Lakewood

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Reasons Against Cloning – VIDEOS & ARTICLES

Posted: June 17, 2016 at 4:55 am

Written by Patrick Dixon

Futurist Keynote Speaker: Posts, Slides, Videos – What is Human Cloning? How to Clone. But Ethical?

Human cloning: who is cloning humans and arguments against cloning (2007)

How human clones are being made – for medical research. Arguments for and against human cloning research. Why some people want to clone themselves or even to clone the dead (and not just cloning pets).

Why investors are moving away from human cloning and why human cloning now looks a last-century way to fight disease (2007)

Should we ban human cloning? Arguments against cloning

An abnormal baby would be a nightmare come true. The technique is extremely risky right now. A particular worry is the possibility that the genetic material used from the adult will continue to age so that the genes in a newborn baby clone could be – say – 30 years old or more on the day of birth. Many attempts at animal cloning produced disfigured monsters with severe abnormalities. So that would mean creating cloned embryos, implanting them and destroying (presumably) those that look imperfect as they grow in the womb. However some abnormalities may not appear till after birth. A cloned cow recently died several weeks after birth with a huge abnormality of blood cell production. Dolly the Sheep died prematurely of severe lung disease in February 2003, and also suffered from arthritis at an unexpectedly early age – probably linked to the cloning process.

Even if a few cloned babies are born apparently normal we will have to wait up to 20 years to be sure they are not going to have problems later -for example growing old too fast. Every time a clone is made it is like throwing the dice and even a string of “healthy” clones being born would not change the likelihood that many clones born in future may have severe medical problems. And of course, that’s just the ones born. What about all the disfigured and highly abnormal clones that either spontaneously aborted or were destroyed / terminated by scientists worried about the horrors they might be creating.

A child grows up knowing her mother is her sister, her grandmother is her mother. Her father is her brother-in-law. Every time her mother looks at her, she is seeing herself growing up. Unbearable emotional pressures on a teenager trying to establish his or her identity. What happens to a marriage when the “father” sees his wife’s clone grow up into the exact replica (by appearance) of the beautiful 18 year old he fell in love with 35 years ago? A sexual relationship would of course be with his wife’s twin, no incest involved technically.

Or maybe the child knows it is the twin of a dead brother or sister. What kind of pressures will he or she feel, knowing they were made as a direct replacement for another? It is a human experiment doomed to failure because the child will NOT be identical in every way, despite the hopes of the parents. One huge reason will be that the child will be brought up in a highly abnormal household: one where grief has been diverted into makeing a clone instead of adjusting to loss. The family environment will be totally different than that the other twin experienced. That itself will place great pressures on the emotional development of the child. You will not find a child psychiatrist in the world who could possibly say that there will not be very significant emotional risk to the cloned child as a result of these pressures.

What would Hitler have done with cloning technology if available in the 1940s? There are powerful leaders in every generation who will seek to abuse this technology for their own purposes. Going ahead with cloning technology makes this far more likely. You cannot have so-called therapeutic cloning without reproductive cloning because the technique to make cloned babies is the same as to make a cloned embryo to try to make replacement tissues. And at the speed at which biotech is accelerating there will soon be other ways to get such cells – adult stem cell technology. It is rather crude to create a complete embryonic identical twin embryo just to get hold of stem cells to make – say – nervous tissue. Much better to take cells from the adult and trigger them directly to regress to a more primitive form without the ethical issues raised by inserting a full adult set of genes into an unfertilised egg.

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War On Drugs: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News

Posted: June 14, 2016 at 4:45 pm

According to Fox 45 Now, a classy upstanding citizen was robbed & assaulted in an alley by her drug dealer, Tutu after asking him to turn away while s…

Brian Smith

Native New Englander now residing in South Carolina

I love our president, his passion and I appreciate his proposal to heal the epidemic of opioid abuse, but I believe the bigger picture goes beyond treatment centers and expanding scope of practice. We need to assist our patients from the inside, the roots, only then can they truly begin to heal.

Erica Benedicto

Root-Cause Integrative PA-C, Yoga Teacher, Storyteller, Community/Clinical Curator, Speaker, Thinker, Doer, Rapscallion

Becoming a mother has really opened my heart. Besides being with family, I notice the compassion most when I am teaching yoga. One of my favorite plac…

Pia Artesona

Los Angeles-based yoga teacher, writer, life coach and mother-to-be

A robust public conversation is currently unfolding led by the formerly incarcerated and seized by President Obama himself to reflect on our current criminal justice system and the lasting stigma and damage it causes those who have been in contact with it. But does a nation of second chances include those of us who are immigrants?

Tania Unzueta

Legal and Policy Director for Mijente and the #Not1More Campaign

Iceland may be the world’s most progressive country at reducing teenage substance abuse. In the more than 4 decades that I have studied, researched …

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Louisiana remained number 1, among the 50 states, with 38,030 in prison, a rate of 816 per 100,000 o…

There are two problems with threatening long sentences to extract cooperation from low-level drug offenders. This strategy is ineffective in impacting the drug trade. It also inflicts immense collateral damage on innocent people and low-level offenders, while letting the guiltiest offenders off more easily.

Amos Irwin

Training Director at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

Boy, it isn’t every day you get to write a headline like that! But those are the kinds of feelings Ted Cruz seems to bring out in everyone — left, right, and center.

During my imprisonment I had tried to commit suicide, been stuck with a knife, and was beat down with a pipe–but nothing hurt me more than my separat…

Anthony Papa

Manager of Media & Artist Relations, Drug Policy Alliance

Jason Hernandez never thought he would see the outside world again.

Today, drug cartels are playing the political activism game and are increasing their support base by appealing to the hearts and minds of millions of people through the widespread social discontent and the ideal of social justice.

Ana Davila

Masters in Science in Global Affairs and Transnational Security Candidate at New York University

The disdain that the Amish faithful feel for family members who reject their all-encompassing religious worldview is such that they refuse to dine with them at the same table.

Kathleen Frydl

Historian studying US state power, policies, and the institutions that shape American life.

In the United States, while there are shifting patterns of drug use, there is no simple relationship to the severity of the nation’s drug laws. The caveat is that from the European study, relaxing penalties had equally unpredictable results. Annan’s statement needs that bit of context. We rate this claim Mostly True.

Undeniably, the world is splintering. Geopolitical blocs are forming once again, the nuclear arms race is reigniting and religious war rages. Globalization is in retreat as publics across the planet suspect trade agreements, politicians talk about building walls and refugees are turned away. Yet, as Parag Khanna, author of the new book, “Connectography,” writes this week from Singapore, “the same world that appears to be falling apart is actually coming together.” (continued)

While mostly ignored by the media (and almost completely ignored in the debates), the issue is going to become a lot more important in the general election, as many states will have recreational legalization ballot initiatives to vote on.

LISBON, Portugal — This week’s U.N. summit on the global drug problem is already a turning point in our collective journey toward improving global drug policy. Whatever the final formal conclusions, reforms are on and history is in the making.

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NSA San Diego

Posted: May 28, 2016 at 2:45 pm

About NSA San Diego:

The San Diego Chapter of the “National Speakers Association” is the critical organization for experts who speak professionally. Our objective is to facilitate community and education in a local setting for our National Members and to provide a forum for those with an expertise who are looking to speak professionally.

Our members include the top professional expert speakers in business, personal growth, motivation, and many other fields. Authors, humorists and educators count themselves as members.

We have just the right speaker to make your next event a smashing success. Studies show that the speaker is remembered far beyond the other elements of a meeting such as food or the room by the attendees.

People want to leave a convention or meeting with more than they came in with. By using a professional member of San Diego NSA , you can ensure your event will be a sensation.

Click to our meeting planner page for tips on selecting and properly using your professional speaker

If you are not yet speaking professionally but want to learn how to get started in the speaking business, please click here to receive info from NSA-SD about events that are open to the public (no cost to be on the list) and/or click the image on the left to find out more about NSA’s Academy for Professional Speaking.

Find a San Diego keynote speaker thru the National Speakers Association!

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National Speakers Association New York Chapter

Posted: January 27, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Events :: Upcoming… SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15* 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 Recent Events… January 15: Sticky Content with Brian Walter 01/15/16, 8:30am (click above for more information) We are delighted to have Brian Walter, CSP, as our speaker on January 15th! Discover how to bring your content to life with Brians presentation on Sticky Content. December 15th: Working Session: Professional Members Only 12/15/15, 6:00pm (click above for more information) Join us on December 15th for a session on How To Build Your Personal Brand and Become A Local Celebrity Entrepreneur with Ramon Ray December 9: NSA-NYC Holiday Party! 12/9/15, 6:30pm (Click above for more information.) Please join the Leadership Team of the New York Chapter of the National Speakers Association for our annual festive holiday party. November 13: Do YOU! Finding Your Point of Distinction 11/13/15, 9:00am (click above for more information) Join us on November 13th for Jessica Pettitt Do YOU! Finding Your Points of Distinction October 28th: Working Session: Professional Members Only 10/28/15, 6:00pm (click above for more information) Join us on October 28th for a session on Pitching the Media with Jess Todtfeld, CSP October 20th Meet Up: Elevate Your Presentation Skills! 10/20/15, 6:30pm (click above for more information)Join us on Tuesday, October 20th, for: Elevate Your Presentation Skills! – 2 Hours, 2 Speakers, an Interactive Discussion and Tangible Take-a-Ways! October 16th: Sell Your Thoughts: How to Build Your Thought Leadership, Increase Your Revenue 10/16/15, 8:30am (click above for more information) We are delighted to have Neen James, CSP, as our speaker on October 16th! Discover how to leverage your ideas with Neens presentation on Sell Your Thoughts: How to Build Your Thought Leadership, Increase Your Revenue. September 18th: Creating Systems to put You Center Stage with Ruby Newell-Legner 09/18/15, 8:30am (click above for more information)Join us on September 18th as we kick-off our 2015-2016 season with Ruby Newell-Legners program on Creating Systems to put You Center Stage! August 5th: Working Session: Professional Members Only 08/5/15, 6:00pm (click above for more information) Join us on August 5th for a session on The Technology of Presentations with Trevor Perry June 24th Meet Up: NSA Sneak Peek and Navigate 06/24/15, 6:30pm (click above for more information)Join us on Wednesday, June 24th, for NSA Convention Sneak Peak and Navigate.

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Audit the Federal Reserve – Ron Paul .com

Posted: October 10, 2015 at 8:41 pm

The Federal Reserve is the chief culprit behind the economic crisis. Its unchecked power to create endless amounts of money out of thin air brought us the boom and bust cycle and causes one financial bubble after another. Since the Feds creation in 1913 the dollar has lost more than 96% of its value, and by recklessly inflating the money supply the Fed continues to distort interest rates and intentionally erodes the value of the dollar.

For the past 30 years, Congressman Ron Paul has worked tirelessly to bring much-needed transparency and accountability to the secretive bank. And in 2009 and 2010 his unfaltering dedication showed astonishing results: HR 1207, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve, swept the country and made the central bankers shudder at their desks. The bill passed as an amendment both in the House Financial Services Committee and in the House itself.

But the usurpers of Americas future didnt take it lying down. They werent about to allow their secrets to be exposed and their magic money machine to be put under close scrutiny. They worked frantically behind the scenes to quietly derail all efforts to open up the Federal Reserve to an independent audit.

A handful of Fed-loving U.S. senators led by Chris Dodd rewrote the Senate version of the Financial Reform Bill to strip out Ron Pauls Audit the Fed amendment and actually expand the Feds power over banks, lending and money. As Ron Paul commented on here, the Dodd bill completely eliminated legislation to audit the Federal Reserve, which had already passed in the House.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced an amendment on the floor effectively adding the Grayson-Paul language to the Senate bill, but later changed his amendment under pressure by the Federal Reserve and the Obama administration. The altered Sanders amendment passed the Senate on May 11, 2010 by a unanimous 96-0 vote.

Sen. Vitter reintroduced an amendment with the original Audit the Fed language. The Senate rejected the amendment on May 11, 2010 by a 37-62 vote.

The House and Senate went to the conference committee which attempted to reconcile the differences between the two bills (and their amendments). Unfortunately, Ron Pauls tough language ended up not being included in the final bill.

On June 30, 2010, the GOP introduced Ron Pauls Audit the Fed bill as a motion to recommit, which was the last chance to alter the financial regulation bill. Audit the Fed failed by a vote of 229-198. All Republicans voted in favor of the measure with 23 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans. 114 co-sponsors of HR 1207, all Democrats, jumped ship and voted against Audit the Fed.

But lets start from the beginning. Heres the fascinating history of Ron Pauls Audit the Fed bill:

02/2009: Ron Paul introduces bill to Audit the Federal Reserve

On February 26, 2009, Ron Paul introduced HR 1207, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve:

I rise to introduce the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar. Since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserves loose monetary policy. How long will we as a Congress stand idly by while hard-working Americans see their savings eaten away by inflation? Only big-spending politicians and politically favored bankers benefit from inflation.

After a groundswell of grassroots support, HR 1207 and its counterpart in the Senate, S 604, went on to attract 320 and 32 co-sponsors respectively.

10/2009: Mel Watt Introduces Competing Placebo Amendment

With HR 1207 gaining momentum, Congressman Mel Watt introduced a competing banker-approved placebo amendment that would have replaced HR 1207 and actually increased the Federal Reserves secrecy.

11/2009: Victory over Mel Watt Amendment

On November 19, 2009, after a historic debate lasting several hours, Ron Pauls and Alan Graysons Audit the Fed amendment passed 43-26 in the House Financial Services Committee. The amendment called for a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve and replaced the opposing placebo amendment proposed by Mel Watt.

How they voted on Ron Pauls Audit the Fed amendment (HR 1207 co-sponsors in bold):

Note: Due to a clerical error, until 5/26/2010 this roll call erroneously listed Rep. Gary Miller (CA-42) as a Democrat who supposedly voted nay. However, the reality is that Rep. Miller is a Republican who was absent on the day of the vote. He is a co-sponsor of HR 1207. We apologize!

12/2009: Audit the Fed Passes in the House

The Audit the Fed amendment was attached to Barney Franks HR 3996, also known as the Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009. That bill was later combined, along with several other bills, into The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 Financial Stability Improvement Act of 2009 (HR 4173). The House passed the new bill on December 11, 2009 on a vote of 223-202.

03/2010: Treasury Officials Still Support Mel Watt Amendment

On March 8, 2010 Huffington Post reporter Sam Stein participated in a bizarre meeting with unnamed high level treasury officials:

The Treasury Department is vigorously opposed to a House-passed measure that would open the Federal Reserve to an audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a senior Treasury official said Monday. Instead, the official said, the Treasury prefers a substitute offered by Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), and would like to see it enacted as part of the Senate bill.

The Watt measure, however, while claiming to increase transparency, actually puts new restrictions on the GAOs ability to perform an audit.

03/2010: Mel Watt Amendment Used in Senate Version of the Financial Reform Bill

Ron Paul: In the Senate, we didnt get enough strong support over there and the Republicans didnt really fight for it and at the Senate side it is not included. Matter of fact, they have included Mel Wattss language. His language and my language competed in the House Financial Services Committee and of course we won that pretty easily. But they inserted that in so Mel Watt and the bankers were able to influence the senators enough to put their language in there. So what probably will happen is the two bills will be passed. Itll be in one bill and not the other and then the fight will be to put pressure on the conference to go with the House [bill] instead of the Senate.

04/2010: Bernie Sanders Introduces Audit the Fed Amendment in the Senate

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced an amendment on the floor effectively adding the Grayson-Paul language to the Senate bill.

05/2010: Bernie Sanders Sells Out, Senate Passes Watered Down Amendment

On May 6, 2010 Bernie Sanders sold out to the bankers by modifying his amendment to the extent that it would allow the Fed to keep many of its activities secret. On May 11, 2010 the Sanders amendment passed the Senate by a unanimous 96-0 vote.

05/2010: David Vitter Comes To The Rescue But His Amendment is Defeated

Sen. David Vitter reintroduced an amendment with Ron Pauls original Audit the Fed language. The Senate rejected the amendment on May 11, 2010 by a 37-62 vote.

06/2010: 114 Democrats Jump Ship and Vote Down Audit the Fed

On June 30, 2010, Ron Pauls attempt to audit the Federal Reserve, which was previously co-sponsored by 320 members of the House (HR 1207), failed by a vote of 229-198. All Republicans voted in favor of the measure with 23 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans. 114 co-sponsors of HR 1207, all Democrats, jumped ship and voted against Audit the Fed.

The GOP had offered the Fed audit as the minoritys last chance to alter the financial regulation bill. The bill does have an watered-down audit provision in the conference report, but it is limited to loans made by the Fed during the height of the economic crisis. Ron Pauls bill would have allowed a total examination of the Feds books.

Democrats, Republicans, HR 1207 Co-Sponsors

YEA

Aderholt Akin Alexander Austria Bachmann Bachus Barrett (SC) Bartlett Barton (TX) Biggert Bilbray Bilirakis Blackburn Blunt Boehner Bonner Bono Mack Boozman Boucher Boustany Brady (TX) Broun (GA) Brown (SC) Brown-Waite, Ginny Buchanan Burgess Burton (IN) Buyer Calvert Camp Campbell Cantor Cao Capito Carney Carter Cassidy Castle Chaffetz Childers Coble Coffman (CO) Cole Conaway Crenshaw Critz Culberson Davis (KY) Dent Diaz-Balart, L. Diaz-Balart, M. Djou Dreier Duncan Edwards (TX) Ehlers Emerson Fallin Flake Fleming Forbes Fortenberry Foxx Franks (AZ) Frelinghuysen Gallegly

NAY

Ackerman Adler (NJ) Altmire Andrews Arcuri Baca Baird Baldwin Barrow Bean Becerra Berkley Berman Berry Bishop (GA) Bishop (NY) Blumenauer Boccieri Boren Boswell Boyd Brady (PA) Braley (IA) Bright Brown, Corrine Butterfield Capps Capuano Cardoza Carnahan Carson (IN) Castor (FL) Chandler Chu Clarke Clay Cleaver Clyburn Cohen Connolly (VA) Conyers Cooper Costa Costello Courtney Crowley Cuellar Cummings Dahlkemper Davis (AL) Davis (CA) Davis (IL) Davis (TN) DeFazio DeGette Delahunt DeLauro Deutch Dicks Dingell Doggett Donnelly (IN) Doyle Driehaus Edwards (MD) Ellison Ellsworth Engel Eshoo Etheridge Farr Fattah Filner Foster Frank (MA) Fudge Garamendi

Gonzalez Gordon (TN) Green, Al Green, Gene Grijalva Gutierrez Hall (NY) Halvorson Hare Harman Hastings (FL) Heinrich Herseth Sandlin Higgins Hill Himes Hinchey Hinojosa Hirono Holden Holt Honda Hoyer Inslee Isra-el Jackson (IL) Jackson Lee (TX) Johnson (GA) Johnson, E. B. Kagen Kanjorski Kaptur Kennedy Kildee Kilpatrick (MI) Kilroy Kind Kissell Klein (FL) Kosmas Kucinich Langevin Larsen (WA) Larson (CT) Lee (CA) Levin Lewis (GA) Loebsack Lofgren, Zoe Lowey Lujn Lynch Maffei Maloney Markey (MA) Marshall Matheson Matsui McCarthy (NY) McCollum McDermott McGovern McMahon Meek (FL) Meeks (NY) Melancon Michaud Miller (NC) Miller, George Mollohan Moore (KS) Moore (WI) Moran (VA) Murphy (CT) Murphy (NY) Murphy, Patrick Nadler (NY)

Napolitano Neal (MA) Oberstar Obey Olver Ortiz Owens Pallone Pascrell Pastor (AZ) Payne Perlmutter Peters Peterson Pingree (ME) Polis (CO) Pomeroy Price (NC) Quigley Rahall Rangel Reyes Richardson Rodriguez Rothman (NJ) Roybal-Allard Ruppersberger Rush Ryan (OH) Salazar Snchez, Linda T. Sanchez, Loretta Sarbanes Schakowsky Schauer Schiff Schrader Schwartz Scott (GA) Scott (VA) Serrano Sestak Shea-Porter Sherman Shuler Sires Slaughter Smith (WA) Snyder Speier Spratt Stark Stupak Sutton Tanner Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Tierney Tonko Towns Tsongas Van Hollen Velzquez Visclosky Walz Wasserman Schultz Waters Watson Watt Waxman Weiner Welch Wilson (OH) Wu Yarmuth

Not Voting

Bishop (UT) Taylor Wamp Woolsey Young (AK)

Ron Pauls legislation is aimed at pulling back the curtain from a secretive and unaccountable Federal Reserve. Congress and the American people have minimal, if any, oversight over trillions of dollars that the Fed controls.

With recent bailouts and spending decisions shining a spotlight on the actions of the Federal Reserve, more and more pressure is bearing down on Congress to take action and demand accountability and transparency.

Auditing the Fed is only the first step towards exposing this antiquated insider-run creature to the powerful forces of free-market competition. Once there are viable alternatives to the monopolistic fiat dollar, the Federal Reserve will have to become honest and transparent if it wants to remain in business.

Ron Paul introduced bill H.R. 1207 on February 26, 2009 with the following speech to Congress:

Madame Speaker,

I rise to introduce the Federal Reserve Transparency Act. Throughout its nearly 100-year history, the Federal Reserve has presided over the near-complete destruction of the United States dollar. Since 1913 the dollar has lost over 95% of its purchasing power, aided and abetted by the Federal Reserves loose monetary policy. How long will we as a Congress stand idly by while hard-working Americans see their savings eaten away by inflation? Only big-spending politicians and politically favored bankers benefit from inflation.

Serious discussion of proposals to oversee the Federal Reserve is long overdue. I have been a longtime proponent of more effective oversight and auditing of the Fed, but I was far from the first Congressman to advocate these types of proposals. Esteemed former members of the Banking Committee such as Chairmen Wright Patman and Henry B. Gonzales were outspoken critics of the Fed and its lack of transparency.

Since its inception, the Federal Reserve has always operated in the shadows, without sufficient scrutiny or oversight of its operations. While the conventional excuse is that this is intended to reduce the Feds susceptibility to political pressures, the reality is that the Fed acts as a foil for the government. Whenever you question the Fed about the strength of the dollar, they will refer you to the Treasury, and vice versa. The Federal Reserve has, on the one hand, many of the privileges of government agencies, while retaining benefits of private organizations, such as being insulated from Freedom of Information Act requests.

The Federal Reserve can enter into agreements with foreign central banks and foreign governments, and the GAO is prohibited from auditing or even seeing these agreements. Why should a government-established agency, whose police force has federal law enforcement powers, and whose notes have legal tender status in this country, be allowed to enter into agreements with foreign powers and foreign banking institutions with no oversight? Particularly when hundreds of billions of dollars of currency swaps have been announced and implemented, the Feds negotiations with the European Central Bank, the Bank of International Settlements, and other institutions should face increased scrutiny, most especially because of their significant effect on foreign policy. If the State Department were able to do this, it would be characterized as a rogue agency and brought to heel, and if a private individual did this he might face prosecution under the Logan Act, yet the Fed avoids both fates.

More importantly, the Feds funding facilities and its agreements with the Treasury should be reviewed. The Treasurys supplementary financing accounts that fund Fed facilities allow the Treasury to funnel money to Wall Street without GAO or Congressional oversight. Additional funding facilities, such as the Primary Dealer Credit Facility and the Term Securities Lending Facility, allow the Fed to keep financial asset prices artificially inflated and subsidize poorly performing financial firms.

The Federal Reserve Transparency Act would eliminate restrictions on GAO audits of the Federal Reserve and open Fed operations to enhanced scrutiny. We hear officials constantly lauding the benefits of transparency and especially bemoaning the opacity of the Fed, its monetary policy, and its funding facilities. By opening all Fed operations to a GAO audit and calling for such an audit to be completed by the end of 2010, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act would achieve much-needed transparency of the Federal Reserve. I urge my colleagues to support this bill.

This is the bill itself, H.R. 1207:

111th Congress 1st Session

H.R. 1207

A BILL To amend title 31, United States Code, to reform the manner in which the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is audited by the Comptroller General of the United States and the manner in which such audits are reported, and for other purposes.

1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009.

SEC. 2. AUDIT REFORM AND TRANSPARENCY FOR THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM.

(a) IN GENERAL. Subsection (b) of section 714 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking all after shall audit an agency and inserting a period.

(b) AUDIT. Section 714 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(e) AUDIT AND REPORT OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM.

(1) IN GENERAL. The audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal reserve banks under subsection (b) shall be completed before the end of 2010.

(2) REPORT

(A) REQUIRED. A report on the audit referred to in paragraph (1) shall be submitted by the Comptroller General to the Congress before the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which such audit is completed and made available to the Speaker of the House, the majority and minority leaders of the House of Representatives, the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the committee and each sub-committee of jurisdiction in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and any other Member of Congress who requests it.

(B) CONTENTS. The report under subparagraph (A) shall include a detailed description of the findings and conclusion of the Comptroller General with respect to the audit that is the subject of the report, together with such recommendations for legislative or administrative action as the Comptroller General may determine to be appropriate..

In this speech to Congress, Ron Paul refutes Ben Bernankes interpretation of HR 1207, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve, and explains why only an audit will protect the publics interest.

Date: 7/30/2009

Ron Paul: Mr. Speaker, the big guns have lined up against HR 1207, the bill to audit the Federal Reserve. What is it that they are so concerned about? What information are they hiding from the American people? The screed is: transparency is okay except for those things they dont want to be transparent.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, argues that HR 1207, the legislation to audit the Federal Reserve, would politicize monetary policy. He claims that monetary policy must remain independent, that is; secret. He ignores history because chairmen of the Federal Reserve in the past, especially when up for reappointment, do their best to accommodate the president with politically driven low interest rates and a bubble economy.

Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Arthur Burns, when asked about all the inflation he brought about in 1971 before Nixons reelection, said that the Fed has to do what the president wants it to do, or it would lose its independence. That about tells you everything.

Not by accident Chairman Burns strongly supported Nixons program of wage and price controls the same year, but I guess thats not political. Is not making secret deals with the likes of Goldman Sachs, international financial institutions, foreign governments and foreign central banks politicizing monetary policy?

Bernanke argues that the knowledge that their discussions and decisions will one day be scrutinized will compromise the freedom of the Open Market Committee to pursue sound policy. If it is sound and honest and serves no special interest, whats the problem?

He claims that HR 1207 would give power to Congress to affect monetary policy. He dreamt this up to instill fear, an old statist trick to justify government power. HR 1207 does nothing of the sort. He suggested that the day after an FOMC meeting, Congress could send in the GAO to demand an audit of everything said and done. This is hardly the case. The FOMC function under HR 1207 would not change.

The detailed transcripts of the FOMC meetings are released every 5 years, so why would this be so different and what is it that they dont want the American people to know? Is there something about the transcripts that need to be kept secret, or are the transcripts actually not verbatim?

Fed sycophants argue that an audit would destroy the financial markets faith in the Fed. They say this in the midst of the greatest financial crisis in history brought on by none other than the Federal Reserve. In fact, Chairman Bernanke stated on November 14th 2007, A considerable amount of evidence indicates that Central Bank transparency increases the effectiveness of monetary policy and enhances economic and financial performance.

They also argue that an audit would hurt the value of the U.S. dollar. In fact, the Fed, in less than a 100 years of its existence, has reduced the value of the 1914 dollar by 96%.

They claim HR 1207 would raise interest rates. How could it? The Fed sets interest rates and the bill doesnt interfere with monetary policy. Congress would have no say in the matter and besides, Congress likes low interest rates.

It is argued that the Fed wouldnt be free to raise interest rates if they thought it necessary. But Bernanke has already assured the Congress that rates are going to stay low for the foreseeable future. And again, this bill does nothing to allow Congress to interfere with interest rate setting.

Fed supporters claim that they want to protect the publics interest with their secrecy. But the banks and Wall Streets are the opponents of HR 1207, and the people are for it. Just who best represents the publics interest?

The real question is: why are Wall Street and the Fed so hysterically opposed to HR 1207? Just what information are they so anxious to keep secret? Only an audit of the Federal Reserve will answer these questions.

Excerpt from Ron Pauls 4/22/2009 appearance on Judge Andrew Napolitanos Freedom Watch:

Ron Paul: After we came back yesterday from our 2-week break, I think have 15 new people signed on and somebody came up to me and says, I signed on your bill this morning because I went to my town hall meetings, I went four of them and in every meeting people were there and say, Its time that we have transparency of the Fed.’

But I call them the Fourth Branch of government. Some people dont think of them as part of the government because theyre so secretive. But we created it, we can end it, we take no responsibility to supervise it, and look at what theyre doing. We spend hundreds of billions, but the Fed deals in trillions, and they dont have any responsibility to tell us about it. So theres a lot of power there and it deserves looking at.

And I think I have to say Barney Frank has been sympathetic with this. Hes for transparency. Hes not for hard money and the type of monetary policy Im talking about. He believes that we should have more transparency of the Fed, so whether this bill gets passed or something very similar, the mood in the country is such that not only do they want us to be better in handling the appropriated fund and knowing where these TARP funds went, the American people have awakened to this whole idea of what the Federal Reserve does behind the scenes.

So Im delighted. Ive been pushing this monetary issue for more than 30 years believing it was THE significant economic issue of our time, and I think people are starting to realize this and were going to keep hearing about it and theres a good chance that it will eventually make it to the floor.

Excerpt from Ron Pauls 3/5/2009 appearance on Judge Andrew Napolitanos Freedom Watch:

Judge Napolitano: Before we switch gears, Congressman Paul, how did Ben Bernanke react to the legislation that you introduced calling for an audit of the Fed. Did he give you a call on the phone?

Ron Paul: Oh yes, he called me, wanted to congratulate me and he wanted to support my bill. You know, interestingly, just recently, I cannot name his name but I was talking to a former member of the Federal Reserve board and told him about the bill and he was friendly enough.

I said, What do you think of that? He said, I think its not a very good idea. And I said, Do the people at the Federal Reserve ever talk about, are concerned about the dollar. I said, you know, Im always talking about the dollar and what this is going to do to the dollar. And I said, Do they know that all this debt and inflation could hurt the dollar? He says, Yes, they do. He confirmed it. He said, They absolutely do. He says, But they cant answer your questions in public because it would cause panic.

Judge Napolitano: This administration came to power and we all knew the words that they used, hope and change. But one of the words that they really used was transparency. I would think the President himself should be in favor of transparency at the Fed if he wants to be ideologically consistent. What are they afraid we will find out, Congressman Paul?

Ron Paul: Well, what theyre going to find out is, thats the first step. Once we get the audit bill passed and we can reveal what they are doing, I think the next step is to end the Fed. Thats why they dont want that.

You know, we had some very good comments made by our Senator Bernie Sanders yesterday from Vermont. I talked with him this morning and were going to be talking a lot about the need for having transparency.

And I think the mood is right. The mood is right both with the Democrats and the Republicans, because they dont know exactly what is going on but they know the American people are sick and tired of just throwing money out there, whether its to the Treasury and nobody knows where it goes, whether they send it to Iraq and nobody knows where the bundles of money go, or whether the Federal Reserve can create 2 trillion dollars, and they dont even have to tell us.

As a government all onto itself, its bigger than the whole U.S. Congress. They create trillions in a day, you know, in a short period of time, and in the Congress we do talk a little bit when we pass 400 million or 800 million. But the Fed is a much bigger problem.

Excerpt from Ron Pauls 3/10/2009 interview with Alex Jones:

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Audit the Federal Reserve – Ron Paul .com

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Free Speech, Language, and the Rule of Law

Posted: October 3, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Contents Some Thoughts on Free Speech, Language, and the Rule of Law by Thomas Streeter

(from Robert Jensen and David S. Allen (eds.), Freeing the First Amendment: Critical Perspectives on Freedom of Expression, New York University Press, 1995, pp. 31-53.)

This chapter discusses the relevance of research and reflection on language to recent critical trends in thinking on free speech. There is a tendency to interpret many of the recent revisionist approaches to free speech as if they were simply calls for exceptions to otherwise clear cut rules and principles, as if, say, pornography or racism are so exceptionally evil that they fall outside the parameters of the kinds of speech that are “obviously” protected under the First Amendment. This misses the fact that the new approaches, with varying degrees of explicitness, involve theoretical and epistemological challenges to the underlying premises of free speech law in general; over the long run, what the new approaches are calling for are not exceptions but a restructuring of free speech law as a whole. The ideas driving this profound rethinking come from a variety of traditions, including various currents of feminism, literary theory, and theories of race and ethnicity. This chapter focuses on just one of those traditions: the complex twentieth century theorizing of language, sometimes called the “linguistic turn” in twentieth century philosophy. Although the linguistic turn is only one aspect of the new thinking about free speech, and although its importance and character is not agreed upon by all those advocating the new thinking, calling attention to it is useful because it nicely highlights some conceptual difficulties of the traditional framework and because it helps differentiate the revisionist criticisms from social determinist and other subtly authoritarian criticisms of free speech.

On the one hand, this chapter argues that the linguistic turn involves some revelations about the nature of language and human communication that do not accord well with the understandings of language implicit in free speech law, particularly with the metaphor of the marketplace of ideas. On the other, it argues that part of what is at stake is the way American culture envisions the rule of law as a whole. In particular, important currents of the understanding of the rule of law suggest the possibility and necessity of constructing rules, procedures, and meanings that transcend or can be abstracted from context, whereas the linguistic turn suggests that this is impossible, that meanings can be determined only in relation to particular contexts. The final part of this chapter, therefore, suggests some avenues for exploring free speech in its historical and social context, as opposed to efforts to abstract it out of context.

In the course of a discussion of the campus hate speech controversy, literary critic Henry Louis Gates (speaking from an African American position) provided the following hypothetical examples of potentially “harmful” speech directed at a minority student:

Sociolinguistics offers an answer to the first question: the social phenomenon of linguistic style. It is not the contents of the first statement that give it force; the argument it makes is, at best, dubious and obfuscatory, whereas the second statement at least would communicate the true feelings of the speaker towards the hearer with considerable precision. The first statement’s power comes from its style.

It is a well established fact that fluency in any language involves mastery, not just of a single, “correct” version of a language, but of a variety of styles or codes appropriate to specific contexts.[2] Gates’ first example is a case of the formal or “elaborated” style of contemporary English, which is highly valued in academic and professional settings. It is characterized by, among other things, Latinate vocabulary (“demanding educational environments” instead of “tough schools”) and elaborate syntax. The second is an example of informal or restricted style, characterized by ellipsis (omitting “You get out of my face . . . “) and colloquial constructions.

Linguists also have long insisted that, in an absolute sense, formal style is no more correct or better for communication than informal style. Scientifically speaking, what makes a style appropriate or inappropriate is the social context in which it is used: in an academic setting, the formal character of the first example gives the statement force, but in another context, say, a working class bar, it might only elicit laughter and derision whereas the second statement might have considerable impact. In the appropriate context, therefore, one can use informal style brilliantly and subtly, and conversely, it is quite possible to speak in a thoroughly formal style and yet be inept, offensive, or simply unclear.[3]

What style differences communicate, then, are not specific contents, but social relations between speakers and listeners, i.e., relations of power, hierarchy, solidarity, intimacy, and so forth. In particular, formal language suggests a relation of impersonal authority between speaker and listener, whereas informal language suggests a more intimate (though not necessarily friendly) relationship. You can petrify a child by interjecting into an otherwise informal conversation, “No you may not.” The shift to formal style (no ellipsis, “may not” instead of “can’t”) shows that the speaker is not just making a request, but is asserting his or her powers of authority as an adult over the child listener.

Gates’s first example would be more wounding to a minority student, therefore, because, by couching itself in a formal, academic style, it is rhetorically structured as the expression of “impersonal,” rational, and thus institutionally sanctioned, sentiments. It thereby invokes the full force of the authority of the university against the student’s efforts to succeed in it. Gates’s second example, with its informal style, suggests that one individual, the speaker, harbors racist ill will towards the listener. The first example, by contrast, suggests that, not just one individual, but the entire institution of the university in all its impersonal, “rational” majesty, looks upon the student as unfit.

So why is it easier to penalize the second kind of statement than the first, when it is the first that is potentially more damaging (which is not necessarily to suggest that we should penalize the first kind of statement)? Contemporary law in general is insensitive to matters of linguistic style. Hollywood action movies have made a cliche of lampooning the incongruity of reading the highly formal, legalistic Miranda clause during arrests, which are typically emotional encounters between working class cops and criminals, i.e., contexts where informal style would be appropriate.[4] In First Amendment jurisprudence, where language is not only the vehicle but the subject matter of the law, this insensitivity can lead to conceptual confusion. Linguistic style may be a fact of life, but traditional legal liberal ways of thinking about free speech, especially those encapsulated in the metaphor of the “marketplace of ideas,” are strangely incapable of addressing it.

The marketplace metaphor in free speech law involves imagining symbolic and linguistic phenomena as if they were analogous to market exchange, which implies a number of things about language. Most obviously, it implies that language is primarily an exchange, a transference of something (perhaps “information”), from one person to another. Hence, in linguistic exchanges what matters is the contents of the exchange, not the style or form in which it is “packaged,” just as in real market exchanges it makes little difference if you pay by check or cash. Yet, as in Gates’ example, in language the “package” can be everything. The marketplace metaphor, then, draws our attention away from the importance of just the kind of stylistic differences that sociolinguists say are central to the workings of everyday language.

The marketplace metaphor, furthermore, tends to imply that the good that comes from unconstrained human speech comes from some neutral, universal, mechanical, and leveling process, a linguistic equivalent to the economist’s invisible hand out of which will emerge truth, or at least some form of democratic justice. That neutral, mechanical process, furthermore, is contrasted in law with “arbitrary” government interference. And yet, in several ways, linguistics has taught that language itself is arbitrary at its core; in language, the boundary between “natural” processes and arbitrary ones is difficult, some would argue impossible, to discern.

Linguists say that language is “arbitrary” in the sense that meaning emerges, not from anything logically inherent in words or their arrangement, but from the specific conventions and expectations shared by members of a given speech community, conventions and expectations that can and do change dramatically from time to time and place to place. Aside from language in general and perhaps some very deep-level aspects of syntax, there is very little that is universal, neutral, or mechanical about human languages. This insight grew out of the observation that languages differ profoundly from one another, not only in terms of the meanings of specific words, but in terms of basic aspects of the ways those words are arranged: some languages have only two or three words for color, for example, others have nothing English speakers would recognize as verb tenses. But it has also been bolstered by detailed analysis of the workings of language in general. Meanings are fixed neither by logic nor by some natural relation of words to things, but by the contextual and shifting system of interpretation shared by the members of a given speech community.

The arbitrariness of language presents two problems for traditional thinking about freedom of speech. One problem involves legal interpretation, the belief that properly expert judges and lawyers following the proper procedures can arrive at the correct interpretation of a dispute. Often described as the problem of the indeterminacy of law, the purely contextual character of meaning would suggest that legal decisions will always be forced to fall back on contingent, social or political values to decide where the boundaries in the law lie.[5] It is in the character of language, in other words, that a judge will never be able to look at the text of the Bill of Rights and legal precedents to decide whether or not flag burning is protected by the First Amendment; she will always in one way or another be forced to make a choice about whether or not she thinks it should be protected, and will always be faced with the possibility that a reasonable person could plausibly disagree.

Indeterminacy should not be mistaken for the absurd assertion that any word can mean any thing, that there is no stability to meaning whatsoever. As deconstructionist literary critic Barbara Johnson puts it,

A second problem suggested by the arbitrariness of language involves the impossibility of abstracting from context that is a linchpin of the formalist legal logic which today dominates thinking about freedom of speech. According to some understandings of the rule of law, justice is best served when applied according to indisputable, clear rules of procedure and decisionmaking. Hence the First Amendment protects Nazis marching in Skokie and flag burning, not because anything good is being accomplished in either case, but because the important thing is to uphold the rules impartially and unequivocally. And being impartial and unequivocal typically means that rules are upheld regardless of context.

If one were to suggest, say, that the harm from Nazis marching in a Jewish suburb outweighs the value of protecting their speech because of the history of the Holocaust and the irrational and violent character of Nazi ideology, or that flag burning is such an ineffectual form of political expression and so potentially offensive that nothing would be lost by restricting it, the formalist counterargument is that this would “blur” the boundaries, cross what lawyers call the bright lines, upon which our system of justice rests: the rules are more important than the context.

An important example of formalist reasoning is the Bellotti case, in which the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law limiting corporate campaign donations. The Court reached its decision, not simply by weighing the positive and negative effects of the law, nor by deciding that it was a good thing in this case to grant large corporations the same rights as private individuals. The decision was based on the argument that even considering the source of the campaign donations (the “speech” in question) was inappropriate; every individual has a right to unrestricted political speech, and even asking whether corporate “individuals” are as worthy of protection as ordinary individuals would blur the bright lines upon which the rule of law is based.[7] Another example would be American Booksellers Association, Inc. v. Hudnut, when the court threw out an anti-pornography ordinance. The court argued that, even if pornography has negative effects, the same might be said of other forms of protected speech. From this it concluded that “[i]f the fact that speech plays a role in a process of conditioning were enough to permit governmental regulation, that would be the end of freedom of speech,” and thus negative effects do not justify restrictions. As Stanley Fish has pointed out, this is a peculiar logic: faced with facts which call into question the speech/action distinction which underlies the law, the court upholds the law against the facts which would undermine it. But it is a typically formalist logic: the point is to uphold the rule of law, i.e., abstract, neutral principles and procedures; if the coherence of those abstract principles is threatened by facts, you throw out the facts, not the principles.[8]

The problem is that, if the meanings of statements emerge from convention, from social context, then the insistence on excluding context, on divorcing rules and their enforcement from social and political complexities of a situation, is an impossibility. This is not simply an argument that it would be reasonable to sometimes include a little bit of context in legal decisionmaking, that First Amendment law should lean towards a more policy-oriented weighing and balancing of principles and rights in special circumstances such as highly concentrated or technologically inaccessible media. Rather, the argument is that formalist arguments of free speech can not be doing what they claim, that context is present in decisions in spite of claims to the contrary. Decisions that grant protection to marching Nazis and flag burning are not simply decisions that show a preference for bright line rules over context; on the contrary, such decisions are themselves a product of a particular social and historical context, and in turn contribute to the making of particular contexts.

The collapse of the boundary between “natural” speech and arbitrary interference with it implied by indeterminacy creates a further problem for First Amendment interpretation: the collapse of the distinction between speech and conduct or speech and action. The exercise of free speech, the “free marketplace of ideas,” is imagined as a kind of neutral, free and equal exchange, contrasted with unfree or arbitrary coercion. What disappears in the face of the arbitrariness of language is the coherence of that contrast, the faith that there is an important categorical distinction between people talking and arguing and people coercing one another through some kind of action. It is now an axiom of sociolinguistics and many other schools of thought that language use is an important kind of social action, that words do not merely reflect reality or express ideas, they primarily are a way of doing things, a way of acting in the social world. Although J. L. Austin began his classic How to Do Things With Words by describing a limited category of statements that do things–“performatives”–he later enlarged the category and made its boundaries much less clear by acknowledging the frequency of “indirect performatives,” i.e., statements that might appear to be merely descriptive but in context can be shown to be in fact doing something.[9] Some have since argued that in a sense all utterances are performatives.

None of which is to suggest that a subtle verbal snub is identical to punching someone in the nose. We do not call trespassing on someone’s lawn and shooting them identical, though they are both categorized as violations, as coercive. When Stanley Fish argues that speech in everyday life should not be imagined as if it takes place in “the sterilized and weightless atmosphere of a philosophy seminar,”[10] or when Matsuda et. al argue that words can wound, the argument is not that every slight or insult ought to be treated as if it were assault and battery.[11] What they are criticizing is the belief that there is a fundamental, categorical dichotomy between speech and conduct, that the dichotomy is clear and generalizable enough to form one of the principle structures of our law and democracy.

All this points to a deeper critique of the marketplace metaphor. The metaphor implies that linguistic exchanges, like market exchanges, take place between individuals who, in the absence of some outside interference, exist merely as individuals, not as persons in particular contexts with particular backgrounds. These are the famous abstract individuals of legal liberalism, the persons referred to as “A” and “B” in law school lectures on contracts: persons bereft, in legal liberalism’s ideal world, of gender, class, ethnicity, history. People the world over, the marketplace metaphor suggests, all share the characteristics of being in essence rational, self-interested individuals, inherently active and desirous. Language use, then, is a matter of expressing pre-existing interests; it is a tool used by individuals to buy cheap and sell dear in the marketplace of ideas. Language is something one uses.

But, according to at least some schools of linguistics and language philosophy, language is also something that happens to us, something that “speaks us” as much as we speak it. Language is an inherently collective, social precondition to individuality. Most definitions of language exclude any notion of a language possessed by only one individual; for language to be language it must be shared. People do not choose, after all, their first language; in a sense it chooses people. And the particularities of the language that chooses people, many would say, in turn shapes their consciousness, their sense of what counts as reason, their perceptions of the world and their selves within it, even their desires.[12]

This is not to imply, however, some kind of simple social determinism. Here is where the linguistic turn in philosophy suggests something very different from the common assertion that individual behaviors are “caused” by social structures. For one of the central discoveries of linguistics and language theory is what Barthes called “a paradoxical idea of structure: a system with neither close nor center.”[13] Except for analytical purposes, linguistic structure does not exist outside of anyone’s use of it. Language is certainly structured, in some sense of that word; linguistic grammar is the central example of structure, although scholars have brought to our attention many higher-level structures like linguistic style. But that structure is not simply some kind of exterior constraint, a Hobbesian limit on individual action; it is not the “structure” of, say, Durkheimian sociology or orthodox Marxism. It is dynamic, changing, and creative. As Chomsky pointed out, one grammatical system is capable of generating an infinite variety of sentences. And grammar is a practical, thoroughly collective human accomplishment, not an exterior system imposed upon individuals by a reified “society.” It is enabling as well as constraining: linguistic structure is a precondition of self-expression, not just a limit to it.

Language thus troubles both legal liberalism’s happy vision of rational individuals and its dark side, its Hobbesian view of society as the basic constraint on individuals; it calls into question the marketplace metaphor’s notions of both individual freedom and social order. The attraction of the marketplace metaphor in law is much the same as the attraction of marketplace theory itself: it posits a realm that is both free of arbitrary constraint, and yet ordered by the certain yet neutral and unequivocal rules of the marketplace. What the fact of linguistic structure calls into question is not merely the “freedom” of linguistic exchange but also its certainty, its divisibility from “arbitrary” external restraints and interference.

When MacKinnon argues that pornography is a form of action, not of speech, or when Matsuda argues that the context of racism and the subjective experiences of minorities in the U.S. ought to be a primary consideration in the creation and interpretation of hate speech laws, in the long run what motivates these scholars is not just a desire for specific exceptions to an otherwise intact First Amendment doctrine.[14] The suggestion is not simply that pornography is so damaging, or that the specific horrors of slavery and its legacy of racism so evil that unusual exceptions to free speech protection are called for (though the evils of rape-culture and racism very well might be the most urgent problems in the U.S. today). Rather, the suggestion, at least implicitly, is that the evils of rape-culture and contemporary racism force us, or should force us, to fundamentally reconsider how American law thinks about freedom, speech, and their regulation.

Furthermore, the critique of the oppositions that underpin free speech law such as speech and action, rules and context, or politics and law, need not be read as a simple denial that any differences exist. It is obviously not the case that there is no difference between slighting someone with a racial epithet and hitting them in the head, or between decisionmaking in courts and decisionmaking in legislatures. The argument is rather that these differences are neither clear nor generalizable enough to coherently underwrite a system of decisionmaking that claims to be able to transcend context and achieve the neutrality that is the goal of law in the first place.

Inquiry does not come to an end when one accepts the criticisms of the formalist First Amendment framework, and acknowledges the inevitability of politics and context. Stanley Fish’s quip notwithstanding, there is such a thing as free speech. If something is not what we think it is, it does not follow that it does not exist. Free speech is one of the major and most influential political and legal discourses of this century; for better or worse, it has helped make American society, our world, what it is. So the task is to rethink the character of free speech, to specify its historical context and political incidence. This is a large task; here I can only speculate about one aspect of the historical context of free speech, its relation to notions of the rule of law, and one aspect of its political incidence, its relations to social class.

The concept of a neutral, objective system of law that transcends politics is not just an abstraction important to lawyers and judges. (Lawyers and judges, in fact, are often acutely aware of just how political and unstable legal interpretation can sometimes be on a day-to-day basis.) A faith in the neutral rule of law is an important element of American culture, of the popular imagination. Evidence for this can be seen in the way that legal institutions and documents are more often celebrated, more often used to define American democracy, than political institutions and accomplishments. One might think, for example, that in an electoral democracy the most important historical event, the event most widely celebrated, would be the extension of the vote to the majority of the population. Yet most citizens do not know the amendment or the year in which the vote was extended to women, much less the history of the long political struggles that led to the passage of the nineteenth amendment in 1920. On the other hand, the Constitution is regularly celebrated in fora ranging from scholarly conferences to reverential Philip Morris ads, even though that hallowed document underwrote a legal system that upheld slavery for three quarters of a century, excluded women from voting for more than half a century after that, and did not come to rigorously protect political dissent until about fifty years ago. Nonetheless, American culture tends to worship the Constitution and remain ignorant of the history of universal suffrage. The story of the Constitution is a story of law, whereas the story of women’s suffrage is a story of protracted political struggle. And in some ways, at least, mainstream American political culture worships the former more than the latter.

What is the substance of this worship? What makes law neutral, and how does it support democracy? The short answer might be that if a society makes its decisions according to fixed rules instead of individual or collective whims, individuals will be less able to gain systematic advantage over others. The long answer would involve an extended and controversial discussion of a large chunk of the literature of legal theory and political science. But there is a mid-range answer based in historical observations, which suggests that in the U.S. two patterns of argument or logics have tended to shape legal decisionmaking, particularly in this century. One logic has been called alternately formalist, classical, bright line, rule-based, or simply legal justice; the other, standards-based, revisionist, policy oriented, realist, or substantive justice.[15]

Arguably, the First Amendment has become the centerpiece of the American faith in the rule of law in this century, and not coincidentally, First Amendment law is also highly formalist. Formalism is not simply absolutism, a belief that there should be no exceptions. It is more a way of thinking about what law and legal interpretation are and how they work. (Describing the ACLU’s position on the First Amendment as “absolutist” is thus a bit of a red herring.) In at least many of its variations, formalism involves the claim that law is apolitical and neutral because it rests on a rigid, formal model, based on an ideal of axiomatic deduction from rules and unequivocal, “bright line” legal distinctions. The role of law, then, is to locate and uphold clear boundaries–bright lines–between the rights of individuals and between individuals and the state. Legal language and legal expertise are thought valuable precisely because they provide fixed, rigorous meanings unsullied by the political and social winds of the moment. Given a certain set of legal rules and a certain legally defined situation, it is assumed, a properly trained judge or lawyer, within certain boundaries, can use expertise in legal language and reasoning to arrive at, or at least approximate, the correct interpretation, which is generally a matter of pinpointing exactly where the boundaries lie.

Policy oriented decisionmaking, in contrast, tends to be context sensitive, accepting of blurry boundaries, functionalist, and messier. It is also much more common in legal decisionmaking than popular wisdom would suggest. In policy argument, justice is thought to be best served by subtle, well-informed analyses of particular contexts and judicial “balancing” of competing interests and principles; rights and values are treated, not as hard rules distinguished by bright lines, but as general standards that can be differentially implemented according to context. Administrative law, such as that involved in enacting the Federal Communication Commission’s public interest standard for broadcasters, is a classic example of policy oriented decisionmaking. Brown v. Board of Education also includes some exemplary policy argument.

Policy-oriented decisionmaking sometimes is justified in terms of head-on attacks on formalism of the type associated with the critiques of free speech just discussed. Both in practice and in theory, the argument goes, the supposedly “bright line” distinctions upon which formalism is based are rarely if ever as bright as imagined. Stanley Fish’s polemic, “There is no such thing as free speech,” is a recent example of such a critique, but in some ways his position echoes, for example, Felix Cohen’s legal realist argument earlier in the century, in “Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach.”[16]

It is important, however, that outside the academy policy-oriented legal decisionmaking has been justified less by theoretical criticisms of formalism as a whole and more by a sense that, in certain limited and specialized contexts, policy-oriented decisionmaking is simply practical. Formalism seems to be the place our culture celebrates the ideal of the rule of law; policy argument seems to be the place where most of the detailed legal work of ordering society goes on. Policy argument dominates largely in domains unrelated to communication: the law of corporations, environmental law, urban planning, and so forth. The prominent example of policy logic in communication is probably government licensing of broadcast stations according to the public interest standard. Licensing was originally created because communication by radio waves was understood to be characterized by spectrum scarcity and other complicated and contingent technical matters, such as rapidly evolving technologies and strategic needs of the military. Treating broadcasters differently than newspapers was thus thought to be simply called for by context, not because there was thought to be a formal right or principle at stake such as the public’s right to access to communication.

It is sometimes suggested that policy arguments began to replace formalist ones in legal argument somewhere around the turn of the century, and formalism was finally defeated with the end of the Lochner era in 1937. On the level of legal metatheory, there may be truth to this, but it remains the case that in practice both logics remain today. Sometimes the two logics are associated with competing sides in a legal controversy. The argument that television violence ought to be censored because its measurably harmful effects on children outweigh considerations of free speech is a typical policy argument; arguing against such censorship because it would open the door to more serious restrictions of freedom of speech is to lean in a formalist direction. But the two logics are also often mixed in the context of any given argument. Conservatives argue that broadcast licensing violates free speech rights but also is inefficient in the context of new technologies; liberals argue that guarantied citizen access to mass communications would be beneficial for industrial society but also should be treated as a “new First Amendment right.”[17]

So it is perhaps the case that what has been changing over the years is not simply a shift from one kind of argument to the other, but a shift in the “mix” of the two, a shift in how the two kinds of argument have been used in which cases. And here the historical literature suggests that, gradually in this century, the focus of formalist argumentation has shifted from the realm of property and contract to free speech. Up through the late nineteenth century, during what Mensch calls the classical era of jurisprudence, property was the central, formal right; in theory property was celebrated as the essence of legal liberalism, and in practice it was used aggressively in a wide variety of areas. Property rights were invoked to justify bans on speaking in public parks, the picketing of factories during union drives, and turn-of-the-century social legislation. Gradually, this formalist application of property fell out of favor, and met its final demise in the 1937 overturn of Lochner, during the New Deal.[18]

Perhaps it is not entirely coincidental that, as formalist notions of property declined, the formalist understanding of free speech rose. In a familiar history, the First Amendment was gradually elevated to its current legal status, both in case law and in the popular imagination. What has triumphed in this period is not a policy-oriented understanding of free speech (in spite of the best efforts of a long line of scholars from Alexander Meiklejohn to Sunstein, but a rigidly formalist one. So today, property rights advocates who would like to see a return to something like the Lochner era interpretations of property, like Richard Epstein, argue that the rules applied to free speech should also be applied to property. Conversely, from somewhere towards the other end of the political spectrum, Cass Sunstein has called for “A New Deal for Free Speech” wherein the 1930s revisions of property law be extended to communication.[19]

Why has formalism in legal discourse shifted from property and contract to free speech? At this point, I can only speculate. It’s possible to put a cynical economic interpretation on the shift: Formal interpretations of property were abandoned because they became increasingly impractical in the face of the bureaucratic corporate form of business and other late nineteenth and early twentieth century economic developments. Conversely, the soap box speakers became sanctified in law precisely during the historical period that they ceased being effective. In the nineteenth century, union organizers, pacifists, and other “radicals” all made good use of the soap box–of face-to-face speaking in public places–as a communicative tool, and were regularly arrested for doing so. In this century, however, the key to popular communication has become access to radio, television, and other expensive technology-based mass media, which have rendered the soap box increasingly irrelevant as an organizing tool. A formalist interpretation of the First Amendment grants symbolic protection to soap boxes while in practice protecting media corporations much more effectively than dissidents.

Such an account of the shift, however, risks a functionalist tautology (explaining historical events in terms of the needs they serve for the power bloc) and fails to account for the imaginative power of First Amendment formalism. So a more comprehensive explanation might add two observations. First, from a distance, formalism is satisfying to a legal liberal vision of the rule of law, whereas policy argument can appear as arbitrary, obscure, and haughtily technocratic. College sophomores have little trouble understanding why it might be good for the rule of law to protect Nazis marching in Skokie, but it takes a lot of effort to convince them of the grand principles at stake in, say, the regulation requiring TV stations to charge political candidates the same rate for advertising time they charge their most favored advertiser instead of their standard rates. Second, from up close, from the perspective of those involved in everyday, small legal decisions, formalism is frequently impractical, whereas policy-oriented decisions seem reasonable and pragmatic. Few suburban homeowners would take kindly to the suggestion that their neighbors should be allowed to raise pigs or let their lawns go to weed on the grounds that to do so would be to uphold the sanctity of formal property rights.

It seems to be the case, then, that the American polity seems to want a legal system that can satisfy both the desire for legitimacy provided by formalism and the “practical” effectiveness of policy-oriented decisionmaking. Perhaps, therefore, the formalist interpretation of the First Amendment became popular in part because it came to take property’s place as a symbol of legal clarity and formal justice. In both the popular and legal imaginations, the image of the property-holding yeoman farmer was gradually supplanted by the soap box speaker as the central archetype and emblem of legally protected exercise of rights and freedoms in a democratic society.

1. Labor and Management

The polity, however, is not the public. The community of individuals who appreciate the formalist interpretation of free speech may include a wide range of people, such as lawyers, judges, politicians, journalists, professors, and many others in positions to directly or indirectly influence legal and political consciousness. And it includes a wide range of political positions: liberals at the ACLU seem to have little trouble agreeing with conservatives on the Supreme Court that flag burning is protected speech. But it certainly does not include everyone. The majority of the American public has a hard time seeing the justice of protecting flag burning. And this may not mean simply that the public disdains free speech. The ACLU reports that the majority of the complaints it receives come from workers who feel their speech has been restricted by their bosses–a kind of speech that the Supreme Court and the ACLU agree is not protected.

Elizabeth Mensch has remarked that, although many formerly bright lines have been blurred in twentieth century law, the boundary between capital and labor remains as bright and impermeable as ever.[20] The First Amendment, as it is currently interpreted, protects owners and managers more than individual speakers. It prevents government agencies from interfering with the speech of private agencies delineated by boundaries of ownership and management, not by individual human beings.

As a result, employees have basically no free speech rights with regards to their employers, including employees of media businesses. When a journalist is told by an editor to drop a story because it is politically inflammatory, the journalist can find little comfort in First Amendment law. Network program practices departments engage in systematic and thorough censorship of scripts for television series with all the zeal (if not the same principles) of Communist Party apparatchiks. Under law, there’s a sense in which A. J. Liebling’s bon mot–that the only freedom of speech in this country is for those who own one–is literally true.

For all that, Liebling’s quip is an oversimplification. There are many limits on the power of media owners to influence content, such as the resistance of the community of professional journalists to owner manipulation on both ethical and self-interested grounds. Evidence suggests that, among some groups, there probably is a popular ethic of free speech in the U.S. that extends beyond the powers of owners and managers. When conservative newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch bought the left-wing Village Voice and tried to dismiss its editor, for example, the threat of a staff walkout forced him to back down, and he left the paper’s editorial content alone thereafter.[21]

2. Social Class and Linguistic Style

Bringing “popular ethics” into the discussion, however, brings us back to the second question suggested by Gates’ examples: why does it seem easier to pass rules prohibiting direct racial epithets than elaborate, formal statements? It is well established that linguistic style is associated with social class. Sociolinguist Basil Bernstein demonstrated that children from middle and professional classes tend to do better in school than working class students in part because they speak more often and more fluently in formal style, or what Bernstein calls “elaborated code.” Working class students, in contrast, tend to be more comfortable, and are probably more fluent in, informal style, or what Bernstein calls “restricted code.”[22]

One style is not better than the other. Rather, each style is an adaptation to specific patterns of life and work. Informal style has the effect of stressing membership within a group; it is useful for interactions among people who are familiar with each other and work with each other on a regular basis, and thus live in “dense” social networks, i.e., high levels of interaction with a limited number of people. It has a high proportion of ellipsis and colloquialisms, not because such language is simpler, but because these take advantage of a higher degree of shared knowledge between speaker and listener. Similarly, it has a higher proportion of personal pronouns (you and they) and tag-questions soliciting agreement of the listener (nice day, isn’t it?), because these express a sense of cooperation and solidarity.[23]

Formal style, in contrast, is for people whose social networks are less dense, who regularly deal with strangers and thus communicate in contexts in which ellipsis and colloquialisms are more likely to generate confusion than solidarity. Similarly, formal style’s high proportion of subordinate clauses, passive verbs, and adjectives (besides connoting high-mindedness through its echo of Latin grammar) are adaptations to the need to explain details comprehensively when speaker and listener do not share as much background knowledge and cannot easily rely on features of the extra-linguistic context. Interestingly, in spite of the frequency of passive verbs, formal style also contains a higher proportion of pronoun “I.” This has the effect of imposing the speaker’s individuality on the utterance, of stressing her or his unique nature as a person, as opposed to expressing membership in a group. Some research suggests that formal style leads people to be judged as more intelligent, more educated, and less friendly and less likable than informal style.

It is not the case that working class people use only informal style and middle class people use only formal style. A garage mechanic will probably shift to formal speech when dealing with a customer irate over a bill, and only the most hopelessly pompous college professors use formal style when speaking with their friends and families. But mastery over the different styles is not evenly distributed. Bernstein’s work suggests that middle and professional class students’ relatively better skills and comfort with formal style functions as a form of what Bourdieu calls “cultural capital,” enhancing their life prospects.[24] Given the relation of style to the character of work, moreover, fluency in formal style (though not accent) is probably associated with a person’s present occupation, regardless of class background.

What does this have to do with free speech? James Carey has argued that the speech/action distinction in free speech law is an expression of distinctly middle class values and sensibilities. Carey tells the story of a middle class man who enters a working class bar and not long thereafter comes flying out the plate glass window; the man then says with astonishment, “but all I did was use words!” Carey’s point is that, to the working class individuals in the bar, words have power. For them, the difference between insulting someone’s mother and punching them in the nose is not as obvious or absolute as it is for the middle class person.

Carolyn Marvin has elaborated on these contrasting sets of values in our culture in terms of what she calls “text” and “body”:

The First Amendment as currently interpreted is envisioned largely in terms of that which middle and professional class people have mastery over, abstract formal expression in speech and writing. This is why it is harder to censure Gates’ first example than the second. Within the community of people who share those values, there is something equalizing about free speech. But it should not be surprising that, for people who do not make a living that way, for workers and other people whose bodies are the source of their value to society, formalist protection of free speech may not make sense, and might even appear as simply another way that people with privileges (such as academics writing about free speech) exercise their power over people who don’t.

The analyses and arguments of this chapter do not offer resolutions to all of the many important debates among non-formalist theorists of freedom of speech, such as those between Gates and Matsuda et al. over campus hate speech codes. But it does do two things. First, it tries to clarify some of the underlying principles and issues at stake today in debates over free speech, particularly the inevitability of context and the problems this poses for traditional formalist understandings of the rule of law. Second, it points in the direction of a rethinking of free speech based in context, and suggests two (among many possible) avenues to pursue: the historical shift of formalism from property to free speech and to matters of language and social class in both legal discourse and in nonlegal situations. Clearly, these examples of context-based analysis are intended only to be suggestive. But what they suggest, it is hoped, is that this kind of inquiry, if expanded into rich and subtle contextual analyses, might indeed help resolve some debates and contribute to a more fully democratic, substantive interpretation of the role of free speech in law and culture.

[1]. Henry Louis Gates, “Let Them Talk,” The New Republic, Sept. 20 & 27, 1993, pp. 37-49: p. 45.

[2]. “Style” is the generally accepted sociolinguistic term for language varieties that can be classified on a continuum for formal to informal. The word “code” is used by Basil Bernstein, Class, Codes And Control, 2d edition (Boston: Routledge & K. Paul, 1974).

[3]. William Labov, “The Logic of Nonstandard English,” in Giglioli (ed.) Language and Social Context (Penguin, 1972), pp. 179-216.

[4]. For a sociolinguistically informed analysis of the role of linguistic style during arrest and interrogation see, Janet E. Ainsworth, “In a Different Register: The Pragmatics of Powerlessness in Police Interrogation,” Yale Law Journal, 103 (November, 1993): 259-322.

[5]. Mark Kelman, A Guide to Critical Legal Studies (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987), p. 12 and passim.

[6]. Barbara Johnson, A World of Difference (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1987), p. 6.

[7]. First National Bank of Boston v Bellotti, 435 US 765, 776 (1978)

[8]. 771 F.2d 323 (7th Cir. 1985), aff’d, 475 U.S. 1601 (1986), p. 329; quoted in Stanley Fish, “Fraught With Death: Skepticism, Progressivism, and the First Amendment,” University of Colorado Law Review, 64 Fall 1993: 1061-1086, p. 1065.

[9]. See Ainsworth, “In a Different Register,” note 15: “Austin initially adopts the intuitively appealing assumption that constative utterances, unlike performatives, are true or false. Having set up these opposing categories of performative and constative utterances, Austin ultimately deconstructs this dichotomy” with his analysis of indirect performatives.

[10]. Fish, “Fraught With Death,” p. 1061.

[11]. Mari J. Matsuda, Charles R. Lawrence III, Richard Delgado, and Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Words that Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1993).

[12]. The classic and extreme version of this notion is the “Sapir-Whorf hypothesis” named after linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf. For a post-structuralist variation of it, see Rosalind Coward and John Ellis, Language and Materialism: Developments in Semiology and the Theory of the Subject (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977).

[13]. Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), p. 159.

[14]. Catharine A. MacKinnon, Only Words (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1993).

[15]. Elizabeth Mensch divides legal thought into classical and realist or revisionist forms. Duncan Kennedy talks of the distinction between rules and standards. Roberto Unger speaks of “legal justice” and “substantive justice.” See Elizabeth Mensch, “The History of Mainstream Legal Thought” in David Kairys, ed., The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique (New York: Pantheon, 1982), pp. 18-39; Duncan Kennedy, “Form and Substance in Private Law Adjudication,” Harvard Law Review, 89 (1976): 1685, pp. 1687-89; see also Roberto M. Unger, Knowledge and Politics (New York: The Free Press, 1975), p. 91.

[16]. Stanley Fish, “There’s No Such Thing As Free Speech And It’s a Good Thing Too,” Boston Review, Feb. 1992, p. 3; Felix Cohen, “Transcendental Nonsense and the Functional Approach,” Columbia Law Review 35 (1935): 809.

[17]. For example, Jerome A. Barron, Freedom Of The Press For Whom? The Right Of Access To Mass Media (Bloomington: Indiana University Press 1973).

[18]. Jennifer Nedelsky, Private Property and the Limits of American Constitutionalism: The Madisonian Framework and Its Legacy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990).

[19]. Cass R. Sunstein, “Free Speech Now,” The University of Chicago Law Review, 59 (Winter 1992): 255; Richard A. Epstein, “Property, Speech, and the Politics of Distrust,” The University of Chicago law review 59 (Winter 1992): p. 41.

[20]. Mensch, “The History of Mainstream Legal Thought,” p. 26.

[21]. Alex S. Jones, “At Village Voice, A Clashing Of Visions,” The New York Times, June 28, 1985, Section B; p. 5, Column 1.

[22]. Bernstein, Class, Codes And Control.

[23]. This survey of Bernstein’s work relies heavily on Peter Trudgill, Sociolinguistics: An Introduction to Language and Society (London: Penguin Books, 1983, revised edition), pp. 132-140.

[24]. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. R. Nice (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984).

[25]. Carolyn Marvin, “Theorizing the Flagbody: Symbolic Dimensions of the Flag Desecration Debate, or Why the Bill of Rights Does Not Fly in the Ballpark,” Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 8, (June, 1991): pp. 120-121.

[26]. Social class is of course a complex construct, and is used here suggestively, not comprehensively or precisely. Marvin points out that the values of “body” in fact extend to and in many ways are exemplified by military personnel, a group which overlaps with but is not limited to working class individuals.

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Twenty-Fifth Amendment – U.S. Constitution – FindLaw

Posted: August 9, 2015 at 8:44 am

Amendment Text | Annotations

Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Presidential Succession

The Twenty-fifth Amendment was an effort to resolve some of the continuing issues revolving about the office of the President; that is, what happens upon the death, removal, or resignation of the President and what is the course to follow if for some reason the President becomes disabled to such a degree that he cannot fulfill his responsibilities? The practice had been well established that the Vice President became President upon the death of the President, as had happened eight times in our history. Presumably, the Vice President would become President upon the removal of the President from office. Whether the Vice President would become acting President when the President became unable to carry on and whether the President could resume his office upon his recovering his ability were two questions that had divided scholars and experts. Also, seven Vice Presidents had died in office and one had resigned, so that for some twenty per cent of United States history there had been no Vice President to step up. But the seemingly most insoluble problem was that of presidential inability–Garfield lying in a coma for eighty days before succumbing to the effects of an assassin’s bullet, Wilson an invalid for the last eighteen months of his term, the result of a stroke–with its unanswered questions: who was to determine the existence of an inability, how was the matter to be handled if the President sought to continue, in what manner should the Vice President act, would he be acting President or President, what was to happen if the President recovered. Congress finally proposed this Amendment to the States in the aftermath of President Kennedy’s assassination, with the Vice Presidency vacant and a President who had previously had a heart attack.

This Amendment saw multiple use during the 1970s and resulted for the first time in our history in the accession to the Presidency and Vice-Presidency of two men who had not faced the voters in a national election. First, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned on October 10, 1973, and President Nixon nominated Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to succeed him, following the procedures of Sec. 2 of the Amendment for the first time. Hearings were held upon the nomination by the Senate Rules Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, both Houses thereafter confirmed the nomination, and the new Vice President took the oath of office December 6, 1973. Second, President Richard M. Nixon resigned his office August 9, 1974, and Vice President Ford immediately succeeded to the office and took the presidential oath of office at noon of the same day. Third, again following Sec. 2 of the Amendment, President Ford nominated Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York to be Vice President; on August 20, 1974, hearings were held in both Houses, confirmation voted and Mr. Rockefeller took the oath of office December 19, 1974. 1

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Human Genetics Alert – The Threat of Human Genetic Engineering

Posted: July 28, 2015 at 9:57 pm

David King

The main debate around human genetics currently centres on the ethics of genetic testing, and possibilities for genetic discrimination and selective eugenics. But while ethicists and the media constantly re-hash these issues, a small group of scientists and publicists are working towards an even more frightening prospect: the intentional genetic engineering of human beings. Just as Ian Wilmut presented us with the first clone of an adult mammal, Dolly, as a fait accompli, so these scientists aim to set in place the tools of a new techno-eugenics, before the public has ever had a chance to decide whether this is the direction we want to go in. The publicists, meanwhile are trying to convince us that these developments are inevitable. The Campaign Against Human Genetic Engineering, has been set up in response to this threat.

Currently, genetic engineering is only applied to non-reproductive cells (this is known as ‘gene therapy’) in order to treat diseases in a single patient, rather than in all their descendants. Gene therapy is still very unsuccessful, and we are often told that the prospect of reproductive genetic engineering is remote. In fact, the basic technologies for human genetic engineering (HGE) have been available for some time and at present are being refined and improved in a number of ways. We should not make the same mistake that was made with cloning, and assume that the issue is one for the far future.

In the first instance, the likely justifications of HGE will be medical. One major step towards reproductive genetic engineering is the proposal by US gene therapy pioneer, French Anderson, to begin doing gene therapy on foetuses, to treat certain genetic diseases. Although not directly targeted at reproductive cells, Anderson’s proposed technique poses a relatively high risk that genes will be ‘inadvertently’ altered in the reproductive cells of the foetus, as well as in the blood cells which he wants to fix. Thus, if he is allowed to go ahead, the descendants of the foetus will be genetically engineered in every cell of their body. Another scientist, James Grifo of New York University is transferring cell nuclei from the eggs of older to younger women, using similar techniques to those used in cloning. He aims to overcome certain fertility problems, but the result would be babies with three genetic parents, arguably a form of HGE. In addition to the two normal parents, these babies will have mitochondria (gene-containing subcellular bodies which control energy production in cells) from the younger woman.

Anderson is a declared advocate of HGE for medical purposes, and was a speaker at a symposium last year at UCLA, at which advocates of HGE set out their stall. At the symposium, which was attended by nearly 1,000 people, James Watson, of DNA discovery fame, advocated the use of HGE not merely for medical purposes, but for ‘enhancement’: ‘And the other thing, because no one really has the guts to say it, I mean, if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we do it?’

In his recent book, Re-Making Eden (1998), Princeton biologist, Lee Silver celebrates the coming future of human ‘enhancement’, in which the health, appearance, personality, cognitive ability, sensory capacity, and life-span of our children all become artifacts of genetic engineering, literally selected from a catalog. Silver acknowledges that the costs of these technologies will limit their full use to only a small ‘elite’, so that over time society will segregate into the “GenRich” and the “Naturals”:

“The GenRich – who account for 10 percent of the American population – all carry synthetic genes… that were created in the laboratory …All aspects of the economy, the media, the entertainment industry, and the knowledge industry are controlled by members of the GenRich class…Naturals work as low-paid service providers or as labourers, and their children go to public schools… If the accumulation of genetic knowledge and advances in genetic enhancement technology continue … the GenRich class and the Natural class will become…entirely separate species with no ability to cross-breed, and with as much romantic interest in each other as a current human would have for a chimpanzee.”

Silver, another speaker at the UCLA symposium, believes that these trends should not and cannot be stopped, because to do so would infringe on liberty.

Most scientists say that what is preventing them from embarking on HGE is the risk that the process will itself generate new mutations, which will be passed on to future generations. Official scientific and ethical bodies tend to rely on this as the basis for forbidding attempts at HGE, rather than any principled opposition to the idea.

In my view, we should not allow ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security by this argument. Experience with genetically engineered crops, for example, shows that we are unlikely ever to arrive at a situation when we can be sure that the risks are zero. Instead, when scientists are ready to proceed, we will be told that the risks are ‘acceptable’, compared to the benefits. Meanwhile, there will be people telling us loudly that since they are taking the risks with their children, we have no right to interfere.

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Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution

Posted: May 30, 2015 at 4:42 am

The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution sets a term limit for election to the office of President of the United States. Congress passed the amendment on March 21, 1947. It was ratified by the requisite number of states on February 27, 1951.

Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once. But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this article was proposed by the Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states within seven years from the date of its submission to the states by the Congress.

Historians point to George Washington’s decision not to seek a third term as evidence that the founders saw a two-term limit as a bulwark against a monarchy, although his Farewell Address suggests that he was not seeking re-election because of his age. Thomas Jefferson also contributed to the convention of a two-term limit when he wrote in 1807, “if some termination to the services of the chief Magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his office, nominally four years, will in fact become for life.”[1] Jeffersons immediate successors, James Madison and James Monroe, adhered to the two-term principle as well. In a new political atmosphere several years later, Andrew Jackson continued the precedent.

Prior to Franklin D. Roosevelt, few Presidents attempted to serve for more than two terms. Ulysses S. Grant sought a third term in 1880 after serving from 1869 to 1877, but narrowly lost his party’s nomination to James Garfield. Grover Cleveland tried to serve a third term (and second consecutive term) in 1896, but did not have enough support in the wake of the Panic of 1893. Cleveland lost support to the Silverites led by William Jennings Bryan, and declined to head the Gold Democrat ticket, though he did endorse the Gold Democrats. Theodore Roosevelt succeeded to the presidency upon William McKinley’s assassination and was himself elected in 1904 to a full term, serving from 1901 to 1909. He sought to be elected to a (non-consecutive) term in 1912 but lost to Woodrow Wilson. Wilson himself tried to get a third term in 1920,[citation needed] by deadlocking the convention; he deliberately blocked the nomination of his Secretary of the Treasury and son-in-law, William Gibbs McAdoo. However, Wilson was too unpopular even within his own party at the time, and James M. Cox was nominated. In 1940, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the only president to be elected to a third term; supporters cited the war in Europe as a reason for breaking with precedent.

In the 1944 election, during World War II, Roosevelt won a fourth term (and began it the following year), but suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died in office. He was the first and only President to have served more than two terms. Near the end of the 1944 campaign, Republican nominee Thomas E. Dewey, the governor of New York, announced support of an amendment that would limit future presidents to two terms. According to Dewey, “Four terms, or sixteen years, is the most dangerous threat to our freedom ever proposed.”[2]

The Republican-controlled 80th Congress approved a 22nd Amendment in March 1947;[3] it was signed by Speaker of the House Joseph W. Martin and acting President pro tempore of the Senate William F. Knowland.[4] Nearly four years later, in February 1951, enough states ratified the amendment for its adoption. Then-President Harry S. Truman was excluded from the amendment’s restrictions but ultimately decided not to seek another term in 1952.[3]

The Congress proposed the Twenty-second Amendment on March 24, 1947.[5] The proposed amendment was adopted on February 27, 1951. The following states ratified the amendment:

Ratification was completed on February 27, 1951. The amendment was subsequently ratified by the following states:

In addition, the following states voted to reject the amendment:

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