Thursday, September 26, 2013

Saving our Heritage

Jim DeMint, Congressional Republicans' Shadow Speaker

Behind this week’s coverBehind this week’s cover
When Congress adjourned for its August recess this year, most members avoided the town hall meetings that were once the standard venue for hearing from constituents. They were too afraid. Ever since activists opposed to President Obama’s health-care bill ambushed lawmakers in August 2009, few members are willing to risk a confrontation being immortalized on YouTube (GOOG)—or, worse, Fox News (FOXA). Trips home are now carefully choreographed affairs that limit spontaneous voter contact.
But neither the anger nor the town hall format has gone away; they’re just under new management. In mid-August, Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who quit the Senate in January to become president of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative Washington think tank, set off on a nine-city Defund Obamacare Town Hall Tour. DeMint, 62, is a courtly, polished Southerner who used to own a marketing business. These days he’s selling the idea that it’s not too late to kill the health-care law. In each city, hundreds and sometimes thousands of true believers crammed into hotel ballrooms to hear him explain how, with enough pressure on legislators, Congress could be persuaded to withhold funding for the law and thereby halt it before public enrollment begins on Oct. 1. “The House holds the purse strings,” DeMint told his crowds. If Republicans keep them cinched, he promised, the law would fail.
DeMint’s idea was initially dismissed as quixotic. For one thing, the Affordable Care Act is mostly paid for by mandatory funds that can’t be blocked. For another, Democrats control the White House and Senate. Even so, the defund push has caught fire in Washington because activists have made it into a crusade. “We needed someone out there arguing for what is the right thing to do and putting the flag in the right place,” DeMint says over breakfast the morning after he’s addressed 900 people in Columbus, Ohio. “This little effort, with a paltry amount of money, has drawn thousands of people, almost tearfully, to come out in support.”
DeMint assumes that Republicans have leverage because funding for the federal government will run out on Sept. 30, and if Congress doesn’t pass a continuing resolution to keep the government open, it will shut down the next day. That’s an outcome neither party wants, but one DeMint calculates Obama would do almost anything to avoid—including making concessions on his signature law. So in August, as the defund tour wended its way through the country, DeMint was pitching the idea of a continuing resolution that funds everything except Obamacare. Scores of Republican congressmen and senators signed on, including Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who joined DeMint onstage in Dallas to endorse the idea. “There is a paradigm shift under way in American politics, which is the rise of the grass roots,” says Cruz, the leading defund promoter in the Senate. “It’s changing the way political decisions are made in Washington.”
Many Republicans looked on in horror as the defund movement gained steam. If the government shuts down, polls suggest blame will fall most heavily on the GOP. North Carolina Senator Richard Burr calls DeMint’s plan “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.” Representative Tom Cole, a veteran Oklahoma Republican, has likened the shutdown threat to “putting the gun to your own head. You’re basically saying, do what I want or I’ll shoot.” DeMint doesn’t see why his ploy should hurt Republicans. “Democrats will be shutting down the government to protect Obamacare,” he insists. As DeMint sees it, if Republicans would just toughen up and start singing from the same hymnal, public opinion might swing to their side. And if they won’t, he plans to turn his legions of supporters inside and outside of government against them.
On Sept. 20, House Speaker John Boehner, who badly wants to avert a shutdown, succumbed to the uprising in his caucus and held a vote on a funding bill that excludes Obamacare. All but one Republican supported it. (Through his staff, Boehner declined to be interviewed.) This could soon bring about the very crisis Boehner has tried to prevent, because the Democratic Senate will strip the defund provision and then—well, it’s not clear.
When most Americans look at Washington, they see a broken Congress, riven by partisanship and lurching from crisis to crisis. While the hostility between Republicans and Democrats is indeed severe, it isn’t the real reason the engine of government keeps seizing up. What’s causing the malfunction is a battle within the GOP over how to return the party to its former glory after two consecutive losses to Obama and setbacks in the House and Senate. It’s a fight that pits uncompromising, Heritage-style conservatives against more cautious Republican elders. What makes it so contentious is that both sides have radically different—and mutually exclusive—ideas about how to move forward.
This struggle heats up each time a major budget deadline approaches, and two huge ones loom in the days ahead: There’s the Sept. 30 government funding deadline and then, sometime in late October, the Department of the Treasury will reach the limit of its borrowing capacity and default unless Congress raises the debt ceiling. In crises precipitated by similar deadlines, Republican leaders have always managed to keep their party together—or at least keep it from coming apart.

That will be much harder this time. While Boehner and the GOP leadership want mainly to navigate safe passage through the budget deadlines, DeMint and his cohort see the deadlines as crucial tests of party resolve and a key to the Republican resurgence they envision. DeMint views the impulse to avoid confrontation as the root of Republican woes: Only by engineering grand clashes and then standing resolutely on the side of small government can Republicans win this existential struggle.
“If I were speaker, I’d tell the president, ‘Mr. President, we funded the government, but we’re not going to fund your bill,’ ” says DeMint, who likes to make his point by acting out imagined confrontations. “ ‘We are not going to give in—one month, two months, three months. We are never going to give in. It’s just that important.’ And if the president wants to put the country through that to save a law that isn’t ready to go, well, then that’s a battle we have to have.”
When DeMint quit the Senate mid-term, it came as something of a shock in Washington, because a high-profile senator is presumed to have more power than a think tank president. There was plenty of snickering that he was cashing in: Heritage paid his predecessor more than $1 million last year. (The group won’t comment on DeMint’s salary.)
DeMint says he was just fed up. When he was first elected to Congress in 1998, insurrection wasn’t his goal. “I came to Washington as a businessman,” he says, “served six years in the House as a team player. Didn’t cause trouble. I was a policy nerd, introduced Social Security reform, tax reforms, all kinds of health-care reforms.” In 2005 he moved up to the Senate, where he began to lose patience with what he viewed as his party’s lack of commitment to first principles. “We had a lot of people who were great pretenders, talked real big about being conservatives,” he says. “But behind closed doors, they were driving the ball in the opposite direction.”
For a while he thought he could change this by attracting a stauncher breed of Republican to the Capitol. In 2010 he formed a political action committee, the Senate Conservatives Fund, to elect like-minded Republicans. He violated Senate protocol by backing challengers to establishment candidates, as when he endorsed Rand Paul for Kentucky’s open Senate seat in 2010 over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hand-picked choice. DeMint helped to elect many of the most influential rising conservatives, including Cruz and Marco Rubio of Florida. “I wouldn’t be in the Senate without Jim DeMint,” Cruz says.
Yet he also championed fringe Tea Party figures such as Sharron Angle, who tried to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Christine (“I am not a witch”) O’Donnell, whose defeats cost the party seats—and possibly control of the Senate. DeMint didn’t care. He enraged many in his party when he said he’d rather have 30 Rubios than 60 Arlen Specters, a slap at the moderate Republican senator from Pennsylvania who later switched to the Democrats. DeMint became McConnell’s tormenter and the leading voice of dissent among Senate Republicans.
“What Jim loved most was letting his imagination run loose about what conservatism could do,” says Tim Chapman, who worked for DeMint while he was in Congress and is now chief operating officer of Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of the Heritage Foundation. “But the Senate can be a lonely place. His frustration was less with the fact that he was getting beat up left and right by his colleagues—he’s got thick skin—than that he wasn’t able to talk about big ideas.”
So DeMint gave up trying to purify the party from within. “I recognized that, even after working to elect candidates the party really didn’t want, the only way to change Washington is to go directly to the people,” he says. “You have to win the debate on the outside to shape the culture.”
DeMint thought the Heritage Foundation could provide a platform that the Senate had not. The foundation was the favorite think tank of the Reagan administration, and although its influence has waned, its scholars still staff Republican administrations and congressional offices. Over the years, the Heritage brand has been sullied by the impression that many of its experts are more concerned with politics than scholarship. Selecting an outspoken partisan like DeMint to be president only deepens this impression. Someone as impatient for a Republican revolution as DeMint, though, would see plenty to like about the job, not least its connection to Heritage Action, a 501(c)(4) organization created in 2010 that can run television ads, lobby members of Congress, organize activists, and otherwise advocate for political causes, which the Heritage Foundation itself, as a nonprofit, is forbidden from doing.
While ethics laws bar DeMint from lobbying his former colleagues until he has been out of the Senate for two years, the organizations he oversees and the PAC he founded in the Senate are all pushing his agenda. The Heritage Foundation has produced studies questioning the benefits of immigration reform; Heritage Action has put the defund movement center stage; and the Senate Conservatives Fund, though DeMint is no longer formally affiliated, has been running attack ads calling McConnell a “turncoat” who “surrendered to Barack Obama” in the health-care fight.
The widespread assumption after the 2012 election was that Obama’s victory had settled most of the big fights contested in the campaign, Obamacare in particular. The Republican National Committee, reeling from Mitt Romney’s defeat, conducted an autopsy of what went wrong and concluded that the party needed to broaden its appeal to immigrants, young people, and minorities and move beyond its image of implacable hostility. Boehner was among the first to embrace this message. “It’s pretty clear that the president was reelected,” he said on Nov. 8. “Obamacare is the law of the land.”
Since then two things have become apparent: Conservative activists have rejected this call for moderation, and Boehner has lost control of the House. The second has everything to do with the first and explains why we’re careening toward shutdown. DeMint, Cruz, and all those trying to defund Obamacare drew precisely the opposite lesson from the last election than just about everyone else did. “Republicans were told, ‘Don’t do anything. Don’t be the issue. Don’t stand for anything. Make it about Obama,’ ” DeMint says. “What happened in 2012 was that there was a void of any inspiration, any attempt to lead. It certainly wasn’t because the party was too conservative—it was because there was no conservative leadership at all!”
DeMint thinks the election results don’t accurately reflect national sentiment and therefore can’t be used to argue against his desire to move the party to the right. True conservatism never got a hearing—particularly not in regard to Obamacare, which was, after all, modeled after a Massachusetts law signed by Romney. “Because of Romney and Romneycare, we did not litigate the Obamacare issue,” he says. Essentially, DeMint is declaring a mistrial. His side can still prevail, he says, but only by awakening the angry, alienated masses who were put off by Romney’s tepid impersonation of a conservative.
“The world changes when you run a real campaign,” says Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, an ally in the defund push. “Heritage was out there working during the break. Constituents were talking to their members. Now members are pressing leadership, saying, ‘Look, we know this law is not ready. It should not be shoved on Americans.’ ” The Sept. 20 House vote to defund was celebrated as a milestone by Heritage Action, FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth, and other conservative groups that had agitated for it.
The House has become the locus of the Republican civil war because it embodies the upheaval that has coursed through the party during Obama’s presidency. Almost half the Republican caucus—47 percent—was elected in 2010 or later, which means they swept into Congress on the Tea Party wave that was a backlash against Obamacare and the ineffectual GOP establishment. Owing no allegiance to Boehner, these new members have much more in common with outside groups such as Heritage, whose siege mentality and impatience with party orthodoxy they share. “The rise of extra-congressional powerhouses like DeMint and Heritage has really impeded leadership’s ability to move legislation,” says David Wasserman, a House expert at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

DeMint’s grand plan to shape the party is built on his conviction that most elected Republicans don’t have the guts to cast tough votes, especially to cut entitlement programs, which conventional wisdom holds to be political-career-enders. DeMint cites the example of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan’s budget as evidence that Republicans are all too often gulled into complacency when they should be fighting for their ideals. In 2008, when Ryan first introduced a budget that sought deep cuts in entitlement spending, he drew only eight co-sponsors. In 2011 the Tea Party uprising persuaded the House to pass Ryan’s budget, and most members survived the next election. To DeMint, this proved that entitlement cuts aren’t an automatic death sentence. It shifted the boundaries of mainstream debate to the right. Over time, he suggests, that vote and others like it will condition Republicans to think much more ambitiously about what they can achieve.
And if they don’t want to, he isn’t going to take no for an answer. “We believe that if you throw them in the deep end of the pool, they’re going to learn to swim,” says Michael Needham, chief executive officer of Heritage Action. That is, if Republicans can be compelled to take tough votes, the insurgents’ ideas will move from the fringes to the mainstream. Establishment Republicans who mock DeMint and Heritage as “hobbits” and “Neanderthals” will be forced to defend these ideas on TV. Republicans will all finally be rowing in the same direction. (At least one establishment heavyweight seems unpersuaded. Karl Rove calls the defund movement an “ill-considered tactic.”)
Oddly enough, DeMint’s inspiration isn’t Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater, but Barack Obama, whose strategy Heritage has begun to mimic. “Instead of making fun of him for community organizing,” DeMint says, “we need to realize that that’s how they’re winning on the left: empowering people on the grass-roots level and getting them organized and informed.” To his way of thinking, liberals banded together to force through an unpopular health-care law and have resolutely stood by it. “You had Democrats who were intent, even courageous, about centralizing health care and risked their political careers to do it.”
One of the few members of Congress to hold a town hall meeting during the August break was Representative Renee Ellmers, a North Carolina Republican from suburban Raleigh elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010. By almost any measure, Ellmers is unimpeachably conservative: She has voted 41 times to repeal Obamacare. But prior to her Sept. 3 town hall she spoke out against the defund-or-shutdown strategy. For this she came under withering assault from Dee Park, a feisty, white-haired, 76-year-old grandmother of 17 and Twitter warrior (@grammydee17) from nearby Pinehurst.
Park is part of Heritage Action’s Sentinel program, which trains activists in the manner of the Obama campaign. Only rather than solicit votes, the 5,000 Sentinels are rigorously briefed so they can parry politicians’ feints and dodges and pin them down on whatever issues Heritage deems urgent. “Every Monday afternoon we get a call with the latest intelligence,” Park explains. “From 5:30 to 6 they give us background, answer our questions, and teach us how to recruit.” Park was dispatched to Ellmers’s town hall because, as she put it, “We were concerned that Renee’s Heritage score was not that good.” Heritage Action, like many political groups, grades members on their voting record. “She was voting in ways that we felt were not conservative.” At the meeting, Park, bedecked in an American-flag rugby shirt and gripping her Heritage literature, peppered Ellmers about why she wouldn’t support the defund plan until the congresswoman seemed ready to burst.
A few days later, Ellmers was still steamed. She had just come from the dentist’s office after having a tooth pulled, yet it was clear that DeMint was the greater irritant. “I don’t understand Heritage coming after Republicans,” she says. “We’re the ones fighting against things like Obamacare being put in place. We’re the ones committed to this effort. Shouldn’t these outside groups be working with us?” Her objection to the defund strategy is shared by many Republicans: namely, that it will do more harm than good and ultimately hand power to Obama. Still, she concedes the tactics were effective. “I don’t take it into account myself,” she says, “but there are members who change their votes if they find out that one of these outside groups is scoring it.”
DeMint makes no apologies. “If members feel criticized,” he says, “it’s probably because their constituents are finding out that they’re not fulfilling a campaign promise.”
The echoes of the Obama campaign were even more unmistakable on the nine-city defund tour. Every evening, Heritage Action CEO Needham would warm up the room by leading the audience in a raucous call-and-response chant that borrowed Obama’s famous slogan from 2008.
“Can we defund Obamacare?” Needham would call out.
“YES WE CAN!” roared the audience in reply.
Instead of building momentum toward Election Day, though, the tour was whipping up activists ahead of Oct. 1. That’s the day people can start signing up for the health-care exchanges and, to foes of Obamacare, a potential point of no return. As with the 2012 election, the Republican establishment seems to have been caught off guard by the level of grass-roots intensity, only this time it’s their own side that’s riled up. “Republican leaders can’t fathom a world in which we’re transmitting an authentic message from the base,” says Chapman of Heritage Action.
The rebellion has been building all year. In June, House conservatives killed the Republican farm bill because it didn’t cut deeply enough into nutrition programs. In July they rejected a Republican transportation and housing bill they considered too generous. In early September, Boehner’s first attempt at funding the government wasn’t so much killed as laughed out of the room. Its provision to defund Obamacare was merely symbolic, an attempt to appease his right flank while also avoiding a shutdown by instructing the Senate to split off the defund vote. Heritage alerted its network, and conservatives quickly made clear they wouldn’t stand for it. All at once, Republican Washington seemed to realize that the ideologues could no longer be brushed aside.
DeMint likes to quote the Austrian political economist Friedrich Hayek: “Politicians are corks bobbing on the water, but we can direct the current.” Right now, Boehner is caught in a current from which he can’t seem to escape. Appeals to moderation won’t work; the purists see moderation as the problem. To DeMint, the only question is how committed Republicans are to an ideology they all profess to agree on. “There isn’t a Republican in Congress who hasn’t promised to do everything they could to stop Obamacare,” he says. “There’s no intellectual rift. The rift is over is it worth fighting for?”
“If I had the money, I’d pay for DeMint and Heritage to go to every state in the union,” says Democratic strategist Brad Woodhouse
DeMint’s answer will always be yes. Not even the disastrous 1995 shutdown orchestrated by House Speaker Newt Gingrich can convince him otherwise. Every Republican leader believes it was a costly mistake, never to be repeated. DeMint agrees that it hurt the party, though for an entirely different reason: He thinks Gingrich lost his nerve. “The Republican leadership went into a showdown with [Bill] Clinton and folded when they were three hours from winning,” he says. “So you’ve got this permanent impression that we won’t hold together.” He bases this claim on George Stephanopoulos’s memoir of the Clinton White House (Stephanopoulos writes “our coalition was cracking,” but doesn’t say Clinton was about to fold). Had Gingrich showed more fortitude, DeMint is convinced he could have prevailed; and so, too, can today’s Republicans if they have the stomach to close the government. “I think Americans would side with the people who are fighting against a law they know is unfair,” he says. Even many conservative Republicans don’t buy it. “It will be a political fiasco that could cost us the House,” says Ellmers.
Meanwhile Democrats are ecstatic over what they see as the GOP’s suicidal rightward lurch. “If I had the money, I’d pay for DeMint and Heritage to go to every state in the union,” says Brad Woodhouse, a veteran Democratic strategist and president of the liberal group Americans United for Change, which held counter-rallies in each city along the Heritage tour.
DeMint remains undaunted. He is so certain he’s right that he sees no limit to the transformative power of his brand of conservatism. “Our hope,” he says, “is that by 2016 we will have so cultivated the mindset of America for the right ideas, that we’ll see candidates running on those ideas. Maybe even Democrats.”
However the budget deadlines are resolved, Cruz has already provided a glimpse of how this party feud will grow and intensify. On Sept. 24, as the Senate prepared to take up the House defund bill, he stepped to the floor and announced with solemn self-importance, “I rise today in opposition to Obamacare. . . . I will speak until I am no longer able to stand.” For the next 21 hours, he didn’t let up. Cruz can barely contain his eagerness to run for president, and his talkathon to block a vote on Obamacare was a valentine to the party’s base. Cruz is one of three DeMint protégés expected to jockey for the 2016 Republican nomination (Paul and Rubio are the others). Through them, and through his Heritage army, DeMint will keep channeling the current. And that will either give the Republicans the renaissance he envisions—or sweep them into oblivion.  

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Lightning vs Terrorism

You’re Much More Likely to Be Killed By Lightning than by a Terrorist

Calm Down … You Are Much More Likely to Be Killed By Boring, Mundane Things than Terrorism

The U.S. Department of State reports that only 17 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide as a result of terrorism in 2011. That figure includes deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and all other theaters of war.
In contrast, the American agency which tracks health-related issues – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control – rounds up the most prevalent causes of death in the United States:

Comparing the CDC numbers to terrorism deaths means:
– You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack
– You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack
(Keep in mind when reading this entire piece that we are consistently and substantially understating the risk of other causes of death as compared to terrorism, because we are comparing deaths from various causes within the United States against deaths from terrorism worldwide.)
Wikipedia notes that obesity is a a contributing factor in 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States per year. That makes obesity 5,882 to times 23,528 more likely to kill you than a terrorist.
The annual number of deaths in the U.S. due to avoidable medical errors is as high as 100,000. Indeed, one of the world’s leading medical journals – Lancet – reported in 2011:
A November, 2010, document from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that, when in hospital, one in seven beneficiaries of Medicare (the government-sponsored health-care programme for those aged 65 years and older) have complications from medical errors, which contribute to about 180 000 deaths of patients per year.
That’s just Medicare beneficiaries, not the entire American public. Scientific American noted in 2009:
Preventable medical mistakes and infections are responsible for about 200,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to an investigation by the Hearst media corporation.
But let’s use the lower – 100,000 – figure. That still means that you are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than terrorism.
The CDC says that some 80,000 deaths each year are attributable to excessive alcohol use. So you’re 4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death than die from terrorism.
Wikipedia notes that there were 32,367 automobile accidents in 2011, which means that you are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack. As CNN reporter Fareed Zakaria wrote last month:
“Since 9/11, foreign-inspired terrorism has claimed about two dozen lives in the United States. (Meanwhile, more than 100,000 have been killed in gun homicides and more than 400,000 in motor-vehicle accidents.) “
President Obama agreed.
According to a 2011 CDC report, poisoning from prescription drugs is even more likely to kill you than a car crash. Indeed, the CDC stated in 2011 that – in the majority of states – your prescription meds are more likely to kill you than any other source of injury. So your meds are thousands of times more likely to kill you than Al Qaeda.
The number of deaths by suicide has also surpassed car crashes, and many connect the increase in suicides to the downturn in the economy. Around 35,000 Americans kill themselves each year (and more American soldiers die by suicide than combat; the number of veterans committing suicide is astronomical and under-reported). So you’re 2,059 times more likely to kill yourself than die at the hand of a terrorist.
The CDC notes that there were 7,638 deaths from HIV and 45 from syphilis, so you’re 452 times more likely to die from risky sexual behavior than terrorism.
The National Safety Council reports that more than 6,000 Americans die a year from falls … most of them involve people falling off their roof or ladder trying to clean their gutters, put up Christmas lights and the like. That means that you’re 353 times more likely to fall to your death doing something idiotic than die in a terrorist attack.
The agency in charge of workplace safety – the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration – reports that 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011 within the U.S. homeland. In other words, you are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than terrorism.
The CDC notes that 3,177 people died of “nutritional deficiencies” in 2011, which means you are 187 times more likely to starve to death in American than be killed by terrorism.
Scientific American notes:
You might have toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which the CDC estimates has infected about 22.5 percent of Americans older than 12 years old
Toxoplasmosis is a brain-parasite. The CDC reports that more than 375 Americans die annually due to toxoplasmosis. In addition, 3 Americans died in 2011 after being exposed to a brain-eating amoeba. So you’re about 22 times more likely to die from a brain-eating zombie parasite than a terrorist.
There were at least 155 Americans killed by police officers in the United States in 2011. That means that you were more than 9 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than by a terrorist.
The 2011 Report on Terrorism from the National Counter Terrorism Center notes that Americans are just as likely to be “crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year” as they are to be killed by terrorists.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control  show that Americans are 110 times more likely to die from contaminated food than terrorism. And see this.
The Jewish Daily Forward noted in May that – even including the people killed in the Boston bombing – you are more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. And see these statistics from CNN.
Reason notes:
[The risk of being killed by terrorism] compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just published, Background Report: 9/11, Ten Years Later [PDF]. The report notes, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, that fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010.
Scientific American reported in 2011:
John Mueller, a political scientist at Ohio State University, and Mark Stewart, a civil engineer and authority on risk assessment at University of Newcastle in Australia … contended, “a great deal of money appears to have been misspent and would have been far more productive—saved far more lives—if it had been expended in other ways.”
chart comparing annual fatality risksMueller and Stewart noted that, in general, government regulators around the world view fatality risks—say, from nuclear power, industrial toxins or commercial aviation—above one person per million per year as “acceptable.” Between 1970 and 2007 Mueller and Stewart asserted in a separate paper published last year in Foreign Affairs that a total of 3,292 Americans (not counting those in war zones) were killed by terrorists resulting in an annual risk of one in 3.5 million. Americans were more likely to die in an accident involving a bathtub (one in 950,000), a home appliance (one in 1.5 million), a deer (one in two million) or on a commercial airliner (one in 2.9 million).
The global mortality rate of death by terrorism is even lower. Worldwide, terrorism killed 13,971 people between 1975 and 2003, an annual rate of one in 12.5 million. Since 9/11 acts of terrorism carried out by Muslim militants outside of war zones have killed about 300 people per year worldwide. This tally includes attacks not only by al Qaeda but also by “imitators, enthusiasts, look-alikes and wannabes,” according to Mueller and Stewart.
Defenders of U.S. counterterrorism efforts might argue that they have kept casualties low by thwarting attacks. But investigations by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies suggest that 9/11 may have been an outlier—an aberration—rather than a harbinger of future attacks. Muslim terrorists are for the most part “short on know-how, prone to make mistakes, poor at planning” and small in number, Mueller and Stewart stated. Although still potentially dangerous, terrorists hardly represent an “existential” threat on a par with those posed by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.
In fact, Mueller and Stewart suggested in Homeland Security Affairs, U.S. counterterrorism procedures may indirectly imperil more lives than they preserve: “Increased delays and added costs at U.S. airports due to new security procedures provide incentive for many short-haul passengers to drive to their destination rather than flying, and, since driving is far riskier than air travel, the extra automobile traffic generated has been estimated to result in 500 or more extra road fatalities per year.”
The funds that the U.S. spends on counterterrorism should perhaps be diverted to other more significant perils, such as industrial accidents (one in 53,000), violent crime (one in 22,000), automobile accidents (one in 8,000) and cancer (one in 540). “Overall,” Mueller and Stewart wrote, “vastly more lives could have been saved if counterterrorism funds had instead been spent on combating hazards that present unacceptable risks.” In an e-mail to me, Mueller elaborated:
“The key question, never asked of course, is what would the likelihood be if the added security measures had not been put in place? And, if the chances without the security measures might have been, say, one in 2.5 million per year, were the trillions of dollars in investment (including overseas policing which may have played a major role) worth that gain in security—to move from being unbelievably safe to being unbelievably unbelievably safe? Given that al Qaeda and al Qaeda types have managed to kill some 200 to 400 people throughout the entire world each year outside of war zones since 9/11—including in areas that are far less secure than the U.S.—there is no reason to anticipate that the measures have deterred, foiled or protected against massive casualties in the United States. If the domestic (we leave out overseas) enhanced security measures put into place after 9/11 have saved 100 lives per year in the United States, they would have done so at a cost of $1 billion per saved life. That same money, if invested in a measure that saves lives at a cost of $1 million each—like passive restraints for buses and trucks—would have saved 1,000 times more lives.”
Mueller and Stewart’s analysis is conservative, because it excludes the most lethal and expensive U.S. responses to 9/11. Al Qaeda’s attacks also provoked the U.S. into invading and occupying two countries, at an estimated cost of several trillion dollars. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have resulted in the deaths of more than 6,000 Americans so far—more than twice as many as were killed on September 11, 2001—as well as tens of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans.
In 2007 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that people are more likely to be killed by lightning than terrorism. “You can’t sit there and worry about everything,” Bloomberg exclaimed. “Get a life. Actually, according to Mueller and Stewart, Americans’ annual risk of dying from lightning, at one in seven million is only half the risk from terrorism.
Indeed,  the Senior Research Scientist for the Space Science Institute (Alan W. Harris) estimates that the odds of being killed by a terrorist attack is about the same as being hit by an asteroid (and see this).
Terrorism pushes our emotional buttons. And politicians and the media tend to blow the risk of terrorism out of proportion. But as the figures above show, terrorism is a very unlikely cause of death.
Indeed, our spending on anti-terrorism measures is way out of whack … especially because most of the money has been wasted.  And see this article, and this 3-minute video by professor Mueller:
Indeed, mission creep in the name of countering terrorism actually makes us more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
Note: The U.S. is supporting the most extreme and violent types of Muslims.  Indeed, the U.S. has waived the prohibitions of arming terrorist groups in order to topple the Syrian government … even though the head of the Syrian rebels has called for Al Qaeda to carry out new attacks on America.
Does that sound like a smart way to try to reduce the minimal risks we currently face from terrorism?
Update: Here are the National Safety Council’s numbers for 2009.


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Big Banks

5 Years After the Financial Crisis, The Big Banks Are Still Committing Massive Crimes

Preface: Not all banks are criminal enterprises. The wrongdoing of a particular bank cannot be attributed to other banks without proof. But – as documented below – many of the biggest banks have engaged in unimaginably bad behavior.

You Won’t Believe What They’ve Done …

Here are just some of the improprieties by big banks over the last century (you’ll see that many shenanigans are continuing today):
  • Engaging in mafia-style big-rigging fraud against local governments. See this, this and this
  • Shaving money off of virtually every pension transaction they handled over the course of decades, stealing collectively billions of dollars from pensions worldwide. Details here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here
  • Pledging the same mortgage multiple times to different buyers. See this, this, this, this and this. This would be like selling your car, and collecting money from 10 different buyers for the same car
  • Committing massive fraud in an $800 trillion dollar market which effects everything from mortgages, student loans, small business loans and city financing
  • Pushing investments which they knew were terrible, and then betting against the same investments to make money for themselves. See this, this, this, this and this
  • Engaging in unlawful “Wash Trades” to manipulate asset prices. See this, this and this
  • Participating in various Ponzi schemes. See this, this and this
  • Bribing and bullying ratings agencies to inflate ratings on their risky investments
The executives of the big banks invariably pretend that the hanky-panky was only committed by a couple of low-level rogue employees. But studies show that most of the fraud is committed by management.
Indeed, one of the world’s top fraud experts – professor of law and economics, and former senior S&L regulator Bill Black – says that most financial fraud is “control fraud”, where the people who own the banks are the ones who implement systemic fraud. See this, this and this.
Even the bank with the reputation as being the “best managed bank” in the U.S., JP Morgan, has engaged in massive fraud. For example, the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report today quoting an examiner at the Office of Comptroller of the Currency – JPMorgan’s regulator – saying he felt the bank had “lied to” and “deceived” the agency over the question of whether the bank had mismarked its books to hide the extent of losses. And Joshua Rosner – noted bond analyst, and Managing Director at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher & Co – notes that JP Morgan had many similar anti money laundering laws violations as HSBC, failed to segregate accounts a la MF Global, and paid almost 12% of its 2009-12 net income on regulatory and legal settlements.
But at least the big banks do good things for society, like loaning money to Main Street, right?
  • The big banks have slashed lending since they were bailed out by taxpayers … while smaller banks have increased lending. See this, this and this
Indeed, top experts say that fraud caused the Great Depression and the 2008 crisis, and that failing to rein in fraud is dooming our economy.
We can almost understand why Thomas Jefferson warned:
And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies ….
John Adams said:
Banks have done more injury to religion, morality, tranquillity, prosperity, and even wealth of the nation than they have done or ever will do good.
And Lord Acton argued:
The issue which has swept down the centuries and which will have to be fought sooner or later is the people versus the banks.
No wonder a stunning list of prominent economists, financial experts and bankers say we need to break up the big banks.    Physical Book     Virtual Book

Why at least 70% will vote for US vs Special Interests

7 in 10 Americans Think Government Is For The Banks And Big Corps (Not The People)

Tyler Durden's picture

72% of the poor and 71% of the middle-class believe government policies (fiscal and monetary) have done little or nothing to help them. Of course, this will be eschewed by the academics (as Santelli recently exclaimed regarding the arrogance of the intellectuals) because "the people" just don't get it. But when 69% of all Americans, according a new Pew study, say large banks and financial institutions have benefited the most from post-recession government policies; communications policies are going badly awry. Despite a surging stock market, exploding home prices, and low rates spurring all kinds of subprime auto loan exuberance, there has been little change in these perceptions since July 2010.

Via Pew Research,
The public sees clear winners and losers as a result of the government’s economic policies following the recession that began in 2008.


In the public’s view, the beneficiaries of these policies are large banks and financial institutions, large corporations and wealthy people...


Sizable majorities say government policies have helped all three at least a fair amount – 69% say that about large banks and financial institutions, 67% large corporations and 59% wealthy people.


Roughly seven-in-ten say government policies have done little or nothing to help the poor (72%), the middle class (71%) and small businesses (67%).


The public had a dim view of assistance that the government gave to banks and financial institutions during the recession, after the 2008 fiscal meltdown threatened many of them. A Feb. 2012 survey found that 52% of Americans thought bailing out the banks through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was the wrong thing to do, while 39% supported the action.  That was a big turnaround from 2008 when the crisis hit in 2008 and 57% had said TARP was the right thing to do.

Overall, 40% say that the job situation is the national economic issue that worries them most, while somewhat fewer cite the budget deficit (24%) or rising prices (22%); just 10% say the condition of the financial and housing markets is their top economic worry.

The belief that the U.S. economic system is no more secure today than it was before the financial crisis is widely shared across demographic groups. There are partisan differences, however, with Democrats more likely than Republicans or independents to say that the system is more secure.

Large majorities of Republicans (80%) and independents (68%) say the economic system is not more secure than prior to the financial crisis. Democrats are divided: 51% say the system is more secure today while 45% say it is not.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Our Constitution Day and Declaration of Independence

What would our founding fathers think of present day government that exceeds Constitutional Authority and financial prudence to recreate many of the complaints enumerated in our Declaration of Independence?

For a baseline reality check, it is worth taking ten minutes to reread our founding documents and consider what to do about it in our next election. Timely clauses in red.

Our Declaration of Independence

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Our Constitution

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Article. I.
Section. 1.
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section. 2.
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section. 3.
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.
No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.
Section. 4.
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.
Section. 5.
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Section. 6.
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Section. 7.
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Section. 8.
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
Section. 9.
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.
No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
Section. 10.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

Article. II.
Section. 1.
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.
The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Section. 2.
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Section. 3.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
Section. 4.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Article III.
Section. 1.
The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.
Section. 2.
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Section. 3.
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Article. IV.
Section. 1.
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Section. 2.
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.
Section. 3.
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section. 4.
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.

Article. V.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

Article. VI.
All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Article. VII.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.
Attest William Jackson Secretary
done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

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