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The Declaration of Independence---Still Relevant Today?

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June 12, 2016

"--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" -- The Declaration of Independence

Lately, the purveyors of more war and dictatorship have taken to diismissing protests that various government actions violate the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by simply declaring those documents as irrelevent, being that they are almost 250 years old.

But the fact is that the Constituion does change over time, through the approved process of Amendment, and today's Constitution bears little resemblance to the one signed on Congress all those years ago. Like the White House itself, little of the original actually remains. But the founding principle remains the same. For government to be legitimate and legal, it must constrain itself within the limits imposed by that Constitution.

As for the Declaration, it was never the law of the land, but a symbolic statement. Yet not only is it still relevant, it is even more relevant today that at any time I have been alive.

To understand what led to the Declaration of Independence, you need to understand life as it was when the document was drafted. The American colonists, who still thought of themselves as British, were constrained by various laws which forced them to be dependent on Great Britain for everything they needed, to Britain's gain. The American colonists were required to buy those products they could not make for themselves from the British East India company. The British East India Company, a "too big to fail" company of its day, was actually in serious financial difficulties and Parliament passed the Tea Act as a form of bailout, at the colonists' expense. Granted a monopoly, the British East India Company shipped poorer quality teas at inflated prices to the colonies, a move that accelerated the American preference for coffee over tea in the following decades. So poor was the tea being sent to the colonies that the Dutch actually ran a successful tea smuggling operation to the colonies! This triggered the Boston Tea Party, the first and most famous of protests in which colonists raided British ships and dumped the tea overboard.

Most Americans, including George Washington, disapproved of the Boston Tea Party, but Britain's over-reaction of annulling all self government, increasing the quartering of soldiers, and closing Boston Harbor until damages were paid (a form of collective punishment), called the Intolerable Acts, turned public sympathy away from the crown and towards the movement for independence, leading to the formation of the first Continental Congress.

But by far the worst abuse was King George III's currency act which banned the colonies from coining their own money and required all transactions be carried out using bank notes borrowed at interest from the Bank of England, a practice that reduced the colonies to the same desperate poverty as the common people in Britain, as documented in the writings of the time by authors such as Charles Dickens.

We find modern echoes of that same mercantilism occurring again today, with government that we must buy certain products (such as caccines) and only from government-approved sources. And the requiring of citizens to conduct all transactions using bank notes borrowed at interest from privately-owned central banks has it modern descendant in the Federal Reserve System.

What follows is the list of some of the specific complaints lodged by the writers of the Declaration of INdependence, together with their modern counterparts.

"He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."

The colonists petitioned King George III to pass laws that would improve their lives. But in an age where taxing citizens directly was impractical, the King relied on taxes collected from the nobility, paid for from the rents commoners paid to live on their lands. As a side note, this was the reason why the right to property was replaced with "the pursuit of happiness" in order to preserve the landowners as a source of revenue for the new government. Under pressure from the nobility, many of whom were invested in the various businesses trading with the colonies, King George III simply ignored petitions for any laws which might inconvenience his friends and financial supporters.

We see that same refusal to pass laws for the public good to please financial "nobility" in the current debates about laws regarding GMO labeling and fracking.

"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."

King George III was a believer in central control. Given his upbringing, it is easy to understand why. King George III insisted that no laws could be passed in the colonies without his direct approval. Between the time required to send messages back and forth across the Atlantic, and simple inattention by the king, many laws requiring immediate attention were delays until long after their original purpose had faded.

Today we are seeing a continuance of the transition from self-governing states as created by the original Constitution, to a system of central control in Washington DC. Much of that transition occurred after the American Civil War, which was not really so much about slavery as a state's right to leave the union.

Today we see the government engaged in a massive land grab under various excuses to seize public (and in some cases private) lands for economic exploitation and collateral on the US debt. All of these land grabs are a violation of the Enclave Clause of the Constitution, which states that the federal Government can only own the land underneath Federal Buildings, and various Federal government infrastructure such as airports, harbors, and military bases.

"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. "

King George III sought to limit the colonists' influence in Parliament by refusing to allow colonies to grow larger unless the citizens of that colony relinquished their right to representation.

Today the same thing is going on, albeit much more subtly, with Gerrymandering shaping distracts to suit political agendas, and the massive problem with election fraud in this nation.

"He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers."

The Judiciary of the United States is established by the Constitution and may not be tampered with. But obstruction has become possible by the use of Presidential Executive Orders, which have been used without legal justification to bypass or even change the will of the Congress and the Supreme Court.

"He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries."

One glaring example that this system of political patronage still exists was seen in the recent RICO lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman against the Clinton Foundation. The judge, appointed by President Bill Clinton, refused to recuse himself over the obvious conflict of interest, then threw the case out of court without examination of the evidence.

"He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance."

King George III took William Shakespeare's advice from Henry the Fourth, Part 2. "Be it thy course to busy giddy minds." In other words, keep the people constantly running in circles with paperwork and they will have no time left to ponder the desirability of the government as a whole. And all these officers, paid for by the people, were ways to keep those working in those offices loyal to the King!

Today, there are 542 US Government agencies, and hundreds more at the state and local levels!