Is a “natural born” citizen the same thing as a citizen “naturalized at birth?” If not, Ted Cruz is in trouble.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was born in Canada to an American-born mother and a Cuban-born father.  That Senator Cruz is an American citizen from his birth is not a question posed here.  He was a citizen at birth . . . period.

Senator Cruz is now seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in this 2016 election cycle.  Another Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has called into question whether Senator Cruz, under the US Constitution, is eligible to be President.  Trump warned that if Cruz is not eligible, the Republican Party would find itself in an awkward situation if Cruz were the nominee.

The US Constitution, approximately midway through Section 1, of Article II, spells out the eligibility of presidential candidates:

“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.”

The US Constitution, just by itself, in isolation from acts of Congress, confers citizenship to those born on U.S. soil.  For those who may be citizens at birth not born on U.S. soil, one must look to the acts of Congress.  Citizenship by parentage was not an issue tackled until the Naturalization Act of 1790, three years after the ratification of the US Constitution.  See where this is headed?  At the time of the writing of the US Constitution, citizenship by location of birth was fairly well defined.  Birth citizenship through a parent or parents off of U.S. soil was an open question not yet taken up.  Congress, not the Constitution, bestowed Ted Cruz with citizenship at birth.  The 14th Amendment to the Constitution expanded upon who was to be enumerated as a citizen, but that amendment has little to no bearing upon the case of Ted Cruz.

The following passage is excerpted from the Naturalization Act of 1790:

“And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States [ . . . ]”

Clearly, Senator Cruz is a citizen of the United States based upon this statute.  His Cuban-born father did reside in the United States for a few years in advance of Ted Cruz’s birth in Canada.  The phrase within the statute that reads “shall be considered as natural born citizens” seems to settle the matter of Ted Cruz’s eligibility to become POTUS, does it not?

Or does it?

The use of the helping verb “shall” is binding upon the government, so that bodes well for Cruz, along with the phrase “natural born.”

But why say “shall be considered as” rather than “are?”  If the statute were to read, “And the children of citizens of the United States . . . are natural born citizens,” then no question would remain about Cruz’s eligibility.  But “shall be considered as” might signify that a person in such circumstances is naturalized at birth, not needing to follow the same processes of naturalization that others born off of U.S. soil must go through, but it still falls under the auspices of naturalization law.  Does this statute create a “naturalized at birth” citizen separate from a “natural born” citizen, with the one being “considered as” the other?  Is there a distinction there?  Or does “shall be considered as” equal to “are,” relegating the concept of “naturalized at birth,” in an instance such as this, to mythology?

Clearly, Ted Cruz is convinced that there is no “naturalized at birth” in play concerning his own citizenship.  Donald Trump isn’t convinced otherwise, it’s just that, as he pointed out, questions might be raised.  Any other time this question might have been put to the test in our presidential races, it never was.  Those who might have come under questioning were never the eventual nominees of the major parties, anyway.  Ted Cruz, however, stands a chance to be the Republican nominee.  Though no caucuses have been conducted and no primary election votes counted, the two frontrunners of the GOP appear to be Trump and Cruz. The other GOP candidates appear to be trailing badly.

Trump’s question, in a backhanded way, could be taken as a compliment, for Trump is implicitly acknowledging that Cruz could become the party’s nominee.  Aside from posing the question, Trump has always asserted that he, himself would be the nominee.  But if Cruz does become the nominee, I think Donald Trump is absolutely right that the question over natural born citizenship will loom much larger than the so-called “birther” issue that tried to nip at Obama’s heels.

You may have heard Democrats that have openly expressed a desire for either Trump or Cruz to be the GOP nominee.  Why?  Because they think the election of the Democrat nominee to the presidency is a slam dunk if one of those two happens to be the GOP nominee.  What if the Democrats get what they wished for in a GOP nominee, but the general election picture appears to be much less of a slam dunk?  What if the Democrat nominee is not faring well and the prospect of a President Trump or a President Cruz is becoming a very real one?  Will the Democrats pull out all the stops?  Will they seize at any straw they can?  Of course, they will.  If Ted Cruz is the nominee, and the matter of his eligibility has not been settled definitively, the GOP may have a real mess on its hands because if the Democrats are not faring well, they will seize at that straw.  That’s all Donald Trump is pointing out.

I believe that, if Cruz is nominated and stands a real chance of winning the general election, the Democrats will seize upon this, and it won’t be resolved until after Election Day.  If the Democrat nominee wins, then the question goes by the wayside.  If Cruz wins, I think his inauguration in January will be hijacked by the Democrats and hauled into the courts.  I think they will seek a court injunction barring Cruz from taking office until after the question is settled in court.  If the Democrats’ injunction is granted and, under that scenario, if Cruz wins in court, then how many months will it take to do so?  When would Cruz be allowed to take office?  Who would be acting as POTUS until that point in time?

What if Cruz loses such a suit months after winning an election?  Do we reconvene the electoral college with another GOP nominee?  Does the VP candidate, who won just as many electoral votes as Cruz, the winning presidential nominee, get to take office as POTUS?  Would the electoral votes have to be vacated, leaving no nominee with a majority of electoral votes, and then get decided in the U.S. House of Representatives?  Or, scarier still, does the electoral college reconvene without a GOP nominee?  I think it’s the scarier scenario that would prevail.  Alternate Republican hopefuls will be bombarding electors with sales pitches while Cruz’s case drags through court.  But unless GOP electors uniformly embrace the VP nominee, I think the electoral college vote would be a mishmash, perhaps landing the decision in the US House, or perhaps by flipping the majority of electors over to the Democrat nominee.

If you are a staunch Cruz supporter, steel yourself, because emerging victorious will likely be a rougher ride than you’d ever imagined.

2016 POTUS race is like cable or satellite TV: so many options, but nothing that’s interesting

Yeah, the ratings for the Republican presidential campaign debates are through the roof.  Yeah, there are lots of choices this time around–and that’s a good thing.  That being said, I’m getting frustrated that I can’t identify a candidate I’m excited about.  I had a favorable opinion of Bobby Jindal based on how much less corrupt Louisiana state government is than it was before he took office.  A record of reform is appealing to me.  Jindal, however, is one of four GOP candidates who have dropped out of the race.  Lindsey Graham dropped out very recently.  Further back, Rick Perry dropped out.  Scott Walker was the first to drop out (which made total sense to me).  On the Democrat side (not that anybody across the aisle interests me), Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee have dropped out.  That still leaves 13 Republicans and 3 Democrats in the running:

To get an idea of the lay of the land, I’ve listed the candidates top to bottom in each party to approximate recent polling data (not an exact science to be sure).  I’ve linked each name in that list to the corresponding official campaign webpage.  Go ahead and click on the links.  See if anybody excites you.

Let me list some of the grievances that cause me to cross candidates off my list of preferences:

  • Crony capitalism?  Support for bailouts?  Ties to the gambling industry?  Ties to businesses “too big to fail?”  Pay-to-play politics?  Manipulate markets through artificial means to predetermine winners and losers of your own choosing?  More beholden to campaign donors than to voters?  Sorry, not for me.  Oops!  I just shoveled a bunch of people off my list already!
  • Isolationism?  Reluctant to propel our nation to lead the world?  Fearful of increasing legal immigration?  Hey, wake up!  People are watching us all around the world.  I am mindful of that.  We cannot have leaders that bury their heads in the sand.
  • Dishonesty?  Trying to be enigmatic about policy positions?  Talking out of both sides of your mouth?  Unwilling to be held accountable?  Holding double-standards?  Dodging culpability through legal technicalities and obfuscation?  Lacking integrity?  (I’m looking at you, Hillary Clinton.  This is why you’d be the last person I’d vote for of either party.)
  • Lack of leadership?  No executive experience?  Unable to rally people to your cause?  Unable to form coalitions?  Unwilling to negotiate with those on the other side of the political aisle?  A lone voice in the wilderness that no one cares to listen to?  Ineffective administrator?  Constantly making excuses for poor performance?  The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing?  Take credit for the good but pass blame for the bad?  The buck doesn’t stop at your desk?  There are places in society for such people.  They can be bloggers, just like me.  And, just like me, they shouldn’t be POTUS.
  • In trouble with the law?  Domestic violence?  Sexual harassment?  Driving while intoxicated?  Use of recreational drugs?  Evaded taxes?  Commingled personal funds with business funds, campaign funds, NGO funds, or government funds?  Hired a domestic that was not eligible to work in the United States?  Steered contracts for bribes and kickbacks?  Hid information from FOIA requests that the public has a right to know about?  Does a life of privilege protect you from reaping legal consequences that would ordinarily befall someone in less-priveleged circumstances?  No one should be exempt from the law.
  • Utopianism?  Should free markets go the way of the dinosaur?  In the interests of economic egalitarianism in pursuit of a classless society through destratification, should our society and economy be centrally planned by a benevolent federal government comprised of the best thinkers within the ivory tower?  Do we need to be saved from ourselves?  Are we citizens irrationally prone to vote against our own best interests?  Should the interests of the betterment of society trump the ambitions of individuals?  Wouldn’t equality guarantee happiness for everyone?  Well, I don’t call myself Buckeye RINO because I am okay with being herded like cattle.
  • Constitution allergy?  Is the U.S. Constitution inconvenient?  Should speech, religion, the press, and peaceable assembly be regulated?  Should firearm ownership be confined to on-duty law enforcement and military personnel?  Is the whole population comprised of suspects, thus seeking warrants just bothersome red tape?  Do the checks and balances of the U.S. Constitution intrude on the branches of government to the point that each branch needs work-arounds to circumvent the checks and balances?  Are the people too subversive to be sovereign?  Is it too hard to declare war before engaging in acts of war?  Is due process too much to expect when the government has an interest in seizing private property?  Shouldn’t the Senate have the same right of introducing an appropriations bill as does the House?  Should special interest groups be delegated the responsibility of writing the legislation that gets introduced in Congress?  If any act of Congress, on its face, is unenforceable, should the executive branch be given carte blanche to add whatever administrative code to it deemed necessary to make it enforceable?  Should the new loophole of regarding the U.S. Constitution as a “living document” render the Constitution malleable to the point at which it means whatever it is expedient to say it means at any given point in time?  Should any U.S. District Court judge be permitted to strike down the laws of any state, or institute new state laws, based upon the federal government’s interests and the federal government’s notions of political correctness?  Is holding on to power, whether for incumbents, the federal government as a whole, the two major political parties, businesses “too big to fail,” or government bureaucracies (like the IRS, the Federal Reserve Board, the Bureau of Land Management, the DEA, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, ICE, the FEC, the EPA, etc.) so imperative that the sovereign people, the 50 states, and the U.S. Constitution must ultimately be subjugated?  I cannot abide politicians who act in this manner, and maybe that’s why GOP voters have been driven toward non-politicians early on in this election cycle.

I already eliminated all the presidential candidates based on these 7 bulletpoints.  Now what?  Choose the least of the evils?  In that case, I find myself being pushed toward Rand Paul, for the 7th bulletpoint trumps them all.  I don’t think of Rand Paul as a leader.  I have no data from which I can extrapolate what kind of administrator he would be.  Libertarians often outsource the work of government because the government is deemed too inefficient.  I am not libertarian.  I think many functions of government should be kept in-house.  Ideally, there’d be a chain of command within government that would hold bureaucracies accountable to the chief executive and responsive to the people, thus a political leader should reform government agencies and lead them to greater efficiency.  I don’t agree with many tenets of libertarianism, legalization of recreational drugs being just one example of what I oppose.  I worry that a libertarian running the government would be like steering a rudderless ship, for I think that libertarianism aspires to such an extreme of individualism that it interferes with a sense of community.  I think having a sense of community is the essence of good government that rules by the consent of the governed.  I think Rand Paul is isolationist.  In foreign policy, I fear a President Rand Paul would project weakness.  I fear that the U.S. would step aside as world leader, and that, in turn, would leave a vacuum that Russia or China or many other nations would like to fill.  I must admit that I believe in American exceptionalism.  I think we have the best nation on the planet, and I wish that other nations would emulate ours at least to the extent that their respective constitutions grant liberties to their respective populations that are equal to our own Bill of Rights.

What scares me about so many other candidates is that they want to sound so tough on the homeland security front that they are willing to part with key provisions of the Bill of Rights, whether it’s gun control, the tendency to attempt to muzzle the media in the face of criticism (or script, in advance, the messages delivered by the media), and a barely concealed animosity toward religion on the left; or treating all citizens as suspects on the right.  Have you heard the GOP candidates’ stances on encryption?  They are chilling.  I believe the freedom of speech includes choosing who is and who is not the audience of any given communication.  This blog is unencrypted because I hope for a wide audience for the views I state here.  But if I’m talking about a sensitive personal matter, I want to communicate in complete privacy only to a specific audience of my choosing.  Unfortunately, the national security hawks want every civilian communication to be a public one with plenty of ways to eavesdrop at their disposal.  I never liked the so-called Patriot Act for its infringement of 4th Amendment provisions regarding warrants, or should I say the granting of policing power with either no warrants or issuance of secret warrants, thus circumventing the constitutional checks and balances upon policing power.  The result is an arrangement that makes the government opaque to the people and the people transparent to the government.  I think the people of this nation need to put terrorist acts in perspective.  What is the ratio of terrorist-on-American crime with respect to American-on-American crime?  Remember the chorus on the right side of the aisle that responded to prominent white-on-black criminal cases with the knee-jerk reaction of “What about black-on-black crime?”  The casualties from terrorist-on-American crime are much fewer than non-terrorist-on-American crime.  I suggest we not throw away our constitutional rights over this.  Chris Christie said he puts national security first because, for hours after the attacks on the World Trade Center, he didn’t know what had become of his wife.  Along that same line of reasoning, if someone close to Chris Christie, heaven forbid, should be threatened by a firearm, would that make it okay, in his mind, to rescind the 2nd Amendment?  I think the 2nd Amendment is one way to ensure that terrorists will never take control of our nation.  Do you remember a time when military coups were ubiquitous across the Third World?  In those nations, the people lacked the arms that governments and military insurgents had.  What purpose do assault weapons serve in the hands of a free people?  Some of the answers to that question are that we maintain a civilian-controlled military, that we deter foreign invasion, and that we prevent the formation of a totalitarian state (or that we have the power to overthrow a totalitarian state, heaven forbid).  I offered Chris Christie’s position as an example of the candidates’ rhetoric on national security, but he really shouldn’t be singled out, for candidates at the bottom of the polls, like Jim Gilmore and Martin O’Malley, all the way to the top of the polls, like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, envision a security state that must take precedence over constitutional liberties.

For the time being, I suppose I am cornered into the Rand Paul camp, and I don’t like it.  I’m not a happy camper.  I’m hoping candidates whose leadership skills I admire will come to their senses and take the side of the US Constitution.  Barring that, watching this race unfold is like channel surfing and finding nothing intriguing on TV.

The Meaning of Jade Helm 15 for the Future of the United States of America

Editor’s note:  My brother, James Williamson, wrote a guest blog article also about Jade Helm, titled, “Imminent Rebellion: The Perfect Storm,” in which he theorizes that the federal government may be conspiring to quash rebellious states and/or rioters by declaring martial law . . . or worse. Feel free to compare my post with his and post comments with your thoughts.–DJW

What is Operation Jade Helm 15?

Operation Jade Helm 15 is a joint military exercise currently underway in the southwestern United States of America that is due to wrap up on September 15, 2015. In addition to coordination between branches of the US Armed Forces, these exercises will also entail working hand-in-glove with other federal agencies not usually known for pairing with the military during combat missions—oh! . . . and I should clarify for you that these military exercises are, in fact, combat drills. Without that clarification, you might think that these are emergency preparedness drills for either civil defense or disaster relief, because several of the odd partners in these exercises are agencies within the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

In this simulation, some of the southwestern states will be designated as allied territory, i.e. staging grounds for combat missions. Other states will be designated as hostile territory, within which targets are designated for the missions launched from allied territory. Two states are considered neutral territory with one seemingly sympathetic toward the allies and the other seemingly sympathetic toward the enemy, but not otherwise actively engaged in the skirmishes between the two sides. In this scenario, California has been partitioned with the two counties that neighbor the Mexican border designated as hostile territory while the rest of California is in allied territory. The other hostile territories are Texas and Utah while the other allied territories are Nevada and Colorado. New Mexico is seen as sympathetic toward the enemy and Arizona is seen as sympathetic toward the allies.

Jade Helm 15 has become a popular topic among conspiracy theorists.

A number of skeptical individual citizens, as well as those in social circles (Tea Party?) and self-styled civilian militias who are distrustful of the federal government, are concerned that Operation Jade Helm 15 is a preparation for carrying out future military operations directed at muting government critics. They point to combat missions planned for Jade Helm wherein small special ops teams, prior to any battlefield engagement, are to quietly swoop in to capture or kill the leaders of the opposition. The FBI and the DEA, both of which are federal policing agencies that operate mostly within the United States rather than abroad, will be the ones detecting and tracking the opposition leaders in advance of the arrival of the special ops teams that will take those targets out.

Put more bluntly, the states designated as allied or hostile territory for the purposes of Operation Jade Helm 15 are not stand-ins for foreign nations, if the rumors of FBI and DEA cooperation with the military are true. The states are cast in the role of actual states of the United States. Thus, another conspiracy theory is that this is more than just eliminating self-styled civilian militias and anti-government propagandists. Instead, many of the conspiracy theorists interpret these special ops missions as preparation for the initial stages of another civil war.

The military has reached out to communities to refute conspiracy theorists.

These military exercises are mostly being conducted on private properties with permissions from property owners. Without some kind of advance public notice of these exercises, the military worried that civilians dwelling near these properties would become alarmed by the noises of helicopters and rifle fire, thereby unnecessarily swamping 911 operators with phone calls while drills were taking place. Communities near where these exercises are or will be taking place have been notified that these are only drills. No real emergencies are anticipated. In some communities, the military has held actual town hall meetings to offer reassurance that these exercises are merely tests of coordination between military branches and federal agencies to enhance military readiness for operations in other parts of the world.

Some conspiracy theorists have been in attendance at the community town hall meetings hosted by the military to confront the military officers with their suspicions of preparation for martial law and/or civil war. The military officers conducting the meetings repeatedly gave assurances that the federal government has not and is not planning for either the implementation of martial law or the onset of civil war.

The conspiracy theorists were not persuaded or placated by the assurances, and military officers privately conceded that nothing they could say would have changed the minds of the conspiracy theorists. The view of the military officers was that the conspiracy theorists would not put their minds at ease until September 16th arrived—the day after wrap-up—without the occurrence of any alarming incidents in the meantime.

In many cases, the conspiracy theorists in attendance were not local townsfolk. They traveled some distances to attend these town hall meetings. Overall, local townsfolk in the vicinity of the planned exercises were apt to believe the military officers, or at least give them the benefit of the doubt. Public support for our nation’s troops has characteristically been very strong since 9/11, and perhaps that is why the townsfolk responded to the military in a favorable way. Theories of conspiracy apparently failed to gain traction among locals.

I think Jade Helm is a trial balloon for a contingency, not confirmation of a full-fledged conspiracy.

Perhaps I am drawing a fine distinction, but I hope readers can discern my meaning. Let me first pose a hypothetical question: What if the federal government experienced a financial meltdown? I’m not talking about a Congressional debate that failed to yield enough votes for raising the debt ceiling and thus causing a government shutdown. No, I am talking about a much worse fiscal environment, as I blogged about four-and-a-half years ago, where the value of our money or the sources of our money just evaporate.

If there is a full-fledged conspiracy afoot in the federal government, it is a conspiracy to continue government “stimulus” spending and central bank (the Federal Reserve) quantitative easing that will surely bankrupt our government.

Crony capitalism and government intervention in the private sector is at the heart of the problem, just as it was during the Wall Street bailouts of 2008. Please do not misconstrue my disdain for crony capitalism as disdain for capitalism as a whole. I very much favor free-market capitalism. For more talking points about crony capitalism—what it is and what it brings about—beyond what I share here, perhaps you should follow the 2016 presidential campaign messages of Carly Fiorina, as she has been outspoken on the matter. Big businesses within a myriad of industries have lobbied successfully over the course of decades for federal laws that provide them with distinct marketplace advantages. Incumbent politicians of both major political parties crave campaign donations to retain power. The corporate PACs have been rewarding members of Congress for favorable laws by filling campaign coffers. The Wall Street bailouts of 2008 were not only motivated by a concern that a disastrous nationwide economic meltdown would occur, but also by a concern that politicians would be biting the hands that feed them had they not approved the bailouts. Bailouts only constitute a portion of “stimulus” spending designed to lengthen the careers of professional politicians via rewards to big business political benefactors. Growth of government, for example, leads to growth of private-sector government contractors, thus providing economic “stimulus.” As the government grows, so also does the power of the politicians that run it. The government has intruded on our private economy, and even our private lives, at an ever-accelerating rate. Considering government intrusion, it is no wonder that conspiracy theories abound. The conspiracy theory that I fully subscribe to is avarice. The government and the politicians that run it want money and power in the worst way.

The government’s greed for money and power is unsustainable. When the fiscal system collapses, when the government defaults on debt payments, when the government can only pay its employees with IOUs, when the government can no longer reimburse doctors for Medicare and Medicaid, when no more monthly Social Security benefits can be paid out, when no more unemployment checks can be issued, when no more Temporary Assistance to Needy Families can be provided, when the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation can no longer protect your bank deposits if your bank fails, when there is no longer any ability to bail out well-connected political benefactors, when U.S. Treasury bonds can no longer be redeemed (and when no one with any common sense will buy them), I predict the government will shift into confiscatory mode. Do you think the day will never come that the government is starved for money? I think we’ve already passed the point of no return. That day is coming. I’m convinced of it.

As the federal government becomes insolvent, forget about debt ceiling debates, the government will repeal or ignore any such ceiling in a desperate attempt to retain some kind of purchasing power. Woe unto all who may have cheated on federal taxes, owe federal loans, or otherwise committed offenses wherein laws allow for asset seizure, for private assets will be seized—forcefully, if necessary. Expect that more laws will be passed that allow for more private property forfeiture to the government. Expect the federal government to try to commandeer the resources of the states. Expect tax exemptions to evaporate. Expect federal taxes to be levied on assets that were never taxed before in American history. Does it sound far-fetched to you? If so, have you been paying attention to Greece and some of the measures the government has resorted to there? Greece hasn’t resorted to all of these measures, because they still are milking the European Union for as much as they can get, but, if you’ve paid attention, Greece has already resorted to some of these measures. Have you noticed what the Greek government has done to the banks?

Okay, I will concede that the government has not yet conspired to resort to any such measures. The conspiracy for money and power still rings true to me. So, if you, dear readers, will at least humor me by assuming that the federal government conspires to accumulate more money and power, what might the fallout be if the government cannot sustain its efforts to do so? You don’t know? You can’t be sure? You have some vague ideas of what might happen, but no crystal ball to show you exactly how it all plays out? If you are not sure what might happen in such a scenario, I think you are in good company. I think the federal government, though it has some vague ideas, doesn’t know exactly how such a situation plays out, either. I think they are mulling over the multitude of possible ramifications and seeing what options they can put on the table to mitigate against any negative ramifications that may arise. In other words, they are beginning to examine contingencies.

This is the distinction I am drawing. In my mind, Jade Helm is not a government conspiracy. The government has not committed itself to implementing martial law. It has not pledged to engage in civil war. It has not fully formulated plans for either of these actions. These are not the unspoken intentions behind the conception of Operation Jade Helm 15. Instead, the federal government is just brainstorming—throwing things at the wall, so to speak, and seeing what sticks—in case all hell breaks loose. The government does not yet know if they would put martial law, let alone civil war, on the table if the people and/or states revolt. Maybe there will be no revolt. Maybe citizens will pull together, help each other out, and keep the peace, giving the federal government time to regroup and conceive of a new way forward. Jade Helm, to me, is an exploratory mission to see what may be feasible in planning for the contingencies that may arise in an uncertain future.

In my opinion, the future will bring revolt and the U.S. government will act with hostility toward the people and the states.

The revolt I foresee will not be premeditated and the harsh actions of the government will not have arisen from conspiracy. It will unfold spontaneously. The federal government’s unsustainable avarice for money and power will be the underlying cause of the actions that follow. People desperate for basic essentials will riot and plunder. States will want to insulate themselves from the chaos to the degree that they will assert their autonomy and move toward secession.

The United States, to my knowledge, has not set up internment camps since they forced Americans of Japanese heritage to live in such camps during World War II. It was a mistake to set up the camps in the first place. The threat posed by those detained was minor to negligible. Their constitutional rights were suspended for the purpose of security, but in my mind, civil liberty trumps the small risks to security that a few individuals may pose. Jade Helm, from my understanding (but I hope I’m wrong), includes exercises in setting up and maintaining internment camps for government dissidents. I believe that if such exercises are conducted, that it may embolden the federal government to put internment camps on the table as an option should widespread popular revolt materialize.

The supposed joint exercises involving special ops, the FBI, and the DEA may encourage the government to put another option on the table to neutralize dissidents. I believe the DEA will be active, anyway, even without revolt, because the greedy government will act aggressively to seize property in connection with suspected drug crimes. We can only hope, in such desperate times, that the actions of the DEA will be directed only at legitimate drug criminals rather than impacting innocent civilians via dragnets too broad in scope. But, if things get out of hand and there is an uprising, particularly among self-styled militias, I can easily conceive of the FBI sniffing out the leading dissidents and special ops, in turn, snuffing them out.

Secession would first be attempted by states that have already passed measures in their legislatures asserting their sovereignty over their own territory. Many states have done so. Some of these states, like South Carolina, Utah, and Texas, have planned for contingencies that anticipate the possibility of the collapse of our national currency. South Carolina has reserved for itself the right to mint coins. Utah has reserved for its people the right of the people to mint their own coins. The Texas treasury’s investments include gold, held in a New York vault. The Texas legislature has garnered media attention for its call to relocate that gold to a yet-to-be-built vault on Texas’ own soil. Not only would these states be among the first to move toward secession, they would also be the first targets of federal military power, were the situation to escalate, in efforts to both block secession and commandeer states’ resources. Civil war may materialize. South Carolina—the last holdout in banishing the Confederate flag (not only a detestable symbol of slavery but a symbol of secession) and the first to engage in combat at the start of the Civil War, could conceivably be the starting point of a new civil war. This time, if such a scenario were to arise, instead of South Carolina’s troops assaulting a federal military installation, it will be the federal government that initiates an assault against South Carolina.

Seizing state assets in Texas and Utah before those states can secure them will serve as prime motivation for the federal government to strike preemptively in those states as well. I point to Operation Jade Helm 15 as evidence of the federal government’s conspiracy to obtain more wealth and power, for the whole states of Texas and Utah are designated as hostile territory in Jade Helm. You decide. Is this coincidence, or not? Is this a way to explore a contingency, or not?

As further evidence that designating Texas and Utah as hostile territory for the purposes of Jade Helm may not be coincidental, the neutrality of New Mexico and Arizona along with their supposed political leanings make little sense unless viewed through the eyes of federal avarice. After all, Arizona has had several high-profile squabbles with the federal government, so sympathizing with the federal government, as conceived of in Operation Jade Helm 15, doesn’t ring true. Meanwhile, the blue-leaning state of New Mexico has very different political leanings than Texas or Utah, so why would New Mexico, though sitting on the sidelines, be leaning away from the feds? In my travel through New Mexico, the bilingual nature of the state is evident. Spanish is spoken nearly everywhere, and a large proportion of New Mexico’s population speaks Spanish as its first language (which, in my mind, is not a bad thing). I am assuming that while the U.S. is reaching a point of meltdown, the nation of Mexico is still intact. I think New Mexico may seek to strengthen economic ties with Mexico as an economic stopgap measure, and though the New Mexico legislature may make no movement toward formal secession, the U.S. government may look upon New Mexico’s commerce with envy and have to make a decision whether to take action against New Mexico or look the other way. Meanwhile, Arizona has already burned its bridges with the Mexican government, so expanding commerce in that direction is not an option. Could the California counties bordering Mexico take even bolder action than New Mexico in engaging commercially with Mexico by going a step further and adopting a political stance defiant of the federal government? If the designations of hostile and friendly territory for the purposes of Jade Helm are totally innocent and random, so be it. But if the federal government has an appetite for plunder, doesn’t the map of Jade Helm finally make sense?

Putin is an opportunist, and Russia will swing into action if the U.S. is in disarray.

In the 2012 presidential campaign, the Obama campaign ridiculed Republican rival Mitt Romney for stating that Russia is the USA’s number one geopolitical foe. Now, even President Obama’s new appointee for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff admits the ill will and great danger the US faces from Russia. We knew Romney was right before the POTUS and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did. That ridiculous Russian relationship reset button is reason enough for me to dismiss support for Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid out of hand.

Close observers of Putin say that he looks at adversarial situations through the lens of a judo martial artist.  (On that note, I really like this article by Matthew Hedrick at Fortune magazine.)  Martial arts are comprised of more than just rehearsed moves and strategies, for, at the highest level, they are accompanied by a mindset, a way of perceiving interactions between external entities, a way of perceiving self in society, a way of perceiving one’s place in the world, a way of perceiving one’s internal thoughts and emotions, and a way of perceiving the spiritual and supernatural. Putin has achieved a black belt in judo. His instinct is not to be the aggressor when his adversary is most wary and least vulnerable. His instinct is to throw his adversary to the ground when his opponent exposes a vulnerability. Often, the force of the throw is not just determined by how much muscle Putin puts into it, for it is also significantly determined by how much momentum carried the adversary in the direction of the throw. With the United States already moving in a military direction against its own states in a civil war, a direction that could potentially result in the demise of the federal government, Russia may make a grab at the opportunity and finish the job—throwing the United States government to the ground.

The Russian propagandists have been bragging to their own nation that they have refined the abilities of their nuclear arsenal through advanced technology while the U.S. has stood pat with weaponry based on the designs of yesteryears. The Russian public loves this propaganda, and recent public opinion polls show that Russians have a very dim view of America. The Russian government propagandists have gone so far as to say that it can win . . . WIN . . . a nuclear war with the United States. If Russia indeed possesses this capability, we should look upon that nation with dread, for the Russian people have the political will to see it through.

I think that while the casualties mount in the United States, Russia will choose a time and place to strike with nuclear weapons that will break the back of the federal government as we know it. For those of us old enough to remember the Reagan Administration, the U.S. military proposed the development of a neutron bomb. I believe the Russians possess such bombs. The bombs are intended to leave buildings and infrastructure largely intact while killing off all inhabitants within the blast area. The radioactive fallout decays more rapidly than the nukes in our arsenal so that, in a short number of years (maybe less), the blast area can be occupied by the victors. Instead of blasting the planet to oblivion and radioactively poisoning the planet’s remains forever, Russia’s nukes can allow for surgical strikes that take out the populations of much smaller targets with little worry about incurring many casualties from radioactive fallout drifting over the Russian homeland. They win and we lose.

I do not believe Russian troops will be deployed to occupy American territory (with maybe exceptions for Alaska and the very strategically placed Hawaii). I believe Russia may use proxies for that purpose. Much as we won’t put boots on the ground to beat ISIS, but instead use airstrikes to enable allies such as the Kurds to occupy liberated territory, I think Russia will do likewise with their long-range military strikes while enabling an occupying invasion from elsewhere in the Americas. I believe Canada will not be able to maintain its territorial integrity as the invaders will not respect Canada’s borders and the Russians, coveting the whole of the Arctic Ocean basin, will strike our ally to the north, as well. The Russians will then turn toward reaching military objectives in their own hemisphere without any worry of intervention emanating from the United States.

If Jade Helm convinces the federal government that resorting to civil war is an option to put on the table as a response to widespread revolt over the government’s strong arm tactics in the wake of a fiscal emergency, then woe to the United States as we know it, for Russia will strike a crippling blow and America will be overthrown.

I believe there will be a rebirth of the nation, but it will take perhaps a decade for it to happen.

The new occupants of this region of North America will have swept in seeking the riches and the abundant life that was characteristic of the United States in its heyday and will not find it. Feeble regional governments will dot the landscape. They will totter until they find the right formula for governance. At some point, one of those governments will adopt principles contained in the U.S. Constitution and enjoy some prosperity as a result. Peoples of other regions will discover that the prosperity of the United States of the past proceeded not from an abundance of natural resources, but from the checks and balances upon government that the Constitution affords a sovereign people. Other regions will then seek to participate in a republic governed by that Constitution and will seek to have their territory annexed to that republic. In time, even peoples in distant parts of the Americas will seek the advantages of governance according to the principles of the Constitution. After all the destruction and chaos, a new American power will arise and immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere will start to swell.

If these events unfold, I project the onset to be quite soon, but I’ve been wrong before.

As mentioned in a blog post written in December 2010, I projected an utter economic collapse far worse than the one experienced in the fall of 2008. I said at that time that I could not envision, with our government’s fiscal condition so out of order, that the smoke and mirrors supporting the illusion of a strong fiat currency could be maintained for more than four years into the future. I was wrong. I am glad to be wrong. I hope to continue to be wrong. I hope our national debt turns out to be a mirage. I hope crony capitalism yields to free markets. I hope Americans can find meaningful employment that allows them to support their families. I hope that American prosperity leads to diminished demand upon government resources for family survival. I hope that economic growth yields sufficient growth in the tax base that we can trim tax rates. I hope that the working population grows so much and makes so much money that the money paid into Social Security and Medicare will help provide for the nation’s retirees and disabled. But I cannot see a turning point in our future that allows us to merrily proceed toward that utopia.

The crumbling of Greece may very well cause the European Union to crumble. Japan has never really recovered from its economic crisis dating back to the mid 1990’s. China has overextended itself with massive infrastructure projects, a number of which are underutilized even after completion. The Middle East has discovered that oil is becoming a common commodity. Russia sees the economic writing on the wall and is working feverishly to insulate themselves from the coming crisis as best they can. At least Russia has a jump on attempts to stay on its feet in relation to the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. South America is likely to escape the full brunt of the coming crisis, though Venezuela is already deluged in its own crisis. Much of this I rehearsed in that 2010 blog post. I see no reason to retreat from this falling domino scenario. The United States will not be able to withstand the economic blows reverberating around the world.

From what I can piece together, first shoe falls this fall. It is summer, already. I believe Jade Helm will wrap up on September the 15th without incident. It will be in the weeks after that during which the foundation shakes. I think many of us will still be leading normal lives through the end of this year, but we will no longer be so naïve about what might transpire. Perhaps Social Security payments will be suspended sometime in 2016 and the federal government finally shows its desperation for all to see.

I think that we might not have a federal election in November 2016. I think that is how calamitous the turn of events may turn out to be and how soon things might become unraveled. We will still exist in the fall of 2016, I think, but be too dysfunctional to carry through with the election. Or perhaps the elections take place, but quickly deteriorate in the aftermath so that the transition to a new Congress and POTUS is rocky and highly disputed, with states perhaps not sending their full delegations to Congress in a show of real intent to assert their own sovereignty. I think the majority of the states will be embroiled in violence in 2017, with an invading force from elsewhere in the Americas already mustering. I think the Russians will strike by 2018, the invasion will ensue, and we will hit the nadir and stay there for two or three years. I think worldwide recognition of a renewed America does not occur until 2025. I think it may take until 2030 before the renewed America encompasses as much territory as it does now (though I think the borders are not likely to be located where they are now).

The rapid onset of these events, I believe, will cause the federal government to revert to the playbook scripted for Jade Helm. Following the Jade Helm script will not be directly due to a conspiracy, but will merely unfold that way because the federal government will have little time to formulate a better response to an uprising that the government will feel it cannot ignore.

Blast from the past: A 2009 Michael Spencer article featured in a 2010 Buckeye RINO post due for revisitation in the wake of SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage

At Buckeye RINO in 2010, I ruminated on an op-ed article titled “The Coming Evangelical Collapse” that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor that was penned by Michael Spencer.  In his article, he predicted that in the next ten years, the following conditions would materialize that would threaten evangelical Christianity:

The promotion of social causes in the political realm by evangelicals not well versed in the Gospel would boomerang.

1. Evangelicals have identified their movement with the culture war and with political conservatism. This will prove to be a very costly mistake. Evangelicals will increasingly be seen as a threat to cultural progress. Public leaders will consider us bad for America, bad for education, bad for children, and bad for society.

The evangelical investment in moral, social, and political issues has depleted our resources and exposed our weaknesses. Being against gay marriage and being rhetorically pro-life will not make up for the fact that massive majorities of Evangelicals can’t articulate the Gospel with any coherence. We fell for the trap of believing in a cause more than a faith.

The youngest generation of adults would have little understanding of the Gospel, let alone its importance.

2. We Evangelicals have failed to pass on to our young people an orthodox form of faith that can take root and survive the secular onslaught. Ironically, the billions of dollars we’ve spent on youth ministers, Christian music, publishing, and media has produced a culture of young Christians who know next to nothing about their own faith except how they feel about it. Our young people have deep beliefs about the culture war, but do not know why they should obey scripture, the essentials of theology, or the experience of spiritual discipline and community. Coming generations of Christians are going to be monumentally ignorant and unprepared for culture-wide pressures.

Evangelism will wither.

3. There are three kinds of evangelical churches today: consumer-driven megachurches, dying churches, and new churches whose future is fragile. Denominations will shrink, even vanish, while fewer and fewer evangelical churches will survive and thrive.

The educational institutions sponsored by evangelical churches will not have adequately prepared their students.

4. Despite some very successful developments in the past 25 years, Christian education has not produced a product that can withstand the rising tide of secularism. Evangelicalism has used its educational system primarily to staff its own needs and talk to itself.

Churches’ intent to do good will be characterized as bad.

5. The confrontation between cultural secularism and the faith at the core of evangelical efforts to “do good” is rapidly approaching. We will soon see that the good Evangelicals want to do will be viewed as bad by so many, and much of that work will not be done. Look for ministries to take on a less and less distinctively Christian face in order to survive.

The Bible Belt will not be immune.

6. Even in areas where Evangelicals imagine themselves strong (like the Bible Belt), we will find a great inability to pass on to our children a vital evangelical confidence in the Bible and the importance of the faith.

Churches will become financially unsustainable.

7. The money will dry up.

Though Bible Belt states have had the rug pulled out from underneath them by the Supreme Court’s rulings on same-sex marriage, the evangelical churches in the Bible Belt still exhibit signs of strength.  But, does anyone doubt that the youngest generation of adults have proven to be quite susceptible to secular reasoning?  Does that bode well for church attendance down the road?

Churches’ intent to do good has already been characterized as bad.  Though I think churches did the right thing by taking a stand on moral issues of the day, the inability to spread a well-articulated message throughout all of the American public in support of church stances has boomeranged, and now media censorship will further curtail the churches’ abilities to spread such messages.  Consider this new post, “What Actually Comes Next,” at Erick Erickson’s Red State blog.  In his post he predicts that opposition to same-sex marriage will be portrayed by the media as bigotry and that public pushback to the media position (in such forms as letters to the editor, for example) will be denied expression in the media.  The justification from the media will be that they are taking a principled stand against widespread dissemination of hate speech.   If this imposed silence materializes, the churches will find their efforts to evangelize hampered by a lower profile in American society.  If there is a renewed focus on in-depth schooling of the Gospel as the churches struggle to grow, will it have as much impact as it could have had if that focus had existed at the height of evangelism?

Though Michael Spencer had not articulated a specific source of the coming onslaught against Christianity other than amorphous secularism, in my own ruminations on this blog back in 2010, I did, in fact, predict that opposition to Christianity would very conceivably arise from the LGBT movement.  Consider this article, posted just this week, titled “Does Your Church Ban Gay Marriage? Then It Should Start Paying Taxes,” penned by Felix Salmon at Fusion.  Even moreso than the imposition of income taxes, Felix Salmon looks forward to the day when churches pay property taxes.  I would venture to say that facilities ancillary to the churches, such as church-sponsored universities, would be the first dominos to fall if this scenario were to materialize.  The churches, themselves, would survive a short time longer, I believe, before becoming subject to such a regime.  Also appearing this week, the online edition of Time magazine posted an article by Mark Oppenheimer titled “Now’s the time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.”  As with Felix Salmon’s article, Mark Oppenheimer’s argument is couched in terms of the LGBT movement’s success at the Supreme Court.  Will these voices swell to a chorus of voices that call for the same?  If so, is it not easy to see that, as Michael Spencer predicted, the money would, in fact, dry up?

What I find further chilling about the Supreme Court decision is Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion that the 14th Amendment morphed the Constitution into a living document that can can be altered for the sake of compliance with contemporary public viewpoints.  Where is the rule of law?  Will we no longer be a republic?  Will governance be determined by ever-changing whim?  It is clear that such a stance can easily ignore precedents.  Furthermore, it is clear that the 14th Amendment will be used to interpret the Constitution anew even to the point that the 14th Amendment will prevail whenever Constitutional provisions collide with it.  The 10th Amendment was clearly a casualty in this case.  The 1st Amendment appears to be the next Constitutional provision that the LGBT community wants to have the courts reconsider.  If such an effort were to succeed, what else might be endangered?  I’ll leave you to chew on that thought for awhile.

James Williamson guest blog: Imminent rebellion: Rhetoric or forewarning?

Editor’s note:  Ohio native (and current Nevada resident) James Williamson (one of my younger brothers) is back with another in his “Imminent Rebellion” series, which exams the power struggle between states and the U.S. federal government.  This blog article zeros in on the secession petitions forewarded from several states to the U.S. government, but James has been writing about the alienation between states and the federal government for quite some time.  The other guest blog articles in the “Imminent Rebellion” series, starting with the oldest one and progressing to the one just prior to this, can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.–DJW

Imminent Rebellion:  Rhetoric or Forewarning?

There has been a surge of news regarding the secession petitions filed on the White House’s We the People website.  Since I was talking about it over a year ago (you can see my previous blogs on the subject) I’m going to weigh in on the action now that it is coming much closer to front and center.

The latest information that I have is that someone has filed a petition for secession in all 50 states.  I will be the first to admit that many of these petitions have insignificant amounts of support and probably do not reflect popular opinion.  But is it all just talk?  So far.  Talk always precedes actions in the political world.  Is there enough talk that we should be worried?  Worried? Not yet. Concerned? Yes.

There are a few signs that this is no longer just chatter from the fringe elements of society.  One of the signs is the fact that the media is responding to it.  Another is that there are counter petitions being signed.  Another is the fact that several of the states have exceeded the 25,000 signers required to trigger a response from the White House.  As of this writing Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Texas, Louisiana all exceeded the 25,000 signature threshold.  Texas, of course, is leading the way with just over 105,000 signers and Louisiana a distant second with just under 35,000 petitioners.  What is also significant is that the Texas secession petition has more support than any other issue on the “We the People” site.  Perhaps the most significant signal that this idea is not as laughable as the pundits would have you believe is the fact that both the governor of Texas and the governor of Alabama have made statements about secession (not in favor of) already.

Support for secession will only grow with time, and it’s not really about Obama.  Obama (along with congress) is the symptom not the disease.  The cankerous disease that will rip this country in half is the lust for entitlements.  What do I mean by that? Everyone wants something without having to pay for it.  It can’t continue.  When a business gets bloated and can’t pay its bills what does it do?  It contracts, gets back to its core lines of business, and sheds unprofitable business activity.  When a government gets bloated and can’t pay its bills, what does it do?   It spends even more of course.  That’s because entitlements are more addicting than drugs.  If you don’t believe me look at the news coming out of Greece, Spain, and Italy.  Once you are hooked on them you can’t stop . . . mostly because you forget how to get things like food, clothing, and shelter on your own.  It spreads like the plague too because once your neighbor figures out you are getting stuff for free they want some too.  Eventually the consumers outnumber the producers and the producers get crushed.  It’s happened many times already, just not here in the United States.  Most people who argue against me on this point out that we haven’t gone bankrupt after nearly 100 years of ever increasing entitlement spending.  Study your history.  It took hundreds of years for Rome to collapse financially.  Rome had “progressed” nearly as far as we have.  They didn’t recognize gay marriage but homosexuality was commonplace and so were abortions.  Toward the end of the Roman period nearly 1/3 of the empire was on the government payroll and the regulations were so plentiful, they regulated how much weight you could pack on a horse.  I wish I could resurrect a few of the Romans from that time so they could warn us.  Would we listen?

I digress.  Secession:  Most of the pundits in the media point out that there is no legal mechanism for secession.  Some suggest and some directly say that secession is illegal.  That, in and of itself, is a pretty silly observation to make.  Of course it’s not legal!  Why would the government allow itself to be dissolved? That’s committing suicide.  Government will always protect itself. Challenging the authority of any government is the fastest way to get persecuted by it.  I would also point out that our declaring independence from Great Britain was not legal either. Secession and revolution are not a matter of law.  They are highly extra-legal activities by nature, so declaring them illegal and therefore insisting that such won’t happen is about as naive as it gets.

I don’t know what will happen.  I don’t know if Texas will secede.  What I do know is this:  We don’t live in 1860.  Just because it turned out one way the last time doesn’t mean it will end the same a second time.