Continental Congress Questions Part 1

Answers to Questions Regarding the We the People Continental Congress – by Ron Dickerhoof Jr., candidate from the State of Ohio

America is facing a Constitutional Crisis. Are there any of the petitions for redress that you have a specific idea of a remedy for?  What other issues, outside of the petitions, are important to you?  What ideas do you have to discuss at the Continental Congress that could serve to restore our Republic?

In each case, the redress of the seven petitions of grievance must be constitutionally sanctioned or the answer will be every bit as bad as the realties they are meant to question. The Constitution describes the power to create courts subordinate to the Supreme Court. In these times our leaders, a term I use more out of convenience than respect and deference, are operating so far out of the bounds of the rule-of-law that a Court of Redress is in order. No regional court in existence is properly situated to answer for crimes and liabilities inflicted upon the people of an entire nation and the Supreme Court has proven ineffective at handling even simple questions of constitutional legality. While the Supreme Court must remain in a position to review decisions of the Court of Redress, the principle of its formation is more important than the speculative act of considering the High Court’s reaction to it. The Court of Redress must consist of both a criminal and civil body that answers petitions with opinions and have only the power to compel punishment and remuneration from the federal government itself and its officials in all three branches. While it would be considerably more difficult to achieve politically, it is no less desirable to seek a constitutional amendment that makes the membership of the Court of Redress not a matter of appointment but of election in the fashion of republican representation as it is in the House and Senate but with the extra lesson of stricter term limits made very explicit in its founding language. Each of the seven petitions, in my opinion, would require both prosecution and compensation to serve the purpose of justice and just compensation. As for specific remedies, I can only say that there is no way to regain for ourselves what has been taken from us through violation of the Constitution and the principle of the rule of law. It is not to us that the redress of grievances will be much of a remedy but to successive generations of American citizens. For their sake, I would hope that the bare minimum judgment would be the removal from office of all who have broken the law and the forfeiture of the government’s illegal means of procurement as just compensation for us is an unimaginable cost.

That being said, I believe there is also a Constitutional basis for at least two additional grievances. The first would be to demand redress for the surrendering of sovereignty to foreign powers in addition to the existing petition concerning the North American Union. In just the past few days, we’ve seen the President of the United States making overtures to both the United Nations and the G-20 Summit to surrender our constitutional rights to foreign powers. Second, I think a petition for a redress of grievances is in order when it comes to the subject of dereliction of duties of our representatives in the House and Senate. Congress should not pass laws and the President should not sign into law any bill that they have not written, read, or made available to the people to review. This is not only a violation of campaign promise, simple respect for the citizens, and the oath of office, but Article VI of the Constitution demands the oath of office. That oath requires faithful execution of duties and the preservation and defense of the Constitution. Making citizens subject to bills that are not understood by anyone who takes this oath is certainly not faithful execution and, obviously, anyone guilty of such is not defending the Constitution to “the best of (their) ability.”
In light of the current economic situation, what are your views on our monetary system, and how should we proceed if we want to restore sound money and a true free market system as our fore fathers intended?

There are two ways to envision “money.” The first is that money is a resource, like any other. In this model, the supply can be increased or decreased. This requires economists to figure out what amount of money is best in a given situation. It requires that we keep a close eye on things like interest rates and inflation. It requires constant tinkering and you’re ultimately left with a choice between two devils: government control subject to political whims and shifting ideas or control by an independent body that is subject to its own ideology, greed, and potential for corruption. Or there’s another way to look at money. It can be a representation of a thing of value that facilitates free trade and barter between people. In this model, money must have a standard like a precious metal or something similarly timeless and it cannot be manipulated but serves the people. This is what Lincoln meant by the Greenback – the green paper was backed by gold. The bankers of Europe despised Lincoln and the gold-standard dollar because it prevented them from manipulating our American currency. If we return to a currency that has a real, tangible value, we will deprive today’s fiscal tyrants and manipulators of their greatest weapon; arbitrary control.
Since the petitions address grievances that are constitutional violations, a remedy for many of them would be to restore constitutional order.  With that in mind, it seems the real problem at hand is the tyrannical government.  What ideas do you have to peacefully resolve this tyranny and put the power in the hands of the people? 

I think it’s too easy to stay in the frame of mind that new legislation is bad legislation. In 1789, the Constitution was new legislation and it still stands as the single greatest work of law in human history. That being said, we have federal legislation, and let’s not forget regulation, that would take many lifetimes to prune of extra-constitutional authority and waste. That gives us a few options. We can either challenge these laws in the courts one at a time like those who would typically oppose us in such an effort do, we can do something reactionary and radical and just find some way to toss out categories of these laws wholesale, or we can learn a lesson from the Constitution’s most consistent principle. The best law is that which limits the scope of the enforcing body. We need to think about supporting and passing legislation that requires that the federal government must continually review laws and regulations in a set period of time and prevent them from lumping separate statutes together so that representatives and constituents have time to review even separate pieces of a single act on their own merits. This process must be continual, have a structure that is clearly defined and crystal clear on requiring due diligence of elected officials and courts in this process, and it must use technology and sunshine principles to make the process open to any citizen who cares to look.
The 10th amendment states that powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution are reserved to the States or to the people.  In the federal government’s plan to gain control of, and authority over, almost everything in our lives, what can be done to remind them and us of their proper role. What should we do to restore the 10th amendment and the principles of our founding documents?

 

In a word: talk. In three words: don’t shut up. So much has been done in the last 80 years to silence patriots and even Americans who have the “nerve” to question those in the seats of power. We have been called crazy, attacked personally, and intimidated to the point where our media, intellectual elite, and academics were largely shocked at the volume of the reaction that this soft (and sometimes very hard) tyranny earned. In the last six months, I’ve participated in protests, I’ve started writing a great amount of material on this subject including a health care plan of my own that I based on the idea that states, not the federal government, improved the welfare system and they’re surely a better bet to do the same for healthcare, and I’ve been a part of the energy that good, god-fearing, hard-working everyday Americans are feeling, now. We have a couple of fairly obvious directions that this energy can be moved in. First, and this is the thing that nobody really wants, we could butt heads with our opposition and meet power with face-to-face confrontation. Even if we’re successful in shifting the balance of power in Washington and in our state capitals, we’ll be trading old tyrants for new ones and the animosity that the last twenty years has snowballed into will continue or grow worse. The second simple idea I like a lot better. We do what the founders intended when they formed a government where farmers, smiths, craftsmen, and scholars of history dedicated a few years of their life and ran for public office. We keep the volume up but now we trade the critique of protest for the tools of the statesman and take this opportunity to expand the idea of a government that limits itself to every level of power. It’s going to take an amazing amount of effort to put good people in office. It’s going to take diligence to ensure that those people remain true to their principles. It’s going to take creativity to find ways to write legislation that peels back layer upon layer of bureaucratic tyranny. But most of all, it’s going to take memory and remembering why we’re here today and what we’re about. I’m here for my children and thank God that looking at them reminds me of that every day.

Of the issues we face outside of our borders, what is most important to you with regards to our foreign policy and what can be done peacefully to help solve the escalating problems throughout the world?

 

The most pressing international issue of this century and a good part of the last century is the procurement of energy. I don’t have to remind anyone that our primary concern in the Middle-East is oil. That’s an ugly truth and it obscures, in the minds of some, our duty to our friends in Israel and elsewhere. But it’s also important to realize that we are engaged in a war of international law and military posturing over dozens of locations around the globe including the Arctic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the shores of our own states. If we want to be able to defend our own interests and our allies then we have to be clear that the United States of America remains the first world power that is the opposite of an empire. International law and the public opinion of other countries are not important to my adherence to principle. That being said, we do ourselves the most favor abroad by being responsible and charitable first at home. We need to take responsibility for producing our own energy by mining our resources wherever we may do so safely and charitable in awarding the profits of that effort to those who produce it. We need to remove regulations and incentives that have no part in a limited government and allow the free market, not politicians and their friends, to facilitate the development of new energy technologies and the enhancement of existing methods like nuclear and coal. I have a couple of jokes, if you will. The first is that nuclear power is the only green technology that’s actually ready for prime time and it gets glowing reviews in countries like France and Japan. The second is that if we spent as much money researching clean coal technology as we do incentivizing ethanol, wind, and solar power, then only good kids would get a lump in their stockings. All jokes aside, American energy is the quickest and most practical tool we can use to improve our international lot. A second tool of diplomacy that I think we overlook because it’s so simple is transparency. Just as badly as I want all political meetings with lobbyists and special interests to be available to the public in every form of media they could ask for, we need sunshine laws to keep our meetings with both friends and “not friends” above reproach. If foreign leaders don’t agree to open diplomacy streamed live to every person who asks for it, we don’t go and we let their people be the judge of their intentions.

One of the petitions for redress of the We the People Foundation is on the issue of the Federal Income Tax, please explain your views on the Federal Income Tax and offer any solutions you may have to problems you feel are important regarding this issue.
I like easy questions and this is one. The Federal Income Tax, I believe, is unconstitutional. The most common response I hear to that claim is that the courts have upheld and that’s merely a matter of semantics that doesn’t answer the logic behind the challenge. Even to those that think that it’s so necessary that we can ignore our founding documents in this case, I say there is a better way. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, thankfully, because much of the work on this answer has already been done by proponents of the fair tax. The basic idea is that the national federal income tax is repealed and replaced with a 20-ish percent sales tax. If you’re not familiar there are other provisions that answer some complications and potential criticisms of the idea that we can get into if anyone is interested or has questions. Let’s think, though, about the advantages of a system like that over our current one. No more double taxation on producers. No death tax on families and especially farmers. Those who come here illegally and work will no longer be incentivized to remain off the books because they’ll be paying taxes, now, too. Additionally, the fair tax includes a monthly rebate based on the amount of sales tax a person or household is expected to have paid on necessities and that calculation is made so that those below the poverty line would pay, in essence, no tax. So, for the first time in our nation’s history, it would make more sense to be honest about income documentation and citizenship. The argument about the definition of marriage becomes irrelevant, as it should be, to the federal government because marital status would have no bearing on federal decisions except as agencies choose to give or deny benefits and those agencies already decide their policies individually. The tyranny of those who have misused the interstate commerce clause like a weapon would be over. The minutia of the tax code would no longer be a way to reward cronies and political contributors and a major source of corruption would be done away with. Perhaps most importantly, though, the math of taxation would begin to make sense. The fair tax is not applied disproportionally and could not be applied coercively. It would be the product of voluntary engagement in free trade and avoided entirely by those who wish to produce all they desire on their own. In times of surplus or shortage, one rate is changed. I doubt anyone who says that their idea of an efficient government involves paying politicians and their staff large salaries to continually tweak and debate hundreds and thousands of lines of tax codes trying to reach some magic formula of economic and social balance. We’d be multitasking, trading constitutional for not, efficient for corrupt, and the Internal Revenue Service for a calculator.

Are you prepared to spend November 8-22 in Illinois listening to and presenting ideas to restore the Constitution?  Are you going to make an effort to report back to the People watching at home? If elected will you be open for public input, and will you listen to and represent the state of Ohio?  Will you listen to ideas of other delegates from Ohio and other states? 

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. I doubt anyone who has gone this far in the process is likely to have answered any part of that with a “no.” We’re all doing this because we love our country and our families. We have seen a problem develop, we have become part of a chorus of opposition to tyranny and an assault of the rule of law, and now we’re ready to roll up our sleeves and do something about it. In reading between the lines on this question, I’m looking at it as a matter of trust. I wish you could talk to the people that work for me and the people I work for and they’ll tell you about my dedication to getting a job done right. If you could talk to my family, they’d tell you about my dedication to them. Many of you talk to my God and I can tell you that I have been blessed by Grace with the ability to answer questions like this not only because of the talents He has given me but also because God has seen me through my personal dark times and will see us through the process of restoring this great nation. One thing you can take, though, as a direct sign of my diligence and dedication to this country is evident by my effort. I am tireless in conversation and organization online. I have conversations everyday about solutions and I’ll gladly continue a conversation with anyone who will listen. I have written a great deal about my own experiences, my problems with the direction this country seems to be headed in, and most importantly about what we the people can do about it. I wrote my own 10-page health care bill because I was tired of hearing that there was only one solution and that it had to be dictated to us by people who wouldn’t stand as I do to answer for it. That’s an awful lot about me, though. Can I listen? Yes. I’m engaged in this process because I have every intention of finding a way to be heard and understood. That’s something you only get when you take the time to listen and I hope my care in being as open as possible is some proof of that. Most of what I write, if you’re interested, isn’t aimed at people I’d expect to agree with. To do that, I’ve had to learn to listen but caring honestly about the people of this country doesn’t give me much of a choice.
Which part of which founding document means the most to you?  Why?  What are the principals behind that particular passage? 

 

I think the idea of picking a single founding document is a bit problematic in the same way that picking a favorite finger would be. What would you do with only your favorite finger? Instead, I’m going to give you a chorus that runs through the principle three documents that I cherish; the Declaration of Independence which gave us the idea of country, the Constitution that gave that idea a name and shape, and the Bill of Rights which guarantees the people of this nation those liberties which are so important as to be named explicitly so that no person should be permitted even the potential to ignore them. That chorus reads like this: “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 “we the people of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” and that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Declaration attributes rights naturally to us by our creator and correctly notes that these rights are unalienable. That being true, the Preamble to the Constitution is carefully worded so that it is established “for” the United States of America, not “by” it or “over” it. Because our Founders were aware that the first rights to be taken by tyrants are that of faith and expression and that failing to explicitly protect the right of open communication could ultimately lead to the manipulation of the words of the Declaration and Constitution, diligence to this chorus meant that the First Amendment had the strongest wording and even includes the specific mention of redress. The principle that underlies all of this is God-given liberty. Because of this, the Declaration’s principle is the expression of liberty. The Constitution’s principle is the protection of liberty through self-disciplined governance. And, finally, the First Amendment has the principle of nurturing liberty by assuring that conditions favorable to its growth are maintained. Good government serves the people so that they may continue to serve themselves, their families, and their Creator if they so choose. What we do now is to sing the next refrain of that chorus by petitioning for a redress of grievances so that our children and their children and their children can continue the resounding praise of life. That is our call, our commitment, and our challenge.

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