Essays

Essay #1

February 10th, 2011

The Beginning


by Kenneth R. Kollodge


How is right distinguished from wrong?

In virtually every situation I can imagine when there is a political or legal question pertaining to the United States, the answer can almost always be deduced if you just start at the beginning.  And what is that “beginning?”

In America, that beginning, that footing, that foundation our society rests upon and without which we would be lost and plunged into anarchy, is the first part of the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence.  That phrase presents a metaphysical and ethical set of interrelated notions that are absolute and prior to law.  As well, in order to be valid, no law can be in conflict with the notions expressed in this “beginning.”

Many of us are able to recite this “beginning” by heart, but for those who may have forgotten it, it goes as follows:

“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…..”

This beginning or footing is not modifiable or reviewable by any court and cannot be changed by administrative edicts or legislative bodies of any kind.  It is beyond the reach of anyone who might want to change any of it.  Most important to understand, the notions in this section of the Declaration of Independence cannot be changed by any elected or appointed public servants whose primary duty is to serve the owners of the United States, the citizens.  Bluntly, and for added emphasis, even if the U.S. Congress, the President and all nine justices of the Supreme Court decided unanimously then acted in concert, their decision to make changes to this “beginning” would be null and void.

That “beginning” statement is the footing, the foundation upon which our society rests.  It is the statement that all law must be consistent with in order to be legitimate and applicable and it trumps all laws that are not consistent with it, rendering them voidable and contradictory to the notion of what America is.  And here are some analyses and explanations of what this statement means, section by section.

“WE hold these Truths to be Self-evident” signifies that no proof of any kind is necessary in order that the series of “truths” about to be specified are universally recognized as undeniable and enduring whether they are acknowledged to be or not.

“that all Men are created equal” means at least that all persons or humans are entitled to equal opportunities under whatever laws might be enacted following this “beginning” statement.  And the word “Men” cannot be understood to mean male only with females excluded.  “Men,” undisputedly in this case, must mean “person” or “human” either male or female.

“that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” This part of the “beginning” could lead to confusion about one point and leave the crucial point understated, possibly even overlooked without some clarification.

No doubt, some will insist that “Creator” signifies a christian god thereby satisfied that Thomas Jefferson, who is credited as the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, intended to introduce god as an integral part of this beginning statement. This would be contrary to historical facts and therefore not persuasive.

“Creator” is meant to identify any of several broad notions of a beginning cause or impetus.  “Creator” here signifies “first cause” or “prime mover” or “initial force” that brought what we see around us into existence and certainly is not restricted to a single christian god the concept of which frequently includes man’s requirement to worship and obey.  Besides, Thomas Jefferson is also the one who wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom which included the section, “…it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god.  It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”  Many leading scholars have concluded that Jefferson was probably a deist which would quite likely preclude him from intending “Creator” to mean a christian god and all that that would entail.

However, the critical point in this portion of the “beginning” that is sometimes overlooked is the meaning and consequence of the word “unalienable.”  Unalienable means unable to be taken away from or separated from.  Try thinking of it this way.  Just as you cannot separate the heat from the fire or the wetness from the water, you cannot separate these “rights,” about to be enumerated in the final portion of this “beginning” statement, from a human being.  These rights attach to all humans and are a part of them just by the fact of their existence.  In short, there is no such thing as a human being without these rights.

“that among these (rights) are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…” finishes the “beginning” statement or foundation of our society.  And all that comes after it, including our Constitution and all laws, regulations, ordinances, executive orders, edicts and rules from administrators must be consistent with the notions expressed in this beginning, this foundation, in order to be valid.

Other than the actual rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that are enumerated, there is the critical phrase “that among these are” which unquestionably establishes that the rights enumerated do not constitute an exhaustive list.  That is, in the future, there may be more rights that are identified as unalienable which are not specified here.

A human can relinquish his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if it is on a purely voluntary basis, but these “rights” can never be taken away from a person by anyone or anything.  Furthermore, no one has any legal obligation, and I argue, nor does anyone have a moral obligation of any kind to give up these rights.

At this point, there are bound to be some that are temporarily  confused and point out that the U.S. government and some states have the power and sometimes exercise the power to execute someone after a trial that supposedly meets the standard of due process.  This, however, is easily cleared up by distinguishing between “taking a person’s life” and that person’s “right to life” which are different things altogether.

Of course, the state with it’s courts, jails, police forces and lethal injections can overpower any single individual and put them to death, but the state still hasn’t taken away that person’s “right” to their life and they never can strip a person of his right to his life.  And the same can be said of liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

As surprising and possibly repugnant as this might appear, anyone is justified in fighting to preserve their own live with whatever means are at their disposal.  That might just be one of the paradoxes of our existence on this earth logically following from the notions expressed in this “beginning” declaration.

I hope to develop future essays drawing additional conclusions and  identifying needed and justified changes in our society that are indicated by this analysis of this portion of the Declaration of Independence, our “beginning” set of concepts.  Some of these additional conclusions are likely to be satisfying and possibly even consoling to some and others are likely to be disturbing and infuriating as sacred cows end up getting kicked.

The Rule Book #1

June 9th, 2010

The Rule Book:

Let’s dream and imagine the Vikings are matched up against the Patriots in some future Super Bowl in Minneapolis. We all know that a team has four downs to get 10 yards in order to keep possession of the ball and that a field goal is worth 3 points and a touchdown is worth 6 points.

But here’s two plays refs might have to make calls on. What penalty does a “roughing the passer” flag result in? Or, what if a pass receiver catches the ball while resting on top of the defender who is already on the ground with one foot out-of-bounds? Then the receiver gets up by touching the ground only with his hand and runs into the end zone. Does this second play result in a touchdown or is it a completed pass that can’t be advanced or is the pass catcher considered out-of-bounds by extension through the defender’s body who is already on the ground with one foot out-of-bounds and therefore it is an incomplete pass? Some may know the answers about these two plays right off, but I’d feel safer looking it up in the rule book.

So, getting back to the Vikings in a future Super Bowl, what if just before the coin toss, the head official called the coaching staffs, captains and quarterbacks from each team out to the middle of the field and did the following? He pulled out his own “rule book” and ripped out page 11, the other side of which was page 12, then tore out pages 33 and 34? What if he then announced that the rules of this game would be based on what was left in his rule book. Well, that would be absurd! Of course, the game would not just be chaos with one fist-fight argument after another, the game would be destroyed.

It shouldn’t take long for it to become evident to most fans that the game doesn’t exist independent of the rule book, the rule book “IS” the game. Without that rule book, there is no game. Something might happen on the field, but it wouldn’t be a football game.

There is another “rule book” that is immeasurably more important than the football rule book. I’m referring to the U.S. Constitution which I think is the most important document ever written.

Our Constitution was written over 200 years ago and has been amended 27 times. The first 10 amendments are grouped together in a block known as our “Bill of Rights.” Our Constitution is the rule book for our society and without it our beloved America will slip into chaos. Regrettably, I think I see indications that we are slipping in the wrong direction in too many areas already but maybe it’s not too late.

To begin with, it is essential to understand that our Constitution may need to be amended again in the future. But it is also essential to understand that the amendment process does not include just ignoring parts of the Constitution or pretending some passage indicates something contrary to the plain language used nor does it include acquiescing when members of either the Legislative, Executive or Judicial branches of government exceed their authority or shirk their responsibilities as delineated in the Constitution. Furthermore, the methods of amending the Constitution are spelled out precisely right in Article V of the Constitution itself.

We, as citizens, have allowed our country to develop some bad habits by disregarding our Constitution. So, in addition to recommending that all citizens read the Constitution (it’s less than 7500 words long including the 27 amendments) I think it is important to know that every time someone from the U. S. Congress (House or Senate) starts a new term, they participate, as a group, in a “swearing-in” ceremony during which they swear and solemnly pledge that they will support this Constitution. This pledge is mandated in Article VI, paragraph (3) of our Constitution and the current oath goes as follows:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

This oath is not ambiguous and getting sworn in is not a perfunctory recitation done while texting your buddies about meeting for a beer afterwards.

At this time, I wish to remind the next bunch of congressional hopefuls that after the election, the winners will be taking the oath to support and defend our constitution. As well, in upcoming essays, I will be asking all the winners to declare that they will vigorously work to ameliorate a specific pestilence that is wrecking our nation and whose very existence is contradictory to our Constitution and has shamefully resulted in the enslavement of the populace by a handful of people for over a hundred years. Its time this problem gets fixed! Stay tuned.

Ken Kollodge

The Rule Book: Part 2

May 7th, 2010

After the football analogy in my last post, “The Rule Book,” I touched on the pledge newly elected U.S. Senators and House members will be making in a group with others newly elected to Washington D.C.  Essentially, they will promise to be faithful to, support and defend the U. S. Constitution.   I am now asking them to make a specific pledge prior to the election to rid our nation of a plague, the existence of which is contradictory to our Constitution.

So, what is this plague, this pestilence that is ruining the country – a plague Congress has the constitutional authority to eliminate?  It is our central bank, the Federal Reserve Bank (the Fed).  The very existence of the Fed is contradictory to Article I, Section 8, clause 5 in our Constitution.  This clause clearly mandates that Congress shall have power to “coin (our) money, (and) regulate the value thereof….”

Actually, I’m in revered company in concluding that there is no need for the Fed.  Benjamin Franklin, presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and other luminaries like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and ten-year U.S. House member from Minnesota, Charles Lindbergh Sr., all embraced that same conclusion.  None of these American giants were intellectual lightweights.

The Fed is a secret cartel of large private banks that is unrelated to our federal government.  Because of the Fed and our several previous similar central type banks, the United States has accumulated a national debt of over 20 trillion dollars, way more than we can ever pay back regardless of the myriad cockamamie schemes advanced by our current politicians and TV pundits.

A news story on page A2 of the Duluth News Tribune on October 13, 2012, reported about our country’s budget gaps since 1990.  The gap “between the government’s tax collections and it’s spending – totaled $1.1 trillion” just in 2012.  The article goes on to say, “Put simply, that’s how much the government had to borrow” (in other words the amount the national debt increased in 2012 alone). You see, the $1.1 trillion “borrowed” for 2012 is a debt that you and I are expected to pay back eventually and this debt accumulates interest besides. That little phrase in the news article “had to borrow” jumped right out and slapped me in the face!  By no means did the government HAVE to borrow a single penny.

According to our Constitution, Congress exclusively has the authority to print and regulate the value of our money.  However, the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 purportedly transferred that authority to the Fed.  So here is a bare bones explanation about how this “borrowing” from the Fed basically works.

If the  amount of money that, by law, must be spent in a given year is not covered by what was collected in taxes, The Treasury prints and delivers to the Fed an equal amount in government bonds which the Fed is to “buy” from the Treasury and later sell to the public.  So, where does the Fed get this money to “buy” these bonds?
Because of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the Fed tells Treasury to print that money (the Federal Reserve Notes like the money you have in your pocket) in the amount equivalent to the bonds the Fed just received from Treasury.  The newly printed money is delivered to the Fed who gives it back to Treasury as “payment” for the bonds.  Treasury then deposits this returned money in commercial banks and starts writing checks on it for government expenditures.  If this appears to you to be a fraud, a cheap carnival shell game, well, you’re right, it is.  This slight-of-hand maneuver caused you and I to acquire another $1.1 trillion in new debt in 2012 and the amount continues to grow because of the accumulating interest.  That interest is paid out of the federal taxes you pay. So essentially the money coming out of your pocket that you pay in taxes goes directly into the pockets of those rich enough to buy the bonds in the first place and we, as citizens, get no benefit whatsoever for these interest payments we end up making.  Its just a transfer of your wealth to others.

One solution to this reprehensible, unnecessary scheme is to demand that Congress meet its duty to coin our money and regulate its value.  This new species of money would be printed by the Treasury Department and spent directly into the economy according to the budget Congress and the President agreed on for necessary goods, services, and the rest of the things governments are supposed to do for the citizenry.  This new money, also declared as Legal Tender, would bypass the Fed and would be DEBT FREE.  There would be nothing to pay back because nothing would have been borrowed in the first place and there would be no accumulating interest. This is exactly what President Lincoln’s Greenbacks were.  A few details would need to be worked out but this would by no means be impossible to achieve.  Other countries have done it recently and successfully.

The set-up we have today, with the the Fed bankers gradually and surreptitiously manipulating themselves into the middle of everything and raking in a cut for the bankers and others at the top at the citizen’s expense, is unconstitutional and accepting this is just as much a demonstration of lunacy as driving on an emergency trip from Duluth to Minneapolis by way of Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Federal Reserve Banking system, as it operates today, is not just unnecessary to the citizens of the United States, but it is an enslaving plague that must be eliminated.  And that is why I am asking our U. S. Senate and House hopefuls to now openly and specifically pledge that if elected, they will act on behalf of the citizens of our country to diligently work to eliminate the Federal Reserve Bank.

Ken Kollodge / Duluth, MN / 218.390.3929 / www.kollodgegallery.com

Additional resources:

“”Zeitgeist Addendum at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EewGMBOB4Gg

(Note: jump to 7 minutes in to start and go to at least 25 minutes, then, stop if you can!)

The book – “Web of Debt” by Ellen Brown

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