Obama Is Privately Telling Democratic Donors Time Is Running Out for Sanders

“The fact that you sincerely and wholeheartedly believe
that the “Law of Gravity” is unconstitutional
and a violation of your sovereign rights,
does not absolve you of adherence to it.”

MOTHER JONES

[SOVEREIGNTY OF THE PEOPLE]

By Ainhoa Aristizabal

 

On Wednesday President Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland, a highly qualified, dedicated public servant, for the Supreme Court.

And as expected, Republicans on the Judiciary Committee doubled down on their pledge to refuse to do their jobs and give the President’s nominee a fair hearing.

Their pledge is based on nothing but partisan politics. Some of these same senators have praised Judge Garland in the past. Some even voted to put him in his current seat as a federal appeals court judge.

For example, in 2010, Senator Orrin Hatch described Judge Garland as a “consensus nominee,” and that there was “no question” that he would win Senate confirmation with bipartisan support.

The American people deserve better than this kind of obstruction from our leaders. Our Supreme Court should never be subjected to the day-to-day partisan politics of Washington, and it’s up to us to demand better.

Join the thousands of OFA supporters who are speaking up to call for a fair, timely hearing for Judge Merrick Garland.

This is the same kind of obstruction that’s stood in the way of President Obama’s legislative agenda his entire term in office. It’s the same obstruction that shut down the government and threatened to default on our nation’s credit. And it’s the same obstruction that has repeatedly questioned the President’s legitimacy.

If these Senate leaders are successful, they may permanently damage the Supreme Court nomination process.

In the first 24 hours since the President announced Judge Garland’s nomination, over 100,000 people spoke up with OFA and called for a fair hearing. They spoke up because our Supreme Court is important — they rule on the issues OFA supporters care about, rulings that could impact our country for generations.
The purpose of government is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness. Government exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors. As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” The ultimate powers in a society, therefore, rest in the people themselves, and they should exercise those powers, either directly or through representatives, in every way they are competent and that is practicable.

 

“The whole body of the nation is the sovereign legislative, judiciary, and executive power for itself. The inconvenience of meeting to exercise these powers in person, and their inaptitude to exercise them, induce them to appoint special organs to declare their legislative will, to judge and to execute it. It is the will of the nation which makes the law obligatory; it is their will which creates or annihilates the organ which is to declare and announce it. They may do it by a single person, as an emperor of Russia (constituting his declarations evidence of their will), or by a few persons, as the aristocracy of Venice, or by a complication of councils, as in our former regal government or our present republican one. The law being law because it is the will of the nation, is not changed by their changing the organ through which they choose to announce their future will; no more than the acts I have done by one attorney lose their obligation by my changing or discontinuing that attorney.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Randolph, 1799. ME 10:126

“Every nation has a right to govern itself internally under what forms it pleases, and to change these forms at its own will; and externally to transact business with other nations through whatever organ it chooses, whether that be a King, Convention, Assembly, Committee, President, or whatever it be. The only thing essential is, the will of the nation.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Pinckney, 1792. ME 9:7

“[The people] are in truth the only legitimate proprietors of the soil and government.” –Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1813. ME 19:197

“[It is] the people, to whom all authority belongs.” –Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, 1821. ME 15:328

“The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves in all cases to which they think themselves competent (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved), or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Cartwright, 1824. ME 16:45

“We think experience has proved it safer for the mass of individuals composing the society to reserve to themselves personally the exercise of all rightful powers to which they are competent and to delegate those to which they are not competent to deputies named and removable for unfaithful conduct by themselves immediately.” –Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816. ME 14:487

“The ultimate arbiter is the people of the Union.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Johnson, 1823. ME 15:451

Sovereignty Unaffected by Change in Government

“I consider the people who constitute a society or nation as the source of all authority in that nation; as free to transact their common concerns by any agents they think proper; to change these agents individually, or the organization of them in form or function whenever they please; that all the acts done by these agents under the authority of the nation are the acts of the nation, are obligatory on them and enure to their use, and can in no wise be annulled of affected by any change in the form of the government or of the persons administering it.” –Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on French Treaties, 1793. ME 3:227

“When, by the Declaration of Independence, [the nation of Virginia] chose to abolish their former organs of declaring their will, the acts of will already formally and constitutionally declared, remained untouched. For the nation was not dissolved, was not annihilated; its will, therefore, remained in full vigor; and on the establishing the new organs, first of a convention, and afterwards a more complicated legislature, the old acts of national will continued in force, until the nation should, by its new organs, declare its will changed.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edmund Randolph, 1799. ME 10:126

“Louis XIV, having established the Coutumes de Paris as the law of Louisiana, this was not changed by the mere act of transfer; on the contrary, the laws of France continued and continues to be the law of the land, except where specially altered by some subsequent edict of Spain or act of Congress.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1808. ME 12:58

“Indeed in no case are the laws of a nation changed, of natural right, by their passage from one to another denomination. The soil, the inhabitants, their property, and the laws by which they are protected go together. Their laws are subject to be changed only in the case, and extent which their new legislature shall will.” –Thomas Jefferson: Batture at New Orleans, 1812. ME 18:31

“When a question arises, whether any particular law or appointment is still in force, we are to examine, not whether it was pronounced by the ancient or present organ, but whether it has been at any time revoked by the authority of the nation, expressed by the organ competent at the time.” –Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1792. ME 8:302

The Powers of Legislation

“From the nature of things, every society must at all times possess within itself the sovereign powers of legislation.” –Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. Papers 1:132

“[If the] representative houses [are dissolved,]… the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, [return] to the people at large for their exercise.” –Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:31, Papers 1:430

“Necessities which dissolve a government do not convey its authority to an oligarchy or a monarchy. They throw back into the hands of the people the powers they had delegated, and leave them as individuals to shift for themselves.” –Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIII, 1782. ME 2:175

“There is an error into which most of the speculators on government have fallen, and which the well-known state of society of our Indians ought, before now, to have corrected. In their hypothesis of the origin of government, they suppose it to have commenced in the patriarchal or monarchical form. Our Indians are evidently in that state of nature which has passed the association of a single family… The Cherokees, the only tribe I know to be contemplating the establishment of regular laws, magistrates, and government, propose a government of representatives, elected from every town. But of all things, they least think of subjecting themselves to the will of one man.” –Thomas Jefferson to Francis W. Gilmer, 1816. ME 15:25

Government Receives its Powers from the People

“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” –Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:429

“I consider the source of authority with us to be the Nation. Their will, declared through its proper organ, is valid till revoked by their will declared through its proper organ again also.” –Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1792. ME 8:301

“Independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Ritchie, 1820. ME 15:298

“What government [a nation] can bear depends not on the state of science, however exalted, in a select band of enlightened men, but on the condition of the general mind.” –Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1817. (*) ME 15:114

“The government of a nation may be usurped by the forcible intrusion of an individual into the throne. But to conquer its will so as to rest the right on that, the only legitimate basis, requires long acquiescence and cessation of all opposition.” –Thomas Jefferson to —-, 1825. ME 16:127

The People are Capable of Exercising Sovereign Powers

“Independence can be trusted nowhere but with the people in mass. They are inherently independent of all but moral law.” –Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, 1819.

“I have such reliance on the good sense of the body of the people and the honesty of their leaders that I am not afraid of their letting things go wrong to any length in any cause.” –Thomas Jefferson to C. W. F. Dumas, 1788. ME 6:430

“Whenever our affairs go obviously wrong, the good sense of the people will interpose and set them to rights.” –Thomas Jefferson to David Humphreys, 1789. ME 7:322

“Our fellow citizens have been led hoodwinked from their principles by a most extraordinary combination of circumstances. But the band is removed, and they now see for themselves.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Dickinson, 1801. ME 10:217

“Reflection,… with information, is all which our countrymen need, to bring themselves and their affairs to rights.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Lewis, Jr., 1798. ME 10:37

“The revolution of 1800… was as real a revolution in the principles of our government as that of 1776 was in its form; not effected indeed by the sword, as that, but by the rational and peaceable instrument of reform, the suffrage of the people.” –Thomas Jefferson to Spencer Roane, 1819. ME 15:212

“There is a steady, good sense in the Legislature, and in the body of the nation, joined with good intentions, which will lead them to discern and to pursue the public good under all circumstances which can arise, and… no ignis fatuus [misleading ideal] will be able to lead them long astray.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1806. ME 11:108

“I am sensible that there are defects in our federal government, yet they are so much lighter than those of monarchies, that I view them with much indulgence. I rely, too, on the good sense of the people for remedy, whereas the evils of monarchical government are beyond remedy.” –Thomas Jefferson to David Ramsay, 1787. ME 6:226

“Time alone [will] bring round an order of things more correspondent to the sentiments of our constituents.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798. ME 10:45

“My confidence is that there will for a long time be virtue and good sense enough in our countrymen to correct abuses.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Rutledge, 1788. ME 7:81

“Manfully maintain our good old principle of cherishing and fortifying the rights and authorities of the people in opposition to those who fear them, who wish to take all power from them and to transfer all to Washington.” –Thomas Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon, 1826. FE 10:378

The Power of Public Opinion

“The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to.” –Thomas Jefferson to Lafayette, 1823. ME 15:491

“Ministers… cannot in any country be uninfluenced by the voice of the people.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786. ME 5:452

“A court has no affections; but those of the people whom they govern influence their decisions, even in the most arbitrary governments.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1785. ME 5:12, Papers 8:228

“Public opinion… [is] a censor before which the most exalted tremble for their future as well as present fame.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1816. ME 14:393

“Public opinion [is the] lord of the universe.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1820. ME 15:246

“More attention should be paid to the general opinion.” –Thomas Jefferson to George Mason, 1791.

“The advantage of public opinion is like that of the weather-gauge in a naval action.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1815. ME 14:226

“When public opinion changes, it is with the rapidity of thought.” –Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:382

“The opinions and dispositions of our people in general, which, in governments like ours, must be the foundation of measures, will always be interesting to me.” –Thomas Jefferson to Richard Henry Lee, 1786. ME 5:294

“Government being founded on opinion, the opinion of the public, even when it is wrong, ought to be respected to a certain degree.” –Thomas Jefferson to Nicholas Lewis, 1791. FE 5:282

“Opinions… constitute, indeed, moral facts, as important as physical ones to the attention of the public functionary.” –Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, 1820. ME 15:284

“The people cannot be all, and always, well-informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:372, Papers 12:356

“The people have a right to petition, but not to use that right to cover calumniating insinuations.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1808. ME 12:166

“I like to see the people awake and alert. The good sense of the people will soon lead them back if they have erred in a moment of surprise.” –Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 1786.

The Spirit of Resistance

“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356

“Governments, wherein the will of every one has a just influence… has its evils,… the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutem. [I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude.] Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:64

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.” –Thomas Jefferson to Abigail Adams, 1787.

“God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion… We have had thirteen States independent for eleven years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half, for each State. What country before ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion?” –Thomas Jefferson to William S. Smith, 1787. ME 6:372

“Most codes extend their definitions of treason to acts not really against one’s country. They do not distinguish between acts against the government, and acts against the oppressions of the government. The latter are virtues, yet have furnished more victims to the executioner than the former, because real treasons are rare; oppressions frequent. The unsuccessful strugglers against tyranny have been the chief martyrs of treason laws in all countries.” –Thomas Jefferson: Report on Spanish Convention, 1792.

“If our country, when pressed with wrongs at the point of the bayonet, had been governed by its heads instead of its hearts, where should we have been now? Hanging on a gallows as high as Haman’s.” –Thomas Jefferson to Maria Cosway, 1786. ME 5:444

“The commotions that have taken place in America, as far as they are yet known to me, offer nothing threatening. They are a proof that the people have liberty enough, and I could not wish them less than they have. If the happiness of the mass of the people can be secured at the expense of a little tempest now and then, or even of a little blood, it will be a precious purchase. ‘Malo libertatem periculosam quam quietem servitutem.’ Let common sense and common honesty have fair play, and they will soon set things to rights.” –Thomas Jefferson to Ezra Stiles, 1786. ME 6:25

“The tumults in America I expected would have produced in Europe an unfavorable opinion of our political state. But it has not. On the contrary, the small effect of these tumults seems to have given more confidence in the firmness of our governments. The interposition of the people themselves on the side of government has had a great effect on the opinion here [in Europe].” –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57

“The late rebellion in Massachusetts has given more alarm than I think it should have done. Calculate that one rebellion in thirteen states in the course of eleven years, is but one for each state in a century and a half. No country should be so long without one. Nor will any degree of power in the hands of government prevent insurrections.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:391

“[An occasional insurrection] will not weigh against the inconveniences of a government of force, such as are monarchies and aristocracies.” –Thomas Jefferson to T. B. Hollis, July 2, 1787. (*) ME 6:155

“Cherish… the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:58

Misdirected Resistance

“There are extraordinary situations which require extraordinary interposition. An exasperated people who feel that they possess power are not easily restrained within limits strictly regular.” –Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. ME 1:196, Papers 1:127

“[The] uneasiness [of the people] has produced acts absolutely unjustifiable; but I hope they will provoke no severities from their governments. A consciousness of those in power that their administration of the public affairs has been honest may, perhaps, produce too great a degree of indignation; and those characters wherein fear predominates over hope, may apprehend too much from these instances of irregularity. They may conclude too hastily, that nature has formed man insusceptible of any other government than that of force, a conclusion not founded in truth nor experience.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Jan. 30, 1787. ME 6:64

“The arm of the people [is] a machine not quite so blind as balls and bombs, but blind to a certain degree.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Short, 1793. ME 9:10

“I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people, which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. ME 6:65

“[No] degree of power in the hands of government [will] prevent insurrections.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. Papers 12:442.

“The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave.” –Thomas Jefferson to Richard Rush, 1820. ME 15:283

“What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787. ME 6:373, Papers 12:356

Rebellion, Right and Wrong

“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends [i.e., securing inherent and inalienable rights, with powers derived from the consent of the governed], it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson: Declaration of Independence, 1776. ME 1:29, Papers 1:315

“In no country on earth is [a disposition to oppose the law by force] so impracticable as in one where every man feels a vital interest in maintaining the authority of the laws, and instantly engages in it as in his own personal cause.” –Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Smith, 1808. ME 12:62

“In a country whose constitution is derived from the will of the people directly expressed by their free suffrages, where the principal executive functionaries and those of the legislature are renewed by them at short periods, where under the character of jurors they exercise in person the greatest portion of the judiciary powers, where the laws are consequently so formed and administered as to bear with equal weight and favor on all, restraining no man in the pursuits of honest industry and securing to every one the property which that acquires, it would not be supposed that any safeguards could be needed against insurrection or enterprise on the public peace or authority. The laws, however, aware that these should not be trusted to moral restraints only, have wisely provided punishments for these crimes when committed.” –Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806. ME 3:418

“As revolutionary instruments (when nothing but revolution will cure the evils of the State) [secret societies] are necessary and indispensable, and the right to use them is inalienable by the people; but to admit them as ordinary and habitual instruments as a part of the machinery of the Constitution, would be to change that machinery by introducing moving powers foreign to it, and to an extent depending solely on local views, and, therefore, incalculable.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Duane, 1803. FE 8:256

“The paradox with me is how any friend to the union of our country can, in conscience, contribute a cent to the maintenance of anyone who perverts the sanctity of his desk to the open inculcation of rebellion, civil war, dissolution of government, and the miseries of anarchy.” –Thomas Jefferson to William Plumer, 1815. ME 14:235

Dangerous Associations

“I acknowledge the right of voluntary associations for laudable purposes and in moderate numbers. I acknowledge, too, the expediency for revolutionary purposes of general associations coextensive with the nation. But where, as in our case, no abuses call for revolution, voluntary associations so extensive as to grapple with and control the government, should such be or become their purpose, are dangerous machines and should be frowned down in every well regulated government.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1822.

“Private associations… whose magnitude may rivalize and jeopardize the march of regular government [may become] necessary [in] the case where the regular authorities of the government [combine] against the rights of the people, and no means of correction [remains] to them but to organize a collateral power which, with their support, might rescue and secure their violated rights. But such is not the case with our government. We need hazard no collateral power which, by a change of its original views and assumption of others we know not how virtuous or how mischievous, would be ready organized and in force sufficient to shake the established foundations of society and endanger its peace and the principles on which it is based.” –Thomas Jefferson to Jedediah Morse, 1822. ME 15:357

“Military assemblies will not only keep alive the jealousies and fears of the civil government, but give ground for these fears and jealousies. For when men meet together, they will make business if they have none; they will collate their grievances, some real, some imaginary, all highly painted; they will communicate to each other the sparks of discontent; and these may engender a flame which will consume their particular, as well as the general happiness.” –Thomas Jefferson: Answers to de Meusnier Questions, 1786. ME 17:90

“Where an enterprise is meditated by private individuals against a foreign nation in amity with the United States, powers of prevention to a certain extent are given by the laws; would they not be as reasonable and useful were the enterprise preparing against the United States?” –Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806. ME 3:419

“The framers of our constitution certainly supposed they had guarded, as well their government against destruction by treason, as their citizens against oppression under pretence of it; and if these ends are not attained, it is of importance to inquire by what means, more effectual, they may be secured.” –Thomas Jefferson: 7th Annual Message, 1807. ME 3:452

“Looking forward with anxiety to [the] future destinies [of my fellow citizens], I trust that, in their steady character unshaken by difficulties, in their love of liberty, obedience to law, and support of the public authorities, I see a sure guaranty of the permanence of our republic.” –Thomas Jefferson: 8th Annual Message, 1808. ME 3:485

 

THE PRINCIPLE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA


IT DOMINATES the whole society in America–Application made of this principle by the Americans even before their Revolution–Development given to it by that Revolution–Gradual and irresistible extension of the elective qualification.

The political laws of the United States are to be discussed, it is with the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people that we must begin.

The principle of the sovereignty of the people, which is always to be found, more or less, at the bottom of almost all human institutions, generally remains there concealed from view. It is obeyed without being recognized, or if for a moment it is brought to light, it is hastily cast back into the gloom of the sanctuary.

“The will of the nation” is one of those phrases, that have been most largely abused by the wily and the despotic of every age. Some have seen the expression of it in the purchased suffrages of a few of the satellites of power; others, in the votes of a timid or an interested minority; and some have even discovered it in the silence of a people, on the supposition that the fact of submission established the right to command.

In America the principle of the sovereignty of the people is NEIther barren nor concealed, as it is with some other nations; it is recognized by the customs and proclaimed by the laws; it spreads freely, and arrives without impediment at its most remote consequences If there is a country in the world where the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people can be fairly appreciated, where it an be studied in its application to the affairs of society, and where its dangers and its advantages may be judged, that country is assuredly America.

I have already observed that, from their origin, the sovereignty of the people was the fundamental principle of most of the British . colonies in America. It was far, however, from then exercising as much influence on the government of society as it now does. Two obstacles, the one external, the other internal, checked its invasive progress.

It could not ostensibly disclose itself in the laws of colonies which were still forced to obey the mother country; it was therefore obliged to rule secretly in the provincial assemblies, and especially in the townships.

American society at that time was not yet prepared to adopt it with all its consequences. Intelligence in New England and wealth in the country to the south of the Hudson (as I have shown in the preceding chapter) long exercised a sort of aristocratic influence, which tended to keep the exercise of social power in the hands of a few. Not all the public functionaries were chosen by popular vote, nor were all the citizens voters. The electoral franchise was everywhere somewhat restricted and made dependent on a certain qualification, which was very low in the North and more considerable in the South.

The American Revolution broke out, and the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people came out of the townships and took possession of the state. Every class was enlisted in its cause; battles were fought and victories obtained for it; it became the law of laws.

A change almost as rapid was effected in the interior of society, where the law of inheritance completed the abolition of local influences.

As soon as this effect of the laws and of the Revolution became apparent to every eye, victory was irrevocably pronounced in favor of the democratic cause. All power was, in fact, in its hands, and resistance was no longer possible. The higher orders submitted without a murmur and without a struggle to an evil that was thenceforth inevitable. The ordinary fate of falling powers awaited them: each of their members followed his own interest; and as it was impossible to wring the power from the hands of a people whom they did not detest sufficiently to brave, their only aim was to secure its goodwill at any price. The most democratic laws were consequently voted by the very men whose interests they impaired: and thus, although the higher classes did not excite the passions of the people against their order, they themselves accelerated . the triumph of the new state of things; so that, by a singular change, the democratic impulse was found to be most irresistible in the very states where the aristocracy had the firmest hold. The state of Maryland, which had been founded by men of rank, was the first to proclaim universal suffrage 1 and to introduce the most democratic forms into the whole of its government.

When a nation begins to modify the elective qualification, it may easily be foreseen that, sooner or later, that qualification will be entirely abolished. There is no more invariable rule in the history of society: the further electoral rights are extended, the greater is the need of extending them; for after each concession the strength of the democracy increases, and its demands increase with its strength. The ambition of those who are below the appointed rate is irritated in exact proportion to the great number of those who are above it. The exception at last becomes the rule, concession follows concession, and no stop can be made short of universal suffrage.

At the present day the principle of the sovereignty of the people has acquired in the United States all the practical development that the imagination can conceive. It is unencumbered by those fictions that are thrown over it in other countries, and it appears in every possible form, according to the exigency of the occasion. Sometimes the laws are made by the people in a body, as at Athens; and sometimes its representatives, chosen by universal suffrage, transact business in its name and under its immediate supervision.

In some countries a power exists which, though it is in a degree foreign to the social body, directs it, and forces it to pursue a certain track. In others the ruling force is divided, being partly within and partly without the ranks of the people. But nothing of the kind is to be seen in the United States; there society governs itself for itself. All power centers in its bosom, and scarcely an individual is to be met with who would venture to conceive or, still less, to express the idea of seeking it elsewhere. The nation participates in the making of its laws by the choice of its legislators, and in the execution of them by the choice of the agents of the executive government; it may almost be said to govern itself, so feeble and so restricted is the share left to the administration, so little . do the authorities forget their popular origin and the power from which they emanate. The people reign in the American political world as the Deity does in the universe. They are the cause and the aim of all things; everything comes from them, and everything is absorbed in them.

Emails Show Hillary Clinton Aides Celebrating F-15 Jet Fighter Sales to Saudi Arabia: “Good News”

 

 

The shockingly brutal Saudi air campaign in Yemen has been led by American-made F-15 jet fighters.

The indiscriminate bombing of civilians and rescuers from the air has prompted human rights organizations to claim that some Saudi-led strikes on Yemen may amount to war crimes. At least 2,800 civilians have been killed in the conflict so far, according to the United Nations — mostly by airstrikes. The strikes have killed journalists and ambulance drivers.

The planes, made by Boeing, have been implicated in the bombing of three facilities supported by Doctors Without Borders (Médicins Sans Frontières). The U.N. Secretary General has decried “intense airstrikes in residential areas and on civilian buildings in Sanaa, including the chamber of commerce, a wedding hall, and a center for the blind,” and has warned that reports of cluster bombs being used in populated areas “may amount to a war crime due to their indiscriminate nature.”

Bombs dropped by fighter jets are pulverizing Yemen’s architectural history, possibly in violation of international humanitarian law.

A few years earlier, as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton made weapons transfer to the Saudi government a “top priority,” according to her closest military aide.

And now, newly released emails show that her aides kept her well-informed of the approval process for a $29.4 billion sale in 2011 of up to 84 advanced F-15SA fighters, manufactured by Boeing, along with upgrades to the pre-existing Saudi fleet of 70 F-15 aircraft and munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance, and logistics.

The deal was finalized on Christmas Eve 2011. Afterward, Jake Sullivan, then Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and now a senior policy adviser on her presidential campaign, sent her a celebratory email string topped with the chipper message: “FYI — good news.”

The email string was part of a new batch of emails from Clinton’s private server, made public on Friday evening as the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

One American official, whose name is redacted in the emails, said he had just received confirmation that Prince Salman, now the king of Saudi Arabia but at the time the senior Saudi liaison approving the weapons deal, had “signed the F-15SA LOA today” and would send scanned documents the following day.

“Not a bad Christmas present,” he added.

Another official, whose name is also redacted, confirmed that a Saudi general who had been working with U.S. officials was “pleased, as are all of us,” and said he would soon contact executives at Boeing.

The congratulatory tone continues through the email chain with other officials, also with redacted names, calling the weapons deal “Great news!”

On December 26, Jeremy Bash, then-chief of staff at the Pentagon, sent the email string, titled “F-15SA Christmas Present,” to Sullivan, who sent it to Clinton with his own note at the top.

David Sirota and Andrew Perez have previously reported for the International Business Times that Clinton’s State Department was heavily involved in approving weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. As weapons transfers were being approved, both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Boeing made donations to the Clinton Foundation. The Washington Post revealed that a Boeing lobbyist helped with fundraising in the early stages of Hillary Clinton’s current presidential campaign.

Jeremy Bash is now managing partner at Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting firm that provides advice to Clinton on foreign policy while providing paid advice to the military contracting industry.

A Cloak of Silence After a South Bronx Killing – By The New York Times

 

The killing of Freddy Collazo remains unsolved, and the silence that frustrates detectives and torments his family seems to be holding, spawning rumors and threats of revenge

00BXMURDER2-superJumbo

For years Freddy Collazo watched death pool in sidewalk cracks and on basketball courts, leaving behind votive candles and bottles of a victim’s favorite cognac. And he ran from the same fate.

He fled after a man sliced a knife through his right cheek and ear four years ago at his South Bronx housing project. He dodged two men who jumped him last spring outside Bronx Criminal Court, raining punches as he tried to pull his mother to the safety of a waiting taxi.

And in recent weeks, he told people he was being stalked by an armed man near the Forest Houses, where he grew up as a fringe member of a criminal crew called Forest Over Everything.

Mr. Collazo never told the police about the threats, his mother said, preferring to bear the burden of his street feuds on his own.

On a warm Monday in late February, as the sun sank toward the wiry tree line of Saint Mary’s Park — a hilly tract about 15 blocks south of the Forest Houses — a hooded gunman crept up behind Mr. Collazo and his cousin at the park’s southern edge and did not miss. The first bullet severed Mr. Collazo’s spine and blew through his heart, killing him before he hit the pavement. His cousin, Luis Cruz, ran.

Then the gunman stood over Mr. Collazo, 58 days past his 20th birthday, and with a .45-caliber pistol pumped at least six more bullets into his body, leaving a total of 10 entry and exit wounds.

As silence fell over the park, his cousin circled back.

“I was crying, right there, like, ‘Don’t die on me,’” Mr. Cruz said. “I’m telling him, ‘Breathe, breathe.’ And, like, it was over.”

In a bystander’s video, Mr. Collazo’s body lay in the middle of St. Mary’s Street, his hair cushioning his head against the pavement and his black hightops crossed at the ankle, as a police officer delivered quick pumps to his chest. Faint sirens and the murmur of worried onlookers broke through the late-afternoon quiet.

Mr. Collazo had just dropped off gifts for Mr. Cruz’s unborn son: four onesies embossed with monkeys and bananas, six pairs of socks, bibs decorated with cars and a baby bottle.

 

The killing remains unsolved, and the veil of silence that left Mr. Collazo vulnerable to one attack after another — and that frustrates detectives and torments victims’ families — seems to be holding, spawning rumors and threats of revenge.

00BXMURDER-9-blog427

Mr. Collazo, showing off certificates he earned in a high school equivalency program.

 

Of the 120 known crews and gangs in the Bronx, many are rooted in the housing projects in and just north of the 40th Precinct, an area that has one of New York City’s densest concentrations of public housing.

Last year, the 40th Precinct had nine homicides — higher than all but 11 of the city’s 77 police precincts — and recorded the largest jump in major crime citywide. With a third homicide last week, the precinct is now the third-deadliest so far this year, behind the 75th Precinct, in East New York, and the 121st Precinct, on Staten Island. The number of burglaries in the 40th Precinct has more than tripled from the same period last year, and felony assaults, robberies and rapes have all increased by at least 50 percent.

“Crime is definitely not headed in the right direction,” James P. O’Neill, the chief of department, told the commander of the 40th Precinct, Inspector Carlos Valdez, at a recent meeting on crime statistics and crime-fighting strategies at Police Headquarters, as department leaders pressed the inspector and others on conditions in their commands.

A long-term drop in homicides in the precinct — down from 83 in 1991, mirroring a decline across the city — has allowed the police to intensify their focus on hard-to-solve killings like Mr. Collazo’s.

He left behind a trail of clues: his name in a police database linking him to Forest Over Everything; his rap lyrics, which were dominated by references to “cokeheads” and “dopeheads”; a Facebook post about shots fired by “my team.” But the mystery over the true motive has had young mothers worrying at public meetings about letting their children play outside and detectives knocking on doors across the South Bronx to reconstruct the provocations and paybacks that made Mr. Collazo a target.

“Freddy had problems everywhere, just like every other kid out here that’s gangbanging got problems everywhere,” said the friend who called himself Mr. Collazo’s “right-hand man” and knew him for several years. “He knew people was after him.”

The Path to Rikers

Mr. Collazo tended to keep his troubles to himself at the Forest Houses, a complex of 15 buildings just north of the 40th Precinct.

He often shut himself in the room he shared with a younger sister, lying on the top bunk of their bed, emerging only to watch cartoons like “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” “Arthur” and “Scooby-Doo.” Headphones always dangled from his ears. He grew his hair long and liked having two braids hang over his temples.

“He was a funny, funny kid,” Ms. Soto said, recalling his goofy sense of humor. But, she added, “He suffered inside.”

Mr. Collazo poured out his feelings first as part of a dance crew, where he was called Freddy Tails and known for his light feet, and later as an amateur rapper, writing lyrics about his own life under the name Felony Fredo.

At least one friend of Mr. Collazo has been caught with a gun trying to retaliate for the killing, and others have promised to do the same, all of them going after the men who had been hunting Mr. Collazo for years, said an 18-year-old friend who called himself Mr. Collazo’s “right-hand man.”

Sgt. Michael J. LoPuzzo, the commander of the 40th Precinct detective squad, said Mr. Collazo was “assassinated.”

But Mr. Cruz has told Mr. Collazo’s mother that he will not say who the killer is.

“I told him, ‘Please, you was there, go to the cops and tell them what you know,’” Mr. Collazo’s mother, Glenda Lee Soto, said. “He told me he’s not going to do it. He’s not going to go down for a snitch. He’s not going to rat nobody.”
Crew Complications

The murder created hardly a ripple in the daily pulse of a city that has largely banished fears of targeted violence to impoverished pockets, like Brownsville and East New York in Brooklyn, and Mott Haven, the South Bronx neighborhood where Mr. Collazo was killed. In the 40th Precinct, though — which recorded his death as its second homicide of 2016 — it was the latest in a cycle of crew battles and personal feuds that span generations.

To understand why killings persist in an era of historically low crime, The New York Times is reporting this year on each murder in the 40th Precinct.

In neighborhoods like Mott Haven, a shadow system of street justice holds sway over many young black and Hispanic men who describe addressing grievances through armed payback because they do not trust the police. Witnesses and crime victims often refuse to speak, creating a vacuum of judicial accountability in which people instead turn to guns and crews, loosely organized groups of young men usually delineated by geography.

Crew murders account for many of the killings that persist in today’s New York, leaving detectives to untangle the often petty or impenetrable motives behind them before more violence occurs in retribution. Elected leaders have become numb to the rat-a-tat frequency of such killings, antiviolence activists say.

But to delve deeply into a murder like Mr. Collazo’s is to see the layers of fear, loyalty and provocation that can end in death. For Mr. Collazo, who was in drug treatment and on his way to a high school equivalency diploma, life seemed to be a daily struggle against the pull of the street.

MURDER IN THE 4-0
A Bronx Precinct Where Killings Persist FEB. 18, 2016

Great Reads
Our best deeply reported and engaging works.

Brother, Sister, Roommate, Neighbor
MAR 18
An Insurance Salesman and a Doctor Walk Into a Bar, and End Up at the North Pole
MAR 17
The Secrets of the Wave Pilots
MAR 17
A ‘High Degree of Miserable’ in a Refugee-Swollen Greece
MAR 17
Patients in Pain, and a Doctor Who Must Limit Drugs
MAR 16

Detectives have told Ms. Soto they need more credible witnesses to move forward. Witnesses do not seem to be saying all that they know. The motive, initially listed as “crew-related,” may have a long, knotty history. Such are the realities of a crew murder in the 40th Precinct.

 

Last year, the 40th Precinct had nine homicides — higher than all but 11 of the city’s 77 police precincts — and recorded the largest jump in major crime citywide. With a third homicide last week, the precinct is now the third-deadliest so far this year, behind the 75th Precinct, in East New York, and the 121st Precinct, on Staten Island. The number of burglaries in the 40th Precinct has more than tripled from the same period last year, and felony assaults, robberies and rapes have all increased by at least 50 percent.

“Crime is definitely not headed in the right direction,” James P. O’Neill, the chief of department, told the commander of the 40th Precinct, Inspector Carlos Valdez, at a recent meeting on crime statistics and crime-fighting strategies at Police Headquarters, as department leaders pressed the inspector and others on conditions in their commands.

A long-term drop in homicides in the precinct — down from 83 in 1991, mirroring a decline across the city — has allowed the police to intensify their focus on hard-to-solve killings like Mr. Collazo’s.

He left behind a trail of clues: his name in a police database linking him to Forest Over Everything; his rap lyrics, which were dominated by references to “cokeheads” and “dopeheads”; a Facebook post about shots fired by “my team.” But the mystery over the true motive has had young mothers worrying at public meetings about letting their children play outside and detectives knocking on doors across the South Bronx to reconstruct the provocations and paybacks that made Mr. Collazo a target.

“Freddy had problems everywhere, just like every other kid out here that’s gangbanging got problems everywhere,” said the friend who called himself Mr. Collazo’s “right-hand man” and knew him for several years. “He knew people was after him.”

The Path to Rikers

Mr. Collazo tended to keep his troubles to himself at the Forest Houses, a complex of 15 buildings just north of the 40th Precinct.

He often shut himself in the room he shared with a younger sister, lying on the top bunk of their bed, emerging only to watch cartoons like “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” “Arthur” and “Scooby-Doo.” Headphones always dangled from his ears. He grew his hair long and liked having two braids hang over his temples.

“He was a funny, funny kid,” Ms. Soto said, recalling his goofy sense of humor. But, she added, “He suffered inside.”

Mr. Collazo poured out his feelings first as part of a dance crew, where he was called Freddy Tails and known for his light feet, and later as an amateur rapper, writing lyrics about his own life under the name Felony Fredo.

00BXMURDER1-superJumbo

After Mr. Collazo’s death, friends used lighters to burn a tribute into the ceiling at his Forest Houses building. Credit Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

e.

“Fourteen, runnin’ round, I was snatching jewels,” go the lyrics to one song. “I got older since then, never sober / Runnin’ from your crib, show up like Jehovah.”

Mr. Collazo’s father, who was addicted to heroin, served nearly two years in state prison for drug sales. His parents separated when he was in his early teens.

“My pops wasn’t there, man I think he a crackhead,” Mr. Collazo rapped in the same song. “And my mom by herself, and that hurted me the most.”

He got a .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver after the 2012 slashing — a requisite precaution, friends and relatives said, for anyone being chased as Mr. Collazo was. It was in his left pocket, loaded with two live rounds, when police officers answering a 911 call for a man shot in November 2013 pulled Mr. Collazo out of a group that matched a description of the perpetrators.

They also found, in his right pocket, a sandwich bag of marijuana. The gun was confiscated and he faced several serious weapons possession charges. “I got stabbed and robbed a month back so I carry these for protection,” he told Officer Yurantz Assade as he was arrested, according to court papers.

But Mr. Collazo was coy, even with close friends, about why people wanted to hurt him. When Ms. Soto asked how she could help, her son acknowledged being in trouble but insisted, “No questions.”

When he was sent to jail on Rikers Island, his father, whose name is also Alfredo Collazo, was already there, having been locked up four days earlier on drug charges: In spite of the elder Mr. Collazo’s urging him to do differently, his son had followed his path.

“I’m trying to show you and close doors and tell you, ‘Don’t do this, don’t get into no gang,’” the father recalled telling his son.

Ms. Soto bailed her son out, but he did not listen to other relatives’ warnings, either. “Leave those people alone,” his grandfather, Agustin Soto, recalled telling him about his street friends. “He said, ‘Yes, Grandpa, I will do what you told me to, Grandpa.’ But it never happened.”

A Conspicuous Presence

Mr. Collazo was curious about forging his own allegiances on the street and unafraid of straying from the loose boundaries of his crew. His boldness made him enemies.

He had expensive tastes in clothes, favoring name-brand polo shirts. On Facebook groups for selling merchandise he offered a “real Rolex” for $800, size 9½ Air Jordans and G-Star jeans that would have been long for his 5-foot-11 frame. He saved money by leaving cash at his mother’s apartment.

“‘I need some chicken,’ or ‘I need bread,’” Ms. Soto recalled her son saying, using slang for money.

He popped prescription pills, including Percocet, smoked marijuana in the lobby of his apartment building and sold drugs, sometimes under the banner of Forest Over Everything but just as often on his own.

“People just care for him too much, so they always made sure he was protected,” said Mr. Collazo’s right-hand man, who spoke on the condition that he not be named and who said he had sold drugs with Mr. Collazo near the Forest Houses.

Mr. Collazo dropped out of Herbert H. Lehman High School in the 11th grade, despite his mother’s begging counselors for a way to force him to stay enrolled. His father had a daughter with a different woman and was living with them in Mr. Collazo’s childhood home, further straining his relationship with his father. He moved in with his mother near 180th Street for short periods, but was always drawn back to the Forest Houses, a more permissive atmosphere where he helped care for the great-grandmother who raised him and who was battling uterine cancer.

Mr. Collazo was arrested again in April 2014, this time for marijuana, but he only had to pay a fine. He walked around as if he were invincible, friends said, relying on his crew for protection as his street feuds piled up.

His ability to keep avoiding prison time created suspicions among his crew when, later that month, nearly three dozen members of Forest Over Everything and a rival group, Six Four Goons, were arrested in a roundup and charged in a string of attempted murders and firearm purchases, some of them planned on Facebook.

Mr. Collazo appears in the 80-count indictment under his Facebook name, Freddy Staysmack, messaging with a fellow crew member about a gun in June 2011. “U got da 25,” the other crew member, who was charged with conspiring to commit murder, says to Mr. Collazo, according to the indictment. But Mr. Collazo dodged charges.

“People from his own crew felt like they couldn’t trust him,” the “right-hand man” said, alluding to speculation that Mr. Collazo was cooperating with the authorities. “That was never the case; he was never working with the cops.”

But the episode stoked Mr. Collazo’s paranoia about who might be after him.

“He realized the streets either bring jail or death,” said his 18-year-old sister, Ñeca. “He wanted something better. He wanted to live.”
A Look at the 40th Precinct

The southernmost police precinct in the Bronx has the largest public-housing population in the city.

Andrew

Jackson

Houses

BRONX

Melrose

Houses

WESTCHESTER AVE.

Bronxchester

Houses

John

Adams

Houses

St. Mary’s

Park Houses

Patterson

Houses

Betances

Houses

Mott Haven

Houses

ST. MARY’S

PARK

Mitchel

Houses

Mott Haven

Mill Brook

Houses

Port Morris

MANHATTAN

RANDALLS ISLAND

By The New York Times
A Promising Turn

Last May, Mr. Collazo entered a residential drug-treatment program in Brooklyn run by Phoenix House, a nonprofit rehabilitation organization, telling people that he would keep getting in trouble if he stayed on the streets and that it would help him avoid prison.

He won a relapse-prevention award in September, as he received help with his marijuana habit. A counselor in a course on healthy relationships, Lydia Peterson, recalled his making juvenile jokes early on, but eventually asking serious, if somewhat cryptic, questions about women.

“Well, what if I trusted somebody and they betrayed me?” Ms. Peterson said he asked.

By October, he had earned a chance to leave each morning to study for his high school equivalency diploma at the Isaacs Center in Manhattan.

He left a similar program two weeks earlier because he was not allowed to wear a hat, but he was desperate enough to plead for a second chance after a counselor believed — in error, it turned out — that he was involved in a fight during orientation.

“He cried, he cried, and said to please give him another chance because he knows if he’s not here — if he doesn’t get this opportunity — he won’t do it anywhere else,” the counselor, Ana Dominguez, recalled.

On long walks he told Ms. Dominguez he was trying to overcome a past clouded by difficult family ties and “beef here and there.” His anxiety ran so deep that Mr. Collazo once badgered a new student who he thought had been looking at him too much. Ms. Dominguez suspended him for a day and asked him to explain himself in a letter. She said he wrote about dreams of a big house with a wife and children, and when he returned to school he insisted on moving into a harder reading group.

“Sometimes it’s hard for me to live life, but I will if I have to,” she said he wrote on the double-sided note.

On a collage he made for Thanksgiving, he wrote, “I am thankful to still be alive after everything I been thru.”

But he also told his counselors that the streets of the South Bronx were still what he knew best, and that he did not know where else to go.
Treacherous Terrain

Neighborhood crews sometimes begin more as groups of friends than as criminal enterprises. But the stakes rise as crew members obtain guns and move to protect turf.

“The reason we talk about it so much is it is much more violent because of the guns and the easy access to them,” said Assistant Commissioner Kevin O’Connor of the Juvenile Justice Division at the Police Department.

Teenagers know where they are allowed and where they are not, though sometimes they get a pass to move through rival turf where a grandmother lives, or where they play basketball. A strong family life is often all that stops young men from succumbing to the pull of a crew.

“I never heard him talk about his father,” Ms. Peterson said. “He had to resort to finding that love or respect or confidence in the street.”

Forest Over Everything holds sway at the Forest Houses and has long clashed with the young people from the McKinley Houses, to the south, where 20 Blocc, a subset of the Bloods, has reigned. The boundary between the two groups is East 163rd Street. The investigation that resulted in the takedown at the Forest Houses in 2014 was prompted by the fatal shooting of a 4-year-old there.

But some feuds are harder to explain. At the Mill Brook Houses, the dividing lines are within the complex itself: On one side, up a hill, is Killer Brook Up, or KB Up; on the other is KB Down.

Along with the crews are localized subsets of notorious national gangs — Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings — many of which take shape at Rikers and drive violence across the city.

Robert K. Boyce, the chief of detectives, who commanded the 40th Precinct from 2000 to 2003, said the groups attached themselves to certain locations and started battling.

“These alpha personalities, someone’s got to be in charge,” said Chief Boyce, who also commanded all Bronx detectives for three years.

Phoenix House was a form of self-exile for Mr. Collazo — free from crew affiliations and far from rival terrain. But in text messages to a friend in January, he described his need for money even as he plunged deeper into his schoolwork.

“Education the key n I’m jus now noticing it now,” he wrote. He added, “I’m litt I jus gotta find a way to get money again n

 

A Conspicuous Presence

Mr. Collazo was curious about forging his own allegiances on the street and unafraid of straying from the loose boundaries of his crew. His boldness made him enemies.

“People from his own crew felt like they couldn’t trust him,” the “right-hand man” said, alluding to speculation that Mr. Collazo was cooperating with the authorities. “That was never the case; he was never working with the cops.”

But the episode stoked Mr. Collazo’s paranoia about who might be after him.

“He realized the streets either bring jail or death,” said his 18-year-old sister, Ñeca. “He wanted something better. He wanted to live”