Constitution

File under: Things we should all know

What they learned after only seven years is worth remembering (or learning, as the case may be).

The Articles of Confederation versus the US Constitution:

The United States has operated under two constitutions. The first, The Articles of Confederation, was in effect from March 1, 1781, when Maryland ratified it. The second, The Constitution, replaced the Articles when it was ratified by New Hampshire on June 21, 1788.

The two documents have much in common – they were established by the same people (sometimes literally the same exact people, though mostly just in terms of contemporaries). But they differ more than they do resemble each other, when one looks at the details. Comparing them can give us insight into what the Framers found important in 1781, and what they changed their minds on by 1788.

They might have been onto something here:

Term limit for legislative office
Articles: No more than three out of every six years
Constitution: None

Interesting but guessing they haven’t much regretted not using the special exemption:

New States
Articles: Admitted upon agreement of nine states (special exemption provided for Canada)
Constitution: Admitted upon agreement of Congress

For those seeking advanced knowledge only: The Preamble was several full clauses in the Articles of Confederation.  Perhaps using the abbreviated version in the Preamble was saving too much paper. Just sayin….

The Preamble

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

From the Articles of Confederacy:

Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

Provide for common defence was:

Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

On raising armies:

Article VII. When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.

Good documents to reread often. Just sayin….

 

Advertisements

The criminalization of American business (Yes, you should care and be very worried!)

Aug 30th 2014 | From the print edition The Economist

The formula is simple: find a large company that may (or may not) have done something wrong; threaten its managers with commercial ruin, preferably with criminal charges; force them to use their shareholders’ money to pay an enormous fine to drop the charges in a secret settlement (so nobody can check the details). Then repeat with another large company.

In many cases, the companies deserved some form of punishment: BNP Paribas disgustingly abetted genocide, American banks fleeced customers with toxic investments and BP despoiled the Gulf of Mexico. But justice should not be based on extortion behind closed doors. The increasing criminalisation of corporate behaviour in America is bad for the rule of law and for capitalism (see article).

Since the cases never go to court, precedent is not established, so it is unclear what exactly is illegal. That enables future shakedowns, but hurts the rule of law and imposes enormous costs. Nor is it clear how the regulatory booty is being carved up. Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, who is up for re-election, reportedly intervened to increase the state coffers’ share of BNP’s settlement by $1 billion, threatening to wield his powers to withdraw the French bank’s licence to operate on Wall Street. Why a state government should get any share at all of a French firm’s fine for defying the federal government’s foreign policy is not clear.

Prosecutors and regulators should also be required to publish the reasons why, given the gravity of their initial accusations, they did not take the matter all the way to court.

Or how about they at least admit there were no facts to support the original charges?  Oh, and if they lose in court they have some sort of personal loss like those they are over-charging?

The Leader article here.

And the follow up here:

A mammoth guilt trip

Corporate America is finding it ever harder to stay on the right side of the law

“Contrary to the conventional wisdom,” write Margaret Lemos and Max Minzner in an article in January’s Harvard Law Review, “public enforcers often seek large monetary awards for self-interested reasons divorced from the public interest in deterrence. The incentives are strongest when enforcement agencies are permitted to retain all or some of the proceeds of enforcement—an institutional arrangement that is common at the state level and beginning to crop up in federal law.”

So Prosecutors have no down side to over-charging and threatening decades in prison. And then get to decide how to spend the money.  Sure, that seems like a fair and equitable system to me, not.

Let’s find more obscure laws and let the Prosecutors run the country. Who needs an inept Congress (and apparently supportive President?) who aren’t paying attention anyway?

Just saying, if it can happen to JP Morgan Chase what chance do you have if they come after you?  And you don’t have Jamie Dimon’s money to buy your way out, do you?

One final quote for you to think about:

When America was founded, there were only three specified federal crimes—treason, counterfeiting and piracy. Now there are too many to count. In the most recent estimate, in the early 1990s, a law professor reckoned there were perhaps 300,000 regulatory statutes carrying criminal penalties—a number that can only have grown since then.

Hard to believe the constitution omitted so many important things…

Rant over.

s