We The People and the Oath To Office

The United States is a nation of laws. Ours is not an arbitrary government where the opinions of some are the rule. Because of the laws in our constitutional republic, there is something that all public officials, elected officials, and most people who work for the government have in common. That is their oath to office.

It used to mean something to Americans when our country was young, but nowadays it is at best a requirement for getting a paycheck. When the oath to office is properly understood, it becomes apparent that we the people have much more power over our government than we currently recognize.

In my discussion I will deal with the federal government and the State of Florida, since that is the state in which I live. Most other states I have investigated have similar ideals that are espoused, you can check with your state constitution for the specifics. I recommend all people read their state Constitution regardless.

In the Florida Constitution, it is clear who has to take an oath, get a bond, and exactly what is said.

Article 2 Section 5(b) Each state and county officer, before entering upon the duties of the office, shall give bond as required by law, and shall swear or affirm:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida; that I am duly qualified to hold office under the Constitution of the state; and that I will well and faithfully perform the duties of <title of office> on which I am now about to enter. So help me God.”.

Florida statutes also is relevant.

Title XLVI- Chpt. 876 – CRIMINAL ANARCHY, TREASON, AND OTHER CRIMES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER
876.05 Public employees; oath.—
(1) All persons who now or hereafter are employed by or who now or hereafter are on the payroll of the state, or any of its departments and agencies, subdivisions, counties, cities, school boards and districts of the free public school system of the state or counties, or institutions of higher learning, except candidates for federal office, are required to take an oath before any person duly authorized to take acknowledgments of instruments for public record in the state in the following form:

I, , a citizen of the State of Florida and of the United States of America, and being employed by or an officer of and a recipient of public funds as such employee or officer, do hereby solemnly swear or affirm that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Florida.

Who does this include? Each state and county officer. Anyone who receives a paycheck from the state, or any city or county here in Florida is required to take this oath. The governor. His whole cabinet. The county commissioners. Mayors of counties and cities. School board members. Judges. State House and Senate delegates. Police. ALL take this oath. Most of these people are also required to obtain a surety bond.

What is the surety bond for you might ask? The surety bond acts as an insurance policy that protects the taxpayers from monetary penalties incurred by individuals in government. The bond will pay out any claims when the principal (the person who is required to have a bond) fails to abide by the terms of the bond. The principal will be required to repay the surety for these payouts. This is the action mechanism for the oath. A public official who violates any provision of the law or their oath can have their bond required to pay for any monetary damages against them. If a bond is revoked and one cannot be obtained, then the public official cannot legally receive a paycheck from the entity where they work. In Florida, the state or other entities who employ the official usually pays for this bond. But if a person was uninsurable they couldn’t, by law, receive a paycheck from the state or any other entity within the state. Think about how powerful that is.

There was a group a while back I ran across, S.U.F.A. (States United For America) who had a novel idea. When a public official takes an oath, they are offering a contract to anybody who in their area of influence. When a Senator says that he will “support, protect, and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and of the State of Florida”, he/she is presenting a contract to anyone in their district. According to SUFA, all a person has to do is officially accept the offer. Think of any business that offers a service to the public. There is no connection between the two until the consumer acknowledges and accepts the terms of the contract for the service that was offered. It is the same for oaths to office. Imagine taking a Representative or Senator that has violated their oath to office to trial by jury for violations of that oath? That would be a powerful incentive for the person to follow the law. It would also let the people, in their capacity as a jury, to enforce the rule of law.

Here in the State of Florida, all political power rests with the people. This is plainly spelled out in Article 1 Section 1 of the state Constitution. These is the first clause of our state Constitution.

SECTION 1. Political power.—All political power is inherent in the people. The enunciation herein of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or impair others retained by the people.

This is a very powerful statement and supports, among other things, the idea of prosecuting officials who violate their oaths to office. We the people are the top of the political pyramid and those we elect work for us. They are our employees. Just because they are elected does not mean that their obligation is over to us. Just the opposite. This is the power of owning the political power in a state. This is the power we have relinquished as a people and need to recover. We have MUCH more than a vote when it comes to public affairs and government actions. We have a duty and a right to make sure the people we place into government follow the laws as written. Their job is to secure our rights and whenever any of them violate that basic tenet they need to be held accountable. Their oath is their pledge to all of the people they represent. No matter their political ideology following the law is not optional. We the people must hold them to their word. We the people must make sure that the laws are followed or consequences will be realized. To ignore this is to allow the rampant government we witness today.

At the federal level we have the Constitution and US codes which support the idea of honoring the oath to office.

The last paragraph of Article 6 of the US Constitution describes who is required to take the oath:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution”

In the Constitution, only the president’s oath is spelled out specifically. Article 2, Section 1 Clause 8 states:

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Title 5 USC 3331 defines the oath to office for federal employees.

“I, <name of oath taker>, 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. So help me God.”

Title 5 USC 3333 requires an affidavit by the employee.

(a) Except as provided by subsection (b) of this section, an individual who accepts office or employment in the Government of the United States or in the government of the District of Columbia shall execute an affidavit within 60 days after accepting the office or employment that his acceptance and holding of the office or employment does not or will not violate section 7311 of this title. The affidavit is prima facie evidence that the acceptance and holding of office or employment by the affiant does not or will not violate section 7311 of this title.

Which leads us to Title 5 U.S.C. 7311:

“An individual may not accept or hold a position in the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia if he—
(1) advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government;
(2) is a member of an organization that he knows advocates the overthrow of our constitutional form of government;
(3) participates in a strike, or asserts the right to strike, against the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia; or
(4) is a member of an organization of employees of the Government of the United States or of individuals employed by the government of the District of Columbia that he knows asserts the right to strike against the Government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia.”

Simply put, if a government worker supports unconstitutional activities or organizations that are contrary to the Constitution they have violated their oath and have negated their right to work in government for the people. If they register a vote that is contrary to the supreme law of the land then they have violated their oath and lose their ability to hold office. This is the potential power of the oath to office. This is why it exists.

The United States is a nation of laws. The supreme law of the land in the Constitution which almost all of the employees of the various levels of government take an oath to uphold and defend. When these employees break their oath they break the law which should lead to a trial by a jury of the people. If wrong doing is determined then expulsion from whatever office they hold at the time is the minimum penalty. This idea applies to all who take the oath. This is one way we can hold officials accountable for their actions. This is another check and balance we have allowed to erode over the years and one that must be employed at the present to rein in the out of control government we see today.

Join me at Constitutional Cappuccino to get plugged into a website that is all about the education Americans need to move our country back to its proper trajectory. My new book “Patriot Ammo: The Words Behind Our Flag” is also available and teaches of our founding documents and principles.

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The Pulse Tragedy : Why it Can Happen Again

It is the anniversary of the killing of 49 people in the Pulse night club. It was a horrendous event that sparked national outrage and a nonsensical response by our local leaders. The problem is that nothing has changed to prevent or minimize the chances of this happening again. Prayer vigils, special flags nor proclamations by city or state leaders do anything to address the problems which allowed this tragedy to unfold the way it did. This has become about the victims and ignores the reality that nothing has been done to empower citizens to prevent a similar tragedy from happening.

Some truths that need to be known.

The police are not tasked with protecting your life.  There have been over 10 cases brought against police where the Supreme Court and lesser courts have determined the police are not responsible for your life if you are murdered. Police in the Pulse incident did not enter the club for almost 3 hours after the shooting began. I do NOT fault police with their actions. It is not their job to protect individual lives. They contained the situation and proceeded when a plan was finally implemented.  Bottom line: you, and only you,  are responsible for your own life.

We have laws on the books here in Florida which state it is illegal for anyone to carry a gun into a bar. I understand the “thinking” behind the law but it left law abiding citizens at the mercy of a deranged killer. The idea that officials at the state level have violated their oath to office is repugnant and should be a crime.  I must have missed the part of the 2nd Amendment which excluded our right to protect ourselves when we enter a bar. Our representatives violated their oaths to office by infringing on the right of people to keep and bear arms and are culpable. There could indeed be problems for drunk patrons that are armed when in a bar.  But as the tragedy of Pulse and other mass shootings are looked into, it becomes apparent that gun free zones are hunting areas for the deranged. I guarantee you that those victims in Pulse would have armed themselves if they had been given the chance, but they were prohibited from doing so by our ignorant and outdated laws. I, like Thomas Jefferson, prefer dangerous liberty to peaceful slavery. Most people when faced with reality agree.

The response by our leaders is also telling.

Buddy Dyer, in his reply to a petition to enact gun control regulations here in Orlando, diverted the conversation by saying only lawmakers in Tallahassee can make those decisions. He is correct but instead of affirming the truth about people’s responsibility for protecting their own lives, he dodges the question and ignores the reality of the situation. I am unaware of any legislation or initiatives which have been implemented to allow people to better protect themselves from madmen like Omar. Silence is consent Buddy. Why do agree that disarmed people are a good idea? Buddy Dyer’s continued ignorance of reality is disturbing. Buddy Dyer did declare June 12th as Orlando United Day. That is the best he has I guess.

Rep. Carlos Guillermo-Smith and Sen. Linda Stewart early in 2017 filed a bill to ban “assault” weapons here in Florida in response to this tragedy. This is a typical knee jerk reaction by the anti-Constitution radical left and nothing new. They “spoke of the need to prevent another massacre like the one at the Pulse nightclub”. Newsflash- these tragedies are hard to prevent, if not impossible. Lone wolf attacks are very hard to detect and stop. There solution was to disarm law abiding citizens which would have NO effect on what happened inside of Pulse that night. None. They used the tragedy to further their own ignorant agenda. Criminals are criminals because they don’t obey the law. Linda Stewart further stated that “But it is also worth mentioning that the people killed by gun violence every day have rights too” yet she violated HER oath to office and tries to restrict those rights by banning “assault” weapons. Typical extremist hypocrisy.

Let’s not forget the politically correctness exhibited by federal authorities in this situation. All references that the gunman made to being aligned with ISIS were censored. In the partial transcripts that were released by authorities, any references Omar Mateen made about his ties or allegiance to ISIS were scrubbed. After MUCH public pressure the transcripts were finally released in their entirety. Political correctness and a twisted agenda seem more important to the authorities than reporting the truth. Public safety is a campaign slogan not reality here in Orlando it seems. Time for people to wake up.

In conclusion, nothing has been done that would minimize another attack like the one that occurred in the Pulse nightclub. We mourn the dead, have street rallies and hoist special flags for them but we have done nothing to address the problem that still exists. We owe it to the 49 dead and those of us still alive to allow people to be able to protect themselves. Protecting ones life is a natural right. the most important we have. That is where the right to keep and bear arms is derived.  Police are not responsible for protecting your life and our representatives keep law abiding citizens from doing it themselves. This is insanity. We remain sitting ducks in gun free zones. Idiocy and political correctness reign.

 

Nullification: A True Liberty Activity

Libertarians in Florida (and in general) need to start addressing issues that are relevant today instead of spouting off about fantasy “solutions”. Talking today about anarchy or open borders does not resonate nor is it a true path toward liberty. Both ideas represent a refusal to deal with real world problems. Neither is a solution to what faces America.

One of the topics we should be talking about is fighting unconstitutional federal laws that affect us in the state of Florida (or any other state you may reside in). This is a problem of “right now” and needs to be solved. Fortunately for us we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This idea has already been thought about and a solution has been formulated. This is an enumerated principle of Libertarians here in Florida and is a very powerful tool to counter unconstitutional edicts, mandates or “laws” issuing from Washington DC. The process is a simple one to understand and extremely effective in its execution. The simplicity of it is what makes it so elegant.

It is called nullification. It is the idea that a state decides that the federal government is operating outside of it constitutional bounds and is infringing on the rights of its citizens. Its action is to declare the law unconstitutional, the reasons for determining this and stating that no one who works for the state or within the state may aid or in any way help this unlawful expression of power originating from Washington DC. It is an idea espoused by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It is the constitutionally tried and true method to fight unconstitutional tyranny issuing from Washington DC.

Before you scoff and say this can never happen realize it has happened multiple times throughout our history and is currently being revived throughout our United States. Look to Washington and Colorado. How long ago did they nullify unconstitutional federal marijuana laws and say the law shall not be enforced within their state limits? Realize, neither stated that they wanted to nor have they tried to change the federal law. What they have done is affirmed that the federal “law” is unconstitutional and not to be enforced within their borders. State agencies and law enforcement are disallowed in aiding or initiating any actions against those people who grow or sell marijuana. The state is to do NOTHING!!! How Libertarian is THAT?! You fight no one. You see unlawful aggression and say that you will not support nor participate in the activity. Without the manpower and logistic support it is almost impossible for the feds to do anything within a state. This is the power of doing nothing.

Another current trend that is not being reported or being under-reported is the “Right to Try” laws. Thirty one states to date have passed laws nullifying unconstitutional mandates of the FDA concerning human “experimentation”.  These laws allow terminally ill patients to purchase drugs that are not currently approved by the FDA. Imagine that? People who are dying have a chance to save their lives in opposition to unconstitutional laws coming out of Washington DC. Imagine also why this is not widely reported on? Imagine if the people figured out they could actually make decisions for them selves and not rely on Washington DC? Things could change for the better and some in charge would not like that.

Other additions to the modern day nullification movement involve constitutional carry. Twelve states where there is no requirements for people to obtain any type of license to carry a gun. Some states and municipalities have nullified ALPR’s (Automatic License Plate Readers) within their bounds of their jurisdictions. This interposition is of varying degrees of restrictions on their collections. Many states have taken up or passed legislation restricting the monitoring and collection of cell phone data within their states via Stingray technology.

I leave hemp for last because it is a special topic for Floridians. Six states have nullified unconstitutional federal laws in their states and now grow hemp legally. Hemp is a wonder crop that has a multitude of uses and is a great crop to rotate to replenish soil. For those who are concerned about misuse, the THC content of hemp is negligible. The use of it as a drug would not be viable. But it IS very useful for many things and is the stuff that prosperity is built upon. Growing a plant that can make rope, canvas, food, drinks, paper, fabric, clothing, building supplies ( including hemp blocks to build houses), and plastics only makes sense. Hemp is the top plant for producing the most cellulose biomass per acre which makes farmers the most money per acre. This biomass is what paper, plastics and textiles are made of. No chemicals or insecticides are needed . All of this from growing this prolific and easy to grow crop. It is not legal in Florida but the industry would thrive here in the state. Because of our weather hemp could be grown year around and be among if not define the highest cultivation rates in the United States. The industries that would be created around this production would create real business and prosperity for Floridians.  We don’t do this because the federal government says it is illegal and the people in Tallahassee have big donor support who like things the way they are. They do not want to fight. That’s where Libertarians get involved.

So you see that nullification is trending and is definitely a force for liberty. Recognize this is a universal principle that will attract many people. . Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Constitutionalists all would agree that determining our own path is a good thing. We will not agree once we have the power what we want to do but at least we the people of Florida decide how we want to live. That is how our country is supposed to work. Washington DC was never supposed to be tinkering with the inner workings of a state. Their focus was to be a representative of the states for the rest of the world and to make sure the states played fair with each other. The primary function of our Federal Government is to secure our rights. Patents and trademarks, weights and measures, coining money, Post offices, postal roads, raising a Navy and Army, conducting war, protecting us from invasion and guaranteeing a republican form of government round out the majority of their enumerated tasks . The rest was left up to the states and the people. Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution describes exactly Congress’ tasks. How far away from this ideal have we wandered? That is what we fight today to realize liberty tomorrow.

It is my hope that Libertarians can coalesce and figure out as a group how to present their message to the public so we can be a viable force for liberty. The portrayal of libertarians to date has been abysmal and it is up to us to change that. The powers that be like the status quo- i.e. republicans and democrats being the only viable options. Getting behind and promoting an idea such as nullification is a short term and long term winner for libertarians. The true beauty is it is already part of our principles here in Florida. All we need are representatives and candidates who will espouse this policy. Time to get busy.

Tyranny in Orlando

On December 6th a grave injustice was perpetrated by our own government against two men exercising their right to free speech. Mark Schmidter and Julian Heicklen were arrested for trespassing on the sidewalk in front of the Orange County Courthouse thus violating an administrative order by Judge Belvin Perry. Their crime? Passing out a handout from the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) helping to educate potential jurors to their duties as a juror. Both men had been previously arrested for this “crime”. I know personally that Mark Schmidter served over 100 days in jail for his last interaction with Belvin Perry. I applaud both gentlemen for putting their personal liberty aside and doing what is right. They knew they were going to get arrested. This is most likely just the start of an agenda to expose this kind of blatant disregard for our rights and to further the cause of FIJA though I have not confirmed that with either of the men. I do know that Mark is a thorn in the side of the court system here in Orange County and has taken them to task on a couple different occasions.

In honor of these two men’s struggle, I wish to help the cause they are fighting for and tell the story of FIJA and why it is so important. Many people say “well what can one person do to make a difference?” Being an informed juror is one of the answers to that question.

As articulated in Article 3, the 6th and 7th Amendments of the Constitution everybody has the right to a trial by jury in any significant court proceeding. Significant describes any criminal case and any civil case whose value exceeds $20. This supports the idea that we the people are in control of justice. Congressmen and government can pass whatever laws they want. It is juries that determine the guilt or innocence of the people who go to trial.

FIJA describes the role of a jury as follows:

“The primary function of the independent juror is not, as many think, to dispense punishment to fellow citizens accused of breaking various laws, but to protect fellow citizens from tyrannical abuses of power by government.

The Constitution guarantees you the right to a trial by jury. This means that government must bring its case before a jury of The People if government wants to deprive any person of life, liberty or property. Jurors can say no to government tyranny by refusing to convict.”

FIJA works to:

  • Inform potential jurors of their traditional, legal authority to refuse to enforce unjust laws
  • Inform potential jurors that they cannot be required to check their consciences at the courthouse door
  • Inform potential jurors that they cannot be punished for their verdicts
  • Inform everyone that juror veto- jury nullification- is a peaceful way to protect human rights against corrupt politicians and government tyranny.

Jury nullification is nothing new. In response to the 18th Amendment, jury nullification became a tool to stop the tyranny of the federal government. People who were plainly guilty of selling alcohol in defiance of the 18th were regularly not convicted by juries for their flouting of the law. There was nothing that government could do. Jury nullification played a big part in the passage of the 21st Amendment which repealed the 18th Amendment.

Another case of jury nullification crushing government tyranny was the people’s opposition to the Fugitive Slave laws passed by Congress. In two separate cases, the Shadrach Rescue Trials and the Jerry Rescue trials, abolitionists who were brought to trial for rescuing slaves and helping them to escape their owners were acquitted by juries. They clearly had broken the “law”‘ but jurors decided that the laws were unjust and refused to convict.

Here in Florida we just passed a constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana to be distributed to patients. Many others, including myself, want to stop putting people in cages for using a plant. Jury nullification could do exactly that. Ant crime that lacks a victim is not a crime. Government trying to protect people from themselves is just another way that government controls our lives.

We the people wield significant power to curb government tyranny. No matter what laws are on the books it takes a jury to send a person to prison or to take their property. It is up to we the people to take our rightful place in this republic and reject government tyranny. Jury nullification is a major avenue to do just that. FIJA could use your support. Let’s not make Mark Schmidter and Julian Heicklen’s sacrifice be in vain. Get educated and get active. Liberty will not defend itself and needs true Americans to step up and support it. Do it for the people alive today and the unborn millions who depend on us to pass on the freedoms that were bequeathed to us. Patriots Awake!

An Open Letter to Mayor Jacobs

Honorable Mayor Jacobs,

I appreciate the position you are in as Mayor of a county when a natural disaster is about to occur. There are many people who are going to be hurting and in need. Your instinct is to protect as many people as possible and take whatever measures you deem necessary to save lives and protect property. I get it.

With that being said, my constitutionally protected rights are not subject to an executive order from the Mayor. The curfew you imposed is unlawful and never needs to be invoked again. You are the Mayor, not Queen, and do not decree when I can and cannot leave my house. Because of rain and wind you feel the need to circumscribe my constitutionally protected rights? You took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of Florida and the Constitution of the United States of America. Abiding by that oath is the most important thing you do. Making an executive decision which affects the lives of many law abiding citizens and the police who have to enforce this unconstitutional behavior is wrong on many levels:

You violate my inalienable rights because of water and wind.
You put police officers in the position of having to arrest people who are simply outside of their homes.
You make criminals out of usually law abiding people who have things they need to do even if a hurricane is coming.
You violate your oath to office by taking a stand against the Constitution.
You condemn people to suffer with no lawful alternative.

Our rights are inalienable. They come from our creator. Government does not give us our rights., nor can they restrict them. That duty is left to the people thru the jury system and due process. An executive order is not a lawful command for the public. It is a directive to others in government on how they should act. It is a direction given within the confines of the law so our government acts in unity.  To portray an executive order as a lawful entity which is enforceable on the people of this county is wrong. This line of reasoning is un-American.

Curfews have been struck down many times for their violations of the 1st Amendment. Your application of a curfew also has 1st Amendment implications. The right of the people to peaceably assemble is a right protected by the 1st Amendment and one that your decree violates. It is never in the best interest of the people to have their rights violated. Governments are instituted among men to secure our rights, not to circumscribe them.

I am hoping you had the best of intentions when it came to the curfew. Other counties do it. It is not unheard of. What I am asking you is that you never do it again. That you come out publicly and renounce the act and promise never to do it again. You see, I and many others will not stand for this precedent to be set in this county. We will not accept executive orders as law. We will never accept any infringements of our rights no matter the situation. I hope you understand that this is being done to make our county as free and prosperous as we can. You may have good intentions but others after you can use this precedence to further erode our rights. It will not be tolerated.

Other municipalities have been sued for cases similar to this and have lost. Let’s make this easy and say it will never happen again.

A Concerned Orange County Citizen,

Frank Caprio