Undoubtedly it was just an oversight on Thomas Jefferson’s part when he wrote that man’s unalienable rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — but not free cellphones. True, the telephone hadn’t even been invented in 1776, but surely the Sage of Monticello could have included a right to any and all means of communication. How can one be expected to pursue happiness without it?
To the cheers of those already getting the proverbial free lunch, the federal government, ever eager to expand the category of “rights” in pursuit of more power, has stepped into the breach. “People receiving government support such as Medicaid or food stamps,” writes the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, are now also eligible to receive cellphone service at others’ expense.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's campaign for President announced that Romney has a committee of 63 lawyers advising his campaign August 2, and that list includes Bush administration torture lawyer Steven Bradbury. Bradbury, the Deputy Attorney General who approved the Bush administration torture policy written by John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, is also known for telling congressional investigators, "The President is always right."
"Our nation needs a Congress and an Executive branch that are cognizant of the bounds of their powers," Mitt Romney wrote in an August 2 statement announcing the advisory committee. But with Bradbury on the advisory committee, there would be no bounds to executive power.
I was researching REAL ID, the Feds’ scheme to turn driver’s licenses into a national ID, when I stumbled across this bombshell at the National Motorists Association:
Eliminate the Driver License
Georgia State Representative Bobby Franklin (R-Marietta) introduced House Bill 875 in November 2009. The first two sentences of that proposed legislation, better known as the “Right to Travel Act,” summarize what the bill is about: “Free people have a common law and constitutional right to travel on the roads and highways that are provided by their government for that purpose. Licensing of drivers cannot be required of free people because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of an inalienable right.”
A federal appeals court has ruled against a county board in North Carolina over its tradition of opening meetings with mostly Christian prayers. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled in favor of two residents of Forsyth County after the county’s Board of Commissioners allowed an invocation at a December 17, 2007 meeting in which a local pastor “thanked God for allowing the birth of his son to forgive us for our sins and closed by making the prayer in the name of Jesus,” reported the Associated Press.
According to the Beaufort, N.C. Observer, the invocation “also made a number of references to specific tenets of Christianity, from ‘the Cross of Calvary’ to the ‘Virgin Birth’ to the ‘Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.’”
President Obama campaigned in 2007 and 2008 on behalf of honoring the Constitution’s trial rights for suspected terrorists, and a restoration of protecting individual rights under the U.S. Constitution. But Obama hasn’t merely continued the Bush policy of detaining terror suspects without trial, he’s put many suspected law-breakers — including “dozens” of U.S. citizens — on assassination lists.
“To me, terrorists should not be able to hide behind their passports and their citizenship, and that includes U.S. citizens, whether they are overseas or whether they are here in the United States,” Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John O. Brennan told the Washington Times in June 2010. Brennan said at that time that “dozens” of American citizens were on Obama’s assassination list. New Mexico native Anwar al-Awlaki is reportedly on the assassination list, but the list itself remains classified. Anwar al-Awlaki is thought to be hiding out from the United States in Yemen.
A conservative religious group has filed suit against the state of New York for its new legislation legalizing homosexual “marriage,” which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law on June 24.
The group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms says the law, known as the Marriage Equality Act, was passed illegally because the negotiations leading up to Cuomo’s effort to overturn the definition of marriage trespassed several open meetings laws.
After the law was passed, at least two town clerks quit their jobs rather than sign same-sex marriage licenses.
We shall not be able to even start reducing the size of the federal government until Tea Party Republicans take control of both houses of Congress and the White House. Hopefully that will happen in November 2012. Then will begin the great task of abolishing the hundreds of departments and agencies that have done nothing but interfere with the ability of American industry and business to grow. In other words, we must restore the kind of free-market economy that permits individuals to create new businesses and permits old businesses to expand. In that way we shall also create many new jobs.
In the past, when Republicans took control of Congress and the White House, they did nothing to reduce the size of government. They didn’t repeal a single useless liberal program. They simply consolidated the gains of the liberals. Why? That’s the mysterious part of American politics. Believe it or not, the Republicans were simply behaving like good Hegelian dialecticians.
It’s a few months early, but the ACLU is already beginning its annual attack on America’s beloved Christmas holiday. The Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper reported that the Broward County branch of the ACLU has warned the community of Plantation not to put up its annual display of Christian and Jewish symbols in Liberty Tree Park this holiday season, calling the display “inappropriate.”
In a letter to city officials, the ACLU argued that “displaying a Nativity scene and menorah violates the separation of church and state,” reported the paper. “The problem, the rights group said, is that the city is advocating for two religions while ignoring all the others.”
The ACLU’s Barry Butin said his group thinks Plantation’s holiday spirit is “a violation of the First Amendment and an endorsement of religion. If they were really neutral and didn’t favor one over the other, they’d have a more inclusive display: Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist.”
The federal government just can’t stay out of agriculture. From subsidy programs that decide winners and losers in the markets by favoring corporate farms over family farms to ethanol rules that sacrifice food for fuel to laws that give undue influence and power to a select few pesticide and seed producers, Washington has maintained a stranglehold over farming that has forever altered the industry’s competitive landscape and doomed consumers to pay ever-higher prices at the grocery store.
It wants even more power. Now, another assault comes from the Capitol and the unlikeliest of agencies: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an arm of the Department of Transportation. The DOT/FMCSA has new standards currently in the public comment period that, were they to become law, would override states’ rights — and the rights of the individual farmer — and have a detrimental impact on how business is done.
“I taught the Constitution for 10 years. I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States. We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.”
— Barack Obama, May 18, 2008, at a campaign stop in Billings, Montana
President Obama began his presidency with great promise, publicly pledging to end many of the Bush administration attacks against the U.S. Constitution. Obama had pledged during his initial election campaign to end signing statements as a back-door method of legislating (usurping the legislative branch’s powers under Article I of the Constitution), warrantless surveillance (violating the Fourth Amendment), detention without habeas corpus (Fifth Amendment) or trial (Sixth Amendment), torture (Eighth Amendment), and excessive executive branch secrecy under the “executive privilege” and “state secrets” claims, and pledged that he would not engage in offensive wars without the approval of Congress (Congress’ power under Article I, Section 8).