On Monday, the justices of the Supreme Court were very busy issuing orders and approving petitions. Already having committed themselves to considering the constitutionality of the individual mandate of ObamaCare, and the legality of recent redistricting in Texas, the nation’s highest court has now agreed to review another controversial conflict between the Constitution and the law.
Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul engaged in sharp exchanges during the December 15 Fox News debate with fellow GOP presidential candidates Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum on whether the United States should attack Iran.
Fox News Channel host Bret Baier started the discussion on Iran in the Sioux City, Iowa, debate with a question that claimed "GOP nominee Paul would be running left of Obama on the issue of Iran." Baier had noted that Paul proposes removing economic sanctions against Iran, including the sanctions that Obama had imposed.
Paul responded by claiming the war-weary American people would be on his side. "But I would be running with the American people because it would be a much better policy," Rep. Paul replied, stressing that there's no evidence Iran is near to obtaining a nuclear weapon. "To me, the greatest danger is that we would overreact." Paul also likened the anti-Iran propaganda to the lead-up to the Iraq war, a war he opposed because he discounted exaggerated claims that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. "That’s how we got involved in the useless war in Iraq and lost so much in Iraq."
The town of Athens, Texas, is modest. The Henderson County courthouse, as in many small towns in the South, is the center of the community. Normally, during this time of the year, Christmas decorations are on each corner of the square. But this year, that simple display of the holiday season has run into an unexpected bump.
An organization of people who do not live in the town, who do not even live in the state, sent a letter to the Henderson County Commission.This letter was the shock of his life, according to Commissioner Joe Hall. The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a organization of atheists in Madison, Wisconsin, demanded that the town remove the Christmas decorations because according to Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder of the organization: “This excludes non-Christians and non-believers who are 17 percent of the U.S. population. So it's necessary there should be changes.”
In fact, the atheist group is not only asking that the Christian symbols come down but that the following go up instead:
It wasn’t until I read fellow writer Selwyn Duke’s article on Obama’s Osawatomie speech ("Did Obama Give Anti-Free Market Speech at Osawatomie for Communist Connection?") in which he revealed that the Weather Underground had used the name of the town as the title of their 1975 communist newsletter, that I realized there was much more to the Osawatomie speech than the national media has let on. A photo of that newsletter featuring Ho Chi Minh’s picture left no doubt that this Kansas town had real significance for the radical left. Otherwise, why would a secret terrorist group like the Weather Underground use that name as their newsletter’s title?
In his speech, Obama mentioned that Osawatomie, Kansas, was where Theodore Roosevelt gave an important oration about the New Nationalism back in 1910, and that he largely agreed with what Roosevelt had said. He didn’t say much more about it as he went on to pronounce his own socialist view that capitalism doesn’t work, claiming that It doesn’t produce jobs or prosperity. Only more government, more debt, and more taxes will produce the economic recovery we all wish for, asserted the president.
So I decided to look into the Osawatomie connection. A fascinating article in the Kansas Historical Quarterly by Robert S. La Forte (Summer 1966), now available online, provides a detailed account of Roosevelt’s famous address, who was behind it, and why it was denounced by some of its critics as socialistic or communistic.
The Obama administration’s quixotic quest to completely strip the states of their sovereignty has now turned its lance on the right of states to establish their own voter qualification statutes. At a speech given at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, Attorney General Eric Holder announced this latest foray by the federal government into the sovereign territory of the states.
Calling the right to vote the “cornerstone of our system of government,” Holder apparently doesn’t understand the foundation upon which that cornerstone is fixed — federalism.
In his address, AG Holder proclaimed his firm commitment to “examine” several recently enacted state laws altering the acceptable methods for establishing verifiable identity at the polls.
The power of the federal government to monitor or “examine” lawfully enacted state laws will be analyzed below. First, the Attorney General’s own justification for his actions are set forth.
There never seems to be a dull moment in the United States Congress, which has neared a government shutdown several times in the past two years. On Thursday night, lawmakers may have once again averted a government shutdown by reaching a tentative deal to fund a number of different government agencies through September 30.
Unfortunately for the American people, the deal includes massive spending, totaling $1 trillion.
It is expected to come up for a vote in both the Senate as well as the House of Representatives on Friday to avoid what would be a shutdown of major Washington operations this weekend, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Guardian reports, “A deal on a $1 trillion spending bill was reached after Republicans agreed to drop language that would have blocked President Obama’s liberalized rules on people who visit and send money to relatives in Cuba. But a GOP provision will stay in the bill thwarting an Obama administration rule on energy efficiency standards that critics argued would make it hard for people to purchase inexpensive incandescent light bulbs.”
Despite the excitement and anticipation for the Christmas season that pervades the nation every year, the religious element of the holiday continues to be a point of contention for some and a source of great controversy. In Paragould, Arkansas, for example, the Greene County School Board forced the removal of a Nativity scene that was displayed at one of its elementary schools, adhering to local atheists who articulated the tired maxim of “separation of church and state.” After some persistent protest and displays of heroism by the elementary counselor, Kay Williams, however, the school board gave in and permitted the Nativity scene to be put up once again.
According to Arkansas Times, which took a very antagonistic perspective on the issue, Kay Williams posted a scene depicting the birth of Jesus on a school bulletin board, which apparently drew two complaints. As a result, the school board asked her to remove the scene, but Williams continued to put Nativity scene displays in her classroom. She told the Paragould Daily Press, “We do live in the Bible Belt. One thing that really disturbed most of [the supporters] was we hear about things like this all the time in other parts of the country. But this is kind of a first for the Bible Belt, here in Arkansas. I think the people realized [this issue] is here, and we better take a stand.”
Despite protests that the legislation will negate centuries old rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the Senate Thursday passed a bill authorizing the arrest and imprisonment without charge or trial of terrorism suspects, including American citizens, anywhere in the world. The bill, called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) also authorizes $662 billion in military spending. It has been sent to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign it, perhaps as early as today (Friday). Obama had threatened to veto earlier versions of bill, but on Wednesday the White House announced the President was satisfied by amendments made by a House-Senate conference committee granting the President greater discretion in determining what terror suspects to hold in military confinement.
"By withdrawing his threat to veto the NDAA, President Obama has abandoned yet another principled position with little or nothing to show for it," said Tom Parker, policy director for Amnesty International USA said. "Amnesty International is appalled -— but regrettably not surprised."
Ironically, the Senate passed the law on December 15, the date of the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Only 13 Senators voted against the bill, while 86 voted for it, including some who argued that the constitutional guarantees would not be vitiated.
The Cato Institute’s newspaper ad reminding citizens that December 15th was Bill of Rights Day summarized the desperate shape those first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States is in, thanks to an overweening government and an uninformed citizenry. Reviewing each of the amendments, Cato pointed to specific infringements of each of them, concluding that “It’s a disturbing picture, to be sure, but not one the Framers of the Constitution would have found altogether surprising. They would sometimes refer to written constitutions as mere “parchment barriers” [to totalitarian government].
Here's the latest "Freedom Index: A Congressional Scorecard Based on the Constitution."