After Moammar Gadhafi's downfall as Libya's tyrannical ruler, politicians and "experts" in the U.S. and elsewhere, including French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, are saying that his death marked the end of 42 years of tyranny and the beginning of democracy in Libya. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Gadhafi's death represented an opportunity for Libya to make a peaceful and responsible transition to democracy. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, "Now it is time for Libya's Transitional National Council to show the world that it will respect the rights of all Libyans (and) guide the nation to democracy." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "Libya must now quickly make further determined steps in the direction of democracy." It's good to see the removal of a tyrant, but if we're going to be realistic, there's little hope for the emergence of what we in the West call a democracy. Let's look at it.
Throughout most of mankind's history, personal liberty, private property rights and rule of law have always won a hostile reception. There's little older in most of human history than: the notion that a few people are to give orders while others obey those orders; the political leadership classes are exempt from laws that the masses are obliged to heed; and the rights of individuals are only secondary to the rights of the state. The exception to this vision feebly emerged in the West, mainly in England, in 1215 with the Magna Carta, a charter that limited the power of the king and required him to proclaim and recognize the liberties of English subjects.
A three-judge panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that it is permissible for the state to acknowledge its dependence upon God. The decision overturns a 2009 lower court ruling that a state law requiring the acknowledgement of God “created an official government position on God.”
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Kentucky state lawmakers issued a legislative “finding” that “the safety and security of the commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance on Almighty God.” And in 2006, as it passed legislation creating the state Office of Homeland Security, the legislature included a requirement that the executive director acknowledge “dependence on Almighty God” in training manuals and on a plaque at the entrance to the department’s headquarters.
In 2008, after a group of individuals challenged the legislation in a lawsuit, 35 of Kentucky’s 38 state senators and 96 of its 100 state representatives signed friend-of-the-court briefs defending the law.
Although his commitment to “limited government” is unsurpassed, establishment Republicans in both politics and the so-called “conservative media” labor incessantly to discredit Texan Congressman and GOP presidential contender, Ron Paul. On its face, who couldn’t judge this phenomenon, the phenomenon of the most vocal champions of liberty ridiculing and trivializing the most vocal champion of liberty, as anything other than bizarre? Any remotely curious observer couldn’t resist the impulse to inquire into the roots of this enigma.
We needn’t dig too deeply to discover that the establishment Republican’s apparently irrational conduct toward Paul stems from his angst regarding Paul’s foreign policy vision. Paul, you see, rejects in no uncertain terms the notion that Big Government is not only permissible, but desirable, as long as it is non-American citizens abroad upon whom our government’s designs would be brought to bear. Loudly and unapologetically, he rejects the idea that “social engineering” is a good thing as long as it is other societies that our government seeks to “engineer.” Paul makes no secret of his utter contempt, a contempt born of his passion for liberty and individuality, for the belief that policies rooted in utopian fantasy are worthy of pursuit as long as it is not America, but the world, that our government seeks to perfect.
Video Exposé of the Southern Poverty Law Center by Bill Jasper (34-min.)
As Tea Party supporters cast about for an alternative to the flip-flopping Mitt Romney (and his long history of political liberalism), an increasing number are turning their eyes back to a face from the political past: former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
But is Newt Gingrich the new "anti-Romney," or is he simply another Mitt Romney? Despite Gingrich's masterful performance of conservative rhetoric during presidential debates, Tea Party supporters may find Gingrich's record surprisingly liberal and comparable to Romney's record. Conservative opposition to Mitt Romney has focused upon two major issues, Romney's initiation of an individual health care mandate in Massachusetts — which served as the model for Obamacare — and Romney's support for the Wall Street bailouts under the Bush/Obama TARP program.
Gingrich's Support of the Individual Mandate and Federal Health Care
Newt Gingrich has campaigned on a pledge to repeal Obamacare, but he also has a long history of supporting the same government healthcare mandates in Romneycare and Obamacare. In campaign videos, Gingrich insists that “I am completely opposed to the Obamacare mandate on individuals. I fought it for two and a half years at the Center for Health Transformation."
But in a May 15, 2011 interview on NBC's Meet the Press with host David Gregory, Gingrich admitted he has long sought an individual mandate by government:
When news of sexual harassment charges against GOP presidential contender Herman Cain first broke, the Cain camp refused to fully address the allegations. As the story went viral, however, Cain’s campaign was forced to answer the claims, but the facts have still not been clarified, as Cain’s explanation of the events is full of inconsistencies.
Cain is accused of having sexually harassed two different women during his 1996-99 tenure as president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Reports indicate that the women were asked to sign financial agreements with the group to leave the association, which barred the women from talking about their departures. Politico first learned of the allegations some time ago, but did not break the story until after several weeks of investigation and research.
When Cain was initially questioned on the sexual harassment charges this past weekend, his response was, “I had thousands of people working for me” at a variety of different businesses over the years, adding that he needs “some facts or some concrete evidence.”
Later, however, Cain’s spokesman J.D. Gordon indicated that Cain was “vaguely familiar” with the charges in question, but that the matter had already been resolved by Peter Kilgore, the general counsel for the restaurant association.
Though GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain is struggling to contend with allegations of sexual harassment that date back to his tenure as CEO and president of the National Restaurant Association, reports indicate that his campaign was already in hot water prior to this weekend’s breaking news story.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cain’s “two top campaign aides ran a private Wisconsin-based corporation that helped the GOP presidential candidate get his fledgling campaign off the ground by originally footing the bill for tens of thousands of dollars in expenses for such items as iPads, chartered flights and travel to Iowa and Las Vegas —something that might breach federal tax and campaign law, according to sources and documents.”
That private Wisconsin-based corporation is Prosperity USA, a tax-exempt non-profit organization owned and operated by Mark Block, Cain’s current chief of staff and deputy chief of staff, respectively.
According to that organization’s financial records, which were obtained by No Quarter, the Cain campaign owed Prosperity USA approximately $40,000 for items purchased in February and March.
The fight to enforce the mandates of the Tenth Amendment continues as one local police department looks to line its pockets by “cooperating” with the feds in exchange for a cut of the money derived from seizures of property associated with drug busts.
In an unusual twist on the now typical scenario of a state government refusing to accede to the demands of an overreaching federal authority, the most recent defense of the right of a state to be self-governing is coming from a private citizen.
Russell Caswell’s family has owned the Motel Caswell in Tewskbury, Massachusetts, for nearly half a century, but because of a drug deal carried out by a guest, the federal government is claiming the right to seize the property and wrest the inn from the Caswell family.
Mr. Caswell, 68, is not going down without a fight, however. He is determined to keep the $57-a-night motel in the family. Caswell’s position is buoyed by a recent Supreme Court decision where a similar issue was raised. Put simply, Caswell’s legal team avers that the Department of Justice cannot seize property where the owner of the property is not accused of any crime. In the present case, Mr. Caswell is not charged with any crime. For its part, the DOJ is seeking application of a law that authorizes seizure of property where the property is the site of criminal activity.
A highlight of President Obama’s 2008 campaign was his purported drive to end "special interest politics," as he assured American voters that he would not accept contributions from Washington’s vast army of lobbyists. "You need leadership you can trust to work for you, not for the special interests who have had their thumb on the scale," Obama declared at an October 2008 campaign stop in La Crosse, Wisconsin. "And together, we will tell Washington, and their lobbyists, that their days of setting the agenda are over. They have not funded my campaign. You have. They will not run my White House. You'll help me run my White House."
But according to the New York Times, Obama’s pledge to rid the White House of self-indulgent lobbyists has fallen well short, as he has courted prominent allies in the lobbying industry who are raising millions of dollars for his 2012 reelection campaign. At least 15 of Obama’s "bundlers" — large donors who bundle together contributions from multiple parties — hold influential roles in the lobbying industry (though they are not registered), and have raised more than five million dollars so far for the campaign.
These 15 bundlers are a dominant force among Washington’s business and political alliances. Sally Susman, an executive who manages lobbying operations for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, raised more than $500,000 for the Obama campaign and helped promote a $35,800-a-ticket dinner for the President. However, under the labyrinthine tenets of federal lobbying, Susman has avoided registering with the Senate as a lobbyist.
Just as GOP presidential contender Herman Cain was enjoying his jump in the polls to front-runner status, breaking news has erupted that could damage, if not destroy, his campaign. Politico reported Sunday that two women accused Cain of inappropriate behavior during his 1996-99 tenure as president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association.
According to Politico: "Two women complained of sexually suggestive behavior by Cain that made them angry and uncomfortable, the sources said, and they signed agreements with the restaurant group that gave them financial payouts to leave the association. The agreements also included language that bars the women from talking about their departures."
While exiting the CBS building in Washington, D.C. after appearing on the CBS program Face the Nation this weekend, Cain was drawn into a “tense sidewalk encounter,” writes Politico, where he avoided a number of questions regarding the sexual harassment allegations.
“Have you ever been accused, sir, in your life of harassment by a woman?” asked the reporter. According to Politico, Cain “breathed audibly, glared at the reporter and stayed silent for several seconds.” The question was repeated by the reporter several times before Cain responded, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”