An awful lot of readers will be angry at some of the things I have to say today. So before the shouting begins, let me tell you where I’m coming from, as the kids like to say.
I was raised with a profound respect for the fact that we are a nation of laws, not men: That “no one is above the law,” that a jury of our peers will decide our guilt or innocence, that we are guaranteed the right to face our accusers, that “our home is our castle,” and that we will be protected in our persons and our property.
Does that sound like the America you were taught to love and revere when you were young?
It is promises like these that made our country the inspiration of the world. They are some of the reasons we became the wealthiest nation this planet has ever seen. Even the poorest among us lived better than the majority of citizens in other countries. No wonder people dreamed of becoming Americans — so many, in fact, that we had to establish a lottery to decide who could get in.
Yes, the United States of America that you and I were born into was a very special place. We knew it and were profoundly grateful for it. We gave thanks that we were lucky enough to be born here, because we knew that no other place on earth enjoyed our freedoms, our protections and our prosperity.
Talk of an Obama impeachment reentered the political arena this week, this time for the targeted killing of American-born al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki. Texas Congressman and GOP presidential contender Ron Paul declared that because of the President’s “flouting” of the law, impeachment is possible.
Early last Friday, al-Awlaki — who had not been charged with or convicted of any crime — was killed by a U.S. drone in a joint CIA-U.S. military operation in Yemen.
Ben Johnson of the White House Watch wrote of the assassination:
Although federal agents have sought al-Awlaki since the Clinton administration, and the Authorization for the Use of Force passed following 9/11 allows the president to kill anyone he “determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11,” al-Awlaki’s birth in the United States has many debating the proper interplay between national security and civil liberties.
According to Rep. Paul, the assassination of an American citizen, regardless of the reason, is a movement toward “tyranny.” The longtime Texas congressman added, “I put responsibility on the President because this is obviously a step in the wrong direction. We have just totally disrespected the Constitution.”
It is no secret that the mainstream media has virtually ignored Congressman Ron Paul in its reporting of the progress of the GOP presidential campaigns — even as Paul’s campaign has steadily gained momentum and already enjoyed several victories. For instance, Paul has been extremely successful in straw polls conducted over the course of the last few months. He won the CPAC presidential straw poll (as he did last year), as well as the Republican Leadership Conference straw poll and the California Republican straw poll. In the Ames, Iowa straw poll, Paul came in a very close second, losing to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann by just 152 votes.
Still, the media has refused to acknowledge that he is in fact a top-tier candidate, discussing instead the first, second and fourth most popular candidates, and overlooking Paul, who has generally sat in third place.
The Texas Congressman addressed this issue, as well as a number of others, at the National Press Club luncheon yesterday in Washington, D.C. "I think people should ask why things are news and others are not," he commented.
To illustrate how the mainstream media is generally not covering his campaign, Paul asked the lunchtime crowd how many of them knew who won the Florida GOP Straw Poll (Herman Cain). A large majority raised their hands. He then asked who won the California Straw Poll (Paul), and only one person knew the answer.
The Supreme Court stands a good chance of ruling on the constitutionality of all or part of ObamaCare in 2012, as The New American reported September 29. Should the court strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, the implications are obvious: Everything that has been implemented under the law thus far would have to be scuttled. But what happens if the court strikes down only the individual mandate? Would it then be compelled to invalidate other, related portions of the law?
The lawsuit being appealed to the Supreme Court was brought by 26 states and the National Federation of Independent Business. The first judge to rule on the case, U.S. District Judge Roger K. Vinson, began by finding the individual mandate unconstitutional. Then, noting that Congress had not included a severability clause in the law, Vinson declared the whole act invalid. (A severability clause, which states that if one provision of a law is found unconstitutional, the rest still stands, was included in the House of Representatives’ version of the legislation but left out of the Senate’s version — and, as a result, from the final bill — as a political gambit by Democrats, according to Politico.) The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, upheld only Vinson’s finding with regard to the individual mandate. It reversed his decision with regard to severability, arguing that most of the law is not connected to the mandate and that the court could not determine whether Congress would have enacted the law in the absence of the mandate.
Whether leftist or rightist; Democrat, Republican, or Independent; “liberal,” “libertarian,” or “conservative,” anyone in search of a hearing in contemporary American politics is sure to express nothing less than unadulterated reverence for our country’s Founders. Doubtless, the old cliché that “actions speak louder than words” is not without its share of wisdom. At least as true, though, is another consideration that, in spite of the regularity with which experience has born it out, has of yet failed to achieve such universal recognition: Some words speak louder than others.
There is quite possibly no arena like that of politics to which this maxim more readily pertains. Neither, perhaps, is there anything quite as illustrative of both the maxim itself and its political application as the ubiquitous phenomenon of enlisting the Founders in the service of justifying every conceivable ideological cause.
However, once we go behind the scenes of political theater, what we discover is that this trans-partisan devotion to the Founding Fathers is not what it appears to be. More to the point, what we see is that either the devotion was deliberately contrived from the outset or, if not, it is something that immediately gives way under the pressure of just a little familiarity with basic logic. For the vast majority of political actors — i.e., our fellow countrymen and women — their reverence for the Founders is either insincere or groundless.
What does “separation of church and state” really mean? Many point out that the phrase is not found anywhere in the Constitution. Rather, it was mentioned by Thomas Jefferson, after the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were adopted. Others note that at the time the Constitution was adopted, about half the states had established state churches and that, although these states on their own ultimately disestablished these churches (ended official state religion), the federal government and federal courts were not involved in this process at all.
The 14th Amendment, not the 1st Amendment, is technically at issue when anyone raises the issue of separating state government operations from religion. Based upon the “Incorporation” principle, after the Civil War and the Reconstruction era, the Supreme Court gradually found various parts of the Bill of Rights to then apply to state governments because the “due process of law” section of the 14th Amendment was deemed to also implicitly include the federal Bill of Rights.
Each state had already incorporated into its own constitution a bill of rights, and often these state constitutional rights were more robust than were the federal Bill of Rights.
Representative Ron Paul suggested before the National Press Club October 5 that President Obama's assassination program of alleged terrorists could grow into an assassination program for journalists who disagree with the federal government.
"Can you imagine being put on a list because you're a threat?" the GOP presidential contender asked. "What's going to happen when they come to the media? What if the media becomes a threat? Or a professor becomes a threat? Someday that could well happen. This is the way it works. It's incrementalism.... It's slipping and sliding, let me tell you." Paul's remarks were a reaction to a September 30 drone strike in Yemen authorized by President Obama which targeted and killed two American citizens, one of whom — Anwar al-Awlaki — had been on a presidential assassination list for more than a year.
Unlike Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Alaska Governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin did not threaten to commit suicide to convince the nation's news media that she will not be a candidate for President in 2012. But she came about as close as anyone since William Sherman ("I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.") to closing, locking and double-bolting the door against a bid for next year's Republican presidential nomination.
"After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president of the United States," Palin said in a statement she issued Wednesday.
"As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order."
Republican presidential debates have been marked by sometimes awkward audience cheers, but former Obama administration official and U.S. Senate candidate frontrunner Elizabeth Warren got a really awkward and wild audience cheer in a Massachusetts Democratic Party primary debate when she declared that she'd use her government position to attack Wall Street. Warren stated, "Forbes magazine named Scott Brown 'Wall Street's favorite senator.' And I was thinking, that’s probably not an award I’m going to get.”
The audience erupted.
The remark was part of a broad-based attack on capitalism by Warren, who, when asked about the Occupy Wall Street protests, remarked,
The people on Wall Street broke this country, and they did it one lousy mortgage at a time. It happened more than three years ago, and there has still been no basic accountability and there has been no real effort to fix it. That's why I want to run for the United States Senate. That's what I want to do to change the system.
Again, the Lowell, Massachusetts, audience erupted with wild applause.
Now that Congress has extended the due date for the Postal Service’s $5.5 billion pension plan payment to November 18th, various proposals to modernize and “rightsize” the service have appeared. The most comprehensive is the Issa-Ross Postal Reform Act, which endeavors to allow the service the freedom to do what needs to be done to keep it operating as a quasi-government agency.
In an interview with the Heritage Foundation, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a co-author of the Postal Reform Act, claimed that if these measures were instituted, the postal service could actually turn a profit of $2 to $3 billion every year, instead of losing $8 to $10 billion annually. By trimming its workforce, increasing its efficiency, and offering more revenue generating services, Issa said the postal service would become viable without any further need for government (i.e., taxpayer) bailouts.