The Palmetto Freedom Forum by Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) seemed designed for Tea Party candidates such as Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. But in the Labor Day forum, it was Bachmann who tripped up at the end of questioning.

Bachmann was asked by panelist and Princeton Professor Robert George why she believes a government mandate to buy healthcare insurance is unconstitutional. She simply said it's "inherent" in the Constitution, but couldn't cite any particular provision of the Constitution. In point of fact, the federal government is a government of few and defined powers, and the specified powers do not include the power to force Americans to buy healthcare insurance.

Bachmann's ignorance of the Constitution was highlighted by subsequent candidate interviews, especially those of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, who were able to hold detailed discussions of the 14th amendment with Professor George.

The American Principles Project that Professor George founded formally sponsored "Palmetto Freedom Forum," but Tea Party favorite Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) brought the star-power as a panelist, along with fellow panelist U.S. Congressman Steven King (R-Iowa).

“Gulags, concentration camps, torture centers — indeed, wars of aggression and domination — are not simply the creation of a few leaders at the top,” observes Chris Floyd. “They require the willing participation of multitudes of people, at every level.”

The easiest way to secure such “willing participation,” of course, is to make it pay — something the Central Intelligence Agency, with the unwilling participation of American taxpayers, did to great effect in its program of prisoner renditions. Detainees picked up anywhere in the world were, for the modest price of $4,900 an hour, flown to countries ruled by brutal regimes to be tortured until they confessed to crimes or provided evidence against others. Those who have tried to challenge their treatment in court have been denied justice because the government always invokes “state secrets.” The Washington Post estimates that the CIA “paid tens of millions of dollars to use private planes in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks to transport detainees and its own personnel.”

Now, however, an obscure billing dispute between aircraft companies has revealed the details, including the $4,900-an-hour price tag, of the rendition flights; and the picture it paints is not at all flattering to anyone involved.

The Central Intelligence Agency continues to rapidly expand its global extrajudicial assassination program under the Obama administration, secretly murdering people with drones from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Somalia and Yemen. Even American citizens are fair game, according to the President.

The dramatic evolution of the agency’s priorities and operations has become so extreme that a former senior intelligence official told the Washington Post the CIA had been turned into “one hell of a killing machine.” The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the paramilitary transformation was “nothing short of a wonderment.”

But the dramatic metamorphosis, detailed in a recent exposé by the Post, entitled “CIA shifts focus to killing targets,” is hardly without critics. Some experts have even warned Congress that the illegal killings may constitute war crimes.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the leading contender for the GOP presidential nomination, according to a Gallup poll taken from August 17–21, has reiterated his opposition to a fence along the American border with Mexico. He commented on the fence at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, a crucial primary state.

Perry, who served as the chairman of leftist Al Gore’s Democratic presidential campaign in Texas in 1988, has a confirmed liberal history on immigration, as The New American has reported, although he now campaigns as a conservative.

In New Hampshire, Perry repeated the idea that building a fence would merely boost the ladder business.

Perry’s Remarks

The former Gore booster was speaking to potential supporters at a private reception, The Associated Press reported, when someone asked about his support for a border fence.

Mitt Romney was the keynote speaker when the Tea Party Express rolled into Concord, New Hampshire, and staged a rally at Rollins Park Sunday evening. But the former Massachusetts Governor and current presidential candidate had plenty of competition when it came to informing and entertaining the crowd of about 200 people who turned out to hear about the battles to be fought and the issues at stake in the 20012 elections. The crowd heard from Tea Party organizers, lesser known presidential candidates, and singers voicing patriotic lyrics to country and rap beats.

"Limited government's the only solution/ Our only foundation should be our Constitution, " a rap singer insisted.

"Our children and our grandchildren, they never will forget," lamented a country singer, "how we sold out for a little change and left them all in debt."

But through most of the evening singing the blues gave way to shouts of optimism and predictions of another change at the polls in November.

As media attention intensifies about Texas Governor Rick Perry’s run for the presidential nomination, an activist in Tyler, Texas, was prompted to say "More checking under the hood needed before we buy the car," according to the Dallas Morning News (DMN).

The article focused on Perry’s comments at a Border Summit speech in south Texas (8-22-01), days before the 9-11 attacks, about bi-national health insurance — Texas-funded coverage for both U.S. and Mexican border residents. The governor’s statement favored a study, required by the Legislature, about "the feasibility of bi-national health insurance.”

The DMN continued, "Katherine Cesinger, spokeswoman for Perry’s campaign, downplayed the topic of bi-national health insurance. 'A bill was passed by the Legislature that authorized a study to look into this issue, which ultimately concluded there were numerous barriers to accomplishing that idea, and the Legislature took no further action on this concept,' she said." However, in spite of the Legislature’s failure to act, Perry made clear his willingness to funnel Texas’s assets to Mexico. He stated in his Summit speech,

Daily Caller editor Peter Tucci has noticed that many Republican candidates for President have made scant mention of the U.S. Constitution on their campaign websites, despite the fact that the Constitution is a key part of the Tea Party movement.

"I thought it would be interesting," Tucci wrote, "to see what the Republican presidential candidates’ campaign websites have to say about the Constitution. Surprisingly, in many cases the answer is: nothing."

By Tucci's count in his "Constitution-less conservatives" article, here are the number of mentions of the U.S. Constitution on the candidates' websites:

Republican firebrand Sarah Palin tore into Barack Obama, the "permanent political class, " and unnamed practitioners of "crony corporate capitalism," but made no mention of her  yet undeclared candidacy for President during a 40-minute speech at a Tea Party rally in Indianola, Iowa, on Saturday. But on another of her frequent visits to the state whose caucuses begin the delegate selection for the party's national convention, the  former Alaska Governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate sounded very much like a contender for the top of the ticket 2012, as she widened her attack to include Republicans as well as Democrats and offered a five-point plan for revitalizing America.

"Here's my plan," she told the roughly 2,000 people standing on a rain-soaked field to greet and cheer on the popular champion the Tea Party movement with frequent chants of "Run, Sarah, Run! " Calling for "sudden and relentless reform," Palin outlined a plan for the repeal of "ObamaCare," elimination of "burdensome regulations," undefined reform of entitlement programs, elimination of federal corporate income taxes, and the development of domestic energy resources.

Nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Mark Levin is an outspoken critic of Congressman Ron Paul.  Levin labors tirelessly to convince the members of his audience that Paul suffers from a condition of poverty that has ravaged his intellect no less than his moral character.  Paul is no kind of conservative, “the Great One” informs us: besides advocating a foreign policy that is supposedly as idiotic in conception as it promises to be ruinous in effect, Ron Paul is an “anti-Semite.”

Readers of this column know that this isn’t the first time that I have addressed the Paul Derangement Syndrome that has overtaken the good doctor’s Republican critics.  It also isn’t the first time that I have singled out Levin as a textbook case of this disorder.

There is a reason for this.

That both the substance of Paul’s thought as well as — especially! — the manner in which he tends to articulate it should elicit objections from his fellow partisans is an unremarkable phenomenon.  Quite recently, I wrote an article in which I showed the respects in which my own political philosophical orientation — conservatism — is fundamentally at odds with that of Paul.  The difference, though, between, say, Jack Kerwick and Mark Levin, is that Levin can’t resist the impulse to couch his criticisms of Paul within a pile of abusive names that he reserves for the man; I, on the other hand, feel no such compulsion.

Republican Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina spoke on September 1 with reporters via a conference call. The Governor accused President Obama, who will give a “Jobs Speech” to a joint session of Congress next week, of being “cowardly” when it came to jobs for South Carolinians.  The National Labor Relations Board in April filed a complaint against the Boeing Corporation for planning to transfer an airline production plant for the 787 Dreamliner to South Carolina.

Governor Haley pulled no punches with her remarks: “This president works for us. This president owes us an answer. This president owes Boeing an answer. This president owes every business in this country an answer on what he thinks of the NLRB. If he is supportive of them, say he is supportive of them. If he thinks what they are doing is wrong, say what you think is wrong. But to be silent is cowardly and is just something that is unacceptable for the president of our country.”

The Governor also said what she thought of the NLRB: “It’s a rogue agency that has a bully mentality that is absolutely un-American. I don’t know any other way to say it.”

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