A Nation In Distress

A Nation In Distress

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Invisible Militia

From The American Thinker:

September 30, 2010

The Invisible Militia

Russ Vaughn

America's liberal media routinely demonstrate a formulaic knee-jerk response to the threat of white militias no matter what disorganized, shapeless form any such rag-tag organizations may take. Any white lunatic who perpetrates a violent event is immediately cast unquestioningly by the mainstream media as possible new evidence of some vague, relatively unstructured but assuredly white threat to all those of a progressive persuasion. By the way, for any aspiring liberal Journolistas, here's the formula: Any white + any violence = probable white militia. (See Time Magazine's new cover story this week!)

If you are Caucasian and mildly pleased with being so, then you are not only a racist in the eyes of the liberal media, you are, as well, a potentially violent threat to all people of color. Never mind the countless mainstream media articles praising those same people of color organizing in such a way as to proclaim their black pride or brown pride. In the eyes and minds of liberal America there is equal and then there is equal. If you are of Caucasian descent, you can forget about either term ever being applied to you and your offspring.

Consider the New Black Panther Party and their extra-legal existence as a racial militia in contemporary America. Look at this rather self-defining list of demands which constitutes their platform, taken from their website, and draw your own conclusions. If it doesn't scare the hell out of you that people who subscribe to this sort of racist militancy are meeting with foreign leaders who have openly spoken of the end of America, then you aren't tuned in, Bubba.

Standing in formations, in uniform, these NBPP racist militarists are making no bones about their desires. In the first few articles of their party platform they demand a separate black nation and reparations. They don't believe in a WWII Jewish Holocaust but they do believe in an African Holocaust, claiming that 600 million* Africans have been martyred in this apparently ongoing carnage, making the Jews a bunch of complaining pikers with only six million slaughtered by the Nazis. Note that Article Three calls for the establishment of peoples' tribunals to prosecute and execute so they're apparently not shying away from the prospect of further political slaughter.

Article Four demands communal housing and free medical care. Article Five demands black studies programs which are already available on almost every campus in America. Article Six demands exemption from military service for all blacks. This is to prevent them from having to fight and kill other people of color at the behest of the racist American government. I wonder if they would be standing in lines at enlistment offices if we declared war on Norway? The article also contains a less than veiled threat to fight the police and the military.

Frankly, I'm in complete agreement with the first part of Article Seven which calls for an end to police harassment and brutality. I'm in even more solid agreement with the call for an end to black on black violence although the bit about snitching, cooperation and collaboration with the oppressor strikes me as a bit out of sync with the call for an end to violence.

It is however the second part of Article Seven which should focus our attention. There the call is made for the implementation of black self-defense groups, black militias (their word not mine) and black liberation armies. The article further proposes an African United Front for the purpose of arming for self-defense.

Article Eight seeks freedom for all blacks held in any form of legal incarceration. Such detainees would be, "Released to the lawful authorities of the Black Nation." Article Nine continues in this vein with the demand that black defendants only be tried by black juries. Article Ten logically follows on that demand with one for an end to racist capital punishment but goes much further in demanding land to establish an exclusively black nation with this interesting observation, "No one has been able to get along with the white man." And here I thought we'd done a rather admirable job all these decades with those Japanese who led us to war with a sneak attack on our sovereign soil and whose nation the white man helped rebuild from ashes..

Seriously, go to their website and read this stuff. Then ask yourself, "Why were these people meeting with that little Iranian weasel, Ahmadinijad, in New York?" Why were these black militia leaders, who refer in their published declarations to white Americans as devils and America as an evil nation, meeting with a man who has called us the Great Satan and called for the destruction of this same nation?

Hey you liberal media twerps, if this were the Aryan Brotherhood meeting with Vladimir Putin would you still have your heads so firmly (and willingly) buried? Is it going to take a Field Marshal Shabazz and his troops rolling through Times Square in tanks for you to finally identify them as militia? Until then I must assume they will remain the Invisible Militia, hmmm?

*Which would represent two of every three Africans from Cairo to Cape Town.

Posted at 09:11 AM

The Department Of Education: Destroying Wealth By The Billions

From Big Government:

The Education Department: Destroying Wealth By The Billionsby Lawrence Meyers

Any American who wants the opportunity for a college education, or a degree that can help provide gainful employment, should be outraged at the Obama Administration’s back-room dealings to kill for-profit schools. Obama supporters themselves should be asking how restricting financial aid to people, just because they want to go to a for-profit school, reflects the ideals they voted for…and that Obama promised would become easier.

Brian Darling’s excellent article, “For-Profit Education Under Assault“, exposes the details of this insidious plot.

There is, however, another aspect of this story — continued wealth destruction by the Administration.

The DOE’s plan to kill for-profit education is to restrict financial aid to students, as Mr. Darling described. Therefore, enrollment will fall. If enrollment falls, for-profit schools have less revenue, which means they have to cut services.

What services? Teachers.

Voilá, these people get tossed onto the unemployment lines.

Hey, that’s okay! Maybe they can get jobs in the public schools, which would require them to join the Teacher’s Union, and pay their dues into a union that is bankrupting the country state-by-state.

The other angle, however, is that many of these for-profit schools are public companies. Companies like Education Management Corporation, DeVry Inc., Apollo Group, Career Education Corporation, Bridgepoint Education, and ITT Educational Services, are all traded on the stock exchange. Well over $15 billion of market value has been wiped out in these companies due to the fear that the DOE’s pointless Draconian measures will be implemented.

For those of you who believe that only “rich” people own stock, think again. Almost half of American households own equities. Several thousand own the stocks of these particular companies.

That this Administration is needlessly destroying wealth isn’t surprising. Most of its policies are geared toward this, in the name of “fairness”. Yet Obama supporters should be screaming bloody murder. For all their talk about how there is no middle class anymore, and how one can’t pull oneself up by their bootstraps if they have no bootstraps, the DOE’s regulations will prevent these very same people from achieving the success that they have allegedly been denied!

This shouldn’t be surprising, either. Every time government needlessly interferes in a sector, people are left worse off.

As Obama Pretends At Its Freedom, His Government Plans Take-Over Of The Internet

From Gateway Pundit:

As Obama Pretends at Its Freedom, His Gov’t Plans Takeover of Internet

Posted by Guest Contributor on Thursday, September 30, 2010, 5:30 AM

-By Warner Todd Huston

In an address to the United Nations on Thursday, Sept. 23, President Obama pledged to preserve a “free and open Internet” and would call out nations that censored content.

In a veiled reference to China and other nations that censor the Internet, Obama said that a civil society fosters open government. “Civil society is the conscience of our communities, and America will always extend our engagement abroad with citizens beyond the halls of government. And we will call out those who suppress ideas and serve as a voice for those who are voiceless.”

“We will promote new tools of communication so people are empowered to connect with one another and, in repressive societies, to do so with security,” Obama said. “We will support a free and open Internet, so individuals have the information to make up their own minds. And it is time to embrace and effectively monitor norms that advance the rights of civil society and guarantee its expansion within and across borders.”

Yet even as Obama stood giving high sounding words to a “free and open Internet” and scolding other nations that have oppressive controls on Internet access for their own citizens, Barack Obama’s own government has itself been quietly making plans to take over the Internet from private companies.

Obama’s Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Julius Genachowski, has been angling to use telephone regulations from the 1930s to try and take over full control of the Internet.

One wonders how Obama can have the gall to claim that he wants a “free and open” Internet when he is trying to take control of it himself? How long would the Internet stay “free and open” once the federal government takes hold of it and begins to decide what will be allowed and not allowed over it’s infrastructure?

As always, Barack Obama talks out of both sides of his mouth claiming all at once that he is for open access, and promoting new technologies and businesses while at the same time making plans for Bi Government to control it all from Washington.

Henry Waxman (D, CA), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also seems to be very confused about what is going on with the idea of the FCC grabbing control over the Internet.

On one day this week he wanted to introduce legislation that would put Congress in the driver’s seat on regulation thereby cutting out the FCC from regulating the Internet, but then the very next day he reversed himself 100% and decided it wouldn’t be a good idea. It is a bit hard to understand such a whiplash-inducing move but it has happened nonetheless.

Still, if Congress takes up a consideration of how to handle the Internet this should forestall the FCC’s attempts to forcibly take over the Internet via fiat regulation.

Anyone interested in keeping the government’s hands off the full control of the Internet should pressure Waxman to take up his original position.

Others that can put off the FCC’s power grab are Marsha Blackburn (R, TN) — who has come out in opposition to government control of the Internet — and Rep. Rick Boucher (D, VA), another member of Energy and Commerce Committee.

A good mode of pressure is to cite a new poll that says that the public is not in favor of the government take over of the Internet.

BroadbandforAmerica.com has an interesting report about a survey made by Hart Research Associates that seems to indicate that there is “substantial opposition to government Internet regulation.”

The survey shows that 75 percent oppose government regulation with 55 percent saying that government should not regulate the Internet at all.

In other words, respondents did not want the government saying how business should be conducted on the Internet and were reticent to agree that government should restrict or control Internet providers. Congress should be made aware of these facts.

No Advice And No Consent

From The New Ledger:

No Advice and No Consentby Kris Iverson

It is remarkable that President Obama has been lecturing Afghan president Harmid Karzi on government ethics and the rule of law. None of us condones corruption in Afghanistan, but President Obama’s admonishment to follow constitutional principles and procedures is coming from a man living in a glass house.

President Obama has, for example, demonstrated a complete disregard for the constitutional process of making key appointments. From the beginning, President Obama has stretched his appointment privilege by naming a record number of policy “czars” to head various activities and offices within his administration. These appointees have been able to exercise enormous influence and power, including the expenditure of tax dollars, without so much as a nod to the United States Senate.

In July, the President plainly abused his power to make recess appointments in order to install Donald Berwick as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). Dr. Berwick is a highly controversial figure in the health care policy arena. He is famous for advocating a single payer, socialized health system. The “in your face” recess appointment irritated Democrats as well and prompted Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to issue a statement denouncing the action. To date, the new CMS administrator has been a no-show before any committee of Congress.

Two weeks ago, the President further demonstrated his arrogance by naming Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren to a position as “senior advisor.” He made no secret of the fact that she will be the power behind the curtain of the new Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Professor Warren, of course, conceived of and fought for creation of this governmental entity, yet the President admits that she may not be confirmed if he were to nominate her for the job – even with a filibuster-proof Senate majority. What does this suggest about Professor Warren’s ability to head this agency? What does it say about President Obama’s respect for the constitutional processes established to convey authority to key public officials?

Also galling is a nomination that has not made the network news: the nomination of Paul Tiao to be Inspector General at the Department of Labor. Mr. Tiao has been an active partisan, heading up a political action committee that supported only Democrats and that received one-third of its funding in 2008 from labor unions – unions that would be investigated by the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General given allegations of labor racketeering or other crimes.

The conflict is not hypothetical. Andrew Stern — former leader of one of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Obama ally, and Paul Tiao benefactor — is now under investigation by the FBI and Labor Department Inspector General.

The statute creating the Inspector General specifically states that IGs are to be selected “without regard to political affiliation” and “on the basis of integrity” and demonstrated ability in various skills related to oversight and enforcement. Mr. Tiao clearly fails both tests. The good news is that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has yet to vote on this nomination. The committee would be wise to reject it. Should President Obama try again to bypass the Senate, it would be a stark illustration of the contempt this administration has for the Constitution and the rule of law.

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The Future Is Now: A Balanced Plan To Stabilize Public Debt And promote Economic Growth

From The Brookings Institution:

The Future Is Now: A Balanced Plan to Stabilize Public Debt and Promote Economic Growth

U.S. Economic Growth, Budget Deficit, Federal Budget, Fiscal Policy, U.S. Economy

William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies

Maya MacGuineas, Director of the Fiscal Policy Program, New America Foundation

The Brookings Institution

Save Download the Full Paper (PDF)PrintE-mailShare

DeliciousDiggFacebookGoogleLinkedInLiveNewsvineStumbleUponYahooTwitter.September 30, 2010 —

The Need For Change

Spurred by the financial crisis, a painfully slow recovery, and inexorable demographic change, the federal budget is on an unsustainable path. Debt held by the public, which historically has averaged less than 40 percent of GDP, currently stands above 60 percent and is poised to climb rapidly. Under the President’s proposed budget, the budget deficit would average 5.2 percent of GDP over the next decade—a level that would not only fail to help bring the debt back down to pre-crisis levels but would keep it growing much faster than the economy. Under the proposed budget, the public debt to GDP ratio would reach 70 percent by 2011, 90 percent by 2020, and would break the World War II record of 109 percent just a few years after that before soaring to unimaginable levels during the ensuing decades.

A photo of a money black hole.

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Money black hole.

Some downplay deficits and debt as a green-eyeshade concern disconnected from the real economy. We disagree. As we read the evidence, excessive levels of public debt harm the economy in multiple ways.

As the economy recovers, excessive public debt competes with private sector demands for capital, raising interest rates for all borrowers, including the government, and leading to slower economic growth.

As debt accumulates and interest rates rise back to historical levels (or beyond), interest payments on the federal debt will soar, competing with other important priorities.

Because so much U.S. public debt is held by non-American individuals and institutions, interest payments on that debt represent a substantial transfer of income and wealth out of the American economy.

Excessively high debt levels lead to increased risk of a fiscal crisis in which investor concerns lead to abrupt spikes in interest rates and a vicious debt spiral. By the same token, such debt levels reduce the federal government’s ability to respond fully and flexibly to severe crises.

While the economy struggles to recover from the recent recession, it would be premature to start implementing aggressive deficit reduction measures. However, policymakers should commit as quickly as possible to a plan—phased in as soon as the economy permits—to stabilize the debt at a healthier and more sustainable level by the end of the decade and to set it on the kind of downward course we enjoyed for much of the post-World War II period.

Some believe that fiscal discipline would reduce the rate of economic growth. Again, we disagree. The evidence from the United States in the 1990s as well as from many European countries in recent decades suggests that implemented prudently, a plan for fiscal restraint could actually promote long-term economic growth. The reasons are straightforward: not only would interest rates be lower than they otherwise would be, but in addition, the private sector would respond to a more stable and predictable economic climate by making long-term commitments that would not occur in less favorable circumstances.

A final area of disagreement: many political leaders, policy experts, interest groups, and ordinary citizens believe that the fiscal stabilization we recommend will necessarily reduce protections for the most vulnerable members of our society and could undermine the broad-based coalitions needed to sustain core programs of the New Deal and Great Society. We believe, on the contrary, that stabilization done right can actually increase security and decency for those most in need of assistance—without undermining the support of the more fortunate for the programs that make this possible. (We spell out the meaning of “done right” below.)

The main obstacle to a viable debt reduction plan is neither economic nor moral, but political. As most people privately understand (and some publicly admit), such a plan will require significant budgetary changes, including wide-ranging spending cuts and substantial revenue increases. In today’s polarized political environment, where even politicians who emphasize the importance of fiscally responsible policies are hesitant to get specific, putting together a comprehensive fiscal plan is extremely difficult.

In this unpromising context, it is useful for outsiders who do not labor under the same political constraints to put forward specific proposals, helping pave the way for a more realistic conversation among policymakers. While every feature of our plan is legitimately debatable, one thing is clear: continuing to focus on manifestly unrealistic policies—whether promising to solve the problem by cutting “waste, fraud, and abuse,” making no-tax pledges, or taking the largest areas of spending such as defense or Social Security off the table—will only prolong an era of evasion that has gone on much too long.

We believe that the American people want their leaders to treat them like adults who are capable of accepting the truth. But this cannot happen until our leaders begin to act like adults who are interested in solving problems rather than scoring political points. We offer this plan as a modest contribution to a better conversation about our common future.

Principles for Reform

1.Promote shared sacrifice. The gap we face is just too large to close if we declare significant areas of the budget off-limits. Moreover, no plan without bipartisan support will be viable, and neither party is going to sacrifice only the areas of the budget it most cares about in the absence of corresponding concessions from the other side.

2.Encourage growth. Although we will not be able to grow our way out of the nation's fiscal problems, higher levels of economic growth will make the task much easier by increasing revenue coming into the Treasury and by making necessary policy changes easier to bear. We should therefore do our best to protect or even increase spending in such areas as public investment and education, that yield the highest economic returns, and we should minimize tax increases on things that we want to encourage, such as work and investment.

3.Protect those in need and increase progressivity. The problem of growing income inequality in this country is serious. Many segments of our population have not shared in the economic growth over the past generation and are particularly vulnerable right now. We should keep in place—and in some cases beef up—a strong safety net and critical insurance programs to protect the most vulnerable. Consistent with other principles and goals (such as economic growth) changes in both spending programs and taxation should reflect the varying abilities of individuals to bear additional burdens and responsibilities without excessive sacrifice.

4.Enhance the transparency of our spending priorities. Important features of our current budget terminology and procedures have the effect of obscuring what is really at stake. For example, much of our tax code represents back-door outlays through “tax expenditures.” Restricting tax expenditures is therefore a necessary part of any effort to cut spending as well as a central component of fundamental tax reform.

5.Acknowledge demographic and health care realities. Changing demographics and growing health care costs create the major long-term fiscal challenge in this country—as well as in many others. Over the next couple of decades, as the baby boomers retire, the number of elderly Americans will soar both in absolute numbers and as a share of the total population; this trend will continue as life expectancy continues to rise. This will drive up costs in retirement and health care programs. No budget plan will be sustainable if it does not tackle these challenges head on. That said, it is also unreasonable—given the greater dependence of the elderly on public programs—to think that we will be able to keep federal spending at or below historical levels.

Two final points. First, our fiscal challenge calls for more than an arithmetic process of adjusting taxing and spending to meet numerical targets. We have both the need and the opportunity to rethink the way we promote our goals and honor our principles in circumstances very different from those in which our current commitments were made. Our watchword should be not retrenchment but rather reform.

Second: a budget should be just that—a budget. We cannot hope to live within our means unless we are able to determine acceptable levels of taxing and spending and adjust our policies to fit them. Open-ended claims, whether for direct outlays or tax subsidies, are incompatible with effective budgeting. We recognize the need for longer time horizons in both entitlement programs and tax policy. But we cannot afford to place these portions of our budget on auto-pilot and insulate them from unanticipated developments. For this reason, we need mechanisms that require elected officials to make needed adjustments when these crucial sectors diverge from their projected fiscal path.[1]


[1] For one example of how to do this, see “Taking Back Our Fiscal Future” (Brookings and the Heritage Foundation, 2008). Although this document applies the new budgetary procedures to entitlement programs, there is every reason to treat tax expenditures in the same manner. That is what we recommend.

Ten Questions To Ask Your Candidates For Congress And The U.S. Senate

From The Ohio Republic:

Friday, October 1, 2010Ten questions to ask your candidates for Congress and U.S. Senate

Thomas R. Eddlem at The New American* has some suggested questions to help you distinguish between the candidates who claim "Tea Party values" and those who really do. The remainder of this article is a direct quotation from Mr. Eddlem's, except for the comments in brackets, which are mine.

1. When should the federal budget be balanced? (If they have a deadline any time later than the next two-year election cycle — the term for which representatives are currently seeking election — suggest that the candidates should suspend their current campaign and run for office later when they’d fight for a balanced budget. They’re as phony as a $3 bill.)

2. How would you balance the federal budget? Other than cutting “waste” and “pork,” something even liberals claim they want to do, what programs costing more than $1 billion per year would you vote to eliminate entirely in order to balance the budget? (This is an especially relevant question if the candidate says he or she is for tax cuts, as many Republicans do. If a candidate cannot name a single program of $1 billion or more he’d cut out entirely — such as foreign aid — in the face of an annual deficit of $1,400 billion, he is lying when he says he wants a balanced budget or that he wants to reduce the size of government.)

3. Would you balance the budget based on the current level of federal revenue — or reduce taxes while also cutting spending? Congressman Ron Paul says he would eliminate the federal income tax and replace it with nothing. Do you think this could be done, and if so, how?...

4. Would you vote to abolish the Federal Reserve and replace it with a gold standard?

5. Do you believe the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade abortion decision, which took the issue of abortion out of the hands of states, was a direct assault on the Constitution’s 10th Amendment? [Interesting take on that issue, don't you think?]

6. Would you pull U.S. military forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan? [Don't take any waffling on this issue. You need to know whether a candidate's "conservatism" is an attempt to hide a pro-war, any war stance].

7. Would you also pull U.S. military forces out of South Korea and Germany, and in general support a non-interventionist, mind-our-own-business foreign policy?

8. Would you end all foreign aid, including aid to Israel, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Iraq?

9. Would you insist that the NSA and the rest of the federal government abolish all warrantless wiretapping and honor the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that all searches have a warrant and probable cause? Would you seek to get the executive branch to punish violators with prison sentences?

10. Would you insist that the federal government not engage in torture, which violates the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and vote for a law banning waterboarding and extraordinary rendition? Would you insist that the Fifth Amendment be vindicated and the right to trial by jury be upheld, even for terrorism suspects?

* Yes, I know that The New American is published by the John Birch Society, but that affiliation doesn't change the fact that the questions are good ones.

Posted by Harold Thomas

Congressional Reform And The People's House

From AEI:

SPEECHES & TESTIMONY Congressional Reform and "The People's House" By House Republican Leader John Boehner

AEI Online

(September 30, 2010) House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) spoke on Congressional Reform and "The People's House." His prepared remarks, delivered at AEI on September 30, 2010, follow.

Good afternoon. Thank you, Chris, for the warm welcome.

I'd like to begin by telling you a story. Some years ago back in Ohio, while I was working my way through night school at Xavier University, I started a small business. Sadly, about six months after we got up and running, my partner in the venture died suddenly. And we had one customer at the time. So there I was, with two years left at Xavier, and I was trying to hold this business together--the little bit that was still there. And, let me tell you, I fought for it with everything I had.

Looking back on it now, what strikes me is that I never thought about walking away. This was something I invested my name and my money in. And I had an obligation to that paying customer, as well as my partner who had also put his time and energy into the business.

Today, I feel the same sense of obligation and determination when I look at what's happened to our government.

Because listen, I've been here nearly twenty years, so I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. And lately, there's been plenty of ugly. Americans have every right to be fed up--they do. "But what I won't accept--what I refuse to accept--is that we can simply walk away and let our government continue to drift--this government our forbears sacrificed everything to build.

The mission of the United States Congress is to serve the American people--and today, due in part to institutional barriers that have been in place for decades, that mission goes unfulfilled.

These wounds have been self-inflicted by both parties, and if we do not fix them, it's possible no one will. In the Constitution, the House of Representatives is the first institution of the first branch of government--the body closest to the people. That is an awesome responsibility. We should take pride in it, and be humbled by it. The House, more than any other part of our government, is the most direct voice of the people--and therefore should be afforded the most care in protecting its ability to reflect the people's will.

So today I'd like to talk to you about why this institution is broken and how we make it function again. Because until it does, ladies and gentlemen, we don't stand a chance of addressing our deepest and most pressing problems.

Collapse of the 111th Congress

Just look at how the 111th Congress is not so much concluding as it is collapsing. Instead of tallying up a final flurry of legislative output, observers and constituents are asking, 'what went wrong?'

"The answers would come easy to the people in this room, but the hard truth for families and small businesses is that their problems continue to go unaddressed.

This week, we had--in my view--an obligation to bring both parties together and stop massive tax increases scheduled to take effect on January 1st --increases we have seen coming for two years now. And, even with the existence of a clear bipartisan majority and the support of the American people, we could not get a simple up-or-down vote.

It's a sad, but not altogether surprising, finale to this Congress, and the latest in a long string of congressional sessions that have frayed the fragile bonds of trust between the American people and their legislature.

The House finds itself in a state of emergency. The institution does not function, does not deliberate, and seems incapable of acting on the will of the people. From the floor to the committee level, the integrity of the House has been compromised. The battle of ideas--the very lifeblood of the House--is virtually nonexistent.

Leaders overreach because the rules allow them to. Legislators duck their responsibilities because the rules help them to. And when the rules don't suit the majority's purposes, they are just ignored.

There's no accountability, and there are no consequences. Whether we here in Washington believe this or not, the people clearly do. Think about how our constant flouting of the rules sits with a small business owner who has to spend his or her day complying with all the mandates and regulations our government sends down.

The dysfunction in Congress is not new; both parties bear the blame for it. But the dysfunction has now reached a tipping point--a point at which none of us can credibly deny that it is having a negative impact on the people we serve. Consider:

•This is the first time since enactment of the Budget Act in 1974 that the House has not passed a budget resolution.

•This Congress is the first in our history that has not allowed one bill to be considered under an open amendment process--not one. The current freshman class has served an entire term in Congress without ever having operated under an open rule.

•And use of 'martial law'--which gives the majority the power to bring up any bill at any time and strips the minority of its few rights--has nearly doubled.

The three pillars of any democracy are the rule of law, transparency, and a functioning civil society. Over decades, all three of these pillars have been chipped away in the people's House.

The work of making our institution function again cannot be reduced to one reform or toolkit of reforms. It will require a sustained effort that rests on the three pillars and firmly adheres to the job description laid out in Article I of the Constitution.

Rule of Law

First, the rule of law. We always hear members of Congress talking about swearing an oath to represent their constituents when in reality the only oath we take is to the Constitution. We pledge "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States." No more, no less.

But we have strayed far afield from our job description. Members go out and promise their constituents the moon, and to try and fulfill those commitments, they agree to conform to a system that emphasizes seniority and party loyalty. The ropes they are shown lead to passing more bills, micromanaging more bureaucracies, and raiding the federal treasury.

That is why, in the Pledge to America, the governing agenda my colleagues and I issued last week, we state that every bill that comes to the floor of the House should contain a clear citation of constitutional authority. If we cannot do this much--we should put down the pen and stop right there.

Congress has been most maligned over the past generation for its fiscal recklessness, and rightly so. Mindful of the dangers of 'taxation without representation,' the Framers handed the power to tax and spend to the legislative branch exclusively. It's right there in Article I, Section 9.

But having the right to do something doesn't necessarily make it the right thing to do. Current congressional rules are rigged to make it easy to increase spending and next-to-impossible to cut spending. Much of the law that governs the process--the Budget Act of 1974--is tied to rules instead of statutes. Consequently, we routinely waive the Budget Act's requirements to serve our purposes. Can't write a budget? Just waive the rule and move on. No harm, no foul. The "pay as you go" rule has been repeatedly ignored to justify billions of dollars in new spending and tax and fee increases. So we ought to start at square one and give serious consideration to re-visiting, and perhaps re-writing, the 1974 Budget Act.

While the culture of spending stems largely from a lack of political will in both parties to say 'no,' it is also the consequence of what I believe to be a structural problem. As Kevin McCarthy often says, structure dictates behavior. Aided by a structure that facilitates spending increases and discourages spending cuts, the inertia in Washington is currently to spend--and spend--and spend. Most spending bills come to the floor prepackaged in a manner that makes it as easy as possible to advance government spending and programs, and as difficult as possible to make cuts.

Again, this is not a new problem. But if we're serious about confronting the challenges that lie ahead for our nation, it's totally inadequate.

I propose today a different approach. Let's do away with the concept of "comprehensive" spending bills. Let's break them up, to encourage scrutiny, and make spending cuts easier. Rather than pairing agencies and departments together, let them come to the House floor individually, to be judged on their own merit. Members shouldn't have to vote for big spending increases at the Labor Department in order to fund Health and Human Services. Members shouldn't have to vote for big increases at the Commerce Department just because they support NASA. Each Department and agency should justify itself each year to the full House and Senate, and be judged on its own.

For decades, the word "comprehensive" has been used as a positive adjective in Washington. I would respectfully submit that those days are behind us. The American people are not well-served by "comprehensive." In an era of trillion-dollar deficits, we need a tighter focus; one that places an emphasis on getting it right, and less emphasis on getting it done quickly.

Don't assume I'm singling out the appropriators; I'm not. Over decades, in my view, authorizing committees in the House and Senate have also abdicated their responsibility, often authorizing billions of dollars knowing full well they will never actually be appropriated. Interest groups then lobby Congress to "fully fund" the program, systematically creating pressure on the legislature to drive up spending. This has to stop. Authorizing Committees should be held to the same standard as the appropriations committee: authorize what we can afford, and hold agencies to account for results.

We should also consider developing a "cut as you go" rule that would apply to any member proposing the creation of new government programs or benefits. Very simply, under this "CutGO" rule, if it is your intention to create a new government program, you must also terminate or reduce spending on an existing government program of equal or greater size--in the very same bill.

Just this week, the majority leadership brought 85 different suspension bills to the floor on a single day--many of them creating new government programs, some of which had been subject to little if any scrutiny or debate. If we'd had a "CutGO" rule in place this week, roughly half of these 85 bills would never have made it to the floor.

CutGO was conceived by my friend and colleague Roy Blunt. And as he put it, 'let's turn the activists for big government on each other, instead of letting them gang up on the taxpayer.' Through this public discussion, we might end up finding out that neither program has a whole lot of merit in the first place. It may sound simplistic, but sometimes that's the best place to start.

Of course, no amount of spending control can substitute for the critical role of oversight. We should direct every committee to make its oversight responsibilities a top priority, and to make no apologies for it. Both parties should work together to ensure each program is meeting congressional intent and serving the national interest. Republicans should not start from the assumption that all government is bad; nor should Democrats start from the assumption that all government is good. Oversight should be conducted by uniform standards:

•What's the purpose of this program?

•What's its' responsibility?

•Is this the best use of taxpayers' time and money?

Of course, if we're truly serious about being responsible again on spending, we need to do something about earmarks.

As we know too well, earmarks are the often-questionable spending projects that are slipped into bills with little scrutiny. They run the gamut from bridges to nowhere and "monuments to me" to sewer projects and art exhibits. They ride on authorizing bills, appropriations bills, and tax bills. An entire lobbying industry has been created around them. And they've become a symbol of a spending process that has broken faith with the American people.

House Republicans voted to stop the process this year--on our own, without cooperation from Democrats--so that we could begin reforming how Washington spends taxpayers' money.

Like the decision to adopt the moratorium in the first place, the future of the moratorium will be a collective decision, made by our members. But on the question of earmarking, my colleagues and my constituents know where I stand. I told my constituents in 1990: if you believe it's important to have a representative who will go to Washington and raid the federal Treasury on your behalf, you should probably vote for someone else. I've had a personal 'no earmarks' policy since I began serving in Congress, and I always will. I believe it is our obligation to end earmarking as we know it and bring fundamental change to the manner in which Washington spends taxpayers' money, and I will continue to be an advocate for reforms to ensure that happens.

Functioning Civil Society

One of the reasons why we do not have a functioning civil society in the House is that our efforts are geared towards catering to the individual member instead of focusing on our collective responsibility to govern. The rules are too often manipulated to shut down debate and protect individual members from tough votes.

In recent years--and not just under the current majority--the minority has been forced to use the motion to recommit, often in ways that are painful for the majority, to ensure the minority's voice is heard. And in turn, the majority has responded by conjuring up new ways to shut the minority out even further. It's a cycle of gridlock.

Here's my question: what are we so afraid of?

The more we do to avoid risk and protect our members from tough votes, the more ineffective and polarized the institution becomes. The House was designed to reflect our natural contentiousness as a people. That's the genius of our system.

So instead of clamping down even further, it's my view that we should open things up and let the battle of ideas help break down the scar tissue between the two parties. Yes, we will still have disagreements. But let's have them out in the open. Yes, we will still try to outmaneuver each other. But let's make it a fair fight. Instead of selling our Members short, let's give them a chance to do their jobs. Let's let legislators legislate again.

Again, structure dictates behavior. More debate and more amendments will mean more intense scrutiny, and ultimately, better legislation.

Just as we've shielded members from tough votes, we've also enabled them to write bad bills. With all the challenges facing our nation, it is absurd that Congress spends so much time on naming post offices, congratulating sports teams, and celebrating the birthdays of historical figures.

Now, I know the drill: members get good press opportunities back home and leaders get cover while stalling on the people's priorities. But often these resolutions are poorly drafted, or duplicative of previously considered bills. And under both parties they've received little or no oversight. It's my view that we should consider taking all these commemorative moments and special honors, and handle them during special orders and one-minute speeches. It's time to focus on doing what we were sent here to do.

The ultimate measure of whether we have a functioning house is not bipartisanship. Our focus shouldn't be on working across party lines for its own sake. The true test is whether our ideas, policies, and values are able to stand the test of a fair debate and a fair vote. And sadly, that's something we have not seen in the House for some time.


Of course, it's hard to guarantee a fair debate when the majority has the ability to change bills in the dark of night and literally drop them into the laps of the minority just hours before debate is set to start. Without transparency, lawmakers cannot hold each other accountable, and the American people cannot hold us to account.

That's why in the Pledge to America we say that the text of all bills should be published online for at least three days before coming up for a vote. No exceptions. No excuses.

But this lack of transparency speaks to a larger problem where the Speaker's office has the capacity to unilaterally draft a bill and send it straight through to the Rules Committee.

Woodrow Wilson once said that 'Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, while Congress in its committee rooms is Congress at work.' If President Wilson went from committee room to committee room today, he might take that statement back. Because the truth is, much of the work of committees has been co-opted by the leadership. In too many instances, we no longer have legislators; we just have voters.

In my view, if we want to make legislators legislate again, then we need to empower them at the committee level. If Members were more engaged in their committee work, they would be more invested in the final products that come to the floor.

From 2001 to 2006, I had the privilege to serve as chairman of the Education & Workforce committee. The ranking member at the time was George Miller of California. Now, no one would confuse me and George Miller for ideological soulmates. But in just a few years, we were able to work together to transform our committee from a "backwater" panel that nobody wanted to be on to an active panel at the center of some of the biggest issues of the day. By focusing on our work, letting our members be legislators, and setting high standards, we were able to elevate the committee to its proper role. There's no reason every single committee in the House can't achieve the same thing.

Much of this is up to committee chairmen and ranking members themselves. If every chairman and ranking member started with the mindset that their committee's bill could be the one that comes to the floor, better legislation would result. Chairmen shouldn't be content to churn out flawed bills and then rely on their leadership to bail them out. Chairmen should operate with the assumption that their bills are going to be on the floor, and assume that once their bills are on the floor, they'll be subject to an open rule. If all committee chairmen and ranking members had this mentality, the result would be better legislation, and better legislators.

At Education and Workforce, we operated with a set of transparency rules that encouraged deliberation and limited problems:

•First, we gave at least three days notice on all bills. Actually, we normally went above and beyond this standard, giving about a week's notice on each bill, but three days was the rule. That gave Members plenty of time to gain an appropriate depth of knowledge and scrub each bill for potential landmines.

•We also required that all votes be posted online within 48 hours of being cast. Believe it or not, committees are not currently required to post these records at all, let alone within a certain time frame. If we posted these records online, more Members would be inclined to do their jobs, attend committee proceedings, and weigh in on a bill before it goes to the floor.

•And third, any amendments had to be posted online within 24 hours after being adopted. We have seen in the past instances where 'phantom amendments' are made to bills in committee after being voted on without any accountability whatsoever. That's not acceptable.

We should require that all committees meet these standards. We should also require that all committees--especially the Rules Committee--webcast their proceedings and post complete transcripts online--with obvious exceptions for those panels dealing with state secrets and classified information.

To ensure there is proper oversight, Congress should also review its internal committee structure and eliminate duplicative programs and jurisdictions. This hasn't been done in 15 years. Think about that. We can't ask members to become more engaged if they sit on three different committees and more than a handful of subcommittees. We currently have rules regarding member limitations, but of course they're frequently waived to have warm bodies in those slots. We need to rethink that.

An Ongoing and Inclusive Effort

I know I've covered a lot of ground here, and thrown out a lot of ideas. Some of them may get off the ground in the next Congress; others may not. But it's vital that we have the discussion, and equally vital that the discussion start now.

Reform should be an ongoing and inclusive effort. I don't have all the answers, and wouldn't pretend to. I welcome ideas and helping hands from any lawmaker or citizen about how we can make this institution function again.

Americans who long for a better government must continue to speak out. And when they do, we have to listen.

The People's House

Don't confuse my enthusiasm for any illusion about how well these reforms will be received. I can remember early on in my career, as a member of the 'Gang of Seven,' how I would get long stares from Members--many of them in my own party. Some would walk the other way. Some would put themselves directly in my face.

That's probably the reaction I'll get to some of the things I've talked about here today. But some changes have to be made, and we can't keep kicking the can down the road. We've run out of road.

It's time to do what we say we're going to do. For our constituents, our government, and the people's House, settling for the "next best thing" is no longer good enough.

Exactly one hundred years ago, Uncle Joe Cannon--who ruled the House with an iron fist--faced a revolt from insurgent Republicans and Democrats. Even though his fall from power was imminent, Speaker Cannon refused to resign, calling it a 'confession of weakness or mistake or an apology.' That right there was Cannon's mistake. That gavel, those powers--they weren't his to use as a personal guard or shield. They were given to him to guard and shield the interests of the American people.

So the Speakership foundered over the next decade, until late 1925, when Nick Longworth told the House on the day he was sworn in: 'I want to effectively assist you in bringing about universal recognition of the fact that this House, closer as it is to the people than any similar body and more directly responsive to their will, is in very truth, as it ought to be, the most dominant legislative assembly in the world.'

Let that be our goal: a people's House that is quiet in its effectiveness, but unmistakable in its pride and purpose.

We should pursue this work as if the future of the institution depended on it--because it does.

Thank you for having me. I look forward to taking your questions.

Representative John Boehner (R-OH) is the House Republican Leader.

Ohio: Kasich May Seek Repeal Of Renewable Energy Requirements

From The American Spectator:

Kasich May Seek Renewables Repeal

By Paul Chesser on 9.30.10 @ 2:42PM

Earlier this week I wrote in the Washington Times about the introduction of a national Renewable Electricity Mandate bill by New Mexico Democrat Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback. About 30 states already have them in one form or another, which require public utilities to generate a minimum percentage of their power from alternative energy sources (wind, solar, burning food). The theme of my piece was public fatigue over government mandating they buy things (health insurance, compact fluorescent light bulbs, windmill power, etc.).

So I was pleasantly surprised to read Tim Carney's column in the Washington Examiner today, where he reported that GOP gubernatorial candidate John Kasich said he might seek to end Ohio's renewable portfolio standard:

...Kasich suggested to the Dayton Daily News this week that he would consider repealing one of (Gov. Ted) Strickland's signature accomplishments -- SB 221, which requires Ohio utilities to draw a portion of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar, with the mandate hitting 25 percent by 2025.

Kasich said of the bill, "It will drive up utility bills because we don't have [the renewable sources] ready and have to buy it somewhere else. I don't like that and you can't mandate invention."

Ohio's mandate demands utilities get (and their customers pay for) 25 percent of their power from renewables by year 2025. From that Daily News report:

Ohio’s electric needs rank alongside medium-size nations such as Iran – and for now 90 percent of those needs are met by burning coal mostly imported from other states....

Asked whether he’d seek to roll back the mandate as governor, Kasich said: “If I were to determine that it was unrealistic and would drive up prices.”

There is no way Ohio can go from 90 percent coal power to 25 percent renewable power without a dramatic increase in electricity costs. Renewables mandates are a de facto tax hike, and a hidden and regressive one at that, sneaked on to your monthly electric bill. Anyone who advocates for them that has also taken a "no new taxes" pledge is violating their promise. And no one has proven they will have any effect on the climate.

Maybe if Kasich wins and he has the guts to fight for a repeal, it can start a national trend.


Alternate Energy

Judge Shoots Down States' Rights Gun Lawsuit

From Rebellion:

Judge shoots down states' gun rights lawsuitfrom feed/http://lsrebellion.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default by Old RebelThis story has all the newsworthiness of the NAACP detecting racism or Bill Kristol advocating another war:

A federal judge in Missoula has dismissed a lawsuit by gun rights advocates and states seeking freedom from federal gun laws, a move that the advocates promised to appeal.

The decision Wednesday from U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy was expected since his magistrate a month ago recommended tossing out the lawsuit because Congress has the authority to regulate firearms with its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

Molloy sided with the U.S. Department of Justice, which argued Congress' ability to regulate guns and other items through the "commerce clause" of the U.S. Constitution had long ago been decided in courts.

I mean really -- you ask the Feds how much power they have over you and the answer is "lots!" That's a surprise? And they base their authority on the commerce clause, which lovers of big government have turned into Silly Putty. Yawwwn.

Here's an idea. If the States that brought the suit, Montana, Utah, Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming, and West Virginia, are serious about this, then they should pass the legislation necessary to protect the rights of their citizens, and arrest any Fed who interferes.

Guess what will happen when Obamacare faces the exact same challenge? Think the commerce clause can be stretched to cover that, too?

Anyone out there care to make a little bet?

GOA Releases Candidate Ratings

From GOA:


GOA Congressional Ratings are Now Posted on the Web

-- Time for fall cleaning of House and Senate!

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert

8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151

Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408


Thursday, September 30, 2010

With one of the biggest elections of our lifetimes only a month away, Gun Owners of America has now released its Congressional Ratings for the House and Senate.

Democrats have taken a radical turn to the left under the leadership of liberal anti-gunners like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama, and the electorate is ready to make a correction.

There is no doubt that the country is at a crossroads, with America's Constitutional Republic hanging in the balance.

So the GOA Rating Guide is your tool for cutting through the bull that candidates are throwing at you during this election season.

Candidates who have established a voting record, either in the office for which they are running or in another elected office, are evaluated primarily on the basis of that voting record.

If an incumbent or challenger has not established a voting record or demonstrated his or her position in some other way, that candidate is evaluated on the basis of his or her responses to the GOA 2010 Federal Candidate Questionnaire.

You can go to http://gunowners.org/2010-candidate-ratings-guide.htm to see the ratings of every candidate on Second Amendment issues.

For 20 years, GOA has been the only gun group publishing an open-source national rating for gun owners to use. Our rating has been so devastating in smoking out the anti-gun bias of phony politicians that the Brady Campaign even took us before an administrative court three years ago to try and silence us. They lost.

Current GOA members will be receiving a printed version of this rating, and they are encouraged to photocopy it and distribute it around to their pro-gun family, friends and clubs. This newsletter not only contains ratings for every House and Senate race in the country, it includes explosive evidence that more and more government shrinks are using the Veterans Disarmament Act to disarm our military veterans.

To start receiving your own copy of The Gun Owners newsletter, please go to http://gunowners.org/ordergoamem.htm to join GOA today.

The November elections are an exciting, if not anxious, time for millions of concerned Americans. Again, GOA encourages all members and supporters to go online and look up their candidates in the GOA Rating Guide to see where they stand on the Second Amendment. Then, make sure you pass this link along on to fellow gun owners, shooting ranges and gun clubs.

We have been to the marches, rallies, and town hall meetings. Now, it is time for millions and millions of concerned gun rights supporters to make their way to the polls and make their voices heard on Election Day.

To learn more about candidates endorsed by Gun Owners of American Political Victory Fund, please visit www.goapvf.org.

ACLU Faults Arizona Voting Laws

From Courthouse News Service and Alliance Defense Fund:

ACLU Faults Arizona Voting Law



PHOENIX (CN) - A state law caused Arizona to toss more than 13,000 provisional ballots cast in the November 2008 presidential election because they were filed in the wrong precinct on Election Day, the ACLU says. The state invalidated the provisional ballots of one in every 10 Arizona voters who cast one, the ACLU says in a new report, "Uncounted Voices."

The ACLU of Arizona says it wrote its report "to inform voters about their right to cast provisional ballots and ensure that those ballots are counted."

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 was "meant to help voters who arrive at the polls and are not on the list of registered voters," but in Arizona the provisional ballot must be cast in the right polling precinct.

According to the report, which surveyed Maricopa, Pima, Yavapai, Pinal, and Coconino counties, 131,476 provision ballots were cast in the five counties in 2008 - 39,741 of which were rejected. Of the spoiled ballots, 13,467 were discounted because they were filed at the wrong polling place.

In Maricopa County, almost 100,000 voters cast provisional ballots. Almost a third of them - 29,531 - were spoiled, but may have been counted, had the "voter been directed to the correct polling location."

The ACLU report claims that at least 43 percent of polling locations in Maricopa County changed between 2006 and 2008, affecting "the state's large elderly, minority, and young voter populations - groups who have been historically vulnerable to disfranchisement."

Voters who filed provisional ballots in Pima County had a 1-in-6 chance that their votes would not be counted because they were cast at the wrong precinct; about 3,200 were rejected from nearly 18,000 filed. In Yavapai County, voters had a 1-in-10 chance that their votes were not counted.

Coconino County had 9 percent of provisional ballots cast, the highest percentage of the five counties included in the report. Provisional ballots there were more likely to be counted; only 6 percent were denied for being cast at the wrong precinct.

Nearly 39 percent of provisional ballots were discounted in Pinal County, a higher percentage than any other county. Nineteen percent of the rejections were due to ballots being cast at the wrong location.

The report claims that more than 10 percent of voters casting provisional ballots probably "left the polling place thinking that they had voted, when in fact their ballots were never counted."

"Even more importantly, those disfranchised voters were duly registered and qualified to vote and had their ballots rejected only because of where the ballots were cast."

In the five counties, 10.24 percent of the ballots were rejected because they were cast in the wrong polling place, according to the report.

Arizona was named by national policy centers Demos and Common Cause as one of 10 states with "election laws, policies and practices which could impact enough voters to determine election outcomes."

The report cites provisional ballots and the state's requirement for proof of citizenship to register to vote as "obstacles to voting."

Feeling The Heat At The FCC On Net Neutrality

From The American Thinker:

September 29, 2010

Feeling the heat at the FCC on net neutrality

Joseph Smith

Pressure is mounting at the FCC over the slow pace of change in the Obama regulatory agenda.

Chairman Julius Genachowski came in with big plans to impose so-called net neutrality rules on the wild west of the internet. A Wall Street Journal column this week, however, notes the disappointment and backbiting on the left over the lack of progress at the FCC, on this and other issues, with the headline “FCC Chief Concedes Slow Pace.”

In the events leading up to the current impasse, a court ruling last April said the FCC “lacks the authority to force Internet service providers to keep their networks open to all forms of content,” forcing the FCC to come up with an alternative route to net neutrality.

The FCC then hatched a plan to regulate the internet under common carrier rules designed decades ago for regulating phone traffic. The Journal account quotes a Verizon executive on the FCC’s plan:

Mr. Genachowski's proposals for regulating Internet lines "will cause uncertainty in the marketplace, create disincentives for investment and make one of the true success stories of the American economy less competitive."

With their net neutrality plan meeting great resistance from the communications companies that have invested billions in building their networks, as well as concerns over the further intrusion of government on the internet, the FCC this month issued a release seeking further comment on the issue, with the comment period pushing any resolution well beyond the November elections.

Further muddying the waters, House Democrats are expected to introduce a net neutrality bill this week, leading Rep. John Culberson (R-Tex.) to comment

“Speaker Pelosi and President Obama have taken measures to control the healthcare industry, the auto industry, the banking industry and the insurance industry," Culberson told The Hill on Monday. “It comes as no surprise that they attempt to control commercial activity over the Internet before they lose control of Congress.”

Amid the consternation on all sides, the perceived foot-dragging by Genachowski and company has lead to a chorus of complaints:

"We don't have a chairman making bad decisions. We just have a chairman that doesn't make decisions," said Sascha Meinrath, director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative, who was a member of the Obama campaign's tech advisory group…

"To the extent that any FCC chairman has any political capital, they have it in their first year," said Derek Turner, research director at Free Press, a public interest group. "Genachowski spent his first year asking a lot of questions and not taking much meaningful action. It's paralysis by analysis." [emphasis added]

With his own side now turning on him, the Chairman, for his part, sounds like he is feeling the heat:

"I'm impatient, too…" said Mr. Genachowski in an interview. "There's a lot to do. There's a lot we've gotten done, but there's a lot to do."

The Obama chariot of hope and change is rapidly turning into a pumpkin, and an overripe pumpkin at that.

Posted at 08:44 AM

CNN On Tea Partiers: Dumb, Dangerous, Fundamentalist Constitutionalists

From The American Thinker:

September 29, 2010

Those dumb, dangerous, 'fundamentalist' constitutionalists

Mark J. Fitzgibbons

Bill Schneider of CNN political analysis fame echoes the new line of attack on Tea Partiers in his piece at Politico, Tea party: Political fundamentalists.

He writes, "The tea party is a political fundamentalist movement. Like religious fundamentalists, its members do not tolerate waverers . . . They drive out heretics . . . They punish unbelievers . . . And they believe in the total inerrancy of scripture - in this case, the U.S. Constitution as originally written in 1787."

Dahlia Lithwick and her two Slate colleagues, Emily Bazelon and Hanna Rosen, used that theme of confluence of Biblical and constitutional fundamentalism in their online chatty posts, Decoding Christine O'Donnell. Lithwick's post in particular raised howls of amazement at her constitutional ignorance, and from many sources.

It is no stretch to understand what liberals are trying to do. ‘Fundamentalists' conjures up visions of snake handlers and the like. You know, all the people made fun of by smart city-folk.

Post 9/11, fundamentalism is a term associated with Al-Qaeda.

So, the new liberal meme is that the Tea Party, with its emphasis on constitutionalism, is a bunch of dumb and dangerous ‘fundamentalists.'

Mr. Schneider also repeats the left-wing meme that "tea partiers are anti-government." Now, that's dumb. The Constitution established our government, and created its structure, authorities and limitations. Therefore, how can we be pro-Constitution yet anti-government?

Anti-lawbreaking government? We are that.

To those of us who believe the Constitution is the law that government must follow, or amended only as provided in that governing document and not through fiat or usurpation, transparent attacks devoid of fact and logic like those of Ms. Lithwick and Mr. Schneider merely remind us how important it is that we proceed and succeed.

Posted at 12:44 PM

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just A Constitutional Minute

From Liberty Defense League:

Just A Constitutional Minute

Wed, Sep 29, 2010

Dr. Laurel Hughes, Political Action

by Laurel T. Hughes, PhD

In consideration of the sanctity of the United States Constitution—the bible of our Republic—my research has gravitated to obtaining an in depth comprehension of the forces from without our national borders to those crouching within, of the seditious threats we are now faced with.

Sedition and treason are often confused terms. Let The “Lectric Law Library[1] define these for us:

Sedition is “Conduct which is directed against a government and which tends toward insurrection but does not amount to treason. Treasonous conduct consists of levying war against the United States or of adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort.

The raising commotions or disturbances in the state; it is a revolt against legitimate authority.

“The distinction between sedition and treason consists in this, that though its ultimate object is a violation of the public peace, or at least such a course of measures as evidently engenders it, yet it does not aim at direct and open violence against the laws, or the subversion of the Constitution. The obnoxious and obsolete act of July 14, 1798, was called the sedition law, because its professed object was to prevent disturbances. In the Scotch law, sedition is either verbal or real. Verbal is inferred from the uttering of words tending to create discord between the king and his people; real sedition is generally committed by convocating together any considerable number of people, without lawful authority, under the pretence of redressing some public grievance, to the disturbing of the public peace.”

The research report accomplished over many months by The Center for Security Policy[2] called “The Threat to America - An Exercise in Competitive Analysis,”[3] outlines in clear language, the pursuit of Islamic sharia’s ideological threat: “the totalitarian socio-political doctrine that Islam calls sharia”. This threat is a global totalitarian system on the rise again from the seventh centur, fueled by petro-dollars, and presented cloaked in the garb of religion when, in fact, has as its only objective the elimination of all other governing systems such as our own protected by the United States Constitution and its Law.

The Team B II consensus provides us with a picture that, contrary to currently politically correct leftist views, false multicultural doctrines, and the “misguided notions of tolerance and sheer willful blindness” practiced in the highest offices of our Republic from the Pentagon (which has labored to redefine this threat out of existence) – to the executive orders and pro-Islamic favoritism of the White House, Cabinet, Congress and Senate—to the U.S. Supreme Court which, as early as the 1960s, took the teeth out of our ability to include constitutional protection[4] for subversive speech by renaming it as “advocacy” rather than “incitement to imminent lawlessness”. That same august body reinterpreted the speech of non-Americans as allowable, no matter the (seditious) content.

America has had a rich history of protection against foreign enemies from Revolutionary War days to as late as President Franklin D. Roosevelt who signed into law The Smith Act of 1940, and another in 1952 enacted by President Harry S. Truman which authorized the exclusion and deportation of aliens, on such ideological grounds as support for overthrowing the United States government. Of course, our threat during the Great War was Nazism and under Eisenhower and Truman, Cold War Communism, but each was (and is) considered seditious to our way of life since their objective has been complete overthrow.

Let us move to our present evolving situation. Are the laws we hold now sufficiently protective of shielding us from another totalitarian ideology that is cloaked in dubious religious garb? Do we see wolves in sheep’s clothing, or do we see “moderate wolves” that will never, ever, possibly turn into what they inherently are (when hungry enough), the ravenous wolves we see in its jihadist military identity far-flung across the world?

Our national situation has become so extremely perilous because of the continuum of stealth jihad[5] (the “civilization-settlement process” phase “dawa” of installing sharia law, banking, and ideology within America), that American States are distancing themselves from their national affiliation in certain areas without perhaps knowing the underlying cause.

I would posit that our form of government based on The Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights, its republican-form of governing, and our Judeo-Christian-Natural seat of law and jurisprudence are not the enemies. But they are oppositions to the tenets of Islam whether we recognize only the so-called “moderate side” racing to its culmination in full-blown war against us.

We citizens are the only ones who can and must lift the tent flap to see the filthy camel within. It has to begin by an enlightened and analytical exercise just to recognize and replace those who consciously and deliberately raise the flap of our protections, be they from the State Department to a wimpy Homeland Security that is certainly frozen by fabricated political correctness as witnessed in the U.S. Army Fort Hood massacre.

As Benjamin Netanyahu opined, you never see a Communist strap on a bomb for his ideology. They, like all political systems, value survival before ideology and will wait it out (e.g., Cuba).

This is not true in Islam which straps bombs onto their women and children for their Sharia ideology (not religion) and inculcate their culture by highly financed new departments of “eastern cultural studies” in universities, to establishing Islamic community centers and mosques (sometimes with U.S. taxpayer monies) that have been proven training grounds to incite sedition and fund-raising centers for their more advanced jihadist “charitable organizations”.

Here is a list[6] of fundamental premises of American society and values that Sharia-adherents on all levels reject and do not wish to live “in peace” alongside, but overthrow and eliminate. Which one is your favorite and how much are you willing to protect it?

1.“The bedrock proposition that the governed have a right to make law for themselves;

2.The republican democracy governed by the Constitution;

3.Freedom of conscience; individual liberty (including in matters of personal privacy and sexual preference);

4.Freedom of expression (including the liberty to analyze and criticize Sharia);

5.Economic liberty (including private property);

6.Equal treatment under the law (including that of men and women, and of Muslims and non-Muslims);

7.Freedom from cruel and unusual punishments; an unequivocal condemnation of terrorism (i.e., one that is based on a common sense meaning of the term and does not rationalize barbarity as legitimate “resistance”); and

8.An abiding commitment to deflate and resolve political controversies by the ordinary mechanisms of federalism and democracy, not wanton violence.”

The bottom line objective of every Muslim, no matter at what level of activism they are in (stealth jihad to violent jihad), contains the dual objectives of: a) the global imposition of Sharia, and b) the reestablishment of the high office of an Islamic caliphate (one-world ruler) to govern according to Sharia doctrine.

The United States of America is a nation that rules itself, by ourselves. That is a chief reason we will never need or should tolerate the United Nations. As our Founders shouted during English rule and colonialism, “We have no king but King Jesus.” And that began the republic form of government under one God, not human dictatorship or royal rule.

The men of Marlborough, Massachusetts unanimously proclaimed in January 1773 that “Death is more eligible than slavery. A free-born people are not required by the religion of Jesus Christ to submit to tyranny…(we) implore the Ruler above the skies, that He would make bare His arm in defense of His Church and people, and let Israel go.”[7]

Charles Jennings[8] puts it this way: “The glorious annals of sacred history of the Christian Church record the heroic deeds of many of our forefathers in their struggle against the ungodly dictates of religious and political tyrants. Their unrelenting devotion and allegiance to Jesus Christ as not only prophet and priest, but as the only rightful king resulted in their confrontation with the ungodly political, social and religious authorities. There are numerous historical accounts which offer irrefutable proof that human governments have demanded the total allegiance of their ’subjects,’ at the expense of individual God-given rights of personal liberties, political philosophy and religious beliefs.”

The good news is that we have the means and ability to stop Islamic sedition within our nation and individual states (which seems the most logical place to begin). But, do we have the will? My view of this political-socio-religious-militant system (Islamism) is as unwelcome in the United States of America as Nazism, Communism, Socialism, Marxism, dictatorship, totalitarianism, and anything else that would set itself up as supreme authority over us.

A total boycott of all that is related to Islamism might be a first, in-the-streets practicality to take. There was such a furor over the fact that at the Minneapolis airport, Somali-Islamist taxi drivers refused to take passengers that offended their Islamic sensitivities (and there are so many). This makes it easier for us to identify with whom not to conduct any business at all in all areas including banking, health care, education with the attempted revision of our history in textbooks, in worship, or marriage.

On a bigger scale, cutting off the petro-dollars that finance sharia being waged against the world could begin with exclusive oil drilling in our own nation. We have enormous oil deposits already discovered. It is estimated that if the price of OPEC oil falls below $58 per barrel, it will be no longer economically feasible for them to drill because the costs of drilling surpass the benefits of selling it. Now, how hard can that be to figure out without a shedding a drop of blood?

My next report will be on sharia banking in America. Some more of that “moderate Muslim” takeover and it is so subtle. They are just more demanding and “sensitive” than our U.S. Treasury Department. Wow, who would guess?


[1] http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/s020.htm

[2] http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/index.xml

[3] Part of the Team B II’s report can be downloaded with no restrictions at: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p18523.xml The Team B II Report, Shariah: The Threat to America, will be released in early October as a 370-page paperback volume, and will be available to purchase at Amazon.com for $14.00. This official version will include an expanded section on the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) as well as the complete text of the 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document, “An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” entered into evidence in the US v Holy Land Foundation trial.

[4] The Immigration Act of 1966, the 1978 McGovern Amendment, the 1989 Moynihan-Frank Amendment, and the 1990 Immigration Act.

[5] Coined by author Robert Spencer that captures both the character and deadly purpose of the Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to redefine national identities into their ideal.

[6] Sharia: The Threat To America – An Exercise in Competitive Analysis Report (2010) by Team B-II, pg 8.

[7] “The Light and the Glory” by Peter Marshall and David Manuel

[8] Retrieved September 28, 2010 from: http://www.truthinhistory.org/no-king-but-jesus-2.html

The War On Your Financial Privacy Continues

From Lew Rockwell.com:

The War on Your Financial Privacy Continues

by Bob Bauman

The Sovereign Society

Recently by Bob Bauman: The (Tax) Return of the Tiger

President Obama in a current Rolling Stone interview actually had the audacity to say this: “The idea that we’ve got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible. . . . .If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we’d better fight in this election.”

Glen Greenwald of Salon put it best: “…for Barack Obama to cite ‘civil liberties’ as a reason why Democratic apathy is ‘just irresponsible,’ and to claim with a straight face that this election will determine whether we’re ‘the kind of country that respects’ them, is…detached from basic reality…”

This from a phony 2008 presidential candidate who attacked the PATRIOT Act, then as president expanded that law and has suspended due process, allowed continued preventive detentions, authorized secret assassinations of U.S. citizens, vastly expanded government surveillance of the Internet, protected Executive branch crimes through the use of radical secrecy doctrines, escalated punishment for government whistleblowers, granted legal immunity for war crimes, and massively escalated drone war in Pakistan.

American civil liberties indeed!

Stupid Reporting Tricks

What set me off today on this rant was a New York Times article this morning announcing that the U.S. Treasury has proposed an inane requirement that all banks make weekly reports of all electronic money transfers into and out of the United States – we’re talking millions if not billions of transfers!

Why? Because, as usual government shills claimed, this bureaucratic measure is needed to combat the dread scourge of terrorism!

This latest Treasury proposal adds another layer to existing “anti-money laundering” laws, one of the major governmental frauds of all time, as I have explained before.

These Draconian laws have been on the books in the United States and other countries for nearly 30 years, promoted originally as being aimed at drug kingpins and their illicit cash. Later the politicians started a new myth — claiming that AML laws were needed to stop terrorist cash.

In fact, these laws have been mainly used as prosecutorial bargaining chips, since they impose heavy fines and prison sentences. Add ML charges to any threatened indictment and a putative defendant is likely plea to a lesser charge.

They have also been used by the IRS as a backdoor means to search for tax evasion, especially when offshore financial activity is involved. The IRS presumes any American engaged in offshore finance probably is a crook.

Anti-Freedom Plan

This is yet another part of the anti-freedom plan in which the U.S. government, and especially the IRS, have done all they can to keep you and your money at home — where, under the privacy destroying PATRIOT Act, they can confiscate cash at will and in secret.

Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), is a subdivision of the stridently anti-tax haven, pro tax Organization for Economic and Community Development (OECD). Mainly a front group for the high tax, welfare state G-20 countries, both the OECD and FATF have skillfully advocated AML laws for their tax hungry sponsors as a pious means to destroy financial privacy — and to track down what they claim is massive offshore tax evasion.

Earlier this year FATF proposed making tax evasion a co-crime with money laundering and two U.S. senators agreed.

The 9-11 Offshore Myth

Is this latest Treasury proposal needed to combat terrorism, as they claimed yesterday, hinting that it could have thwarted the 9-11 attacks? Pure political bologna!

The official 9/11 Commission estimated that $400,000 to $500,000 was used to finance the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, most of American bank accounts. Only about $130,000 was sent from overseas. Some of those transactions were wires above the $3,000 threshold that requires bank record-keeping, but this 9-11 offshore money myth was used by Congress to justify hundreds of pages restrictions in the PATRIOT Act on offshore financial and banking activity. (See my special PATRIOT Report for the full story).


There is another audacious angle to this Treasury proposal.

Under the new Treasury proposal, the bank reports on cross-border wire transfers would come through the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), a global banking cooperative based in Brussels that actually wires all these funds, allowing financial institutions to automate and standardize transactions.

In 2006 it was exposed that SWIFT, under pressure from the Bush administration secretly had been supplied the IRS with millions of private financial records. In secret cooperation with the U.S. government, SWIFT violated the privacy of an untold number of persons by allowing the U.S. access to Swift cash transfer records. I wrote about this at the time.

This secret partnership with Washington, reported in The New York Times in June 2006, gave U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the U.S. Treasury Department access to millions of records on international banking transactions by private individuals and others. Once exposed, the European Union and several governments put an end to this secret snooping deal.

In my opinion you better believe that the U.S. money snoops who say they are looking for terrorist cash are also looking for tax evasion, money laundering of all kinds and any other indictable offenses.

And they are doing this in violation of the Fourth Amendment guarantees against illegal searches without a warrant.

Reprinted with permission from the Sovereign Society.

September 30, 2010

Robert E. Bauman is a former Member of the United States House of Representatives from Maryland, (1973–1981). He is also a former federal official and state legislator; Member, Washington, DC Bar; Graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center (1964) and the School of Foreign Service (1959), Washington, DC. Robert currently serves as legal counsel for the Sovereign Society.

Copyright © 2010 Sovereign Society

The American Gulag

From Lew Rockwell.com:

The American Gulag

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Whenever a neocon defends governmental acts of tyranny, despotism, and brutality (a defining characteristic of a neocon) it’s a sure bet that he will eventually "justify" such acts by invoking the image of the "sainted" Abraham Lincoln. If "Father Abraham" did it, the argument goes, then it must not only be accepted but celebrated.

Neo-columnist Michelle Malkin makes just this argument in her recent defense of FDR’s rounding up of over 100,000 ethnic Japanese Americans during World War II and sending them to what FDR himself called "concentration camps." (In her book, In Defense of Internment, Malkin euphemistically calls the camps "relocation centers"). In an August 9, 2004 interview on Townhall.com Malkin predictably played the Abe card: "Historically, civil rights have often yielded to security in times of crisis. During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, which enabled him to detain thousands of rebels and subversives without access to judges."

This statement is half truth and half lie. Lincoln certainly did unconstitutionally suspend habeas corpus. But the tens of thousands of Northern citizens who were imprisoned without due process by the Lincoln administration (as many as 38,000 by one estimate in the Columbia Law Journal) were overwhelmingly plain citizens from all walks of life who simply expressed doubt over the administration’s unconstitutional and despotic policies, including the shutting down of more than 300 opposition newspapers and the mass arrest of political dissenters by the military. Tens of thousands of Northern political prisoners spent months in a series of gulags, such as Fort Lafayette in New York Harbor, which came to be known as "the American Bastille."

The Lincoln administration cast a very wide net indeed in rounding up any and all political opponents in the Northern states. Anyone overheard questioning virtually anything the administration had done, let alone publishing critical articles or editorials in newspapers, could land in prison without any due process. In fact, Lincoln himself even argued that those who simply remained silent and did not actively support his administration should also be subject to imprisonment. In his own words:

The man who stands by and says nothing when the peril of his Government is discussed cannot be misunderstood. If not hindered, he is sure to help the enemy; much more if he talks ambiguously – talks for his country with "buts" and "ifs" and "ands." (Collected Works of Lincoln, vol. 6, pp. 264–265.)

Thus, in Lincoln’s opinion anyone who did not openly and publicly support his administration and its policies was a traitor, susceptible to being prosecuted as such, and hanged if found guilty. What could possibly be more tyrannical than punishing silence as a crime with a death sentence? Could Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, or Alexander Hamilton have ever even entertained such thoughts? Madison (the "father of the Constitution") was president during the War of 1812, which coincided with a very serious New England secession movement led by Massachusetts Senator Timothy Pickering. It culminated with the Hartford Secession Convention of 1814, yet Madison never implemented any such repression, nor is there evidence that he even considered it. Lincoln, on the other hand, adopted such repressive policies almost from his very first day in office.

The opposition press was mostly shut down by the Lincoln administration and many editors and owners imprisoned (see James Randall, Constitutional Problems under Lincoln). The remaining press was affiliated with the Republican Party, much like today’s media, and it served as a spy network for Lincoln’s secret police force, headed up by William Seward. As Dean Sprague writes in Freedom Under Lincoln (p. 178): "When an editor of a newspaper wished to attack a Peace man [i.e., a critic of the Lincoln administration] he would suggest him as a candidate for Fort Lafayette. When a Union man heard a Peace speech, he knew it was not necessary to interfere. He would simply pass by with the remark that the speaker had better watch out or he would end up in Fort Lafayette." That, presumably, would intimidate the peace advocate sufficiently to shut him up for good.

Free speech was illegal for the duration of the Lincoln administration. That’s how modern historians and propagandists get away with lying to the public about the alleged "unity" of Northern opinion during the war. Of course there was relative "unity"; dissenting opinions were violently censored and the purveyors of those opinions imprisoned.

One of those imprisoned for fourteen months for simply questioning the unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus was Francis Key Howard, the grandson of Francis Scott Key and editor of the Baltimore Exchange newspaper. In response to an editorial in his newspaper that was critical of the fact that the Lincoln administration had imprisoned without due process the mayor of Baltimore, Congressman Henry May, and some twenty members of the Maryland legislature, he was imprisoned near the very spot where his grandfather composed the Star Spangled Banner. After his release, he noted the deep irony of his grandfather’s beloved flag flying over "the victims of as vulgar and brutal a despotism as modern times have witnessed" (John Marshall, American Bastile, pp. 645–646).

Dean Sprague devoted a chapter of his book, Freedom Under Lincoln (which should have been called Oppression Under Lincoln) to Fort Lafayette, where thousands of political prisoners were held. He writes that he prisoners were "herded onto the island" in New York Harbor where they were given iron beds with "mattresses" of straw or moss to sleep in and "food" that consisted of such things as "some discolored beverage" that smelled a little like coffee to go along with "fat pork, sometimes raw and sometimes half cooked" (p. 282). "On some days a glass of water would contain a dozen tadpoles from one-quarter to one-half inch long without counting the smaller fish" (p. 282).

The political prisoners in Fort Lafayette ranged from mayors, state legislators, ex-governors, business owners and newspaper editors, to "common traders and impoverished farmers." These men were naturally bitter about their circumstances and were outspoken about it. Consequently, writes Sprague, "Fort Lafayette was the only place in the country where a man could speak freely" (p. 283).

After his release, Francis Key Howard wrote a book about his experiences entitled Fourteen Months in American Bastilles in which he described daily life as "a constant agony, the jailers as modified monsters and the government as an unfeeling persecutor which took delight in abusing its political prisoners" (Sprague, p. 284). In his defense and whitewashing of Lincoln’s civil liberties abuses even Lincoln apologist Mark Neely, Jr., author of The Fate of Liberty, noted that in Fort Lafayette and in other dungeons where political prisoners where held, "Handcuffs and hanging by the wrists were rare [but not nonexistent], but in the summer of 1863 the army had developed a water torture that came to be used routinely" (p. 110). This sounds remarkably similar to the current Republican Party regime’s administration of the Abu Graib prison in Iraq.

As word of Lincoln’s gulag in New York harbor spread, the prison "cast its shadow over the entire North," writes Sprague (p. 287). "It became a kind of American Bastille, its name on everyone’s lips. As such, it was a weapon in the hands of the Lincoln administration, a weapon that was used to dominate the North, and to establish the fact that the federal government was the greatest power in the nation" (emphasis added).

Lincoln’s gulag policy, along with his shutting down of the opposition press and the deportation of Democratic critic Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham, effectively destroyed the system of states’ rights in the North, which had been just as vital to that region in fending off unconstitutional federal usurpations of power as it was to the South prior to the war. But rather than describing Lincoln as a brutal dictator, as he should have, Sprague instead praised him as a "man of iron" who was willing to see hundreds of thousands of young men die for the sake of the Union [but not his own son, who spent the war years at Harvard] and not above sending a few hundred to prison for opposing the war. Repeatedly, whenever Congress asked for information on the arrests, he replied that it was not in the public interest to furnish the information (p. 302).

Sprague understates the number of prisoners here by as much as 38,000, and makes no mention of the fact that only a dictator would thumb his nose in this way at members of Congress who inquire about the whereabouts of their constituents who had been seen being dragged from their homes by federal soldiers.

Thanks to these policies of repression, and the destruction of states’ rights and the separation of powers as checks of the tyrannical proclivities of the federal government, "the image of an alert, all-knowing government had been created," Sprague approvingly writes. "Father Abraham had been born to the American people" (p. 179).

The imperious FDR, hero to Michelle Malkin and all other neocons, obviously knew of Lincoln’s gulag and used it as an excuse for the oppression of Japanese Americans and others during his own regime. His own attorney general, Francis Biddle, once remarked that the Constitution "has not greatly bothered any wartime president." This of course is untrue with regard to Lincoln’s predecessors, none of whom would ever have dreamed of declaring themselves to be uncompromising dictators no matter what dangers the nation faced.

September 24, 2004

Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is the author of The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, (Three Rivers Press/Random House). His latest book is How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold Story of Our Country’s History, from the Pilgrims to the Present (Crown Forum/Random House, August 2004).

Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com

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