Not for Korea, not for Vietnam, not for Kosovo, not for Somalia, not for the Gulf War, not for Afghanistan, nor for the invasion into Iraq.
Not once has the Congress declared a state of war in any of these engagements.
What HAS happened however is a massive shift in military/war powers from the Congress, to the Executive Branch.
First there was the War Powers Resolution which allowed the President a 90 day window to engage military forces without Congressional Approval. However, even this has been violated in the instances of all of these military engagements.
Instead in Afghanistan and Iraq, instead of the Congress declaring war, they passed resolutions to allow the president to take the nation to
We hosted an incredibly successful Free Speech Wall event on campus this past Thursday at the University of Scranton. We passed out more than 100 pocket Constitutions to interested students. We also handed out YAL stickers and several books! We even got seven new sign ups who appear very dedicated.
We tabled near the Free Speech Wall and engaged with interested students who passed by. Students and teachers alike had a good time writing on our wall and learning more about their rights that are protected by the Constitution. Overall, we had a great time interacting with the students and faculty and were able to get our chapter more recognition among the student body.
This is hopefully a precursor to the success of the rest of our year to come!
It is fair to say when it comes to politics many people will say or do next to anything to win an election.
In 2007, then-candidate Barack Obama made a public statement denouncing the Bush administration saying, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” This statement was popularly received by the nation after four years of military involvement in Iraq.
It would seem these words have all but faded away; however, from now-President Obama’s mind after making a public statement Saturday that, “the United States should take military action against Syrian Regime targets.” The President then went on to say that he believes he has the power to launch this strike without specific congressional approval, but that for the good of the nation he’ll seek Congress’ approval.
I cannot help but be troubled by this on a number of levels. First of all, I consider this involvement in Syria yet another example in a growing pattern of US involvement in the internal conflicts of foreign states. In the past, the United States has militarily involved itself only when directly threatened, when the interests of its people are directly threatened, or when an allied state is directly threatened. Now it seems we’ll jump into any dispute where we feel human rights are being violated within a foreign nation.
This leads to involvement in situations which we do not fully understand, against states that had not formally been directly antagonistic to us. Meanwhile we take on the responsibility of propping up a state militarily and economically whilst we ourselves are facing a nearly 17 trillion dollar deficit, a high unemployment rate (especially for young people), and a hunger rate of one in six
The vote on the anti-NSA Amash-Conyers bill was a huge win for the liberty movement.
Sure, we may not have won in the conventional sense of the word, but the establishment is definitely running scared. It wasn’t so long ago that we were all watching Ron Paul stand alone in front of congress advocating for liberty and fighting against the tyrants in Washington. It may not have been all that long ago, but it is remarkable how much of a difference we have made in so short a time.
Justin Amash valiantly stood before congress yesterday to propose an amendment that would block funding provided to the NSA for the collection of phone records from every American Citizen. “Do we oppose the suspicionless collection of every American’s phone records?” Amash asked his fellow House members.
Several representatives who were opposed to the proposed legislation made the argument that “metadata” do not equate with phone records. True, metadata do not give the government access to the content of your actual phone calls, but they are still able to see what numbers you called and when you called them. Regardless of whether or not you have anything to hide, the government has absolutely no business involving itself that far into the personal lives of Americans.
In fact, the concept of privacy rights was so important to the founding of this country that our Founding Fathers decided to include it in our Bill of Rights.
Fortunately, America remains the greatest place in the world to live and call home. We celebrated the essence of that greatness over the weekend for Independence Day — the fabled anniversary of July 4th, 1776, the date that the Founding Fathers declared independence from the tyranny of King George III. It's a celebration of freedom and radicalism, and one that we should take more seriously as a country.
Though it's hard to appreciate the message behind the holiday when actions that subvert our freedom occur every day. Ask yourself: Are we truly free?
Now take this video for example, which went viral this weekend thanks to sites like Reddit:
The nearly 3 million-view video shows 21-year-old Chris Kalbaugh being harassed and constitutionally violated at a DUI checkpoint in Rutherford County, Tennessee by Deputy A.J. Ross and other officers. Despite not having committed a crime nor been charged with one, the officers swarm his car and use a K-9 to issue a "false alert" in order to search it. Kalbaugh ever expressed his rights to the officers, but no such luck. From the video:
Deputy Ross: “Are you an attorney or something? You know what the law is?”
Kalbaugh: “Yes sir, I do."
Deputy Ross: “OK, what is the law?”
Kalbaugh: “The law says at checkpoints I have to stop. And I did. That is all. I’m not required to answer any questions. I have Constitutional freedom to travel without being randomly stopped and questioned."
The officers continued their search unimpeded. When nothing turned up, Deputy Ross says, "He’s perfectly innocent and he knows his rights. He knows what the Constitution says.” Another officer off-camera says, "It wasn't a very good alert."
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. — The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. — Fifth Amendment to the Constitution
One would think that the rules spelled out in the Constitution — simple, easy rules written to restrain the then new, federal government — would be familiar to federal agents. But that might be asking too much, right?
Apparently, the CBP checkpoint I drive through is for "suspicion-less detention;" at least that's what the agent told me. Watch the video:
Federal usurpation of power will continue unabated unless people check that illegitimate power.
Edward Snowden, the famous whistle-blower of the whole "The-NSA-is-spying-on-you" debacle, released a statement on Wikileaks on July 1. It was quite a good, thought-provoking read, and I encourage you all to read it.
I proudly tip my hat to Mr. Snowden. He has done something absolutely incredible just by revealing what should have been revealed from the beginning (Or not done in the first place — I vote that one). But the most awesome part of Mr. Snowden's statement is the marvelous truth he uncovers:The Obama administration doesn't fear Snowden; he fears us, the "informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised."
And what a glorious truth to be presented to us! For we remember Thomas Jefferson's words, "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."
You probably remember in your high school government class learning about the 17th Amendment, and how it provided for the direct election of senators through popular vote, doing away with the older system of selection through state legislatures. At first glance, the direct election of senators seems like a good thing, for it is more "democratic" in nature. A second look, however, reveals broader and less obviously good ramifications.
In Federalist 62, James Madison is discussing the Senate to the People of New York when he writes:
It is equally unnecessary to dilate [to expand] on the appointment of senators by the State legislatures... It is recommended by the double advantage of favoring a select appointment, and of giving to the State governments such an agency in the formation of the federal government as must secure the authority of the former, and may form a convenient link between the two systems [State and Federal Government].
The state selection of Senators was essential to the Founders' view of proper republican government. They believed that the Senate would shield against improper acts of legislation, for no law could be passed without the concurrence of first the majority of the people (the House of Representatives) and a majority of the representatives of the states (the Senate). Now, with a more "democratic" legislature, states have lost their authority over the federal government.
The jawboning on both sides of this issue is deafening, but since Paula Deen officially made a public apology on Wednesday, her case still begs the question, what happened to the First Amendment and to whom does it apply? If certain comedians, talk show hosts, and even news anchors can freely use derogatory or offensive language in the public domain, why should any celebrity — whether it be a politician or a chef, be chastised for a comment made in the private domain many years ago?
The problem is thus: the first amendment guarantees the right to free speech for all, not just some, Americans. That doesn't mean that all speech has equal merit, of course — if Deen did say what she is rumored to have said, that racism should unquestionably be condemned in the free market of ideas.
However, the bottom line is that free speech can't only apply to a specific demographic group or portion of the population. As Ron Paul has said, “We don’t have freedom of speech to talk about the weather. We have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things.”
If we are to remain a country devoted to freedom, then we must learn to respect that individual rights and liberties apply to all Americans, starting with the First Amendment.
Next time you go to bed, you might want to say goodnight to Big Brother. Oh, and thank him for doing such an awesome job on protecting you as well! Right now you'll have to either send an e-mail for that, or make a phone call to properly allow him to hear you. 2014 could mark the year where you simply wave at your bedroom ceiling!