The Perpetual Battle for Natural Rights

With all the scandals today – namely, at the IRS, AP, and NSA – many believe our government’s actions are violating our natural rights: mostly, our freedoms of speech, press, due process, and privacy. These “natural rights” are fundamental basic human rights, not based on man-made positive law. Many of these rights were codified by our founders in the Bill of Rights… but not without tumult.

There are those today - even within the liberty movement - willing to compromise on many issues that would infringe on the natural rights of others, in both domestic and foreign policy. I think they are wrong. In this brief history of how our Bill of Rights came about, I encourage you to look for parallels between today’s struggles and our country’s founding.

A Constitution Without Rights

John Locke, regarded as the Father of Classical Liberalism, grounded the premise for his 1690 Second Treatise of Government on the idea of natural rights. This idea, while revolutionary at the time, provided a template for subsequent political theory. Merging Locke’s idea with the British Bill of Rights of 1689, George Mason, a member of the Virginia delegation, penned the Virginia Declaration of Rights in May of 1776 - preceding both the Virginia State Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. In its Article 1, he penned these words:

Benghazi Reporter Says Her Computers were Compromised

Sharyl Attkisson

Could another reporter have been targeted by the Obama Administration? Sharyl Attkisson, the CBS News reporter who put the Benghazi scandal on the map, has confirmed that there has been a breach on her computers, though the source of the intrusion isn’t clear:

Sharyl Attkisson, the Emmy-award winning CBS News investigative reporter, says that her personal and work computers have been compromised and are under investigation.

“I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I’m not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I’ve been patient and methodical about this matter,” Attkisson told POLITICO on Tuesday. “I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public.”

In an earlier interview with WPHT Philadelphia, Attkisson said that though she did not know the full details of the intrustion, “there could be some relationship between these things and what’s happened to James [Rosen],” the Fox News reporter who became the subject of a Justice Dept. investigation after reporting on CIA intelligence about North Korea in 2009.

DOJ’s Assault on the Media Just Took Another Turn for the Worse

Barack Milhous Nixon

The Justice Department’s already troubling assault on the media just got weirder. Days after it was reported that the DOJ seized phone records from the Associated Press in an attempt to discover a leak from the administration, it was discovered that James Rosen, a Fox News correspondent, was the target of an investigation into a separate leak.

But the story has taken another turn for the worse. It appears that the DOJ also seized phone records from two White House staffers and five additional Fox News reporters:

Justice Department Targets Fox News Reporter, Puts Free Press At Risk

James Rosen

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”First Amendment

Those words are straightforward. The right to free speech was respected so fervently that the framers of the Constitution saw fit to ensure that it was a constitutionally guaranteed right.

Sadly, that fundamental civil liberty was threatened last week when it was revealed that the Justice Department had subpoenaed phone records of reporters at the Associated Press (AP), an action that the news agency’s president said was “unconstitutional.”

It appears that this scandal is worse than was previously feared. The Washington Post reported on Sunday that James Rosen, Washington correspondent at Fox News, was the target of a Justice Department investigation in 2010.

This is pretty creepy:

When the Justice Department began investigating possible leaks of classified information about North Korea in 2009, investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.

Bipartisan Push to Prevent Phone Record Seizure Without Court Order

Associated Press

The Department of Justice came under fire this past week for its subpoena of Associated Press phone records without any notice to the news agency or targeted reporters. While Attorney General Eric Holder claims that the action was a response to a national security threat, it was actually part of the Obama Administration’s continuing war on whistleblowers and, as many see it, a shot directly at the free press, which is protected by the First Amendment.

The controversy has brought new attention on the need to protect Americans from this sort of government overreach. on Thursday, Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Jared Polis (D-CO) joined together to introduce H.R. 2014, the Telephone Records Protection Act, which would protect all Americans from this sort of government overreach:

Chris Matthews Slams Obama’s Lack of Leadership

Chris Matthews

While it may be just temporary, Chris Matthews, a talking head who has fawned over President Barack Obama like some dewy-eyed school girl, ripped the White House yesterday during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

The cantankerous pundit still made the case for a big government during the nearly 22-minute segment on the show, but he didn’t hide his contempt for President Obama’s very serious leadership failures.

“This President’s responsible for the federal government. He’s responsible even if he didn’t do anything wrong,” said Matthews on the Morning Joe. “He keeps acting like the only problem he’s got — the only real problem he has, viscerally — is the talking points in Benghazi because that gets to Susan Rice, people close to him, and Michelle.”

Matthews said that President Obama needs someone to handle the day-to-day affairs of the White House to deal handle problems like the administration has seen over the last several days. He cited the lack of this leadership as a “real problem.”

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