Barack Obama

Judge dismisses DOJ request end lawsuit over “Fast and Furious” documents

Attorney General Eric Holder might have a hard time keeping the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee from browsing through the “Fast and Furious” documents now that a federal judge has rejected his request to dismiss the committee’s lawsuit.

The Justice Department had requested the U.S. District Court to dismiss the Committee’s lawsuit asking for access to the “Operation Fast and Furious” documents, which had been kept from Congress after President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege over the records.

The president’s assertion was timely provided, given its stalling of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s investigation into “Fast and Furious,” which ultimately prompted Rep. Darrell E. Issa (R-CA) to question Obama’s reasoning behind the delay to assert privilege over the documents. The President’s assertion of privilege over the documents happened exactly eight months after they were subpoenaed.

According to the investigators looking into the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) undercover operation known as “Operation Fast and Furious,” as many as 2,000 weapons might have ended up in the hands of narcotraffickers. Multiple crime scenes were connected to some of the weapons that might have been brought across the Mexican border as a result of the undercover operation.

While the DOJ confirmed its officials had turned virtually all records concerning the operation, but a letter sent to Congress on February 4, 2011 shows certain inconsistencies that worried Congressional investigators.

Congress’ 10 Worst Infringements on Personal Liberty

The focus in on the NSA controversy and ObamaCare got us thinking — what are the worst laws passed by Congress? So we did some thinking and came up with some of the most egregious laws to be passed by Congress. The list was so large that we had to cut it into two posts one on personal liberty and the other dealing with economic liberty, which will be posted next week.

The following list isn’t in any particular order, so don’t take one bad law being ahead of another as anything significant.

Espionage Act (1917)

The Espionage Act, passed nearly two months after the United States entered World War I, has had startling ramifications for free speech in the United States. Shortly after becoming law, Eugene Debs, a socialist and labor leader, was arrested and convicted for giving a speech that “interfered” with the recruitment of soldiers for the war effort. The law primarily used for prosecution of alleged spies and whistleblowers working in the government. For example, the government tried to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame under the act, but the jury declared a mistrial. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has also been charged under the Espionage Act. Both Ellsberg and Snownden’s disclosures were embarrassments for the government.

Indian Removal Act (1830)

Ted Cruz has been on the Senate floor for over 18 hours

Ted Cruz filibusters CR

“I rise today in opposition to ObamaCare. I rise today in an effort to speak for 26 million Texans and for 300 million Americans,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said yesterday at 2:41pm as he began a filibuster of the House version of the Continuing Resolution (CR), the stop-gap spending measure that Congress must past to avoid a government shutdown.

What has been billed as a “filibuster” isn’t actually a filibuster, as the motion to proceed on the CR will take place today regardless of what Cruz says. Nevertheless, Cruz has used his time — controlling the floor of the Senate for nearly 19 hours, the fourth longest speech in the chamber’s history — to express a multitude concerns about the 2010 healthcare law and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s opposition to raising the vote threshold for changes to the CR to 60 votes (only 51 votes are currently required to make changes).

Defund ObamaCare: Showdown at the OK Corral

On March 23, 2010, Barack Obama signed into law his signature legislative achievement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed by friend and foe alike as “ObamaCare.” In doing so, Obama accomplished what socialist liberals before him, from Hillary Clinton to the Communist Party of America, had been unable to do…enact government-controlled, nationalized health care. It was a glorious moment for the government-is-god crowd, as they had finally attained the means to show the rest of us ignorant hoi polloi just how wonderful health care would be when run by a small, elite group of enlightened bureaucrats and bean-counters.

After waging a fierce battle in the courts, the Supreme Court eventually upheld the law, and specifically the legality of the “individual mandate” (which the Obama administration had alternately argued was a tax, and NOT a tax), with Chief Justice John Roberts discovering his inner emanations and penumbras in deciding that the individual mandate was indeed a tax, and therefore justified under Congress’s Article I taxing power.

Liberal Democrats had their victory, and ObamaCare would go forward as planned, and despite the fact that the law had never enjoyed majority approval by the American people, and despite the fact that it was passed without a single Republican vote (the only major legislation ever to be enacted without bipartisan support), Democrats would now be able to show the American people just how wonderful socialist, nationalized health care could be.

Except something unexpected (for them) and unfortunate (for us all) happened on the way to the victory parade…

Rand Paul testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee about mandatory sentencing

Rand Paul on mandatory minimums

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) had the opportunity to testify yesterday before the Senate Judiciary Committee about mandatory minimum sentences. Sen. Paul offered an array of examples that illustrate the brutal impact of both mandatory sentencing and the failed war on drugs.

In 2004, then candidate for the U.S. Senate Barack Obama criticized the ongoing war on drugs as “an utter failure.” While running for president, Obama advocated for a less repressive national drug policy but once he took office, President Obama changed his tune.

According to Sen. Paul’s statement and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one third of African-American males are not allowed to vote today and that’s due to the U.S. war on drugs and its disproportionate impact on minorities. Reports published by the Huffington Post show that African-Americans represent 62 percent of drug offenders while they constitute 12 percent of the country’s population.


Obama talks income inequality, blames the GOP

What used to be a value even to the Democratic Party has now become a forgotten lesson: it’s impossible to control the economy by decree.

According to President Barack Obama, he is perfectly capable to, as a president, fight income inequality and actually stop it. Leaving things alone, President Obama said during ABC’s Sunday “This Week” program, can “accelerate these trends (growing income inequality).” The President was also quick to note that technology, globalization and the GOP’s opposition to his personal agenda are all responsible for the growing income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest Americans.

For Obama, the government must intervene in the economy during the recovery in order to promote income equality and ensure the poorest among us have an easier time climbing the income ladder. The President highlighted his goals, which include increase funding for research, education and infrastructure. He also reported to be interested in reforming the tax code in order to keep companies from leaving the country.

There is reason to feel optimistic on this Constitution Day

Back in 2004, Congress passed an amendment offered by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) to an omnibus spending bill to commemorate the signing of the Constitution and declare September 17, the day on which the document was signed by its framers, to be “Constitution Day.”

It’s ironic that a legislative body that frequently steps outside it’s limitations would pass a measure recognizing a document for which they have little regard. In the years preceding the creation of Constitution Day, Congress passed a number of measures that fly in the face of the intent and spirit of the Constitution and the rights protected therein.

But Constitution Day means a little more this year than in the past, given the renaissance the document has seen, particularly in just the past few months.

There are several examples from which we could choose to highlight the rebirth of the Constitution, such as Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster back in March or the defeat of onerous gun control measures, including expanded background checks and a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” that would have further infringed upon Second Amendment rights. But recent developments concerning the NSA and Syria are, arguably, in the back of most Americans’ minds.

The New York Times promotes Putin’s propaganda

Vladimir Putin

In trying to determine something new to say about what’s happening in Syria and how, with his charmingly offensive op-ed in The New York Times, Russian President Vladimir Putin is essentially trying to do the job of the American President by telling us how we should all view events in the eastern Mediterranean, it became clear to me that what’s potent about these events from a domestic perspective is how they shine a light on something that conservatives and libertarians have long been yelling into the wind: the use of propaganda via media to misinform the public is pervasive and very dangerous.

This hit me hard when a good-hearted person with conservative principles remarked recently on a social networking site that Putin’s op-ed made some kind of sense to him, presumably because he called for the U.S. to stay out of war in Syria, an idea popular with conservatives and libertarians.

I went back and re-read the op-ed and couldn’t make out how passages like this one seemed reasonable:

ObamaCare will cost more than expected, study suggests

ObamaCare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is a bad idea, according to a recent study carried out by researchers at Stanford University.

The report indicates that ObamaCare could cost much more than previous estimates. According to the study, employers may choose to drop worker health coverage once ObamaCare kicks in. That’s because the employer may find it more affordable to let employees obtain their own health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges, which places households with an income that falls anywhere between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty line in a group that may be benefited by publicly funded subsidies.

Once the number of people depending on publicly funded subsidies for health coverage goes up, the law becomes more costly to maintain.

The study also determined that about 37 million people could end up benefitting once the law is implemented, since employers would then give workers cash instead of paying for their health care coverage. By switching, employees could save by simply obtaining help from the government to get subsidized coverage, which is guaranteed by the exchanges.

While some households could benefit from that system, the law could be more costly to sustain, causing the Affordable Care Act to cost about $132 billion more than what was expected.

According to the study, an even greater number of employees could benefit from being dropped by their employers if premiums rise unexpectedly, which would add 2.25 million of people to the list of individuals receiving subsidized health coverage. Over 2 million people added to this list would increase the overall cost of the law by $6.7 billion.

Rand Paul delivers response to Obama’s Syria speech

Rand Paul

In an effort to win over the antiwar liberals standing in his way and scare conservatives into taking his side, President Barack Obama delivered a speech regarding Syria that might have left millions of Americans wondering whether their President was just trying to play tough to intimidate critics.

The calls for action as the President described the horrors Syrians have been exposed to during the attack with chemical weapons were powerful, but somehow misleading in light of recent reports regarding the source of the gas used in the attack. According to The Guardian, high-level German intelligence agencies investigated the sources of the chemical attack near Damascus and found no conclusive evidence connecting the strike to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

His speech was also notable for some of his remarks regarding our role in the international community. After concluding that the United States should act as a global security force and make sure international agreements are being observed, President Obama also claimed he did not wish to see America as the world’s police force. While some skeptics might have felt compelled to back Obama and support U.S. interference with Syria after the speech, some lawmakers remained unconvinced.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was one of them.

Rand Paul made a video response to the President’s speech to remind the nation of this administration’s failure to identify a real solution to the conflict in Syria. According to the Senator, attacking Assad could lead to dreadful consequences, pushing the regime to “resort to chemical weapons in an expanded fashion.”

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.