Bill of Rights
Since the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut — during which a crazed gunman killed 27 innocent people, including 20 children — Piers Morgan has used his CNN talk show, which generally doesn’t fair well against nightly competition, to advocate for tighter gun regulations.
Morgan, who is a British citizen, hasn’t exactly been dipolmatic about his views. During a recent interview, Morgan classlessly hurled insults at Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, in a debate over gun control.
Morgan’s contempt for the Second Amendment, which guarantees Americans with the right to keep and bear arms, hasn’t sat well with many. In fact, there is a movement via a petition on the White House website to have him deported.
The petition, which has over 78,000 signatures, states:
British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr. Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.
These petitions have grown popular. After President Barack Obama was re-elected last month, a number of petitions popped up on the site asking the White House to let states peacefully secede. To receive a response from the White House, a petition must receive at least 25,000 signatures.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who has come under fire recently for his support of increased tax revenues, is now sounding off on the upcoming reauthorization vote for FISA. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to allow at least some amendments, some of which would protect the privacy of Americans, to be voted on by the chamber before the bill is pushed forward for a final vote.
Unfortunately, Chambliss believes that no votes on these amendments are necessary and that Reid should just pass the bill, apparently with no questions asked:
Senator Saxby Chambliss, apparently with no regard to the Constitution or the privacy of the public he’s supposed to represent, has apparently complained that any debate is a waste of time after Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid tried to bring up the issue.
Consistency matters, folks. When George W. Bush was in office, there were near endless complaints from the Left as civil liberties were being diminished and executive power was being strengthened, far beyond what our Founding Fathers had ever intended. The complaints make against Bush were well-founded at the time. However, since Barack Obama has been running the show, we’ve heard nary a peep out of those same people. Apparently, civil liberties are only abused when the president has an “R” next to his name. Or something.
Interestingly, The New York Times recently noted that President Obama was worried that the expansion of executive power undertaken during his first term — including the targeted killing of American citizens — would fall into Republican hands:
Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.
“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.
Mr. Obama himself, in little-noticed remarks, has acknowledged that the legal governance of drone strikes is still a work in progress.
If you don’t read anything else today, you need to check out Conor Friedersdorf’s explanation of why he refuses to vote for Barack Obama in November:
I find Obama likable when I see him on TV. He is a caring husband and father, a thoughtful speaker, and possessed of an inspirational biography. On stage, as he smiles into the camera, using words to evoke some of the best sentiments within us, it’s hard to believe certain facts about him:
During an election year, voters frequently hear politicians point to public to prove support for their agenda. In trying to push through his tax hike prospoal, President Barack Obama has noted on several occasions that most polls show that Americans believe higher-income earners should pay more in taxes. Another example would be polls that show opposition from Americans to the Citizens United ruling, which protected political speech for domestic corporations.
But should the majority rule? During the debate over ratification in New York, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, explained the problem of majorities, or, as he called it, “faction.” Madison wrote, “By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.”
This is why Madison and other Founding Fathers concluded that a democracy was not consistant the idea of free society that they sought for a new nation. Instead, as Madison wrote, “A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.”
Madison went into great detail about the problem of faction in Federalist 10, which is worth a read, if you have a few moments. But one can read Madison’s missive and see clearly that the vision the he had for the United States is one that has been largely lost, especially in the last 80 years or so.
There is a lot of uncertainty headed into the fall. Will voters re-elect President Barack Obama, keeping him in the White House for another four years. Or will they choose a different course for the country with Mitt Romney. It’s hard to say where the minds of voters are at the moment in that regard, but a new Washington Post poll shows that Americans do want limited government:
A survey of 3,130 American adults conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation between July 25 and August 5 discovered that large majorities of Americans favor a smaller federal government and believe the government controls too much of our daily lives.
The poll asked: “Would you say you favor a smaller federal government with fewer services, or larger federal government with many services?”
Among all those polled, 55 percent said they wanted a smaller federal government and 40 percent said they wanted a larger federal government.
Among just the registered voters in the poll, 58 percent said they wanted a smaller federal government and 37 percent said they wanted a larger federal government.
The poll also asked: “Do you personally agree or disagree with the following statement. Government controls too much of our daily lives.”
This post was written by Richard Schrade, an attorney from Georgia and member of the Libertarian National Committee, and gun rights proponent.
The problem with all of the Second Amendment discussion is that very few people are willing to address this issue directly and accurately. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to protect the right to and ability to conduct an armed revol…ution. The Second Amendment was to protect the ability of the people to violently overthrow the government.
Even if one agrees with the “Militia limitation” on the Second Amendment, the Militias to which the Amendment refers were State Militias which would have been used to fight the federal government.
When viewed in this light, it is apparent that a limitation on automatic weapons would be an infrigment on the purposes of the Second Amendment. If we want to have an honest discussion about the issue of gun control, then let’s frame the discussion correctly, “Should the people have the right to keep and bear arms that could be used to violently overthrown the central government”.
Let’s remember that this country was formed in a violent revolution. Let’s remember that at Lexington and Concord citizen fired on and killed government solidiers sent by the central government to confiscate their weapons and arms.
If we are going to have gun control then let’s not dicker around the fringes. Let those who would limit the law-abiding citizen’s access to arms first repeal the Second Amendment. That would be the intellectually honest way to address the issue.
You may recall that back in January, Rick Santorum’s nephew came out in support for Ron Paul because of his uncle’s very statist record. Well, Ron Paul can now boast the support of some of Mitt Romney’s cousins, who came out for him ahead of Super Tuesday:
Ron Paul announced Monday that the Texas congressman had earned the endorsement from a group of who seem like they should be solidly in the corner of rival Mitt Romney: the former Massachusetts governor’s own family members.
Five distant cousins of Romney will all appear in Idaho on Monday in support of Paul’s presidential bid.
In an interview with a Middle Eastern television station, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, perhaps the most reliable Leftist vote on the Supreme Court, said that the United States Constitution should not serve as a basis of law in Egypt:
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has caused a storm of controversy by saying in a television interview that the people of Egypt should not look to the United States Constitution when drafting their own governing document because it’s too old and there are newer examples from which to draw inspiration.
“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” Ginsburg said in the interview, which aired on Jan. 30 on Al-Hayat TV.
Her comments have stunned writers across the conservative blogosphere, though many major media outlets have not given much attention to it.
In the interview, she argued that the United States has the “oldest written constitution still in force in the world,” so instead “you should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II.”
“I might look at the constitution of South Africa,” Ginsburg said. “That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary.”
Ginsberg’s comments are reprehensible for a couple of different reasons. While our Constitution is imperfect, the Founding Fathers did include a mechanism for changing it via the amendment process in Article V. This process wasn’t supposed to be easy, but the process has served us well. Ginsburg failed to note this, at least in the comments that I’ve read.
In the midst of last week’s protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate version, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), I suggested that “[w]e’re fighting an uphill battle” against the powerful forces that want to censor the internet in the name of anti-piracy. Since then, many pundits and bloggers have been striking a triumphalist note now that both SOPA and PIPA appear to be dead in the water. But the best rule of thumb when you think you’ve beaten those who would erase our civil liberties is to reject complacency and assume that you haven’t. When they look like they’ve lost they’re usually just regrouping. The recent MegaUpload bust should prove that.
But if you’re still not convinced, you probably haven’t heard of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The U.S. Trade Representative’s office declares ACTA “the highest-standard plurilateral agreement ever achieved concerning the enforcement of intellectual property rights.” A 2008 report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation makes clear that ACTA would accomplish at an international level what SOPA/PIPA were supposed to accomplish here in America. We, along with eight other nations, signed ACTA on October 1, 2011.
If you haven’t heard of ACTA before, here are five things you need to know: