Well after the 90 time limit for President Obama to bring US troops home since he didn’t have Congressional approval under the War Powers Act, the House is looking at either approving or ending the Libya mission. Welcome to the party folks, but the truth is that President Obama should have already brought the troops home from this one.
From The Hill:
Whether either resolution will have the support to pass the House is unclear. While the House has come close to blocking funds for the mission in recent weeks, a measure authorizing the operation could draw support from Republicans whose concerns have focused on the lack of congressional input.
The House is also likely to consider separate proposals to restrict funding for the Libya campaign as part of a Defense appropriations bill this week.
The truth is that Congress really only has one option, and that’s to order the cessation of all military activities connected with Libyan operations, even in a support capacity. I’m fine with stipulations that permit US personnel to intervene in search and rescue activities in international waters, things like that, but nothing more. Failure to do so will set a dangerous precedent that future presidents may seize and use in violation of the law.
President Obama engaged in military operations without Congressional approval for over 60 days. By law, he had an additional 30 days to bring troops home. He didn’t. House Republicans, if the choose to allow authorization at this point in time, will effectively say “Oh, it’s not a problem. Laws don’t apply to the President, even when the explicitly say they do” and permit him to continue his activities.
Someone recently sent an email asking for a post on whether folks should join the NRA. Jason, probably knowing how much of a gun guy I am, asked me if I was interested in expressing my thoughts. Being the shy, unassuming person who never shares his opinions with a living soul…oh wait, that’s not me at all. Of course I jumped at it.
The National Rifle Association is a group I’ve been pretty critical of for some time. Their compromises gave us background checks for firearm purchases, among other things. Over the years, they have tried to compromise rather than digging in their heals for our Second Amendment rights, so there’s plenty to be critical of. However, that was the past. What about the now?
To me, all the questions about the NRA can be summed up with their argument against Senator Rand Paul’s proposed amendment that would restrict law enforcement’s ability to look at firearm purchase records. While the NRA was correct that district attorney’s could get grand juries to subpena the records in question, what was missed is that the grand jury is a form of judicial oversight.
Instead, the NRA pretend that law enforcement being able to demand access to records is preferable to a panel of American citizens deciding if there is probably cause to access those records. Anyone purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer has to fill out this paperwork, and the NRA’s position turns this paperwork into a de facto form of registration.
Way to go NRA. No suggestions on how to tweak it to make it more acceptable, just cover for allegedly pro-gun members of Congress to vote against the amendment in question without being labeled as anti-gun.
During Rand Paul’s campaign to become Senator from Kentucky, he held a few positions that gave some of his father’s supporters pause. Specifically, his disagreement with Ron over the issue of criminal trials versus military tribunals was a point of contention making it difficult for some to back his candidacy without trepidation. Rand thought we should keep the tribunals while Ron was vehemently opposed to any trial that didn’t give the accused the best protection of his rights.
After this past week, It probably isn’t far fetched to say that any trepidation one may have had about Rand Paul’s commitment to the principles of freedom has vanished.
Paul managed to single-handedly take control of the Senate chambers in a heroic attempt to move the Senate to consider and debate the Patriot Act - something shockingly absent since it’s first passage. In fact, in 2001, when the Patriot Act was first introduced, a single Senator read the bill before casting a vote. The vote cast was a resounding “NO” by Russ Feingold, coincidentally, the only vote recorded in opposition to the bill.
Rand’s efforts were unsuccessful if you deem passage of the Act’s extension the sole measure of success. However, Rand did far more than capture the imagination and attention of the country for a suspenseful 36 hours, 7 of which were spent on the Senate floor.
Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the second most powerful Democrat in the Senate, was exposed this week for engaging in a coordinated effort to paint Republicans, and especially those with ties to the TEA Party movement, as “extremists”. Speaking to fellow Senate Democrats (and not realizing that the media had already been connected in on the conference call), Schumer explained that he “always use[s] the word extreme”, because “that is what the caucus instructed me to use this week”. This intentional attempt at character assassination comes because House Speaker Boehner is getting pressure from freshmen Republicans and the conservative base to do something more than offer lip service to fiscal responsibility.
Indeed, the problem is not that Republicans are too extreme. The problem is that they are not extreme enough; the $61 billion in budget cuts, from a $3.78 trillion dollar budget which increases the deficit by about a trillion and a half dollars, is little more than a rounding error. Much deeper cuts to spending are necessary if we are to get our fiscal house in order, and Republicans had better show some spine and get serious if they expect to keep the support of conservatives and the majority of independents come November 2012.
To be sure though, any Republican with an ounce of intelligence and awareness knew these attacks would come. After all, this is an administration who refuses to acknowledge the radical Islamic roots of the terrorist attacks on American soil over the last few years, yet whose Department of Homeland Security two years ago published a report entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”. Obama himself has repeatedly refers to his political opposition as being extreme and dangerous.
My all time favorite comic strip is Calvin and Hobbes. It is about a young boy and his pet stuffed tiger, and the adventures they have jumping between real life and a world ruled by his imagination. He escapes the mundane tasks of life by escaping into his alternate reality, where he can be anything he wants to be, from a Tyrannosaurus Rex, to the Intrepid Spaceman Spiff, from Stupendous Man!, to the Supreme Ruler and Dictator for Life. Calvin always wins in the end because, it being his imagination, he controls the outcome. In a comic strip, this is great fun. In real life…not so much.
President Obama seems to have determined that he is the new Supreme Ruler and Dictator for Life. At least, this is a plausible conclusion based on his actions since taking office. Our first real glimpse at his unbridled narcissism came at a rally in June 2008. Having won the Democrat Party nomination for president, Obama proclaimed to the adoring throngs that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.” Goodness, now all he has to do is cure cancer and raise the dead and he can call it a day!
The problem with Obama’s view of himself as a messianic leader is that he seems to feel not only that he is above the law, but that he is the Supreme Lawgiver. He sees himself as the voice in the burning bush, giving utterance to his subjects which has force of law by virtue of his having spoken it, and we are all commanded to obey.
My more liberal friends often talk to me about the “living Constitution”, one that changes with the shifting moods of the electorate. They do so as if this was a good thing, something that should be lauded and encouraged. They also agree with the leftist elements of the judiciary who think we should show more deference to foreign law, and incorporate that into our own deliberations and rulings, in the process making us a more inclusive part of the global community. On the contrary, the strength of our nation lies in the fact that we are a nation of the rule of law, not the rule of man. It is the very foundation of our national structure. The concept of the highest law in our land being fluid depending on the temporary mood of the people is the equivalent of building a house on a shifting foundation. Inevitably that house will come crashing down.
Last year, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said in a speech that “Judges in the United States, after all, are free to consult all manner of commentary — Restatements, Treatises, what law professors or even law students write copiously in law reviews, and, in the internet age, any number of legal blogs. If we can consult those sources, why not the analysis of a question similar to the one we confront contained, for example, in an opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the German Constitutional Court, or the European Court of Human Rights?”
Indeed, the court has referenced external law in numerous cases over the last few years, including Lawrence v. Texas (ruling all anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional), Roper v. Simmons (ruling unconstitutional capital punishment for minors under age 18), Boumediene v. Bush and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (both dealing with the question of granting terrorist detainees the constitutional rights traditionally afforded to only U.S. citizens).
One of the most common refrains from the political left and the media is that, regarding the economy, conservatives advocate for unchecked freedom for big business to do whatever it wants to do, and for no government interference with business at all. These assertions stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of conservatism.
For the conservative, the issue comes down to the proper role of government. To have no government at all is anarchy, and certainly no conservative would argue that. So the question is not whether or not there should be government involvement (there should), but what level of government involvement is appropriate.
When we look at the biggest financial scandals of the last decade (Enron, WorldCom, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, etc.), they all have one thing in common. At some point, whether through active complicity or negligence, government played a huge role in allowing the scandals to occur. And with every scandal, it becomes an excuse, or rather an imperative, to increase the level of government involvement to keep it from occurring again.
Some of the major scandals have occurred because the regulatory oversight assigned to one government agency or another was either inadequately enforced, or government employees were co-opted into the fraudulent scheme. Others occur because our statutory and regulatory law has become so complex that it is inevitable that a crafty thief will be able to find technical loopholes that fulfill the letter of the law while being contradictory to the clear intent of the law. Either way, we continue to add layer after layer of government bureaucracy, regulation and complexity, and yet the scandals keep getting more and more expensive. That is because the more complex the law, the easier it is to find a technical Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card.
Continuing the “Liberty Candidate Series” of interviews, Jason and Brett talk with Adam Kokesh, discussing the new players in his race, jobs and the economy, national drug control policy, and the 10th Amendment Summit. Kokesh is seeking the Republican nomination for New Mexico’s 3rd District representative this year.
This special edition podcast is the eigth in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide.
The matter of torture has been discussed over the past several years in connection with its use as a “tool” in the “Global War on Terror” or the “Overseas Contingency Operation” as it has now been called. Dick Cheney has been recently making rounds in an attempt to salvage some credibility and to fuel the partisan fire.
As Lou Dobbs notes, there is a movement, primarily among the Islamic member nations in the United Nations, to pass a binding resolution that would mandate national legislation in sovereign nations making it a crime to offend members of a religion. On the surface, this appears to be a resolution promoting tolerance, but it is obvious that it is aimed squarely at the freedom of speech available in Western nations. Dobbs is joined by Vanity Fair journalist, Christopher Hitchens, to discuss the totalitarian desires of the UN to control thought by eliminating free expression.