The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

The Rise and Fall of Hope and Change

Alexis de Toqueville

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

The United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol Building

The Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention

The Continental Congress

The Continental Congress

George Washington at Valley Forge

George Washington at Valley Forge

Friday, April 30, 2010

Obama's Assault on the Constitution

This article appeared on the American Thinker blog:

April 30, 2010


Obama's stealth attack on our legal foundations

Walt Elgin



Bowing to foreign power was not just a matter of misplaced etiquette. As its creeping socialism morphs into a quirky gallop, Obama's State Department is supporting an International Criminal Court (ICC) with jurisdiction over what has always been sovereign U.S. powers:



..."Pragmatic cooperation" with the ICC-for example, helping it with investigations and sitting in on court bodies, [proponents argue] would give the U.S. a voice on decisions that affect its interests, such as helping the ICC define the "crime of aggression." U.S. officials were stunned that a recent draft defining aggression was so wide-reaching that NATO would have been criminally liable in the 1999 Kosovo war...



...The ICC's indictments have so far targeted nasty characters in Africa, but the court has always resisted outside oversight, especially from the U.S. What's more, no amount of reform of the founding treaty will change the ICC's inherent flaw. The ICC is a child of the doctrine of "universal jurisdiction," which holds that courts can adjudicate crimes [by their definition] committed anywhere in the world.



And other Obama acolytes support a constitutional overhaul to allow more direct control to those in power, without the messiness of congressional action - as originally stipulated in the Constitution. Stephen Markman, Michigan Supreme Court Justice, has warned about Obama's "living constitution" views :





...the important decisions would increasingly be undertaken by courts, especially by federal courts. It will be the California referendum process writ national, a process by which the decisions of millions of voters on matters such as racial quotas, social services funding, and immigration policy have been routinely overturned by single judges acting in the name of the Constitution - not the Framers' Constitution, but a "constitution for our times," a "living constitution," resembling, sadly, the constitutions of failed and despotic nations across the globe...



As various advocates of a 21st century constitution have urged, [the constitution should] be interpreted to allow the invention of a host of new "rights," and thus be construed to guarantee social or economic equality. However pleasing this might sound to some people, there should be no mistake: adopting this interpretation will supplant representative decision-making with the decision-making of unelected, unaccountable, and life-tenured judges.











Posted at 08:01 AM

Obama: Salary Policeman, Pt. II

This article appeared on the American Thinker blog:

April 30, 2010


'I do think, at a certain point you've made enough money:' Obama

Greg Halvorson



Question. Have you ever seen so much of a president that you didn't want to see as the "community organizer" from Illinois? Wednesday, in the Land of Lincoln, the president uttered something so Marxist that it brought me off the couch. Again.





"We're not pushing financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned," Obama said. "Though I do think, at a certain point you've made enough money."





Okay. A sitting president, who's on record as saying he wants to "transform" us, thinks it's his business to meddle in our wallets. This is his right, just as it's my right to call him a Marxist. I would, however, like to point out that Obama made $5.5 million last year, more than doubling his income. And that 44% of those in Congress are millionaires.



Greg Halvorson is the founder of Soldiers Without Boots, and hosts The Soldier One Radio Hour on Blog Talk Radio.



Thomas Lifson adds: When Obama goes off teleprompter, his real views leak out in offhand comments, as with Joe the Plumber, and Obama's infamous "spread the wealth around" remark. What makes this instance so repulsive is Barack and Michelle's obvious delight in living large: Wagyu beef, dinner dates in New York or Chicago, Michelle's fashion jeans, and all the trappings of royalty in which they revel.

Posted at 08:44 AM

Obama: Salary Policeman

This originally appeared on Michelle Malkin's website:

Barack Obama, America’s Selective Salary Policeman


By Michelle Malkin • April 30, 2010 09:39 AM



Barack Obama, America’s Selective Salary Policeman

by Michelle Malkin

Creators Syndicate

Copyright 2010



President Obama spoke the most revealing and clarifying 10 words of his control-freak administration this week: “I think at some point you have made enough money.” Peddling financial regulatory reform at a rally in Quincy, Ill., Obama then ad-libbed peculiar definitions of what he called the “American way” and the profit motive: “(Y)ou can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or providing good service. We don’t want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy.”



Fundamental lesson of Capitalism 101: Governments and bureaucrats don’t make what people want and need. They only get in the way. It is individuals, cooperating peacefully and voluntarily, working together without mandate or central design, who produce the world’s goods and services. They make what people desire and demand for themselves, not what Obama and his imperial overlords ordain that the masses should have.



As usual, Obama’s populist demagoguery is telling in its omissions and selectivity. While he lectures on the morality of salary caps for everyone else, his own cabinet is filled with fabulously wealthy CEOs and statist creatures who have parlayed government employment (a “good” service) into private gain as lobbyists, consultants and advisers (“core responsibilities of the financial system”) and then back again to public stints. Revolving doors have always grown the Beltway economy.



To wit: Austan Goolsbee, head of Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, is the 15th wealthiest member of the Obama administration, with assets valued at between $1,146,000 to $2,715,000. He also pulled in a University of Chicago salary of $465,000 and additional wages and honoraria worth $93,000, according to the Washingtonian magazine.



What “good” did he provide? The government research fellow and Obama campaign adviser was a champion of extending credit to the un-creditworthy. In a 2007 op-ed for The New York Times, he derided those who called subprime mortgages “irresponsible.” He preferred to describe them as “innovations in the mortgage market” to expand the pool of homebuyers. Now this wrong-headed academic who espoused government policies that fed the housing feeding frenzy is in charge of fixing the loose-credit mess he advocated. This is the “American way”?



After 16 years in Congress, four years in the Clinton administration as budget director and chief of staff, and a lifetime of schmoozing in the halls of power, Obama’s CIA director, Leon Panetta, cashed in big. He’s sitting on up to $4 million in assets. While he has zero experience in intelligence matters, he has extensive experience in parlaying his past political tours of duty into lucrative speaking gigs, consulting fees and stock options. Welcome to Obama-approved entrepreneurship.



By Obama’s definition, first lady Michelle Obama is a model capitalist. Remember: After serving with real estate mogul Valerie Jarrett in Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, Mrs. Obama took a post at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where Jarrett was serving as vice-chair of the medical center’s board of trustees. Mrs. Obama was promoted in 2005 after her husband won his U.S. Senate race with Jarrett’s invaluable aid. As “vice president for community and external affairs” and head of the “business diversity program,” her annual compensation nearly tripled from $122,000 in 2004 to $317,000 in 2005. Even after she went on leave in 2007 to help her husband on the presidential campaign trail, the hospital paid Mrs. Obama $62,709 in 2008, prompting one skeptic to ask: “We know this is Chicago, but isn’t $63,000 quite a lot for a no-show job?”



Jarrett, of course, is now White House senior adviser to the chief spender of other people’s money. And the first lady is now using her new taxpayer-funded position not only to tell folks how they should eat, but also which “good” restaurants and groceries should be built in their neighborhoods.



If there were any doubts left about the Obamas’ ideological commitment to wealth redistribution and a command-and-control economy, those doubts have been thoroughly removed. We have a commander-in-chief who presumes to know when you have earned “enough,” who believes that only those who provide what he deems “good” products and services should “keep on making it,” and who has determined that the role of American entrepreneurs is not to pursue their own self-interest, but to fulfill their “core” responsibility as dutiful growers of the collective economy.



That famous mock-up poster of Obama as the creepy socialist Joker never seemed more apt.







I love Scott Johnson’s succinct rejoinder at Power Line: “At some point you have grabbed enough power.”

Real Immigration Reform

This article appeared on the Heritage Foundation website:

An Appetite for Real Immigration Reform




In a very rare visit to the press cabin of Air Force One yesterday, President Barack Obama told reporters that the White House will not be leading any immigration reform efforts in 2010. Obama said: "…I've been working Congress pretty hard. So I know, there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue." Obama went on to assert that energy taxes were a higher priority, and that the election in November would make tackling immigration tough.



Apparently, Majority Leader Harry Reid didn't heed the President's advice. Several hours later, Reid, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and their colleagues from the left introduced an immigration reform framework that on the surface is identical to the legislation America rejected in 2007. When you dig down, it may be worse.



Of course, once introduced, President Obama issued a statement that his administration would take "an active role" toward ironing out the details. This confusing flip-flopping from the White House is indicative of how the administration has treated border security and immigration reform since taking office. Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed saying: "If there is going to be real be any movement in this regard, it will require presidential leadership."



Effective reforms can be done in a responsible and deliberate manner through discrete steps rather than another bloated bill that hides from the American people what Washington is trying to do to gain even more power and authority over its citizens. What is required is a step-by-step approach, not an ill-conceived "framework" disguised as "comprehensive" reform.



An appropriate solution would reject amnesty; apply appropriate security to the border; work as a partner with Mexico in helping them address economic and civil society reform and combating transnational crime; enforce workplace and immigration laws in partnership with state and local governments; pilot effective temporary worker programs that help employers get the employees they need to help grow the economy; and reform our visa, immigration and citizenship services.



The Reid-Schumer plan does not accomplish these goals. Their proposal adds a lot more government and bureaucracy (and government spending) while doing little to actually ensure over the long-term the sovereignty, security and prosperity of the nation. It is another example of government taking the short term view of long-term problems.



The Reid-Schumer framework puts an emphasis on amnesty, with empty promises of border security. Granting amnesty, access to welfare and government benefits and citizenship to all who claim they were in the United States at time of enactment of this proposal could cover 11 to 15 million people and overwhelm our borders with people looking to take part. And forgiving such violations would increase the likelihood that these laws be violated again. When you throw in family members, the total number of those eligible for citizenship through amnesty could then be 17 to 22 million individuals.



While Senate Democrats pay lip service to border security, this proposal lacks meaningful metrics for determining "when" the border is secure. It relies on an unelected commission to determine whether we are safe and secure.



And maybe most troubling is the call for a biometric national id card, thinly disguised as a more robust Social Security card. Reid and Schumer are ignoring many legitimate on-going or proposed efforts including E-Verify, Social Security no-match verification and information sharing, and REAL ID in favor of an expansive and expensive program of questionable value as an appropriate enforcement tool.



There are better alternatives:







We need a temporary worker program. One that is in fact temporary, market-oriented and feasible. A balanced and well-constructed program would provide an additional option or legal temporary workers, while diminishing the incentives for illegal entry. Congress must ensure it resolves issues of family status, require bilateral agreements, include triggers, provide economic incentives, contain caps and resists unwieldy government excess.





We must remember the American economy. No solution in this debate comes without an economic impact, whether through increased government services, unemployment or states shouldering unfunded mandates. Our immigration policy should encourage a growing economy, not expand the welfare state as we know it. Congress must consider these fiscal costs and benefits.





Above all, our first priority is national security. No other reforms are possible without a complete, and strict, security apparatus. From the point of origin, to transit, to the border, to within the United States – we require a system of protection that has gone needed for too long. If our borders remain porous and open, if our border states continue to suffer from unwarranted crime, if our laws go unenforced, then this contentious debate will only be a precursor to another and likely more disruptive process in the future.







We are a nation of immigrants. The Statue of Liberty stands as a testament to our desire to create an environment welcoming to all men and women who yearn for freedom and prosperity. We are a self selected class of people who see greater opportunity available through smaller government, economic freedom, religious and social tolerance and a shared responsibility of security and safety. It is no surprise that people from other nations would yearn for what we may sometimes take for granted. Reforming our broken immigration system should not set aside these aspirations, but embrace them.

New Deal Charades

This article was found on the Campaign for Liberty website:

New Deal Charades


By George C. Leef

View all 7 articles by George C. Leef

Published 04/30/10



Printer-friendly version





New Deal or Raw Deal? by Burton Folsom Jr. (Threshold Editions, 2008); 318 pages.







The New Deal rescued the United States from the terrible depression caused by the instability of our capitalist economy. That's the standard line peddled to gullible Americans by most history books, historians, and politicians. It was not surprising when Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said several years ago that he regarded Franklin D. Roosevelt as a great president. The view of Roosevelt that has been engraved on the American mind is one of secular sainthood.



At last, however, the protective coating seems to have worn off the Roosevelt shrine. Last year, Amity Schlaes's book The Forgotten Man landed a direct hit. She exposed the relentless, often thuggish, tactics of Roosevelt and his New Dealers in ensuring political victory by any means necessary. Now comes a more synoptic book that delves into the economics and politics of the New Deal as none previously has. New Deal or Raw Deal? by Hillsdale College history professor Burton Folsom is more than a direct hit on the Roosevelt myth -- it's an earthquake beneath its foundations.



"As long as the Roosevelt legend is intact," Folsom writes, "the principal public policy derived from the New Deal will continue to dominate American politics." He proceeds to dismantle that legend.



Folsom begins with a brief sketch of Roosevelt's early life. Born into a wealthy New York family, he was graduated from Harvard, where he was a decidedly mediocre student. Subsequently he attended Columbia Law School. One of his law-school professors said of him, "He was not much of a student and not much of a lawyer afterwards. He didn't appear to have any aptitude for the law, and made no attempt to overcome this handicap by hard work." Roosevelt was employed briefly at a New York City law firm, but a senior partner described his work as "worthless."



Practicing law was not to Roosevelt's liking, so he tried his hand at a number of business ventures, financed with family money. All flopped. But in his mid twenties, he became infatuated with politics, telling friends he would one day be elected president. His first step in that direction was taken in 1910, when he was elected to the New York state senate. Here was something he was good at! Folsom comments, "When he switched his thinking from how to earn money to how to influence voters, he was playing to his natural strength."



Roosevelt served as secretary of the Navy in the Wilson administration, then ran as the vice presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket in 1920. After that losing effort, he returned to New York politics, winning the governorship narrowly in 1928. He was thus perfectly positioned to grab the Democratic nomination for president in 1932 and run against the mortally wounded Herbert Hoover.



Hoover's mortal wound, of course, was the Depression. Following the stock-market crash in October 1929, Hoover had tried frantically to get the nation's economy moving again. Unfortunately, he completely misunderstood the causes of the Depression and all his efforts made matters worse. By the time of the 1932 election, the economic situation was so grave that a Republican victory was inconceivable.







Causes of the Depression





What did cause the Depression? Folsom is a historian who has learned a good deal of economics and he devotes a chapter to explaining its causes in easy-to-understand terms. Erratic monetary policy by the Federal Reserve in the late 1920s led to a speculative bubble, and when the Fed abruptly changed its expansionary policy to a contractionary one in 1929, the bubble burst. The stock market crashed, but the country could easily have recovered from it had it not been for Hoover's meddling. He pushed through the ruinous Smoot-Hawley Tariff in mid 1930 and a huge tax increase in 1932. Furthermore, the Fed sat by as banks failed and the money supply fell sharply. Note that there is nothing here about some inherent instability in a free-market economy -- the leftist party line. Historians who idolize Roosevelt and the interventionist state have implanted that idea in nearly all accounts of the Depression, but it's entirely false.



Both Hoover and Roosevelt believed a version of the instability thesis, namely that the Depression was due to undercon-sumption. In other words, people could not spend enough to keep the economy rolling. Socialists were drawn to that idea because it enabled them to argue that rich capitalists were taking too much in profits and paying the workers too little. Hoover bought into that and tried to browbeat industrialists into keeping their wages up despite plunging sales.



Roosevelt knew nothing about economics but liked the under-consumption theory because it enabled him to demagogue the issue. During the campaign, he repeatedly blasted "economic royalists" to great applause from the desperate and envious masses.



Folsom shows that the under-consumption theory is completely groundless.



Roosevelt handily won the 1932 election, often telling different voting groups contradictory things and revealing his penchant for simply making "facts" up. He was never one to let truth and consistency get in the way of winning voters to his side.







New Deal programs





The heart of the book is Folsom's discussion of the various facets of the New Deal. First off the block in 1933 was the National Industrial Recovery Act. This shockingly authoritarian law promoted the cartelization of industries and the unionization of workers. The New Dealers believed that prosperity could be regained if prices and wages rose, and the NRA was meant to force that to happen. It was a classic case of mistaking symptoms for causes.



Under the NIRA, businesses were required to come up with "codes of fair competition" that fixed wages and prices. To enforce the codes, the law established the National Recovery Administration, and Roosevelt chose an irascible and dogmatic former army general, Hugh Johnson, to head it. Johnson delighted in cracking down on businessmen who dared to think that they still had the right to run their operations their own way. Folsom recounts some appalling stories of the NRA's vindictiveness -- small businesses forced to close because the owners could not afford to pay the mandatory wages or fined for charging poor customers prices that were illegally low.



Not only did the NIRA not help bring about economic recovery, it actually got in the way. The cartelization of business and price fixing gummed up the works of the price system, obstructing market signals. (Roosevelt and his "Brain Trust" had no idea about the importance of the price system.) Moreover, the hiring of a small army of federal bureaucrats cost a lot of money. The NRA and dozens of other new agencies drained away money from private spending and investment so that thousands of new government employees could do "work" that impeded production and trade.



Eventually the Supreme Court declared the NIRA unconstitutional (in 1935), but during its existence, it did a great deal of harm. Folsom notes that Roosevelt had no regard for the Constitution, once telling legislators that they should not allow thoughts about the constitutionality of a bill to get in their way of passing it.



Chapters take us through a bevy of other New Deal programs cut from the same bolt of fascist cloth: the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the Works Progress Administration, the Air Mail Act, Tennessee Valley Authority, Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, and more. All were dreadful, arrogant blunders that exacted a high cost in lost prosperity, lost freedom, and yes, loss of life. How badly each of those programs did with respect to the goal of sparking the economy is rather old news, but Folsom keeps the reading fresh with personal stories showing how individual Americans suffered under New Deal coercion.







The repulsive Roosevelt





Where the book really sizzles is in the author's description of the ways Roosevelt turned America into a nation where party politics became paramount. If you think Richard Nixon invented political dirty tricks, you'll find out that Roosevelt mastered the art decades before. Roosevelt was eager to use the IRS to harass those who spoke out against the New Deal. One revealing case was that of Moses Annenberg, a German immigrant who had established a chain of newspapers in Pennsylvania. Annenberg wrote his own editorials and pointed out many embarrassing facts about the New Deal that Roosevelt did not like seeing in print. He ordered the IRS to investigate Annenberg and, sure enough, it found that the financially sloppy Annenberg was guilty of "tax fraud." Off to jail he went, providing a useful lesson for others who might dare to question Roosevelt's leadership.



With radio, it was even worse for freedom of speech. Under the Radio Act of 1934, a federal agency had to approve applications for radio licenses. Naturally, the agency was quick to approve applications from stations known to favor the New Deal, while those from stations that had been critical gathered dust. In summary, Folsom quotes New York Times columnist Arthur Krock, who wrote in 1935 that Roosevelt's administration was guilty of "more ruthlessness, intelligence, and subtlety in trying to suppress legitimate unfavorable comment than any other I have known."



We also learn what a repulsive man Roosevelt was -- not just his flagrant marital infidelity but especially his unwillingness to listen civilly to anyone who disagreed with him. Folsom reports an exchange between Alexander Forbes and Roosevelt. Forbes had been a Harvard classmate and was a professor at Harvard Medical School. He was also a cousin to Roosevelt. In a letter, Forbes had the temerity to suggest that charitable giving, which had declined with the New Deal tax increases, did more good than the government relief programs. Roosevelt fired back a nasty letter in which he called Forbes "one of the worst anarchists in the U.S." Like intolerant demagogues everywhere, Roosevelt could not stand it when people challenged him, no matter how politely and reasonably.







Corruption





And now we come to what I think is the book's best contribution of all: Roosevelt's use of federal money to buy elections and pressure politicians. In early 1936, the nation's economy was still so badly mired in the Depression that it seemed possible that Roosevelt could lose his reelection bid. To avoid that, Roosevelt and two advisors conducted poll after poll to find out where he stood. Federal money was then targeted only to states where the issue was in doubt, such as Pennsylvania. Hardly any federal money went to solid Democratic states (mostly in the South), even though the people there were generally much worse off. Likewise, little federal money went to states that looked solidly Republican. Money flooded into the competitive states, always with the message that it came from the benevolence of the Roosevelt administration. That ploy worked brilliantly and thanks to targeted spending and special-interest-group promises, Roosevelt easily won the election. Money was taxed away from struggling American households and businesses so that the president could spend lavishly on political pork to buy votes. It hardly needs to be said that we continue to suffer from this brand of win-at-any-cost politics.



Roosevelt also used the carrot-and-stick approach within his party to reward politicians who went along with his plans and to punish those who didn't with a loss of federal money for their states. Clearly, Roosevelt regarded the United States as his personal fiefdom, the people there to obey his commands and its wealth to be employed however he pleased. He was no more troubled by the use of deceit, lies, and threats than any dictator throughout history. Folsom notes that at one point, 45 percent of the people feared that the country was heading into dictatorship.



In the book's closing chapter, Folsom asks what really ended the Depression. Having already shredded the liberal historians' myth that New Deal programs resuscitated the economy, Folsom turns his attention to another popular notion -- that war spending did. The war did get rid of unemployment (which stood at more than 20 percent in 1939) by drafting millions of men into the military, but the standard of living for most Americans remained depressed until 1946, when most of the wartime economic controls were lifted, taxes were reduced, and Roosevelt's successor, Harry Truman, proved not so adamantly hostile to business as Roosevelt had been. Prosperity depends on freedom and property rights, both of which had taken a ferocious beating during the New Deal.



We still suffer from the blunders of the New Deal. It fundamentally altered the relationship between the American citizen and the government. Formerly, Americans had been free to do what they wanted as long as they did not violate the well-understood rights of others. After the New Deal, they had to obey an ever-growing mountain of statutes and regulations. Liberty is no longer the default condition. Control is.



It is frustrating to contemplate the persistence of the New Deal myth. Statist defenders of the myth treat it as a sacred religious relic; they seem to realize that if people stopped believing the lie that capitalism led to the Depression and government activism saved us, the intellectual house of cards they have constructed would come down. If ordinary Americans came to see that the New Deal was actually a vast waste of money and human energy, they might drop their support for today's Roosevelt-like politicians. Ditto if they understood that Roosevelt was just an arrogant and impetuous crackpot rather than a visionary leader.



The job of the scholar is to find and present the truth. Professor Folsom has been admirably fulfilling that role for many years, and his current book serves up a huge portion of truth about the New Deal, one of the most misunderstood aspects of our history.





This article originally appeared in the January 2010 edition of Freedom Daily. Subscribe to the print or email version of Freedom Daily. Copyright © 2010 Future of Freedom Foundation

Love of Liberty vs. Love of Government

This article originally appeared on the Campaign for Liberty website:

Love of Liberty vs. Love of Government


By Chuck Baldwin

View all 19 articles by Chuck Baldwin

Published 04/30/10



Printer-friendly version





Let me ask readers a question. What's more important: freedom and its undergirding principles, or the entity meant to protect it? A word of caution: be careful how you answer that question, because the way you answer marks your understanding (or lack thereof) of both freedom and the purpose of government.



Thomas Jefferson -- and the rest of America's founders -- believed that freedom was the principal possession, because liberty is a divine -- not human -- gift. Listen to Jefferson:



"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." (Declaration of Independence)



Jefferson could not be clearer: America's founders desired a land in which men might live in liberty. By declaring independence from the government of Great Britain (and instituting new government), Jefferson, et al., did not intend to erect an idol (government) that men would worship. They created a mechanism designed to protect that which they considered to be their most precious possession: liberty. In other words, the government they created by the Constitution of 1787 was not the object; freedom's protection was the object.



Again, listen to Jefferson: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men." In other words, government is not the end; it is the means. Government is not the goal; it is the vehicle used to reach the goal. Nowhere did Jefferson (and the rest of America's founders) express the sentiment that government, itself, was the objective. Listen to Jefferson once more:



"That whenever ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." (Declaration) (Emphasis added.)



Jefferson is clear: people have a right to alter or abolish ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT that becomes destructive to liberty. To America's founders, there was no such thing as a sacred cow when it came to government. Government had but one purpose: "to secure these rights." When ANY FORM of government stops protecting sacred, God-given liberties, it is the right and duty of people to do whatever they deem appropriate to secure their liberties -- even to abolishing the government.



To America's founders, patriotism had everything to do with the love of liberty, not the love of government!



Today's brand of patriotism (at least as expressed by many) is totally foreign to the fundamental principles of liberty upon which America was built. I'm talking about the idea that government is an end and aim in itself; the idea that government must be protected from the people; the idea that bigger government equals better government; the idea that criticism of the government makes one unpatriotic; the idea that government is a panacea for all our ills; and the idea that loyalty to the nation equals loyalty to the government. All of this is a bunch of bull manure!



When government -- ANY GOVERNMENT -- stops protecting the liberties of its citizens, and especially when it begins trampling those liberties, it has become a "destructive" power, and needs to be altered or abolished. Period.



Can any honest, objective citizen not readily recognize that the current central government in Washington, D.C., long ago stopped protecting the God-given rights of free men, and has become a usurper of those rights? Is there the slightest doubt in the heart of any lover of liberty that the biggest threat to our liberties is not to be found in any foreign capital, but in that putrid province by the Potomac?



Therefore, we must cast off this phony idea that we owe some kind of devotion to the "system." Away with the notion that vowing to protect and prolong the "powers that be" makes us "good" Americans. The truth is, there is very little in Washington, D.C., that is worthy of protecting or prolonging. The "system" is a ravenous BEAST that is gorging itself on our liberties!



Patriotism has nothing to do with supporting a President, or being loyal to a political party, or anything of the sort.



Is it patriotic to support our country (which almost always means our government), "right or wrong"? This is one of the most misquoted clichés in American history, by the way. Big Government zealots (on both the right and the left) use this phrase often to try to stifle opposition by making people who would fight for smaller government appear "unpatriotic."



The cliché, "My country, right or wrong," comes from a short address delivered on the floor of the US Senate by Missouri Senator Carl Schurz. Taking a strong anti-imperialist position and having his patriotism questioned because of it (what's new, right?), Schurz, on February 29, 1872, said, "The senator from Wisconsin cannot frighten me by exclaiming, ‘My country, right or wrong.' In one sense I say so, too. My country -- and my country is the great American Republic. My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." (Source: The Congressional Globe, vol. 45, p. 1287)



Schurz then later expanded on this short statement in a speech delivered at the Anti-Imperialistic Conference in Chicago, Illinois, on October 17, 1899. He said, "I confidently trust that the American people will prove themselves . . . too wise not to detect the false pride or the dangerous ambitions or the selfish schemes which so often hide themselves under that deceptive cry of mock patriotism: ‘Our country, right or wrong!' They will not fail to recognize that our dignity, our free institutions and the peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of TRUE patriotism: ‘Our country -- when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.'" (Source: Speeches, Correspondence and Political Papers of Carl Schurz, vol. 6, 1913, p. 119) (Emphasis in original.)



Amen! In a free society, genuine patriotism demands that our country be RIGHT, as our nation's policies and practices reflect the values and principles of its citizens. To feign some kind of robotic devotion to a nation without regard to sacred principle or constitutional fidelity is to become a mindless creature: at best, to be manipulated by any and every Machiavellian that comes along, or, at worst, to be a willing participant in tyranny.



As to loyalty to a President merely because he is President, Theodore Roosevelt may have said it best:



"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth -- whether about the President or anyone else."



Hence, freedom-loving Americans cannot afford to become infatuated with Washington, D.C. We cannot allow these propagandists on network television to distort the meaning of true patriotism in our hearts.



Patriotism means we love freedom. It means we understand that freedom is a gift of God. It means we understand that government has only one legitimate function: to protect freedom. It means that our love of liberty demands that we oppose, alter, or even abolish ANY FORM of government that becomes destructive to these ends. And it means that we will never allow government to steal liberty from our hearts.



As I asked at the beginning of this column, What's more important: freedom and its undergirding principles, or the entity meant to protect it? The right answer is, freedom and its undergirding principles. If you understand that, then you rightly understand that the current government we find ourselves under is in desperate need of replacement. And whatever, however, and whenever that replacement reveals itself is not nearly as important as that liberty is preserved.



On the other hand, if you mistakenly believe that government (the entity meant to protect liberty) is more important than liberty, you are both tragically deceived and pathetically impotent to preserving freedom. You may also have identified yourself as an enemy of freedom.



As for me and my house, we will stand with Jefferson's Declaration of Independence -- in whatever form it may present itself in a modern world bent on dismantling our liberties. In other words, I pledge no loyalty to any government that seeks to destroy our freedom -- including the current one!





Copyright © 2010 Chuck Baldwin

The Struggle Against Unites States Imperialism

This article is from the Campaign for Liberty website:

The Anti-Imperialist League and the Battle Against Empire


By Tom Woods


Published 04/30/10



In April 1898 the United States went to war with Spain for the stated purpose of liberating Cuba from Spanish control. Several months later, when the war had ended, Cuba had been transformed into an American protectorate, and Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines had become American possessions.



When the US government decided not to grant independence to the Philippines, Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo determined to resist American occupying forces. The result was a brutal guerrilla war that stretched on for years. Some 200,000 Filipinos lost their lives, either directly from the fighting or as a result of a cholera epidemic traceable to the war.



That American forces were engaged in a colonial war to suppress another people's independence led to a great deal of soul-searching among important American thinkers, writers, and journalists. What eventually became the American Anti-Imperialist League began at a June 1898 meeting at Boston's Faneuil Hall, where people concerned about the colonial policy that the US government may choose to adopt in the wake of the war gathered to speak out against the transformation of the United States into an imperial power. The League was formally established that November, dedicating its energies to propagating the anti-imperialist message by means of lectures, public meetings, and the printed word.



Those who later became anti-imperialists could be found both among supporters and opponents of the Spanish-American War of 1898. William Jennings Bryan was a good example of the former, and Moorfield Storey of the latter. It is on this latter group of anti-imperialists that I wish to dwell for a moment, since what they had to say about war is liable to sound eerily familiar.



Storey was quite an interesting figure: an accomplished lawyer and graduate of Harvard Law School as well as president of the American Bar Association, he was a supporter of laissez faire and a well-known advocate of the gold standard and free trade. Storey, who was white, was also the first president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from 1909 until 1915. He spoke at the Boston meeting presided over by Bradford, and went on to become both a vice president of the New England Anti-Imperialist League and, later, president of the national organization.



Now consider Storey's words in April 1898, on the eve of the Spanish-American War, for it was these sentiments that animated his and so many others' anti-imperialist work:



This Club [the Massachusetts Reform Club] never met under circumstances more calculated to create the gravest anxiety in every patriotic man than tonight, and by patriotic man I do not mean him who measures his country's greatness by the extent of her territory, the size of her armies, the strength of her fleets, or even by the insolence with which she tramples upon her weaker neighbors, but him who knows that the true greatness of a nation, as of a man, depends upon its character, its sense of justice, its self-restraint, its magnanimity, in a word upon its possession of those qualities which distinguish George Washington from the prize-fighter -- the highest type of man from the highest type of beast.



Carl Schurz, who among other things was the first German-born American to serve in the US Senate, was likewise deeply involved in the league as an officer as well as firmly opposed to the Spanish-American War. He wrote in April 1898,



The man who in times of popular excitement boldly and unflinchingly resists hot-tempered clamor for an unnecessary war, and thus exposes himself to the opprobrious imputation of a lack of patriotism or of courage, to the end of saving his country from a great calamity, is, as to "loving and faithfully serving his country," at least as good a patriot as the hero of the most daring feat of arms, and a far better one than those who, with an ostentatious pretense of superior patriotism, cry for war before it is needed, especially if then they let others do the fighting.



Schurz recalled a verse from James Russell Lowell, writing about the Mexican War of 1846--48:



The side of our country must ollers be took.

An' President Polk, you know, he is our country.



"Again in our own time," Schurz reported, "we hear with the old persistency the same old plea to the voters of the nation to be loyal to the country, right or wrong. And when we probe the matter -- nor is much probing necessary -- we find that we are being urged to be loyal not to the country right or wrong, but to President McKinley right or wrong." To fit the present situation, Schurz suggested amending Lowell's lines to read,



The side of our country must ollers be took,

An' Mister McKinley, you know, he is our country.



We can fill in Lowell's verse today easily enough.



Among the best-known members of the Anti-Imperialist League was Mark Twain, who served as vice president from 1901 until his death in 1910. One of Twain's most compelling antiwar writings, a short story called "The War Prayer," was considered too radical to be published in Twain's lifetime. "I don't think the prayer will be published in my time," Twain said. "None but the dead are permitted to tell the truth."



"The War Prayer" was a vivid commentary on the misappropriation of religion on behalf of nationalistic causes. It begins with a church service in which the pastor calls down the blessings of God upon American military forces and concludes with, "Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!"



A frail old man makes his way into the church and, waving the pastor aside, explains that he has spoken with God Himself, who wishes to hear the other half of that prayer -- the half that was only in their hearts and uttered but implicitly.



O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.



The story ends abruptly, with the people considering the man a lunatic -- and, presumably, carrying on as before.



It is sometimes said of the anti-imperialists that they cared more about the effects that colonialism would have on the character of America and Americans than they did about its effects on the peoples who were held as colonies. This is not entirely fair to the anti-imperialists, who were genuinely horrified at the treatment the Filipinos received at the hands of American forces and who sought to investigate conditions there.



The Nation's E.L. Godkin, for instance, declared that the US government had substituted "keen effective slaughter for Spanish old-fashioned, clumsy slaughter." William James was astonished that his country could "puke up its ancient soul ... in five minutes." Andrew Carnegie wrote to a friend who favored expansion: "It is a matter of congratulation ... that you have about finished your work of civilizing the Fillipinos [sic]. It is thought that about 8000 of them have been completely civilized and sent to Heaven. I hope you like it."



In 1901, the League passed a resolution instructing its executive committee "to use its best efforts in promoting a petition to the President of the United States that General Aguinaldo should be permitted to come to this country under safe conduct, to state the case of his people before the American Congress and nation." Needless to say, Theodore Roosevelt ignored this appeal.



Over the next several years the League focused on discovering and disseminating the truth about the fate of the Filipinos under American occupation. They publicized firsthand testimonies of tortures like the "water cure" that US forces employed. Thus according to Private A.F. Miller of the Thirty-second United States Volunteers,



this is the way we give them the water cure; lay them on their backs, a man standing on each hand and each foot, then put a round stick in the mouth and pour a pail of water in the mouth and nose, and if they don't give up pour in another pail. They swell up like toads. I'll tell you it is a terrible torture.



George Kennan, the special investigator of the Outlook, wrote in 1901:



The Spaniard used the torture of water, throughout the islands, as a means of obtaining information; but they used it sparingly, and only when it appeared evident that the victim was culpable. Americans seldom do things by halves. We come from here and announce our intention of freeing the people from three or four hundred years of oppression, and say "We are strong and powerful and grand." Then to resort to inquisitorial methods, and use them without discrimination, is unworthy of us and will recoil on us as a nation. It is painful and humiliating to have to confess that in some of our dealings with the Filipinos we seem to be following more or less closely the example of Spain. We have established a penal colony; we have burned native villages near which there has been an ambush or an attack by insurgent guerillas; we kill the wounded; we resort to torture as a means of obtaining information.



These were the kinds of things the anti-imperialists wanted to bring into the public eye.



By and large, however, the American public was unmoved. One anti-imperialist writer pondered the meaning of this indifference:



What is the significance of such silence? Do we realize that amidst all the sunshine of our rich, prosperous life we are being weighed in the balance of a true civilization, of eternal justice -- and are being found wanting? It is the product of arbitrary government authority without justice, force from which the lifeblood of righteousness and truth has run out.



Some were in fact quite hostile to the league and its mission. According to the commander of the New York chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, all league members should have their citizenship stripped from them and be "denied the protection of the flag they dishonor." Teddy Roosevelt described the anti-imperialists as "simply unhung traitors, and ... liars, slanderers and scandalmongers to boot."



The league carried on all the same. Edward Atkinson, who had been involved in the league since the Faneuil Hall meeting, actually inquired with the War Department to get a list of soldiers serving in the Philippines in order to send them some of his antiwar writings. He wrote:



In this morning's paper a correspondent of the Boston Herald states that the Departments are going to "expose" the Anti-Imperialist League and others who have as alleged stirred up discontent among the troops in Manila. I do not think the Executive Committee of the Anti-Imperialist League has yet taken any active measures to inform the troops of the facts and conditions there. The suggestion is, however, a valuable one and I have sent to Washington today to get specific addresses of officers and soldiers to the number of five or six hundred so that I may send them my pamphlets, giving them my assurance of sympathy. I shall place the same lists in charge of the Executive Committee of the League to keep up the supply.



He never heard back.



So he went ahead and sent some at least to a limited group of officers and American officials and others in the Philippines, as a start. The Postmaster General ordered that all Atkinson pamphlets heading for Manila be seized from the mails. Atkinson then thanked the government for all the attention, pointing out that interest in his pamphlets had risen dramatically throughout the country. He wrote,



I think the members of the Cabinet have graduated from an asylum for the imbecile and feeble-minded. They have evidently found out their blunder because the Administration papers suddenly ceased their attacks on me all on the same day, and I miss the free advertisement. I am now trying to stir them up again to provoke another attack.



Some sectors of the league were reluctant to support Atkinson's activities, though some individual anti-imperialists did, as did the league's Chicago branch. But he continued his work, observing in 1899 that his latest pamphlet was his "strongest bid yet for a limited residence in Fort Warren."



As early as 1896, Atkinson had written to the New York Evening Post with a suggestion for a petition to be drawn up to the US Congress along the following lines:



It is requested that an act may be passed to the effect that any citizen of the United States who proposes to force this country into a war with Great Britain or with any other country on a dispute about boundaries or any other similar issue, shall be immediately conscripted or entered upon the army roll for service from the beginning to the end of any such war when it shall occur. It is suggested that Senators of the United States shall be assigned to the position of general officers in this addition to the army upon the ground that their military capacity must certainly be equal to their political intelligence... . It is next suggested that Representatives in Congress shall be assigned to the command of brigades... . Of course, men who in high public position have ... expressed such an earnest desire to assert and defend the honor of the country at any cost, would most enthusiastically vote for this enactment and would immediately enroll themselves for active service in the field.



This proposal for the immediate enrollment of the Jingo army will at once develop the sincerity of purpose of the advocates of aggression and violence by their enlistment. An indirect but great benefit would then ensue by the removal of these persons from the high positions in which they have proved their incapacity to deal with questions of peace, order and industry and to given them the opportunity to exert and prove their military prowess.



Atkinson, like Storey, was for laissez faire -- an important strain in anti-imperialist thought. Here was the old liberal tradition in all its wonderful consistency: in favor of private property and peace, and against looting and empire. George E. McNeill put it more simply: "Wealth is not so rapidly gained by killing Filipinos as by making shoes." Andrew Carnegie even offered to purchase the independence of the Philippines with a check for $20 million -- the amount the US government had paid Spain for the islands. The New York Times denounced the offer as "wicked." (Is the New York Times ever right about anything?)



At the same time, labor leaders like Samuel Gompers belonged to the league, as did other people who by some standards belong to the Left, like Jane Addams and William James. It was a cross-ideological organization against empire.



And yet, for all their tireless work, the anti-imperialists by and large failed to spark the national discussion about the role of the US government in the world that we have needed to engage in ever since. Today, that debate takes place only between neoconservatives and realists, both of whom agree on the need for some kind of major US military presence over much of the globe. Not only is nonintervention not even considered, but it is also enough to get you written out of polite society -- what are you, some kind of extremist?



(It may be worth considering someday exactly what opinions do get you branded an extremist, and what don't. It's evidently all right to favor incinerating innocent people in all kinds of scenarios, from Hiroshima to Vietnam -- no one who favored those things has since been considered beyond the pale in mainstream political and media circles -- but if you resolutely refuse to incinerate anyone, you're selfish and irresponsible, and so of course will not appear on television alongside such luminaries as Newt Gingrich and Joe Biden, in whose selflessness and statesmanship you are unworthy to bask.)



In Freedom and Federalism (1959), Old Right journalist Felix Morley suggested that the process of empire-building was



essentially mystical. It must somehow foster the impression that a man is great in the degree that his nation is great; that a German as such is superior to a Belgian as such; an Englishman, to an Irishman; an American, to a Mexican: merely because the first-named countries are in each case more powerful than their comparatives. And people who have no individual stature whatsoever are willing to accept this poisonous nonsense because it gives them a sense of importance without the trouble of any personal effort.



Morley, a co-founder of Human Events newspaper, added that empire-building amounted to



an application of mob psychology to the sphere of world politics, and how well it works is seen by considering the emotional satisfaction many English long derived from referring to "the Empire on which the sun never sets." Some Americans now get the same sort of lift from the fact that the Stars and Stripes now floats over detachments of "our boys" in forty foreign countries.



(Ah, the old days, when it was only forty.)



States have successfully managed to persuade their subject populations that they themselves are the state, and therefore that any insult to the honor of the state is an insult to them as well, any questioning of its behavior or intentions a slap in their very own faces. It becomes second nature for many people to root for their state in a way that does violence to reason and fact. They will defend the most contorted, ludicrous claims -- claims they themselves would have dismissed with scorn had they come from Saddam Hussein or the 1980s Soviet Union -- if necessary to vindicate the honor of the men who rule them.



The few noble exceptions aside, just flip through a few modern right-wing magazines to see what I mean. It is impossible to speak sensibly about foreign policy when a third of the population (at least) is absolutely committed to digging up anything it can find to vindicate arguments even its own leaders no longer bother to defend. How is conversation possible with someone who contends that hundreds of thousands of casualties, a Shiite-dominated regime, and regional chaos were worth it because we found a negligible amount of chemical agent in Saddam's Iraq?



President Polk, he is our country -- that was bad enough. President McKinley, he is our country -- that was much worse. But what genuine American patriot, in the sense to which Moorfield Storey referred, could bring himself to say, "George W. Bush, he is our country"? That alone reminds us of how important it is to oppose empire with every ideological tool at our disposal.



This appeared on LewRockwell.com and Mises.org.

Hooray for Arizona #15--What the Law Really says

This article originally appeared in the New York Times, and also on the FAIR website:

Op-Ed Contributor


Why Arizona Drew a Line

Christophe Vorlet



Sign In to E-Mail

Print



Share

CloseLinkedinDiggFacebookMixxMySpaceYahoo! BuzzPermalink By KRIS W. KOBACH

Published: April 28, 2010

Kansas City, Kan.



Skip to next paragraph

Related

Room for Debate: Will Arizona's Immigration Law Survive?

Times Topics: Jan BrewerON Friday, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed a law — SB 1070 — that prohibits the harboring of illegal aliens and makes it a state crime for an alien to commit certain federal immigration crimes. It also requires police officers who, in the course of a traffic stop or other law-enforcement action, come to a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal alien verify the person’s immigration status with the federal government.



Predictably, groups that favor relaxed enforcement of immigration laws, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, insist the law is unconstitutional. Less predictably, President Obama declared it “misguided” and said the Justice Department would take a look.



Presumably, the government lawyers who do so will actually read the law, something its critics don’t seem to have done. The arguments we’ve heard against it either misrepresent its text or are otherwise inaccurate. As someone who helped draft the statute, I will rebut the major criticisms individually:



It is unfair to demand that aliens carry their documents with them. It is true that the Arizona law makes it a misdemeanor for an alien to fail to carry certain documents. “Now, suddenly, if you don’t have your papers ... you’re going to be harassed,” the president said. “That’s not the right way to go.” But since 1940, it has been a federal crime for aliens to fail to keep such registration documents with them. The Arizona law simply adds a state penalty to what was already a federal crime. Moreover, as anyone who has traveled abroad knows, other nations have similar documentation requirements.



“Reasonable suspicion” is a meaningless term that will permit police misconduct. Over the past four decades, federal courts have issued hundreds of opinions defining those two words. The Arizona law didn’t invent the concept: Precedents list the factors that can contribute to reasonable suspicion; when several are combined, the “totality of circumstances” that results may create reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed.



For example, the Arizona law is most likely to come into play after a traffic stop. A police officer pulls a minivan over for speeding. A dozen passengers are crammed in. None has identification. The highway is a known alien-smuggling corridor. The driver is acting evasively. Those factors combine to create reasonable suspicion that the occupants are not in the country legally.



The law will allow police to engage in racial profiling. Actually, Section 2 provides that a law enforcement official “may not solely consider race, color or national origin” in making any stops or determining immigration status. In addition, all normal Fourth Amendment protections against profiling will continue to apply. In fact, the Arizona law actually reduces the likelihood of race-based harassment by compelling police officers to contact the federal government as soon as is practicable when they suspect a person is an illegal alien, as opposed to letting them make arrests on their own assessment.



It is unfair to demand that people carry a driver’s license. Arizona’s law does not require anyone, alien or otherwise, to carry a driver’s license. Rather, it gives any alien with a license a free pass if his immigration status is in doubt. Because Arizona allows only lawful residents to obtain licenses, an officer must presume that someone who produces one is legally in the country.



State governments aren’t allowed to get involved in immigration, which is a federal matter. While it is true that Washington holds primary authority in immigration, the Supreme Court since 1976 has recognized that states may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration without being pre-empted by federal law. As long as Congress hasn’t expressly forbidden the state law in question, the statute doesn’t conflict with federal law and Congress has not displaced all state laws from the field, it is permitted. That’s why Arizona’s 2007 law making it illegal to knowingly employ unauthorized aliens was sustained by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.



In sum, the Arizona law hardly creates a police state. It takes a measured, reasonable step to give Arizona police officers another tool when they come into contact with illegal aliens during their normal law enforcement duties.



And it’s very necessary: Arizona is the ground zero of illegal immigration. Phoenix is the hub of human smuggling and the kidnapping capital of America, with more than 240 incidents reported in 2008. It’s no surprise that Arizona’s police associations favored the bill, along with 70 percent of Arizonans.



President Obama and the Beltway crowd feel these problems can be taken care of with “comprehensive immigration reform” — meaning amnesty and a few other new laws. But we already have plenty of federal immigration laws on the books, and the typical illegal alien is guilty of breaking many of them. What we need is for the executive branch to enforce the laws that we already have.



Unfortunately, the Obama administration has scaled back work-site enforcement and otherwise shown it does not consider immigration laws to be a high priority. Is it any wonder the Arizona Legislature, at the front line of the immigration issue, sees things differently?



Kris W. Kobach, a law professor at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, was Attorney General John Ashcroft’s chief adviser on immigration law and border security from 2001 to 2003.



More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on April 29, 2010, on page A31 of the New York edition.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Obama's Eligibility to be President

The following article appeared on the Charging Elephant blog:

An Investigative Report Detailing The Obama Eligibility Controversy


April 28, 2010 · Leave a Comment

Deep investigation into the background of President Barack Obama. I’ve done additional digging on the group that did the investigation. They seem authentic and credible to me. New information is revealed. The $107 trillion dollar question, will anything be done with the information? Random thoughts while observing an obvious charade, I’m J.C.



By Douglas J. Hagmann, Director



NorthEast Intelligence Network



Source Watch Authentication of Northeast Intelligence



Northeast Intelligence Network
Investigating threats to our homeland

From GOOGLE: Offers an alternative to government sources about potential terror targets. Includes news and essays.

homelandsecurityus.com/ – Cached – Similar



Muslim Terrorist Training Camps in …

The 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing

Staff US Mosques & Islamic Centers …

Rochester, NY incident under …

Islamic attacks on our airline industry

More results from homelandsecurityus.com »



I cannot think of any other subject in recent American history that has been so mired in controversy, so factually misrepresented, mischaracterized and so misunderstood than the matter of the eligibility of Barack Hussein OBAMA II to hold the office of President of the United States. Despite its importance, the topic has been summarily dismissed as fodder for conspiracy theorists by many, while others insist that the question of OBAMA’s citizenship has been “asked and answered.” But has it really been answered, and if not, why not?





In consideration of the controversy that continues to plague Barack Hussein OBAMA over his citizenship status and his well documented sustained pattern of refusal to provide authenticated documentation of his birth records and numerous other pertinent records, I’ve conducted an in-depth investigation into the matter in an effort to separate fact from fiction, myth from reality. My approach was the same I’ve used as an investigator over the last 25 years on behalf of Fortune 100 companies in their selection of corporate executives, conducting due diligence background investigations. In this case, however, I was not afforded direct and unfettered access to the “applicant’s”, or in this case, OBAMA’s original records. Nonetheless, I conducted inquiries and a lengthy investigation researching the information directly or indirectly disclosed by OBAMA, as well as collections of documents, court records, official federal and state documents, verbal statements, utterances and other documents determined to be of authentic provenance.





At issue is whether Barack Hussein OBAMA or any of his representatives have furnished sufficient documentation to prove his eligibility for the office of President of the United States under Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution that states:



“No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.”



Presently, OBAMA occupies the White House as the Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America. As president, he is the commander-in-chief of our armed forces and ultimately responsible for the security of the United States. Any person of reasonable sensibilities would logically believe that his eligibility status has long been established by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) or those in positions of oversight for such matters. But has it?



In order to be as comprehensive as possible, my investigative findings include important background information into the legal definition of a “natural born citizen” as applicable to Article II of the U.S. Constitution. This background information is provided to clear up many common misconceptions about the eligibility controversy, and to explain why so many people are confused and easily mislead over this issue. After thoroughly investigating this matter, I have found demonstrable evidence that this confusion is a deliberate and highly effective tactic used to divert attention from a constitutional issue and thus, the rule of law, to the detriment of American citizens.



This report will also provide insight into the reasons for the largely ignored yet unprecedented legal fight by Barack Hussein OBAMA II, his representatives and assigns, against any release of the authenticated copy of his long form birth certificate and a multitude of other relevant historical documents.



Natural Born Citizen Qualification: The Facts



Based on extensive research, there are two separate but equally relevant legal issues that involve the specific eligibility of Barack Hussein OBAMA II to legally serve as President of the United States. First is the U.S. Constitution which was adopted into law on 17 September 1787. As noted by Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution, an individual born after 1787 cannot legally or legitimately serve as U.S. President unless that person is a “natural born citizen” of the United States.



The second issue is the precise definition of a “natural born citizen.” The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, adopted on 9 July 1868, furnishes a rather broad definition of who qualifies as a “natural born citizen.” Specifically, who qualifies as a natural born citizen legally qualified to hold the office of President of the United States under Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution lies at the core of the eligibility argument. For the sake of clarity in advance of potential ancillary arguments, it is noted here that the Twelfth-Amendment to the U.S. Constitution mandates that Vice-Presidents possess the same qualifications as Presidents.



Obviously, there is no legitimate controversy over the eligibility status of Barack Hussein OBAMA in terms of his age and length of residency within the U.S. Despite popular belief by many to the contrary, there is, however, an unresolved issue over his status as “a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States.”



While many constitutional scholars hold different beliefs over the intent of the natural born citizen qualifier, I submit that an extraordinarily prescient illustration of logic behind this qualification can be found in a brief letter from John JAY, a founding father of the United States and the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court to George WASHINGTON dated 25 July 1787:



——————————————————



Dear Sir,



Permit me to hint whether it would not be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government; and to declare expressly that the command in chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on any but a natural born citizen.



I remain, dear sir,



Your faithful friend and servant,



John Jay.



——————————————————



A study of the Federalist Papers and the writings of our founding fathers clearly indicate a concern for the security of the United States stemming from “threats from within,” or to prevent foreign enemies from becoming commander-in-chief. Given the nature and various enemies we currently face, the brief but ominous note to George WASHINGTON would certainly appear as relevant today, if not more so, as it was over 200 years ago.



Three years after that note was written, Congress affirmed in 1790 that a person born abroad whose parents are both citizens of the U.S. is, in fact, a U.S. citizen. In the years that followed, there have been many legal arguments to further define a natural born citizen. Based on extensive research, it would appear that the “next best” definition originates from an 1874 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Minor v. Happersett 88 U.S. 162 (1874). The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that if an individual is born in the United States and both parents are U.S. citizens at the time of birth, that individual is, in fact, a natural born citizen. That same Supreme Court decision also addressed the issue of a person born in the United States where one of the parents is not a U.S. citizen at the time of the birth of the child. The ruling noted that in such a case, the child’s natural born citizenship status is “in doubt.”



In any event, subsequent rulings by Congress and enacted by federal statute affirm that children born abroad by parents who are both U.S. citizens are not only U.S. citizens themselves, but are recognized as “natural born citizens.” On the other hand, individuals born in the United States or elsewhere by one or more parents who are not U.S. citizens are not likely to be eligible to hold the office of President of the United States absent of federal statute affirming their eligibility. Therein lays the current situation of Barack Hussein OBAMA II and the need to establish his citizenship status through authenticated documents.



Presidential eligibility; historical & current oddities



Since the U.S. Constitution was adopted into law, every elected U.S. president who was born after 1787 was born in the United States of parents who were both U.S. citizens except two: Chester Alan ARTHUR and Barack Hussein OBAMA II. It is interesting to note that when Chester Alan ARTHUR was born, his father, William ARTHUR was a British subject and not a U.S. citizen. There is ample authenticated historical evidence to substantiate that ARTHUR deliberately and publicly misrepresented his family lineage during his campaign and following his election in 1880 as the 21st President, took steps to destroy evidence, including family and birth records.



Barack Hussein OBAMA II has publicly admitted that his father was a Kenyan native and a British citizen who never became a U.S. citizen. Based on that admission and further verification of his father’s nationality, OBAMA’s status as a natural born citizen and thus, his eligibility to hold the office of President of the United States is questionable at best, at least according to the aforementioned Supreme Court ruling of Minor v. Happersett. This issue becomes more prescient and ominously nefarious when one investigates the overt and covert behavior of OBAMA as a candidate, his actions following his election, the duplicity of the media, members of the U.S. Congress, the Federal Elections Commission and other factors by those who appear to be working individually or in concert to purposely misdirect the core Constitutional argument.



It is obvious that not all presidential candidates are treated equally in terms of their eligibility, as illustrated during the 2008 election. During the 2008 campaign, a lawsuit was filed petitioning the removal of Presidential candidate John McCAIN from the ballot. Ironically, the suit stemmed from the questions over McCAIN’s constitutional eligibility as his natural-born status was in doubt. To put to rest any doubt, McCAIN responded by providing an authenticated copy of his long form birth certificate to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) and Congress. Despite the early rumblings of controversy over OBAMA’s origins, OBAMA did not.



Although McCain provided his long form birth certificate and took proactive measures to ensure his eligibility to hold office, many political and media pundits remained unsatisfied. Before the term “birther” became synonymous with racist conspiracy theorist, an article published on 28 February, 2008 in The New York Times titled McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out questioned McCAIN’s eligibility.



On that same day, Senator Claire McCASKILL, a Missouri democrat introduced a bill titled Children of Military Families Natural Born Citizen Act. Oddly, the bill was co-sponsored by both Senators Barack Hussein OBAMA II and Hillary Rodham CLINTON, both who were running against McCAIN at the time the bill was introduced. Despite the specificity of its title, the bill (SB 2678) was an attempt to change the legal definition of a natural born citizen as referenced by Article II, Section I, clause V of the U.S. Constitution, a move that by default, would arguably and preemptively take away any constitutional challenges against the eligibility of Barack Hussein OBAMA II.



Although the bill failed to progress in the Senate, the same lawmakers introduced a non-binding resolution (Senate Resolution 511) on 10 April 2008 to again ostensibly recognize McCAIN as a “natural born citizen,” the resolution contained broad language that could be applied to OBAMA.



The controversy surrounding the eligibility of John McCAIN to hold office continued, at least in the media. On 11 July 2008, an article was published in The New York Times under the title A Hint of New Life to a McCain Birth Issue. The article cited a law professor from the University of Arizona who concluded, in a detailed analysis “that neither Mr. McCain’s birth in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone nor the fact that his parents were American citizens is enough to satisfy the constitutional requirement that the president must be a “natural-born citizen.” The law professor cited in that article, Gabriel J. Chin, published a sixty-two page discussion paper in August 2008 titled Why Senator John McCain Cannot be President: Eleven Months and a Hundred Yards Short of Citizenship (Arizona Legal Studies, Discussion Paper 08-14).



The status of Barack Hussein OBAMA, however, remained unquestioned by the majority of academia.



Arguments over importance & relevance: “Birthers” are born



Like the layers of an onion, one must peel back the layers of hyperbole, political agendas, accusations of racism, and other types of detractions and distractions to arrive at the very core of the argument, which is simply this: Is Barack Hussein OBAMA in fact legally eligible, under the United States Constitution, to serve as President of the United States?



There are many who claim that the issue of Obama’s eligibility is unimportant and irrelevant, or an unnecessary distraction to the “real” crises facing America, including but not limited to OBAMA’s policies and actions as President. It is an interesting dichotomy that some of the most vocal proponents of the first amendment are the same who appear to disregard the fourteenth amendment, a practice especially virulent among those in the media. There are also those self-proclaimed conservative media pundits who have the collective audience of millions of Americans who flatly refuse to discuss, let alone demand answers to a legitimate legal question as defined by the U.S. Constitution.



Others claim the argument is moot, as the President was duly elected by the will of the people. Those people are in need of a history lesson as that argument is technically flawed at the most fundamental level. Others assert that questioning the eligibility issue is rooted in racism and bigotry, at which point the rule of law is ultimately lost in a flurry of deliberate distractions presented in the form of incendiary accusations.



Perhaps the most calculated and methodical approach in use today to dissuade people from addressing this issue is the labeling of anyone who believes that American citizens deserve to know whether Barack Hussein OBAMA meets the eligibility requirements as a “birther.” The negative connotations of this label are vast and incisive, and the evolution of this term has grown to include ancillary questions of OBAMA’s past.



The popular but erroneous perception is that “birthers,” often lumped together with “9/11 truthers” and others who have legitimate questions and concerns about important issues either live in a world where conspiracies dominate their thoughts, or are simply branded as kooks seeking answers to non-existent questions. The fact is that there are indeed legitimate unanswered questions about the events of 9/11 as there are legitimate unanswered questions about the background and overall eligibility of OBAMA. Individuals asking rational, fact based questions about either subject are intentionally combined with others whose questions are obviously well beyond the realm of reason.



In particular, it is not only the absence of authenticated evidence regarding OBAMA’s citizenship status at birth that cause rational people to question his eligibility status under Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution, but the manner in which OBAMA and those in positions of government oversight have responded to legitimate inquiries. It is also how some members of the media have chosen to report on this issue, misreport or otherwise distort the issue, or not report on it at all.



Whatever arguments are used to understate or even mock the importance of this matter, it cannot be denied that the rule of law is being ignored and as a result, the Constitution of the United States is being trampled. If the fourteenth amendment is permitted to be exploited, ignored or violated, it might not be long before other amendments, along with the entire Constitution, become nothing more than a footnote in American history. As such, questions surrounding this matter must be taken seriously.



The Obama eligibility issue: has it already been answered?



No. It has been a common tactic to refute questions about OBAMA’s eligibility by citing the Internet publication of a Certification of Live Birth (COLB), also known as a “short form birth certificate” purportedly issued by the state of Hawaii. The controversial document was originally posted on the Internet at http://www.dailykos.com, a political website on or about 12 June 2008 as questions about OBAMA’s place of birth and eligibility status began to become a popular Internet topic. As there was no certification of authenticity that accompanied the alleged document, its provenance could not be established.



Subsequent to the document being posted on the aforementioned website, the “Fight the Smears” website reproduced the document here. While many believe “Fight the Smears” website is an independent organization dedicated to separating fact from fiction, it is actually owned and operated by “Organizing for America,” the successor organization to “Obama for America.” Clearly, it is far from independent.



Yet another website purported to be an independent arbiter of truth is “FactCheck.org,” which claims that the eligibility status of OBAMA has long been satisfied. Like the previous site, it is important to understand who owns or operates the site in order to assess the reliability of the site. The Fact Check website is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. It receives its primary funding from the Annenberg Foundation. It is relevant to note that Barack Hussein OBAMA II was a founding member, chairman, and past president of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was also funded by the Annenberg Foundation. Accordingly, it is reasonable to challenge the neutrality of the information provided by that site.



Since then, the image, including variations of the image, have appeared on the Internet to “prove” that Barack Hussein OBAMA meets the eligibility requirements under Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution.



Since its original posting, numerous individuals and websites have sought to disprove the authenticity of the document, which was posted as an image in JPEG format, through analysis of the image or by other means (e.g. sequencing of certificate numbers, absence of state seal, etc.). Although there appears to be sufficient evidence suggesting the document is not a valid certificate and has been falsely created or the image has been deliberately altered, limiting discussion at this time to the merits of the COLB detracts from a much larger issue: OBAMA’s massive and unprecedented campaign to keep sealed his actual birth certificate (and other relevant records) from public view.



This is not to say that the publication of the COLB document is unimportant. In fact, quite the opposite is true if the matter of legal eligibility is ever properly and thoroughly investigated by a legitimate court of inquiry within the United States. As agents, representatives or the assigns of Barack Hussein OBAMA have publicly asserted that the question of eligibility has been officially answered by the publication of the COLB as listed on officially sanctioned web sites, and it is ultimately proven that the document is deliberately deceptive by any means, an inquiry into violations of the United States Crimes Code, 18 USC Section 1028 encompassing fraud and other related activity involving identification documents might apply.



Since the initial COLB was first published in June 2008, there have been at least two additional incarnations of the document, each containing revisions that bear additional information allegedly “supporting” its authenticity. Accordingly, the Certification of Live Birth is consistently cited by individuals, the media and others to prove the constitutional eligibility of Barack Hussein OBAMA. Nonetheless, even an authenticated and genuine Certification of Live Birth is legally insufficient for the purpose of proving eligibility, as it merely represents that OBAMA’s birth record is on file in the state of Hawaii. It falls short of providing the information necessary to determine constitutional eligibility in at least two areas: it does not offer any information regarding who supplied the information, nor does it confirm the authenticity of the information provided. Again, it merely indicates that the information is “on file.”



Hawaii officials declare Obama eligible



Yet another deception levied against the American people is the assertion that the Hawaiian officials have confirmed Barack Hussein OBAMA’s “eligibility” through a statement issued on 27 July 2009 by Dr. Chiyome FUKINO, Director of the Hawaii Department of Health, which declared Obama Hawaiian-born and a “natural-born American citizen.” Those who claim that the 2009 press release by Dr. FUKINO must understand that FUKINO has absolutely no statutory authority to make such a statement. Accordingly and based on the rule of law, that statement cannot be considered as evidence or legal documentation either to support or deny OBAMA’s eligibility status.





Hawaii birth announcements: anecdotal evidence of eligibility



Many who argue that Barack Hussein OBAMA II was born in Hawaii not only point to the COLB as direct evidence of eligibility, but they also point to two separate birth announcements that appear in the Honolulu Sunday Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin in 1961. Those doing so either fail to understand the legal definition of a natural born citizen as it applies to the eligibility factor, or are guilty of intentionally misdirecting the core issue. A birth announcement is simply that – a public announcement that a baby was born. The birth announcements do not provide any information about the child’s citizenship, cannot be authenticated, and hold no weight of evidence to support either side of the eligibility argument.

The Climategate Investigation

The following appeared on the American Thinker blog:

April 29, 2010


The Climategate Investigation

By Dexter Wright

Last month, while the American media were distracted by the health care vote in Congress, the British Parliament published the results of its investigation into East Anglia University's Climate Research Unit (CRU) that has been at the center of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) controversy. It seems that many were hoping that no one would read this report, at least not beyond the milquetoast executive summary.





Buried deep within the report is a compelling piece of evidence. In volume two, there is a memorandum submitted as evidence from Lord Lawson of Blaby, chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which was in response to four very significant questions from the investigating committee. This memo confirms the claims by many global warming skeptics that the scientists at CRU were trying to hide data and silence the skeptics. The questions asked by the investigative committee are as follows:





(i) Have the CRU scientists been manipulating the raw surface temperature data in a way that is less than wholly objective and dispassionate?





(ii) Have they refused dissenting scientists and/or other outsiders with a bona fide interest in global warming access to the raw data, contrary to the proper canons of scientific research and to the demands of scientific integrity?





(iii) Have they been improperly seeking to avoid answering Freedom of information Act requests?





(iv) Have they actively sought to prevent papers by dissenting scientists, statisticians, or other informed commentators from being peer-reviewed and/or published, again contrary to the proper canons of scientific research and to the demands of scientific integrity?





Lord Lawson's response to these questions is damning:





We believe that there is compelling evidence both independent of the leaked email exchanges and arising from those emails to suggest that the answers to (ii), (iii) and (iv) above are clearly 'yes'.





However, Lord Lawson chooses his words more carefully in answering the smoking-gun question at the top of the list:





Moreover, we are disturbed by the CRU scientists' treatment of the so-called divergence problem. That is the fact that, for that period of time where both a proxy global temperature series and a recorded global temperature series are available, the two series markedly diverge. This clearly suggests either that the proxy series is unreliable or that the recorded series is unreliable (or possibly both: the point is that they cannot both be true). The CRU scientists' attempt to hide the problem by concealing the divergence demonstrates, we believe, a lack of integrity.





Integrity is at the very heart of the AGW debate -- not just the integrity of the discredited scientists involved, but also the integrity of the data used by the CRU. For many years, the global warming skeptics have been citing that the differing data sets are not in agreement and have asked the simple question "why?" Their assertion has always been that until a scientific explanation for the differences is found, there can be no definitive conclusion concerning AGW. This question was always avoided by the now-discredited Dr. Jones, who headed up the CRU. But finally, some light has been shed onto the question of integrity of the data. In this same memo, Lord Lawson clarifies some of the confusion concerning the differing data sets:





[T]here are, in fact, four (not two) other international data sets, all based in the United States. Two of them - NASA and NOAA - are neither wholly independent of each other (unsurprisingly, since they are both US Government agencies) nor wholly independent of the CRU set, as indeed some of the leaked emails indicates. The third, and fourth, which -- unlike CRU, NASA and NOAA - use not surface weather stations but satellite observations, are compiled by the University of Alabama at Hunstville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS). They are entirely independent of the CRU. They use the same satellite data as each other but different methodology and produce similar results to each other, which differ from those of the CRU.





It seems that the only reliable data sets are satellite-derived data. However, those data were not used in the Nobel Prize-winning U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). So the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to a report which was compiled by discredited scientists using discredited data. Does this discredit the Nobel Committee?





In recent years, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made an error by awarding a medal to an athlete who was found to have cheated, the IOC demands that the medal be returned. This is to assure that the integrity of the games is not tarnished.





Such an action has never been demanded of the Nobel Committee. When it was ruled by the Supreme Court that Nikola Tesla, not Guglielmo Marconi, had invented the radio, Marconi was not asked to return the Nobel Prize for physics. It is unlikely that the Nobel Committee will recall the Peace Prize from the IPCC. It is also just as unlikely that the integrity of the Nobel Committee can be restored.

29 Comments on "The Climategate Investigation"