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The Tea Party Debt Commission Found $9.7 Trillion to Cut

By Dr. Harold W. Pease

The French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville in 1840, once prophetically said, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the publics’ money.” That day is here!!

Both parties have succumbed to the temptation of getting elected by promising ever more goodies from the public coffers, irrespective of constitutional limits, and to the point that they have irresponsibly enslaved our children with 15.25 trillion dollars indebtedness. Both parties are blatantly guilty with democrats far more so the last three years. The national debt has increased at an average of 4 billion dollars a day under President Barack Obama. The seriousness of this led Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to exclaim, “Our national debt is our biggest national security threat.”

Last summer both big government parties, Democrat and Republican, unable to come to any agreement, turned their authority over to what was called a “Super Committee” of six democrats and six republicans and still could not reduce the debt by 1.2 trillion dollars over ten years. Impasse!!

Everything is talked about in the presidential debates except this national security threat. We will just pretend it away. Why? Because both parties know that the cuts that have to be made to save the terminal cancer patient have to be drastic, career politicians, which they are, do not want the media to blame their party—which it will! So, the ship (the United States) will sink for lack of real leadership, each party blaming the other.

Not so fast! The Tea Party Patriot movement comes to the rescue again. They predicted correctly that neither party really represents limited constitutional government and both are addicted to debt. It is like an addict prescribing his own detox program. Consequently Freedom Works, a Tea Party affiliate, selected 12 of their own members and through the Internet invited 150,000 members to make suggestions on what should be done.

The Tea Party Plan cuts, caps, and balances federal spending. The budget is balanced in four years, without tax hikes, and remains balanced. Federal spending is reduced by $9.7 trillion over the next ten years. The plan shrinks the federal government from 24 % of GDP to about 16 %. Finally it stops the growth of the debt and begins paying it down. Within a generation there would be no national debt. Bold indeed!

These goals are accomplished, their report continues, by repealing ObamaCare, eliminating four unconstitutional, costly, inefficient Cabinet agencies—Energy, Education, Commerce, and HUD—and reducing or privatizing many others, including EPA, TSA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. The report calls for ending farm subsidies, government student loans, and foreign aid to countries that don’t support us—luxuries we can no longer afford. Social Security is saved and improved by shifting ownership and control from government to individuals, through new SMART Accounts, a program successfully tried in Chile. It gives Medicare seniors the right to opt into the special Congressional health care plan. Moreover, it suspends pension contributions and COLAs for Members of Congress, whenever the budget is in deficit.

The new plan offers a rational transition to ownership of our own retirement and more control and choice over our health care. Why did the government fail to accomplish the same thing—even behind closed doors? Remember, Congress, as Alexis de Tocqueville predicted, has learned that it can bribe the public with the publics’ own money. Their first concern is to protect their jobs and party. Outsiders, without a personal stake in the outcome, can see much more and do much more without the inevitable political wrangling. Will the media give this plan a fair hearing or will they simply ignore it?

I will follow in another column with Tea Party specifics on dealing with unfunded liabilities in Medicare and Social Security which the two big government parties will never talk about.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org

New Bill Damages Bill of Rights and Could Target Americans for Military Detention

By Dr. Harold Pease

Civil libertarians and constitutional buffs are angrier with the Federal Government now than at any time since the Bush Patriot Act was pushed onto the American people ten years ago. Buried deep within the over 600 page, $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act is language that “would require the military to hold suspected terrorists linked to Al Qaeda or its affiliates, even those captured on U. S. soil indefinitely” and without trial, on the say so of the military through the President alone. Moreover, even Americans could be removed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba against their will and deprived of their constitutional rights.

The fury has to do with U.S. citizenship. Originally Senators Carl Levin and John McCain, who sponsored the bill, did not exempt U.S. citizens—a serious omission which dumps sizable portions of Amendments 4, 5, 6 and 8 of the Bill of Rights. Senators Rand Paul, Dianne Feinstein and others demanding a citizen exclusion proposed amendments to do so, all of which were rejected. Senator Feinstein noted that her goal “was to ensure the military won’t be roaming our streets looking for suspected terrorists.” The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, following the Civil War, forbade the U.S. military from performing law enforcement functions on American soil. The American Civil Liberties Union was also blunt. “Since the bill puts military detention authority on steroids and makes it permanent, American citizens and others are at greater risk of being locked away by the military without charge or trial if this bill becomes law.” When asked if it were possible for an American to be shipped to Guantanamo Bay, John McCain, a co-author of the bill, said yes. Senator Lindsey Long was more blunt. “When they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”

Finally, Dianne Feinstein successfully got Senate colleagues to accept a weakened version of the same thing, “nothing in the bill changes current law relating to the detention of U.S. citizens and legal aliens.” Even while getting this clarification Senator Levin was still arguing, “that the June 2004 Supreme Court decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld said U.S. citizens can be detained indefinitely.” So, since it was so difficult to get an exclusion for Americans, and the co-authors of the bill, Senators Levin and McCain, say that it does include U.S. citizens as well. Why would a weak exclusion give civil libertarians any comfort? It doesn’t.

Some things are very clear. The terms “terrorists” and “affiliates” are not adequately defined, the President is given way too much power, and it violates the U.S. Constitution upon which everyone voting has sworn to uphold. It is hard to trust the government’s precise definition of terrorist when Vice President Joe Biden, a few weeks ago, referred to Tea Partiers as terrorists and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a few months prior to this referred to them as mobsters (a term also implying a threat to society). What guarantee do we have that the “new” enemy does not simply rotate to anyone defined as “anti-government,” citizen or not?

The measure places too much power and trust in the office of the President which has not proved particularly trustworthy in the past with respect to the Constitution and civil liberty. Franklin D. Roosevelt, with the stroke of a pen, detained thousands of Japanese Americans in “relocation camps” in World War II on the basis of race and potential terrorism alone. Jose Padilla, allegedly an affiliate of al Qaeda, a U.S. citizen arrested in Chicago for having plans to detonate a “dirty bomb,” was tortured and confined, without benefit of a lawyer for three years, by then President George W. Bush; all this within the borders of the United States. No actual evidence of a “dirty bomb” was ever produced, nor was Padilla ever charged with a crime. Two other Americans, Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel, had similar torture experiences as did Padilla but with less time in solitary confinement, again without charges. (See details in the December 5 issue of The New American). Ultimately, with no evidence to support their confinement, they were set free.

And if Americans are sent to Guantanamo Bay under this law, how much confidence can we have that if found innocent they would be set free, especially given President Barack Obama’s recent assertion, cited in the above reference, that were military commissions to find them innocent they still “would never be set free from prison.” This is so wrong! Why should we have confidence in any president to not use this power as seemeth him good?

The threat of potential incarceration without recourse to a lawyer, judge and trial is very serious. The military performing police duties here to for rendered by civil authorities is unconscionable in a free society. Ninety-three senators voted for this bill. Only seven understood the Constitution well enough to vote no. Should President Obama sign this bill into law, I will follow with an column on how it emasculates Amendments 4, 5, and 6 of the Bill of Rights. Until then pass this column along to others. It is your liberty at stake.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Newt Gingrich Should Not Expect Tea Party Patriot Support

By Dr. Harold Pease

With Tea Party Patriot Presidential Candidates Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry out of the race and the Patriots running from Mitt Romney, can Newt Gingrich appeal to them? Despite his initial support for the movement, even speaking at a Tea Party rally in New York in 2009, where he threatened to fire big-spending legislators if they did not straighten up, his baggage says “never!!”

The core values of the Tea Party Patriot Movement are fiscal responsibility, limited Constitutional government and the free market. So how has Newt fared on Tea Party priorities? His past shows clearly a preference for bigger government in all problem solutions as has his predecessors’ both Republican and Democrat. Virtually all Gingrich solutions to the following problem areas are national—never county or state: education, welfare, homeland security, law enforcement, and energy. Of course, despite the rhetoric to fire big-spenders, each of the above must be funded. His vote to create the federal Department of Education is a case in point. Most in the profession of teaching are unable to identify anything for which the thousands of bureaucrats therein employed have accomplished. Most see it as wasteful spending and thus fiscally irresponsible. Nor has he recommended its abolition were he president.

Gingrich’s preference for international solutions over national ones is the same. He has consistently favored empowering “super governments” (those over our own) such as the UN, NAFTA and GATT and thus passed large portions of our national sovereignty to them. Of course, sovereignty transfers come with costly financial assistance obligations that most Tea Party Patriots see as not being fiscally responsible. Mr. Gingrich has consistently voted for foreign aid and supported federally funded loans to foreign governments through the Export-Import Bank. Moreover, Gingrich does these transfers with full knowledge of the loss of sovereignty to his own country. With respect to GATT he said, “We need to be honest about the fact that we are transferring from the United States at a practical level significant authority to a new organization…. This is not just another trade agreement…. It is a very big transfer of power” (“Newt Gingrich: The Establishment’s Conservative,” 27 Nov. 2009, New American). His 22-year-long membership in the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an organization promoting sovereignty transfers from all nations to the United Nations, makes him out of step with most Tea Party supporters who see such as unconstitutional.

With respect to the second Tea Party Patriot core value of limited Constitutional government, Gingrich has to be rated with George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Most of what he has voted for in over twenty years in power, especially in an interventionist foreign policy, is no different and outside the U.S. Constitution. He may talk about limited government, but his vote is almost always for more government. He endorses federal involvement and spending in areas such as energy, education, labor, science, and the environment—all outside the U.S. Constitution. In a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Affairs in July 1995, he saw the U. S. Constitution as an obstruction in our interventionist foreign policy. He said, “The American challenge in leading the world is compounded by our Constitution. Under our [constitutional system]—either we’re going to have to rethink our Constitution, or we’re going to have to rethink our process of decision-making.” Of course it is an obstruction to our meddling in the affairs of other lands. For one thing the Constitution requires Congressional approval, even a declaration, before we go to war!!!

Finally, the third Tea Party core value, the free market. Gingrich’s support of bailouts demonstrates his belief that some entities are too big to fail. In the free market no business is “propped up” or “saved” by the taxpayer. Business failure results from inefficiency which opens the door for those who are more efficient. Moreover, Gingrich’s support of GATT, which brought this nation’s economic interests under the scrutiny and supervision of the World Trade Organization, severely damaged the free market.

Unfortunately, though one of the nation’s greatest debaters—thus the words sound right—Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich cannot make a valid case for having been in harmony with Tea Party Patriot core values and should not expect their support. If Patriots give it anyway they will be disappointed.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org

Republican Presidential Candidates Divide on Freedom Issue

By Dr. Harold Pease

The Republican Presidential Debate held in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina finally brought to light a real divide, other than on Iran, between the candidates. The issue was The National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama December 31, 2011, with Ron Paul and Rick Santorum viewing it as a threat to civil liberty and unconstitutional and Mitt Romney decidedly supporting it. Neither Rick Perry nor Newt Gingrich was asked to give their view. I could find nothing in print revealing a position for either on the extremely controversial law. This is very unfortunate as Sections 1031 and 1032 authorize the military to arrest and indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial—even on U.S. soil. Since either could be the one exercising this power we should know where they stand.

Popularly referred to as the “indefinite detention act” the new law authorizes the military to arrest citizens suspected of being terrorists on the say-so of the president or the military alone. No real proof needed. It voids the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prohibiting the military any law enforcement authority on U.S. soil and voids much of the Bill of Rights as well. Americans now can be extradited to Guantanamo without benefit of trial, judge, or jury and held indefinitely—even tortured (see Section 1068). Activists on both the left and right vehemently oppose it, the one believing that it could eventually be twisted to apply to Occupy Wall Street participants and the other Tea Party participants. Each group has been referred to as terrorists by their enemies.

As mentioned the strongest support for The National Defense Authorization Act came from Mitt Romney. When asked if he would have signed the bill into law as had President Obama, Romney answered emphatically, “Yes, I would have.” He continued. “I do believe it is appropriate to have in our nation the capacity to detain people who are threats to this country, who are members of al Qaeda. Look, you have every right in this country to protest and to express your views on a wide range of issues, but you don’t have a right to join a group that has challenged America and has threatened killing Americans, has killed Americans, and has declared war against America. That’s treason. In this country we have a right to take those people and put them in jail.” That may be Governor, but only after they have been tried and convicted in accordance with the Bill of Rights with the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty.

Romney recognized that such power exercised by one man could be abused “but I don’t think he (President Obama) will abuse this power, and if I were president I would not abuse this power,” he said. How naïve! This reminds me of the famous Richard Nixon statement with respect to his authorization to break into Watergate. “If the President does it, it is not a crime.” Therein lies the problem. President Obama may never abuse such power, nor may a “President” Romney, but somewhere down the line some president will have his enemies defined as terrorists and removed. The Constitution is written to protect us from that person. With opposition destroyed so would be liberty. No president should have such power. The Founding Fathers never allowed such trust in one person in the Constitution.

Such naivety is dangerous as is candidate Romney’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Both flaws should cast doubt on his ability to protect these documents and lead a free people. Moreover, on the subject of treason, which a civil trial would determine, the Constitution requires the “witness of two or more to an overt act;” clearly not the voice of just one man who could benefit personally by the action.

Fortunately to his credit, Rick Santorum chimed in. “A U.S. citizen who is detained as an enemy combatant should have the right to a lawyer and to appeal their case before a federal court.” Unfortunately, no other candidate was invited to respond to this important question, but it was obvious that Ron Paul was not going to be ignored on the subject. Although not asked, he was able to get into the debate that holding American citizens indefinitely is a breach of the U.S. judicial system. An Internet search revealed much public discourse from him, and only him, in opposition to this law.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

Just Signed Law Obliterates Large Portions of The Bill of Rights

Dr. Harold Pease

The Republican Presidential Primaries have obscured the President’s late December signing of the most damaging law to the Bill of Rights in my lifetime. Known as the National Defense Authorization Act the over 600 page, $662 billion law “would require the military to hold suspected terrorists linked to Al Qaeda or its affiliates, even those captured on U. S. soil, indefinitely” and without trial, on the say so of the military through the President alone. Moreover, even U.S. citizens could be removed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba against their will and deprived of their constitutional rights. In my commentary on this law in early December (see “New Bill Damages Bill of Rights and Could Target Americans for Military Detention,” LibertyUnderFire.org), I noted that the law gave no protection from a revolving definition of terrorism to anti-government, perhaps even Tea Partiers or Occupy Wall Street folks.

The threat of potential incarceration without recourse to a lawyer, judge and trial is very serious. The military performing police duty, heretofore rendered by civil authorities, is unconscionable in a free society. Our only hope was a promised Presidential veto which did not happen. Therefore, what follows are details on how the new law emasculates the Writ of Habeas Corpus in the U.S. Constitution and Amendments 4, 5, 6 and 8 of the Bill of Rights.

The Writ of Habeas Corpus found in Article I, Section 9 recognized that some day war might exist on our soil and that the accused had rights that might have to be momentarily delayed until recognized civilian authority could reasonably attend to them. It allowed this delay in only two circumstances “when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.” Section 9 is a list of powers specifically denied Congress; nor were they given to the President in Article II. This strongly suggests no federal role outside these two parameters in the delay of justice—certainly no military role. The removal of any civilian role and the carting off of U.S. citizens to a foreign country without benefit of judge or jury obliterates this right.

Amendment 4 deals with searches and seizures and reads in part “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation…” Warrants give civil authority the power to arrest only when the reason for the search (probable cause) has been reviewed and authorized, normally by an elected judge, who has given an oath to uphold the Constitution. He stands between the plaintiff and the defendant as the protector of Constitutional law. There is no role for the military even with a President’s authorization. Tell this to the young soldiers just following orders. Freedom dies when this amendment dies.

Amendment 5 has several parts that are affected by the new law but space limits my coverage to just a couple. Infamous or serious crimes mandate a grand jury, twelve or more citizens to evaluate the evidence before proceeding, which will not exist in a military arrest and extradition to Guantanamo Bay process. Moreover, one cannot “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Due process is the civilian judicial system. The amendment does have a short-term exclusion “when in actual service in time of war or public danger” but the National Defense Authorization Act is a permanent exclusion rather than a temporary one and this brief exclusion should only hold when the enemy has brought war to our soil.

Amendment 6 deals with criminal court procedures where “the accused shall enjoy the right to … a public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed … to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel in his defense.” The new law destroys the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution. There will be no “impartial jury,” no “obtaining witnesses in his favor,” no “counsel in his defense,” and Cuba is hardly within “the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.”

Finally, the new law will obliterate Amendment 8 for those the President and his military define as terrorists. The protection against cruel and unusual punishment for them ends and torture is justified. Does anyone really think that the military will care about excessive fines or bail either?

Sadly both parties, despite their oath to preserve the Constitution, are responsible for this bill. There was bipartisan support for it. Unbelievably, Ron Paul is the only presidential candidate from either party to speak out against it.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.

The Unelectable Presidential Candidate??

By Dr. Harold Pease

The day before the Iowa primary the Des Moines Register reported that 41% of Iowans still remained undecided with respect to their choice for president which strongly indicates that no one has yet “touched” a majority of the Republican Party—far from it! Nor did Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum together, each with 25% of the vote, capture even a simple majority. Third place went to Ron Paul with 22%, who was short only 4,000 votes from taking first place. So, it appears the Republicans are not enthused by anyone. This aside, let us look at the race from another perspective, what I call the negative index. Who was the most negatively targeted presidential candidate, but still had good numbers, perhaps the “real” winner?

To the question, “Who is least likely to win the Republican Party nomination and defeat President Barack Obama? The answer was, and is, always Congressman Ron Paul. “Ron Paul is OK but he is not electable.” Who said so! Virtually every radio or television commentator or pundit from MSNBC to Fox News has so said. The chorus includes virtually every columnist and major newspaper in the country as well. Probably no presidential candidate in our history has had more organized opposition. Whether you like Ron Paul or not the fact remains that despite the intensity of this opposition, over one in five Iowans voted for him. Moreover, a vast majority of the funding from Super PACs was targeted against Paul and Newt Gingrich. Newt tumbled to fourth place and Paul to third but one wonders what might have happened if Romney or Santorum had received similar negative—even hostile—coverage.

As a presidential candidate four years ago Paul was treated dismissively, ignored or undermined. Such is still so, supporters maintain, but his ranks increased and showed themselves to be exceptionally loyal none-the-less and less tolerant of this treatment. Still victories, like coming in second to Michele Bachmann by less than a hundred votes in the Iowa Straw Vote several months ago, were ignored by the establishment press. More recently others noticed that he received only 90 seconds out of an hour and a half debate several weeks ago and began to ask why. Such slights were subtle but numerous. Prior to the Caucus it was indeed difficult to find any favorable commentary by any major news source outside Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch on the Fox Business Channel.

Recently when polls showed the possibility of a Ron Paul victory in Iowa fellow candidates and political pundits collectively intensified their negative treatment, all accused him of being out of step with Republican foreign policy. One commentator went so far as to say that if Paul won the Iowa Caucus, the Caucus should not be treated as seriously in the future. Newt Gingrich took time to call Ron Paul “a dangerous man” in a speech attempting to explain his poor showing of only 13% in the Caucus, nine percentage points under that of Paul.

Why the almost universal opposition? Perhaps in part it comes from the Council on Foreign Relations, the most influential special interest group in the United States. It’s magazine Foreign Affairs, advertised as “the most influential periodical in print,” is considered direction for its over 2100 members and thousands more readers. What suggestions are published in this publication become U.S. foreign policy. The April 2011 edition housed an article “The Tea Party and American Foreign Policy: What Populism Means for Globalism” an article essentially defining The Tea Party movement as dangerous and a threat to world governance. In that article it acknowledged having to deal with the movement but concluded that, at the time it had two arms, one represented by Sara Palin, the other by Ron Paul. Of the two they felt that the “Palinites” could be molded properly in foreign policy, which they dominate regardless of which party comes to power, but under the “Paulites” they would have no voice thus he had to be resisted at all costs. In other words, they could not control Ron Paul. With a majority of the key media players being CFR members and falling in line, opposition to Presidential Candidate Paul is more understandable.

Whether one loves or hates Paul, probably no presidential candidate in our history has had more long term organized opposition than he and with such he still was able to garner 22% of the Iowa vote with no one receiving more than 3 percentage points higher than he. Given the negative index it is amazing that he is still a viable candidate (probably anyone else would have been crushed into nonexistence) and perhaps with such opposition factored in, the actual winner of the Iowa Caucus.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.