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Have some of the causes for revolution listed in the Declaration of Independence returned?

By Dr. Harold Pease

Should the patriots once again have ability to rewrite the Declaration of Independence what would they say? How might it be different? Many have asked, “Is it time to restate the obvious? We have lost much of our liberty, as they had, from their elected government.”

There is no reason to believe that the committee, headed by Thomas Jefferson, would retract the base for the right of revolution from “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God”—definitely a higher level than mere man. Nor is there any reason to believe that they would retract “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Nor the right of revolution when all other means are exhausted, as they had, which is so eloquently stated in the remainder of the second paragraph. So we would expect them to retain the means of making revolution—the right to bear arms. The general theme of the last three paragraphs, that “in every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress” and “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor,” would be retained as well.

What is, however, perplexing is how many of the listed oppressions—the causes of the American Revolution—have returned in our day. Jefferson targeted the King for the oppressions but Parliament, an elected body, was actually responsible for most of them as is Congress in our day. These include: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” This would be our unelected federal bureaucracy today, 2.8 million strong. The $50 million for IRS parties and $70 million for IRS bonuses in 2013 come to mind. We have yet to hire the 16,000 new folks to administer our socialized medicine (Obamacare) programs, yet another enormous swarm “to eat out our substance.” These officers live off the wealth produced by others.

“He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.” Bradley tanks were used against the Branch Davidian Church during the Clinton Administration, and FEMA and the federalized National Guard were used in New Orleans during the hurricane Katrina under George W. Bush. The recently passed National Defense Authorization Act legalizes military kidnapping of American citizens thought by the President and military to be “terrorist” and shipped to Guantanamo Bay and detained without trial indefinitely. Civil power was/is told to be secondary or non-existent in these examples.

“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Act of pretended Legislation:” The United Nations was created by treaty. It’s law, often “foreign to our constitution” is becoming recognized universal law with authority to supersede national law. The Supreme Court often references UN law to establish constitutionality of U.S. law. A pending case is the UN Small Arms Treaty which opponents of gun control fear will be used to nullify our Second Amendment.

“For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.” Anytime a president offers money to a foreign country by way of treaty, as did President Jimmy Carter in the Panama Canal Treaty, he is taxing us without our consent. Only the House of Representatives, which is excluded from treaty making, can raise a bill of revenue. When the Senate, which is supposed to approve all treaties, and the President offer money in a treaty it “imposes taxes on us without our consent.” Today presidents offer reams of money to foreign countries without a thought to asking the people first, as required by the Constitution.

“For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.” The National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law on New Years Eve 2011 by President Barack Obama, potentially removes trial by jury altogether for citizens thought by the president to be terrorists. A term never defined. If a trial is held at all it will be out of the country and in a military court—without the benefit of the Bill of Rights.

“For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences.” Once again the NDAA transports us secretly, unbeknown to our friends and family and potentially without notice to civil authorities, to Cuba for indefinite detention. Nothing that the British did to us in 1776 was more drastic than this.

“For…altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments.” Our government has been moving from a republic to a democracy and now into socialism for many decades led by both major political parties. At least Barack Obama was honest with us when he promised to “fundamentally change” our government if elected.

“For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.” Our legislatures have been suspended when five things, now very common, happen: 1) when Congress usurps the powers of state governments to themselves, 2) when Congress allows an unelected bureaucracy to add sometimes thousands, of new regulations to a new law, 3) when the President makes law by executive order, 4) when the President appoints so-called Czars to administer programs and write new law for areas where the Constitution never gave the federal government any jurisdiction, 5) and when the Supreme Court rules in such a way as to create new law as in Obamacare.

I suppose the “Tories” in our day would argue, as they did then, “But our elected government gave us all these laws” (oppressions), thus it is okay because “we did it to ourselves.” That argument was made then as well but fortunately it did not keep the rest of us, the Patriots, from revolting nonetheless. Let us revolt by our vote to once again remove the returning offending tyranny and oppressions. Please share.

There is anger out there not seen since the Civil War

Dr. Harold Pease

In mid November 2012, the nation was greeted with a movement, seemingly originating out of nowhere that can only be referred to as successionitis—a desire of the people to leave the Union—not seen in the United States since the Civil War. Without the Internet it would have been totally ignored and never known by the rest of us. The establishment press did not cover it until it was too big to ignore, then coverage was minimal. The media was largely dismissive citing the reelection of Barack Obama as the reason and the movement, largely of racists, certainly extremists, was simply sour grapes on the part of those preferring Mitt Romney. Certainly the movement did not actually mean anything, they implied.

They could not have been more wrong!! Universally devoid of coverage were questions: why so many participated, why the movement came on so fast and was so strong, and why it was so geographically spread? Why would this not be a legitimate expression of the discontent of the people; even a warning to an overly controlling federal government?

True, the petitions began in Louisiana the day following the reelection of President Obama and within a week spread to all 50 states, but the anger had been mounting for at least 20 years when neither party appeared to follow the Constitution nor give heed to federalism—the concept of shared governance between the feds and the states, so critical to freedom. It is also true that Obama represents a divided nation as never before since 1861 and is seen by half the nation as a facilitator of that divide, especially with respect to his push for income redistribution, better known as socialism and class warfare. Just as before the Civil War, there seems to be no middle ground. If compromise means further loss of liberty, petition signers want no more of it. Those who watch the Constitution disregarded or undermined on virtually a daily basis believe that there is no more freedom to surrender.

Most of the petitions from all fifty states cited sections of the Declaration of Independence as justifying their requests. The Louisiana petition read: “Peacefully grant the state of _____ to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own new government. As the founding fathers of the United States of America made clear in the Declaration of Independence in 1776: ‘When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation…Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and institute new government.’”

Moreover, the loss of freedom in 1776 is identified with what petition proponents see as tyranny today. The Texas petition read: “The U.S. continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the U.S. suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect its citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.” My guess is that a third of America agree with these charges, though not necessarily with the solution. Petition signers believe that the U.S. federal government is so mismanaged that secession is the only option for future prosperity.

By November 15 the following states each had over 35,000 signatures: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas had 116,000 by itself by the twentieth of the month. Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina were above the 25,000 required of each state for the President to keep his word to answer their petitions within 30 days of initiation. Thus far I have found no response by the President, nor does the media appear to insist that he make one. The government’s website no longer posts the count, the Presidents response, or the issue, but we have reason to believe that a dozen more states were significantly increasing their numbers daily and therefore would have easily passed the required number, and that the total for all states exceeded a million citizens by the December 7, deadline (“50 States File Secession Petitions With D.C.” American Free Press, Nov. 20, 2012, by Pete Papaherakles).

At this point the signers see their signing as only a veiled threat. Few really want their state to leave the Union and all know that this could not ever happen without the state legislature voting to do so. They also know that the federal government will never allow them to do so. How extreme for the media to believe so. For signers it was the only way that they could get attention to the issue so ignored by the establishment media and both major political parties – we are losing our liberty. But given the volume of signers, the geographical spread, and the speed and intensity of this dissent, the federal government should be placed on notice that there is anger out there not seen since the Civil War and it should work to remove such. Writing them off as some kind of joke only confirms citizen concern that those in power only seek to enslave them more fully.

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.

Should we be frightened with what the government has done the last six months?

By Dr. Harold Pease

What follows are six major changes to traditional constitutional procedure that have happened the past six months, none of which through the change process required in Article V of the Constitution, but each will adversely affect the distribution of power in this country and how we define liberty in the future. This time period could very well be the most radical six-month period of constitutional change in U.S. history. Should we be concerned with, or worse, frightened by, our own government?

We begin on New Years Eve with the President signing into law the 600-plus pages National Defense Authorization Act which, among other things, authorizes the military to seize and transport U.S. citizens from U.S. soil to Guantanamo Bay on the presumption that they are terrorists. The threat of potential indefinite incarceration without recourse to lawyer, judge and trial is unconscionable in a free society. The new law ends the writ of habeas corpus found in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution and Posse Comitatus protection (protection from ones own armed forces). It also lays waste to much of the Bill of Rights, notably Amendments 4, 5, 6, and 8. Its intimidation potential will impact free speech, press, and assembly as well. Local law enforcement is essentially bi-passed.

Then in February, The National Operations Center (NOC), a part of The Department of Homeland Security, released its “Media Monitoring Initiative” giving itself permission to “gather, store, analyze, and disseminate” data on millions of users of social media, primarily Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. So far they appear less concerned with the information on the average Joe or Jane, although all is kept just in case, as they deal with unmanaged journalists and bloggers. These are defined as those who use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed,” such as myself. Targeted are those who post articles, comments, or other information to popular web outlets. It is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

In March we saw and heard Joint Chief of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, each, in testimony given to the Senate Armed Services Committee, inferred that the authority that they depended upon for military purposes came not from Congress, as required in the U. S. Constitution, but from unelected UN or NATO authorities. Disbelieving what he heard, Senator Jeff Sessions repeatedly inquired in different ways only to be given the same answer.

Also, on March 16, President Barack Obama issued his National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order authorizing the Executive department to take-over, in case of a national emergency, all civil transportation, including the “movement of persons and property by all modes of transportation … within the United States.” Other things specifically listed to be under his sole control were: all forms of energy, all farm equipment, all food resources, all food resources facilities, all health resources, and all water resources (Section VIII). “National emergency” was never adequately defined. Nor was it explained why the president needed near dictatorial power in a national emergency and had not in crisis heretofore or when this dictatorial power would end. The Order makes The National Security Council and Homeland Security Council the policy-making forum—not Congress.

In June, frustrated by his inability to get through Congress a law on immigration he favored, and tired of making law the constitutional way, President Barack Obama, openly defied Congress and the Constitution on June 16, 2012, by ordering a like measure to that previously defeated, implemented anyway. In a news conference he outlined the general parameters of his “Dream Act” but specifics came from a six-page Memorandum from John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (See FEA Number 306-112-0026), to enforcement personnel, which essentially advised ignoring existing immigration law. Although our empathy goes out to the children of illegals raised in the United States, is it now permissible for future presidents to make law and defy the authority of Congress?

Finally, despite the clear wordage of the Constitution that “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives,” the Supreme Court essentially wrote new law by its ruling, in June, on National Health Care. Even Justice Anthony M. Kennedy referred to it as “vast Judicial overreaching” or “Judicial legislation.” So is it now okay if the Court attempts “to force on the nation a new act?”

So, with respect to these six major changes in traditional constitutional procedure occurring the last six months, should we be concerned with, or frightened of, our own government? How can we not be? Think of all the power taken by, or hand delivered to, the office of President. What event awaits us when such will be used? Unless Congress is willing to reverse the above six items, it may very well be making itself, and the Constitution, irrelevant. You can help by refusing to support any candidate who is not aware of, and is actively against, any of the six constitutional procedure changes noted above.

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.

Government Spying on Your Social Media and the Media Monitoring Initiative

By Dr. Harold Pease

Last week a young college student approached me after class with a very disturbing concern. He had just been interrogated by the FBI for making a video three years ago of him exploding a fire cracker and placing the video on YouTube for others to see. He thought that it would be funny. During the three years since, and unbeknownst to him, the government had been monitoring his every behavior and presented to him, for his perusal, a file an inch thick of every event in his life including his grades from grade school.

If kids are monitored for such normal behavior (I used to set off fire crackers too but I did not put it on the Internet) what can we expect next from our government which now violates the 4th Amendment to the Constitution with impunity? Monitoring our social media 24 hours a day? A new directive suggests that this is now to be common.

The National Operations Center (NOC), a part of The Department of Homeland Security, recently released its Media Monitoring Initiative giving itself permission to “gather, store, analyze, and disseminate” data on millions of users of social media, primarily Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. So far they appear less concerned with the information of the average Joe or Jane, although all is kept just in case, as they do with unmanaged journalists and bloggers. These are defined as “those who use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed,” such as myself. Targeted are those who post articles, comments, or other information to popular Web outlets.

In a recent article entitled “Social Spying,” by Joe Wolverton II, J.D. in the “New American,” Wolverton details the “24-hour surveillance” by NOC agents “to track the on-line movements and postings of every level of writer or commentator, from Brian Williams to nearly anonymous bloggers.” The directive is designed “to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture” (what ever that means) presumably of targeted audiences. In layman’s terms it means identifying, isolating, and then potentially silencing opposition, each of which inhibits First Amendment free speech rights.

Of course, the NOC directive denies inappropriate use of the information. All is public, they argue, and gathered through available search engines. That said, they admit looking for “items of potential interest [not defined] to DHS. Once the analysts determine an item or event is of sufficient value [also not defined] to DHS to be reported, they extract only the pertinent [again, not defined], authorized information and put it into a specific web application… to build and format their reports.” Such vagaries allow an unrestrained government to move and operate anywhere it pleases and classify and reclassify citizens as potential enemies even if they have done nothing other than voice opinion in opposition to that of whoever rules.

Are we becoming more like communist China who recently prosecuted Li Tie and two others for essays posted on the Internet demanding greater democracy? They too began with just monitoring. Such postings are considered a threat to China’s political and social stability.
In light of the recently signed National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, this reclassification could eventually get normal citizens classed as threats to political stability, who just wish to preserve their Constitution from a government which chooses to nullify it, placed in Guantanamo Bay and held indefinitely against their will. But I have already written about this new law—the most dangerous piece of legislation in my lifetime.

The Media Monitoring Initiative is a serious violation of the 4th Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution which reads: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searched and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Do we care? If a young college student finds it disturbing that the government has been watching what he puts on YouTube, should not older adults be more so? Are you, my reader, going to wait until all the sentinels of liberty are marginalized or are you going to remove your member of Congress that supports either the National Defense Authorization Act or does not use his influence to rescind the Media Monitoring Initiative. At least demand to know where he or she stands on these two important Constitutional issues.

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.