Patriot Act

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash The Only Elected Republican Willing To Stand Up To Donald Trump On Obstruction Of Justice

Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash is not someone who progressives would admire, but on the issue of Donald Trump and impeachment, he is the only Congressional Republican willing to stick his neck out, and call for the impeachment of the President for Obstruction of Justice.

Amash is a right wing Republican who has served since 2011, and is one of the most conservative members of Congress, with libertarian beliefs, and a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus and a founder and Chair of the Liberty Caucus in that legislative body. He was an original Tea Party activist in 2009-2010 after Barack Obama became President.

His parents are Palestinian and Syrian Christians, so he is of Arab descent, and he represents western Michigan, including Grand Rapids, the area of Michigan represented by Gerald Ford for 25 years before he became Vice President and President.

He has been a critic of Trump from the beginning, and refused to endorse him, and now House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has repudiated him, claiming he votes with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi more than with his party, which is purely a lie.

Amash has voted against funding for the border wall; has been critical of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement); voted against the Muslim Ban from seven nations promoted by Donald Trump in 2017; opposed renewal of the Patriot Act in 2011 and and is a critic of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act; has served on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform; and believes in Congress having the final say in the commitment of troops to combat overseas.

It seems as if he is a man without a party now, and it is rumored that he might run for the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination in 2020, which if he does, he could help affect the election and help to cause the defeat of Donald Trump, which would be true justice!

Civil Liberties And The Presidency: From John Adams To Barack Obama

When it comes to the issue of the Presidency and the Bill of Rights, many Presidents have scored at an alarmingly low rate, often despite many other virtues that these Presidents have possessed.

John Adams set a terrible standard when he signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798.

Andrew Jackson forcibly decreed the removal of five Native American tribes (The Trail Of Tears) from their ancestral lands and relocation in Oklahoma, supposedly forever, but with the discovery of oil in Tulsa, the territory was opened to whites in 1889, and reservation life became the norm.

John Tyler, through negotiation to add Texas to the Union, and accepting its institution of slavery, helped to create the slavery expansion issue as one which would divide the nation and lead to Civil War, and Tyler was part of the Confederate government and gave up his American citizenship.

James K. Polk further promoted the expansion of slavery through war with Mexico, and had no issue with slavery anywhere and everywhere.

Millard Fillmore, signing the Compromise of 1850, allowed the South to pursue fugitive slaves in the North.

Franklin Pierce, signing the Kansas Nebraska Act in 1854, made the expansion of slavery develop into the Kansas Civil War, which led to the Civil War.

James Buchanan endorsed the Dred Scott Decision, which allowed expansion of slavery everywhere in the nation, if a slave owner chose to move to the North with his slaves.

Abraham Lincoln suppressed press freedom; allowed preventive detention; and imposed a military draft that one could escape only by paying a fee that only wealthy people could afford.

Andrew Johnson wanted to restrict the rights of African Americans after the Civil War, and was an open racist, much more than anyone.

Grover Cleveland promoted the reservation life and adaptation to white culture for Native Americans through his signing of the Dawes Act in 1887.

Theodore Roosevelt spoke and wrote often about superior and inferior races, seeing only intellectual accomplishment and military strength as the basis to admire individuals of other races, but believing in white supremacy and the “Anglo Saxon” race.

Woodrow Wilson backed restrictions on citizens during World War I, and presided over the Red Scare under Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer after the war, as well as showing racist tendencies toward African Americans and Japan. He signed the Sedition Act of 1918, and issued an executive order segregating African Americans in Washington, DC.

Franklin D. Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans under executive order during World War II, and did little to deal with the racial problem in the South.

Richard Nixon arranged for bugging and wiretapping of his “enemies”; arranged break ins and “dirty tricks”; and became engaged in obstruction of justice and abuse of power, leading to moves toward impeachment and his eventual resignation from the Presidency, due to the Watergate Scandal.

Ronald Reagan cut back on civil rights enforcement, and showed insensitivity on the issue of apartheid in South Africa.

George W. Bush pushed through the Patriot Act, and the government engaged in constant civil liberties violations as part of the War on Terror.

Barack Obama also promoted violations of civil liberties, as part of the continued threat of international terrorism.

So 17 Presidents, at the least, have undermined our civil liberties and civil rights, often overlapping.

The Inevitability Of Hillary Clinton Is No Longer Active! Doubts Are Rising!

It has been pointed out that any candidate for President who is ahead in public opinion polls in the second year of a Presidential term has never been elected President, since the age of polling became active after World War II.

If it was, Thomas E. Dewey, Robert Taft, George Romney, Edmund Muskie, Ted Kennedy, Mario Cuomo, Al Gore, and Hillary Clinton would have served in the Presidency after elections in 1948, 1952, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2008.

Instead, we had Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama!

So now it is clear that the inevitability of Hillary Clinton as our 45th President is far from certain, due to various factors!

Hillary Clinton is seen as too close to Wall Street billionaires and millionaires, and too close friendships with major corporations, while mouthing the support of overcoming income inequities.

Hillary Clinton is seen as a “hawk” in foreign policy, even a neoconservative to many, having backed the Iraq War and coming across as much more hardline than many Democrats on recent events in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Hillary Clinton has supported the Patriot Act and National Security Agency surveillance and spying.

Hillary Clinton has not been a strong supporter on environmental issues, particularly in supporting fracking.

Hillary Clinton has come across as secretive, and now has the new scandal of having all emails being private, rather than on government emails while Secretary of State for four years.

Hillary Clinton has also allowed foreign contributions to the Clinton Foundation, including Arab countries in the Middle East, not a wise or thoughtful idea.

Hillary Clinton has the history of earlier questioning of her ethics, both as First Lady and as Senator and Secretary of State, and many see her marriage to Bill Clinton as a sham, designed to promote her insatiable desire to be the first woman President of the United States.

The Dangers Of The National Defense Authorization Act Signing By President Obama

President Obama, on his way back from vacation in Hawaii, quietly signed the National Defense Authorization Act, bitterly opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil libertarians.

Without much fanfare, Obama signed the legislation on December 31, permitting the national government to have powers it has never had
before in peacetime. The 565 page bill includes provisions allowing for indefinite detention of people that the government suspects are involved in international terrorism. The legislation seems to allow arrests by the military in the US of American citizens, a very terrifying idea! President Obama issued a signing statement regarding this legislation, but that does not mean that a future President would not abuse the law and have American citizens arrested.

This is a violation of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, and one can hope for a Supreme Court decision declaring it unconstitutional, but that is probably not likely when it comes to powers involving war and security of the nation.

This can be seen as an extension of the Patriot Act, which many concerned people also think. is a violation of our civil liberties. The fact that members of both parties in Congress passed this legislation is also very troubling.

The danger that is most obvious is that a future President could use this new legislation in a way that President Obama has made clear his administration will NOT use it. The precedent has been set, and will be hard to reverse.

One could say that as long as a person stays within the law, does not break the law, is a citizen who does nothing illegal, that he or she does not have to be concerned. But even with that thought, there is still the possibility of innocent victims who become embroiled in the growing security network of the nation, and become victims.

So we have a new concern to be worried about regarding the BIll Of Rights!

Presidential Power Growing: Inevitable Trend Unless Ron Paul Somehow Were To Win White House!

One of the key criticisms of American government has always been the growing power of the Presidential office.

But what it really comes down to is NOT the issue of Presidential authority per se, but rather the ideology and goals of the particular President.

Many have been condemnatory of Barack Obama for using his powers to employ drones against enemy combatants; allowing the killing of an American citizen (Anwar Al Awlaki) by missile strike for terrorist activities; increasing the number of Presidential aides in the White House; changing social policy by executive order; using signing statements to express reservations on bills passed by Congress; extending the Patriot Act and expanding the authority of the US government to monitor its citizens and arrest them; and employing US troops overseas without Congressional authority with his authority as Commander in Chief.

But except for Ron Paul, all of the Republicans competing for the Presidential nomination would use the same strategies and tactics, but maybe in a way that many who support Barack Obama would not approve.

The office of the Presidency has been growing in power by leaps and bounds for a century now, starting with Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and expanding greatly starting with the Great Depression and World War II under Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Cold War under Harry Truman and all of his successors, and then the War on Terror from Bill Clinton on to Barack Obama.

Nothing in reality is going to stop this trend, and the Supreme Court itself has rarely stepped in to limit executive authority, and this perfectly demonstrates that the Constitution has been widened in its meaning, even by so called “conservative” Supreme Court Justices who have no problem with the expansion of federal executive authority.

So instead of limited government, all of the GOP candidates except Ron Paul, believe in expansive government when it comes to executive authority.

The idea of limiting Presidential authority is just that, an idea. The key issue is not that, but who to TRUST with that authority, so as not to undermine our American system of government!

Jon Huntsman And Ron Paul Shine At CNN National Security Debate, And Newt Gingrich And Rick Santorum Have Some Sensible Thoughts!

CNN held a National Security debate in Constitution Hall in Washington, DC this evening, and it is clear that two laggards in the public opinion polls, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, shone brightly in the Republican debate.

Both Huntsman and Paul came out against the Patriot Act as a denial of civil liberties, with both warning that losing liberty for security is a bad bargain!

Also, both came out for withdrawing from Afghanistan as soon as possible, and focusing on America’s needs, with Huntsman saying intelligence gathering, special forces, and the use of drones could resolve the problems in Afghanistan, and that having large numbers of troops in a foreign country in the modern world was counterproductive. Paul, of course, came out for American withdrawal from the world, an isolationist nation, which as great as it might sound to many, is totally impractical! Huntsman did not go that far in his comments.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum also had moments of good thoughts, with Gingrich arguing that we cannot deport illegal immigrants who have been here for a long time and been lawful, and that children of illegal immigrants who wish to serve in the military should be given the chance to become citizens, in effect supporting the DREAM Act. Meanwhile,Rick Santorum backed foreign aid as important to continue, while Ron Paul called for an end to all foreign aid, not a great position making any sense in the modern world, particularly when foreign aid is only less than one percent of the national budget.

By comparison, Mitt Romney did not do as well as he has in the past, coming across as very hawkish, and hardline on illegal immigration, both views probably part of his plan to attract more support from right wing Republicans and conservative talk show hosts.

Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann continued their downward spiral, none of them making any impressive statements during the debate.

So, if all things are equal, we might see the rise of Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul in the public opinion polls, as they both stood out dramatically from the other six candidates!

Twenty One Years Ago Today, The World Changed For The Worst!

On August 2, 1990, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein attacked and occupied the oil nation of Kuwait, presenting a threat to Saudi Arabia and all of the Middle East, and to the world’s petroleum supply.

President George H. W. Bush created an international coalition centered around the United Nations to demand that Iraq withdraw, but when that failed, in January 1991, the Persian Gulf War ensued, with it being won in six weeks, successfully removing Iraq from Kuwait, but failing to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Saudi Arabia agreed to allow US forces into their nation, angering Muslim nationalists throughout the Middle East, who hated the thought of Christian troops in the holy land of Mecca and Medina, and Islamic terrorism now became a major threat to the United States and the Western world, with the development of various groups, including Al Qaeda under Osama Bin Laden.

This intervention led long term to September 11, to the invasion of Afghanistan to overcome Al Qaeda, and the later intervention in Iraq, overthrowing Saddam Hussein, but leading to a long bloody civil war engulfing American forces, and taking attention off Afghanistan.

Here we are today, with American troops in Iraq, although not in combat, and war continuing in Afghanistan, our two longest wars in American history, and effectively bankrupting our economy, causing massive expenditures in fighting terrorism and defending US interests in the Middle East, and promoting the loss of civil liberties through the Patriot Act, and the inability to deal with the many domestic problems our country faces.

So on this 21st anniversary of Iraq going into Kuwait, one can see the long range deleterious effects of this short lived war, with damaging impact that threatens the supremacy of the United States domestically and in foreign affairs in 2011!

Obama Action On Bin Laden Proof John Kerry Was Right In 2004 Campaign Stand On War On Terror

In 2004, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the Democratic Presidential nominee, was trashed by the Bush Administration and Vice President Dick Cheney for his assertion that defeating terrorism was based on law enforcement, rather than constant military intervention!

Kerry said intelligence gathering and law enforcement, in cooperation with other nations, was the way to fight terrorism, rather than create military clashes with other civilizations.

Kerry also said that we should look at terrorism as a nuisance, not as a constant threat to everyone on a daily basis. If we militarize the struggle against terrorism, we will be involved in endless military confrontations, he declared! Instead, we should work to improve relations with the Islamic world!

Instead, we have spent four trillion dollars and lost 49,000 men, dead and wounded combined, in fighting an endless war against terrorism, which cannot be won by military strategy alone, as shown by the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The last decade did not have to be a decade of war, causing our tremendous national debt. We did not need to overreact as we did, and this will always be the condemnation that the Bush Administration deserves!

We live in a world now more unsafe than it was on September 12, 2001, and if we had had President Al Gore or President John Kerry, that would not have been the result, and we would not have to be considering destroying Medicare and Medicaid, and denying children educational needs, and damaging the environment, and the denial of civil liberties that was brought about by the Patriot Act hysteria right after September 11!

So although losing the Presidency, we owe gratitude to Senator John Kerry for his vision and wisdom, not appreciated by his countrymen in 2004!

The Conflict Among Conservatives And Within The Conservative Movement

Conservatives argue that they are for smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, freedom and liberty.

They don’t like any type of economic regulation or redistribution of wealth.

And yet when push comes to shove, they are very willing to raise taxes on the average person and redistribute wealth to the top two percent, and destroy the middle class by their policies! 🙁

They are for freedom and liberty, and yet believe in a security state which can bug and wiretap everyone through the Patriot Act, and deny people privacy as to their library borrowing and bookstore purchases! 🙁

They are very willing to interfere in people’s social lives, including denying gays the basic freedom to serve in the military and marry the person they love; deny a woman the right to control her own body, even if a pregnancy is dangerous to her health; and impose religion on the population through promotion of a sectarian Christian prayer in public schools! 🙁

Even libertarian conservatives such as Rand Paul claim to want smaller government, and yet want to outlaw abortions from conception of the fetus, which is certainly government intrusion in private lives! 🙁

Conservatism claims to believe in individual rights, and yet constantly interferes with such rights in so many ways.

Conservatives wish to destroy the social safety net which has been with us since the New Deal of the 1930s, and this would create more poverty and deprivation and redistribute wealth further to the elite rich, and they have no conscience at all in doing this!

The Conservative Political Action Conference this Thursday to Saturday will showcase many of the potential GOP Presidential candidates, many of which conflict with each other about these different, competing and contradictory strands of the conservative movement.

With one year to go to the Iowa caucuses next February 6, most of the Republican aspirants for the White House shall appear and make speeches at CPAC, including Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John Thune, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour and Ron Paul.

But because of supposed scheduling conflicts, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin are not attending, which is very odd, as if they really wanted to attend this event in Washington, DC, they would find a way!

The competition among the attendees to win the straw poll vote and to appeal to the conflicting wings of the conservative movement should be very fascinating to watch this weekend! 🙂

The Major Treasure Of The US Senate: Russ Feingold Of Wisconsin In Danger! :(

If one had to select one member of the US Senate who is the epitome of the ideal Senator, the author would choose Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin!

If there was ever a person who had strong principles and has used good judgment, and has always been independent enough to challenge his party leadership at times, it is Russ Feingold!

Feingold sponsored with John McCain the McCain-Feingold legislation that attempted to regulate “soft” money and its deleterious effect on political campaign spending!

This is a man who had the guts and courage to oppose the hysterical rush toward the Patriot Act in 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, sensing that civil liberties would be restricted too harshly in the wake of the emotions felt by Americans over that horrible series of events!

Feingold has been one of a very few Senators to support same sex marriage, and was an early opponent of the Iraq War! He has acted in many ways as a true Independent!

He is one of a very small sample of past and present Senators that the author has felt a passion about, that he has been and would be an historic Senator!

But right now, at least according to polls, the Republican nominee for his seat, after Feingold has served so well and honorably for 18 years, is seen as having a real chance to defeat Feingold!

Ron Johnson, a millionaire manufacturer, backed by the Tea Party Movement, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, is ahead in many polls, and this has set off an alarm bell among progressive and liberal supporters, who had assumed Feingold’s seat was safe, considering Feingold’s exceptional record!

It is hoped that Feingold will retain his seat, as his leaving the Senate would be a tremendous loss to that body and to progressives and liberals nationwide!