Nothing to See Here, Says the Mainstream Right?

Last week we received a few heckles for posting a Facebook meme of George Bush signing the Patriot Act. We stand by our intent – Republicans and Democrats, George Bush and Barack Obama – are sell-outs and equally culpable for the security-surveillance industrial complex of whose scary details were leaked to the press last week.

If you are the sporting type and keeping score, the Democrat-Republican Party is beating the Constitution by six touchdowns going into the fourth quarter. These dudes are on the same team, even if it took you half the game to figure it out. Behind the inexorable expansion of the state, the Right and the Left often stand as one.

Take, for instance, Rich Galen, a neo-con who blogs at Townhall.com, writing today about NSA-whistle blower Edward Snowden:

As a taxpayer, I’m not paying you to look out after my Fourth Amendment rights. I’m paying you to do whatever job you were hired to do, and if you find that job too ethically distasteful, then you should quit.

But keep your mouth shut.

Galen suggests a long federal prison sentence would be just deserts for Snowden for exposing a creepy, out-of-control national government sifting warrantlessly through our personal emails and internet searches. After all, Galen declares, he is a 66-year-old guy with nothing to hide.

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Government Spying: You Shouldn’t Be Shocked!

by Ron Paul

Last week we saw dramatic new evidence of illegal government surveillance of our telephone calls, and of the National Security Agency’s deep penetration into American companies such as Facebook and Microsoft to spy on us. The media seemed shocked.

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.

We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the “crisis” has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?

It was all a build-up of the government’s capacity to monitor us.

The reaction of some in Congress and the Administration to last week’s leak was predictable. Knee-jerk defenders of the police state such as Senator Lindsey Graham declared that he was “glad” the government was collecting Verizon phone records—including his own—because the government needs to know what the enemy is up to. Those who take an oath to defend the Constitution from its enemies both foreign and domestic should worry about such statements.

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Action Alert: Nullify Federal Gun “Laws” Locally in the state of Louisiana

Although the  the Second Amendment Preservation Act (House Bill 5) failed to pass this last legislative session, you can still take action to protect your right to keep and bear arms in Louisiana at the local level, and pave the way for success in the legislature next year.

HB 5 easily passed the House by a 67-25 vote. But not enough senators were educated about the bill, and it died in the upper chamber.

Even though your state legislature failed to interpose, government bodies at the local level can step into the fray to get things done.

Counties and cities can refuse to assist any federal attempts enforce federal gun laws in their jurisdictions. These measures will not only provide  practical protections for their citizens, they will send a strong message to the Baton Rouge and put the pressure on to nullify unconstitutional gun “laws” at the state level in the next legislative session. Successful actions at the local level will put pressure on those senators next year, and the process of passing local measure will serve as an educational tool both for lawmakers and the general public.

Of course, local governments won’t act without citizen input and grassroots pressure. The good news is a few dedicated individuals can make a difference at the local level.

That’s where you can step up to the plate.

Contact your local representative and introduce resolutions and ordinances to stop the federal government’s usurpation on the Second Amendment. Once enough cities, towns, and counties pass local laws, the state players will change their tone on nullification.

Get involved locally by communicating with your sheriff, local law enforcement, and your community. Educate each other on nullification, the Second Amendment, and the Constitution. Teach community members that no state or locality is forced into enforcing federal laws. Then introduce model legislation to preserve the Second Amendment to your local lawmakers. Encourage your city, town, municipality and county officials to refuse to aid, enforce, or provide resources to the federal government when it attempts to violate Second Amendment.

Local noncompliance can create major obstructions and impediments. Federal law enforcement agencies lack the manpower and resources to enforce federal laws on their own. They always require the aid of state AND local law enforcement. As Judge Andrew Napolitano said recently, widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here).

It’s going to take work to ensure that this is how things play out.  Here’s what you can start doing right now.  

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The Role of Foreign Policy in Security-State Surveillance

by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation

In the national discussion over the national-security state’s massive surveillance scheme over the American people, it’s imperative that we keep in mind how the national-security state’s foreign policy of empire and interventionism play into how we have ended up with an Orwellian system of national surveillance at the hands of the federal government.

How are statists justifying the NSA’s surveillance over the American people? Not surprisingly, they’re saying it’s all designed to “keep us safe.” The federal monitoring of everyone, they say, enables them to catch a small number of people who are planning terrorist attacks. Never mind, of course, that all that monitoring didn’t prevent the Boston bombing.

A critically important question has to be asked: Why are there people who are initiating terrorist attacks against the United States?

The answer is a simple one: Because the U.S. national-security state is killing, torturing, abusing, humiliating, impoverishing, and destroying people in foreign countries through such policies as coups, support of dictatorships, regime-change operations, interference with internal politics, intervention in foreign disputes, assassinations, torture, rendition, indefinite detention, secret imprisonment, and so forth.

The foreign victims of those policies get angry. A certain percentage of them go on the rampage with acts of anti-American terrorism. That’s in fact what the Boston bombings were all about. And the Ft. Hood killings. And the Detroit and New York City would-be bombers. And 9/11. And the USS Cole. And the attacks on the U.S. embassies in East Africa. And Benghazi.

So, here’s how the national-security system has developed.

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Who Would Trust Them After This?

Judge Andrew Napolitano called the situation “a fishing expedition on the grandest scale we’ve ever seen in American history.” The government is looking for a select group of people, and instead of obeying the Constitution and simply getting a search warrant for their phones, the judge says, “They got a search warrant for a 113 million phones!”

“Who would trust them after this? The Constitution doesn’t trust them!” Napolitano told Shepard Smith.

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Thomas Jefferson vs. John McCain

There is no question that Syria has been ruled by the authoritarian al-Assad family since 1971, that the country’s human rights record is dismal, and that over 40,000 Syrians have been killed in a civil war that has been ongoing for almost two years.

The question is what the United States should or shouldn’t do about any of these things.

Senator John McCain thinks he knows the answer.

John McCain (born 1936) graduated from the Annapolis Naval Academy in 1958. After flight training, he spent some time on aircraft carriers in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas before volunteering for combat duty in Vietnam. In 1967 Lieutenant Commander McCain began bombing runs over North Vietnam. He was shot down on his twenty-third bombing mission and held as a prisoner of war for five years. After his release in 1973, McCain resumed his naval service until his retirement in 1981. While in the Navy, he earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross. After leaving the military, McCain began his career in politics. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. After two terms there, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, and has been there ever since.

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What if Laws Applied to Everyone?

What if government officials have written laws that apply only to us and not to them? What if we gave them the power to protect our freedoms and our safety and they used that power to trick and trap some of us? What if government officials broke the laws we hired them to enforce? What if they prosecuted others for breaking the same laws they broke?

What if the government enacted a law making it a crime to provide material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if that law was intended to stop people from giving cash and weapons to organizations that bomb and maim and kill? What if the government looked at that law and claimed it applied to a dentist or a shopkeeper who sold services or goods to a terrorist organization, and not just to financiers and bomb makers?

What if an organization that killed also owned a hospital or a school and the law made it a crime to contribute to the hospital or the school? What if the Supreme Court ruled that the law is so broad that it covers backslapping, advocacy and free speech? What if the court ruled that the law makes it a crime to encourage any terrorist organization to do anything – fix teeth, educate children, save lives or kill people? What if the law makes it a crime to talk to any person known to be a terrorist? What if the law is so broad that it punishes ideas and the free expression of those ideas, even if no one is harmed thereby?

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Colorado Nullifies Federal Hemp Ban With Governor’s Signature

COLORADO SPRINGS – On Tuesday, Colorado Gov.John Hickenlooper signed SB13-241 into law, effectively nullifying the federal ban on industrial hemp farming in the Centennial State.

Under the new law, the Colorado Department of Agriculture can create a state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program and Registry, giving Colorado’s farmers the ability to begin the process to “engage in industrial hemp cultivation for commercial purposes.”

The recent passage of Amendment 64 legalizing the cultivation and recreational use of marijuana in Colorado had the major impact on the state’s agricultural sector, and laid the groundwork for passage of this bill. Now, farmers in Colorado can apply for a 10 acre research plot, or they can apply for larger farms.

“I believe this is really going to revitalize and strengthen farm communities,” says Ryan Lofin, the man who planted Americas first hemp crop in 60 years on 60 acres of his family’s Colorado farmland. That plot previously supported alfalfa.

Steve Wilson of the Missouri Hemp Network praised Colordado’s new law.

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Crossing the Rubicon?

In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar was leading his army and came upon the Rubicon River. The Provence  on the opposite side of the river had a law that said that no general could lead armies in that province. All armies had to be disbanded and the generals could not be in front. The penalty for disobeying this law was death to the general and death to the soldiers.

Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon River leading his army and said, “The die is cast.” – He fought and defeated the local forces and that law was then abolished. Since that time, the phrase” crossing the Rubicon” survived and represents any situation in which there is no turning back. Whatever consequences arise from this decision are accepted.

We citizens of these United States  have “crossed the Rubicon.” We are confronted daily with a federal government that is overreaching and intrusive. Their voracious appetite for power and control has encroached on our very liberty and freedom.

With a heavy hand and an abuse of power, the federal government has sought to run roughshod over the sovereignty of our states, and has insisted on making laws, rules and regulations severely curtailing the freedom, liberty and rights enjoyed by this citizenry.

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Your Congress, Your NSA Spying

by Jim Harper, CATO Institute

The National Security Agency is collecting records of every domestic and cross-border Verizon phone call between now and July 19th. The secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over these records has been leaked to the Guardian.

You may find that outrageous. 1984 has arrived. Big Brother is watching you.

But the author of this story is not George Orwell. It’s Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, Senator Diane Feinstein of California, and you.

Here’s what I mean: In June of last year, Representative Smith (R) introduced H.R. 5949, the FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012. Its purpose was to extend the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 for five years, continuing the government’s authority to collect data like this under secret court orders. The House Judiciary Committee reported the bill to the full House a few days later. The House Intelligence Committee, having joint jurisdiction over the bill, reported it at the beginning of August. And in mid-September, the Housepassed the bill by a vote of 301 to 118.

Sent to the Senate, the bill languished until very late in the year. But with the government’s secret wiretapping authority set to expire, the Senate took up the bill on December 27th. Whether by plan or coincidence, the Senate debated secret surveillance of Americans’ communications during the lazy, distracted period between Christmas and the new year.

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