Tag Archives: federal government

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA)

Civil liberties organizations launched a week of Internet-wide protests today against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA), the controversial cybersecurity legislation that would negate existing privacy laws and allow companies to share user data with the government without a court order.

The coalition is urging the public to take part in a Twitter protest directed at their lawmakers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created an interactive tool for people to find their representatives and their Twitter handles, and to share how CISPA’s privacy invasions would affect their day-to-day lives.

“CISPA would allow ISPs, social networking sites, and anyone else handling Internet communications to monitor users and pass information to the government without any judicial oversight,” said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman. “The language of this bill is dangerously vague, so that personal online activity – from the mundane to the intimate – could be implicated.”

The campaign will use the hashtags #CongressTMI and #CISPA. In addition to the Twitter protest, organizations are planning letters of opposition and publishing articles outlining the civil liberties implications of the bill.

“Some people believe that we have to sacrifice civil liberties in order to shore up cybersecurity, but that’s misunderstanding both issues,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “Giving companies carte blanche to bypass federal law does not make us safer – it puts us at more risk.”

CISPA is sponsored by Representatives Mike Rogers (R-MI) and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD). Stop Cyber Spying Week participants are calling on Congress to reject legislation that sacrifices civil liberties in the name of security, and specifically to reject any legislation that:

* Uses dangerously vague language to define the breadth of data that can be shared with the government.
* Hands the reins of America’s cybersecurity defenses to the NSA, an agency with no transparency and little accountability.
* Allows data shared with the government to be used for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.

Participating groups include Access Now, American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, Avaaz, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, Center for Democracy and Technology, The Constitution Project, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, OpenMedia.ca, Open the Government, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Reporters Without Borders, Reverse Robo Call, Sunlight Foundation, Techdirt, and TechFreedom.

To take action against CISPA: http://cyberspying.eff.org/

What S&P Credit Rating Means for Ohio

While the S&P downgraded the federal government’s rating from AAA to AA+ negative, it upgraded Ohio’s AA+ negative rating to AA+ stable. Several reasons noted in the S&P report were Ohio’s recent budget reforms that closed the $8 billion shortfall without raising new taxes, continued economic recovery, and significant reduction in Ohio’s unemployment, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Gov. Kaisch’s unpopular fiscal manuvering is paying off.

Ohio is one of thirteen states given a AA+ credit rating by S&P. What do these ratings mean for Ohio? On the negative side of the ledger, Ohio is not among the twelve states with the strongest economies (acknowledged by S&P’s AAA credit rating) and therefore is not among the best places to invest. On the positive side, Ohio is among thirteen of the second best states in which to invest and develop business. Because credit worthiness equates to level of risk, Ohio is among states with the second lowest level of risk to investors and lenders. As WSJ noted, the improved credit rating also will reduce the cost of borrowing throughout the state. It may even attract attention of entrepreneurs to Ohio’s improving business environment.

The other twenty-five states in the Tax Foundation analysis pose greater credit risks and indicate less potential for economic growth, less ability to pay current and future debt, and consequently less attractive places to invest, for example less attractive to new business start-ups.

The key to economic stability and growth is sound fiscal management. When tempered by sound moral principles, prosperous political economy will result in the financial well-being of all citizens. The moral aspect of the political economy of states is usually overlooked in economic analysis. It certainly is not a factor in a state’s credit rating, but maybe it should.

One Week in the Life of a Police State

By John W. Whitehead

While Americans have been busy getting and spending, the powers-that-be have erected a police/surveillance state around us. This is reflected in the government’s single-minded quest to acquire ever greater powers, the fusion of the police and the courts, and the extent to which our elected representatives have sold us out to the highest bidders—namely, the corporate state and military industrial complex.

Indeed, a handful of seemingly unrelated incidents in the week leading up to Memorial Day perfectly encapsulate how much the snare enclosing us has tightened, how little recourse we really have—at least in the courts, and how truly bleak is the landscape of our freedoms. What these incidents reveal is that the governmental bureaucracy has stopped viewing us, the American people, as human beings who should be treated with worth and dignity. That was the purpose of the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of our persons and effects was designed so that government agents would be forced to treat us with due respect. With this protection now gone, those who attempt to exercise their rights will often be forced to defend themselves against an increasingly inflexible and uncompromising government.

For example, on May 24, 2011, a Virginia Circuit Court refused to reverse the expulsion of a 14-year-old honor student charged under a school zero tolerance policy with “violent criminal conduct” and possession of a weapon for shooting plastic “spitballs” at classmates. This young man was eventually faced with three assault and battery charges as a result of three students being hit on the arms by the spitballs. Despite the fact that the judge acknowledged the school’s punishment to be overreaching, he refused to intervene, essentially washing his hands of the matter and leaving it to the schools to act as they see fit.

Two days later, on May 26, the U.S. Supreme Court—the highest court in the land, in a devastating ruling that could very well do away with what little Fourth Amendment protections remain to public school students and their families, threw out a lower court ruling in Alford v. Greene which required government authorities to secure a warrant, a court order or parental consent before interrogating students at school. The ramifications are far-reaching, rendering public school students as wards of the state. Once again, the courts sided with law enforcement against the rights of the people.

That night, in a race against the clock, Congress pushed through a four-year extension of three controversial provisions in the USA Patriot Act that authorize the government to use aggressive surveillance tactics in the so-called war against terror. Within hours of the Patriot Act extension being passed, however, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, revealed that the government has been broadly interpreting the Patriot Act for its own purposes and keeping that interpretation under wraps.

Then, on May 28, a small group of young people showed up at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC, to protest a recent appeals court ruling that expressive dancing is prohibited at the memorial. Swaying minimally to whatever music was in their heads, the small group barely had time to “bust a move” before Park Police descended on them. The resulting fracas, in which police choked and body slammed one protester, Adam Kokesh, handcuffed others and shut the memorial down altogether, was captured on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jUU3yCy3uI).

For anyone wanting to truly understand what it is to live in a police state, which U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas defined as one “in which all dissent is suppressed or rigidly controlled,” I would strongly recommend watching the footage. This Jefferson Memorial event is just the latest in a long series of incidents that clearly illustrate the extent to which our government has adopted an authoritarian mindset, one that is most clearly seen in the way law enforcement deals with American citizens.

Consider, for example, a recent incident involving a young ex-Marine who was killed after a SWAT team kicked open the door of his Arizona home during a drug raid and opened fire. According to news reports, Jose Guerena, 26 years old and the father of two young children, grabbed a gun in response to the forced invasion but never fired. Police officers were not as restrained. The young Iraqi war veteran was allegedly fired upon 71 times in what appears to be yet another senseless killing. Guerena had no prior criminal record, and the police found nothing illegal in his home.

Shocking, yes, but what’s more shocking is that such raids, which annihilate the Fourth Amendment, are actually being sanctioned by the courts. Just a few weeks ago, the Indiana Supreme Court broadly ruled in Barnes v. State that people don’t have the right to resist police officers who enter their homes illegally. And then within days of that ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively decimated the Fourth Amendment in an 8-1 ruling in Kentucky v. King by giving police more leeway to smash down doors of homes or apartments without a warrant when in search of illegal drugs which they suspect might be destroyed if the Fourth Amendment requirement of a warrant were followed.

What these assorted court rulings and incidents add up to is a nation that is fast imploding, one that is losing sight of what freedom is really all about and, in the process, is transitioning from a republic governed by the people to a police state governed by the strong arm of the law. In such an environment, the law becomes yet another tool to oppress the people.

America is spiraling into an authoritarian vortex from which there appears to be no return. And if freedom is to survive, we’re going to need leaders—not talking news heads or politicians at rallies—who will, like the great dissidents of the past such as Mahatma Gandhi, dare to defy the “law” and the establishment in effectuating change.

One thing is clear: the time to act is now.

[The above is an edited version of the full article by the same title. The unedited version is worth reading, which you can do by clicking here.]

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org. Information about the Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.

Americans Still Strongly Favor Audit of the Fed

Looks like the Republicans want the fox watching the henhouse. Ron Paul, one of Congress’ sharpest critics of the Federal Reserve, has been chosen to lead the House subcommittee that monitors the Fed’s activities, and he promises to push again for a full audit of the nation’s central bank.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that Americans remain overwhelmingly in favor of auditing the Fed: 74% of Adults think it’s a good idea, and just 10% are opposed. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.

This is consistent with previous surveys and matches support for an audit found in July of last year when Paul’s audit proposal first began gaining attention in the House. Support has risen as high as 80% since then.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke opposes a public audit of the Fed’s monetary policies, but just 29% of Americans hold a favorable opinion of Bernanke. Only 36% of Adults now are at least somewhat confident in those who advise President Obama on economic policy.

Source: Ramussen Reports, December 10, 2010

Why a Constitutional Convention To Correct Unconstitutional Health Care Legislation Is Not A Good Idea

Alabama Policy Institute is calling for a constitutional convention under the 5th Amendment to correct the abuse of power by the Democrat-led Congress demonstrated by the recent passage of the Health Care Reform legislation. API’s intentions are no doubt good, but their proposed means is not.

Nevertheless, API President Gary Palmer does make some legitimate observations:

At least 36 states have introduced legislation against the implementation of the act. These actions, known as nullification, fail to address the major problem and have limited chance of success. Nullification is designed to persuade Congress to alter its action; this Congress appears immune to persuasion.

Other states have sued, claiming that the act is unconstitutional. These efforts will likely be futile because of the federal courts’ expansive reading of federal power.

Even if they are successful, repealing one act does little to address Congress’s habitual overreaching. The best course may be for the states to petition under Article V to amend the Constitution by calling a convention.

It’s that last phrase–calling a convention–that is troublesome. As with the Constitutional Convention of 1787, such a convention is a Pandora’s box. Once opened those chosen to participate from each state can rewrite the Constitutional anyway they like. No limits exist to what they may do or to what extent they may rewrite the fundamental law of the land.

Because politicians, most of whom are lawyers, are not trustworthy;
because the corruption in law and politics resembles the British government at the time of the Revolution; and because too many people vote based on the kick back in money, power or some other personal benefit they will receive, a convention presents too much potential danger to allow.

It is true as noted by Palmer that the proposed changes to the Constitution must to accepted by three-fourths of the states. Yet, a majority of the states voted in the current abusers of power. A majority of states and their representatives believe in the socialist cause of the same.

A similar and safer method would be to seek to amend the Constitution to prevent further abuse of power by federal politicians and those employees who circulate though the various related institutions. They are often the brains behinds the abuse of power as lobbyists and elected deal-makers. The amendment process does not require a closed door free-for-all convention.

The fact that Palmer quotes Alexander Hamilton makes me a little queasy. For it was Hamilton and his like-minded investors who thwarted the Constitution in their efforts to establish a federal bank corporation. Even though the official convention record keeper failed to record the debate on the day of it final determination, others like James Madison did record the debates concerning a federal bank and federal power of incorporation. Their records clearly show a majority decision against giving the federal government authority to incorporate and particularly federal bank. How convenient of the official record keeper.

Today, we have federally incorporated Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, all recession producing corporations.

Unlimited Taxation by Unlimited Government

By Daniel Downs

What do you think of the constitution? What is the purpose of the constitution? Do you know how many there are? Are they based on a particular view or philosophy?

Those are not questions only lawyers, law professors, and politicians should know how to answer. All American citizens are supposed to know the answers, but do we?

A constitution defines a form of government by detailing its authority, powers, functions, and procedures of operation. As such, a constitution limits government to its explicable roles. According to historian Merrill Jensen, a large number of early Americans wanted the first and current national constitution to give broad general powers over most of American governance and life. They wanted to duplicate British Imperial governance over which they would preside and through which they would continue to profit. A greater number of Americans, who remained faithful to the purpose of the Revolution, persistently thwarted every British loyalist strategy. That occurred during the making of the Articles of Confederation. Ten years later, the same federalists achieved a number of their goals with the ratification of our current Constitution.

The imperial aspiration of the federalists was given a severe blow with the establishment of the 10 amendments to the Constitution. The last two amendments ensured that the liberties won during the Revolution were not lost to a federal take-over of the nation. Both the natural law rights of the American people and the sovereignty of their states were guaranteed a lasting existence–at least until the now.

Journals written by James Madison and others during the constitutional conventions prove the illegality of the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and all other organizations incorporated by the federal government. Members of the constitutional conventions debated the incorporation of a federal banking system for a long time, and the majority decided against it. One result of violating this denial of legal authority has been an indirect tax by means of inflation created by the Federal Reserve on behalf of the federal bureaucrats and national corporations.

At the U.S. Treasury and on Wall Street, this form of unlimited taxation is called growth.

State sovereignty has been under threat by the federal government for a long time. One of the clever tricks employed by followers of the democrat regime of Franklin Roosevelt was the manipulation and prolongation of an economic crisis to achieve their goals. The same is happening during the current depression-like crisis. Because only states has been obligated by law to balance their budgets, the federal government, which is not obligated to do so, uses federal aid (stimulus) to gain consensus for their current policy agendas.

Who do you think will wind up paying for all of that aid? Taxpaying consumers will pay for it and for at least two reasons: (1) Federal aid comes with the strings attached. They will help states if states will support their political agendas, like health care reform. (2) Because the federal government intends to take from the wealthy to help pay for their socialist programs, wealthy business owners will pass the cost on to consumers. That is one way the federal government increases the indirect tax called inflation.

Those are a few reasons why everyone should invest the time to better under the history and meaning of the Constitution and the intended protection of our rights and liberty under a Supreme law of the land.

If interested in learning more, you will find valuable information at the websites of the following organizations: www.ohiofreedom.com, www.campaignforliberty.com, www.tenthamendmentcenter.com, and www.constitution.org.

H1N1 : Bailing Out Drug Companies

By Daniel Downs

Writing in the Epoch Times, Ronald Whitmont (M.D) quotes Center of Disease Control statistics showing the current level of deaths related to H1N1 and flu viruses are lower that the previous year.

Here’s what he wrote:

“In the 2007–2008 flu season, the CDC reported that the peak death rate (for pneumonia and influenza) was 9.1 percent. The highest death rate since the novel H1N1 pandemic began in early 2009 has only been 6.0 percent.”

If I’m not mistaken, flu shots for H1N1 were not available at the time of the CDC report, which was September 12, 2009.

Just last week, the mainstream media reported an epidemic number of H1N1 related deaths: 19 in just one week. Fox News reported 1,000 deaths.

Fox News sensational reporting failed to mention the time span during which those 1,000 deaths occurred. Was it 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, or more? It may have been for the past century. Even if the figure represents the number of deaths since the H1N1 outbreak (April 2009), the number of all influenza related deaths is still less than last season.

What Fox News number of death actually represents is anyone’s guess. One question that can be answered is whether the latest CDC statistics shows as drastic an increase in H1N1 deaths as hyped by the media.

The latest CDC report on influenza is for the week ending on October 24. The peak death rate for influenza and pneumonia related deaths was 7 percent. That is a 1 percent increase since the week ending on September 12 and 2 percent less than last season.

According to Whitmont, H1N1 is not only a milder and less lethal form of the flu but also is not transmitted from person to person as easily as other types of influenza. Therefore, most people who contract H1N1 will recover without needing medical attention. Those at risk are people with preconditions like asthma or diabetes.

“Ninety percent of those who suffered complications from H1N1 since early 2009 also had either asthma or a seizure disorder. Those with preexisting or underlying medical conditions (asthma, seizure disorder, diabetes, heart disease, and pregnancy) are at increased risk of suffering complications, which is typical for influenza.”

If H1N1 is a health-risk to those with other medical illnesses, why then are the government and media pushing the H1N1 vaccine as some sort of life-saving miracle drug?

I can think of only one reason: To bailout drug companies.

Since the government’s bailout-drug-companies sales campaign, the fake epidemic has been less deadly than the typical flu season of 2007-2008. It is interesting that the government and their corporate media partners are using a capitalistic approach to bailing out the drug companies.

We are all government-for profit guinea pigs now!

Ohio Representative Jarrod Martin Blogs for Constituents and Rule of Law

State Rep. Jarrod B. Martin is now communicating with his blog savvy constituents at jarrodmartin.blogspot.com. Rep. Martin is to be commended for utilizing a unique communication tool while that is just right for our ailing economy–he isn’t spending a penny of taxpayer money.

As mentioned in a previous post, Rep. Martin is one of the primary sponsors of the Ohio Sovereignty Resolution. Its purpose is to end the federal government’s abuse of power. The yardstick of the federal power is clear delineated in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. The State Sovereignty Resolution is a message demanding that Capitol Hill cease and desist violating the Constitution and state sovereignty.

In his post about the need for Ohio State Sovereignty Resolution, Rep. Martin presented the following example:

Today, the federal government continuously dictates to the states. The federal government tells the states that they must pass this legislation or that legislation if they are to receive federal funding. One most egregious example is in the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, states are required to raise Medicaid eligibility standards to 300% of the federal poverty guidelines. Here’s an example of what that means: Federal poverty guidelines for a four person household equals a yearly income of $21,200, 300% = 21,200 X 3 = $63,600!!! Therefore, in my house with my wife and three kids and my income as a State Representative, I can qualify for Medicaid!! Do we really need to give handouts to people with that kind of income?

Like the State Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Act, the above Act is a prime example of socialist lawmakers seeking to bring all Americans under their illegal control. Such laws show how the Supreme Law of the Land is continuously violated by our nation’s high and mighty lawbreakers.

And remember, they always claim it is for the good for us all.

To add insult to injury, Congress has passed another law that gives citizens with above average income entitlements to any and all entitlements (welfare). Thus, according to Rep. Martin,

[W]e are now providing social benefits to individuals based on a “categorical eligibility” meaning that if you qualify for one program (like unemployment) then you automatically qualify for other entitlement programs without any further verification of need! The result is that we are now giving food stamps to individuals with multiple rental properties and one family with a net worth of more than $400,000!

If you ask me, I think Rep. Martin is off to a very good start. I hope a majority of his constituents read his blog and back his efforts to restore freedom under the rule of law and advance our economy for the good of all and not just rich special interest. What better way than to deprive the federal government of its continual efforts to rob us of both local/state accountability and those tax-based benefits that only local communities and state government can most effectively provide.