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Rand Paul’s Filibuster, the Constitution, and National Security

From Big Government:

Congrats to Sen. Rand Paul for highlighting an important issue by using his prerogative as a U.S. senator to launch a good, old-fashioned filibuster on John Brennan’s nomination for CIA director.

As I’ve written previously, it seemed earlier that he might be off on a couple of points of constitutional law. In the rarest of circumstances, a President has power, under Article II of the Constitution, to launch a military strike on American soil—but only if that American citizen has taken up arms against his country and poses an imminent threat to American lives. He must be, legally, a military target. And it must be a situation so urgent—a Jack Bauer-type scene from 24—that there isn’t even time for federal agents to get into place to capture the terrorist.

But his overall point is correct: We are witnessing repeated power grabs by an Imperial President. And he is correct that, when non-combatants are involved (American citizens who may sympathize with terrorists but are not involved in actual or imminent attacks on our fellow citizens or homeland) the Bill of Rights applies with full force, and no President can step outside the court system under those circumstances.

But it’s different where combatants are concerned. A man who takes up arms against this country—not as a criminal but as a warrior—becomes a military target if, and only if, he is actually engaged in operations against America.

Last night, Paul made follow-up comments suggesting that, if the U.S. citizen in question actually posed an imminent threat to American lives, a President could take whatever actions were necessary to stop him. If so, we’re all on the same side of this debate.

It also must be noted that it’s hard to conceive of how such an imminent threat could happen on American soil. It happens in James Bond movies, but unless the traitor has a remote-controlled guided missile, he must approach some populated area before he can cause harm. If he’s close enough to set off a bomb, he’s probably close enough for police and federal agents to intercept him.

But enough people are supporting Rand Paul that it’s important to pick out a couple points on the margins. Most of what Paul is saying is right, but it’s worth noting where he’s saying something that many of his supporters are not, or saying something that’s wrong.

First, Paul acknowledged that the military can act in a war zone, and that we’re in war zones overseas. Some of Paul’s supporters are holding onto the idea that there has not been a legal war since World War II, and that both wars in the past quarter-century (in Iraq and Afghanistan) are unconstitutional.

Evidently, Paul disagrees (and rightly so), since a war zone only exists in a war. Not only that, but Paul sponsored legislation to de-authorize the war overseas. To end a war means that there is one currently underway, and to attempt to rescind Congress’ authorization for war means that Congress had previously authorized war, pursuant to the Declare War Clause of the Constitution.

Second, Paul said today, “I personally don’t think it would be very hard to try someone for treason.” Actually, it is extremely hard to convict someone of treason. The Constitution requires two eyewitness to the treasonous act. If you have an American-born terrorist in a foreign land, like Anwar Al-Awlaki who was hiding in Yemen and launching terrorist attacks, we could go for many years and never have eyewitnesses.

Sometimes traitors cannot be successfully convicted of treason and, ironically, it’s for a reason Rand Paul supports. It’s so no President could even try to get his political opponents convicted of treason as a trumped up charge. You must have people who actually saw the traitor take up arms against this country or directly aid those who did.

Third, Paul also referenced people who “denounced their citizenship” still deserving all the constitutional protections. Although many rights extend to all persons, whether citizens or foreigners, the United States can deal with enemies who are not citizens in a much deadlier fashion than citizens.

If someone has denounced their citizenship, then they are no longer American. It’s unclear from his comments whether Paul realizes that, or perhaps merely mispoke. It’s likewise unclear whether he recognizes the distinction between military operations and law enforcement, and between domestic and foreign operations. We’ll probably learn those things in the coming days.

But one of his points is so true it bears repeating: How do we end this war? Is this perpetual war, covering the entire globe? The Constitution gives Presidents broad powers to win a war. The idea of Presidents permanently claiming this power against an undefined enemy and then exerting those powers on our home soil is a profoundly disturbing thought — one that can endanger liberty itself for all Americans.

I’m not sure any of us know the perfect way out of that situation, though I’m sure we’re going to debate our options.

And that’s because Rand Paul was willing to actually follow through with a filibuster, and because many other senators committed to the Constitution—including other young and recent additions to the Senate, like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz—are backing that play as well.

So the Senate might have moved a step back in the direction of deserving the title of the world’s greatest deliberative body.

Where Are the Benghazi Survivors?

From The Heritage Foundation:

Benghazi is back in the news with the arrest of a suspect Thursday being held in Libya. This could spur Congress to renew efforts to shine light on the attack on the U.S. consulate on September 11, 2012.

Wounded survivors of the terrorist attack, however, are still under wraps. As reported by The Hill newspaper, Senators are applying pressure again. One option is to subpoena the survivors; another is to hold up confirmation for the new ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones, who would replace murdered U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Such tactics were semi-successfully used on the confirmations of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and director of Central Intelligence John Brennan. While both men were eventually confirmed by the Senate, the tactics did result in the White House shedding slightly more light on the events of that fateful night and its befuddled media aftermath. Tons more questions remain, though, that have not been answered in the two official reports nor in the several House and Senate Benghazi hearings.

Even though a reported 30 survivors have received treatment at Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, and some remain hospitalized more than six months after the tragedy, the media have failed to locate even one for an interview, and Members of Congress have been unable to call them to testify.

In a letter dated March 1, Representatives Frank Wolf (R–VA) and Jim Gerlach (R–PA) demanded names and contact information for each survivor, some State Department employees, and some CIA contractors to make it possible to contact them. Wolfe’s argument is that the survivors should not just be questioned but also publicly acknowledged for their bravery that night in September. “We should be honoring them,” Wolf said. “We should be thanking them.”

Subsequent to this letter, Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that he had visited a survivor located at Walter Reed, which, as far as we know, is at least more than his predecessor Hillary Clinton ever did.

Questions that remain unanswered include the reason for the Benghazi consulate’s existence, the rationale for the consulate’s lack of security in the face of such obvious terrorist threats, and the roots of the Administration’s failure to come to the aid of Americans under attack.

The survivors of Benghazi certainly have knowledge that is relevant and possibly incriminating and should have the opportunity to tell what they know.

Biden: Current Gun Control Push ‘Just the Beginning’

From Big Government:

Speaking on March 27, Vice President Joe Biden said the current push for “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazine bans are “just the beginning.”

Biden’s comments came during a conference call put together by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

During this same call, the vice president intimated that semi-automatic weapons are “weapons of war.” Biden quoted sources saying that people who wanted to use semi-autos “should join the United States military.”

Biden’s position is supported by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who says that despite polls showing that she and Biden are on the wrong side of the gun rights debate, “whatever passes in Congress now will not be the end of the day for [gun control].”

Pelosi said if the ban on “assault weapons” fails to pass, as it looks like it will, that simply provides greater motivation “for Congress to approve strong legislation on universal background checks.”

“This is a very big deal for the public… [so] we have to go forward as boldly as we possibly can,” she said.

March Meeting CANCELLED due to Weather

Folks, we’ve decided to cancel tonight’s meeting due to the snowstorm.

Our next meeting will be April 2nd.

March 2013 Meeting

Our March 2013 Meeting is on March 5th at 7:00 PM, at the Church of the Nazarene, 506 North Main, Columbia City.

–WEATHER ALERT–  6-8 inches of snow are forecast for meeting time…please check this website and your email for updates.  I’ll try to get a cancellation on WOWO and local TV stations as well.  At this time, we are proceeding with the meeting.

This month, we’ll provide an update regarding the creation of the Northern Indiana Citizens’ Coalition, an effort to join forces with other like-minded groups to increase our effectiveness.

We’ll also have workshops on the following issues:

  • 2nd Amendment Gun Rights
  • Obamacare and Entitlements
  • Sanctity of Life and Marriage
  • Education and Indoctrination

Each workshop will focus on how Whitley County Patriots can be most effective in the specified areas.

See you there!

William Federer to speak at Whitley County Patriots on February 5th!

Nationally-known speaker WILLIAM FEDERER is coming to Columbia City!

William will speak at our February 5th meeting, which starts at 7:00 PM.

WILLIAM FEDERER is one of our nation’s foremost experts on America’s rich history.

  • Appeared on numerous TV shows including O’Reilly Factor, NPR, MSNBC, ABC, FOX’s Hannity & Colmes.
  • Interviewed on thousands of radio programs.
  • Often quoted or referenced in USA Today, NY Times, Washington Times & Post, and a host of well-known magazines.
  • Author of over 20 books.

Join the Whitley County Patriots to hear historian WILLIAM FEDERER speak about our nation’s history and current state of affairs, and the threats that “we, the people” are facing.

LOCATION: Church of the Nazarene (across from Burger King)

506 North Main Street
Columbia City, IN 46725

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED AND WELCOME TO ATTEND!

December 2012 Meeting

Our December meeting will be Tuesday, December 4 at 7:00 PM, at the Church of the Nazarene, 506 North Main Street, Columbia City.

This month’s speakers include Vince Turney, Kathy Heuer, and David Ober.

Snacks and conversations after the meeting.

See you there!

So, this is how Liberty dies – with thunderous applause.

From South Florida 9-12:

My husband Doug wrote this and I wanted to share…

============================================

“…and whether I have EARNED your vote or not: I have heard you. I have *LISTENED* to you…”

“I have never been more HOPEFUL, about America…”

“We are not as divided as the pundits would suggest…”

“We are, and forever SHALL BE, the United States of America!!!!”

Ladies & gentlemen, fellow Americans – the President of the United States: BARACK OBAMA.

*FOUR MORE YEARS.*

I have sat quietly stunned for over an hour, trying to accept the meaning of this democratic moment. I can only think of Senator Padme Amidala’s pained (if prescient) observation, in “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith”, after Palpatine declares himself “Emperor” over the (former) Republic…

SO, THIS IS HOW LIBERTY DIES – WITH THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE.

 

 

Reclaim Whitley County — Call to Action Rally

A 3-part nondenominational Christian call to action to reawaken Whitley County’s spirituality and patriotism.

The rally will be held at the Church of the Nazarene, 506 North Main Street, Columbia City on the following dates:

  • Friday, November 2, 7:00 PM — Guest Speaker Peter Heck — “Why America no longer looks like a Christian nation”, music by Rom and Sharon Frazier
  • Saturday, November 3, 7:00 PM — Guest Speaker Rev. John  Lowe — “Vote your Christian beliefs”, music by the New Life Christian Church Music Ministry
  • Sunday, November 4, 2:00 PM — Guest Speaker Peter Heck — “How to turn America back to God”, music by the Messenger Quartet

About our speakers:

Peter Heck is one of the most engaging and energetic young speakers in the country.  With a powerful blend of humor and passion, Peter is entertaining and enlightening audiences across the United States.

A nationally read columnist and regional talk radio host who has been heard on over 200 radio stations throughout America, Peter Heck has shared the stage with some of the country’s most recognizable names – from best selling author and television personality Glenn Beck to comedic genius Tim Hawkins.

 

 

When faced with the choice of pursuing a lifetime dream of playing professional football or fulfilling the call of God on his life, Pastor John B. Lowe III chose to fulfill God’s calling into full-time ministry. Over twenty-seven years ago he attended RHEMA Bible College and hasn’t looked back ever since.  After twenty-seven years of effective, fervent ministry experience, Pastor Lowe is a mentor to ministers, marriages, and men.   He has been married to Debbie for over 36 years and they have four children who all serve God; John Bryan, Jeremiah, Michael and Brightie.  They also have three beautiful grandchildren; John Bradyn, Neveah and Kyra.

A free-will offering will be taken after each Service.

Obamacare’s 18 New Tax Hikes

From The Heritage Foundation:

Not only did the President and his partners in Congress take $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, but they also raise taxes by $836.3 billion to pay for it, with $36.3 billion hitting Americans in 2013 alone. Here’s the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Joint Committee on Taxation‘s (JCT) updated cost of the Obamacare tax hikes and penalties.

To read about more of Obamacare’s negative effects, click here.

God Bless America

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A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive. — Thomas Jefferson, letter to Lafayette, 1823

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