Last week I joined six Republican and three Democrat colleagues to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration over its illegal war against Libya. Now that more than 90 days have passed since the president began bombing Libya, no one can seriously claim that the administration has complied with the clear requirements of the 1973 War Powers Resolution.
In a remarkable act of chutzpah, the administration sent to Congress its response to the growing concern over its abuse of war powers. Its argument, in a nutshell, is that the War Powers Resolution is not relevant because US armed forces are not actually engaged in hostilities because Libya is so militarily weak it cannot fight back! This explanation would be laughable if not so horrific. The administration wants us to believe that there is no real violence because the victim cannot fight back? Imagine if this standard was applied to criminal law in the United States! I am sure Libyans on the receiving end of US and NATO bombs feel hostilities are quite definitely taking place.
We must recall the origins of these attacks on Libya. The Obama administration made no claim that Libyan leader Gaddafi was killing his civilian population. Rather, the claim was that Libya might begin killing its civilians in the future. One need not defend Gaddafi’s regime — and I most certainly do not — to object to this flimsy and dangerous rationale for violating the sovereignty of another country. Imagine a scenario where the UN approves military action against the United States as a preventative humanitarian measure over US enforcement of its immigration laws, for example!
Now in Libya we see the possible use of depleted uranium shells, we see infrastructure destroyed, we see universities bombed, we see all the “collateral damage.” Yet, this is a “humanitarian intervention”?
In our lawsuit against the administration, among other critical issues we are demanding that the courts provide relief and protection to the country from the administration’s policy that a president may commit the United States to a war under the authority of the United Nations and NATO without authorization from Congress, and that previously appropriated funds by Congress may be used for an unconstitutional and unauthorized war in Libya or other countries. These are fundamental Constitutional issues and I expect the judicial branch to treat our challenge with the same level of gravity as we do in the legislative branch.
Remember, we were told that this attack would last “days, not weeks” and we are already three months and likely nearly a billion dollars into it. As the bombings obviously target Gaddafi’s houses, even killing some of his family members, we can see that the real goal is regime change rather than protection of civilians. Do we know much about the rebels whose side we have taken in what is, in fact, a civil war?
Although it is a bit late, I am pleased to see that congressional leadership has started to listen to our constituents, who are solidly against this war on Libya. I commend Speaker Boehner’s expressions of dissatisfaction with the administration over this war and I sincerely hope he will use the full constitutional authority granted to the legislative branch to bring into check an administration clearly out of control.
Polls show that the American people increasingly favor a truly conservative foreign policy: one that rejects the leftist, utopian doctrines of nation building and preemptive war, and one that is NOT funded by debt. Forcing the Obama administration to obey the clear letter of the law is one step towards restoring a traditional, patriotic foreign policy that serves American interests.
Is the U.S. economy improving? That is what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would have us believe. Bernanke declared today that the “recovery appears to be proceeding at a moderate pace” and that everything is going pretty much as planned. Sadly, the mainstream media and most of the American people still seem to have faith in the economic pronouncements of Helicopter Ben. They seem to have forgotten all of the Bernanke quotes from before the financial crisis. Bernanke pledged that there would not be a housing crash and that there would not be a recession. It is amazing that anyone still believes that Bernanke has any credibility left.
Of course “economic recovery” is one of Barack Obama’s favorite new terms. He loves to talk about all of the signs that the economy is improving. To Obama, all of the recent bad economic news is no big deal. He says that what we are experiencing right now are simply “bumps on the road to recovery”.
Well, whether you want to call them “bumps” or “potholes” or “massive gaping wounds that are gushing blood all over the place”, the truth is that the U.S. economy is not improving at all. In fact, it is rapidly getting worse.
Let’s take a look at just a few areas of the economy….
Federal Government Finances
As I wrote about yesterday, the national debt is completely and totally out of control. Since Barack Obama took office, the U.S. national debt has increased by nearly 4 trillion dollars.
Keep in mind that from George Washington to Ronald Reagan, the U.S. government accumulated only 1 trillion dollars in debt.
Between 2007 and 2010, U.S. GDP grew by only 4.26%, but the U.S. national debt soared by 61% during that same time period.
Now the Democrats and the Republicans are busy negotiating over some modest reductions in spending.
But unprecedented federal spending is one of the only things propping the economy up right now.
If the U.S. economy is performing so poorly after being flooded with “stimulus money” from the federal government, what is going to happen once the federal government cuts back?
State And Local Government Finances
All over the United States, there are large numbers of state and local governments that are on the verge of bankruptcy.
For the moment, let’s just focus on the state of Illinois.
Did you know that things have gotten so bad in Illinois at this point that the Illinois state government is letting bills go unpaid for long periods of time on a regular basis?
Right now they have billions in unpaid bills and they are facing a financial future that is so bleak that it is almost indescribable.
In one recent article, author Stephen Lendman described the horrific financial crisis that Illinois is facing right now….
With spending exceeding revenues, and obligations not postponed, unpaid bills are growing “at a frightening rate. For instance, IGPA’s Fiscal Futures Model indicates (they) could reach $40 billion by July 1, 2013, with an associated delay in paying those bills of more than five years.”
Besides its $13 billion deficit and $6 billion in unpaid bills, its pension fund is about $130 billion in the red - a red flag that state workers may lose out altogether, wiping out their promised retirement savings.
But it isn’t just the state government that is having problems. According to Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, the average household in Chicago would owe a whopping $63,525 if all local government debt was divided up equally among all of the households.
The truth is that even if the finances of the federal government could somehow be fixed, there would still be dozens and dozens of very significant “government debt problems” all across America.
With so many state and local governments drowning in debt, jobs are being slashed at an alarming rate. UBS Investment Research is projecting that state and local governments in the U.S. will combine to slash a whopping 450,000 jobs by the end of next year.
So would the U.S. government step in and start bailing out state and local governments?
U.S. Representative Paul Ryan has said the following about the prospect of bailing out the states….
“If we bail out one state, then all of the debt of all of the states are almost explicitly on the books of the federal government.”
So for now, state and local governments are on their own.
Commercial Real Estate
Commercial real estate continues to decline all across America.
Moody’s/REAL All Property Type Aggregate Index fell 3.7% in April and is now the lowest it has been in over 10 years.
Overall, commercial real estate is down by over 40 percent since the peak back in 2007.
Residential Real Estate
The United States is dealing with a housing crash that never seems to end.
According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales in the United States fell another 3.8% in May.
During this housing crash home values have declined more than they did during the Great Depression and there does not appear to be any hope in sight.
New home sales are in even worse shape. During the first three months of this year, less new homes were sold in the U.S. than in any three month period ever recorded.
As 2009 began, the official U.S. unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Today it is 9.1 percent.
The American people keep waiting for a “jobs recovery”, but it has not shown up.
Sadly, all of this is part of a long-term trend.
Over the past decade, U.S. multinational corporations have been laying off millions of workers in the U.S. and hiring millions of workers overseas to take their place.
The labor of American workers is rapidly losing value in a globalized economy. Big corporations have a tough time justifying paying ten times more to a worker in the United States when they are allowed to hire people for slave labor wages overseas.
The share of the national income taken in by U.S. workers continues to decline. Just consider what Mortimer Zuckerman had to say in a recent article for usnews.com….
Labor’s share of national income has fallen to the lowest level in modern history, down to 57.5 percent in the first quarter as compared to 59.8 percent when the so-called recovery began. This reflects not only the 7 million fewer workers but the fact that wages for part-time workers now average $19,000—less than half the median income.
In the United States today, there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone. The number of “middle class jobs” has fallen by about 10 percent over the last decade.
Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year. That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.
We are seeing the rise of a whole class of people that are chronically unemployed. At the beginning of 2009, the number of “long-term unemployed” in the United States was approximately 2.6 million. Today, that number is up to 6.2 million.
So in light of these employment statistics, can anyone really say that the economy is improving?
The economy is the number one issue on the minds of the American people. There is an extraordinary about of economic pain out there today, and Americans are becoming impatient.
According to CNBC, the Money Anxiety Index is at its highest level in 30 years….
The latest indicator to ring up trouble is the Money Anxiety Index, which uses traditional economic metrics as well as other factors to gauge the level of consumers’ worry regarding their personal financial conditions.
According to the May figures, the MAI is not only at its highest level in 30 years at 91.9 but also two months away from indicating another dip into recession. In the past, five straight months of increases in the index often signaled recession.
Most recent polls show that the American people are rapidly becoming more pessimistic about the direction the U.S. economy is headed.
According to a recent CNN poll, 48 percent of Americans believe that “another Great Depression” is likely within the next 12 months.
When you really stop and think about that number, it is really frightening.
Ben Bernanke may not admit it, but the truth is that the price of just about everything is soaring.
For example, when Barack Obama took office, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States was $1.83. Today it is about $3.74.
So what are our politicians doing about it?
They just want to pretend that it isn’t happening.
In fact, members of Congress are actually tinkering with the idea of changing the way that inflation is calculated once again.
By making inflation appear lower, it would be easier for Congress to deny cost of living increases to those on Social Security and other social programs.
How sad is that?
As American families find it increasingly difficult to pay the mortgage and put food on the table, many of them find themselves forced to put off other expenses. According to one recent survey, 26 percent of Americans have put off doctor visits because of the economy.
Other Americans can’t make it at all without government assistance. As 2007 began, there were only 26 million Americans on food stamps. Today, there are more than 44 million Americans on food stamps, which is an all-time record.
It is not good to have so many Americans on food stamps, but it is probably better than the alternative.
If there were tens of millions of Americans that could not feed themselves we would probably already have economic riots in the streets.
So do our politicians have any solutions?
Of course not. Everything that they have tried has failed.
Several top Democrats in Washington D.C. are now calling for a new economic stimulus package. When in doubt, our politicians usually revert to spending more money.
Sadly, this is about the best that our economy is going to get.
What we are experiencing right now is “the recovery”. As we move forward things are going to get progressively worse.
A lot of people don’t like to hear that we are in the middle of a long-term economic decline, but that is the truth.
The era of tremendous economic prosperity for America is coming to an end.
An economic nightmare is coming.
You better get ready.
The People and the Message
Recently, a conservative, non-organized, grassroots group in Flathead County, Montana, known as The Flathead Liberty Bell, organized and administered what was called a Preparedness Expo as a community event. The purpose of the Expo was to help educate citizens of Montana (and others who would attend) regarding personal preparedness and political issues of our day. The Expo was held on June 18, 2011 from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm. It was in fact very well attended. There were over 1,000 people who attended this Expo throughout the day with approximately 40 different vendors, live music, games for children, food and drinks, among other events.
The Expo offered hands-on workshops, which were designed to help the community become more self-sufficient and prepared in cases of emergencies or natural disasters. There was a variety of vendor focusing on things such as, making your own candles, canning your own food, knowing economics and politics (such as my book, Freedom For A Change), making your own alcohol or fuel, using natural herbs and medicines, etc. Practically considering, the workshops were similar to what the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advances through their education efforts.
There were also notable speakers throughout the day at the Expo, including Washington State Representative Matt Shea (R), former 2008 U.S. Presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes, and former Sheriff Richard Mack. Each of these men has a clear and undeniable message: restore the principles of the Constitution of the United States of America because it has been progressively usurped.
The Attack of Constitution-Promoting People
With the Expo being as successful as it was and with the agenda of those who disagree with the message presented at the Expo, the attack upon the leaders and speakers of the Expo is equally clear. The attack can be summarized: “they advocate for a restoration of the militias of the States, the restoration of the States’ sovereignty, and the elimination of federal bureaucracies such as the Internal Revenue Service, etc. In short, they are potential terrorists and threats to our security.”
In forefront of the attacks is none other than the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a self-described law firm “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society.” SPLC’s routine actions and statements reveal, however, they are in reality dedicated to destroying the people who hold true the principles of America’s founding. With the same shot, they intend to destroy the message of the United States’ organic constitutional government itself.
Consider the AP Associated Press article Yahoo.com carried on its home page entitled Extremists Finding Fertile Territory in Northwest US where it describes Montana as a “hotbed” for a “number of hate groups and patriot groups”. In this article, SPLC is cited as a legitimate source on the subject, saying SPLC “tracks extremist groups and individuals”, not calling into question bias, motive or ideology held and demonstrated by SPLC. In other words, the AP report gives undeserved credibility to this prejudiced-proven group of big-government-loving, statists extremists who attack anyone they think threatens their agenda.
Perhaps the credence given to SPLC in this article broadcasted nationwide would be of no mention except for a few very alarming circumstances.
1. SPLC’s Implication and Connection. The AP report mentioned above attempts to draw a philosophical or doctrinal implication and connection from David Burgert recently “accused of opening fire on sheriff’s deputies”; “Idaho-based neo-Nazi Aryan Nations”; “anti-government and white supremacist groups and individuals”; “radical right groups”; “hate groups and patriot groups”; “extremist groups and individuals”; “violent extremists”; the “Unabomber”; “The Montana Freemen”; “Aryan Nations member Karl Gharst”; and “White supremacist April Goede” to the Flathead Liberty Bell, Chuck Baldwin, Stewart Rhodes, Richard Mack and Matt Shea—and by implication or association, myself.
After going through its version of “extremism” in Montana, the AP report draws it connection stating,
“A patriot group called Flathead Liberty Bell held a convention just last weekend, featuring right-wing speakers and sale of survival gear for what organizers believe is a coming showdown with federal authorities. It was a flashback to the 1990s, when groups like the Militia of Montana regularly held such expos”, quoting “Travis McAdams, executive director of the Helena-based Montana Human Rights Network, an anti-hate group.”
The AP report’s description was given by McAdams (not by those actually involved in or having personal knowledge of the Expo), whose ideology is seemingly similar to SPLC and who is given assumed credibility similar to SPLC regardless of political ideology or agenda. The article continues to draw its connection:
“Others include patriot leader and former Constitution Party vice presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, who believes the U.S. is headed for a fight between big-government globalists and independent patriots; Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, which wants law enforcement officers and military personnel to sign an oath against a one-world government conspiracy” (interestingly, the AP report fails to acknowledge Chuck Baldwin was also the presidential candidate in 2008 and only mentions his V.P. candidacy in 2004).
So, what conclusion of connections does this article attempt to make (which Yahoo.com felt was homepage, nationwide newsworthy)? Answer: any person who undermines, fundamentally questions or denounces the authority and power of the federal government and its thousands of bureaucracies over the reserved authority and rights of the individuals and States is an extremist, antigovernment, full of hate and a potential terrorist. To effectuate their conclusions, SPLC produces and disburses potential terrorist threat lists. This brings me to my second point of disturbing concern.
2. SPLC Connection to Law Enforcement Nationwide. SPLC has a well-established inside connection with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States–from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to County Sheriff’s Offices. SPLC feeds their analysis and conclusions on people they determine are “threats” to the “security of the nation”. This “watch list” type of information is spread from agency to agency (thanks as well to the effects of the Patriot Act and similar “anti-terrorism” federal laws).
I have seen the effects of this “watch list” approach first hand since I have lived in Montana where law enforcement agencies are put on “heightened alert or security” because a speaker–say, Chuck Baldwin–is speaking at a public event on political issues. It is sickening. Speaking of Chuck Baldwin, he has also experienced the effects of such a “watch list” when the state of Missouri released what is known as the “MIAC Report”, naming supporters of Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin as potential terrorists.
The origin of these effects is well known: SPLC and the like. How could this monopoly of statist agenda go unimpeded throughout the United States except that those in very powerful positions of politics (federal especially) are in bed with these supposed “experts” on terrorism? Power security is the name of the game SPLC plays with these folks.
What happens to a supposed free society when the executive branches of federal and state governments (charged with executing the laws) accept (dis)information a group like SPLC spreads and execute therefrom? Which neighbors will come to the defense of those the government deems “home-grown terrorists”? Which co-workers will be happy to provide “incriminating” information to the government who calls for people to report “home-grown terrorists”, as defined by groups like SPLC? Which pastors would quickly denounce these so-called terrorists, hiding under Nimrod’s favorite misuse of Scripture (Romans chapter 13)?
Who in law enforcement even questions that SPLC is a private company with private interest with an obvious anti-constitutional political agenda? Who in the other political branches of governments would check this misuse of discretion and power? How many even perceive this twisted display of “fighting justice”?
Our governments are instituted by us to comply with their constitutional forms and protect the rights of the citizens. However, they seem to (re)act upon the bias, prejudice and hatred spread by this private statist extremist group, SPLC and the like. This leads me to the third disturbing concern.
3. Montana Government Shirking Responsibility to Protect Citizens (So Far). No one in Montana’s political branches of government has publically called into question the reports like the one mentioned in this article, which attack and disparage the integrity and essence of what it means to be a citizen in this great State. Chuck Baldwin is a citizen of Montana; Flathead Liberty Bell is a non-incorporated, grass-roots group of Montana citizens; Stewart Rhodes is a citizen of Montana; Tim Baldwin (this author) is a citizen of Montana; Matt Shea is a sister-state representative, having similar interests as Montana citizens; Richard Mack is a former chief law enforcement officer who was named together with a Montana sheriff (Printz) in the famous, victorious State rights suit against the federal government known as Printz v. U.S., 521 U.S. 898 (1997); the people who attended the Preparedness Expo were mostly citizens of Montana—not to mention every person holding similar fundamental beliefs as those mentioned. Each one of these people has been either explicitly or implicitly deemed extremists and potential terrorists by SPLC and those who subscribe to its absurd premises and conclusions.
SPLC is on a witch hunt, and they have named the witches for trial. These accusations cannot go unanswered by State representatives whose duty and obligation it is to protect the citizens of Montana from unwarranted attacks by a group which has not only an obvious political agenda, but also the ears, eyes and minds of law enforcement agencies—in Montana—with the power of executing upon this type of information.
Will the elected officials in Montana publically stand up for the dignity and constitutional rights of these citizens? Do they see their duty as such? Are they afraid they too will be labeled in such a fashion? Are they scared the SPLC who is in bed with the federal government will also identify them as extremists and potential terrorists? Are they afraid they will harm their political career by standing up for these people and denouncing SPLC’s unfounded attacks? Are they ashamed of these Montanans SPLC deemed dangerous?
If there is one person in Montana’s political branches who sees the seriousness of the AP report highlighted in this article and who sees the appropriateness of responding to the allegations made by SPLC against Montana’s citizens and freedom-loving individuals, let him or her speak now.
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