Expatriation – No Citizenship, No Constitutional Rights

At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, again, here comes another dangerous tool aimed at avoiding Constitutional restrictions in the name of fighting terrorism.  It is clear that our Congressmen believe that the pesky Constitution severely limits them in their noble efforts to keep us poor defenseless little citizens safe.  Members of Congress vehemently defended their vote for NDAA by stating that US Citizens were specifically excluded from detention under the counterterrorism provisions.  Although we know that to be doubtful, Senators Joe Liebermann and Scott Brown along with Representatives Charles Dent, Jason Altmire, Robert Latta and Frank Wolf are working to make that defense irrelevant – eliminate the person’s citizenship and he HAS no Constitutional rights – problem solved.  These men have submitted for review S. 1698 and H.R. 3166, bills that will be better known as the Enemy Expatriation Act.

Interesting how the words of our founders still come back to haunt us.  In the Letter from a Federal Farmer 8, the author warns us that:

Men may always be too cautious to commit alarming and glaring iniquities; but they, as well as systems, are liable to be corrupted by slow degrees.

That is exactly what has happened.  The elimination of Constitutional rights of US Citizens are being eroded by slow degrees. Consider the following:

Immediately after 9/11, Congress passes the Patriot Act, legislation that in part allows the FBI to conduct warrantless searches and seize people and property without probable cause and without judicial review.

Next we have Janet Napolitano issuing in an OFFICIAL REPORT of the Department of Homeland Security stating that soldiers returning from Iraq and those who oppose abortion, along with others who hold conservative American values are the real potential terrorists.

Recently, in April of 2011, the Government Accountability office reported that State Department and DHS officials could not agree on “what degree of ‘association’ with a terrorist is sufficient to render an applicant ineligible for a visa.”  Through this report we know that our US Visa offices are and have been granting legal resident status to citizens who have documented terrorist affiliation.  We also know that these legal residents have been granted full citizenship in spite of their documented terrorist affiliation.  Case in point; consider Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber, who was granted a student visa and then full citizenship all the while being on a terrorist watch list.  Because of Faisal Shahzad’s terrorist attack on America, Eric Holder went on a campaign, not to fix our immigration system or to limit the real terrorists, but to declare that OUR Constitutional rights should be “more flexible” so we can combat terrorism.

Every move that has been taken by this government moves us closer and closer to the death of the Constitution in the name of combating terrorism.

Next, the National Defense Authorization Act declares an indefinite worldwide war on terrorism and makes provision for the indefinite detention of those whom the government labels terrorists, or belligerents, or hostiles, or…?

Congressman after Congressman has declared that these sections EXCLUDE US Citizens.  They ignore section 4 that authorizes open and unchecked waivers of any established limitations. They claim that the language of this Act, “The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States” gives that exclusion, even though telling a government agency they are not required to do something is not the same as prohibiting them from doing it.  Not even close.  We have declared open and undefined war on the nebulous enemy – “terrorism”, and we have given the President the ability to detain US Citizens indefinitely. Never fear, while admitting that NDAA grants such authority, the current President has promised he will not use that power.

Obama will never have to keep that promise if the Enemy Expatriation Act passes, since this act will strip US Citizens of their citizenship for simply being suspected of association with terrorist activity.

The Immigration and Nationality Act establishes guidelines of how a citizen can “lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality”.  The act then proceeds to list seven ways someone can relinquish their citizenship, among those acts is treason.  The Enemy Expatriation Act adds an additional criteria, language straight out of those troublingly worded sections of NDAA that we were told were not aimed at US Citizens.  According to Senator Leibermann and others, citizens both by birth and naturalization do not deserve their citizenship if they are suspected of:

engaging in, or purposefully and materially supporting, hostilities against the United States.

We should be asking ourselves, why do we need this language in addition to the crime of treason already listed as a way to lose citizenship.  The key may lie in the definition of treason in the Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist of only levying war against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving Aid and comfort.  No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Constitution and the provisions in the Immigration act both require a conviction of treason in court.  The standard of engaging in or purposefully and materially supporting, as stated in the Enemy Expatriation Act contains no requirement for CONVICTION of these activities.  The Patriot Act allows the government to build their suspicion upon information obtained using warrantless searches.  The Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice have made it clear who they think the enemy is and that they believe these “enemies” deserve no Constitutional rights.  But I guarantee, those in favor of the Enemy Expatriation Act will claim that they have now defined “hostilities” and this will protect those citizens who have “nothing to hide”.  The act declares “hostilities” for THIS SECTION means, any conflict subject to the laws of war.   This does not define “hostilities” for any other document in effect.  We must remember NDAA has declared open and continual war on terrorism.  This “limitation” is no limitation at all.

Do not be fooled.  Arm yourself with the truth!

Will a Spineless Congress Allow More Obama Lawlessness?

About six months ago I gave REAL reasons why Obama should be impeached. Now as part of President Obama’s fundamental transformation of America, this lawless tyrant is intent upon completely overturning one of the most fundamental characteristics of our Republic; Separation of Powers. The checks and balances in the American system were instituted for the express purpose of combating the rise of a tyrannical and oppressive government.

Nonetheless, on December 31, 2011 Josh Earnest, White House deputy press secretary said, “the president will have a larger playing field. If that includes Congress, all the better,” But, he added, “that’s no longer a requirement.” The president did not waste any time in thumbing his nose at the rule of law. Just today, the President announced the “recess appointment” for the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three new members to the National Labor Relations board. So what is the problem? Congress is NOT IN RECESS. The President has made a complete end run of Congress and has violated his limitations in Separation of Powers. But what is the big deal about Separation of Powers?

James Madison points out in Federalist 47 that,

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Our founders spent a great deal of time discussing separation of powers and believed that such separation was essential to the protection of our liberty. The discussion of the time was not whether these branches SHOULD be separate, but to WHAT DEGREE they should be separate; the founders knowing, as Madison points out, that a separation of the three branches of government was necessary to preserve Liberty. They all agreed that the accumulation of all powers by one person or a single group of people is the very definition of tyranny. “Where the accumulation of power is possible, no further argument is necessary” to support a division and separation of those powers. Madison declares: “…by so contriving the interior structure of the government as that its several constituent parts may, by their mutual relations, be the means of keeping each other in their proper places. “

Our Founders also believed that a certain amount “blending” of these departments was necessary to prevent one Branch from usurping power over the other. This blending is what we know as checks and balances. Madison understood that simply enumerating powers and identifying boundaries on paper would be an insufficient barrier “to the encroaching spirit of power.” Liberty cannot be preserved unless you allow for departmental oversight. Madison made this point very clear:

”But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government.”

The abuses of this President definitely need to be controlled. The absolute amazing thing about this entire scenario is that a President was IMPEACHED for the very thing that our current lawless Executive is doing. On March 3, 1867 Congress enacted the Tenure of Office Act over the veto of President Andrew Johnson. The Tenure of Office Act was designed to prevent the President from removing any office holder appointed by a past president without the advice and consent of the Senate. Johnson did not acknowledge this limitation and publicly declared the 39th Congress was not a Congress at all. He then removed the then Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton from office and appointed Ulysses S. Grant in his place. On February 24, 1868 the House of Representatives brought 11 articles of impeachment against Johnson according to article 2 of the Constitution. Ten of these articles were dedicated to Johnson’s ignoring this Separation of Powers. Johnson was successfully impeached by the House, but was acquitted after trial. Although several Governors had been impeached in the colonies, this was the first sitting president to be impeached. Most impeachments have occurred due to the executive branch ignoring its limitations through separation of powers.

In this case, unlike today, Congress fulfilled their responsibility in the “checks and balance” aspect of the Separation of Power and impeached Johnson. Our founders knew that these checks and balances MUST be utilized to prevent the natural course of men who wish to be tyrants. Madison explains:

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.”

If such strong checks were and are necessary to resist the tyranny of men, then why are these checks not being employed? History and experience prove not only that Obama’s attempts to completely destroy liberty must be stopped, but that Congress has the ability to stop him. What has happened to the integrity and resolve of the men and women we have elected to protect Liberty? I believe much of it has to do with a complete ignorance of history and a complete lack of understanding of the Constitution. The House of Representatives, by their complete inaction, will allow another dangerous precedent to eat away at America’s Constitutional foundations. The House must begin the impeachment process and end this unconstitutional usurpation by the executive branch, TODAY. We cannot allow this tyranny to continue. Congress must know if they will not stand for Liberty, WE WILL. Just a reminder, Congress, YOU WORK FOR US. Your job obligations and responsibilities are clearly identified in the law, in the Constitution and in the “operator’s manual” written by those who wrote the Constitution. If you don’t understand them, I am more than happy to come and teach you. But do hear us, Congress… Do your job or be fired!

Step up and defend Liberty.

The Inalienable Right to Life

It seems to be growing increasingly popular to use the 10th Amendment to justify carte blanche legislative authority within the states. Even some Presidential candidates have implied that because of the 10th Amendment, states can “pass whatever laws they want.” Recently, others have said that if a state wants to legalize abortion, the 10th Amendment gives the state the power to do so. I would like to assert that some issues cannot be legislated by the states and in particular abortion is NOT a state’s rights issue, and here’s why:

We cannot fully understand the 10th Amendment until we understand of the 9th Amendment as well. The 9th Amendment says:

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

And to understand the 9th Amendment we must understand the debate that produced it. The debate was over the incorporation of the Bill of Rights into our Constitution.

Alexander Hamilton was not in favor of incorporating the Bill of Rights. As he states in Federalist 84,

I go further, and affirm, that Bills of Rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. (emphasis added)

It was Hamilton’s belief that the Constitution was very clear as to the limitation of powers for the Federal Government. His greatest fear was that by incorporating a “list” of rights, it would provide those in power the opportunity to spread tyranny and liberty through interpretation and regulation.

They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority, which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the National Government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for Bills of Rights. (emphasis added)

In other words he is saying that those in power would see the enumerated list of rights as areas that the branches of government must define and regulate – else why would they be listed?

In the end James Madison felt he had the solution to this problem.

It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow, by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution. (Emphasis added)

Madison, when speaking of the “last clause of the fourth resolution,” was referring to what we now know as the 9th Amendment. He was telling all of those who were not comfortable in ratifying Bills of Rights, that the 9th Amendment would solve all those problems. Madison believed that specifically stating that the Bills of Rights do not in any way give the government more power than was already given and reaffirming that these rights belong to the PEOPLE and not the government, would create a barrier of protection against encroachment of these important rights belonging to the people.

The key to the 10th Amendment is understanding that our Founders went out of their way to make sure it was abundantly clear that the Rights enumerated belong to the PEOPLE and not to the Government – neither state nor federal. So when the 10th Amendment says, The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people, our founders were NOT creating three separate seats of power in the United States: the Feds, the States, and the People. They were saying, in conjunction with the 9th Amendment, hey United States, hey States, these rights belong to the PEOPLE through the States. The founders never intended for the States to disparage these rights, any more than they intended the Federal government of the United States to disparage them.

Our Founders never intended to invest in the states the power to remove someone’s right to bear arms, for instance, otherwise the Second Amendment would not say,

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

If a state could have power to eliminate the right of its citizens to bear arms, the objective of maintaining a free state would be defeated and that state would become a tyrant over its people. Our founders never intended for the States to have the ability to violate someone’s free speech, right to religious liberty, or takes someone’s person, property or life without due process, else the states again, would be the tyrant over its people. While there are many things, in fact most things, that the States should legislate, there are certain inalienable rights that cannot under our Constitution be legislated away.

Life is not something that should be legislated away. Life is an inalienable right. That this right begins at conception is a biological fact. This fact was not “overturned” by science in Roe v. Wade, but by manipulation of facts through law. If real science had been used and not legal manipulation, denying life in the womb at conception would have failed. The argument of viability, as established by Roe, is based upon the argument that if you remove the fetus from the womb at a certain point, that fetus (or if you prefer those cells) would die and therefore was not alive and not a person. Logically speaking, by admitting that this life will die implies that it was alive at some point. Using this same logic to determine that life never existed does not hold up in science either. There are many single celled organisms that will only survive on a particular growth medium. You will be hard pressed to find a microbiologist tell you that these organisms were never alive, because they failed to live outside their nutrient rich medium. Additionally, by the very definition of abortion, you must admit life exists at the time of abortion. You cannot abort an action that has never begun. Therefore, Roe is not only unconstitutional, but logically and scientifically unsound. Even the judge in Roe admitted if it would be established in court that life began at an earlier stage, this life would have rights. This error is not a matter of science, but a matter of incompetent legal argument.

Finally, to use the 10th Amendment as an excuse to deprive someone of life is a misapplication of Constitutional principles. Our Declaration of Independence and Constitution are both very clear as to the founder’s understanding of the right to Life. If we do not have life, we have neither Liberty, nor an opportunity to pursue happiness. In fact, our founders repeatedly declared that they were pledging life, fortune and sacred honor for “ages and millions yet unborn.” Abortion is not a state issue as assigned by the 10th Amendment, nor is it a “social” issue not to be discussed; it is that very matter of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness upon which our Constitution is based. A state cannot adopt laws to eliminate free speech and cannot pass laws to legalize murder and the 10th Amendment cannot be used to justify abortion. To claim to be a Constitutionalist and say the 10th Amendment permits a state to legalize abortion is to misunderstand the Constitution and the 10th Amendment itself.

Some would use the same Constitutional argument against the death penalty. Just like abortion, one may be morally opposed to the death penalty, but there is a difference in these two issues from a Constitutional perspective. You have the ability to forfeit your Liberty, through the application of due process, by committing a capital offense. Abortion, however, is sentencing someone to death who has committed no crime, without due process.

We must remember that Liberty is not only freedom, but freedom fettered by morality. Some “social” issues that touch on morality are a matter of Constitutional relevance, and are essential to maintaining Liberty. Sadly, we live in a society that increasingly believes, as Suhas Sreedhar, 26, an engineer working in a computer company in Manhattan who states in a USA Today article, “God? Purpose? You don’t need an opinion on those things to function.” You do, however, need to have an opinion of these things to maintain Liberty.

Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? -Thomas Jefferson.