The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review has ruled that telecommunications companies must assist the executive branch in wiretapping American citizens’ e-mail messages and phone calls, the New York Times reported on January 15. Although the decision didn’t deal directly with the constitutionality of warrantless wiretaps, the decision is troubling for a number of reasons.
This topic reminds me of the story about the national politician who campaigned on a party platform promoting the Welfare State. His stump speech was filled with promises of all the government services that he would fight for, if the voters would just elect him to Congress. He promised to meet all of the people’s needs relating to childcare, education, nutrition, housing, transportation, healthcare, pensions, and good-paying jobs for every citizen. Finally, at one town hall meeting, a boy raised his hand and asked, “Why would we need jobs?”
"Federalism" is one of those words that turns many readers aside, as it conjures up images of boring old theoretical interpretations of John Locke treatises. The reality of federalism is much more exciting than the theory — it is actually about the insatiable struggle for power between elites in the federal government and elites in the state governments. Money, power, secret tribunals, corruption: now those things are interesting.
On December 10 the Judiciary Committee of the Ohio House held a hearing on House Joint Resolution No. 8 (HJR 8), “Applying to the Congress of the United States pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution to call a constitutional convention for proposing amendments.” A couple days earlier an AP article had stated that there could be a “possible vote” on HJR 8 at the hearing. However, pro-constitution citizens, including members of the John Birch Society, Campaign for Liberty, and other like-minded groups, had been alerted about the hearing late in the preceding week.
Plaxico Burress and Francis Lewis, two prominent residents of the state of New York, lived three centuries apart. Burress is a New York Giants football player, and he was the star of football's Superbowl XLII, catching the winning touchdown for the Giants against the New England Patriots last year. Lewis was one of our Founding Fathers, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence and a congressional representative. In many ways the two men are very different in terms of character, heritage, circumstances, profession, and temperament. Yet both surprisingly share several common threads beyond somewhat unusual names.