Undoubtedly it was just an oversight on Thomas Jefferson’s part when he wrote that man’s unalienable rights include “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — but not free cellphones. True, the telephone hadn’t even been invented in 1776, but surely the Sage of Monticello could have included a right to any and all means of communication. How can one be expected to pursue happiness without it?
One of the quintessential ingredients of small-town America is the local civic group, an organization of individuals who attempt to better their community by influencing their local government. Of course, not everyone appreciates their efforts — especially politicians who prefer to do as they please without interference from the people they are supposed to be serving.
On November 2, 1889, the Dakota Territory ceased to exist, becoming the states of North and South Dakota — or so the history books tell us.
The U.S. Supreme Court may have just opened the floodgates to individuals wishing to challenge various federal laws on the grounds that they violate the 10th Amendment. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that individuals do have standing to make such legal challenges if they can demonstrate that they will suffer harm if the laws they are challenging are applied to them.
Give Dennis Kucinich credit for tenacity. Having been thwarted by the House of Representatives’ leadership in his attempt to get the House to pass a resolution demanding an end to President Barack Obama’s unconstitutional war in Libya, the Ohio Democrat, along with nine other Congressmen, is suing Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in federal court in hopes of putting a stop to the United States’ involvement in the NATO operation.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is issuing a new edition of its manual, the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, the New York Times reports. The 2011 edition, the paper says, gives “significant new powers” to FBI agents, allowing them “to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention.”
Freedom of movement, enshrined in Western law as far back as the Magna Carta, continues to suffer at the hands of government in the United States. All airline passengers are subjected to (often humiliating) searches and can be denied their right to travel by government agents. Railroad and subway passengers are often searched as well. Now, it seems, even taking a taxi in New York City can precipitate treatment as a criminal suspect — a constitutional violation that the New York Civil Liberties Union is challenging in court.
The federal government has nearly maxed out its credit card — for now. The national debt is fast approaching the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and only managed to avoid hitting it on May 16 because of “extraordinary measures” taken by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. According to Geithner, the debt will now reach the limit on August 2. He is urging Congress to increase the limit and allow Treasury to issue more bonds. The alternative, he says, is a doomsday scenario.
“If we are not even free anymore to decide something as basic as what we wish to eat or drink, how much freedom do we really have left?” asked Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) in his May 16 Texas Straight Talk.
Paul was referring to the Food and Drug Administration’s ban on the interstate sale of raw milk — milk that has not been pasteurized. The FDA believes raw milk is unsafe because it “can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses.” The agency also claims that raw milk is no more healthful than pasteurized milk.
From reading the news and listening to the talking heads, one might get the impression that the Tea Party movement consists of government-slashing radicals who are equally fed up with both the big-government Democrats and the slightly-smaller-government Republicans. A recent McClatchy-Marist poll, however, suggests that Tea Party members and sympathizers are far less Ron Paul and far more Mitt Romney.