As we watch fireworks, eat barbeque and reflect on our history, our independent spirit is threatened by increased government dependence. The Heritage Foundation reports that today more than one in five Americans, or about 67 million, depend on the federal government for assistance, more than ever before. Thanks to Obamacare, we are set to become even more dependent on federal programs.
There are federal programs covering many parts of life. Mike Brownfield reports that “a full 70 percent of the federal government’s budget goes to pay for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance, with recipients ranging from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries.” To implement these programs, Congress has exercised powers not authorized by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.
The Founding Fathers would be surprised by the growth of the federal government and Americans’ dependency on it. Patrick Henry said, “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.” When one in five Americans depend on government and fewer than half pay income taxes, people are not restraining the government.
Congressman Allen West doesn’t see the dependency trend reversing any time soon. As he wrote in a February blog post, “With the impending retirement of 77 million baby boomers and the continued liberal march toward government involvement in all parts of life, the trend in the number of Americans dependent on Washington seems to have only one direction: up.”
However, he does have confidence that “the essence of the American spirit does not want to be obliged to government for our daily routine. Americans want to fight for their independence and be successful providers for themselves and their families.” This is the independent American spirit that we celebrate on the Fourth of July.
Ronald Reagan said the government is the problem, not the solution. This Independence Day, let’s celebrate our nation’s independent spirit and keep an eye on increasing government dependence.
Roger Custer is the executive director of America’s Future Foundation.
In a considerable setback for a president eager to ravage the due process rights of the American people, Federal Judge Kathleen Forrest granted a preliminary injunction on Wednesday, striking down those sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 which sought to provide Barack Obama the power to indefinitely detain citizens without benefit of their 5th Amendment rights.
Signed very quietly into law on New Year’s Eve, the controversial Act has been roundly criticized as unconstitutional by groups on both the political left and right. Of greatest concern was Section 1021, which grants the United States military authority to exercise police powers on American soil. Upon order of the president and at his sole discretion, agents of the military are empowered to detain “until the end of hostilities” anyone the president believes to have “substantially supported” al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.”
Judge Forrest concluded that the Section “…failed to ‘pass Constitutional muster’ because its broad language could be used to quash political dissent.” In a statement clearly directed to lawmakers, she added, ”Section 1021 tries to do too much with too little – it lacks the minimal requirements of definition and scienter that could easily have been added, or could be added, to allow it to pass constitutional muster.” That is, Congress failed—perhaps deliberately– to define “substantial support” of terrorist groups or describe those activities which might be construed as crossing the legal line. And no law may be enforced if those to whom it applies are unable to clearly understand what a violation of that law entails.
Nothing could more plainly reveal the rank corruption and lust for power of the Manchurian Candidate than his involvement in crafting and then misrepresenting the final text and authority of the NDAA. According to Democrat Senator Carl Levin, it was Obama himself who demanded American citizens be included under the detention law and that the President have exclusive authority to invoke the statute. “The language which precluded the application of Section  to American citizens was in the bill that we originally approved…and the administration asked us to remove the language which says that U.S. citizens and lawful residents would not be subject to this section,” said Levin after the NDAA was signed into law.
Yet in his signing statement, Obama wrote that he had in fact forced Congress to “…[revise] provisions that otherwise would have jeopardized the safety, security and liberty of the American people.” So rather than the grand inquisitor, committing to prison any American citizens he chose to view as enemies, Obama claimed to be their champion and savior, protecting them from the excesses of an over-zealous Congress!
“I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens,” wrote Obama. “My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.” This of course was an outright lie, given the expressed meaning of the statute as Obama himself had demanded it be written. Leave it to Barack Obama to demand he be given absolute authority over the American public, yet claim in the next moment that he will not take advantage of it!
The Department of Justice, which defended the NDAA before Judge Forrest, will undoubtedly appeal her ruling. It is a judicial process Americans must watch closely as the free exercise of our Constitutional rights depends upon the outcome.
While it’s not clear who actually calls the vice president that, it is clear that his house and finances tell a different story. Here’s a picture of his home (not his official vice presidential residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.):
Zillow.com, a reliable real estate web site, estimates the worth of Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home (pictured above) to be a cool $2,856,950. (This does not appear to include the cottage on the Biden estate, which the vice president rents out to the Secret Service for more than $12,000 per year.)
“The vice president and his wife, Jill Biden, reported assets of between $239,000 and $866,000,” according to Bloomberg.
“I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it more calmly today. I don’t think these guys understand us,” Biden also told the Ohio audience.
Biden added: “What do they think we think? What do they think we think in our houses? We’re like the rich guys — we have dreams, we have aspirations.” Indeed.
The Alabama Legislature scored a huge victory on Friday, as Gov. Robert Bentley reluctantly signed immigration law H.B. 658 – after legislators refused to “moderate” provisions Bentley (and open-borders activists) had complained were too “harsh” against illegal aliens.
Alabama’s immigration law H.B. 56, patterned after Arizona’s S.B. 1070, passed in 2011, and has been called the toughest state immigration law in America. But several issues were causing legal Alabamans longer lines to obtain state documents and foreign executives issues with being detained, and those provisions were fixed in the new bill.
But H.B. 658 (PDF) also added two outstanding new provisions that made the law even tougher against illegals:
One requires the state Department of Homeland Security to publish on the Internet the names of illegal immigrants who appear in any state court.
The other section calls for school children in the state’s K-12 system to have their immigration status checked when they enroll. Bill sponsors Rep. Micky Hammon and Sen. Scott Beason have said that would allow the state to gauge the cost of educating illegal immigrants
Open-borders advocates freaked out over the new provisions and called on Bentley to veto it. And, sadly, Bentley whined about the bill, and called for a special session to “fix” it – in particular to remove the school provision.
But legislators made it clear they would not kow-tow to Bentley’s wavering resolve – and refused to make any changes to the bill during the special session. Bentley’s hand was forced, and he decided to sign the bill anyway, an extraordinary move. Bentley explained it as follows:
“In an effort to remove the distraction of immigration from the other business of the special session, I decided to sign House Bill 658 and allow the progress made in the legislation move forward,” Bentley said in a statement. ”The bottom line is there are too many positive aspects of House Bill 658 for it to go unsigned. I don’t want to lose the progress we have made,” he said. “This bill reduces burdens on legal residents as they conduct government transactions. The bill also reduces burdens on businesses while still holding them accountable to hire legal workers. These changes make this a stronger bill.”
How great is the new law? Well let’s just read a sampling of “reviews” by the usual coterie of treasonous open-borders activists…
“I am extremely disappointed in [Bentley]….Initially it looked as if he was willing to stand up to the more radical part of the legislature, but he apparently decided it wasn’t worth the fight….And, unfortunately, all Alabamians will suffer from his decision.”
- Justin Cox, ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
“Today is an incredibly dark day for Alabama….Alabama has once again made a name for itself as the worst of the worst.”
- Mary Bauer, Legal Director, Southern Poverty Law Center
In other words…two thumbs way up! If those who embrace lawless amnesty and align themselves with Mexico over Americans hate this law, you know it must be a huge improvement.
BRAVO to the authors of H.B. 658 for upholding the rule of law and making Alabama even less welcome to illegal invaders. SWA thanks Sen. Scott Beason (email, Facebook, Twitter) and Rep. Micky Hammon (email), without whose tireless advocacy, neither H.B. 56 nor the newly-improved bill would ever have become law.