Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Constitution

Freedom of Information Act: Shield or Bludgeon?

Look, it's AT&T!

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The Supreme Court is about to hear arguments in the case of FCC v. AT&T which could have significant negative impacts on privately-held companies as well as public and private corporations.

It began in 2004 when AT&T discovered that it might have overcharged the federal government for some work it was doing under the E-Rate program (to bring technology to classrooms) in New London, Connecticut. When it notified the FCC of the possible over-billing, the FCC launched a full investigation, requiring (and receiving) all manner of

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Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Trim, or Uproot?

Doug Lamborn

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When Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) introduced a bill in the 111th Congress to defund National Public Radio (NPR), two things were working against him: the overwhelming collectivist mindset of that Congress itself, and the fact that NPR hadn’t yet embarrassed itself sufficiently to build public opinion against the agency. In light of NPR’s series of gaffes since then, as well as the more conservative tone of the new 112th Congress, Lamborn has decided to try again.

He observed:

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FCC Ruling is Irrelevant

Internet Map. Ninian Smart predicts global com...

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There have been sighs of despair and much hand-wringing coming from observers of the latest attempt by the FCC to intervene in the operations of the Internet. The noisiest came from one of the two commissioners who voted against the ruling, Robert McDowell.

Despite a court ruling earlier this year which limited the FCC’s jurisdiction over the Internet, and Congressional pressure to leave well enough alone, McDowell warned that the FCC’s decision yesterday is “likely to have the perverse effect of inhibiting capital investment, deterring innovation, raising operating costs, and ultimately increasing consumer prices.” He concluded that this decision “may end up marking the beginning of a long winter’s night for Internet freedom.”

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Top Secret America: Expensive, Chaotic and Dangerous

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland.

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Last July the Washington Post published a three-part story on “the huge security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.” This week, the Post published “Monitoring America,” the fourth installment of its “Top Secret America” series, describing security efforts at the local level.

After two years of research, hundreds of interviews, and thousands of hours poring over documents, the Washington Post investigation was unable to determine anything for sure—except, of course, that the security system is massive:

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WikiLeaks: Asking the Right Questions

Julian Assange (2)

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Nearly everyone with an internet connection knows the website WikiLeaks.org to be the notorious publisher of inconvenient truths about the secret machinations of government and military operations. Scarcely fewer know that the founder, Julian Assange, was arrested last week in London. Only a few are asking the right questions.

In an interview in April, Assange was quite forthright about his intentions. He said:

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Judge Porteous is History

Derecho

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Federal Judge Thomas Porteous is only the eighth federal judge to be impeached, convicted, and removed from office since the founding of the Republic. And for a while there, the decision appeared to be too close to call.

The four articles of impeachment passed the House unanimously earlier this year before the Senate considered the case. Each article, by itself, appeared to be weak, according to attorney David O. Stewart.

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Smithsonian Exhibit Outrage: Asking the Wrong Questions

The Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C.

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Although the “Hide/Seek” exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution opened on October 30th, it didn’t start generating national outrage until CNS News published a lengthy and detailed review on Monday. In that review, astonishing and outrageous videos, paintings, photographs and montages by gay and lesbian artists were displayed, including “an ant-covered Jesus, male genitals, naked brothers kissing, men in chains, Ellen DeGeneres grabbing her breasts, and a painting the Smithsonian itself describes in the show’s catalog as ‘homoerotic.’ ”

The historian and co-curator of the exhibit David Ward tried to explain away the reasons behind the exhibit:

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Is Everything “Commerce?”

Chief Justice John Marshall established a broa...

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Law professor Robert Natelson wrote that because Congress has stretched its definition of “commerce” so far beyond that originally intended by the founders, “it is up to the people to recall the federal government to its constitutional limits.” Known as the “Commerce power,” Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says that “the Congress shall have Power…to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several states.”

And up until 1937, that power had been relatively tightly construed to mean what the Founders intended: to regulate trade—the buying and selling across state lines. By using false arguments, however, the Supreme Court during Roosevelt’s New Deal ruled in general that Congress was free to “control manufacturing, wages, agriculture, crime, mining, land use, firearm possession, and a [wide] range of other activities.”

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Removing “Technical” Obstacles to Surveillance

Navstar-2F satellite of the Global Positioning...

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Buried in an otherwise innocuous-appearing article in the New York Times about wiretapping was this chilling sentence: “The issue [of surveillance of individuals by law enforcement agencies] has added importance because [these technologies] developed by the United States to hunt for terrorists and drug traffickers can also be used by repressive regimes to hunt for political dissidents” [emphasis added].

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Chinese “Dissident” Echoes US Founding, Receives Nobel Peace Prize

Liu Xiaobo

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Liu Xiaobo, co-author of “Charter 08,” was arrested two days before that freedom manifesto was published on December 10, 2008, and was finally sentenced on Christmas Day 2009 to 11 years in prison for “inciting subversion of state power.” Late last week he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his trouble.

Nobel committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland made the official announcement:

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Wiretapping Your Emails

privacy

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As communications technology has raced ahead of government attempts to tame it, in the name of law enforcement, the Obama administration, the FBI, the Department of Justice, the National Security Agency and other government agencies have been meeting for months to come up with regulations that would allow broadening government powers to intercept, read, and analyze Internet messages, and then prosecute perceived violations of law. Arguments by proponents of further incursions into citizens’ privacy initially sound reasonable: new technology, and private citizens’ use of the Internet for private communications, have exceeded government’s ability to keep up, and consequently its ability to monitor, track and follow people is “going dark,” unless something is done.

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The Impeachment of Judge Porteous

The Seal of the United States Federal Bureau o...

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The impeachment of Judge G. Thomas Porteous of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana appeared initially to be an “open and shut” case of bad behavior, with the House of Representatives voting unanimously on four articles of impeachment.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Task Force on Judicial Impeachmentseemed to think so: “Our investigation found that Judge Porteous participated in a pattern of corrupt conduct for years. Litigants have the right to expect a judge hearing their case will be fair and impartial, and avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Regrettably, no one can have that expectation in Judge Porteous’ courtroom.”

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How Relevant Is Ayn Rand Today?

Atlas sculpture, New York City, by sculptor Le...

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It was news to many when Scott Powell announced that an obscure novel published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged, “may be second to the Bible as the most influential book read in America.” His statement that BB&T, the 12th largest bank in America, which resisted taking TARP bailout funds, requires reading of that same book as part of its management training program astonished many more.

American Conservative Magazine noted that “a week before the President’s inauguration, more people were buying it than Obama’s Audacity of Hope.

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TSA Catches More Flak

Seal of the United States Department of Homela...

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The new DVD Please Remove Your Shoes, to be released on July 1, was reviewed by Scott Mayerowitz at ABC News, who asked rhetorically, “Do You Really Believe You Are Safe at the Airport?” and then answered “No.”

Fred Gevalt paid for this documentary out of his own pocket because “our real security at the airport…appears to be worse than ever. Clearly something has to be fixed. We have given TSA sufficient time since their creation to establish their merit and they haven’t. It’s time to call for a rethink of the whole security system, and now is as good a time as any. We certainly shouldn’t allow this farce to continue.”

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Chicago Shootings and McDonald v. City of Chicago

Cover of "More Guns, Less Crime: Understa...

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When it was learned that more than 50 people were shot, some fatally, over Fathers Day weekend in the poorer sections of Chicago, it didn’t even make the front page of Chicago newspapers.

As ABC News put it, “Most of the weekend shootings took place in poor neighborhoods on the city’s south and west sides. Those areas are away from downtown and tourist attractions, perhaps one reason much of the city seemed to shrug its shoulders at the violence.” Jim O’Shea, editor of Chicago News Cooperative, said, “I think people just say, ‘Ah, it’s a bunch of gang bangers shooting each other.'”

Police and other officials put the blame on gangs and easy access to guns despite one of the strictest bans on handguns in the country. It is that very ban that is being challenged in a Supreme Court case, McDonald v. City of Chicago, with a decision to be announced very soon.

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Warning Label Goes Viral

Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the Unit...

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When FoxNews.com wrote that a small publishing company put warning labels on copies of the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers, and other founding documents of the American republic, the immediate response was negative, and viral. The disclaimer on the publisher’s reprints of Common Sense, the Articles of Confederation, and other historical documents reads: “This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today.” The disclaimer goes on to warn parents to discuss the contents with their children before allowing them to read those documents.

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The Breakup of Ma Bell

Southwestern Bell logo, 1939–1964

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Ten years into the 20th century, the United States citizenry were still enjoying the afterglow of a remarkable generation of economic growth, innovation, and expansion.

Popular interests consisted of going to the movies, doing the Tango, and reading the Saturday Evening Post. A hands-off President, William Howard Taft, was in the White House, and people were enjoying clever inventions such as traffic lights, the refrigerator, and the telephone.

Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone on March 7, 1876, but initially it was considered no more than a passing novelty. In fact, Western Union passed up the opportunity to purchase the Bell patents for $100,000.

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Eminent Domain and the Kelo Echo

Stop Eminent Domain

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“This is abuse…. It’s [another] case of eminent domain abuse,” said Renee Smith-Ward, owner of Wag’In Tail, a dog-grooming salon in Auburn, New York. As reported by Fox News, the city is threatening to use “eminent domain” to seize her salon and other private property nearby to allow a builder to construct a hotel conference center.

Smith-Ward said, “I don’t believe it’s right to take someone’s property away from them for a hotel, for a private developer.” She said she thought eminent domain was “for power lines, roads, schools, hospitals [but] not for a private developer.” Another property owner, Michael Kazanivsky agreed: “These people just want to come in and steal it from you. They’re trying to take it from me. It’s not right.”

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10,000 Commandments—The Hidden Tax

Moses with the tablets of the Ten Commandments...

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When the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) announced the conclusions of its annual “Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State” earlier this week, it came as no surprise to learn that the rules and regulations placed on the economy by illicit agencies of the “fourth branch of government” constitute an enormous burden that is largely uncounted.

What was surprising was the horrendous cost of that burden which constitutes an additional tax on the economy.

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The Income Tax and Sovereignty

Portrait of John Locke, by Sir Godfrey Kneller...

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April 15th is the day when American taxpayers must file their income tax returns, and Tea Partiers are protesting those taxes all across the country. One question not being raised is: If these citizens are sovereign over their government, who can explain the income tax? How did this happen? Are the citizens not sovereign after all?

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he clearly relied on the thinking of his mentors, especially including John Locke. According to Jim Powell,writing for The Freeman, Locke “expressed the radical view [at the time] that government was morally obligated to serve people, namely by protecting life, liberty, and property. He explained the principle of checks and balances to limit government power. He favored representative government and a rule of law.”

Locke published two treatises on government in 1689 in which he said:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.