Friday, July 25, 2008

An Imperial Presidency? Check! Impeachment? Not likely.

On July 25th, 2008, I attended the Judiciary Committee hearing officially titled, “Executive Power and Its Constitutional Limitations.” It was a pulled punch if there ever was one. According to the press release issued July 17, 2008, it was supposed to be a hearing on the “Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush and possible legal responses.” Conyers said in his opening statement, “We are not done yet, and we do not intend to go away until we achieve the accountability that Congress is entitled to and the American people deserve.” He may be honest in his intentions, but if the “we” he refers to is his committee, his party, or the Congress as a whole, I don't believe him for a second. Somehow, he even managed to look bored throughout a good part of the proceedings.

Despite the original call for “legal responses,” Conyers advised the committee and all the witnesses that House rules prohibit “personal abuse, innuendo or ridicule of the president,” and he made sure that no allegations about specific individuals were allowed. However, one of the Republican members noted the extended talk of impeachment and referred to it as the “elephant in the corner that we have been feeling our way around to.” Kucinich had his way around this, of course. “The rules of the House prevent me or any witness from utilizing familiar terms. But we can put two and two together in our minds.” We sure can. And you, Congressman Kucinich, seem to possess one of the few spines your party has left.

I was joined by several members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace. We were there primarily to support Elliott Adams, Presiden of VFP, who did a wonderful job representing our organization. Although we arrived over two hours early for the hearing, we were not in time to claim any of the sixteen seats available to the public. Because Congressman Conyers canceled a meeting with VFP because of the hearing, we had been promised seats in the hearing room that never materialized. After waiting patiently while one man got arrested in the hall for “not backing up” as ordered by United States Capitol Police, crazy lefties had numerous outbursts of off-key singing, and most of the other several hundred people trying to get in left to the overflow room, I was able to get in just in time for the second panel as some more seats opened up and some of the original sixteen gave up on controlling their bladders.

I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Bob Barr would be testifying. He didn't disappoint. He made a great opening statement about “Preserving Constitutional Liberty through Checks and Balances and the Separation of Powers,” but the best part of his testimony was in the second round before questioning. “What we are facing now is a Constitutional clock, and it is counting down what remains of the Constitution of this great land. I might ask then to introduce for the record the disappearing Bill of Rights. This is the Bill of Rights that we as member of the Judiciary Committee know [he holds up a copy of the Bill of Rights] as adopted in 1791. [he flips it over to reveal a copy of the Bill of Rights that is largely redacted] This is what it is fast becoming.” You know it's a sad day when a former Congressman has to submit the Bill of Rights for the record in a Congressional hearing!

There were numerous outbursts of laughter and applause from the crowd and little authority exercised by Conyers despite repeated ribbing from the Republicans. After one of them complained about “signs,” Conyers told his staff to address the issue. One of the committee staffers arbitrarily approached IVAW members TJ Buonomo and Nick Morgan who were sitting together. They were both wearing pins that said, “VETERANS FOR IMPEACHMENT” and neither had a sign. There were about a dozen of us wearing the same pin. The staffer pleaded incessantly with them to remove their pins, but TJ was offended and when he vocally proclaimed that this was a violation of his Constitutional rights, the Capitol Police descended upon him and escorted him out. He was later charged with “Disrupting Congress” and has a hearing pending for August 12th.

Cindy Sheehan made a more petulant, childish exit in her typical fashion.
Testifier Vince Bugliosi: “By taking this nation into war on a lie, all of the killings of American soldiers in Iraq became unlawful killings, and therefore murders.”
Cindy Sheehan: “Thank you Vince.”
Conyers: “Members are urging me to take more action than merely reminding our audience.”
Cindy Sheehan: “I urge you to take action.”
Conyers: “OK then, Sheehan, you're out.”
Cindy Sheehan: [already getting up and leaving] “I’m going. Good-bye.”
She was allowed to leave without incident. It's ironic that it wasn't for her original interruption, but rather for urging Conyers to take action that she was told to leave.

While the Democrats made a powerful case for impeachment, led by Congressman Kucinich, who was called as a testifier, they seemed to be really trying to make a case for their own party's reelection. They failed. As petulant and petty as the Republicans were throughout the hearing, Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the ranking Republican, hit the nail on the head: “It seems that we are hosting an anger management class. This hearing will not cause us to impeach the president; it will only serve to impeach Congress's credibility.”

The Democrats have become a sorry excuse for an opposition party. I don't think any of the many potentially deserving members of the Bush Administration will ever be impeached for the same reason that we didn't have impeachment hearings today or even months ago. The Democrats are just as corrupt, and complicit. Spineless Democrats are Neocon Appeasers and the blood is on their hands too.

So what was accomplished? A case for impeachment was made, everyone had a chance to posture and pander, and a few witnesses got to promote their books. The Democrats tried to make the case for why we need to give their party more power in November, but I think this is going to back fire. Now that the state of decay of our republic and our leadership has reached a new low, pointing out that the Republicans are worse than the Democrats (barely) is only going to drive voters into the open arms of our very deserving, uniquely principled, Libertarian Party.

I have a lot more photos and even some good video that I'm going to putting together soon, but for now, I will leave you with the wisdom of Bob Barr's written testimony:

Member of Congress, 1995-2003

Preserving Constitutional Liberty
through Checks and Balances and the
Separation of Powers


July 25, 2008

Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of this Committee, on which I was privileged to serve throughout my eight years as a Member of the House of Representatives, it is an honor to appear today to speak on the importance of the separation of powers in the federal government as a tool for protecting the people’s liberties. Many vital issues confront our nation, but few are more important than repairing and maintaining the constitutional bulwarks that guarantee individual liberty and limit government power.

Mr. Chairman, today I appear as a private citizen, and also as a former Member of this Committee and as a once-again practicing attorney. I am also honored to be serving as the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party.

It is axiomatic that no matter how much power government has, it always wants more. While the executive branch under George W. Bush has taken this truism to new heights, it is not unique in its quest for power. Unfortunately, the other branches of government have failed to do enough to maintain the constitutional balance. Particularly disturbing has been Congress’ recent reluctance, in the face of aggressive executive branch claims, to make the laws and ensure that the laws are properly applied. This failure has inhibited the operation of the separation of powers, necessary to provide the checks and balances which undergird our system of constitutional liberty.


The Constitution employs several techniques to preserve our liberties and privacy. One is to limit federal authority to enumerated powers. Another is to explicitly restrict government power, most notably through the Bill of Rights. The Founders also used the basic structure of government to protect the people from abuse, relying upon federalism, dividing power between state and national governments, as well as the separation of powers within the federal government itself.

The latter concept goes back to ancient Greece and was explicated by such political philosophers as John Locke and most famously by Baron de Montesquieu, who was much studied by America’s Founders. Many countries have implemented the same principle, though with different government structures, ranging up to six branches in Germany. In the U.S. the Founders established the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The result is intentional inefficiency: the three branches are expected to constantly check and balance each other.

For instance, James Madison declared in Federalist No. 51: “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.” He went on to explain that, “[i]n 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.” This means “the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other.”

Despite the inevitable problems which will afflict any political system, the original constitutional scheme has worked extremely well. Although the relative power of the different branches has varied over time, checks and balances have always operated.

More than two centuries have passed, and the constitutional limits on both the legislative and judicial branches remain robust – at least in theory. The president appoints and the Senate confirms judges, for instance. Presidents veto legislation and administer the laws, while the judiciary assesses the constitutionality of and interprets statutes.

In contrast, however, the constitutional constraints on the executive branch have eroded, with some breaking down substantially or entirely. The process has been underway for many years, but has greatly accelerated since 2001. In particular, President Bush and his appointees have used his power as commander in chief—of the military, not American society, it should be noted—to disregard congressional authority and override explicit constitutional provisions. Indeed, since 9/11, the president has let few opportunities slip by without reminding us that he is not only commander in chief but also a “wartime president,” and to argue that this status justifies whatever new power he claims to possess and wishes to utilize.

The president’s authority is substantial, but limited by law. The Constitution directs him or her to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” However, Congress is vested with the sole power to legislate, thereby determining the laws to be executed. Moreover, the president’s administration of the law is constrained by the Bill of Rights, including the Fourth Amendment, which bars searches and seizures absent a warrant based on probable cause. Further, though the president by the nature of his office has a lead role in shaping foreign and military policy, the Constitution shares powers in these areas between the legislative and executive branches.

Since the nation’s founding, Congress and the executive have struggled for supremacy. The 20th Century witnessed a steady if irregular expansion of presidential authority, which has carried over into this first decade of the 21st Century. The role of the president as the military’s commander in chief has taken on increasing importance as it has been used to justify the aggrandizement of the executive’s authority at the expense of that of both Congress and the judiciary. The issue is not just an abstract struggle between different government officials. Rather, this expansion of presidential power has increasingly put the people’s liberties and privacy at risk.


One of the most important expansions of executive authority has been transforming the president’s power to conduct a war into that of starting a war. Congress is vested with the sole power to declare, meaning to start, war; the Constitution’s framers explicitly intended to diverge from the British system and vest the authority to initiate war with the many in the legislature rather than the one in the executive. The Constitution also empowers Congress to create the military and enact rules governing both the military and the conduct of war. Although the constitutional convention changed the term from “make” to “declare” to allow the president to respond to a surprise attack, and the president’s authority to conduct war as commander in chief suggests that Congress cannot second guess his tactical judgments, he is to exercise all his powers within the larger framework created by the legislative branch.

Yet modern presidents increasingly assert their unilateral authority to bomb and invade other nations, without legislative approval, and to conduct military operations for years even after the original circumstances giving rise to a congressional authorization to use force have changed. This trend did not originate with the Bush administration, but has continued and grown under it. For instance, in 2002 President George W. Bush insisted that Congress not tie his hands, and refused to acknowledge the constitutional necessity of winning legislative approval to invade Iraq. Rather than make the decision for or against war, Congress transferred discretion to initiate war against Iraq to the president.

After launching the Iraq invasion in 2003 based on a 2002 congressionally-passed resolution to do so, the current administration has rejected the argument that a multi-year occupation violates Congress’ authorization of force, which legally controls the executive’s war objectives. The president also has resisted congressional oversight of its objectives and policies, which is an essential aspect of Congress’ authority. Although acknowledging that Congress controls the budgetary purse strings, the president and his aides have fought any attempt to condition appropriations—conveniently bundled in “emergency” supplementals in order to reduce the opportunity for legislative review.


The administration has attempted to use the same commander in chief power, as well as Congress’ Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), approved after 9/11, to trump constitutional protections for civil liberties and privacy. Yet the Constitution does not create a national security exception to the Bill of Rights or separation of powers, and no member of Congress imagined that voting to authorize the use of force abroad simultaneously authorized the president to engage in unspecified and otherwise unconstitutional conduct at home. There is no basis for the argument the president’s authority as commander in chief in effect swallows and trumps the rest of the Constitution.

For instance, the administration undertook warrantless surveillance of Americans without court order or supervision. Conducted by the National Security Agency, the program was inaugurated shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and was inaccurately dubbed the Terrorist Surveillance Program, since in fact it targeted American citizens with no reason to believe they were engaged in any actions involving terrorism. The eavesdropping directly violated even the relaxed warrant requirements of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Under Republican control, Congress unashamedly refused to conduct serious inquiry into the obviously improper NSA surveillance program. Unfortunately, the GOP majority put partisan comity ahead of fidelity to the law and Constitution. Although more members of the Democratic majority, which took over in January 2007, indicated concern about administration lawlessness, this Congress recently caved in to administration demands and amended FISA to grant the government unprecedented power to surreptitiously spy on the phone calls and emails of American citizens in our own country, based on nothing more then a belief they are communicating with someone not in the U.S. The measure also granted immunity – retro-active and prospective -- to telephone companies which aided government law-breaking.

Thus did a genuine need to modernize certain of FISA’s technical provisions—for example, to reverse the court interpretation that monitoring calls sent by modern routing mechanisms through the U.S., even though both parties were located abroad, required a court order—became an opportunity to greatly expand the law’s reach. The result is to make virtually every international call or email subject to monitoring without court oversight. Thereby carving out an entire class of communication from constitutional protection is a breathtaking decision with the potential to do enormous damage to the very meaning of the Fourth Amendment and to the essential foundation of limited government. This law also has effectively neutered the oversight role the Congress or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court should play in this area.

Similarly extravagant has been the administration’s claimed right, as an adjunct of both the president’s constitutional warpowers and the AUMF, to designate American citizens arrested in America as well as alleged terrorists captured overseas as “enemy combatants” beyond the reach of the U.S. Constitution and courts. The detention of combatants captured in battle is a natural adjunct to war, but not the suspension of all constitutional and legislative oversight of the executive’s power to imprison anyone it claims to be a combatant for as long as it desires. The argument that the president has the unique power to suspend basic constitutional guarantees, including the “Great Writ” of habeas corpus, whereby a person has a fundamental right to be brought before a court to determine the lawfulness of his or her detention or deprivation, is particularly dangerous in the midst of a potentially endless “war” where the American homeland is considered to be a -- and perhaps the chief -- battlefield.

There is nothing in Article II of the Constitution which provides that the president is the military’s commander in chief, to suggest that he thereby gains the power to suspend any law and any constitutional provision at his discretion. Indeed, the very next section reminds the president that at all times he has a responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” with no hint of an exception whenever he decides he is acting as commander in chief. In Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952), the Supreme Court rejected a similar claim by the Truman administration -- that the president’s powers as commander in chief allowed him to seize steel mills despite Congress’ refusal to authorize such an act.

Nor is it plausible that Congress believed that by authorizing military action in response to 9/11 it was empowering the president to deny American citizens their constitutional rights at home. Authorizing military action overseas does not logically mean authorizing every conceivable use of surveillance, arrest, and imprisonment by the federal government at home. Indeed, if the administration had believed this theory at the time, there would have been no reason for it to have proposed the Patriot Act, since all those powers, too, should have been included in the AUMF. Equally important, Congress itself only has the authority to suspend—and only if our country is invaded or faced with overt “Rebellion”—not eliminate, habeas corpus. Congress cannot authorize the president to limit that right in additional circumstances.


Another example of a direct presidential assault on the separation of powers, and thus the constitutional structure undergirding our free society, are presidential signing statements. Throughout history, signing statements have been used to thank supporters, provide reasons for signing a bill or express satisfaction or displeasure with legislation passed by Congress. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton all used signing statements to express constitutional and other objections to legislation, influence judicial interpretation, and otherwise advance policy goals.

President George W. Bush has more aggressively – to an historically unprecedented degree -- employed the presidential signing statement to challenge or deny effect to legislation that he considers unconstitutional, but nonetheless signs. As the Congressional Research Service reported last year, a much higher share of President Bush’s signing statements have contained a constitutional challenge, and they “are typified by multiple constitutional and statutory objections, containing challenges to more than 1,000 distinct provisions of the law.” This tactic, adds CRS, is “an integral part of the administration’s efforts to further its broad view of presidential prerogatives and to assert functional and determinative control over all elements of the executive decision making process.”

In scores of cases President Bush has claimed that legislation has improperly interfered with presidential authority. In a democracy, such assertions of power—most fundamentally the underlying failure to comply rather than the explanatory signing statement—do not happen in a vacuum. They affect the careful balance of power in our system of government. The executive branch is not free to unilaterally change that balance; our Constitution requires legislative and judicial involvement in lawmaking to ensure public debate and oversight and to guard against centralization of power.

Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the power to make the laws. Under Article II, the president has the duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. The Constitution also provides that if the president objects to a proposed law, he can veto it. This gives Congress the chance to override his veto, enacting the law despite his opposition, or to sustain his veto, and then work to address the president’s objections. A president may also challenge a law he believes to be unconstitutional in court.

Instead, the current president, especially, has used signing statements, and a refusal to enforce the law, as a sub rosa form of unreviewable veto, usurping the power of Congress and aggrandizing the power of the executive.


Another tool of executive aggrandizement has been the doctrine of executive privilege. No where spelled out in the Constitution itself, the claim has been advanced by presidents starting with George Washington. The doctrine is most persuasively rooted in national security, but presidents often have more generally contended that confidentiality is necessary for the operation of the executive branch.

Although the argument at its core is not without force, executive privilege has become an all-purpose shield and boilerplate excuse to hide embarrassing and potentially incriminating information from Congress and the public. That a claim for executive privilege had to be balanced with other interests was evident in 1807 when Aaron Burr, on trial for treason, sued President Thomas Jefferson to produce a supposedly exculpatory letter. Chief Justice John Marshall rejected Jefferson’s argument that disclosure risked public safety and ordered the president to comply. In 1974 the climactic case of United States v. Nixon confronted President Richard M. Nixon’s attempt to use the claim of executive privilege to avoid having to turn over evidence of criminal misbehavior to Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski. The Supreme Court unanimously acknowledged a generalized right of confidentiality, but ruled that this privilege must yield to other government interests, most notably the criminal process. The order that he yield up the tapes recording his Oval Office conversations led to his resignation.

Other presidents have relied on the doctrine to shield their operations from scrutiny. The Clinton administration avoided disclosure of the deliberations of the president’s health care reform task force because First Lady Hillary Clinton was considered to be a government employee under the relevant legislation. This admittedly strained interpretation allowed the courts to avoid ruling on the question of whether executive privilege applied to conversations between government officials and people outside of government.

As in other areas, the Bush administration has even more energetically sought to keep information about many of its activities, even those with no sensitive national security implications, from public view. For instance, the administration resisted a request for disclosure, based on legislation covering “advisory committees,” of the names of participants and results of discussions by members of the Vice President’s National Energy Policy Development Group. The administration lost in the lower courts, but was partially upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, which sent the case back to the District Court for reconsideration. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately refused to order disclosure based on its interpretation of the relevant statute, based on the fact that several government officials served on the Group.

Elsewhere the administration’s case for secrecy has been more frivolous and less well received. For instance, the administration attempted to keep secret visitor logs detailing Christian leaders who visited the White House and vice president’s residence. Earlier this month the D.C. Circuit distinguished this case from the energy group decision and ruled that the logs were not the property of the White House—which took custody from the Secret Service (part of the Treasury Department) in order to thwart a request under the Freedom of Information Act—and ordered their release.

These cases centered on statutory interpretation. The Bush administration also has more directly used the doctrine of executive privilege to resist disclosures to Congress, even as part of investigations of potential executive wrong-doing. For instance, at a recent hearing of this Committee, Karl Rove refused to appear, based on advice of the White House Counsel, to discuss his role in possible meddling in Justice Department prosecutions. Last year White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers similarly refused to obey committee subpoenas to appear to discuss the firing of U.S. attorneys; the House voted to hold them in contempt.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has been investigating the White House’s involvement in the disclosure of Valerie Plame’s employment by the CIA. In June Chairman Henry Waxman pointed out to Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey that “In his interview with the FBI, Mr. Libby stated that it was ‘possible’ that Vice President Cheney instructed him to disseminate information about Ambassador Wilson’s wife to the press. This is a significant revelation and, if true, a serious matter. It cannot be responsibly investigated without access to the Vice President’s FBI interview.” However, in an echo of the Watergate controversies, Mukasey refused to comply, citing fear of “the chilling effect that compliance with the committee’s subpoena would have on future White House deliberations.” The White House cited executive privilege in refusing to turn over the FBI interview, even though the vice president’s chief of staff had been convicted of perjury.

In an extraordinary twist on the doctrine of executive privilege, the Bush administration announced last year that it would not allow any U.S. Attorney to pursue a contempt citation on behalf of Congress. By attempting to control federal employees who also are officers of the courts, the administration attempted to place itself beyond effective accountability by any person or institution. Mark Rozell of George Mason University termed this position “astonishing” and “a breathtakingly broad view of the president’s role in this system of separation of powers. What this statement is saying is the president’s claim of executive privilege trumps all.” Indeed, if sustained, Rozell added, this position will allow “the executive to define the scope and limits of its own powers.” As a result, the House has filed suit to enforce its subpoena, the first such lawsuit in history.


Another doctrine used by the executive branch to the detriment of the constitutional separation of powers is the so-called “state secrets privilege.” According to this doctrine, the executive branch refuses to release information in court cases on the grounds that disclosure would harm “national security.” First recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1953, the doctrine has been treated as well-nigh absolute by some judges.

In this case, like many others, there is an obvious basis for shielding sensitive information in extraordinary instances from public view, even - 10 -
to the detriment of a valid lawsuit. However, again, a legitimate doctrine has been twisted to frustrate cases that might expose government wrong-doing and executive misconduct. As a result, government accountability, and redress of wrongs suffered by individuals as the result of government action, have suffered greatly.

For instance, Khalid El-Masri filed a civil case against the U.S. government in a case involving “extraordinary rendition,” in which the government illegally detained Mr. El-Masri in a case of mistaken identity. The trial court judge accepted the government’s claimed “state secrets privilege,” which thwarted disclosures necessary to prosecute the case. A similar result was reached in a similar case by Canadian Maher Arar, who was deported, based on false information, by the U.S. to Syria (he was a dual citizen), where he was apparently tortured. The Bush administration also invoked the state secrets privilege to defeat lawsuits challenging the government’s unlawful FISA surveillance program.

Although judges can order, and have ordered, disclosure of disputed documents and other information to them for in camera screening, too often courts have given inordinate deference to executive branch claims. But the privilege should be treated as qualified, not absolute. A government refusal to allow judicial inspection could be met with forfeiture of the case. Congress could assist the judiciary by holding hearings and drafting legislation clarifying the authority of judges, procedures to be used to adjudicate executive claims of state secrecy, and sanctions to be imposed for the executive branch’s refusal to comply.


Unfortunately, Congress has been at least impartially complicit in this and other presidential “power grabs.” It repeatedly has acquiesced to President Bush’s unilateral actions. It has failed in its constitutional obligation to make the laws and to oversee the executive branch to ensure that the latter properly implements the laws passed by Congress.

Enforcing presidential compliance with the law is not easy, especially since a pattern of executive law-breaking has been established. However, the people—the citizens in whose name this House and the rest of the government act—can and should insist that those elected president, this coming November and in the future, respect the separation of powers and other constitutional limits on their authority. - 11 -
Taking an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States” requires no less.

Moreover, the legislature has many tools at its disposal to promote respect for the nation’s fundamental law. It can enlist the courts, of course. It can use its power to hold oversight hearings, backed by the power to subpoena and hold executive officers in contempt. It can refuse to confirm presidential appointments.
Most fundamental is its power to control appropriations. Congress can shape funding in the relevant area to encourage compliance with the law. Moreover, broader retaliation, though less desirable, is another possibility. For instance, the Reagan administration’s attempt to thwart explicit congressional guidelines over federal contracting led to a vote by this Committee to defund the Office of the Attorney General. A compromise was reached: Congress funded the Attorney General’s Office while the administration complied with the law.

The most important requirement is that Congress treat seriously its responsibility to uphold the Constitution. Neither the Bill of Rights nor the separation of powers are self-enforcing documents or principles. The legislative branch has a critical role to play.

The Constitution creates explicit guarantees for individual liberty and limits on government power out of the recognition that even the best-intentioned public officials working to achieve the most public-spirited aims make mistakes. That surely has been evident during the so-called “Global War on Terror,” in which more than a few innocent people have been not just detained, but also imprisoned and tortured. The Bill of Rights and the separation of powers are not mere technicalities, but essentials of our government and our entire system of ordered liberty.

I know this Committee understands that the president’s quest for intelligence and desire for flexibility, legitimate as they are, should not be allowed to serve as a subterfuge for circumventing constitutional protections for liberty and restrictions on presidential power. U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has reminded us that, “[w]e have to understand you can fight the war [on terrorism] and lose everything if you have no civil liberties left when you get through fighting the war.”

The temptation to cut constitutional corners is not the province of any one party. Rather, it grows when one party controls both the executive and legislature. Then party comity sometimes overrides institutional differences, as it did most recently between 2001 and 2006.

But our constitutional system, and its commitment to limited government and individual liberty, is based both on a series of explicit guarantees that constrain the use of government authority, and a structure that divides government authority. As such, the separation of powers, with the checks and balances expected to naturally follow, is the bedrock foundation of American constitutional government. It is a foundation clearly in danger of crumbling.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Conyers Announces Judiciary Committee Hearing On “Imperial Presidency,” Continues to Stall on Impeachment

On July 9th, a group of Veterans For Peace members, including myself, met with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Congressman Conyers to hear his plans regarding impeachment. This was a follow up to our previous meeting with him at which we presented a petition calling for impeachment with over 23,000 signatures on June 11th. At that meeting, he promised to reveal to us his plans when we met next. His “plans” were non-existent; his excuse was that he had not made a decision yet. Of course, every day he doesn't impeach, he is deciding not to. The Real News Network covered the meeting and captured it well with this video:

Stalling On Impeachment

I got the impression that Conyers is going senile. If he really thinks as slow as he talks, we're in a lot of trouble. Most of his staff seem to be in favor of impeachment and are just waiting for the word. A couple of them even thanked us for being there and being so strong in our convictions. For a long time, Pelosi has been saying that impeachment is “off the table” and has obeyed every command from the administration, so it's safe to say that they have her by the balls. She bought the speakership by raising money for her fellow Democrats, and there have got to be a lot of financial skeletons in her closet. The only question is, has Pelosi actually convinced him that impeachment isn't strategically wise, or is someone threatening him? I wouldn't put it past Bush's cronies to even go after his family.

He told us at that meeting that he wanted to meet with us again on July 25th. We were pretty pissed to put it mildly. More run around from another spineless Democrat. More posturing from this sorry excuse for an opposition party. Don't they get it that when we can see through their BS so easily it doesn't work? Remember the country having a good laugh when Clinton and Obama made nice in Unity, New Hampshire? If there was a city named Obvious Crude Political Calculation, it would be overrun by Democrats. I really hope they don't keep control of the Congress.

Conyers canceled that meeting with us to announce that his committee will be holding a hearing that day on “the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush and possible legal responses.” That's like someone who is getting robbed at gun point calling their Mom to discuss calling the cops. Does he really think that this is going to make the Democrats look good? I hope he is aware that after writing impeachment articles for Nixon, his party had a sweeping electoral victory. Likewise for the Republicans with Clinton.

The press release (below) brags about all of the violations of the Constitution by this administration that the judiciary committee has “conducted extensive oversight into.” Basically, “Yes, we're keeping track of how bad we're getting screwed.” He presented us with an even more extensive list of things the committee has looked into at our last meeting, as if it would appease us. Of course, they have failed to do anything about any of them. What's the point of oversight if you don't do anything when you discover a crime has been committed?

This is too disgusting for words. I want to vomit. I will be there on the 25th anyway to continue to push for impeachment, but I'm not holding my breath, and I'll have to hold my nose. Of course, the ultimate reason that our government is corrupt is because our culture is corrupt. If we held our representatives in Congress accountable, they might be inclined to hold the President accountable. But then, if we were paying attention, and doing our duty as citizens, we wouldn't have Bush for a president in the first place.

For Immediate Release
July 17, 2008
Contact: Jonathan Godfrey (Conyers)

(Washington)—Today House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. announced that, on July 25, the House Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the Imperial Presidency of George W. Bush and possible legal responses.

“Over the last seven plus years, there have been numerous credible allegations of serious misconduct by officials in the Bush Administration,” said Conyers. “At the same time, the administration has adopted what many would describe as a radical view of its own powers and authorities. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I believe it is imperative that we pursue a comprehensive review commensurate to this constitutionally dangerous combination of circumstances. Next Friday’s hearings will be an important part of that ongoing effort.”

The Committee is expected to examine a range of legal and legislative responses to allegations of administration misconduct and their expansion of executive branch power.

Since the beginning of the 110th Congress, the Committee has conducted extensive oversight into allegations of misconduct by the administration, including: (1) improper politicization of the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorneys offices, including potential misuse of authority with regard to election and voting controversies; (2) misuse of executive branch authority and the adoption and implementation of the so-called unitary executive theory, including in the areas of presidential signing statements and regulatory authority; (3) misuse of investigatory and detention authority with regard to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals, including questions regarding the legality of the administration’s surveillance, detention, interrogation, and rendition programs; (4) manipulation of intelligence and misuse of war powers, including possible misrepresentations to Congress related thereto; (5) improper retaliation against administration critics, including disclosing information concerning CIA operative Valerie Plame, and obstruction of justice related thereto; and (6) misuse of authority in denying Congress and the American people the ability to oversee and scrutinize conduct within the administration, including through the use of various asserted privileges and immunities.

The July 25 hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m. in room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Additional information, including witness participation, will be announced next week.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Evidence - That Lying Pig Officer Monahan

A police officer from the DC MPD leaked this report today. It is written by Officer Monahan, (featured in my last two videos) and contains some blatant lies, but at least confirms that the guy in the Durango was an FBI agent. It also confirms that he called in a 10-33. According to the report, (see page 3, it's the only really interesting one) the FBI agent told Monahan that I was yelling at him. This is an outright lie, and I have two witnesses who can attest that until the MPD showed up, the only person doing any yelling was the FBI agent. For the time after MPD showed up, I have a dozen witnesses (but then they were in uniform, so who knows how reliable they will be in telling the truth) who can attest to the fact that I never yelled at the FBI agent.

The report also says that Monahan stopped me, but skips the part where he cuffed me and went through my wallet. Fortunately, we have the photographic evidence of that. (See the videos below for all of that.) The report says that the FBI agent was off-duty. Either the agent lied to Monahan, (taking him for the chump that he is) and told him he was off-duty, or Monahan is lying for him in this report. We heard from at least three different cops that the FBI agent was tailing someone, and Eric Wexler in his little red Celica screwed up his tail. So there you have it.

For the record, most of the cops I have met have been kind, well-intentioned, caring people, even in DC. If we are going to give them guns and entrust them with our safety, it should be all, not most. I want cops to know that people are watching them and holding them accountable. I don't mind pissing them off in the process if it means that next time they are going to search someone they shouldn't, or arrest someone who doesn't deserve it, or pull the trigger, they think twice about it. If it saves one life, (literally or figuratively) it will have been worth it.

Click on the images to see them full size.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

More Lying Cops On My Block!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Cops Are Everywhere – Especially Where I Am

When I went outside this afternoon, there was another group of cops (with three patrol cars) on the corner who looked like they were setting up a checkpoint. I got a couple witnesses and a cameraman and went out to confront them. They said they weren't setting up a checkpoint, just doing a “routine patrol.” I asked if this was a new policy for this area, or if there was some kind of crime wave here. They said that crime was actually down in this area recently and couldn't tell me why they were there except that it was new a new practice as of this week. (Hopefully, I'll get the video from this up later tonight.)

When I left for class around 5:30pm, they were still there. On the metro platform there was a cop watching me. He wasn't there when I came in, but I noticed him when I sat down. He was standing next to the escalators. I watched him as he walked towards me, but he walked by as I was getting on the train, and kept going in the same direction away from the stairs and escalators. I have never seen a cop on the metro platforms in DC who wasn't doing something or going somewhere.

On the train, two cops walked by me. I was able to get a quick photo off as they went into the next car. (see below) Then when I got off the metro at Foggy Bottom, there was another cop watching me as I got off the escalator. Right now, I am in the back of a classroom where my professor for “Law of the Political Process” is lecturing. I can't believe I'm studying the law right now.

Adam Kokesh Assaulted by Undercover FBI Agent & MPD Officers

Monday, July 14, 2008

Adam Kokesh Breaks It Down

- Episode 1 -
A Different Way of Looking at Politics

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Duty to Resist

Text of speech delivered 080712 at the west lawn of the capitol:

When I joined the Marines at a little strip mall in Santa Fe, and when I was in boot camp in San Diego, and when I was dodging mortars in Fallujah, I could not have imagined that I would one day share a stage with such renowned speakers. However, to march shoulder to shoulder, and to stand in solidarity with you, is a far greater honor.

It has been said that when in the course of human events, an oppression so revolts its subjects, it becomes necessary to alter or abolish the means of that tyranny. Is it that time when our Bill of Rights is defiled every day? When our adventures abroad threaten our security at home? When the Federal Reserve keeps our free nation enslaved by debt? When the people of the world tremble under the thumb of corporate imperialism? And now our nation is drifting dangerously from freedom to fascism. So I have to ask, is it time? The time is now, the threat is clear, the bands of tyranny are tightening around America, and it is our duty to resist!

As empowered patriots, let us take stock of our commitment to the ideals upon which this country is founded. America without her freedoms is like a body without a soul. The challenge before the Freedom Movement is no less, than to bring about a revolution of values, inspire a renaissance of American politics, and breathe new life into the tortured body of our nation. We will meet that challenge with courage and love, and as always, we the people, will prevail!

To rally the troops of the Revolutionary Army in the winter of 1776, Thomas Paine said, “These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot, will in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered.”

As Iraq Veterans Against the War, we are resisting an occupation that we once risked our lives for. We swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, but we found out the hard way that the greatest enemies of the Constitution are not to be found in the sands of some far off land, but rather right here at home! We are your new winter soldiers and we are still defending America.

We bring the values, skills, and commitment that make us warriors to the fight before us today. We are working to end the war by strategically withdrawing our material support and inspiring others to do the same. By advocating for veterans, we honor those who served, and empower soldiers to become successful civilians. With Truth In Recruiting, we are inspiring a generation of young Americans to find a better way to serve this country than dying for empire. By supporting those who are actively resisting, we inspire further resistance, and ensure that soldiers still have the right, as is their duty, to disobey illegal orders.

During the siege of Fallujah, a young Lance Corporal was shot through the side of his flak jacket in a firefight to the west of the city. The bullet hit an artery near his spine. My team was called to help get him to the field hospital at Camp Taqadum. He was on a stretcher in the humvee in front of me, and I watched the Corpsman treating the external wound in a frightened, hurried panic, as the dust from the hot road swirled around us. When we got there, I carried him in as he moaned and writhed in pain, barely conscious. He flailed his arm off the stretcher, and as I put it back by his side I told him, “Don't worry. You made it. You're gonna be OK.” But he died only minutes later from the internal bleeding.

I have to live with that memory every day, but I have learned from it. I will not tell you that the band-aids applied by Republicans and Democrats will heal us. I will not pretend that everything is just going to be ok while we are bled dry by tyrants. And if it takes the last full measure of devotion, I will not allow the same fate to befall this country!

This young movement, is getting past the external wounds to the greater evils plaguing this nation. We know, that the greatest threat to American security is the current corruption of our government! No politician has ever ended a war. Civil rights were won in this country not by any legislator, but by a movement. I have great hope for America, but not because of an election. No, my hope comes from you!

Our tragic love affair with the state, has led us to put far too much trust in a government that we hoped could improve our lives, but has instead come to run our lives for us. We have become, as a people, like a frightened, battered, beat down victim of an abusive relationship. A servile, unquestioning, obedient people, will always produce tyrants. We must, as a nation, once again, embrace defiance, rebellion, and resistance!

Every day more and more Americans are avoiding unenforceable taxes, leaving government jobs out of disgust, and sending their kids to college instead of combat. But our efforts as a movement must become unified and deliberate to fully withdraw our compliance and support. Be it with your lives, labor, or tax dollars, stop investing in your own oppression! Guard your communities from the police state! Do not waste a single vote, or a single dollar, on the two-party system! Do not be content merely to grumble and to march while they are using fear, force, and violence as weapons of oppression. We must embrace the opportunity to resist civilly while we still can!

We are compelled to be here for many different reasons, and there is strength in our diversity. As within Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace, we do not need to be uniform to be unified. Take a look at the thoughtful, passionate people around you on this field, and throughout this country. Do not leave here without meeting a new brother or sister in the struggle. Take with you the inspiration to share your passion with someone who does not know they are yet part of our movement. Seek out where you can be most effective in the cause of liberty.

Challenge our force fed culture of unquestioning conformity and compliance. Embrace a world that is not defined by the politics of fear, our obedience producing schools, or the false prophets of the corporate media. As we have been awakened, we must stir the sleeping masses. As the forces of oppression are diligent, so must we toil. As they are committed, we must surpass them. As they step up their efforts, we must rise up to defeat them as a unified movement!

We have been labeled rebels, traitors, enemies of the state. All terms King George would have used to vilify our founders. I, for one, will always rebel against oppression, a traitor only to tyranny, and I would be remiss to not be the enemy of a state, that so blatantly tramples our freedoms.

American values have been nearly vanquished by consumerism, militarism, and authoritarianism. Yellow ribbons and lapel pins will not save this country. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. The utmost manifestation of love and devotion to America, is today as it always has been, resistance of tyranny! Resist we must, and resist we will! We will not be silent! We will not obey! We will not let our government destroy our humanity! We will not wait another moment in fear to stand up for what we know to be right! It is time the government starts fearing the people again! It is time that we meet oppression with resistance!

They cannot stop us! Humanity marches on. You can fight it, or fight for it. When we say revolution, we say it with love. As we march onward from this place where we have pledged to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor, let us embrace the struggle, cherish the fight, and live in that love. The passion of our hearts will be raised with our fists!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Adam Kokesh to Speak at Revolution March


This Saturday, July 12, the DC Chapters of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans For Peace will be marching alongside thousands of revolutionaries dedicated to “restoring constitutional government as the founding fathers set forth.” An important element of the wisdom of our founders was a foreign policy based on nonintervention and free trade. As Thomas Jefferson said, "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none." Our abandonment of those principles has been responsible for all of our nations foreign policy disasters. If we actually followed the provisions of the Constitution, we would not be in Iraq right now.

It is critical that anti-war veterans groups earn the same position of prominence and respect in the Freedom Movement as we have in the Anti-War Movement. In fact, the Anti-War Movement itself would be wise to consider its role in the broader Freedom Movement. A lot of the Anti-War Movement leans left, but principled socialists and libertarians have a lot more in common than most of them know, and some would care to admit. They also have a lot more in common with each other, than either of them have in common with Demubicans. Tragically, the anti-war movement alienates libertarians, and many feel driven out by the condescension that (from my experience) often accompanies leftist ideologies. There are a lot of “closet libertarians” in the anti-war movement, and a lot more that would join us if we could create a more inclusive atmosphere.

I will be speaking about IVAW's strategy to end the war based on withdrawing our material support and inspiring others to do the same. This is based on the consent theory of power. Just as it can be applied to the specific issue of the war, it can be applied to the broader issue of fascism in America. If soldiers refuse to fight in illegal wars, there will be no more occupaiton of Iraq. If we don't comply with illegal police orders en masse, and don't support unconstitutional law enforcement policy, there will be no police state. If tax-payers stopped paying unconstitutional taxes, there would be no (ok, less) funding for unconstitutional programs. If we stopped voting for lesser evils, we would not have an evil government.

The challenge before the Freedom Movement that Ron Paul has played a key part in forming and building, is to find ways beyond the electoral process to bring about the revolution for which we are all hoping and working towards. You say you want a revolution? You had better be willing to fight for it. But you can start by marching. See you Saturday!

We will be meeting at the Washington Monument at 0930, then marching down Constitution Avenue to the West Lawn of the Capitol for the rally. I will also be at the reception at 1800 at the Holiday Inn at 550 C St SW, in the Discovery II Room. For more details about the day, please go to


In a discussion I had recently with a fellow IVAW member about a potential alliance with Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty to protest at the Republican National Convention, he said that he opposed the alliance because Ron Paul “doesn't oppose the war for the same reasons we do.” That statement was either shamefully ignorant and presumptuous, or a deliberate lie. Ron Paul seems to be such a threat, (or at least was) that people are stooping to new lows to discredit him.

The lines in bold are IVAW's ten “official” reasons for opposing the war. Each is followed by a quote from the Congressman and the source.

1. The Iraq war is based on lies and deception.
"The war in Iraq was sold to us with false information."

2. The Iraq war violates international law.
"But if the warmongers' goal is to have a war, regardless of international law and the Constitution, current policy serves their interests."

3. Corporate profiteering is driving the war in Iraq.
"Cliches about supporting the troops are designed to distract from failed policies, policies promoted by powerful special interests that benefit from war, anything to steer the discussion away from the real reasons the war in Iraq will not end anytime soon."

4. Overwhelming civilian casualties are a daily occurrence in Iraq.
I was not able to find a specific quote about a "daily occurrence," but in speaking out against the war before it began, he expressed concern for the Iraqi people numerous time, including acknowledging overwhelming civilian casualties.
"Remember, Iraq has not initiated aggression against us. We, on the other hand, have bombed them, taunted them by flying military jets in their airspace, and starved them with economic sanctions- all for more than a decade. We haven't done these things out of humanitarian concern for Kuwait, we've done them because we want to protect our oil interests. Yet these actions have harmed the people of Iraq, not the Hussein regime."

5. Soldiers have the right to refuse illegal war.
I don't think he has ever stated this explicitly, but I had the honor of spending about ten minutes with Congressman Paul this afternoon as he was on his way back to his office from a hearing. Of course, I was more interested in hearing about his future plans and thoughts on the Revolution March, but I also had a chance to explain IVAW's strategy including supporting war resisters, and he was very supportive.

6. Service members are facing serious health consequences due to our Government's negligence.
"Many politicians talk about honoring our veterans and their sacrifices. Yet so often the rhetoric obscures the reality that the federal government treats veterans badly."

7. The war in Iraq is tearing our families apart.
"With thousands of our troops now deployed in Afghanistan, and thousands more probably headed to Iraq, it is important to remember the sacrifices made by our military families. . . . I recently cosponsored legislation that would exempt members of America’s armed forces from income taxes." This particular article includes other great proposals for supporting the troops and their families.

8. The Iraq war is robbing us of funding sorely needed here at home.
"As if a national debt topping $9 trillion is not bad enough, each day this war is fought, deficit spending increases. . . . Make no mistake, as Congress spends more and more, there will be less and less to fund Social Security and Medicare, the programs Washington has made us dependent on, without a massive tax increase."

9. The war dehumanizes Iraqis and denies them their right to self-determination.
"It is in the best interests of the Iraqi people that we return their country to them immediately."

10. Our military is being exhausted by repeated deployments, involuntary extensions, and activations of the Reserve and National Guard.
"Military experts, including Generals Barry McCaffrey and John Batiste, have sounded the warning that our military is stretched so thin because of Iraq and our other commitments that, as General Batiste put it recently, 'our Army and Marine Corps are at a breaking point with little to show for it.'"

Not even all of our members endorse all of these reasons! Maybe at the rally Saturday I can convince the Congressman to join VFP. Our newest VFP member is Congressman John Conyers, whom we met with today as an official delegation of VFP members to discuss impeachment, but more on that later.

One of the reasons we got into the war in the first place was because chickenhawks who had never served in uniform started spouting off about things they knew nothing about to serve their own self-interests. Or in Ron Paul's words before the war, “those without military experience are the ones demanding this war.” Let us be careful to not repeat this mistake and do a little homework next time before “running our sucks,” as we would say in the military.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Iraq Veterans Against the War - Independence Day 2008

On July 4th, 2008, members of Iraq Veterans Against the War came together at Independence Hall in Philadelphia to mark the 232nd birthday of the United States of America, and remind fellow patriots of the values upon which our country was founded. It should be very clear to all partriotic Americans, that when in the course of human events, an oppression so revolts those subject to it, it becomes necessary to dissolve the political bands that are the means of that tyranny. We must, as a nation, once again, embrace defiance, rebellion, and resistance!

Reading by IVAW board member, Jason Lemieux

Organization and planning by Sholom Keller

Footage by Bill Perry and Adam Kokesh

Video editing by Adam Kokesh

Music by Michael Franti and Spearhead - Yell Fire

A Much Needed Independence Day

The inverted American flag shown here adorns a wall in
my bedroom. Seeing the symbol of America "in a state
of distress" first thing in the morning always motivates
me to get out of bed and fight for this country.

As a naturally rebelious spirit, Independence Day has a special place in my heart. In elementary school, I was the kid in the back of the classroom who would always get into arguments with the teacher. They all said that I should be a lawyer when I grow up, presuming I could muster the patience required for law school. In middle school, I went punk, always had a crazy haircut, and wore a lot of shirts with skulls and other dark themes. One of them had a skeleton with a k-bar and a Marine Corps 8-point cover on his grape. It read: U.S.M.C. - UNCLE SAM'S MISGUIDED CHILDREN.

When I joined the Marines and started learning about our history, (they tought us about Smedley Butler, but not that he wrote a book called War Is A Racket) the one quote that stuck with me was from the legendary Marine, Chesty Puller. In boot camp, some platoons get to say, “Goodnight Chesty, wherever you are!” every night in unison while laying in the position of attention in their racks. The quote is, “You're not a real Marine until you get busted down once or twice.” I didn't think I would be able to live up to that standard, but fortunately, I was wrong.

Senior Marines would regale me with tales of their craziness, and brag about doing things like driving drunk, getting pulled over, and having the cop let them get away with it. Then explain it like this, “But America needs crazy mother-f'ers like us around. That's what it takes. Americans sleep soundly at night because they know guys like us can be on any beach in less than 24 hours.” Taking a more strategic look at the Corps's strategic value and chances of survival, former Marine Corps Commandant Lieutenant General Krulak noted, “The United States does not need a Marine Corps, the United States wants a Marine Corps.” It should come as no surprise, that Marines are over-represented in the ranks of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

When I joined the Marines, or rather the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) and took my oath of enlistment, I took it very seriously. “Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I stopped to think about why the document was more important than the intstitution, and it naturally made sense to me. These are the rules by which we are able to ensure the rights of the people, this is what I want to have my life on the line for.

Of course, the Constitution is simply our best attempt (and I would argue among the best, if not the best created by any society in human history) to enshrine a set of greater values in a practical form of governence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This philosophy and these ideals were not anything particularly revolutionary in and of themselves, but when faced with the rejection of these ideals in the tyranny of King George III, the founding fathers were in a unique position to take a stand for those ideals. It required a certain courage of them, but they sure as hell delivered! “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

The utopian ideal that comes from those principles is one that is void of the violation of those rights by any human against any other, or what some would call a state of anarchy. But out of the realities of the circumstance and the culture at the time, a practical form of governance was necessary, and naturally came the Constitution. Although beautiful and powerful, this document that created and defined what Benjamin Franklin referred to as, “A republic, if you can keep it,” was far from perfect. Not only did our founders intend for us to keep it, but strive continuously to improve it, and it prescribed the exact means of amendment. Along with the cultural evolution that makes change possible, we have been making great progress with our Constitutional Republic. We have seen the abolition of slavery, a civil rights movement, and a women's movement, among many other great strides.

As a species, we have gone from the law of the jungle, to feudalism, to kingdoms, to empire, to capitalism with slavery, to capitalism with corporatism, but all in all, things are getting better. Humanity marches on. You can fight it, or fight for it. It wasn't too long ago that the best we could expect out of life was fondly referred to as, “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” My oh my, how we have progressed as a species since then.

But even in America, it has been a process of two steps forward, one step back. And as a nation, we are progressing down many paths simultaneously. The founding of the federal reserve as not only unconstitutional, but creating unnatural, imoral concentrations of wealth, could be seen as a step backward begun in 1913 that is still with us today. Within that time frame, there have been many steps forward, and many smaller steps backward. Clearly, in this framework, the Bush Administration has had more than it's fair share of steps backwards.

That is why this Independence Day is so desperately needed right now. We have forgotten the ideals put forth in Declaration. As the founders knew, a servile, unquestioning, obedient people, will always produce tyrants. The mortal flaw of tyranny is that it is dependent upon the obedience of its subjects. On this Independence Day we must renew our commitment to the ideals of the Declaration. It should be very clear to all partriotic Americans, that when in the course of human events, an oppression so revolts those subject to it, it becomes necessary to dissolve the political bands that are the means of that tyranny. We must, as a nation, once again, embrace defiance, rebellion, and resistance!

Happy Independence Day . . . if you can live up to it.