Liberty Blog

The 17th Amendment, Again?

Posted in Uncategorized by Phil Russo on September 2, 2010

In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, in 1787, James Madison wrote, “The Senate will represent the Staes in their political capacity, the other House will represent the people of the States in their individual capacity”. This is why the Congress in 1913 should have kept their hands off the Constitution. Not only did they give us the Federal Reserve, and the 16th Amendment, but they gave us the 17th Amendmemt too. That is what makes the Madison quote above so important.

We, the people, already have representation in Congress. That is why we have the House of Representatives, to represent the people. That’s why bigger states have more congressman. Representation is based on population because the House is where the people are represented. The Senate has equal representation because that is where the States are represented and States deserve an equal voice (though I guess some would disagree!).

The U.S. Senate was never intended to he a “mini-House of Representatives”. There is a reason the State legislatures were to appoint Senators. The Founders even had the idea that Senators would be well respected citizens with different business backrounds and areas of expertise. Why was the progressive Congress of 1913 so hell bent on undoing everything that had worked so well for so long?

Just think about some of the ways the 17th Amendment has affected us during the Obama years. Try to picture if our Senators had been appointed by our State Legislature and subject to recall by them when the healthcare bill was being debated. I think there is a good chance that Obamacare never passes the Senate. Think back to the Patriot Act or Real ID. I think there is a good chance a lot of legislation never passes in a world where the Senate is appointed by the States.

I also wonder, do the States not deserve a voice in the Federal Government? So much of the legislation that is passed in Washington dumps unfunded mandates on State governments. Should they not have a seat at the table? Perhaps most important, who is looking out for the rights of the States?

These are not inconsequential questions. The Founders knew that the States needed a voice in the Federal government. It just makes sense, especially if you have just fought a war against a tyrannical government. The Founders knew that the Federal government would try to overstep it’s bounds at times. They knew that the Federal government would try to usurp the powers left to the States. When this happened, however, there would be the U.S. Senate, the representatives of the State government,and they would step in and save the day.

You can see then why the Federal government would want to push for an elected Senate. If Washington is going to take over every aspect of American life we can’t have the Senate, with the power to filibuster, run by people who are looking to their State capitol. They pushed for an elected Senate using the same rhetoric we hear from the modern left about “democracy”. The Founders hated democracy. They knew that democracy was all about who can collect the biggest mob. They chose a Constitutional Republic as the form of government for their new nation because they didn’t want the rights of individuals and States to be subject to the whim of popular opinion.

Thanks to the Congress of 1913 and the 17th Amendment our Constitutional Republic took a giant leap towards a democracy. They removed one of the Constitutional roadblocks the Federal government had to go through to step on the rights of the States. They also removed the final hurdle to the people being able to vote themselves money from the Treasury.

The 17th Amendment and it’s repeal need to become a bigger issue if we really want to balance the budget and get control of spending. The way a lot of people use the FairTax as a litmus test when voting, we need the same kind of movement to repeal the 17th. If we really want to stop the Federal government from growing and violating the 10th Amendment we must give the States their voice back.

Why Civil Liberties Should Matter to the Tea Party

Posted in Uncategorized by Phil Russo on May 16, 2010

There is a very important and interesting conversation taking place amongst tea party groups right now. It can sometimes be uncomfortable and awkward but we, as tea partiers, are not afraid to tackle big issues. The conversation going on is about civil liberties and how important they are since the creation of the Constitution.
When I wrote about the Times Square bomber and how his rights should have been read to him, I expected to be blasted by my fellow tea partiers but I wasn’t. Most people agreed that Senator McCain was wrong. I have also heard others talking about the Obama decision to assassinate American citizens and how unconstitutional it is. Finally, the talk about denying people on the terrorist watch list their second amendment rights even though they have not been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime. The progress being made on the right with respect to civil liberties is very encouraging.
Other tea partiers ask me how we can reach out to younger people like me and I have been telling them that many younger people are with us on economics; it is when we get to civil liberties that they look at the GOP and they see big government, Big Brother, unconstitutional hypocrites. One of the reasons Ron Paul’s following was so young was for this exact reason. Young people don’t want higher taxes or bigger government. They believe in free markets. What they don’t want are things like a national ID card, no matter how many times Republicans say it is needed to “fight terrorism”. Young people don’t want to give up their constitutional rights, period. I am with Patrick Henry, “I know not what course others may choose but as for me, give me liberty or give me death”! A lot of people my age, who would vote Republican on economic issues, look at the constitution and don’t see anything about gay marriage. They see no power granted to Congress to create a Federal Reserve Bank. They see no power is Article 1 section 8 giving congress the power to regulate marriage. Similarly, they see no power in Article 1 section 8 giving Congress the power to prohibit pot smoking.
There is a thick libertarian streak in the under 30 crowd and especially in the under 20 crowd. If we tell them that freedom means the government staying out of the economy they think that the government should stay out of their homes, personal lives, and bedrooms. They also think that the bill of rights should apply to every American citizen regardless of the charges against them. This should make sense even to my post-40 tea party friends. If we allow the government to assassinate an American citizen overseas the next step will be assassinating American citizens on our own soil. If we allow the government to ‘eliminate’ American citizens accused of “terrorism” the next step is allowing them to assassinate anyone accused of being a “threat to national security”. Imagine if Obama had decided to murder the members of the “Christian” militia that was busted a few
months back. They were “terrorists”, they were going to use a bomb to kill a police officer and then set of more bombs along the funeral route. That’s a tactic straight out of Osama’s playbook. Should these men be held without charge in Gitmo and tried before a military tribunal?
I don’t speak for all young people but I do talk politics with a lot of them. There are few neo-cons that are under 30, less under 20, and they think that if you have brown skin and the government (that they claim to distrust so much) deems you are a terrorist, it is ok to suspend your constitutional rights for “national security”. I find this particularly ironic since these neo-cons claim to hate socialism and collectivism so much but then they preach about the “greater good” which is textbook socialism talk. Giving up our constitutional rights in the interest of security is no different from the commies that used to say “better Red than dead”. If we really want to reach the younger crowd we should continue this conversation about civil liberties and we should not shy away from it because it makes us uncomfortable.
When I think of my favorite Founding Fathers I see those men more in Ron Paul, and Barry Goldwater than I do in George W Bush, or John McCain. If we present young people with a consistent message of economic and personal liberty and if we elect people who follow the constitution and repeal the tens of thousands of pages of laws that are unconstitutional we need to convert young people into capitalists, will make the choice themselves, naturally.

FYI: We Are Not on The Same Page, Sir!

Posted in Uncategorized by Phil Russo on May 9, 2010

Yesterday, after the show, I got the lamest answer ever out of someone running for Congress. He was telling me how opposed to socialism he is and how Obama is a socialist. So I asked him, “If Obama took over an entire private industry and put all of the private businesses in this industry out of business and made the federal government the only option for a service, what would you call that?” his answer was “Communism!” follow-up question: “When George Bush took over the airline security industry and created the TSA was this communism too?” his reply: “No, they have the power to do that under the interstate commerce clause of the constitution”. I reminded him that he is defending the TSA the same way Obama defends Obamacare “Interstate commerce!”. So not only was this candidate defedning a socialist idea, he was doing it the same way Obama defends his socialist ideas! But what’s more, his logic was horribly flawed, the so called “interstate commerce” clause says Congress has the power to regulate commerce between the states. What they meant by this was not that government could regulate all commerce that travels between two states it was meant to regulate commerce between two or more states. Florida and Georgia are in a commercial deal, Congress can regulate it to ensure both states get a fair deal. This was mainly used for sharing rivers and bays that were available to two states. Then the candidate tried to remind me of supreme court case law that has allowed the government to regulate private industry and yada yada yada. It make me puke in my mouth a little bit. I reminded him that the supreme court has also said that the constitution contains a right to murder children. That doesn’t make them right. The supreme court thinks social security and the new deal is constitutional. So let’s recap: candidate X defends the taking over of an entire industry by the federal government, uses Obama’s “commerce clause” defence, and then tells me that the unelected, baby-murdering supreme court has said it’s ok! Thanks for clearing that up, sir! We did have former New Mexico Gov. Garry Johnson on for the whole first hour. He was awesome. Look him up on YouTube.

http://www.constitution.org/lrev/bork-troy.htm

Not All Pols Are Created Equal

Posted in Uncategorized by Phil Russo on October 31, 2009

Like a lot of you I used to be really jaded when it comes to politicians. A lot of them seems like they think they are something special and the rest of us are nobodys not worthy of their time or attention. Our congressman, Alan Grayson, is one of the best examples of this. At public events speaks to us with contempt and acts as if we are beneath him. There are politcians like this on both sides of the aisle.
There are, however, some politicians that are down to earth and capable of communicating with us “little people”. State Representative Scott Plakon, who represents district 37 in the Florida House, was a guest on our show a few months back and has been several times since. I am now honored to call him a personal friend.
There are even politicians like Scott Plakon at the federal level. Congressman Steve King of Iowa’s 5th district is one such man. Mr. King was a guest on the show a few weeks back and again today. Jason and I were both very impressed with the way Congressman King spoke to us like a friend not a politcian. After the interview I spoke to Congressman King off the air, he was friendly and easy to speak to. You would think that he would hurry me off the phone instead of taking the time to listen to me but he didn’t. He took the time to have an actual conversation and he listened like any friend would.
I think we need to have more Steve Kings and less Alan Graysons; not just based on politics but based on personality. We need more politicians who really listen to people and who really care not just politicians who pretend to listen so they can LOOK like they care. We need to elect politicians like Steve King who have the ability to communicate with regular people because they are regular people. We need to elect politicians who have worked for a living instead of millionaires that buy their seats because they want the power that comes with being a congressman. We also need more politicians who understand that representative is not a title but a job description. We need more politicians who are regular people who care like Steve King and Scott Plakon and less power hungry millionaires like Alan Grayson. It’s up to us to make it happen.