Liberty Blog

Why The Tenth Amendment Center is so Important

Posted in Uncategorized by Phil Russo on January 10, 2011

Since the begining of time political movements have come and gone. Some have had bigger impacts than others. Some have been movements that supported violence, some advocated a particular issue, but few have been focused on education and empowering the electorate. That is what gives the Tenth Amendment Center (TAC) such staying power. The Tenth Amendment Center is not focused on a single issue insofar as the 10th Amendment covers a range of issues. The TAC does not tell people what to think or for whom to vote. They are focused on educating the people so that we, the people realize that the best government is the one closest to home.

We all know, well most of us, that the 10th Amendment says that the powers not granted to the Federal Government by the Constitution are reserved to the states and the people. What the TAC does is offers perspective and empirical data that shows how to apply the 10th Amendment. Why is this so important for our country and, more specificlly, the Tea Party movement? The answer is: ideological consistency. Nobody likes a hypocrite and, moreover, nobody is going to listen to someone who contradicts themselves. You lose the moral upperhand in political debate when you apply your principles inconsistently. Some in the Tea Party and 9-12 movement talk about limited government and strict interpretation of the Constitution until the argument gets to an issue in which they want the government involved.

This is particularly clear when the discussion is about marijuana or marriage. The Constitution says nothing about either issue, yet, many “constitutional conservatives” want the Federal Government to enforce drug prohibition and define marriage. Since the Constitution does not give these powers to the Federal Government they are, via the 10th Amendment, reserved to the states or the people. People become so emotional when talking about these issues they proclaim that anyone supporting this viewpoint wants to legalize marijuana, which is not the case. Just because I do not think the Federal Government has the constitutional authority to outlaw marijuana does not mean ipso facto I want marijuana legalized. It simply means that the power to make those decisions rests in your statehouse not in Washington, D.C.

There exsists a range of issues like this, some much less controversial than pot and marriage. For instance, the Real ID Act. This law, signed by George W. Bush in 2005, creates, for the first time in our history, a national ID card. The problem is, the Constitution does not give the Federal Government the power to issue an ID other than a passport. That is why drivers licenses and ID cards have always been issued by the states and each state has had different requirements that must be met to obtain a license or ID card. Lots of “constitutional conservatives” will argue that the Real ID is needed to prevent terrorism but that is just a red herring. Thankfully, many true constitutionalists disagree and elected officials like Senator Russell Pearce of Arizona, the author of SB1070, and Governors like Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sonny Perdue of Georgia, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Sarah Palin of Alaska have passed legislation that made it illegal for their state to take part in the Real ID program. Thanks to the courage of these elected officials and their states the Real ID has effectively been nullified.

The Tenth Amendment Center is playing an important role in elucidating these issues to people to ensure that we follow the Constitution every time, not just when it fits with our political ideology. The TAC is showing people that sometimes liberty is uncomfortable. Sometimes we are going to disagree with the choices that other individuals make but that doesn’t mean the Federal Government has the power to force them to make different choices. Sometimes liberty might make us a little less safe, but better to be less secure and preserve our Republic and our Constitution than to turn in to the USSR. I would rather have liberty with danger than slavery with security.

The task of educating people on these principles is daunting. It takes a lot of hard work and effort by the men and women of the TAC and, most of all, it takes money. That’s why I am asking you to reach down deep in your pockets and dig out as much money as you can spare for freedom. The mission of the Tenth Amendment Center is one that is so important and without the help of dedicated patriots like you it cannot continue. Do not look at it as a donation, look at it as an investment in your liberty and the liberty of your children and grandchildren. What better cause is there towards which you could put your money?

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Lew Rockwell for President!

Posted in Uncategorized by Phil Russo on August 14, 2010

My conservative friends think I’m too liberal; my liberal friends think I’m too conservative…clearly I’m on the right track! It seems so simple to me, we are a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Therefore, our government should be limited to the powers granted to it by the Constitution. This doesn’t mean that we are always going to be comfortable with the results but it does mean we will always be free.

Sometimes freedom will make liberals angry (re: 2nd amendment) and sometimes freedom will make conservatives angry (re: gambling et al.). Why even have a Constitution if we aren’t going to follow it? The Constitution says that gold and silver shall be used as legal tender. Why do we use Federal Reserve notes as legal tender? The Constitution says that we only go to war with a decleration of war by Congress. Why did we go to war in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and Iraq again without Congress delcaring war?

I know this sometimes puts me at odds with both sides of the political spectrum, but I think that a consistant application of the Constitution is the only way to ensure the security of our individual liberties. People like to badmouth Ron Paul because he thinks we should only go to war with a decleration from Congress! How crazy! Follow the Constitution?!?!?! What a crazy bastard, right? The Constitution was intended to restrain government, not indidviduals. The Founders believed that the job of government is to “secure our rights”, why is government always infringing on our rights? Life, liberty, property. These are the things governments are supposed to protect. Yet they are taking more and more of our property and liberties away from us.

Government is evil. From the dawn of time governments have murdered individuals on a scale of which the most horrific serial killer could only dream. Remember Ruby Ridge? The Justice Department murdered a 14 year old boy and his mother, in cold blood. Remember Waco? I don’t even remember how many men, women, and children were murdered there, but once again it was the Justice Department that had blood on their hands. Can’t we all agree that murdering women and children in cold blood is not the proper role of government? Yesterday it was Ruby Ridge and Waco, tomorrow it could be a group of tea partiers.

Most of the folks I know in the Tea Party movement like to talk about freedom and liberty but they don’t seem to know what those words mean. They like like to joke about being “extremists” but then they tell me that my views are too extreme! I’m too extreme for the extremists! To quote Milton Friedman, “…the problem is I am on your side, but you’re not.”

Again, it seems so simple. Read the 10th amendment! The powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states or the people. Remember, democracy never lasts long. I forget which Founding Father said it but “democracies are as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths.”

I know this has been something of a rant but I hope more people start demanding that the government stick to the Constitution, secure our rights, and stop murdering our citizens. All I want is, “A government small enough to fit inside the Constitution”, as Harry Browne said. People can yell at me and complain about my views being extreme, but, my views are the Constitution. So, go ahead and hate me if you want neo-cons, but I’d rather you hate me for being who I am than love me for being someone I am not. I am just a guy that believes in freedom, is that so bad?

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.

Boy is This Going to be Unpopular

Posted in Uncategorized by Phil Russo on May 4, 2010

I can already hear everyone I know bitching at me about this blog post. This will, to me, prove who really stands for liberty and who is ready to sell out the Constitution when it suits their needs. The phrases like “don’t tread on me” and “give me liberty or give me death” can only mean so much if, when called to defend the Constitution, we let fear come between us and liberty.

The guy they arrested for the attempted car-bombing in Times Square has a foreign sounding name but he is an American citizen. John Mccain is out there saying he shouldn’t have been given his Miranda rights and I’m sure many people reading this agree. He is, after all, a terrorist, right? Weren’t Tim Mcveigh and the Unibomber? I am sure they were read their Miranda rights. They were taken to civilian courts with a jury for sure. And why wouldn’t they be? They are American citizens.

If they want to try this bastard for treason and have him drawn and quartered that is fine by me. But please don’t tell me that an American citizen, arrested on the streets of one of our cities, shouldn’t be given Miranda rights. I’ll bet if he were an illegal immigrant Mccain would have no problem with him. If they can do it to this guy, they can do it to any of us. If Obama decides that some tea party organizer is a “threat” to national security can he arrest them and not give the Miranda warnings and take them to a military court? We are not talking about someone found fighting our soldiers in Iraq or some foreign national; this is an American citizen just like all of us.

I hope people understand that this is where the tea party folks need to stand up for the Constitution even though it is uncomfortable. If they can take one of his rights away, they can take all of his rights away. If they can take away his rights, they can take away our rights. People that are citizens of other countries do not need to be read Miranda rights. People caught fighting us in Iraq should not be given Constituional rights. American citizens, arrested in America deserve Constitutional rights. End of story.

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