I just got an email from Dick Durbin, one of our Illinois Senators, informing people that they would like to add an amendment to the US Constitution to give Congress the power to limit corporate contributions to political campaigns.  They do not mention unions or other types of groups in this, so from the get go, you can see that they are not serious about limiting special interests from campaigns, just corporate interests. 

Aside from this, I have a couple of problems with this amendment idea.  First, is it the money from special interests that is really the problem, or is it the politicians who are being bought by the money?  Or does it go even deeper to the idea that the federal government is involving itself and tinkering in areas that it does not have authority given to it from our US Constitution?  If the federal government was not involving itself in many of these areas, there would be no need for special interests to be trying to get in their say so on these issues, at least at the federal level.  Is it possible that the writers of the Constitution specifically limited the federal government to limited powers for this very reason?

My other problem with this amendment is that, if the federal government is going to continue messing in these areas, and no one is going to stop them, then special interests do deserve a say so in issues that are going to affect them directly.  To take this away from anyone, is simply wrong.  You only have to place yourself in the position of the interest that is going to be affected to see this.  If I owned a business, and some people in the federal government started talking about making changes such as new taxes or regulations and it was going to affect my business personally, I want to be able to support the candidate that is going to work in my best interest and protect me from government intervention.  I can't imagine that being taken away from me.

I am all for getting rid of what many call crony capitalism.  But the method used to get rid of it is where I think Sen. Dick Durbin is wrong on this.  If you truly want to change things meaningfully for the better, while preserving our freedoms, you have to go to the root of the problem which is taking away the need for special interests to be involved at all.  You get rid of that, what would the corporations be trying to buy and what would the politicians be being bought for.  The change that needs to be made is to get the federal government out of areas it does not have power over and their would be no need for special interests to be involved at all.

I have intentionally been vague when referring to the areas that the federal government has been involving itself that it should not.  The reason for this is that there are just so many.  If you want to learn more about this, take a look at the Constitution Article 1 Section 8 to see this list of powers that the Congress has power overTake a look at this video that does an excellent job of talking about the powers of government.  And while you are at it, watch the other videos in this series that talk about other topics involving the Constitution, such as the general welfare clause.  Enjoy!

Wanted to add in closing, that though I disagree with the amendment being proposed, I am happy to see that they are at least following the Constitution and recognizing that in order to make a change such as they would like to do, they would need a Constitutional amendment to do it.  Usually, Congress just enacts whatever laws they want without thought to whether they are Constitutional or not.  So, I want to thank them for at least following the Constitution on thi
My top choice for the republican presidential primary is Ron Paul.  I am fairly familiar with his views on many issues based on interviews and other short pieces he has written.  I had yet to read any of his books but decided to pick up his latest book at the library.

In his book titled Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom, Ron Paul chooses issues that are affecting our country today.  Each chapter is a separate issue.  While it is best to read the whole book through, you could easily pick and choose the different chapters that most interest you.  You may not agree with him on all his issues, but he does a great job of explaining himself and giving you food for thought.

The great thing about Ron Paul is that all his views are in keeping with upholding the US Constitution and protecting the rights of the people and preserving the powers that are reserved for the states.  While many of the other presidential candidates this time around are also great in many of these same things, each have and issue or two where they are not so concerned with upholding the Constitution or protecting freedoms and instead would like to impose their personal views on the whole country.  While I would still support most of these candidates if they were to win the primary, the ideal candidate is Ron Paul.

Like I mentioned before, I already knew most of Ron Paul's views, but this book really went much deeper than I had expected.  He talked about abuse of power by the federal government and its many agencies, giving specifics that I was not aware of.  Overall, he really drives home the point that the federal government has really overstepped its authority in so many areas and we are less safe and less free because of it.

Anyone who wants to get a alternative perspective than you will get from the average liberal or conservative should pick up Ron Paul's newest book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom.  I put it on hold at the library, so there was no need to dish out money for it, though it is not that expensive according to Amazon.com.  I found this book to be a very easy read and I had it read in less than 2 days.
There is this idea that keeps popping up lately that if something seems like a good idea to you, and it seems to be good for the general welfare of the country, then it is okay for the our US Federal Government to pass laws making it so or helping out that cause.  A couple years ago, I would have agreed with those statements.  But then I read the US Constitution, the supreme law of the land, and found that lo and behold, it does not give our Federal Government a blank check to do whatever it wants in the name of the general welfare as many would have you believe.

What seems to be happening is, in the first part of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution it says:

        The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States: but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

Many will read this and say it says right here that the Federal Government is to provide for the general welfare of the country.  The problem is, they are only reading the introduction to the section instead of the section as a whole.  If they would continue on, what they would find is that the framers of the Constitution took the time to list out all of these areas of defense and general welfare the Federal government has powers over.  I will not list them all here because they are lengthy, but if you go take a look, you will see the list of defense and general welfare items the first part of the section was referring to.  For example it lists items like coining money, establishing post offices and post roads, declaring war, and providing and maintaining a navy.  Nowhere does it mention anything regarding health or healthcare or many other areas our Federal Government involves itself in like education.

And because they knew governments always try to gain more power than they are given, based on the history of man, they added in Amendment X, which says:

        The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

They wanted to make sure, in case the Federal Government was at all confused about what their powers were, they would be reminded their powers were limited by what is stated in the Constitution and the rest is to be left to the states or the people.  Is it not clear that any power that is not specifically given to the Federal Government by the Constitution, is not in their power for them to legislate on?  If the Federal Government had unlimited power over anything considered in the general welfare, then what would be left to the states and the people?

So, let me give you an example of one of the situations that has come up lately which prompted this blog article.  I am a big supporter of breastfeeding.  I not only think it is the natural thing to do, I also think it provides unseen health protections to a child and allows for greater bonding for the child and parent among other benefits, so I also believe it is in the general welfare of the country for people to choose this option when possible.  Rep. Michelle Bachmann has come under attack lately for sharing her view that the Federal Government should not be providing for or making laws regarding breastfeeding, as it is not in their powers.  Specifically, she disagrees with tax breaks for breastpumps.  This is seen by many as an attack on breastfeeding, even though she supports breastfeeding and nursed her 5 children.

I support her views that our Federal  Government should not be making laws supporting or taking away from breastfeeding.  Nowhere is health listed as a power of the Federal Government,  and even though it may be seen by many to be in the general welfare of the country, it still is not in the Federal Governments powers to do anything about it.  But what about all the federal departments that have been set up regarding health and studying health related topics?  Yep, nowhere in the Constitution have we given the Federal Government the power to take our tax money and spend it on anything health related.  These are powers the Federal Government is taking unconstitutionally that are to be left to the states or the people to decide on.

Many will say breastfeeding is in the general welfare of the country and as I stated above, I agree.  But that still does not change the law of the land and the enumerated powers we give to the Federal Government.  If we break the law in one area because we feel a cause is noble or worthy, what if someone comes along later and breaks it to do something they deem noble and worthy but you disagree with it?  As an example, what if someone comes along and feels our population is growing too fast and we need to limit births to one child per couple?  There are people out there who do believe this and they would suggest it is in the general welfare of this country to keep our population down because we are going to run out of resources if we keep growing our population like this.  So, using the general welfare clause, they pass a law limiting births to 1 child per couple.

The point is, you can't just ignore the law because it is something you personally find to be a noble cause and say you are okay with the government doing it.  You also can't ignore the law because they have ignored it in the past on so many other things.  You have to take the law as it is, and when you come up with an idea you think is great, you look to the law first to see if it is in the Federal Governments powers before you decide they need to pass a law in this area.  If they do not have the power, then you can look to your state or local government.  But, better yet, look to yourself.  More on that later.

Many say it doesn't matter that there are powers listed in the Constitution because the Constitution provides that the Federal Government can do anything it deems to be in the general welfare of our country.  But who decides this and aren't there varying opinions on most issues. Many say the Constitution is ever changing as the people and society are changing and therefore the Constitution is a living document.  I must ask, how many laws in this country are interpreted as living documents?  None.  They are meant to stand as written, unless society determines a change is needed and they will then make an amendment to the law.  This is the same with our US Constitution.  It is the supreme law of the land (Article VI) and can only be changed by amendment.  So, at some point if the people determine they want to see the Federal Government deal in areas of health, then they would amend the Constitution to add that power into the list with three fourths of the states needed to ratify it (Article V).

The Constitution also states in Article IV, Section 4:

    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,  

A Republican form of Government is one where there is rule by law, not by the majority, which is what a Democracy form of government is.  The reason for this is that they wanted to protect minority rights.  With this, federal legislators on a whim could not go and enact a law that would hurt the minority because the Constitution would not allow for it unless it was in one of the areas  the Federal Government had powers over, but even then they had to hold to the individual's rights.  The Federal Government was meant to be a limited government with a few main functions which are relations between the states, relations with other countries, and most importantly the protection of our individual rights.  The point here being that our Federal Government has to hold to the Constitution in order to guarantee a republican form of government.  It cannot interpret the law however it sees fit.  If must follow it as it is written or change it by amendment otherwise they would not be following the law.

If something like breastfeeding is truly in the general welfare of the country, and the Federal Government can't do anything about it, what is to be done?  The People step up and take on causes  they deem are important.  They start organizations to promote their causes.  They have fundraisers to raise money.  They run ad campaigns to get their message out.  They persuade people to their cause based on their passion and they appeal to people's logic and reason.  They make their case and let others decide for themselves.  People join the cause or give money because they feel driven to do so and they are happy to help or because it makes sense in their life.  They are not forced to give to a cause because the federal government says  a particular cause is worthy of our tax dollars.

So the next time you decide the government needs to take up a certain cause, once you have looked to the Constitution and determined it is not in the Federal Governments power to deal in that area, you should consider looking to yourself for solutions.  Consider donating time or money to causes that you see worthy.  Spend your money on items that promote your cause such as buying organic if you feel this is worthy.  Changes come because people have decided that they should come.  If a government tries to force a change, you will automatically have resistance just by the nature of the way people are.  People want to do the right thing of their own free will, not be forced to do it.  Governments can take years to push through legislation because of all the resistance that is caused.  People can make changes in their own communities and even the whole nation when they realize they have the power to encourage support by others.

This interview with Daniel Quinn shows how just changing your approach for advancing your cause can have great benefits when you don't rely on government to do it for you.  If you read this interview all the way through, I think you will see what happens when an idea becomes political.  You create two sides fighting each other and not much gets done in the meantime.  There are other ways to go about promoting your cause.  Our founders knew all this and tried to limit government as much as possible and allow everything else be handled by the people because they knew this was the best way.

I encourage everyone to read over the Constitution at least once so you are familiar with what is in it.  Keep a pocket constitution on hand for when you need a quick reference.  You can get one free from the Heritage Foundation.  If you have an android phone, there is a free Constitution app called United States Constitution that you can download which also includes other historical documents for quick reference.   In addition to all this, when election time comes, look for people who know the Constitution and will uphold it.  Look to those who will try to repeal unconstitutional laws so that we get our government out of areas that it has not been given power over.  

I hope this helps many to see that someone can be passionate about a cause but also understand the Constitution and its limits.  And to realize it is in everyone's best interest to hold up the rule of law.

In December I will be traveling by plane with my husband and three young children.  We have had our tickets for months now, but I recently heard that I would be asked to go through the new x-ray scanners at the airports that we were using.  My first thoughts were about whether they were safe.  As a mother who does not routinely use drugs or x-rays on my children or myself, I really don't want to use the x-ray scanners just so that we can fly.    I have heard that the scanners are safe but I have learned enough over the years to know not to trust something just because those in authority say it is safe.

I came across a letter written by some physicists at the University of California back in April 2010.  In it they address their concerns with the backscatter  x-ray technology that is being used.  They have a list of health concerns that they feel need to be answered.  Many of those concerns have to do with several at-risk populations such as the elderly, those at risk for breast cancer, immune-compromised individuals, children, pregnant women, and they even worry about damage to testicles or eyes because of the proximity to the skin. 

These physicists are calling for an impartial panel of experts to reevaluate the potential health risks because the negative effects may outweigh the benefits for increased detection of terrorists.  They point out that there have been many cases where errors have been made because of failure to recognize adverse events and that in the past, crisis have led to decisions that had unintended consequences.

With these questions still left unanswered, I have decided to "opt out" of these scanners on grounds related to my original health concerns.  So really, the only option for my family is to undergo pat downs or what they are calling enhanced pat downs.  I'm not sure exactly what all this will entail but I am really not looking forward to it because I tend to be modest and really don't want someone feeling around on my private parts or on my kids' private parts. 

So, at this point, we either don't fly (we already have the tickets), we go through the x-ray machines, or we get patted down.  I don't know how bad this will end up being, but I know several people who told me that they were uncomfortable enough when they were patted down that they will be doing the scanners next time.  I believe that is the real intent of the enhanced pat downs, so that people will choose to go through the scanners.  I certainly hope I am not harassed for choosing to opt out of the scanners. 

The more thought I have put into this, the more uneasy I have become with this whole security thing.  The government tells us that because of last years incident where a man had explosive powder on him, that they will need to use these new scanners or pat down procedures to keep us safe.  The time line on this sounds very suspicious to me.  Why would this company just happen to have developed this machine unless they knew that someone would be buying it?  I venture a guess that the government intended on using these machines all along and the incident last year just made it convenient to convince people that it was necessary for their safety.  Never let a crisis go to waste is what comes to mind.

And if they had intended on using it all along, why not just say so, especially since I heard reports that these machines may not even detect the explosive power that was used in last years incident.  I would like to know whether it will actually detect the substance as they claim.

Is there anyone out there that really believes that these machines or the pat downs will make us safer?  I think we are pretty safe already, so how much safer can we get?  Flying is already one of the safest forms of transportation.  And hasn't it been 9 years since 911, which was the last time that an American has been injured in the US by a terrorist, unless I am forgetting something.  So are we really that unsafe right now that we need these machines, or are they creating fear so they can push these machines for whatever reason (financial, power, etc.)?

If a terrorist really wants to terrorize us, who really thinks these scanners or pat downs will stop them?  Really?  A terrorist could not come up with any other ways of terrorizing?  I think that they could and very well might.  So again, will these scanners and pat downs really make you safer?

Now I have come to the part of all of this that has really got me frustrated.  You can pretty much disregard the whole first part of this blog because what I am going to talk about next is the most important part because it effects all Americans, not just those who go to airports. 

Are these scanners and pat downs constitutional?  The TSA says it has a mandate to do whatever it can to keep us safe, but it forgets that it HAS to operate within the confines of the US Constitution.  The TSA is the government, and the Constitution tells the government what it can and can't do.  It doesn't matter how well intentioned the government is, they HAVE to follow the Constitution.

It says in the US Constitution Bill of Rights, 4th Amendment:

      "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

It seems pretty clear to me that if a person is not suspected of being a terrorist or suspected of something else, then they cannot legally be searched.  And really, if you look at the 4th Amendment, they don't even have the right to go through our effects (luggage) either.  I heard someone say that we are all suspects.  I disagree.  The American people are not terrorists, so why are we being treated like it?  But I guess the day when we are all treated like criminals has arrived, but, unlike criminals, we don't have to do anything suspect to have them search us. 

Why am I a suspect more than our President and Congress people who do not have to go through the scanners or pat downs?  Why can airports opt out of the scanners all together?  Aren't the passengers at these other airports terrorist suspects too?  Why in some airports do only random people have to go through these procedures?  What if you miss the one person who aims to set off a bomb on the plane?

Have we as a country decided that we are all guilty unless proven innocent?  These searches are blatantly unconstitutional and We the People should not stand for our rights being violated.  Are you someone who feels that we will be safer because of these procedures and this is just the price we have to pay for keeping safe?

So what if next week someone decides to use an explosive that they insert into there body cavity (which these scanners and pat downs cannot detect)?  Will they then require passengers to go through body cavity searches?  Or what if they choose some other method of terror that is yet to be thought of?  Or how about a roadside bomb?  Will they require traffic stops to search your vehicle?  Is this any different than what they are doing at the airports now?  They would say that they are doing it to protect you.  What if the car bomber puts the bomb in a body cavity and the roadside check does not catch the bomb?  Will they have to implement body cavity searches during roadside checks?

I know this all sounds ridiculous, but this is one of my points.  No matter what you do, there will be other ways for terrorists to terrorize us.  Giving away what freedoms we still enjoy in this country is not going to make us safer.  It will just make us less free.  I have started to get that feeling the people in Nazi Germany must have had just before their government started terrorizing its own people. 

If you are not an airline traveler, why should any of this concern you?  Because this is an "in your face" violation of our US Constitution.  If our government can get away with this in the name of security, then they can use this same reasoning to do just about anything they want.  Where else might they decide to implement these searches in the name of security?  What is to stop them from violating other rights if they know we will not stop them?

Please do not stand by and say that this is okay like many others have been doing.  It is our duty as citizens to keep our government in check.  The Constitution is just a piece of paper if it is not enforced.

The following video sums up a lot of this:

Don't Tread on Me is a documentary that talks a lot about the US Constitution and how our federal government has been overstepping its constitutional authority for years.  You will learn a lot about states rights and what states need to be doing if the federal government starts butting in where it doesn't belong.  The states need to be standing up for their citizens before we get too far removed from the Constitution.

This movie does a really good job of explaining how instead of being individual states that are united with a federal government, we have become more of a federal government where the individual states identities don't seem to matter.  Polititians are trying to do everything at the federal level now as if the states don't exist.  It was not meant to be that way.  It's time to start the move back to a constitutional republic that we are.

It also does a good job of explaining what are rights versus what are privileges.  Rights are not something that can be given to us, but privileges are.  We do not want the government turning our rights into privileges that can be taken away.

Previously I blogged information about the Don't Tread On Me Constitution Quiz, so check that out after you watch the movie..
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11
I am all for the government getting back to only doing what the Constitution says it should do.  This is a great video that talks about the different ways to balance the budget.
Take this Constitution Quiz to see if it is time for you to brush up on your Constitution so that you can be an informed citizen.  This quiz goes along with the movie Don't Tread On Me: Rise of the Republic, but you do not need to view the movie to take the quiz.  The answers are provided, so you will be doing some learning by taking this quiz.

If you are interested in seeing this movie, you can purchase the DVD from the site or you can look to see if there is a showing of it close to you.  Watch the trailer to see what you think.
Today I went to my first political rally.  The state of the country has gotten to such a point that, like many others, I have been pulled to start getting involved.  So, my kids and I hung out for 3hrs with a bunch of other people who are tired of this government not following the Constitution and not representing the people.  We listened to a couple of speakers and some singers and had fun being around others who feel passionate about this country.  It was a very peaceful rally, not at all like some would have you believe.   I took some video footage and as soon as I figure out how to get it onto the computer, I will post it.