Sunday, July 28, 2013

From your Facebook passwords to Section 8 housing... why Barack Obama should be impeached for dismantling the very Constitution he swore to preserve, protect and defend.

We all know that Barack Obama was a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago. He spent more than a decade lecturing on what is possibly the greatest document ever written by men. Later, when elected to the Senate and then the White House he swore to defend that same Constitution. Despite all of that, one has to wonder, does Barack Obama not actually understand the document he has spent a quarter century studying, teaching and “defending” or is he some kind of self directed progressive Manchurian Candidate? Whichever is the case, one thing is unassailable, Barack Obama is a using the power of the presidency to eviscerate the Bill of Rights. Not the whole thing mind you, but enough to turn the granite foundation of American freedom into a termite ridden balsa wood floor that could give way at any moment.

So how has Obama undermined the Bill of Rights? Let us count the ways…
1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”
Just to be clear, in this context the framers said Congress but meant the federal government because they expected Congress would make all laws and the President would execute and enforce them.

Freedom of Speech: President Obama used the IRS to quash the voices of the most rabid and politically dangerous of his opponents, the Tea Party and in doing so stole the 2012 election.

Freedom of the Press: Obama’s Justice Department purposely bypassed judicial review and secretly subpoenaed records from the AP as well as the personal phone records of a number of its editors and reporters in an attempt to discover the source of a leak about terrorist plots. This is the same Obama Justice Department that characterized routine reporting practices as criminal activity by labeling Fox News reporter James Rosen a "co-conspirator" for reporting on North Korea and then tracking both his professional and personal actions and emails. In these cases, and perhaps others yet unknown, the President and his team sought to use the police power of the state to intimidate the press.
2nd Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Right to keep and bear Arms:  The Obama administration has spent much time and effort seeking to find ways to limit American’s right to bear arms. From supporting UN treaties that require gun registration to floating the idea of forcing psychologists to report on your gun ownership, to talking about working on gun control “under the radar”, President Obama has made it clear that the 2nd Amendment is no barrier to his desire to eliminate our right to own guns.
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.
...to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects: This is one of President Obama’s favorite targets. We’ve all heard of the NSA gathering data on citizen’s phone calls and Internet surfing habits without warrants, which would seem a crystal clear violation of the 5th Amendment. Now we discover that the Obama administration is demanding that major Internet companies turn over users' stored passwords. required to have data collecting black boxes installed. Those boxes collect a variety of data from how fast you’re going to whether or not you’re wearing your seat belt to how long it took you to step on the brake. Add to that the fact that most cars will have OnStar like capabilities and the government could pull a NSA redux and easily know everything about every trip you ever make as well as listen to everything you say the entire time.
That means that potentially a phalanx of nameless, faceless bureaucrats from the IRS or the NSA or the DHS can sit there and scrutinize your every message or like or post on Facebook or Match.com or any other social media platform. And it’s not just online.  In 2012 the NTHSA proposed that by 2014 all cars be requiredto have data collecting black boxes installed.  Those boxes collect a variety of data from how fast you’re going to whether or not you’re wearing your seat belt to how long it took you to step on the brake.  Add to that the fact that most cars will have OnStar like capabilities and the government could pull a NSA redux and easily know everything about every trip you ever make as well as listen to everything you say the entire time.

5th Amendment: …Nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb, nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
This Amendment too has come under particular attack by the Obama administration.

Double jeopardy:  After the jury returned a not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin trial, the Justice Department actually set up an email address with the specific purpose of soliciting tips so that it might help them bring charges against George Zimmerman for the same act, only under a different statute.

...private property be taken for public use, without just compensation:  Then there is the Takings Clause that has been felled by Barack Obama’s hand. In 2009, after failing to intimidate two state retirement funds who held secured Chrysler bonds, the President ignored contract law and simply took their property for the government and the UAW without just compensation.

...private property be taken for public use, without just compensation:  Finally there is the administration’s plan to achieve their diversity goals by using a variety of tools to force communities – and indirectly owners of suburban rental properties – to accept government Section 8 vouchers. Section 8 is a welfare program where government pays most of the rent and utilities for low income renters. While some landlords may be happy in the short term to have tenants whose bill gets paid on time, in the long run they and their neighbors will experience a significant “taking” of their property as the introduction of Section 8 housing almost invariably leads to dramatic increases in crime rates followed by significant declines in property values.

And this of course is only a partial listing…

Barack Obama sees the Constitution in general as little more than a list of suggested rules to be considered and the Bill of Rights in particular as a Maginot Line to simply be bypassed whenever deemed necessary. The unfortunate thing about all of this is that federal power is like Pandora’s Box, once it is unleashed, it’s almost impossible to rein in. The perfect example of this was last week’s House bill seeking to limit the NSA’s power to spy on Americans. It failed.

What makes this particularly unseemly is the fact that the Bill of Rights was the key to the ratification of the Constitution in the first place. Had it not been for the Massachusetts Compromise it’s likely that the Anti-Federalists would have carried the day and the Constitution would never have been ratified.

Given the central role the freedoms codified in the Bill of Rights have played in the triumph and prosperity of the United States, it’s no wonder that Barack Obama seeks to disembowel it. In 2008 he promised to “fundamentally transform the United States”. He has achieved his goal. Thanks to Barack Obama, in 2013, before a citizen can begin thinking about setting off on some new adventure, begin solving some new (or old) problems, begin dreaming of new ideas or innovations, consider starting a new company or doing any one of the millions of things Americans have done for centuries, we must now stop and wonder what that act might look like if it were pulled out of context by some apparatchik, wonder how our private conversations might sound if heard by a government lawyer who knows nothing about us and for whom those words were not intended, wonder what might befall us if we criticize the government or what might become of our investments if they end up on the wrong side of some government redistribution scheme… In other words, we have to imagine we're living in George Orwell's 1984. 

All of that is by definition the opposite of freedom and they are the kinds of fears dictators seek to instill in their subjects. That is exactly why the Founding Fathers insisted on a Bill of Rights as the price for the ratification of the Constitution with its federal system. Barack Obama has driven a knife through the heart of the freedoms Americans fought and died for for centuries and he should be impeached for dismantling the very Constitution he swore to preserve, protect and defend.

Monday, July 15, 2013

How the Trayvon Martin case showcases the plight of black America... but probably not in the way you think.

It’s been 20 years since Maxine Waters coined (or at least popularized) the phrase “No Justice No Peace”. The time was after the LA Riots in 1992 when the freshman Congresswoman from Los Angeles was defending looters as simply “women who wanted shoes for their children and bread". Of the violence that eventually claimed the lives of 53 people, Waters said: “The anger that you see expressed out there in Los Angeles, in my district this evening, is a righteous anger, and it's difficult for me to say to the people, ‘Don't be angry.’" She even went on use the threat of further violence around the country to try and extort action of some sort out of the White House. "Many other cities could go the way that Los Angeles went last night unless the president is willing to step in and take some strong action in terms of letting people know that he cares about this issue." The White House listened and indeed a new trial was brought about, double jeopardy be damned. This time two of the officers were convicted. Finally some justice! For those Constitutional sticklers out there… The argument was that double jeopardy didn’t really apply as the four were charged with civil rights violations the second time rather than assault and excessive force, so, no problem at all.

So now here we are, two decades later and again race and crime intersect to put American cities on edge. “Justice for Trayvon” has been the ubiquitous call for much of the last year. This is easily one of the most high profile – and consequently political – trials in decades. The original prosecutor declined to press charges, believing there was not sufficient evidence for conviction. Enter race pimps Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson and judicial frivolity ensued.

While one’s heart has to go out to the parents of Trayvon as their grief and sadness is very real and they have comported themselves with dignity in the most trying circumstances a parent will likely ever face, the “Justice for Trayvon” signs across the country have little to do with what went on that fateful night last year or what went on in that Sanford courtroom over the last month.

But then that doesn’t really matter because in America of 2013 the only thing that does matter is satiating the demands of raucous mobs or favored demographic groups. Just on cue, now that the verdict is in the demands for federal civil rights charges have already started. Prior to the verdict, as the Miami and Sanford police departments prepared to deal with the consequences of a potential not guilty verdict, one couldn’t help but wonder how we had arrived here in the first place.

I remember watching the OJ trial and verdict as it was read aloud. To say I was dumbfounded is an understatement. More stupefying however was the scene from a college student union filled with black students who erupted into joyous pandemonium when the verdict was read. How was it even possible that anyone could cheer a ruthless murderer getting off, just because of his skin color?

One has to wonder how did race affinity ever come to replace common sense, or self preservation among so many people? The perfect example of the latter is the movement in New York City to ban “Stop and Frisk”. Stop and Frisk has been a tremendous success in helping to drive down and keep down crime rates in crime ridden neighborhoods of the city. Nonetheless, many blacks have objected to the policy because blacks are disproportionately stopped. Perhaps, but those neighborhoods have a disproportionate number of blacks and black lives are disproportionately saved as well. And the neighborhoods in which many of those black citizens live are safer than they might be without Stop and Frisk. Safer neighborhoods help with jobs, schools and quality of life. But let’s get rid of it, regardless of the lives saved or improved.

Just as knee jerk white racism a half a century ago was irrational and ignorant, so too is the knee jerk black racism of today. The difference is, the black racism of today is part of the liberal & media fiction that the state of black America is the result of white racism. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Blacks may indeed be victims, but they are largely the victims of other blacks, not whites. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out – via Walter Williams – that between 1976 and 2011 279,000 blacks were murdered in the United States, 94%, or 262,000 of them, by fellow blacks. That compares to a 3,446 blacks being lynched by whites in the 86 years between 1882 and 1968!

This irrational focus on the relatively insignificant (not to be confused with nonexistent) white racism at the expense of a focus on the far greater danger to members of the black community, the black predators preying on them, is an extraordinarily expensive mistake. By focusing on the mirage of widespread white racism, many blacks cease to address the dangers and issues within their own communities, with devastating consequences. It has led to over a quarter of a million dead young black men over the last four decades. Perhaps even more damaging more is the fact that tens of millions of black Americans live in poverty, 45% of black teens cannot find a job and over 75% of black children are born out of wedlock.

If the so called black leaders of today were really concerned with the state of black America, and young men like Trayvon while they are still alive, they would put down their “No Justice No Peace” posters and turn their focus on saving black America from itself. Stop supporting murders like OJ Simpson and Mumia Abu-Jamal and start honoring men like Herman Cain, Dr. Ben Carson, McDonalds CEO Donald Thompson, American Express CEO Ken Chenault and US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, all of whom chose to build successful lives for themselves rather than bleat about the oppressive nature of a majority white society.

Instead of clamoring for never ending government programs, special dispensation in jobs and college admissions or seeing every crime or political issue through race tinted glasses, they should instead focus on reducing unwed and teen pregnancies, demanding quality education for their children and seeking relief from government regulations in order to make black communities compelling places for businesses to invest.

Don’t hold your breath however, because leadership in solving real problems is much harder work than just picking up the racism flag and waving it about so that people pay attention to you and call you a “black leader”. The civil rights movement helped destroy the scourge of white racism that had constrained the lives of blacks in America for centuries. One wonders what it will take, or how many more dead young black men it will take to remove the shackles of black racism that keep so many black Americans from enjoying the fruits of liberty that that people like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks and Medgar Evers fought so hard to give them access to?

Monday, July 1, 2013

With Prop 8 the cowardly Supreme Court eviscerates citizen's rights

Louisiana is a great state. Home to Bourbon Street, jazz, and perhaps most importantly, the antics of the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame. On a less positive note the state is currently the home of the nation’s highest rate of births to unwed mothers, currently at 54% of all births. Sadly, the rate has exceeded 50% for years.

Let’s imagine that many of those babies are born malnourished and as a result are born prematurely. Looking at the staggering costs associated with premature births and the negative health consequences for the children themselves, a citizens group decides to do something about it. They get a measure put on the ballot that would amend the state’s constitution to state that basic healthcare for babies is a right and that hospitals must provide free neonatal care and nutrition to all expectant mothers if requested. The ballot passes with a majority of the vote.

One New Orleans hospital doesn’t like the mandate and sues in federal court claiming it’s unconstitutional based on the Takings clause of the US Constitution. A federal judge agrees and throws the legislation out. The governor agrees with the judge and decides not to appeal the ruling. Suddenly, the state where the citizens have decided that they want to put the health of children ahead of the profits of rich corporations is suddenly unable to do so. Now the supporters of the referendum have no choice to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court. The Supremes agree to take the case… only to decide that the plaintiffs don’t have standing, saying: “We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,”… “We decline to do so for the first time here.” Now, this story of course is fiction, but the ruling by the Supreme Court is not. This is the exact language the majority used in their ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop 8 case where a federal judge threw out a constitutional amendment to the California constitution stating that marriage is between a man and a woman. While this Louisiana scenario was hyperbole, the reality is, that is the exact situation that could be seen in any state. A majority of citizens of a state can change their constitution to address any issue they deem appropriate, but if the governor claims that it’s unconstitutional vis-√†-vis the US Constitution and a federal judge agrees with him, tough luck for the citizens.

Sound crazy? Not really. Remember, the Supreme Court did not judge Hollingsworth on its merits, but rather simply dismissed it based on whether or not the party that appealed had standing. If their goal was to uphold the unconstitutionality of Prop 8, which this decision does by default, they should have had the courage to decide as much and let the American citizens react. If they wanted to preserve state’s rights they should have thrown out the federal court’s decision and let California’s voters handle it at a state level. What they have done with this cowardly ruling is neither.

The court has said in Hollingsworth is that 1 person can sue to challenge the constitutionality of a state action but not a single one of the 7 million California citizens who voted to pass it can sue in support of it since the state chose not to. There seems to be a disconnect there, particularly as one could make the argument that citizens are somewhat the equivalent of the states in terms of their relationship with the federal government. The 10th Amendment states: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. That suggests some level of equality between the two, and the Supreme Court choosing to not allow citizens to seek the enforcement of lawfully implemented rules while allowing other citizens to sue for their destruction is arbitrary and capricious.

Tthe whole point of popular referendums like Prop 8 is for a population of a state to have some control over their governments. From back room dealing to bureaucratic overreach to election manipulation, state governments can become unwieldy and corrupt and at times very unresponsive to the wishes of their citizens. Prior to Prop 8, 1978’s Prop 13 was probably the most famous ballot measure of modern times. That, like many propositions, was a response to an out of control government addicted to increasing property taxes to fund… everything. Prop 13 became a watershed event in the empowerment of citizens against the corrupt bureaucracy of their state governments. By arbitrarily suggesting that citizens cannot defend the constitutionality of their own laws the Supreme Court has eviscerated one of the most powerful tools citizens have to control their sometimes uncontrollable legislatures, executives and judiciaries. They have needlessly neutered the citizens of California and every other state with this cowardly and disingenuous ruling.