Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Archive for May, 2013|Monthly archive page

Was the Fourth Amendment Repealed?

In Opinion on May 31, 2013 at 11:39 am

holderLet me see if I have this right.  First, Eric Holder is caught with his hand in the cookie jar (while chewing a few cookies already) having authorized illegal confiscation of at least one journalist’s phone records, a clear threat to the freedom of the press and a violation of the First Amendment (not to mention the Fourth, about which more later).  Then he convenes a priviate meeting with a select group of really, really important members of the press (The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, Politico and the New Yorker) to discuss rules and guidelines concerning his future trips into the kitchens of this special class of citizens called journalists and reporters.

In the paper of one of the lucky few attendees, The Wall Street Journal, (Full Article HERE) we read:

Mr. Holder and aides said they were open to changing the guidelines the department uses to broaden the circle of officials who have to agree that subpoenas are justified as a last resort. The officials also said they were open to annual reviews with news organizations . . . The department’s guidelines haven’t been revised in more than two decades, and the officials said they needed to be updated to deal with significant changes in news gathering that have occurred in that time.  Mr. Holder asked news executives to speak with him in the wake of two controversial leak investigations of the Associated Press and Fox News in which reporters’ phone records were seized.

So, for our Department of Justice, for this White House, it goes like this:

  • break the law,
  • deny having broken the law,
  • convene a meeting to confess the breach,
  • cop a plea with the victims,
  • cite the need to ‘update’ the government’s interpretation of the US Constitution,
  • change the rules concerning who is empowered to ignore the US Constitution,
  • triple promise to abide by new rules, and
  • voila, all’s good and well.

In other words, some media moguls will negotiate with the Department of Justice guidelines meant to protect a certain class of people, journalists and reporters, from unreasonable searches and seizures because their jobs as journalists and reporters is really extra special (see First Amendment).

That’s fine, sort of.  But what about YOUR Fourth Amendment rights?  Has Eric Holder called you into his office to reassure you that the government remembers that part of the Constitution?  He has yet to call me.

Oh, but no need to worry.  If the government raids your home, opens your bank records, reviews your internet footprint, or taps into your FaceBook and email accounts, at least the press will be allowed to write about it.

_______________

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.

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Governor Christie’s Dance With Obama [@ Gettysburg?]

In Opinion on May 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

The New York Times, with obvious admiration, accuses Governor Chris Christie of openly using the power and prestige of his office to advance his political career to ensure long-term tenure in office.  And no one objects.  Reporting on President Obama’s visit to the Jersey Shore with Governor Chris Christie, The Times tells us:

For his part, Mr. Christie has fashioned a potent political brand as a no-nonsense leader, whose clarity in a crisis can transcend the tired niceties and rivalries of the partisan game. The president has served as a ready foil and, more to the point, a provider of the kinds of tangible goods — money, resources and a friend in the bully pulpit — that can be political gold after a disaster, particularly in the blue-leaning state.

And

Politically speaking, Mr. Christie needed to walk a careful line. If he seeks the Republican nomination for president in 2016 and appears to be too friendly with the president, his Republican rivals could use it against him. But that chumminess could be an asset when it comes to winning over swing voters, if he becomes the nominee.

And

Mr. Christie has also been criticized in his state for appearing with his family in a television advertisement that was paid for with storm recovery money. The commercial is intended to promote the shore, but Democrats have argued that it is little more than a thinly veiled re-election ad for the governor.

For the moment, the trick for both men was to appear as if they do not care about the politics.

christieIn other words, they’re both really really good at faking things, a.k.a. knowingly and admittedly bending and massaging the truth with impunity for the sole, stated purpose of keeping power.  And of course that sounds familiar, because it’s the mark of, a prerequisite to becoming, a highly-successful modern politician.

So, what’s remarkable?  What’s objectionable?  Who even cares?  No one, that’s who cares.  And, there you have the question and answer to “what’s wrong with our nation’s polity?”  That Governor Christie’s opponents and supporters alike praise his abuse of power as ‘just good politics’ is prima facie evidence that the American experiment in self-government is failing [has “perished from the earth“?].  Only a clean sweep on the scale of a [peaceful?] civil revolution will restore our government “of the people, by the people, for the people” – a government of a nation “conceived in Liberty” – a government that reveres and respects individual liberties over perpetuating its own power.

______________________________

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Will You Bow or Will You Be Free?

In Opinion on May 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm

From The Washington Post editorial page.

“That Apple and others behaved legally does not mean that they behaved beneficially, from society’s point of view. As subcommittee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) pointed out, the net effect of Apple’s tax avoidance is to raise the tax burden on everyone else. Yes, Apple pays $6 billion per year in federal taxes, and that’s a lot of money — but not commensurate with its heft in the U.S. economy. The billions Apple and other firms hoard overseas are billions not working to create jobs here.”  (Full editorial here.)

Really?  Are we to conclude that, in the view of The Post, Apple is in business for the benefit of society?  And, Apple’s shareholders should pay more taxes to reduce the burden of other taxes on ‘everyone else”?

 

Dear Mr. Donald Graham (chairman of The Washington Post Company),

What is ‘commensurate with [Apple’s] heft’ and may we see your tax return, sir?  If, in your view, sir, Apple’s purpose in business is to ‘create jobs’ one could wonder: How many excess employees does The Post carry on its payroll for the sake of ‘job creation’ and how many are on payroll to perform some task that contributes to the company’s delivery its [shoddy] newspaper to its readers?

When The Post and the government have brought profitable corporations (excluding, of course, mass media corporations that do Senator Levin’s PR work for him) to their knees (metaphorically speaking) you can be assured that John Q Public is next – no metaphor, HIS KNEES ARE REAL, and the all-powerful state/media axis will expect him to bow down on command, even if he’s not a Tea Party supporter.

If they have no qualms about harassing a successful corporation – remember, corporations are owned by real humans (not big-wigs and robots, not real life Thurston Howell, IIIs) even working stiffs who invest their retirement plans in stock indexes and the like – why would they stop once they’ve gotten the corporations “in line”?

These people are ignorant and evil.  First they vilify money-making and the people who create wealth with innovation that results in products that millions of customers willingly purchase, products they willingly possess in exchange for $699.99.  Then, in the next breath, they insist that those evil, good-for-nothing, vilified corporate monsters ‘support society’ with some undisclosed, unknowable portion of the $699.99.  That’s an extreme version of “biting the hand that feeds you!”

At some point, the strike will happen, and the next Steve Jobs will be preemptively stomped upon and will crawl under the table and wait for the scraps the government lets fall off of the table.  The only limit these people know is ‘what can I get away with today?’  Are you going to stop them or will you bow down?  Are you going to crawl under the table, too?

NEWS FLASH: Statist Policies Produce Statism!

In Opinion on May 15, 2013 at 10:45 am

His antagonists should resist the temptation to merely “catch” Obama, to hope to find his finger prints on one or or more of these ‘scandals.’  Better to demonstrate that his ideology, his entire worldview, is based on the false premise that government knows best.  Better to highlight that the statists’ ideology is inherently scornful of liberty and the rights of the individual.  Better to re-teach Americans that such an ideology leads inevitably and invariably to the kind of behavior we witness throughout the behemoth government we are forcing our children to buy for us.  There is no smoking gun that would lead a detective to the Oval Office, as the ideologists throughout the bureaucracy know that state power has no bounds in this administration.  They aren’t following orders, they’re doing what comes naturally to all statists.

So what?  So we must throw the baby out with the bathwater, the ideology has to go out with its practitioners, and we can have peace for a generation or two.  Any thing less will be insufficient – Joe Biden atop the same governing apparatus will not result magically in less state intrusion in our lives.

Tellingly, the statists are angry that the consequences of their ideology have been revealed by recent events. They’re aghast that big government’s under-belly has been exposed.  They are despondent, dismayed that the discovery of rampant abuse of power will give their antagonists, those right-wing nuts and radio personalities, the chance to argue convincingly that big government can be intrusive, can actually threaten individual liberty, can be (egads!) tyrannical. They hate that bad things happening under big government can be construed as evidence that bad things can happen under big government.  They are undeterred.  They are not disappointed that their policies have produced an unaccountable, run-away bureaucracy that is predisposed to ignore constitutional limits on power. They’re mad they got busted.

What else do you need to know?

Benghazi, IRS, AP Phone Records . . . and Your Freedom

In Opinion on May 14, 2013 at 10:27 am

US Constitution - We The PeopleThese are not scandals.  These are not a result of an administration’s 2nd term arrogance – I’m particularly tired of that chorus.  These are not stories with legs, not the controversy that will make Obama’s team reassess their approach to crisis management and press relations.  This is not Obama’s Watergate.

These episodes are symptomatic of a particular mindset.  They are to be expected from a power structure (ALL of DC, not just The White House) that thrives on the conceit that THEY know best how to run YOUR life.  They are not a government, they’ve become rulers.  They were elected to manage the affairs of the state with a very finite, limited mission (See US Constitution, enumerated powers clause – Article I, Section 8).  Instead, the political class has arrogated unto itself the power to affect every aspect of your life.

In the process, they claim to know how the entire medical and insurance industry should run, how much an aspirin or an open heart surgery MUST cost, how many OB/GYN doctors there should be in each town and whether granny should get a hip replacement or new crutches.  They know how much capital a multi-trillion dollar bank should have on its balance sheet, how many derivatives trades a hedge fund should have outstanding at one time, how much risk is too much risk, how much a collateral debt obligation is worth at any given moment, and how many futures contracts on soybeans should be written on a Wednesday in August during a leap year.

And, they also know these things about you and your life:

  • how many ounces of Coca-Cola is too many ounces in one cup
  • the right speed you should travel across the desert in Nevada
  • what percentage of your income is the fair amount for you to retain
  • the exact moment during a pregnancy at which a fetus becomes a child and shouldn’t have its spinal cord snipped with scissors
  • the age at which your children should know what “homosexual” means (and it’s long before they can or should know about the emotional bond that should and often does accompany procreation, as contrasted with recreation that is)
  • the kind of fuel you should burn in your furnace

They’re so damn smart, they even know the proper, sustainable average temperature of planet Earth at noon on May 14, 2099.

They know all these things and so many, many more.   And for your own good, for the good of the community, they’ll use the law to nudge you toward the behavior that doses the most good for everyone else.  In other words, since the community’s fate and well-being trumps that of any individual, you do not own your life, they do.  Or, as they like to say, the “community” does – and it owns your kids too, by the way.  These DC statists (Republican and Democrats alike) believe in a thing they call a ‘Social Contract” the premise of which is that you’ve forfeited sovereignty over your life to society.  It does not matter whether you knowingly entered that contract, once you crossed that line between fetal matter and child, you were bound by their contract, and that means you shall obey, FULL STOP.

That belief, the very foundation of their worldview and the role of government therein, is anathema to the concept of human liberty that is the basis of the Constitution of the United States.  So, why should any one be surprised that they use that document to line their bird cages?

The answer is not to search for a smoking gun or for Obama’s finger prints on a memo that says “Let Ambassador Stevens burn, I’ve got a trip to Vegas, ya know.”  The answer is to prove that their entire ideology is based upon a lie – the lie that denies this elemental fact of life: that to be free, to be a man, one must own his life – ALL of it.

An Apology Fixes Anything and Everything – Who Knew!?

In Opinion on May 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm

So, the IRS issued an apology!!

I didn’t get the memo.  When did an apology become the acceptable, unremarkable follow up to law breaking, political intimidation by government employees and a complete disregard for the public trust?

Wonder what G Gordon Libby or Oliver North have to say about that?  And if only King George had known?!

“Hey, GW, TJ, Ben F, et. al.,

Really, really sorry about all the tyranny stuff.  Don’t know what got into me – guess that divine right thing goes to my head at times.  Sending back my copy of your Declaration diatribe.  I know you were pissed, but let’s just get along, ok?  Best to the fams!

Royally and Imperiously Apologetic,

George

King of England”

 

Welcome to the New World.  Do you miss the real one?  Do you miss justice?

The IRS, Banned Words, ObamaCare, Nuremberg and Granny

In Opinion on May 13, 2013 at 10:49 am

Your government was (is?) using a list of bad words to discover groups with an intent to cause unrest and abet treason, in other words groups that might oppose the policies of Barack Obama.  The list includes:

Tea Party, Constitution, Patriot, 9/12, Limiting/expanding government

The use of that list was to be revealed in a report from an investigation triggered by complaints from some of the targets of political intimidation.  So, late last week, an IRS official preemptively apologized(!) for the agency’s practice of exposing groups with those words in their names to extraordinary scrutiny when determining whether those political organizations would be exempt from certain taxes.  In other words, the IRS was using a political filter to determine which groups would have to pay tribute to the government in exchange for the privilege of expressing opinions about political matters.  The apology included the counter-logical statement that the practice was not politically motivated.  In addition, to inoculate everyone with a pay grade higher than the appointed apologist’s, we were told that the suppression of free speech by political intimidation was conducted only by ‘lower-level’ IRS employees.  Is government heavy-handedness a problem only if it’s administered directly by or under specific orders of the President himself?  Did any of Stalin’s victims survive because he didn’t pull the trigger himself?  Or, would Richard Nixon have been excused if he had made G. Gordon Liddy, apologize for the break-in and sit in the corner for 15 minutes?

Leaving aside the fundamental point about the limits on free speech implicit in the law the IRS is implementing in this instance, it is helpful to examine this episode in light of a separate recent event.  In a commencement address at Ohio University, President Obama told his audience to reject “voices” that warned against the tyranny of big government.  In his words:

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the worksThey’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.  You should reject these voices.  Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted. 

And

The founders trusted us with this awesome authority.  We should trust ourselves with it, too.  Because when we don’t, when we turn away and get discouraged and cynical, and abdicate that authority, we grant our silent consent to someone who will gladly claim it.  That’s how we end up with lobbyists who set the agenda; and policies detached from what middle-class families face every day; the well-connected who publicly demand that Washington stay out of their business — and then whisper in government’s ear for special treatment that you don’t get.

Is there anyone who didn’t decipher the code words in those two paragraphs?  Is there anyone who didn’t hear:

BEWARE THE TEA PARTY AND ALL THOSE SMALL GOVERNMENT

OBSTRUCTIONIST “PATRIOTS” WHO WANT US TO PAY ATTENTION TO THE CONSTITUTION!!

We will be told over and over that the White House and the President condemn the IRS actions.  It’s likely that some ‘lower level’ people will be fired for their horrendous/atrocious/deplorable (Jay Carney’s thesaurus will be in overdrive) acts.  However, “I was just following orders” does not excuse the offender, nor does it absolve the commander.  That these ‘orders’ were merely understood and not written is not pertinent.  Junior level IRS agents rarely do things that would be grounds for dismissal if discovered by their supervisors.  That some of them now might be fired does not clear this administration of its complicity.  Indeed, the high level officials’ guilt is directly proportional to the number of synonyms they use for ‘really, really, really bad.’

OH, and recall who is in charge of enforcing and administering ObamaCare, recall who is in charge of setting standards that will determine whether Granny will get a hip replacement or a new set of crutches.  Like ALL government programs, regulations and tax laws, ObamaCare will be administered by a ‘lower-level’ government employee who would never, ever be influenced by politics, of course.  Yeah, and Granny will be just fine, really.

“Background Check” My Arse

In Opinion on May 3, 2013 at 11:22 am

Why are none of the men or women in the US Senate capable of making the case against a law that purports to deprive you of your right to keep and bear arms?  None of the ‘arguments’ in favor of more gun control are germane to the pertinent question, namely “Can the state tell a class of people that they may not own a gun?” And none of their arguments are the least bit convincing or sound.

None of these laws’ proponents have made the case [because it doesn’t exist] that their power grab is legitimate or just.  For example:

  • “We’re not taking anyone’s guns away!” I have no fear of the government taking my guns, and while your law may not purport to take mine away, it does explicitly say that the government shall have the power to tell certain people whether they can buy one.  Preventing ownership of a thing is tantamount to taking it, as there is no difference in the consequences.
  • “If you pass the background check, you’ll be fine, so what do you have to hide?” is a head fake.  Someone will determine what the word ‘pass’ shall mean.  I will not grant that power to anyone, nor do I wish for any free man or woman to fail whatever test some power craving, do-gooder might devise in the name of my safety.
  • “Do you really want any nut or madman to own a gun?” is a scare tactic.  Unless you’ve disarmed me and most of my fellow citizens, I have no reason to fear a flake with a gun any more than I fear a belly ache, earthquake or rattle snake.

And so on.  The dispositive argument is simple and irrefutable.  Would that the NRA and any one of the senators who voted against ‘background checks’ would say something akin to this:

Background check is a euphemism for the government taking illegitimately the power to determine who possesses the right to defend himself with a gun.  If, on a case-by-case basis, a particular man or woman – not a class or category of people – is deemed to have forfeited that right because of a danger he would pose in possession of a firearm or weapon, then a judge may ban him from doing so and enforce that ban as effectively as possible by whatever reasonable means he or the local police force might conjure.  (A tattoo on his forehead, an irremovable bracelet on his wrist . . .)  Otherwise, ‘shall not be infringed’ is perfectly clear and, more importantly, is supported by the moral and just argument that every man was born with the right to defend his life and property.  Except as reasonable punishment for another crime or remedy for some determinable threat, no one ought ever be told how or whether he may protect himself.  Furthermore, no one need recognize a law that purports to deprive him of that inalienable right, as such an edict is unjust and illegitimate ab initio.”

Senators Graham, Cruz, Ayotte, Mr. LaPierre . . . someone please figure this out and stop the freight train that’s running through Washington.  I do not wish to be a criminal, but I shall be if you let this law pass, as I will not subject myself to a government test to determine whether my life is worthy of my defending it.