Conservative Political Commentary

[Under the Radar?] Anti-socialist, anti-communist, anti-globalist, pro-Constitution, and usually with an attempt at historical and economic context (This blog was given its name before I decided it was going to be a political blog.)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lawlessness in High Places

President Obama has many times shown his disdain for the United States Constitution. One example is his defiance of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which held that his “recess” appointments of National Labor Relations Board members were unconstitutional. These appointees have participated in many decisions since their appointments including several since the court decision. Obama has now officially nominated them for these positions, but has them still in place making decisions. The court decision has been ignored by the president

If the Administration followed the rule of law, these appointees would have been relieved of their duties until a final decision comes from the Supreme Court, or, if the Supreme Court chose not to handle this case, the Appeals Court ruling would be regarded as final. Or so I think as a non-lawyer. So far, the Administration has not appealed the decision.

This kind of blatant disregard of law is only too common in the Obama Administration. Many of the violations of the rule of law and the principle of checks and balances have been chronicled, ranging from “czars” who wield cabinet-level-type authority but have had no Senate confirmation, to crony capitalist deals that have resulted in business failures following multi-million-dollar government payouts (with executives getting large bonuses).

Now we’re told that the Executive Branch has given itself the “authority” to kill American citizens who are not engaged in warfare against the U.S. at the time, but are believed by high-level bureaucrats to be associated with al-Qaida or some affiliated group. They’ve already killed three American citizens without so much as offering them an opportunity to surrender and without an attempt to capture them. They have interpreted the Constitution to mean little to nothing and therefore, they’re free to act as not only policeman, but judge, jury, and executioner. Due process? Forget it. This, of course, is in line with the government’s recently asserted position of being authorized to detain American citizens indefinitely.

As Andrew Napolitano describes it,

President Obama willingly admits he dispatched CIA agents to kill an American and his teenage son and the son's American friend while they were in a desert in Yemen in 2011. He says he did so because the adult had encouraged folks to wage war on the United States and the children were just “collateral damage.” He says further that he'll do this again when he is convinced that killing Americans will keep America safe. He says he knows the adult encouraged evil, and his encouragement caused the deaths of innocents. The adult was never charged with a crime or indicted by a grand jury; he was just targeted for death by the president himself and executed by a CIA drone.
[Emphasis added]

The president and his advisors are fond of invoking some supposedly higher principle to justify their lawlessness, like “keeping people safe” to justify drone killings of citizens, trying to deny Second Amendment rights, rogue regulators, and TSA groping and nude scanners; “intellectual property protection” to go after people who have done nothing wrong just on the basis of someone’s complaint, and subjecting people to criminal charges for what should be a civil matter. And so on.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, in part, states the following:

…nor shall any person be subject for the same offence be 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…     [Emphasis added]
Article. III., Section 3 of the Constitution states as follows:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have the Power to declare the Punishment of Treaon, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Corruption of blood is defined as follows:

(Law) taint or impurity of blood, in consequence of an act of attainder of treason or felony, by which a person is disabled from inheriting any estate or from transmitting it to others.
As Napolitano points out, there is no thought given to due process in drone killings. Now we are going to have drones patrolling our own country. How long until armed drones start taking out people the Administration finds objectionable, due to some perceived future threat? Of course, there might be “collateral damage,” but c’est la vie. What a tool to go after people who didn’t pay their taxes, or who spoke out against the abuses of government in some way that was politically uncomfortable. As far-fetched as it seems (and I wish it truly were), these things are not all that far from where we are now.

Beyond the question of a formal declaration of war, the constitutional rights abuse inherent in this and other Obama policies should be thoroughly investigated by Congress, a body whose authority Obama habitually usurps. So far, little has been done to try to stop this trend.

The possibility of establishing a secret court to authorize these killings is “unthinkable” according to Napolitano, and to do so would do nothing to make these things constitutional.

This is how dictatorships get started.

Pat Buchanan has written,

As killing a U.S. citizen is a graver deed than waterboarding a terrorist plotter to get information to save lives, Obama, who bewailed Bush’s detention, rendition and interrogation policies, appears guilty of manifest hypocrisy.

But with 3,000 to 4,500 now killed by drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen over 10 years, and an estimated 200 children and other civilians among the “collateral damage,” it is past time for a debate on where we are going in this “war on terror.”

Beyond the killing of Americans, which is manifestly unconstitutional, the overall question of drone killing needs to be examined.

Bill Wilson at Americans for Limited Government’s NetRightDaily website writes,

Where this ends is anyone’s guess.

For example, it is hard to see where geography would come into play under the type of precedent that is being created. Would the authorization to use military force against U.S. citizens also apply to U.S. soil?

The answer is, if this Administration, or any administration, merely took a broader view of what Congress has authorized it to do, geography would be no limitation whatsoever to the exercise of war powers here.

While the memo may not have been intended to address “what might be required to render a lethal operation against a U.S. citizen lawful in other circumstances,” it did not need to. It would essentially be the same argument.

The very serious concerns about spy drones and surveillance drones on American soil pale in comparison to the possible domestic use of armed drones to kill Americans. This Administration believes it can justify practically anything, so don’t be too shocked if this is the next step. What should shock us is that so little is apparently being done to stop it or even strongly question it. Judge Napolitano, Senator Rand Paul, and a few others are very concerned, but the Administration will likely just label them as “libertarian extremists” and go further on their merry way in this new incarnation of Stalinism.
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Heroic Educators Quash Potential Kindergarten Crime Sprees

Taking their cue from the left’s sudden worry over guns since the Newtown shootings, educators in several schools have done their part to prevent kindergarten pretend-gun pretend-violence. Taking decisive and stern disciplinary action, these educators are bravely attempting to prevent future gun violence by driving home the idea that guns are bad, bad, bad, and not to be played with or mentioned, even by pretending, even if the weapon is a Hello Kitty bubble gun, a clear plastic toy gun, or a pointing finger.

These impressionable kiddies may have been saved from a future life of violent crime by these heroic teachers and administrators. Their unenlightened parents have protested these actions, but the administrators have stood firm in defending their handling of thought-crime evidenced by these little ones. Since Newtown, we’re all supposed to be in a hysterical frenzy over guns, especially “assault weapons” and, apparently, harmless toys and a pointed index finger. These things are so evil that they require suspension or expulsion of the offending children, and certainly no apology to the parents.

* * *

I guess the foregoing is roughly how these school personnel view their actions, but in reality these incidents are forms of child abuse. The children have been, in some cases, suspended, expelled, threatened with jail or barred from school premises.

The Newtown shootings were indeed horrific and tragic, but where does panic and hysteria end and rationality and common sense take over again? How many more little children will have to suffer for doing harmless things that children commonly do, when school officials over-react and cause real damage to these children and their families with their ill-advised decisions?

Several recent, similar incidents have been reported, and in each case, the school officials singled out the “offending” children for embarrassment, disrespect, and “bad” school records. Parents have received no apologies, only dumb “explanations” attempting to justify these over-reactions. As part of the attempt to demonize and criminalize “guns,” these so-called educators have hurt children and made themselves look mean and foolish.

They have provided yet another strong reason to encourage home schooling. To cite a few widely-reported cases:
January 18, 2013
By Rick Dandes,  The Daily Item

MOUNT CARMEL [Pennsylvania]— A 5-year-old kindergartner who told classmates she was going to shoot them, and then herself, with her pink bubble gun, was grilled for three hours by Mount Carmel school officials without her mother’s knowledge, then suspended, a family attorney said.

The girl was initially kicked out for 10 days in what the school categorized as a “terroristic threat,” according to the kindergartner’s mother and confirmed by the family attorney. That suspension was reduced to two days and labeled as a “threat to harm others.”
This “threat” was made not in a class room, but while waiting in line for a school bus. The girl did not have the toy with her, but some sharp-eared school official overheard her and couldn’t resist making an issue of this harmless playing.

Another incident, reported by an ABC News affiliate, (via Yahoo) (See video at the site.)
Jan. 3, 2013
A 6-year-old boy who was suspended from his elementary school for making a gun gesture with his hand and saying "pow" is fighting his suspension through a lawyer.
The Montgomery County [Maryland] School District suspended first grader Rodney Lynch for pointing his finger at a classmate, which they said constituted a threat of gun violence, according to Robin Ficker, the attorney defending Lynch.
"His record says suspended for 'threatening to shoot a student' and that's a lie," Ficker told ABC News today. "He wasn't threatening a student, he's never been around a gun, he doesn't know what a gun is, he doesn't know what killing anyone is, he had no intent to harm anyone."
Lynch, who was suspended for one school day, told ABC News affiliate WJLA that he was playing when he made the gesture, and that his friend said "pow."
According to CBS Boston,

HYANNIS [Massachusetts] (CBS) – A mother says her 5-year-old boy was threatened with suspension after he made a gun out of Legos during an after school program.
 Sheila Cruz received a written warning recently about her son from the after school staff at the Hyannis West Elementary School because he had been using toys inappropriately.
His parents could hardly believe that the boy’s playing was considered a serious problem by school administrators. Most people who have heard about this probably couldn’t believe it either.

A somewhat more severe incident was one involving a six-year-old girl in Sumter, South Carolina who was expelled from her elementary school for bringing a clear plastic toy gun for show-and-tell. As reported by WLTX, Columbia, South Carolina. (See video of their TV report at the site.)
“You have to show some kind of judgment,” Hank McKinney says. “I know there is a lot going on with guns and schools and that is tragic but a six year old bringing a toy to school doesn't know better.” ….

“I'm sorry anything can be a weapon,” Hank says.
“A pencil is more of a weapon than the toy gun she brought to school.” ….

Naomi is not allowed to be on school property, even when her parents are picking up her siblings, so they have to park off school property.
(Via Prison Planet, which listed these and other incidents, including some seemingly very minor things that resulted in police searches and school lockdowns.)

Superintendent Dr. Randolph Bynum subsequently vacated the decision to expel Naomi, and she has been allowed to return to class, As WLTX reports, “[T]he story’s received statewide and even national attention. According to the district, school administrators and teacher had received threats over the decision.”

In all these cases, the school officials defended their actions, and while some of the disciplinary actions were reduced, it was clear that they felt their actions were justified and that they would not hesitate to respond similarly to future situations. It will probably take some successful lawsuits by parents to curtail this ridiculous trend, and eventually some of the panic over guns will give way to reasonable approaches to the prevention of school violence.