Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Constitution

Blurring the Line between Police and Military

The Mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, Cheye Calvo, was taking a shower in his home late Tuesday afternoon, July 29th, 2008 in preparation for a meeting he had that night. He heard a loud explosion at the front door of his home followed by the screaming of his mother-in-law who

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Senator McCain also wants “stand your ground” laws reviewed, just like Obama and Holder

Within days of Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama each strongly suggesting that “stand your ground” laws now enacted in more than 25 states be reconsidered, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain reiterated those same suggestions almost verbatim.

First, on Sunday McCain

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Obama and Senate Democrats Win Huge Victory, GOP Emasculated

This article first appeared at McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 19th, 2013:

 

After months of stalling and threats of a filibuster against Obama’s radical nominees to various agency posts, Senate Republicans have given up and are letting President Obama nominate the devil himself, if he chooses.

In a surprisingly underreported event, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won a major victory in the Senate by threatening to

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Expanded Mental Health Recording Raises Privacy, Gun Control Issues

As more of President Obama’s “Now is the Time” agenda announced in January is being implemented, more and more concerns are being expressed over their impact on privacy and the right to own firearms. Said the President on January 16th following the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School:

We must strengthen efforts to keep guns from falling into the wrong hands … to make sure those who would commit acts of violence cannot get access to guns.

There are at least two major concerns about the president’s statement:

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Trevor Loudon’s plea

On July 3rd Trevor Loudon explained How the Tea Party can save America and then proceeded to reel off all the threats facing America and concluded that “the fate of the United States of America hangs in the balance.” I don’t normally respond to that sort of TEOWCAWKI proclamations, but

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Paul Ryan the “bridgebuilder” on immigration reform?

On Saturday Newsmax.com reported on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) continuing attempts to revive interest in the House to consider the immigration bill the Senate just passed. He thinks that with a little tweaking the House can come to terms that the Senate would approve, and all will be well once again:

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New Revelations about NSA Spying Abroad Enrage European Officials

Saturday’s revelations by the German newspaper Der Spiegel that the US placed bugs in European Union officials’ offices in New York and Washington and hacked into EU headquarters in Brussels have ignited a firestorm of indignation among German and European officials. Coming on the heels of the FISA court’s ruling in April that Verizon must turn over telephone records to the National Security Agency and Edward Snowden’s exposure in June of PRISM that has been vacuuming up American citizens’ internet communications for years, expressions of outrage were heard from German and European Union politicians.

Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, said:

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Thanks to Glorious Gridlock, the Senate Immigration Bill is dead in the House

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, June 28th, 2013:

The founders would be proud. The Constitution has created gridlock over the Senate’s immigration bill, which will prevent this travesty from ever seeing the light of day over at the House. Many claim the Constitution is dead. Not according to House Speaker John Boehner:

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County Sheriff in California Strips Forest Service Agents of Law Enforcement Powers

The CBS affiliate in El Dorado County, California, expressed surprise when it reported that County Sheriff John D’Agostini stripped agents of the U.S. Forest Service of their law enforcement powers in his county.  Wrote D’Agnostini:

I take the [standard of] service that we provide to the citizens of El Dorado County and the visitors to El Dorado County [which includes Lake Tahoe] very seriously, and the style and manner of service we provide.

The U.S. Forest Service, after many attempts and given many opportunities, has failed to meet that standard.

The writer covering the story, Laura Cole, asked a law professor, John Myers, if D’Agostini could actually get away with this. Said Myers: “It looks to me as though the sheriff can do this.”

This isn’t the first time D’Agostini has written such a letter.

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DOMA decision could have been worse

On the surface, the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor was a simple case of discrimination: Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, a same-sex couple were lawfully married in New York. When Thea died, she left her sizeable estate to Edith who tried to claim the federal estate tax exemption for married couples. But under Section 3 of DOMA, the term “spouse” only applies to a marriage between a man and a woman. So her exemption was denied and she had to pay some $360,000 in federal estate taxes. The court ruled that section to be unconstitutional “as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.”

Here’s the Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense 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.

The ruling means now that legally married gay couples will be treated the same was as opposite-sex married couples when it comes to federal laws like estate taxes, Social Security survivor benefits, military and health payments, and filing status for federal income taxes.

What the supremes didn’t do was redefine marriage for the whole country, thankfully. Jim DeMint, now president of the Heritage Foundation, said:

The court didn’t redefine marriage for  the nation. We will work to restore clear marriage policy at the national level  and get our laws defended at every level. But in the meantime, today’s decision  from the court means that our national  debate about marriage will continue.

The court also didn’t asset a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, nor did it add the term “sexual orientation” to the types of cases that must be given “heightened scrutiny” by courts.

This is not, I repeat, not a cataclysmic disaster for those of us who take Genesis as the infallible word of God.

Obama the green dictator

My good friend Bill Jasper at The New American has just written about the Economist‘s about-face on climate change. This change in attitude, as the Economist itself notes, is “a very big deal.”

But good friend Bill fails (I hesitate even to suggest a criticism of his position) to note that

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States’ Nullification Efforts: All Bark and no Bite?

This article first was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor:

 

In a dreadfully slanted and intellectually dishonest offering from Associated Press writer David Lieb on Friday, efforts by the several states to nullify unconstitutional federal laws are derided as irrelevant and the matter already settled.

So why did he write it? Perhaps that’s the underlying message: the feds are getting nervous.

He calls the possibility that a state might actually arrest a federal agent for enforcing a federal law that a state thinks is unconstitutional “farfetched” but “conceivable.” He refers to the bill about to become law in Missouri as

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Snowden’s Revelations Confirmed by Three Other Whistleblowers

In a long wide-ranging interview arranged by USA Today on last Friday, three National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblowers and their attorney were grilled about Edward Snowden’s revelations and their reactions to them.  They uniformly exhibited a palpable sense of relief that finally someone had been able to break through and get their message into the public square, something they had failed to do on their own.

The three, Thomas Drake, William Binney and Kirk Wiebe along with attorney Jesselyn Radack, the director of the non-profit public interest law firm Government Accountability Project, were asked pointedly

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The unknown Supreme Court case that, 50 years ago, changed everything.

The case is Abington School District v. Schempp, decided on June 17th, 1963, which removed Bible reading from public schools by a vote of 8-1. The court held that laws requiring reading of Scriptures in public schools were unconstitutional.

The only dissenting justice was Potter Stewart and he nailed it:

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House can starve Obamacare, but it won’t.

The current scandals rocking the IRS are giving an excuse for some in the House to threaten shutting off funding for Obamacare. The optimist side of me says, Yea, Do It! The pessimist side says they’ll get their funding. The realist side says Obamacare will speed up the bankruptcy of the US.

All funding bills start in the House and I’ve long wondered why

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Detroit Creditors’ haircut: 90 percent!

At the conclusion of Friday’s 2-hour meeting of more than 180 of Detroit’s creditors, unions and pension trustees, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s plan to rescue the city from bankruptcy was met with predictable responses: lawsuits and strikes. It was an altar call to accept reality, but denial, anger and threats were the response of many. One unnamed bond holder said, “It’s just too much. It is an unprecedented amount to ask.” Mike Mulholland, secretary of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local # 207, was equally blunt: “When you’re backed into a corner, the only thing you can do is fight and the only way we can fight is to strike.”

Orr was ready for them. In his 134-page proposal, he blamed “financial mismanagement, a shrinking population, [and] a dwindling tax base … over the past 45 years [which] have brought Detroit to the brink of financial and operational ruin.” Indeed, his proposal spelled out the denial of reality that Mayor Dave Bing and his city council had been enjoying for years when it showed that Bing’s people thought that the annual deficit for the city for Fiscal Year 2013 was $47 million when the actual deficit is more than twice that, and for FY 2014 is estimated to approach $200 million. It’s no wonder that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency, and appointed bankruptcy attorney Kevyn Orr to take over from the city council in March.

The task facing Orr is horrifying. Faced with more than $18 billion in debts and just $68 million in the bank, Orr started off the meeting by announcing that the city would not make a $40 million payment due that day on a $2.5 billion certificate of participation (COP). He announced further that the city wouldn’t be making $104 million in pension contributions that are currently due either. In addition, retirees hoping that the city would be providing them with health care and full payouts of their pension benefits also received the bad news: they too would be forced to rely on the state’s insurance exchanges to obtain health coverage under Obamacare or Medicare, and could expect significant reductions in their retirement checks as well, approaching $800 a month in many cases.

Orr’s report was equally blunt for those hoping for a miracle: “The City is Insolvent” (Page 7): “the city is not paying its bills,” the city’s infrastructure is deteriorating, “costs associated with unoccupied property” continues to mount, the city’s credit ratings were borderline “bankrupt” by all three agencies, and “Priority One” police response times had increased in just one year from 30 minutes in 2012 to 58 minutes in 2013. In 2012 Detroit “had the highest rate of violent crime of any U.S. city having a population over 200,000 [Detroit’s population is just over 700,000, 40 percent of what it was 1950], five times the national average.”

There are “approximately 78,000 abandoned and blighted structures in the City, nearly half of which are considered ‘dangerous’ [while there are] 66,000 blighted and vacant lots within the City limits.” There are between 11,000 and 12,000 fires in Detroit every year, most of them occurring in those blighted and abandoned buildings.

Orr’s plan, on the surface, is elegant simplicity: if the creditors – pension trustees, unions, bond holders and retirees – will sit still for these massive haircuts, then the city can, under a newly created facility, borrow $2 billion to pay off the $11 billion in unsecured creditors. Orr said that translates, after other demands on that new money, to about 10 cents on every dollar owed. Secured creditors will be better off but they will be asked to take a haircut as well. If the proposal is accepted, lawsuits and strikes notwithstanding, then Orr can take this to court as a pre-packaged bankruptcy, giving him the power to enforce the agreement.

On the other hand, if his proposal can’t get sufficient agreement in the next 30 days from all interested (and now properly chastened) creditors, then he’ll ask the court to grant Detroit bankruptcy protection with himself as trustee. In essence, Orr is dealing from strength: go along with me now and get the best deal possible, or push me and you’ll get less, it’ll cost more and it’ll take longer.  Said Orr: “I have a very powerful statute. I have an even more powerful Chapter 9. I don’t want to use it, but I am going to accomplish this job. That will happen.”

There’s a constitutional issue here as well. Under the Tenth Amendment, “powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution … are reserved to the states,” which means that guarantees in Michigan’s state constitution that protect pension and retirement benefits from federal bankruptcy rulings could be put at risk in a court battle. If a high court rules that federal bankruptcy laws override state protections, then every pension plan in the country thinking it has state protection will be affected negatively, with national and perhaps even international ramifications. The municipal bond market is nearly $4 trillion in size, and such a ruling could, at the very last, unnerve that market, raising the cost of borrowing significantly, forcing other cities bordering on bankruptcy over the edge.

Michael Sweet, an attorney at Fox Rothschild who helped the city of Redmond, California restructure its finances in order to avoid bankruptcy, noted: “The last thing [union pension funds] may want is for a judge to rule on that … because if the judge ruled on that against them, it would open the floodgates” for similar cases.

 

NSA and Verizon and our privacy

By now every sentient being on the planet knows that the National Security Agency ordered Verizon back in April to give it the phone records of its customers.  They also know that it was signed by a phony judge of a phony court under an illegal section of an unconstitutional law passed by congress and then reauthorized by another congress.

I’ve looked into this a little bit and here’s what I’ve found.

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Obamanomics is to Blame for Worst Recession since the Great Depression

When libertarian scholar Peter Ferrara asked rhetorically in Sunday’s issue of Forbes, “Economically, Could Obama be America’s Worst President?” he relied heavily on statistics provided by the chief enabler of the Great Recession,

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Cost Estimate of Government Regulations Doesn’t Measure the Real Cost

This article initially appeared at The New American on May 21st, 2013:

 

The federal government’s cost is measured not only in taxes paid by citizens, or in borrowing when tax revenues aren’t sufficient, but also must be measured in terms of regulations imposed by government agencies to accomplish what congress can’t or won’t. That’s the core of the argument presented by Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) in his introduction of this year’s “Ten Thousand Commandments 2013.”

For the first time in the 20 years that the institute has been attempting to measure the cost of government agencies’ regulations that cost now exceeds

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.