Remembering Our Roots

On Wednesday, The Washington Times posted an article about the Second Amendment. There has been a lot of talk lately about the Second Amendment, but very little talk about the relationship of the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution.

The article reminds us:

The U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled in the past 11 years that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual pre-political liberty. That is the highest category of liberty recognized in the law. It is akin to the freedoms of thought, speech and personality. That means that the court has recognized that the framers did not bestow this right upon us. Rather, they recognized its pre-existence as an extension of our natural human right to self-defense and they forbade government — state and federal — from infringing upon it.

It would be exquisitely unfair, profoundly unconstitutional and historically un-American for the rights of law-abiding folks — “surrender that rifle you own legally and use safely because some other folks have used that same type of weapon criminally” — to be impaired in the name of public safety.

It would also be irrational. A person willing to kill innocents and be killed by the police while doing so surely would have no qualms about violating a state or federal law that prohibited the general ownership of the weapon he was about to use.

With all of this as background, and the country anguishing over the mass deaths of innocents, the feds and the states face a choice between a knee-jerk but popular restriction of some form of gun ownership, and the rational and sound realization that more guns in the hands of those properly trained means less crime and more safety.

Can the government constitutionally outlaw the types of rifles used by the El Paso and Dayton killers? In a word: No. We know that because in the first Supreme Court opinion upholding the individual right to keep and bear arms, the court addressed what kind of arms the Second Amendment protects. The court ruled that the Second Amendment protects individual ownership of weapons one can carry that are of the same degree of sophistication as the bad guys have — or the government has.

The government? Yes, the government. That’s so because the Second Amendment was not written to protect the right to shoot deer. It was written to protect the right to shoot at tyrants and their agents when they have stolen liberty or property from the people. If you don’t believe me on this, then read the Declaration of Independence. It justifies violence against the British government because of such thefts.

Governments are the greatest mass killers on the planet. Who can take without alarm any of their threats to emasculate our right to defend our personal liberties?

The Second Amendment is there to protect us from a tyrannical government. Does anyone believe that 90 percent of the people in government would not become tyrants if the population were not armed?

The article concludes:

The president also offered his support for “red flag” laws. These horrific statutes permit police or courts to seize guns from those deemed dangerous. Red flag laws are unconstitutional. The presumption of innocence and the due process requirement of demonstrable fault as a precondition to any punishment or sanction together prohibit the loss of liberty on the basis of what might happen in the future.

In America, we do not punish a person or deprive anyone of liberty on the basis of a fear of what the person might do. When the Soviets used psychiatric testimony to predict criminal behavior, President Ronald Reagan condemned it. Now, the president wants it here.

The United States is not New Zealand, where a national legislature, animated by fear and provoked by tragedy, can impair fundamental liberties by majority vote. In America, neither Congress nor the states can outlaw whatever handguns or rifles they want to outlaw or infringe upon the right to own them.

The government can no more interfere with Second Amendment rights than it can infringe upon any other rights. If this were not so, then no liberty — speech, press, religion, association, self-defense, privacy, travel, property ownership — would be safe from the reach of a fearful majority.

That’s why we have a Constitution.

A government that prefers an unarmed citizenry is not a government I want to support.

Painting A Picture That Is Totally False

Sara Carter posted an article today about the media’s misreporting on the recent destruction of buildings in Israel. The media has totally misrepresented the events.

The article explains a few facts the media ignored:

– The land on which the buildings stood is not under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, but, as explicitly provided by the Oslo Accords, under the jurisdiction, for security purposes, of the Government of Israel
– Instead it was included inside Israel’s security barrier at the request of the very Arabs who are now complaining;
– The Arab complainants had the benefit of years of due process, which they flaunted by continuously disobeying orders of the Israeli courts that required both the Army and the Arabs to maintain the status quo until the courts could assess the legal merits of the Arabs’ claims;
– The Arabs chose to build right up against Israel’s security barrier even though they had clear notice that such construction was illegal because it impeded the Israeli army’s ability to defend Israel’s citizenry from Arab terrorist attacks.
The fact that these realities are completely ignored by all of the outraged international “authorities” is a disgrace.

The article continues:

Israel follows the rule of law. Seven years ago it passed a law which, for security reasons, prohibits the building of a structure within 250 meters (820 feet) of the Security Barrier

The Barrier was built starting in the early 2000s after the second Palestinian Arab Intifada (“Uprising”). Hundreds of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks murdered and maimed more thousands of Israeli civilians during that Uprising. Those acts of terrorism were committed by Arabs sneaking into Israeli cities and towns and blowing up buses, cafes, pizzerias, and ice cream stands. Once Israel commenced building and patrolling the Barrier, terrorism dropped dramatically, ultimately leading to a 90 percent decrease in terrorism within Israel.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It clearly illustrates the bias in the media concerning Israel. Israel lives in a bad neighborhood. The actions it has taken in preventing construction in certain areas and building walls have allowed the country to survive in that neighborhood.

If You Are A Parent, This Is Frightening

Life Site News posted an article on Wednesday about what I would consider a serious violation of parental rights by the government.

The article reports:

The Minnesota mother whose son was maneuvered through a “sex change” by county officials has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review her case. She is charging the government with usurping her parental rights when its agents provided her son with transgender services and narcotic drugs against her wishes.

The Thomas More Society petitioned the High Court Wednesday on behalf of Anmarie Calgaro, arguing that Calgaro’s due process rights were “trampled on” when St. Louis County and its referred health providers “ended her parental control over her minor son without a court order of emancipation.”

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” Thomas More Society special counsel Erick Kaardal said. “Anmarie Calgaro’s child, while a minor, was steered through a life-changing, permanent body altering process, becoming a pawn in someone else’s sociopolitical agenda and being influenced by those who have no legal or moral right to usurp the role of a parent.”

Calgaro sued state agencies and health providers in federal court in 2016 for terminating her parental rights without due process after her minor son was given elective medical services for a so-called “sex change” without her consent or a legal order of emancipation.

Her suit said the state’s entities decided on their own that the then-17-year-old boy was emancipated.

The defendants handled Calgaro’s son as an emancipated minor even though there had been no court action to that effect, the Thomas More statement says. Neither the school district, the county, nor any of the medical agencies named in the lawsuit gave Calgaro any notice or hearing before ending her parental rights over her minor child.

A district judge dismissed Calgaro’s lawsuit in May 2017, admitting that the boy was not legally emancipated by a court order but ruling that Calgaro’s parental rights “remained intact.” The Thomas More Society says the judge decreed that the de facto emancipation of Calgaro’s minor son by the county, school, and medical care providers did not constitute an infringement of constitutionally protected parental rights.

The case was appealed in July 2017 and the district court ruling upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in March of this year.

St. Louis County decided without any basis that Calgaro’s son was emancipated and could receive government benefits, even though Calgaro was a “fit parent” who objected to their actions, the legal non-profit’s statement on the Supreme Court filing said.

The article concludes:

“And the St. Louis County School District in Minnesota has a custom and practice of barring a parent from involvement in the child’s education for more than two years after a child is deemed by the school principal, not by a court order, to be emancipated,” he said. “This is an unacceptable situation for any parent and a serious violation of parental and due process rights.”

Minnesota’s language regarding emancipation is vague, and state law presents no procedural due process rights for “fit parents,” according to Kaardal, even though it does so for those deemed unfit.

“Why wouldn’t we make this same effort for fit parents?” he asked.

Kaardal said he was concerned in particular about the conflict in Minnesota’s legal statutes.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals ignored the major disconnect in the District Court decision where the mother’s parental rights are admitted but not honored, and the ridiculous claims that the agencies which have violated Calgaro’s rights did nothing wrong,” he stated. “The United States Supreme Court now has the opportunity to untangle this incompatible and untenable scenario; so, nationwide fit parents can keep parenting without governmental interference.”

“Under federal law, the right to parent is considered an unenumerated right, protected from governmental interference by the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments,” said Kaardal. “The “liberty” of the Due Process Clauses safeguards those substantive rights “so rooted in the traditions and conscience as to be ranked as fundamental.”

The U.S. Supreme Court reconvenes in October.

 

How A Kangaroo Court Works

The website study.com includes the following definition of exculpatory evidence:

In Brady v. Maryland (1963), the Supreme Court held that exculpatory evidence withheld in a criminal trial can result in a re-hearing of the case. In this case, Brady was convicted for murder, and the prosecutor failed to tell a jury that another defendant, who had committed the murder with Brady, had already confessed to the killing. The court stated that the jury needed to hear that evidence because it could assist them in their decision regarding Brady. From then on, any exculpatory evidence the prosecutor or law enforcement has is called Brady material, the requirement to turn Brady material over to the defense is called the Brady rule.

Any evidence from a crime scene is subject to the Brady rule.

But what other kind of evidence is exculpatory? The law says ‘any evidence’ that tends to show innocence of the defendant is included. This can include crime scene evidence, witness testimony, DNA results, and medical records.

…The Supreme Court said that without the rule, the defendant’s due process rights would be violated. Due process comes from the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, and means that before the government can take away your liberty, it must first give the person the rights and process due to him or her under the Constitution. If the government has evidence that says you might be innocent, it would violate the fairness and impartiality of the trial process by just ignoring it and not letting the jury see it.

The concept of exculpatory evidence is going to be in the spotlight as the case against General Michael Flynn moves forward.

Yesterday John Solomon reported the following at The Hill:

For nearly two years now, the intelligence community has kept secret evidence in the Russia collusion case that directly undercuts the portrayal of retired Army general and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn as a Russian stooge.

That silence was maintained even when former acting Attorney General Sally Yates publicly claimed Flynn was possibly “compromised” by Moscow.

And when a Democratic senator, Al Franken of Minnesota, suggested the former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief posed a “danger to this republic.”

And even when some media outlets opined about whether Flynn’s contacts with Russia were treasonous. 

Yes, the Pentagon did give a classified briefing to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) in May 2017, but then it declined the senator’s impassioned plea three months later to make some of that briefing information public.

“It appears the public release of this information would not pose any ongoing risk to national security. Moreover, the declassification would be in the public interest, and is in the interest of fairness to Lt. Gen. Flynn,” Grassley wrote in August 2017.

Please follow the link to the article at The Hill to see the details, but the bottom line here is simple.

The article explains:

Rather than a diplomatic embarrassment bordering on treason, Flynn’s conduct at the RT (Russia Today) event provided some modest benefit to the U.S. intelligence community, something that many former military and intelligence officers continue to offer their country after retirement when they keep security clearances.

It’s important to wind back many months to where the Russia collusion narrative started and the media frenzy–driven suggestion that Flynn may have been on a mission to compromise America’s security and endanger this great republic when he visited Moscow.

Would the central character in a Russian election hijack plot actually self-disclose his trip in advance? And then sit through a briefing on how to avoid being compromised by his foreign hosts? And then come back to America and be debriefed by U.S. intelligence officers about who and what he saw?

And would a prosecutor recommend little or no prison time for a former general if that former military leader truly had compromised national security?

Highly unlikely.

It really is time for the deep state to stop its attack on President Trump and those who have supported him. Unfortunately, now that the Democrats control the House of Representatives, we can expect to see more taxpayer dollars spent on trying to undo an election they didn’t like.

 

When Lawyers Are Willing To Disregard The Law

On Saturday, Townhall posted an article about a recent New York Times editorial. The editorial was written by former Obama White House lawyer Kate Shaw. Ms. Shaw argues that traditional due process protections such as “the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; [and] the right to confront and respond to an accuser” are not necessary for the purposes of determining if Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasely Ford more than 35 years ago or whether he should serve on the Supreme Court. Seems as if she went to the same law school as Barack Obama–the law is whatever she decides it is.

The article at Townhall includes the following from the New York Times:

“It’s natural to place this sort of accusation within a criminal-justice framework: the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; the right to confront and respond to an accuser. If Judge Kavanaugh stood criminally accused of attempted rape, all of that would apply with full force. But those concepts are a poor fit for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, where there’s no presumption of confirmation, and there’s certainly no burden that facts be established beyond a reasonable doubt.” emphasis added

…“What matters here isn’t law as much as politics — though not (or not just) partisan politics. Confirmation hearings are also about constitutional politics — the debate, involving both institutions of government and the polity, about what the Constitution means and requires.

“So what standard should the Senate use in evaluating the claims made by Dr. Blasey and in deciding how they bear on Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness for a seat on the Supreme Court? The Senate’s approach to its constitutional “advice and consent” obligation has always depended on context.A number of factors matter: the timing of the vacancy; the justice being replaced; the nominee’s likely impact on the ideological makeup of the court; even the popularity of the president (very popular presidents have always had more leeway when it comes to picking justices).” emphasis added

So what is this really about? The Democrats have used to courts for years to pass laws that Congress could not pass. Abortion never made it though Congress–it was decided by the courts. Gay marriage never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. Teenage boys in teenage girls’ locker rooms never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. So Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to that status quo. He would probably be the fifth vote on the Supreme Court who would bring common sense back into the picture. The fact that he believes in the Constitution is a major threat to the hold the liberal wing of the Democrat Party (is there any other wing?) has on the Supreme Court. That is what this is really about.

Is anyone taking odds as to whether Professor Ford is going to be present at her hearing on Thursday?

Bringing Justice Into The Legal Process At Colleges

We all remember the Duke lacrosse scandal in 2006 where three fraternity brothers were charged with rape. Obviously, hiring a stripper was not the smartest thing these fraternity brothers ever did, but it hardly rose to the level of a crime. A lot of outside forces got involved. It was labeled a ‘hate crime,’ and a racial element also came into play with the arrival of the professional racial complainers. After all was said and done, part of the lacrosse season was canceled and team members were put through various legal processes before their names were finally cleared. Three accused players were eventually paid millions of dollars by the University in exchange for nondisclosure agreements after they were found not guilty. Some of the players transferred to other schools in order to continue playing lacrosse. The players were definitely guilty of bad judgement, but were eventually cleared of any other charges. The damage done to their reputations, however, is incalculable. Enter Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss.

On Saturday, The Detroit News reported:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is following through on her commitment to stand up for the due process rights of all students on U.S. college campuses. From what we’ve seen of a new framework, it would go a long way to restoring constitutional protection in campus sexual assault investigations.

That’s a long-overdue change. Last September, DeVos began this work, rescinding overzealous Obama-era guidelines that pushed university administrators to investigate and adjudicate serious accusations and even crimes.

Using the threat of withheld funding if schools didn’t comply, the former administration instructed universities to lower the burden of proof and create a framework to give alleged victims the upper hand. Title IX, the law preventing sex discrimination in schools that take federal funds, has been expanded greatly in recent years to apply to cases of sexual misconduct.

All this led to accused students with little recourse to defend themselves, with serious repercussions as a result, including expulsion.

…As reported by the Times, the new rules would allow both the accused and the complainant to request evidence and to cross-examine each other — something that was discouraged previously. Also, universities could apply other avenues for solving complaints such as mediation and restorative justice, as long as the individuals involved mutually agreed.

The Education Department also seeks to define sexual harassment in a much more specific way: “Unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.”

Previously, universities were told to handle any unwelcome sexual conduct.

Obviously there are many aspects to this story. We have instances of male college students accused of rape because their dates woke up the next morning regretting foolish decisions made the night before, and we have genuine instances of rape that were not punished sufficiently.

On June 3, 2016, The Cut reported the following:

Brock Allen Turner, the former Stanford swimmer who was discovered raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus in January of last year, will be sentenced to six months in county jail and probation. Prosecutors had recommended that Turner receive a sentence of six years, but judge Aaron Persky determined that Turner’s age — 20 — and lack of criminal history warranted him a much shorter sentence.

To me, that is as unjust as what was done to the Duke lacrosse team. Both extremes need to be avoided.

A Backdoor Approach To Limiting The Right Of Veterans To Own Guns ?

For the past day of so, a number of ‘facebook friends’ have posted links to articles about veterans being denied the right to own guns. I waited to post this article until I saw the letter involved and was able to see who sent it.

The Blaze posted the story on Friday along with a copy of the relevant letter. The letter was written by the Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

One paragraph from the letter states:

“A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?

An article at Red Flag News states:

The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA. In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”.

The writer at Red Flag News further asks:

“If you are receiving a Social Security check will you get one of these letters? Will the government declare that you are incompetent because of your age and therefore banned from firearm ownership?” Connelly wrote. “It certainly fits in with the philosophy and plans of the Obama administration. It is also certain that our military veterans don’t deserve this and neither do any other Americans.”

This bears watching.

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